Garbed in a simple yet dignified outfit, I had no idea that I was talking to recent recipient of Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. BAYANING PILIPINO AWARD. His disarming smile was warm, I felt at ease. I was quite intimidated at first, knowing him to be a famous doctor renowned for his goodwill and advocacy. But later on with our conversation, I felt as if I’ve known Dr. Anton Mari Lim for a long time..
so begins a wonderful blog post on my friend Doc Anton Lim of www.yellowboat.org
@curlylaf yes, @docanton is wonderful!
Here is a little of my thoughts on why Doc Anton so richly deserved this prestigious award and your high but well deserved praise: https://www.facebook.com/notes/rick-passo/to-the-screening-committee-of-the-gawad-geny-lopez-bayaning-kasamahan-filipino-a/640582529295007
It is no exaggeration when I state that my life truly changed when I began aware of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation’s existence, http://www.yellowboat.org/
As a former US Peace Corps Volunteer in Mindanao, decades ago, I learned first-hand the historic tensions and interethnic strife and staggering economic inequalities and barriers to opportunities for a large portion of the residents there due to no fault of their own outside of “accidents of birth.” What I saw and what I learned still resonate profoundly with me today.
Indeed, a couple of years ago, on approximately the 30th anniversary of my service of a volunteer in Mindanao, for a variety of factors I was motivated to start my first blog,http://rictandag.tumblr.com/, which I immediately titled: “Peace in Mindanao means Peace Everywhere.” To me, this name is no exaggeration, especially with respect to the extreme southwest corner of Mindanao, in Zamboanga del Sur, which still remains in places in the heart of military struggles and sometimes serves as a region that incubates those such as the Bali bombers, the Oklahoma City bombers and the 911 bombers. Even though my service was in the opposite corner of Mindanao, in Surigao del Sur, this quote aptly summarizes what is important to the future peace of the entire island of Mindanao, indeed the entire nation of the wonderful Republic of the Philippines:
"“Dream of Mindanao of being independent economically will remain an elusive dream if present Mindanao leaders will always forget to empower the poorest of the poor in Mindanao. This is the reason why armed conflict always flourish in the country’s second biggest island because the mass based are always forgotten” - Beverly Del Valle, urban poor leader in Caraga region."
Tears literally streamed from eyes, stemming directly from my heart when I saw the videos of the exchanges of the first Yellow Boats under the vigilant eyes and guardianship of heavily armed members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. While I will not attach any of the related videos here, I am confident that you and your steering committee are quite aware of their existence. Neither will I attempt to replicate the testimony of the innumerable beneficiaries of the wonderful programs of the Yellow Boat Foundation, except to say that the collaboration of Catholics and Buddhists in harmony with the native Muslims really touched my Jewish heart. Profoundly. Deeply. Spiritually. Soulfully. Eternally.
The love, the guidance, the vision, the virtue, the HOPE of what I have witnessed, first via participation in the Zamboanga Funds for Little Kidshttps://www.facebook.com/groups/165167500182101/ facebook group and subsequently as a trusted friend of such incredible patriots and humanitarians as Dr. Anton Lim and Jay Jaboneta and the awe-inspiring community of nation builders that have attracted, built and grown, has beenlifechanging for me. It has been so empowering for me! Words cannot adequately express how spiritually growing it has been for me to be in their graceful presence.
I will not attempt to provide facts or statistics to measure the incredible impact of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. Others can do that much better than me. And, Iam confident that type of information is readily available to the esteemed Steering Committee. What I can and indeed MUST offer is my testimony that, from afar,here in Las Vegas, Nevada, my life has been transformed, completely and literally by my exposure to this humanitarian organization and that my association with thevisionaries and programs associated with this wonderful institution has compelled me to share their message of HOPE widely and deeply across the globe.
I can testify, for example, that my friendship and affiliation with these living angels has afforded me friendships in place like Montpelier, Francehttp://tedxmontpellier.com/intervenant/jay-michael-jaboneta/ and in Lahore, Pakistan,https://lahore.tie.org/speaker/28/jay-jaboneta.
There is NO doubt in my mind that this wonderful organization has exhibited greatness, has inspired greatness, has empowered greatness in a new generation of what are sure to become the best generation of young minds and hearts and spirits in the Philippines. And that its message, vision, and mission will continue to inspire the entire world.
It is not incidental that my primary blog now is entitled Yellow Boat Social Entrepreneurism: empowering school kids and sustaining a community: http://www.scoop.it/t/yellow-boat-social-entrepreneurism It is not incidental that this blog which originally was created by me to record resources for Layag Layag now is almost exclusively focused on projects locally here in Las Vegas and in the United States, but the name of this blog is fundamentallytied to my heart and to my soul remains “Yellow Boat.”
I can attest as one human being how the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation truly has transcended all sorts of boundaries of time, space, ethnicity, religion,geography, demographics, humanity.
See on curlybookworm.wordpress.com