2 Pinoy in UN Conference

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They raised their voice...and they were heard!


January 13, 2010, 1:48pm


PROUDLY PINOY (from left) Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. represent the country at the CNN/Youtube climate change debate.

The days and weeks after Ondoy were an extraordinary time. Filipinos, rich and poor alike, found themselves working side by side to help those who took the brunt of the typhoon. If it wasn’t packing relief goods, it was helping reunite families through the online community on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

For De La Salle University alumni Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr., the time after Ondoy proved as inspiring as it was challenging.

Rather than be defeated by the challenges, both Garilao and Orioste took it as a sign to do something more concrete with their time – join “Raise Your Voice: the CNN/Youtube debate on Climate Change”.

“A week after Ondoy, Kuya Paul emailed me about ‘Raise Your Voice’, and he told me that it is a good way to help those who were affected by the typhoon,” recalls Orioste. “Back then, I was looking for ways to help out other than packing relief goods.”

“Raise Your Voice” is a partnership between CNN, Youtube, and the Danish government that sought to bring the voice of the common people inside the conference meeting rooms of the world leaders who gathered in Copenhagen during the recently United Nation’s Climate Change Conference.

Over 1,000 participants all over the world submitted views, opinions, and questions for the participants in the said conference, with the Youtube community voting on the two entries “with the strongest voices” to be sent to Copenhagen.

Garilao and Orioste’s six-minute video discussing disaster risk management and alternative energy resources was voted one of the best, along with the entry “Global Warming Project” from Brazil.


The pair had already been fond of uploading videos on Youtube before the competition, but they saw in “Rasie Your Voice” an opportunity to do something more substantial.

“’Yung mga ginagawa naming mga video dati, panay mga kanta lang, mga kalokohan,” says Garilao. “Nung nakita namin ‘yung opportunity na sumali, naging inspiration namin ‘yung mga dumaang typhoon sa Pilipinas. Gusto namin maging productive naman ‘yung mga ginagawa
naming video.”

The six-minute video – entitled “Raise your Voice by Filipino environmental advocates” – would take a week to finish, as Garilao and Orioste were working on different sides of the world. Orioste is taking up Law in San Beda College, while Garilao was in Hawaii preparing to take the examinations to get into the US Navy. The two would e-mail each other clips shot with simple digital cameras from their respective locations, with Orioste editing the whole thing.

The finished product ended up highlighting the three issues that they felt needed the most attention during the climate change conference: disaster preparedness, alternative energy, and green education. It was this focus on specific aspects of the climate change problem that Garilao and Orioste felt gave them the edge over other competitors.

ranting and complaints about why the situation is like it is. They didn’t present solutions and recommendations. So when we got to Denmark, ang sabi nga sa amin ang nagdala was ‘yung message,” says Orioste.

The fact that the two actually had firsthand experience of the effects of climate change didn’t hurt either.

“Kami na rin ‘yung nagdala nung message. Our video came from our personal experience with climate change. Parang Slumdog Millionaire, nasagot niya ‘yung mga tanong kasi he was drawing from his own personal experience,” says Garilao.


Their eight-day stay in Copenhagen – from Dec. 14 to Dec. 21 – would prove to be a fruitful one, as they discovered that the very issues they tackled in their video also took center stage during
the conference.

“We met legislators from Samoa, Kenya, and other developing countries, who said that their countries were going through the same things that we showed in our video,” says Garilao.

Despite the “weak” deal that global leaders reached in Copenhagen – no legally binding agreements were reached to lessen global carbon emissions – the two still look forward to the upcoming climate change conference to be held in Mexico.

“We are still optimistic that the Copenhagen agreements will jumpstart more projects to combat the effects of climate change,” says Garilao. “An agreement is easier said than done, but we hope our global leaders will focus on action plans than just purely negotiating in a convention.”

The two also brought with them new ideas that they hope can also be implemented here in the country.

For instance, the two want the country to take advantage of the Copenhagen Green Fund, which is meant to help developing countries to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate deforestation and forest degradation. Resources taken from the Fund could be used to better prepare for future disasters.

