Who would have thought that a single text message found me trekking my way to UP Diliman’s Chocolate Kiss and making my way to Subic with people I’ve never met before.
So when Gang Badoy (teacher, UN MDG consultant, aspiring rockstar) invited me and a few others to help out with some of Rock Ed‘s activities, I said yes to joining the Subic / Olongapo leg with about ten other volunteers. The purpose was to help launch the Olongapo chapter of Rock Ed — with a free street concert a stone throw away from the Free Port.
And this is Gang between the two clowns (short for ‘Pangga’ in Ilonggo which means ‘love’). What a one-of-a-kind woman. If you’ve read The Tipping Point – she’s been regarded as all three types of influencer personae – maven, saleswoman and connector. In the same way that anybody can trace his or her roots to Kevin Bacon, a lot of people I know can trace their roots back to Gang Badoy in six degrees.
I knew Gang because she writes feature articles for SWING, which is now Golf Digest Philippines, one of our publications for HIP. So at about the same time I was doing this last year, I discovered Rock Ed and was fascinated with the spirit of volunteerism and projects on alternative means of education because I used to volunteer for work camps in different parts of the country when when I was in high school. We built a makeshift rip-rap in Cebu, refurbished an elementary school in the nickel mines in Palawan and a latrine thingee in Mindoro.
So the mission for the evening was simple. Help set up the concert stage and distribute white bands to those watching the concert.
The thing with the white bands
The white bands symbolize the advocacy statement of RockEd – No more excuses, Philippines. That whoever wears a white band believes that every citizen is entitled to enjoy the benefits of the state and not be subject to poverty. And to achieve this without the government’s help — that’s why there are volunteers. Fact of the matter is that the NGO blanket in the Philippines is very strong, even with the lack of funding. PBSP for one, is perhaps the best CSR advocate in the country.
I used to be skeptical about advocacies because they don’t achieve tangible things. How do you measure improvement in corruption levels? How do you measure effectivity of programs? True, there are ways to measure them but in the small scheme of things, who is to say that what you did really helped. Who is to say that wearing a white band can make a difference?
The truth is, and I learned this from V for Vendetta, that what makes a man complete is when he believes in an ideal and expresses that ideal vocally so that others will know that he is a man of principle.
Now for some concert pictures:
The Leap of Faith
Perhaps the weirdest thing that happened was when everyone started to form a mosh pit when Kala sang Jeepney.
We kapped the night with our own “benefit concert” which consisted of alcohol and videoke till 5AM. A few hours later we hit the beach to do some drive-by sunbathing and proceeded to the park for a late lunch picnic before making our way home.
Now on the way to the picnic grounds however, we were stopped by this guy ….
… who just seemed to jump out from the air and interrupt our trek.
I dont know what he was doing, but it sure seemed like he was going through the “required” motions most Japanese sentai do on teevee.
And it turns out he was actually real friendly because he let us take his picture. Meet Abba Ranger and the Rock Ed Volunteers! (What lies beneath the mask? Well, I wouldn’t know. He could have undergone a New Jersey rhinoplasty for all I know.)
Photos by Nards