Climate change, a global pandemic, and the downfall of democracy—such are the realities of our present. And for many people, this is a story whose next chapter they no longer want to read. However, for some, there is light at the end of the tunnel. While the beginning of this book may have been dark, the next chapters will surely be brighter and better. These are the voices that OUTLIVE 2021: Reimagining a Future Worth Living strove to amplify.
OUTLIVE, a three-part event held last May 7, 14, and 21, consisted of informative seminars and panel discussions broadcasted via Zoom and Facebook Live. With a carefully curated selection of industry experts as speakers, EXCEL2022 dared the youth to outlive the intimidating state of the present and write a new, invigorating future.
Making a change
With the theme Sustainability in the Industry Field, OUTLIVE’s first day featured a talk fromElmer Relente. Relente is the founder of Anpilo Agri Farm, a 10-hectare agricultural business that not only aims to bring fresh food to Filipinos’ tables but also assists and educates people who want to start farming businesses of their own.
Recounting his business’ journey, Relente shared his essential 5P’s: pangarap (dreams), pag-aaral (education), pagsisikap (perseverance), pagbabahagi (sharing), and pananalangin (prayer), through which Anpilo Farm was able to grow more than 20 times in size compared to its initial 5000 square meter land area.
Building upon Relente’s lecture were Tristan Tano, executive board member for the Student Care Initiative, and Danica Ngo, president of the Junior Entrepreneurs’ Marketing Association. Throughout the discussion, the four panelists stressed the importance of sustainability and the chain of lasting reactions brought about by responsible stewardship of the earth.
Leaving a mark
Preceded by a discussion on sustainable change, OUTLIVE’s second installment tackled how to make these changes long-lasting. The talk was kicked off by Daniela Pedrosa, project head of Project Pulo, a nongovernmental initiative under the TAYO Change Agency which aims to build environmental resilience in Filipino communities.
Pedrosa, as a student herself, wished to remind her fellow Filipino youth that what we do today affects the lives of tomorrow. “The things we do in our everyday lives are the things that set the path for what the future will be like,” she remarked, “When I look back at my life, when I’m 80 years old, I want to have experienced TAYO and Project Pulo living out its entirety in greatness.”
Taking the topic further were Executive Vice President Alex Concepcion of Santugon sa Tawag ng Panahon, and Vice President for External Affairs Hazel Modesto of Alyansang Tapat sa Lasallista. Modesto, the founder of a fundraising initiative called Together We Rice, shared that she seeks to build their organization’s legacy by extending help to impoverished far-flung communities. Concepcion, on the other hand, asserted the importance of giving the youth “the power and motivation to accomplish great things on their own.”
Bridging the gaps
Last but not the least, the final entry in the OUTLIVE 2021 series began with keynote speaker Senator Nancy Binay, who left viewers a message beckoning the youth to maximize their education, bring their unique “spirit of excellence” to the table, offer their best efforts, and take part in changing the world for the better.
The third seminar proper, themed Role of Youth in Nationbuilding and Responsible Governance, was then headed by Samira Gutoc, former assemblywoman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. “I came from a population where people couldn’t even talk like this,” Gutoc shared, pinning her hopes on the youth to fully utilize the power and freedom of speech they are afforded in the present day.
Finally, Gutoc was accompanied by panelists USG President Maegan Ragudo and Deputy Secretary for International Affairs Calvin Almazan from the National Union of Students of the Philippines to close the momentous event with its last panel discussion. “You don’t have to be in a position to help,” Almazan contended, “We participate in rallies on the streets, we participate in calling out on social media.” Ragudo added that the youth has “the biggest responsibility right now, which is to utilize and maximize the knowledge that we have.”
For a future worth living
Looking only at what is happening around us, it becomes easy to believe that the future is nothing but bleak. But OUTLIVE stands to remind us that the world doesn’t have to stay the way it is; that there are changemakers striving to step up the game, and should we all follow their footsteps, there will surely be a way to elevate humanity to levels worth looking forward to. “We are young people with hands, feet, eyes, and ears, and we can,” Gutoc argued, “We can do a lot of things.” With education as our strength, purpose as our energy, and with each other’s assistance as our power-ups, OUTLIVE hoped its participants were able to realize just how capable they are of conquering the challenges of the past, present, and future.