“A close and efficient coordination with different stakeholders during calamities will help reduce the impacts of several typhoons. Since we are good in mobilizing relief efforts during calamities, we should take a leap in mobilizing not just relief efforts but alarm systems even before a natural disaster strikes,” says Orioste.


The Copenhagen trip would also prove to be an exceptional opportunity for them to reach out to countrymen abroad, as the two found themselves warmly welcomed by the Filipino community
in Denmark.

“Pagdating namin dun sinalubong kami ng Filipino community. Nakakatawa kasi dinaan kami kaagad dun sa ‘Little Mermaid’. Nilibot na kami kaagad kasi baka wala na daw kaming oras pagkatapos!” recalls Garilao with a laugh.

“Ang binayaran lang ng CNN is ‘yung airfare saka five days sa hotel, so ang iniisip namin titiisin na lang namin ‘yung gutom. Pero pagdating pa lang namin dun, pagkatapos kaming i-tour, sinabihan kaagad kami na may dinner kami afterwards. May mga arrangement na pala ‘yung Filipino community para sa amin!” adds Orioste.

The Filipino community also gave  them an extra venue to share their own views on the present climate situation.

“Lahat ng ginawa namin doon may katuturan. Pinagasalita kami sa mga church, sa mga organizations, sa mga Christmas party. We shared the video with them,” says Garilao. “Jampacked
talaga ‘yung week na itinigil namin dun.”

This was a far cry from the welcome they had initially been expecting in Denmark.

“Ini-expect namin na magtre-tren papuntang hotel, tapos bahala na, cowboy naman tayo,” Garilao says with a laugh. “Wala naman kasi kaming kakilala. Alam naming may Filipino community sa bawat bansa, pero hindi namin ini-expect ‘yung treatment na iyon para sa amin. Sinabihan pa nga kami kung gusto namin mag-Pasko dun!”

“Sabi namin ‘May pamilya po kami!’” says Orioste.

Now that the boys are back, they say that their experience in Denmark has only strengthened their resolve in their environmental advocacy.

“I’ve always been involved with environmental concerns nung college pa lang. When I was in college, na-instill na sa amin ‘yung clean as you go. Hanggang pagdating dun sa Hawaii, na-instill sa akin ‘yung ganong attutude.

Pumupunta ako sa mga bahay, gina-gather ko ‘yung mga bote nila, in a week I’d have $50 to $60,” says Garilao. “When I was in Denmark, I was able to be more involved in environmental advocacies, and I personally want to pursue a career in in environmental technology.”

“I’ve become more environmentally concerned. Now, I would like to be more knowledgeable about our environmental policies in the Philippines. As we know, we have policies that are weakly implemented, like the Clean Air Act of 1999. I’ve become more open to those things and want to pursue them in the future,” ends Orioste.


2 Filipinos win CNN, YouTube climate video tilt

By David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com | 12/02/2009 8:02 PM

MANILA - Two Filipinos are set to join world leaders at a landmark climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark this month after topping the "Raise Your Voice" video campaign sponsored by CNN, YouTube.com and the Danish government.

The six-minute video created by Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. bested 600 other entries in the online competition. The campaign encouraged individuals to submit user-generated videos about the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference and the winners were chosen via online voting from November 6 to 30.

Aside from the Filipino duo's entry, another entry "Global Warming Project" from Brazil also made the cut.

In an interview, Orioste said he and Garilao will be leaving for Copenhagen on December 13 to attend the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15). He said they will also attend a live debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube, which will be hosted by CNN news anchor Becky Anderson. Their video will also be shown on CNN International News.

Orioste said the victory allowed him and Garilao to voice their concerns about the effect of climate change in the Philippines. He urged government leaders to take a stakeholder approach in disaster preparedness through "close and efficient coordination with both the public and private sectors."

Similarly, Garilao said he hopes to bring back their learnings from the Copenhagen event to teach all stakeholders in the Philippines about the need for disaster preparedness and reduction of carbon emissions to combat climate change.

