TEDxDiliman


I really haven't noticed that much time has passed since TEDxDiliman 2011 was held. I wanted to post some pictures and my experience as part of its audience, but my hands were shaky and I only have a point-and-shoot, so I wasn't really proud of my photos. Besides, the hassles of school pushed it farther down my priority list.

Finally, however, the temporal reprieve of the school year is at hand (read: my last semestral break in medical school) and I can tell you now how the small event looked like. Most of the audience I did not recognize, aside from the popular ones like Lourd de Veyra and Alessandra de Rossi.

In fact, it's as if the universe is mocking me when I entered the auditorium of the College of Law. At one point in my recent past, I actually insisted to my parents that I wanted to take up Law, but I guess it wasn’t meant for me to have. It's a good thing that I saw Tettet Rocamora, a molecular biology graduate like me, so in a way I did not feel entirely lost.

TEDxDiliman was probably the second or third time I heard that an independent TED event was held in Manila. According to trusty Google, there was a TEDxManila in 2009 and a TEDxFortBonifacio in 2010.

That day, the programme was broken down into three thematic sessions: Storytelling, The Future, and How Art Can Change The World.

Direk Rico Gutierrez started the first session with the idea of breaking long-standing conventions in free TV. Can you imagine doing a version of Shakespeare’s plays on a Sunday afternoon show? Is it possible to place 10 seconds of dead air on live television? He did all of that in Party Pilipinas. Well, the consequent viewers’ share approved of his experiments, but I guess the effort of breaking barriers was worth the applause.

Professor Glecy Atienza was the next speaker, and she vividly recalled how her previous lives as a swinging door and as an immovable rock in school plays have molded her into the theater artist she is today. She played her cards pretty well despite the technical difficulty in playing her presentation slides.

Ms Patricia Evangelista stood next on the stage, and I guess she has always been pretty and stunning since the day she won that small contest in London. As a journalist by profession, she narrated how the Maguindanao massacre changed a lot of lives, and in the process, she understood what it means to be a journalist: to tell this kind of story, not because everyone is willing to listen, but because someone out there might actually listen and do something about it.

Lastly, Direk Auraeus Solito shared his imaginative childhood in Palawan, and the stories that her mother told her. Direk is well-acclaimed in international circles and I can certainly see where his films come from.


Jose Abreu on kids transformed by music
TED2009, filmed Feb 2009, posted Feb 2009

The second session was started with a video from 2009 TED Prize Winner Jose Abreu and the transformation that happened with the kids in Venezuela upon entering the national youth orchestra. It was really inspiring to know that even the poorest kids can become successful by learning music. In fact, my local hometown is sponsoring music lessons for all high school students and training its own rondalla. Recently, it even hosted the 3rd International Rondalla Festival. This just proves that it is very much possible to transfer similar experiences to the entire Philippines if our local government units are willing to invest in music and the arts.

Ms Nina Lim-Yuson shared her personal stories with managing Museo Pambata. Running an NGO is a constant struggle, but even the floods of Ondoy did not shatter the entrepreneurial spirit of Museo Pambata.

Arguably the best speaker of the bunch was Sir Fernando Sena. I already knighted him with the title Sir because he totally deserves the adoration. No powerpoint, friends. Just a pen and a few pages of cartolina tethered to a whiteboard. If there is anyone who can tell you to laugh at your own drawing, it’s him.

Mr Roy Moore is an expatriate and political science graduate student at the State University, and he spends his spare time as coach to the Payatas football club for kids. His experience with the kids was pretty awesome and I think they’ll get better over time.

Lastly, Mr Lourd de Veyra presented his speech in pure video format inasmuchas Word of the Lourd is shown on TV and Youtube.  His was the funniest and perhaps the most thought-provoking idea of that day. I can't seem to find on the internet the actual video that was presented on TEDx. So, in the spirit of sarcasm and freedom of speech, I am posting this Word of the Lourd segment instead, titled Walang Silbi Ang Art. I'll probably take this down the day I'll find his actual TEDx video.



(UPDATE: I found it! Canvas.ph has gracefully uploaded the TEDx video on Youtube. Thanks guys! You're awesome, as always)



A lot of blogs and write-ups say that he wasn't there during the event, but I can bet my two front teeth that I saw him sitting in the audience with the nametag 'Diliman Republic'. His brand of humor is really one-of-a-kind. Good job, you.


JR's TED Prize wish: Use art to turn the world inside out
TED2011, filmed Mar 2011, posted Mar 2011


The third and last session was started with a video by 2011 TED Prize Winner JR and how his group’s graffiti turned the society inside out. The message was clear: art isn’t meant to change the world, but it can.

Mr Roby Alampay, a recent TOYM awardee, entered the stage next with one idea in mind. He argues, and he argues well, that we should use our sense of freedom as our competitive advantage amidst the economic stability of our Southeast Asian neighbors.

I can relate to his idea because I have been working with Southeast Asian counterparts when I was still handling a WHO-funded ASEAN-centered project, and I can say that aside from our almost perfect English, our country has little to brag. Singapore and Malaysia have the most research funds, Thailand has the most international research linkages, and Indonesia yields great economic influence as the only Southeast Asian member of G20. What does the Philippines have? Perhaps the best asset that we have is our sense of freedom.

Sir Jose Tence Ruiz then talked about being accountable in his profession as an artist and curator. As an enthusiast of Stephen Hawking’s writings, he likens human creativity to the universe, where the only thing that matters is in seeing the big picture; such an intelligent guy. I just have to say this, he has an uncanny resemblance to Dr Alberto Romualdez. I apologize for the blurry pictures.



A three-song performance by Noel Cabangon was the last agendum on the programme list, and it’s really amazing how he can write those lyrics with social relevance and transform it into a beautiful melody. Part of the gimmick was a slew of masked painters that made a mural in a little under 10 minutes; such beautiful hands.

TEDxDiliman was short and sweet. Congratulations to the organizers Atty Gigo Alampay and the entire Canvas team. More than the satay served during the cocktails, which I liked best, thank you very much for bringing to Diliman and to Manila those creative ideas worth spreading.


Malcolm Hall Auditorium

TEDxDiliman programme

direk rico gutierrez

direk rico gutierrez

direk rico gutierrez

professor glecy atienza

professor glecy atienza

patricia evangelista

direk aureus solito

nina lim-yuson

nina lim-yuson

nina lim-yuson

fernando sena

fernando sena

fernando sena


roy moore

roy moore

lourd de veyra TEDxDiliman fan art

roberto alampay

roberto alampay

jose tence ruiz

jose tence ruiz

noel cabangon

atty gigo alampay, organizer

atty gigo alampay, organizer