Photo by AC Dimatatac
Image: AC Dimatatac

Until last week, I never really realized the potential of a simple acoustic guitar, a handful of artists, and a burning desire to do more with the existing blessings that you have, towards making the world a better place.

I have long been a supporter of various organizations and their different causes.  But last year was sort of an eye-opener for me when I was fortunate enough to be part of a ‘bearing witness’ trip that Greenpeace organized to the Angat reservoir,  the main source of Manila’s drinking water –a trip that made me realize the country's vulnerability to the worst impacts of climate change.

Since that brief encounter with nature, I’ve been more eager to become a part of the struggle for a green and peaceful future. I wanted to do more, but it seems that my busy schedule wouldn’t allow it to be something that I could do often.

Thankfully, one of the great things about Greenpeace is that they encourage people to seize on a piece of the problem which they already have a passionate knowledge of, and to work as hard as they can on that piece, possibly through means they are already familiar with.  For my part, that meant taking action through my music to make people become more aware of and involved in environmental issues and problems.  That is why I joined Greenpeace's  call to action against climate change with the recording of an all-star version of Noel Cabangon’s anti-climate change anthem, Umuulan sa Tag-araw.

I became inspired to do even more, so I broached the idea with some folks at the Greenpeace office about performing to raise funds for the organization.  I don’t usually do these sorts of things, so I just thought maybe I’d play like a street performer and perhaps organize it for a particular evening.

I started practicing my favourite songs on an acoustic guitar during road trips that I had in my schedule of band gigs.

A week before the planned evening, I created a Facebook event and invited people.  And, after a long absence on Twitter, I tweeted invitations to my performance.

Paolo, the owner of Tomato Kick, which was the venue of the gig, suggested other artists that could perform.  I thought that would be great, I was to be joined by other acts!

At the night of the gig, I went to the venue early to do sound check. By the time the gig started, I was surprised with the support that I got from my family and friends.  For a Monday evening, the turnout was quite good!  My fellow performers, Reese & Vica, DeathToPuberty, and Arko, all turned in solid performances and connected well with the crowd.

I would like to believe that my set was well received, and by the time we finished performing, we were able to raise almost 5,000 pesos towards Greenpeace’s campaigns.

I’d like to look back on that night as the start of something that I hope to do more often.  It was meaningful for me because it goes beyond just performing a set of songs, which I already regularly do (although in a different capacity and with a group).  But what makes it extra special is the fact that we did it so that an organization that works for a better world is given an opportunity to secure resources that would help them in continuing to roll-out the work that they are doing.  Greenpeace is funded by individuals like you and me, refusing corporate or government funding so that it can preserve its independence and take actions and measures that others don’t, won’t or can’t venture into, in protecting Mother Earth.

In my opinion this is the beginning of something that I can do with friends and others in the music industry.  So this is not the end, but just the beginning of something exciting for me and my continuing journeys with Greenpeace...