TEDxUSC Takes Attendees into the Unknown for Fourth Consecutive Year
Photo by Jhessa Ugdamina
TEDx, an independent offshoot of the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference, returned to the University of San Carlos for its fourth consecutive year last August 19, 2017 at the Michael Richartz Tourism Center in the university’s Talamban Campus. Spearheaded once again by IdeaLab under the direction of Will Perez, this year’s TEDx carried the theme “Into the Unknown”.
To this end, TEDxUSC’s speakers shared their experiences blazing new trails and dealing with unique, unforeseen challenges in their respective fields, from deeply personal anecdotes to stories of perseverance and triumph.
The afternoon’s first speaker, Christian Emmanuel Enriquez, is the president of the Volunteer Youth Leaders for Heath (VYLH) Philippines, as well as the head of training and quality for AZPIRED, Inc. His talk, titled “Purpose: the Medical-Allied Youth”, discussed the marginalization of patients of rare diseases and the declining quality of life those without access to proper medical care are subject to Enriquez’s unknown deal with unfamiliar diseases whose cures or managements have not been found or tested. However, it was as much a lament as it was a call to action. “As young as you are now,” Enriquez said, addressing the audience, “whose battles are you fighting for?”
Following Enriquez was Mike Acebedo Lopez, a BFA-Advertising Arts graduate of USC and former member of the MTRCB during the Arroyo administration — then considered the youngest presidential appointee to a government post. He currently hosts a self-titled talk show, “Open Mike”, on MyTV Philippines. Lopez’s talk, humorously titled “World Domination”, showcased his own personal journey, starting off strong by applying to his eventual government position fresh out of college, taking him to the United Nations and across the world. His central message was one of hope, conveying that anyone could go beyond their own expectations if they only learned to listen to themselves.
Keith Deligero, a filmmaker and one of the driving forces behind the local Binisaya film festival, spoke in tandem with showings of his previous work. Differentiating himself from his contemporaries with an unorthodox style, Deligero proudly displayed not only his early forays into film, but also his passion for the local cinema movement which has flared up in recent years. Deligero’s work includes ISKALAWAGS and Lily in 2013 and 2016, respectively.
The fourth speaker for the event, Marvelous Jorda, lost his eyesight at the age of 12. Despite his blindness, Jorda has since become the president of Disability Included Disaster Risk Reduction (DIDRR) newtwork program, a National Young Parliamentarian on the National Youth Commission, and a member of the board of directors for the Philippine Accessible Disability Services. Perhaps most impressively, Jorda is an accomplished traveler, often embarking on trips alone. “May iba’t-ibang limitasyon mayroon ang bawat tao,” he said, before showing his travels around the world to prove, in his own words, “Ang dating imposible ay nagagawang posible sa panahon natin ngayon.” Aside from his own solutions, Jorda also spoke of his experiences with DIDRR to make communities friendlier for other PWDs — or, as his talk title stated, their ability to live “Beyond All Limits”.
Jorda was succeeded by Vergil Marapoc, manager of USC’s Team Lahutay. As a representative of the school in Shell’s Eco-Marathon competition, Marapoc spoke of his origin as a lowly, insecure member of the team before his own personal climb through the ranks, and his own team’s rise to take third place in 2016’s Eco-Marathon, placing just behind Japan and China. Despite their triumph, he also recounted his team’s loss in the following Eco-Marathon. “We lost because we were overconfident. We underestimated our competitors,” Marapoc recalled, before reigniting his speech with a preview of his team’s new vehicle, Hornet, set to debut at next year’s Eco-Marathon at the Changi Exhibition Center, Singapore. “Wish us luck,” he said, “as we venture into the unknown.”
After Marapoc was another engineer, John Leur Labrador, member of the “Magnificent Nine” team of engineers instrumental in the successful launch of the Philippines’ first microsatellite, DIWATA-1. Labrador’s talk, “The Philippines’ Journey into Space, from the Ground Up”, recapped the government’s decision to buy 30 minutes’ worth of satellite images in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda — costing a whopping 56 million pesos — and his team’s subsequent decision that the Philippines needed its own representative in space. In cooperation with Hokkaido University and Tohoku University in Japan, Labrador and his team successfully launched DIWATA-1, with its successor, DIWATA-2, scheduled to launch in 2018.Despite the time and effort put into this, Labrador confessed that such an undertaking is a trivial pursuit in more developed countries. “My dream is that someday, this type of endeavor would be taken up by Philippine universities across the country working together towards forming a satellite constellation,” he said.
The final speaker for the afternoon, presenting his talk titled “Value of the Unknown”, was Diosdado “Bobot” Codoy, current director of human resources at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel and HR instructor at the University of Cebu, Banilad. His talk centered on his own experience caught between a young boy, his father — a regular guest at their hotel — and the turbulent story of finding him a proper home. Codoy’s story forced him to balance the protocol that he, as a businessman, had to observe, and the compassion demanded of him as a human being. His solution had him look at his situation not only from his own perspectives, but those of a child, a father and his own employees, eventually settling on one that would lose a valued customer but secure a young man’s future. “With this experience,” Codoy said, “I learned that HR has evolved.” Going beyond the scope of his obligation while still bound to its technicalities, Codoy showed that his dedication to human resources and people management goes beyond boundaries.
Intermission acts were provided by Thomas Pua, whose stage magic act centered around mentalism and suggestion, and Benedicto Costaño, who serenaded the audience on his harp to the tune of Elvis Presley.
This year’s TEDxUSC comes on the heels of TEDxLahug last June, but is far from the last TEDx event to be held in Cebu or even within the school this year. Before ending the event, Perez invited the audience to attend TEDxUSC Women, scheduled for November 2017.