Carren's Pitch

Life by Design

The countdown to May 2010 begins this Monday. For those in Manila, please catch "365 days to change." What you'll find is are not simply tooty-fruity melodies meant to rate, but heartfelt performances in the name of Filipino democracy. Catch performances from Jim Paredes, Juana Change, Bituin Escalante, Yeng Constantino, Radioactive Sago Project, Paul Zialcita, the Philippine All-Stars, and Kjwan.

For more information, check out this link.
Text by: Carren Jao

Dreams are fragile things, easily squelched at the beginning. Perhaps that is why most of us tenderly care for our dreams, hiding them in the corners where no one can see. Precious and deeply personal, we fear setting them free.

Like a mother to her beloved child, we bundle them underneath layers and layers of protection, never wanting them to be hurt. We tell them, “You’re not ready,” when they are aching to be free. We squirm and make excuses to keep quiet, fearing to hear the words, “Nananaginip ka lang (You’re only dreaming),” or “Asa ka pa (You even dare to dream).”

Yet, dreams are more than whispers in the night. They are visions of a possible future. And it is the dreamer who knows this only too well. In his mind, there is hope. In the midst of rampant corruption and broken promises, he raises his hand and sets to work, believing he can make a difference.

On his shoulders lie the problems of a nation. In his hands lie the solutions. Through his eyes, one can see a country finally finding the sun, not only on its flag, but high above the horizon.

Last January 20, the world stood at attention as the United States of America inducted its first African-American President, Barack Obama. Far from being just a man, he has become a symbol of hope and positive change for millions of people around the world. Americans or not, one could not help but be moved by his message. Yes, this dreamer spoke of crisis, but he also spoke of shedding a grievous past in exchange for a renewed future. He said, “On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.”

As we near our own elections in May 2010, what do we say to the dreams yearning to leave our dark corners? Do we scoff at them? Or do we listen and take action? When we are bombarded everyday with stories of corruption and strife, can we risk renewing our belief?

In the same speech, President Obama also said, “In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.” Similarly, the road to Philippine greatness will also be hard-won. Even now, courageous dreamers are being tested.

Youth Vote Philippines (, an alliance of youth-oriented and reform-oriented organizations, are aiming to educate and mobilize approximately 10 million first time voters in the 2010 elections. Plans are set for collaboration with the Philippine Educational Theatre to produce a light comedy on the process of registration and implications of voting. Staying true to its name, Youth Vote Philippines innovatively plans to harness the power of technology to help build involvement in the Filipino youth.

Kaya Natin! (, a movement from Filipinos of different sectors advocates good governance in a time when public office usually connotes corruption. They offer actual examples of good governance at work in the Philippines. Among the many examples they offer is that of Mayor Jesse Robredo, city mayor of Naga City and a Ramon Magsaysay Awardee for Government Service. Even after 16 years of service and a gamut of awards, he continues to champion transparency and accountability to his constituents, going so far as to publish all the city government’s expenses and purchases on the Naga website.

Tired of the same old spiels dominating the airwaves, artists are now taking up the cudgels, defending the democracy of the nation they love. Rallied together by Jim Paredes, Mae Paner, and supported by civil groups for good governance, Artists Revolution ( is creating new songs, new icons for change in the coming May 2010 elections.

Amidst these movements, political parties are once again renewing alliances, or forging new ones, determined to influence Filipino politics. Sly moves for electoral term elections or charter changes slowly materialize from the pages of our dailies.

Old players are once again polishing off their Sunday best. The storm is brewing. New characters are tentatively marking their spots. The clamor for change is rumbling. If you have ever wondered, when is the time to let your dreams free, then I daresay the time for dreaming and doing is now.


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