First ever BIL Conference in the Southeast Asia and Philippines comes to Cebu
Photo by Czarina Gicale
Idea Lab, an organization that frontlines the sharing of ideas in the university, brought the first ever BIL Conference in Southeast Asia and the Philippines here in Cebu last Feb. 11, 2017 at the Pizzeria Michaelangelo, Banilad, Cebu City.
The BIL Conference, heavily inspired by TED Talks, is an “un-conference” where different speakers are invited to share their thoughts about varying topics ranging from art, philosophy, environment, politics, and more. The conference’s uniqueness lies on the involvement of the attendees; active participation from the audience are encouraged by letting them “share their ideas” about the main speaker’s topic after the talks.
With the theme “Sugbuanon Kita,” BIL Philippines was adorned by seven speakers who shared their own experiences and passion for their own advocacies.
The event started with a video of the keynote speaker of BIL 2012 Jimmy Delshad, who was the first Iran native to be elected mayor in the city of Beverly Hills. He talked about launching “The Smart City” wherein he brought 170 diverse technologies that have made a measurable impact on the improvement of the life and safety of the city’s residents.
Afterwards, the first speaker, Jude Gitamondoc, acclaimed songwriter and organizer of VISPOP, enlightened the audience about the relevance and preservation of Cebuano music with his talk entitled “PADAYON BISAYA.” He shared about KADASIG, a crowd-funding campaign for more Cebuano songs to be produced in mainstream media.
The second speaker was Dr. Ernesto Logarta, a writer, speaker on philosophical issues, and a psychic healer. Ernie shared that he has healed several powerful local personalities through psychic and the activation of chakras. He iterated that the most powerful method of healing is through words and prayer.
The third speaker was Jenny Lea Tan, Program Office for Leadership and Citizenship Development of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. With the topic “Urban Development Through Youth Empowerment,” her advocacy on youth development centers on 3Cs: strengthening character, enhancing competence, and promoting citizenship. Jenny expressed that the youth should be encouraged to think creatively, learn through meaningful experiences, and be able to cultivate their passions.
The fourth speaker was Catherine Codilla, a student from University of San Carlos and an environmental advocate. Her talk “Sugbu: Gi-ampingan o Gi-usikan” emphasized on the detrimental environment situation of Cebu City especially with the looming problem with garbage. She stressed that we only have 10 years to save the city from being heavily infested with flies and rats that bring viral diseases, and went on to share three positive solutions to the problem: practicing proper waste management, involving the community, and changing the mindset of the people.
The fifth speaker was Reginald Caturza, an educator who has written for international publishing houses. His talk on “Decongesting the Curriculum, Saving the Students” focused on changing the way students learn in school. He has proposed a curriculum that maximizes the students’ potential to grow by not just merely taking standardized tests but also by personalizing education to fit each student’s capabilities.
The sixth speaker was John Ybanez, a Negros Oriental native who moved to Cebu City to pursue his education in Velez College. He shared his own experience about shifting to a comfortable culture to one that is completely contrasted through his talk entitled “Pakighimamat: Ila-ila Ta Bai!” John said that even if he’s not Cebuano by birth, he will always be Cebuano by heart.
The seventh and final speaker of the conference was Atty. Regal Oliva, City Treasurer of Mandaue City and LGBT rights activist. Oliva shared his experience with gender discrimination in school and at work through his talk, “Law, Tax, and LGBT: The Struggle is Real.” He imparted that gender preference and identification should not be a factor in one’s professional capabilities and that everyone should be treated equally as humans.
After all of the speakers have shared their ideas, two attendees were asked to share their own about the whole event. One of them was Eugene Dadol, an education student from USC and an advocate for quality education. He fully agreed on the sentiments of Mr. Caturza about updating the curriculum of the public schools in the Philippines, and also liked Ms. Codilla’s environmental talk as it triggered his affective domain towards environmental awareness.
The event concluded with closing remarks from Jefferson Ombe, the head organizer of BIL Philippines. He told everyone that the sharing of ideas should not just stop at the end of an event like BIL, but should continue to be a part of our daily lives.