Five Amazing Years of Secular Humanism in the Philippines

Posted by Alvin John Ballares | Posted on January 4, 2019
HAPI: 5 Years of Amazing Humanism in a capsule

First of all, happy New Year!

This floating pale blue ark we’re on just completed an orbital travel, some 150 million kms. from the surface of the Sun. It’s been a safe 365-day journey humans, we made it!

HAPI is five years now, who would have thought that a secular humanism would even have its genesis here in the Philippines? The Humanist Alliance Philippines, International has over seven thousand online members spread across the archipelago and counting. Thus, telling us that we are growing in numbers, more so secular humanism is not as Greek as it was a few years back. All you need to do is try to deconstruct the word ‘HUMANISM, or try explain it through actual act of goodness without having to please any deity or expecting something in return. Just do GOOD, that’s it.

I need not to romanticize New Year as most religious folks do. I’ll just lay this down as straightforward as possible. This 2019 brings about an opportunity for our organization to show what secular humanism is in the Philippines.  Another opportunity for us to grow. So let’s start first with the ongoing programs and initiatives we’re working on. I’ll squeeze them all in, and use  S.H.A.R.E. (I personally modified this acronym)

Secularism.

Our constitution affirms that this basic law should be inviolable. Our government shall not favor any religion/s. The church should never dip their fingers on our government affairs. But we have the religious sectors meddling with our government affairs since time immemorial. So we want to raise awareness in all means possible.

What have we done so far? HAPI has always been all out of secular humanist causes, guided by reason, informed by evidence, and driven by compassion. So I present this book authored by our very own founder, Marissa Torrres Langseth, “No Outside Intelligence”.

 

An autobiography of Marissa Torres Langseth aka ms M. Her colorful life, full of childhood events that lead to her skepticism, atheism and  humanism.

 

Human Rights. 

HAPI is all for  Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Human rights is one of the foundations of what we are fighting for as a humanist organization. In fact, human rights is one of the main pillars of secular humanism.

In all aspects of life, human rights is to be strived for. Every satient being must know what his rights are regardless of race, color, gender, religion and economic status. It involves a deeper sense of self-worth. To advance human rights, a sense of liberty must be deepened through individual empowerment.

Human rights is never served on a silver platter in spite of the provisions of our Constitution. Unfortunately, we still have to fight for it. The struggle goes on.

HAPI Junior, HAPI’s Youth Arm, took part in the International Human Rights Day celebration. 

International Human Rights Day Symposium

Environmental rights= human rights. That should not be a starnge notion anymore. According to Stockholm declaration:

All human beings have the fundamental right to an environment adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations

Human rights is intimately connected to the environmental issue. HAPI is very much involved in the movement that aims to raise awareness of the effects of climate change and take action as climate change.   Raising awareness is one way that HAPI educates the general public on the importance of environmental stewardship.

So comes HAPI Green Movement. This is HAPI’s Environmental Program that includes clean   up     drives (in Manila, Bacolod, Ormoc, Surigao and Cebu) and tree planting activities. This program also serves as a diving board for our environmental advocacy. We have had nationwide tree planting activities for three straight years that planted over 50,000 seedlings across the archipelago. HAPI Green Movement also conducts lectures on proper waste management, Climate Change, and individual moral responsibility. HAPI believes that humans have the right to healthy ecology. So we aggressively organized Climate Change lectures around the Philippines.

 

HAPI Leyte taking part in tree planting event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young and bold, these Bacolod youngsters making it known that plastic is harmful.

At the General Assembly in Bacolod in October of 2018, HAPI organized and hosted an International Fashion show where the models wore clothing made from trash and recycled materials. This type of event is great for generating excitement about protecting our environment.

The Fashion Show winner flaunting her gown made entirely of recycled plastic sack

This event is featured in a local daily at

http://visayandailystar.com/2018/October/15/people.htm

 

Acts of Goodness.

HAPI PWD in CEBU, this is our newest feeding program based in Consolacion, Cebu. Sponsored by the Torres sisters. For recent story about HAPI PWD, check out this link: https://hapihumanist.org/humanism/hapi-pwd-cool-treat-in-cebu/

HAPI Nutricamp is a HAPI advocacy for proper child nutrition and hygiene in one of the slum areas of Metro Manila. Malnutrition remains as one of the main reasons why children perform poorly in school. HAPI Nutricamp aims to alleviate this problem. We have a regular feeding program in Alabang, Muntinlupa feeding hundreds of kids and with lectures on varied topics such as the Psychology Behind Bullying, Meal Planning and the Importance of Proper Nutrition, Climate Change, etc.

Our most recent effort took place in October of 2018 where HAPI sponsored a Halloween party where the about 200 were able to a good hot nutritious meal, and also organized games and festivities for the children to participate in.

These cuties queued for lunch in Alabang

Here’s one that has been setting its big sail for two years now. This is a HAPI collaboration effort with local volunteers from Bacolod and neighboring cities. Dubbed as the ARK Project, an acronym for  Act of Random Kindness, a gift-giving event usually before the start of classes, somewhere in June and during December holidays. Just recently, before the end of 2018 and to celebrate HAPI’s 5th anniversary, HAPI helped organize the ARK event. What better way to end the year with a big bang than that?

 

 

 

Kids having the best time with Jollibee in HAPI ARK, Year 2
It’s chow time!

Approximately 200 people attended both morning and the afternoon events. Attendees were fed with Jollibee meals, many of them barely have any chance in going to Jollibee. Seventy children from rural Talisay and sixty from Bata community received their gifts. The concept of this event is to give the less-privileged children their needs, usually from tight communities with poor living conditions. We shall continue these acts of good works, but of course we need fundings.

So I suggest that we take this as a responsibility.

Responsibility

There are things that we need to look forward to as an organization. Of course we all have shared goals as a community and we can only make it happen once we make a bold step forward by becoming more involved. We are not just mere spectators, cheerleaders, keyboard warriors, those who watch things happen. We instead, make things happen.  Well, we need money to run things, that’s a fact.You can help sustain our monthly feeding program and other activities with the kids by placing an order at our HAPI Humanist Store. This is a self-supporting effort of HAPI to generate funds so to support our activities and other projects. This may not be enough for now, but we’re looking toward a more self-sufficient organization in the future. Kids Nutrition Campaign receives proceeds from the sale of HAPI merchandise. Also, we need to collect annual membership dues, remember when you signed for this organization? We want change, right? Let’s make this conscious decision to support HAPI and take this as our responsibility.

So what are we looking at? We are looking at a bigger picture this year 2019: Education.

This should be in bold strokes, so here it is:

Education

This year is going to be a year that should zero in  on EDUCATION.  What’s more transformative and impactful than education? I think this is beyond debate already. So this year will be a year that we will finalize the HAPI curriculum, the ARKademy, and the HAPI Talk. All these are education-focused programs/initiatives in line with IHEU’s Regional grants that will focus on EDUCATION.  SHADE is an acronym for our Secular Humanist Advocacy for Development and Education. This is the educational arm of HAPI, a school-based program working with a local partner school to introduce students to the basic concepts of secular humanism, through Science and Logic. We currently have two active HAPI SHADE sites in the Philippines, Cebu and Bacolod. We have plans in expanding  SHADE to Luzon and Mindanao. This also calls for more volunteers.  As your Executive Director, I will go around and will visit all of you. Let’s volt in and make this 2019 big for humanism in the Philippines.

Cheers!

 

Author:

Alvin John Ballares
HAPI Executive Director
Modern Diogenes. Activist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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