Monday, August 23, 2010

They want to make the Philippines look good—for a change

They want to make the Philippines look good—for a change
By Pam Pastor
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Big Shift wants to change the way the world looks at us. Here’s the great part—you can help them make a difference
THERE’S NO question about it—the Internet is very powerful, so the people behind Big Shift Philippines have decided to harness it.

But unlike many people you find online, their goal isn’t fame or a lot of money. What they want to do is change how the world looks at the Philippines.

Big Shift Philippines is the initiative of the students of The One School and some of the school’s founders including Lex Ledesma, Quark Henares and Jowee Alviar and Mon Punzalan of Team Manila.

Lex said, “We believe that the Philippines is often seen in a negative light by people outside of the country. International agencies cover only the calamity, corruption, coup d’etats because that is what gets people to watch their news. Good news is often overlooked and the absolute perfection of our many islands never reaches foreign shores.”

Lex, Quark, Jowee and the students of The One School decided to do something about this negative perception. “One thing that binds us is national pride. We want to do something tangible and get people involved,” Lex said.

They put up Big Shift Philippines (www.bigshift.ph), a website that encourages people to share photos, articles and videos that portray the Philippines and Filipinos in a positive light. Everyone is welcome to contribute.

Lex said, “You can upload a photo, video or article and get others to see or read what you have created yourself.

Go to bigshift.ph and participate.”

Big Shift isn’t just for the eyes of foreigners. “Filipinos even in the Philippines sometimes perceive our nation in a way that is not ideal. People complain and complain yet do little to make a difference. It is not enough to complain in private when nothing is done in public. Big Shift Philippines is an opportunity for anyone to change the public perception.”

Lex and the people behind Big Shift Philippines have high hopes for the project. “We hope to get people involved in making a stand to make things better. In the age of the Internet when communication is so easy, there is no excuse for people not to contribute and share whatever they have seen with others who also want to appreciate beauty.”

The website is just the start. “We want to get whoever wants to get involved. We plan to take this to the schools and give talks so that others can participate. The youth is a great place to start. But anyone, regardless of age, is, of course, welcome.”

Lex believes it’s about time people stopped relying solely on the government. “This endeavor is completely apolitical. We just want people to share. That’s all. Let’s keep the good vibes coming.”

The site will be launched Aug. 12, 6 p.m. at Glorietta 5. The event, part of Manila Design Week, will feature live music from bands including Techy Romantics, Turbo Goth and Nyko Maca.

The launch may be days away but people have already started to contribute to the site. Lex hopes that in the coming days, even more people will participate. “We want people to see that the Philippines is one of the most stunning places in the world and that Filipinos are extraordinary.”

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