"We hope to share our learing experience to private sector, government officials and everyone who is interested to learn. We will maximize social media to report everything that happened there," he said.

The effectiveness of online relationships

Garilao said their victory in the "Raise Your Voice" campaign also showed the effectiveness of tapping the Philippine online community. He cited a 2008 Universal McCann study that showed that 83 percent of Filipino Internet users (3 million users) are members of a social network.

"We are the social networking capital of the world. Other countries may be more developed but I think that Filipinos are more active, more participative when using the Internet," he said.

Garilao said their campaign video first appeared in the blogosphere via the Awesome Planet blog of Anton Diaz and the enviromental blog Pinoy Green Academy. "Diaz [alone] has 5,624 subscribers in his Typepad blog, 3,024 Facebook friends and 1,559 Twitter followers - in which a significant portion participated in online voting," he said.

He said a total of 14 bloggers campaigned for their video for the "Raise Your Voice" campaign.

Garilao also tapped social networking site Facebook to spread the word. He said Definitely Filipino, a Facebook group with close to 400,000 members, campaigned for them while more than 600 Facebook users linked to their video and shared steps on how to vote.

He said they also created a Facebook page on the last day of voting and invited users to vote for them.

For microblogging site Twitter, Garilao said he and Orioste got help from columnist Manolo Quezon III who tweeted about the campaign to his 4,548 followers.

He said they also tapped online and offline news media including the Philippine Star, Good News Pilipinas, The Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN Balitang America and abs-cbnNews.com. He said their embedded video on abs-cbnNews.com was watched at least 151 times during the campaign period.

For their offline campaign, he said researcher and community advocate Maria Embry from California helped them by tapping her contacts in the Filipino American community for the campaign. 

Their alma mater De La Salle University-Manila also supported the campaign through the endorsement of DLSU President Br. Armin Luistro FSC. The video was also shown in an environmental seminar in University of Sto. Thomas attended by hundreds of students.   

Offline pull to online push

Garilao said their campaign sought to convert "offline pull" to "online push" by informing the audience how to vote at every instance.

"For example, after ABS-CBN's Balitang America featured us on November 12, we immediately recorded it and uploaded the video on YouTube. Somehow, the video served as campaign material as it highlights the process of voting," he said.

He said their experience also made them realize that tapping social media was not enough to win the campaign.

"We realize that it's not just the social media platforms but the number of relationships in those platforms that spell the difference. We spent zero on this campaign in terms of advertisement. We used a laptop and our own time to mount the campaign and we created a dialogue with the online community," he said




Pinoys Did it Again in CNN/You Tube Copenhagen Debates Contest!  

Date: Tuesday, 01 Dec 2009 23:12

Remember this: Raise The Filipino Voice in Copenhagen
(I'm sharing the official press release from Paul. Congratulations! Thanks to all who voted. :)


A week after Efren Peņaflorida was hailed as the CNN Hero of the Year, two Pinoys again reigned in an online competition when they won the CNN/YouTube Debates contest for climate change. The contest encouraged individuals to send videos with their views, opinions, and questions about the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The online voting took place between November 6 and 30.

According to the YouTube channel designed for the event, the global YouTube community “has voted on the strongest voices to send them to Copenhagen.” The two Pinoys, Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr., will be part of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) and attend the live debate sponsored by CNN and YouTube. CNN News Anchor Becky Anderson will host the live debate that will be participated in by global leaders from 193 countries.

Out of the 600 entries, another entry -- Global Warming Project from Brazil -- also made the cut.

What needs to be done?
With 3,800 views from YouTube, the six-minute amateur documentary film discussed disaster management and the drive to shift to alternative energies. The Pinoys were motivated to join the contest after seeing the effects of Ondoy and Pepeng tragedy. Through this online campaign, the young Pinoys jumpstarted discussions that will serve as a springboard to raise awareness on climate change.

 “We have to beat the climate change buzzer. The Philippines is currently the centerfold of climate change discussions because of super typhoons that recently devastated us. Serving as the Filipino voice in Copenhagen, we will convince the global leaders to include discussions on disaster preparedness program. This will benefit not only the Philippines but also other countries prone to natural disasters,” shared Garilao, a Filipino engineer and freelance journalist based in Hawaii.

