3 things I did in Davao!

October 16, 2014

A & R do Davao!

The internet is full of lists… so here’s another one! Except that mine starts with biodiversity conservation commentary, slowly transitioning into a mildly humorous tale about fist pumps and fairies, and ending with some corny romantic shit.

Still reading? Good! Here are 3 things I did in Davao!


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My first year at Haribon & the 6 accomplishments I’m most proud of.

June 3, 2014


Image designed by Mikeel Araña.

This past year has been one of the most formative and life-changing for me. Exactly one year ago today I moved to Manila and began working for the Haribon Foundation, a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization (or NGO) fighting for environment conservation in the Philippines. It would be my first time leaving the commercial sphere for the non-profit sector. But there were many firsts to follow soon after that.


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Zamboanga City, Birding, and the 9th Philippine Bird Festival

April 7, 2014


War. Religion. Kidnapping. Words unfortunately associated with Zamboanga City after headlines focused on the fighting that had occurred there in September of 2013.


Mangroves. Birds. Diversity. What about these words? Mangroves riddle the seaside landscape of Zamboanga City. Not bullet holes. Birds like Barn swallows perch atop buildings, not snipers. Chabacano, Yakan, Tausug, Bisaya, Tagalog, English, and more are spoken in this 98-baranggay-paradise called “Asia’s Latin City.” A place where the Spaniards left a fort just as old as Manila’s Intramuros in the north, but also a language colorfully created in time by Zamboanga City’s people, making Chabacano, a Spanish-Filipino language, the predominantly spoken language in the city.


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Things Hello Balut loves to do…

February 22, 2014




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Sunday sermon

January 14, 2014

The Black Nazarene in Quiapo.

Last Sunday my friend Leah and I were on a speeding jeepney that sounded like a machine gun on our way to the National Museum. And then we hit traffic. The air stopped rushing in so it sat with us in the mid-afternoon heat, waiting to be carried off again. We inched our way toward Quiapo, a place where just a few days before millions of devotees had converged around a black statue of Jesus Christ. They call it the Black Nazarene. I wondered why millions flocked to see him every year. I entertain the idea that they find comfort in a Jesus who looks like them.


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Hallmark? Nah, Haribon! (And 3 things I learned as a designer)

December 1, 2013

Philippine Eagle nest e-card for Haribon.

Last month I was asked to come up with new designs for “e-cards” in our adopt-a-seedling campaign. It was pretty tough. I’ve never designed Christmas cards before. I’m also more of a graphic designer who works with fonts and colors and not a holiday card illustrator. One of Haribon’s on-going projects is to bring back the forest cover of the Philippines. So this was something I had to see myself through. If I am to work alongside the very people getting their hands dirty planting these trees for the benefit of future generations, why can’t I put in some work to help sustain that?


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Bangon Bohol! (Rise up Bohol!)

October 25, 2013

Before and after: Baclayon Church

On October 15 a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Bohol. The death toll as of the writing of this post has reached just under 200, while some of the Philippines’ oldest stone churches have been severely damaged.


Advertising vs. Advocacy

September 29, 2013

The march toward house of representatives. 500 people strong.

A few months ago I was asked to take photos and video of a march to the house of representatives. It’d be for a coalition of environmental groups fighting for 3 “green bills” in congress. It made me reflect a lot on my transition from corporate or commercial designer to non-profit advocacy designer. I once wished that money grew on trees, but today, I wish more people grew an appreciation for what trees already give us.


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Designing for people and Philippine Eagles.

August 2, 2013

Standing beside Haribon's resident biologist Kevin Artiaga, who also acted as art director for the t-shirts and the infographics.

2 weeks ago my colleague, Haribon’s resident biologist Kevin Artiaga, sent over a job order for 4 posters and a t-shirt design he needed. The posters were going to be infographics used to inform people living in a town that just so happened to have within its domain a sliver of forest belonging to the Philippine’s longest mountain range: the Sierra Madre. But that’s not the only superlative this town has.


My designs at Haribon!

June 20, 2013


I’ve been squeezing a lot of creative buko juice from my brain the past 2 weeks. I’ve never designed with so much Olympic intensity. If there was a design Olympics, i’d get the best medal one can ever have placed around their neck: a platinum-encased diamond battered in gold and deep fried in coconut oil from coconuts Bill Gates himself climbed a tree for.


I’m a Fil-am Fixin’ a Classroom!

June 18, 2013

John and I as the old, suffocating, mosquito screens behind us shiver in fear!

It’s been a crazy two weeks for me here in Metro Manila. As a “Fil-am”, particularly one who was born and raised outside of the Philippines, it’s been a crazy ride. I started my first job here in the Philippines with my first non-profit, had to find a place without knowing anyone locally (and not knowing the language), and lastly, for some reason the universe had notified me that another Fil-am just a few miles (or kilometers) away was doing the exact same thing.


Finally found a new home

June 11, 2013

My new home.

When Haribon notified me that I got the job I immediately did the first thing I usually did back in the US when looking for a place to stay: Craigslist (yup it’s a verb, I “googled it”!) The postings on Manila’s Craigslist though are mainly composed of temporary stays with hourly rates, making the search for a place with a specific monthly rate more difficult.


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