University of the Philippines Los Baños
Thursday, 19 April 2018 18:46

Emerging thought leaders share interconnected ideas at TEDxUPLB



A visual designer who adds color to history; a high school teacher who yearns for more historical content in media as fake news proliferates; a political analyst who recalls the country’s contribution to global diplomacy; and a biologist who teaches the role of DNA in personal and human history.

They came from diverse disciplines, but their respective talks at TEDxUPLB on Apr. 16 at the UP Open University in Los Baños, Laguna found history as a common platform in promoting the understanding and transformation of the Filipino society, culture, and identity.

The four make up half of the eight guest speakers at the independently organized TED event, whose global counterparts have inspired audiences around the world.

“Nowadays, when we talk about our history, we usually imagine it in sepia or monochromatic colors; but we realize that there are more colors to our history that we may not be aware of,” said Ivan Bilugan, visual designer and colorizer at the Filipinas Heritage Library. He has put colors to old historical photographs that are now under the digital archive called Philippine History in Color.

Meanwhile, teacher Marlon Nombrado, a co-founder of Out of the Box Media Literacy Initiative, promoted the culture of reflection in media consumption. “We need to go beyond the mere segregation of facts from fake. With a reflective mindset, we need to ponder and ask the larger questions: Where does this message come from? Who benefits from this? How does this affect you and the world beyond you?” Nombrado urged the people in the audience.

Richard Heydarian, a resident political analyst of GMA Network and a columnist of Manila Bulletin, cited the esteemed careers of foremost Filipino diplomats, Carlos P. Romulo and Salvador P. Lopez, in presenting the country’s share in the existing global liberal international order. “Filipinos were at the very center of the establishment of the existing liberal international order. Notions of human rights and notions of liberty are Filipino values, and these statesmen actually contributed to their mainstreaming on the global level,” Heydarian stated.

UPLB biology professor Jae Rodriguez, who will pursue evolutionary anthropology for his PhD, explained the role of human genetics, particularly the DNA, in tracing the connectedness among groups of people and the humanity. “The DNA is a thread which directly links us to our ancestors. In our DNA is a story; it’s a story about how we are all connected to one another; that despite our differences in physical appearance, philosophy, and political inclinations, deep in our DNA, we are 99.9% identical,” Rodriguez explained.

The other TEDxUPLB speakers, on the other hand, found commonalities in the impact to other people of their professions and causes. Three of them graduated from UPLB - Jiggy Manicad, Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, and Eljay Deldoc.

Manicad, a broadcast journalist at GMA Network, shared the brand of journalism that he practices, which, according to him, is out of love. He recalled the moments when he had to rescue other people in calamities while doing his reportorial tasks, and mentioned turning over his contacts to junior reporters.

Sese, the program leader of the National Space Development Program of the Department of Science and Technology, emphasized the inspirational and universal value of space to all people. He also reiterated that space technology directly and indirectly addresses all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Palanca awardee Deldoc, on the other hand, encouraged the audience to continue the tradition of keeping a notebook and writing in longhand so that they may enjoy their intellectual and emotional rewards; while another speaker, Interior designer Wilhelmina Garcia, shared to the audience how she transforms garbage as home furniture and design materials.

TEDxUPLB was organized by a group of UPLB students, led by Maggie del Valle, MS Development Management and Governance student and a university research associate at the College of Public Affairs and Development. (Mark Jayson E. Gloria)