Orioste, a freshman law student from San Beda College, furthered, “There should be a stakeholder approach in dealing with disaster preparedness. Instead of becoming reactive, the government should be proactive. A close and efficient coordination with different sectors – both public and private – during calamities will help reduce the impacts of severe typhoons. We should take a leap in mobilizing not just relief efforts but also alarm systems before a natural disaster strikes.”

The two Pinoys also asked the global leaders to discuss ways in reducing carbon emissions that contribute adverse effects to the environment. “The best step is to shift to using clean energy if countries want to reduce their emissions. This is a difficult transition but is the best step to combat climate change.” Samples of clean energy resources include solar panel, wind turbine, and bio-gas.

According to World Research Institute, the cumulative CO2 emission of the US reached 29.3 percent, while the Philippines only accumulated .03 percent. Despite its tiny carbon footprint, the Philippines will be affected as revealed by the contributions of developing countries in terms of carbon emissions.

Garilao and Orioste also called those running for local and national elections to prioritize climate change in their platforms.

Right after the event, the environmental advocates will share their key learning experiences to government officials, environmental organizations, and private sectors.

Bayanihan online
Once again, we have proven the Bayanihan spirit online. The Filipino consumers – wherever they are – massively voted for our video. Based on our count, more than 600 Facebook users linked the video and shared steps on how to vote. At least 12 bloggers also campaigned for the video and shared their thoughts on climate change,” Garilao said.

Those organizations and networks that supported Efren also campaigned for their video. Maria Embry, a community advocate from California, campaigned for both Efren and for this video to the Filipino-American organizations. Spending an average of four hours a day, she rallied votes for both causes. Meanwhile, Definitely Filipino, an online organization with almost 400,000 Facebook members, also campaigned for both advocacies through gathering online votes.

De La Salle University-Manila (DLSU), where the two Pinoys graduated (Animo La Salle!), massively supported the video through the endorsement of DLSU President Br. Armin Luistro FSC, who is also a passionate environmental advocate. The video was also shown in an environmental seminar in University of Sto. Tomas, attended by hundreds of students. Garilao and Orioste encouraged film aficionados to produce user-generated videos that will raise awareness on climate change. A few days before the online voting ended, three video makers from the Philippines also participated.

According to the COP15 channel, those who want to air their voices to the global leaders still have the chance to be part of the live debate. They can upload their comments and/or questions about climate change. Submission is open until December 14.


URGENT: Rebekah and I POWER VOTED for about an hour/technique for fast voting

Monday, November 30, 2009 12:57 AM
"Maria Elizabeth Embry" <maria.embry@sbcglobal.net>, Paul Garilao<xxxx>
Prof Cesar Torres
Hello, Maria and Paul!

This is how my daughter Rebekah and I power voted for your COP15 video at youtube today.

While viewing the video (no need to watch the whole thing) and you see the green hand and red hand, you click on the green hand to vote, immediately click on Paul's photo below or the accompanying title (Filipino environmental advocates...) to reload the video without going out of the same web page or without having to refresh the page. 

As soon as the smokestack appears on the video, the hand becomes green again so just click on it right away then go back and click on Paul's photo again to reload the video so you can click on the green hand again. 
Do this over and over again.

It's so fast, Rebekah averaged about 30 clicks/votes per minute while I did about 15-16 per minute so we delivered over 1,000 votes  today your COP15 video more than what we've done previously so I hope
this helps.

Good luck and hope you guys win!


Loreto and Rebekah Quevedo Dimaandal
Silicon Valley in No. CA

Raise your voice

Tuesday, November 24, 2009 8:10 PM

I received an email from Paul Darwynn Garilao, an environmental advocate, regarding his video for “Raise your Voice”. Raise your Voice is a campaign to increase awareness on climate change. It is a collaboration between the Government of Denmark and Google/YouTube. The United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009, also known as COP15, will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark this coming December.

