Advertising, environment, technology, education’s importance and OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) advocacy pretty much sums up the topics covered in the second TEDxManila in the University of the Philippines, Diliman last December 4, 2010.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization devoted to ideas worth spreading. The first TED conferences focused on these three general topics (TED) and then it gradually covered almost every other topic worthy of discussion. Check out www.ted.com for more details. To make spreading faster, the TEDx events are independently organized to emulate a typical TED conference.

From my estimate, around 150 people from different sectors attended this years TEDxManila, which I think is similar to last year’s count (Yes, I attended last year too). Two noticeable differences though:

1. Every speaker, whether live or from the recorded TEDTalks, are all girls/women;

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

2. Jim Paredes is part of the audience! Too bad he had to leave early though.

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

Prof. Lourdes Cruz, a National Scientist from UP, talked about concrete steps in uplifting the Ayta community while saving their culture and the forest in which they depend on. Aside from S & T research, community consultation and empowerment is important because the indigenous often prioritize cultural integrity.

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

Niña Terol-Zialcita talked about a virus in the Philippines that did not spare even her. She challenged us, the audience, to get infected in this epidemic that is change-making. One notable quote from her is “Why can’t we export IDEAS instead of people? Why can’t we be champions in creating and innovating?” She suggested that one way is to make our own 365 Project (365project.org) and ended her talk with giving out the blank website www.365philippines.com as a means to spread the virus.

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

Corey Cruz, a molecular-biology-major-turned-fine-arts-graduate talked about her experience as an advertiser (or to put it in her own words: MIND CONTROL) and how it was closely related to science, i.e. the process is analogous to the scientific method. She also noted that there is essentially no dichotomy between science and art in the sense that both are tools for man to seek better humanity.

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

While Niña and Corey commented on their 4-inch high heels while walking slowly towards the stage, Mercedes Gonzales-Pingad, a 67-year old sophomore from Laguna State Polytechnic University taking BS Fisheries Education, also excused herself by saying she was flat-footed, a remark that drew a happy atmosphere inside the auditorium from that point on. She gave a very detailed, no-pretense account of her life and her experience as a product of the Alternative Learning System. Although Nanay Ched asked the crowd to allow her to bring the computerized transcript of her speech due to old age, I can’t help but notice that she wasn’t actually using her transcript anymore by the middle of her talk, a sign that she was actually speaking on-the-fly – – – that she was speaking her heart out. She wasn’t able to give ample time on her advocacy, which is to increase the budget for SUCs, yet her life was that great of an inspiration to make her deserve the first ever standing ovation by the TEDxManila audience. While everyone was filling the room with applause and cheers for her, I was thinking “Rock on, Nanay Ched! What a great way to end TEDxManila” – – – and I actually forgot that there were 5 live speakers, not 4.

Photo courtesy of Ruzette Tanyag of the TEDxManila Team

The last speaker, Tessa Vergara-Yuvienco, used the eye-appealing Prezi software, the same presentation platform used by TED curator Chris Anderson and Adora Svitak, to show the recent progress of their eKindling project that is now being formally launched in Lubang, Mindoro as of this writing (December 6). According to their website (ekindling.org) eKindling (Education Kindling) is virtually “OLPC Philippines,” except that they chose not to use that name in the belief that it would limit their growth. Ryan Letada, eKindling’s Executive Director, said in our conversation after the talks that they wanted to implement the kind of OLPC that is tailor-fit for the Philippines.

The recorded TEDTalks shown this year included Adora Svitak’s witty talk on how we can learn from kids and Jane McGonigal’s vision of using games a platform for solving the world’s problems to achieve EPIC WIN.

What I learned from this year’s TEDxManila:

  1. Fulfilling a dream can never be too late. Nanay Ched continued her studies amidst the skepticism of her immediate community. She even aspires to be a teacher after her studies.
  2. We have to demand more from ourselves in order for change to take place. We have to do more than mere slacktivism. Changing profile pictures into cartoon characters alone won’t give us that EPIC WIN.
  3. We can learn from everyone, regardless of their age. Adora Svitak and Nanay Ched are on opposite ends of the age spectrum yet both are inspirational in their own right.
  4. Why can’t we export IDEAS instead of people? Why can’t we be champions in creating and innovating?” – Nuf’ said.

I didn't know that this can be converted into a tablet too. Nice. 🙂

 

The L in OLPC in my hands. Tech review perhaps? XP

 

Kudos to TEDxManila Team and the live speakers for giving us a wonderful experience. TEDxManila 2010 is an EPIC year-ender. I hope to see you guys again next year!