Day Two of the Gawad Kalinga Social Business Summit – “More Social Business, More Sweatiness”


Waking up this morning and seeing the group, it was as if something had settled among us. Personalities that had been clashing previously were now getting along. It seems as if everyone had gotten over that initial barrier of trying to get to know one another and were now more comfortable as a whole group. The connection showed within our group dynamics (also we kinda…sorta got a sleep in, so that probably helped!)

In the morning session of the Social Business Summit I am surprised as to how many important, influential people are involved and passionate about Gawad Kalinga, including Tony del Rosario, General Manager of Coca-Cola in Thailand, Loas and Myanmar.

When these influential leaders take the stage, they talk about contributing in a way that is beyond just writing a cheque, handing it over and calling that ‘help’, the talk about the need for focus on turning Corporate Social Responsibility into Corporate Social Investment – investing in the poor.
My favourite quote of the day came from Mr. del Rosario, he said he is “fuelled by the love for those on the bottom of the pyramid, and the faith he has in them”

Lots of the speakers joke light-heartedly about being “brainwashed” by Tony Meloto. Yet, I think there is a half-truth to this, in a more complex way. It’s more brainwashed in the sense that people who visit the GK Farm and experience it for themselves have their brain switched on, like a light illuminating the darkness. Suddenly people are aware of the injustice surrounding them.

Once again, like so many times before, the electricity in the air is palpable. We walk through the bamboo forrest and find ourselves at a huge stage, identical to one you would see at any large concert back home. There was lights flashing and illuminating the stage and crowd with patterns, as music pumped through the huge speakers. All of this grandeur was due to the fact that we were about to attend a … fashion show!
You would be forgiven for thinking we were at Paris or New York fashion week, so professional was the set up. Yet, we were in the humble Philippines, even better than New York or Paris because we got to sit in the open air, under the night sky, surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Many people walked the runway, from Filipinos to foreigners. All ages ‘strutted their stuff’, from small children dressed in bright fabrics to grey-haired ladies, most of which would never had worn clothing as elegant and beautiful as they did in that moment.

I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face, and as I looked out into the crowd – there was hundreds of faces smiling along with me!

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