Like the support you accorded to Efren Penaflorida and me (on my entry to the Guggenheim Museum), let us throw our same support to Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. Once again, let us bring out our bayanihan spirit. Let us bring out our country, The Philippines, to the world.

As an old high school classmate of mine would always say...sama sama tayo sa tagumpay.

Jun Raymundo

here is the link to “Raise your Voice”


click “Vote”

search videos per country

click the green thumbs up

and spread the word, too.

[Worldwide-Filipino-Alliance] Re: Paul Garilao & Alfonso Orioste in UN Copenhagen Conference

Monday, December 7, 2009 10:00 AM

From: Paul Darwynn Garilao <xxxx>
Subject: Re: Fw: 2 Filipinos to participate in the Copenhagen U.N. Climate Change Conference 12/2009
To: maria.embry@ sbcglobal. net
Cc: "alfonso orioste" <fxxxx>
Date: Monday, December 7, 2009, 8:56 AM

Just want to inform you that I already touched down Manila. We will keep you posted on the events. We had interview with mornings@ANC, TV Patrol, and ABS-CBN Global earlier. 

On Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 6:50 AM, <maria.embry@ sbcglobal. net> wrote:
thxs for sending to me Paul
I will include this to my e-mail to the Phil consulate in Denmark

--- On Mon, 12/7/09, Paul Darwynn Garilao <xxxx> wrote
From: Paul Darwynn Garilao <xxxx>
Subject: Re: Fw: 2 Filipinos to participate in the Copenhagen U.N. Climate Change Conference 12/2009
To: maria.embry@ sbcglobal. net
Date: Monday, December 7, 2009, 8:38 AM

Hello Maria,

I want to share this link to you:

Thank you for asking Ambassador Gaa to acknowledge us. 


Ambassador GAA Congratulates Winners of UN Climate Change Video Competition
December 7, 2009 by DFA-PISU
7 December 2009 - Philippine Ambassador to the United States Willy C. Gaa congratulated two young Filipinos for winning invitations to the United Nations “Raise Your Voice” climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7 to 21.
The six-minute YouTube video created by De La Salle University-Manila graduates Paul Darwynn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste, Jr. bested 600 other entries in the online competition sponsored by You Tube, CNN, and the United Nations.
“I wish to commend Paul Darwyn Garilao and Alfonso Orioste Jr. for their remarkable achievement of securing an opportunity to propose potential solutions to climate change in an international forum,” Ambassador Gaa said.
“This is a testament of Filipino ingenuity and creativity and a source of pride for our country,” he added.
Drawing inspiration from Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng, Garilao and Orioste discussed disaster management systems and the global shift to extensively explore the use of alternative energies.
Their goal is to keep conversation and debate about climate change solutions alive among world leaders and in local communities. END

Please Inform Pres Arroyo Re: UN Copenhagen Conference Winners Are Filipinos

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:03 AM
philambausa@ gmail.com
honolulupc@hawaii. rr.com, paulgarilao xxxx
An Open e-Letter to Ambassador Gaa
Dear Honorable Gaa,

Sir, I respectfully request that Pres. Arroyo be informed of an honor bestowed to our beloved country & people by two young Pinoys who won a competition conducted online on You Tube that will allow them to participate in the UN Conference at Copenhagen on 12/7 to 12/21 2009  which I believe will also be attended by Pres Obama as well as many other heads of states around the world 

I have included in this e-mail, info that was circulated during the campaign to provide further details.

