Gauging from the vibe and the reaction of the nearly 200 young Filipinos at the heart of ABS-CBN compound on March 27, one would think that a rock concert was in progress. In truth, ABS-CBN University and TFC, ABS-CBN’s global media network, just launched its first Philippine leg for TFCU Talks entitled “Make Your Mark” at the iconic Dolphy Theater in Quezon City.
TFCU is TFC’s outreach to Filipino college and university students worldwide, primarily through a series of interactive exchange of ideas and discourses. Launched only in November last year, its TFCU Talks through its “Dare to Dream (San Francisco) and “Breaking the Mold” (Los Angeles) events, has since been creating a buzz for successfully gathering young Filipinos who are positively impacting their hometowns in North America and the world:
- Season Four winner of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Racein 2013, Lanai Tabura
- founder of the successful crowdfunded Passion Planner, Angelia Trinidad
- singer-musician-songwriter-recording-artist AJ Rafael
- co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of mydiveo.com Roslynn Cobarrubias and
- celebrity chef Charleen Caabay of Food Network’s “Chopped”
This time, TFCU Talks’ first international event brought together three Filipinos who also made their mark at a young age: adventure journalist Garrett Gee, digital marketer Jonathan Joson and computer engineer and innovator Aisa Mijeno.
ABS-CBN Managing Director for North America Olivia Finina de Jesus said that it’s about time the company takes heed of the rising influence of the next generation of Filipinos. She said: “I think it’s a good time to be Filipino in America because the world is taking notice of Filipino talent in various fields such as business and technology, fashion, food and entertainment. Through TFCU Talks themed events, ‘Dare to Dream’ and ‘Breaking the Mold,’ we aim to inspire young Filipino Americans to be part of the movement of Filipino millennials who dare to pursue big dreams and ultimately succeed, because of their depth of talent, confidence and passion.”
De Jesus added: “Filipino millennials back in the Philippines are also achievers in their own right, so we hope to share the TFCU Talks experience with them and spark that passion by giving them the inspiration so they will be able to turn their dreams into tangible projects and eventually effect meaningful change.”
Conquering the digital world
Leading the lineup of remarkable young Filipinos in TFCU Talks in Manila is tech entrepreneur and adventure journalist Gee of the social media sensation, The Bucket List Family. Gee is a Filipino American who created an app and sold it to Snapchat, earning his millions before reaching the age of 30.
With 54 million dollars in savings, it would have been easy for Gee to cruise through life. But instead, he advised, “Don’t get comfortable. Comfort never was happiness. You can get comfortable for a little bit. That’s when life stops.” He adds, “None of this (success) is going to matter if I can’t take this situation and make something special of it.”
He currently travels the world full-time with his young family of four on a shoestring budget, not even touching his pot money, visiting, and most importantly, promoting local communities. During the talk, Gee also proudly revealed his upcoming project with ABS-CBN International, “Discovering Routes” a digital travel and reality series. He added, “And the great thing about this project is that I’ll get to go back to the Philippines!”
Quantifying our value
For the youngest recipient of the Young Market Masters Award (YMMA), Joson stated that young Filipinos and people in general have to set a bar at a certain point and find a mentor. He summed all his valuable life lessons in five tips: 1. make mistakes; 2. create value; 3. measure everything; and 4. take control.
However, at the end of the day, the Google Philippines Industry Manager for Performance Marketing said that all these won’t mean anything if you don’t show your worth. “It doesn’t matter how good you think you are. It is how you create value for other people, whether it’s a company or the country or the world. You are there to create things. You are there to make things better and that’s how you progress in any career you choose.”
Computer engineer and team lead of the inventors of the SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting Technology) Lamp, Mijeno, knows too well the responsibility that comes with being female in male-dominated industries. She dispelled myths about succeeding in a male-dominated society and said, “The misconception is pursuing your passion. What you need to learn is what you’re good at. When you’re good at something, you tend to love it.” Mijeno’s passion was recognized by no less than former US President Barrack Obama at the 2016 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila.
“Make Your Mark” in Manila was co-presented by ABS-CBN University and TFCU as part of their mission to serve Filipinos through experiences that inspire them to become better versions of themselves. ABS-CBN University Head Gabriel Orendain advised students: “Learn ways of doing things better — this is why ABS-CBN University is in partnership with TFCU to bring the TFCU Talks to Manila.”
Orendain shared: Each person in this company started exactly where you are now — students with a passion for life, learning, adventure, people and the desire to make a possible impact in the lives of other people in different communities.
It doesn’t matter who you are and where you are and what you believe in. Follow your dreams and dedicate your life to a mission bigger than yourself.”
TFCU Talks in Manila brought inspiration to college and post-graduate students, some elected by their universities and colleges, as well as administrative officers, faculty members, student organization representatives and publications staff of the Philippines’ Top 100 schools (http://www.4icu.org/ph) such as Ateneo de Manila University, CEU, Philippine Women’s University, University of Asia and the Pacific, University of the East, and University of the Philippines in Diliman.
Also in attendance are selected high-performing students from the Eugenio Lopez Jr. Center for Media Arts Senior High School at St. Dominic College of Asia (SDCOA). Heeding the advice of the speakers, Alyssa dela Pena of SDCOA followed her heart right there smack at the event and boldly asked for a hug from rock-star speaker Gee who gamely consented. Meantime, Centro Escolar University (CEU) student Airee Palma was lucky enough to be called on stage to try making a SALT lamp herself.
Providing an equally stirring performance to cap the event was Soul Supreme KZ Tandingan.
Watch out for the full version of TFCU Talks in Manila on facebook and TFC digital properties. Filipinos in North America can catch the next TFCU Talks on April 22 in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
(Photos courtesy of Ryan Ramos, ABS-CBN Corporate Communications).