A Heart With A Cause

     For all the years I spent living overseas, I never lost touch of my roots, my heritage.  The Filipino spirit still lives in me, though, this time, I consider myself a product of the fusion of the different cultures I got to assimilate with.  I began to discern and choose aspects of my culture that are still beneficial for me and try to get rid of the ones that do not serve me well anymore. But there is one thing that has been very close to my heart regardless of what I have been through in life, and that is, to be able to make a difference and give back to humanity in my own simple way.

     Doing charity work roots back during my high school years when I was part of an organization that conducted catechism to a group of youth in a nearby slum village.  Along with catechism, we also taught some reading and arithmetic.  It was such an eye-opening experience as I realized how blessed I was for having the opportunity to go to school and having shoes to wear–while the children were on barefoot during catechism.  Stepping on the muddy ground did not bother them at all.  But it was I, who was so bothered and worried of them walking barefoot.  Much as I would like to offer them a pair of slippers, I just then wished that one day, I could go back to their village and provide them a pair of slippers.  To this day, the memories I had with the children in the slums are still a part of me and have somehow inspired me of pursuing a career in Education.  I believe that they need more than just a pair of slippers or any material dole-out for that matter.

     Until recently, I came across with social entrepreneurship during my research and course work in graduate school.  I got to know some enterprises and organizations supporting children with special needs and their families.  From there, I did some personal research on social entrepreneurship and on how I could utilize this platform for Zen & Sea.  This world has so much to offer and that makes me now a believer in unlimited possibilities.  I also believe that I could spread more inspiration and accomplish so much more than just making a difference in a four-walled classroom.

     I am truly honored having participated in a weekend stay at the Gawad Kalinga (GK) Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan recently.  I am humbled having met the people behind this very inspiring community of changemakers and movers in this nation.  It was yet another eye-opening experience of how social entrepreneurship is being adopted here in the Philippines.  The Farm provides an enlightening and engaging  platform for future social entrepreneurs.

the Philippines, a melting pot of social entrepreneurs

 

a living classroom for social entrepreneurs

 

The weekend program at the Farm also gave us some hands-on learning opportunity to know some of their homegrown products.  The Farm is, indeed, a living classroom of knowledge and idea execution.

 

Artisan Chocolate Making Demo

 

Gourmet Cheese Making Demo

 

Plush Toy Making Demo

 

And the highlight of our stay was an up close and personal interaction with Mr. Tony Meloto himself. Words are not enough to describe his heart and vision for the Filipino people.

Mr. Tony Meloto, founder of Gawad Kalinga having an intimate talk with our group

 

     Having lived in a desert environment for several years, a tour of  the Farm was such a great delight. Mama was in my thoughts while I feasted with the sight of different herbs and vegetables.  Mama has instilled in me an interest in gardening.  She once encouraged me to join her getting supplies from a nearby Home Depot or Lowe’s to have our DIY soil beds so we can grow our own herbs and vegetables. With the extreme weather conditions in Las Vegas, we were worried if the plants would survive.  We ended up going to a nearby nursery and just planted in pots.  Gardening is mama’s favorite pastime and her plants now are her babies.

     Mama will definitely love and enjoy a stay at the Farm.  I hope to bring her to the Farm when she visits the Philippines one of these days.

reminds me of mama

 

getting to know more of the Farm's mission & vision

 

had the pleasure meeting everyone at the Farm

 

Found my zen at the Farm

entrance to the Bamboo Palace

 

     I personally feel that doing charity work or making a difference has nothing to do with one’s gender, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation.  If people truly love their country, they will choose to have concern and care for it and its people, regardless of their status in society.  Social entrepreneurship is just one of the many ways we can contribute to the betterment of this nation and make a positive lasting impact to society.

     I live up with my vision and purpose not because I am a Filipino, but simply because I have a heart with a cause….I have a heart that cares.

     We envision Zen & Sea of becoming a social enterprise and at the same time, we aspire to spread some inspiration to the least of our brothers and sisters.

About the Author

 Angela Antonio, a native of Manila, Philippines, started her career as a marketing executive in the airline-tourism industry. In her pursuit of serving humanity, Angela entered the education field and earned her master’s degree in Special Education from University of Nevada-Las Vegas.  As Angela aspires to live her passion, vision, and purpose—Zen & Sea came to life. Angela founded and conceptualized Zen & Sea in summer 2006. Angela enjoys traveling, cooking, crafting,  music, yoga/meditation, and nature trips.

 

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