I sent similar e-mail to Consul Leoncio Cardenas of Honolulu yesterday after discussing same w/ Ms Lourdes of his staff. I attempted to call you office, but unable to get thru. I am copying Consul Cardenas to this e-mail

Contact info for Mr. Paul Garilao who is copied to this e-mail:

55 South Papa

Maui, Kahului Hawaii

Tel 1 808 xxxxx

Contact info for:

Alfonso Orioste

639xxxxx ( Manila )

Thank you for your kindness. Apologies for the informality of my communication


Maria Elizabeth Embry

2101 Hamlin Court

Antioch Ca 94509

tel xxxx 

http://filipino- heritage- matters.tripod. com  

Subject: 2 Filipinos to participate in the Copenhagen U.N. Climate Change Conference 12/2009
To: osec@dfa.gov. ph
Date: Sunday, December 6, 2009, 11:53 AM
An Open e-Letter
Allow me to inform you that Mr. Paul Garilao & Mr Alfonso Orioste won the CNN, You Tube contest that awards them an expense paid trip to participate in the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this month.
I am sending this e-mail to you to request that recognition be given to these two deserving young Filipinos. I am also requesting that Pres Arroyo be informed of this matter
I am posting here a news item giving further details
Maria Elizabeth Embry
2101 Hamlin Court
Antioch Ca 94509

Re: UN Copenhagen Conference/ You Tube Winners Are Filipinos

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 11:44 AM
maria.embry@ sbcglobal. net

This is to acknowledge receipt of the file. Thank you.
Honolulu PCG
Cc: paulgarilao  xxxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, December 01, 2009 11:59 AM
Subject: UN Copenhagen Conference/ You Tube Winners Are Filipinos

Dear Lourdes,

kindly to the attention of Consul Cardenas

Please acknowledge receipt.


Maria Elizabeth

An Open e-Letter to the Hon Consul Leoncio Cardenas
Dear Honorable Cardenas,

Sir, I respectfully request that Pres. Arroyo be informed of an honor bestowed to our beloved country & people by two young Pinoys who won a competition conducted online on You Tube that will allow them to participate in the UN Conference at Copenhagen on 12/7 to 12/21 2009  

I discussed this matter informally with Lourdes of your staff via phone call.

I have included in this e-mail info that was circulated during the campaign to provide further details.

Contact info for Mr. Paul Garilao who is copied to this e-mail:

55 South Papa

Maui, Kahului Hawaii

Tel 1 808 xxxxx

Contact info for:

Alfonso Orioste

639xxxxx( Manila )

Thank you for your kindness. Apologies for the informality of my communication


Maria Elizabeth Embry

2101 Hamlin Court

Antioch Ca 94509


http://filipino- heritage- matters.tripod. com



2 Filipinos win in UN-sponsored video tilt

By Alexander Villafania
First Posted 11:59:00 12/03/2009

MANILA, Philippines—After Efren Penaflorida, the Philippines does it again by bagging another online award. This time, it is for an international YouTube video contest on climate change.

The six-minute video entry of Paul Garilao and Alfonso Orioste Jr. is one of the two winning entries for the online contest “Raise Your Voice: Change Climate Change” that was organized by United Nations and news organization CNN.

They bested over 500 videos for the contest that is part of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen on December 7 to 18. They received nearly 4,000 views for their video.

Garilao and Orioste, both graduates of the De La Salle University, will fly to Copenhagen for the two-week discussions to be part of the live debate on December 14 to be hosted by CNN's Becky Anderson.

The debate will be streamed live on CNN.com and on the YouTube channel of the COP15 video contest.

They will also be joined by the second winner of the video contest from Brazil.

In a phone conversation, Garilao, who is in Maui, Hawaii, said the idea for the video came after he saw images of the devastation left by typhoons “Ondoy” and “Pepeng.” Afterwards, he contacted Orioste, who was in Manila, to shoot videos of both the storms' aftermath as well as relief efforts.

“I also took some videos of industrialized areas here in Hawaii, and also took videos while I was in Detroit in the US. Detroit was considered one of the big industrial areas in the US but when I went there, it was like a ghost town,” Garilao said.

Garilao said the purpose of the video was to encourage Filipinos, especially local leaders, to know more about climate change and to create policies on disaster mitigation and preparedness.

Garilao also said he and Orioste are advocating alternative sources of energy to replace the use of fossil fuels, which create greenhouse gases that destroy the ozone layer.

“We also want our candidates for the upcoming elections to put climate change as one of their priorities in their platforms,” he said.

Garilao added that he hopes to be back in the Philippines to share what they will learn during the summit and open discussions with local leaders on environmental issues.


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