Transforming the Philippines through the Power of 365

*Note: This was reposted in full from the author’s blog, The Art of Changemaking. Nina Terol-Zialcita was a speaker at the 2010 edition of TEDxManila.

In yesterday’s TEDxManila talk, I shared my ideas about “Changemaking, World Domination, and the Power of 365.” My main points were the following:

  • Changemaking can come from anyone, anywhere–and the Philippines is full of changemakers. Just look within your own social circle and you’ll find them there. They are the people who volunteer time and resources for causes; the people who speak up for those that seem to have lost their voices; those that are using their lives not only for the pursuit of success and financial returns, but also for equitable opportunities for all. I consider myself lucky to be moving among a great group of passionate, talented, and socially oriented individuals, and I shared some examples in my talk.
  • We have the capacity to develop great ideas that move the world–and why shouldn’t we? The Philippines is great at exporting people; we’re also great at producing champion singers, performing artists, boxers, and so on. But why can’t we develop and export original, authentic, homegrown ideas? Why can’t we create great things of high value instead of just staying at the low-value end of the supply chain? Why can’t we embrace what we have and turn it into something big that can potentially move the rest of the world? Our award-winning changemakers have done it (e.g., CNN Hero of the Year for 2009 Efren Penaflorida, BBC World Challenge 2010 winner Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, Inc., 2010 Rolex Young Laureate Reese Fernandez, and many others)–why can’t more of us?
  • There is a lot that we can do using the Power of 365, and this is an idea that I’d like to expound and share here.

The Power of 365

There are 365 days–and as the song goes, 525, 600 minutes–in every year. Imagine how many moments comprise those 365 days and 525, 600 minutes and how many pleasant, unexpected surprises can greet us as we go about our days. Now imagine what would happen if we could only document at least one great thing about each day–be it a great place, an awesome dish, a magical encounter, a life-changing statement, an unforgettable person, a memorable quotable quote, and so on–we’d have at least 365 beautiful things to be grateful for and to share.

Multiply that by the number of people who participate in this daily documentation within an open, collaborative environment and something wonderful–and magical, dare I say–will start to unfold.

Are any of you familiar with Project 365? It’s a concept and an activity where people take and post at least one photo per day for 365 days. I started noticing people do it through Flickr and Multiply around two years ago, and I won’t be surprised if more people are doing it today, using Facebook and other social networks to document and share their personal Project 365s.

Now, imagine if you could transpose the 365 idea to places, communities, interest groups, and so on… (For instance, 365 UP, 365 Davao, 365 Los Banos, 365 Manila Foodies, 365 Indie Films, and so on…) You would have a living, evolving archive of great things that are happening in communities around the Philippines, helping to preserve and promote local knowledge and culture in those areas and fields.

And if we had a way of capturing all these into a Web-based platform or engine, we would then have an authentic, people-powered, technology-driven campaign to show what’s beautiful and real about our country. No plagiarized, copycat, multi-million-peso ad campaigns needed. This is the Philippines through the eyes of Filipinos. And all you’ll really need is your own experiences captured through, say, your camera phone.

Imagine if we could do this–how would this transform the way people see the Philippines? How would this change the way we view and shape our everyday experiences? Imagine if we could produce a daily archive of all the great things happening in our country–we would be developing original content that can now easily reach people of other countries, instead of the usual trash (quite literally) that they see, read, and hear about our country.

(My TEDx example: Go to GettyImages.com and type “Manila” in the search bar. See how many images of trash you will get on the first page of search results alone.)

That was the idea in a nutshell, and here was my challenge: I bought the URL 365Philippines.com–and was quite surprised that nobody else had thought of getting it–and am inviting like-minded individuals and organizations to help build it into a platform and an engine that could help drive an appreciation for Philippine local knowledge, culture, tourism, and so on. (Could this be the answer to “Pilipinas Kay Ganda(h)”? Hopefully, it will be much, MUCH more than that.)

As of this writing, over a handful of creative minds have already come forward to be part of this project, and I’m excited to see what it will look like once the final product comes out. Collaboration is definitely an exciting–and scary–thing, but, if done properly, I have faith that this will be an example of the kind of changemaking spirit with which we hope to infect others.

So…wish us luck! I hope to be reporting more awesome stuff about the project in the… 365 days to come!

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P.S. Do YOU want to be a part of building 365Philippines.com? Please message me with your email address so I can send you more details, then let the collaboration begin!

Image: “Evil plan,” by gapingvoid, some rights reserved.