How To Start The New Year

Over the last 14 months, I have truly been blessed by the passion and generosity of people towards the Yellow Boat Project (aka Philippine Funds for Little Kids).

Because of this wonderful experience, I have matured for the better and have made the decision to devote my life on helping low-income communities find their true potential and hopefully develop solutions with them so they can better provide for their families and communities, all this towards achieving the same goal: a better Philippines, a better world.

As many of you already know, we have been invited to share the Yellow Boat Story to TEDxMontpellier on January 20, 2012 (just 12 days away!). And last Thursday, January 5, I got my Schengen Visa from the French Embassy. The only thing I haven’t done yet is to make sure I have the right attire for the cold weather in Paris and Montpellier.

Three key things stood out from last year that made this possible and I’m sharing this with you because it is truly my wish that every Filipino out there can respond to our President’s call to be part of nation-building and it starts with each of us finding our passion in life and getting so ‘hungry’ in turning those passions, those dreams into reality.

1. Make New Friends (Offline and Online)

I know this is pretty obvious but it bears repeating.  While I was working in the corporate world, I had a major disagreement with a colleague who told me friendships and connections can only happen offline.  He was wrong.  Last year, I met Rick Passo, online.  He found out about the Yellow Boat Project and added me on Facebook.  He is really a great connector and has awesome friends from all over the world!  It is to his vision of connecting one change maker to another that led to my invitation to TEDxMontpellier.  Rick has become so integral to the “communications strategy” (there’s really no strategy that’s why this is in quotation) of the Yellow Boat Project in that Our Chief Dreamer in Zamboanga City, Anton Lim and I consider him to be a key partner in this project and it seems he is just meters away from where we live.

NOTE: Up to this day, Rick Passo and I have not met (hopefully in my next US trip) but we always exchange notes and tips on how to help make the world a better place to live in. To you, Rick, a very happy New Year indeed!

2. Make Meaning

People love a good story.  Over the last 14 months, all of us at the Philippine Funds for Little Kids have been busy taking pictures of our projects, taking videos of them, writing and blogging about it, and even sharing it to family members, relatives and friends — just about anyone who would care to listen.  And I realized, that these tiny ripples is not only bringing hope to the communities we are helping but also to other individuals and organizations out there who want to make a difference.  It further made me realize that the Yellow Boat Project today is really a metaphor for the boat-building project in Noah’s time (from the Bible) wherein he was tasked to build a boat to help people and the world and provide HOPE.

Everyday, we should strive to create meaning. It could just be saying ‘good morning’ to the security guard as we enter the building to go to work, just as simple as saying ‘thank you’ to the person who held the elevator for you, or just a simple pat on the back for someone who did a job well done. These tiny habits are ripples that create waves and ultimately, changes everything. That is simply called INFLUENCE.

This year, make your influence POSITIVE.

3. Just do it!

I know bringing about social change or just change for that matter is hard.

It is with discipline and practice everyday that makes everything we do close to perfect.

I remember when I was reading the book Re-Imagine by Tom Peters and his thoughts on execution can be summarized in three ways: Ready, Fire, Aim (instead of Ready, Aim, Fire). Indeed in life, experience is the best teacher. We should just do it everyday and get better at it than focusing too much on the ‘prize’ in that we forget to live.

Here’s to great starts!

Thank you to Magali Dutilleux as well for the invitation to speak in TEDxMontpellier!


  1. Thank you so much Magali! The pleasure is ours and the Yellow Boat Community extends their deep appreciation for the invitation for me to share our story in TEDxMontpellier. It’s one week away! Merci!

  2. Thank You Jay!

    We all look forward to hear from you and the story of this children who need and deserve all our attention and help, from any part of the world!

    See you in Montpellier:-)

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