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March 24, 2019


“What? Another group?” some people would ask me. “Yes!” I proudly reply. I have a group for most everything I do and love to do.

There is my advocacy on food. Thus, I belong to Slow Food in the Philippines and now I get to talk to people in Slow Food groups in Southeast Asia (Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and hopefully I can again find my coffee friend from Thailand).

There is my advocacy on Gender and Women empowerment which is represented by my friends In AWEN. I represented AWEN for two years and these days I still do when our Chair asks me to. Because of AWEN I get to attend meetings of many groups like the ASEAN Japan Women entrepreneur leadership program (AJWELP) and OECD.

There is the Coffee Group—ASEAN Coffee Federation (ACF)—which was established in 2012 and Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (which I head) is a founding member.

There is the cross between Coffee and Women and it’s called IWCA or International Women’s Coffee Alliance. It is a global organization for women in the coffee value chain. They have tasked me with forming chapters around Southeast Asia. So far we have signed up Indonesia and Myanmar. Soon, hopefully, in Thailand and Malaysia as well.

IWCA leaders and members are supported by the ACF. This was at the recently held Cafe Asia in Singapore.

All these led me to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where I attended my first Steering Committee meeting in the Farm Forest Facility Group of the international body.

In June, Slow Food will again hold its Congress for Councillors who come from all corners of the world. Because I also represent Southeast Asia in this group I have to be in touch with my Slow Food colleagues around the region, as well as the rest of the Slow Food Councilors who represent around 30 other regions of the World.

So, how do I even work you may ask? It is never work for me, anyway. It’s about changing the world in my small way. For the better, I hope.

In the Philippines, of course, I run a 10-Year old business called ECHOstore. It encompasses all my advocacies: sustainable development, women empowerment, and coffee. It also embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals of responsible consumption and production, gender equality, and health and well being.

And because I love Travel and Tourism, I also became part of a group engaged in Sustainable Tourism. Already we have caused to introduce change in small towns like Coron, Davao, and Boracay. There are more small towns coming to be helped.

Am I busy? Or am I fulfilling my dream of changing the world through business and advocacies?

You also can do this if you wish to change the things around you and if you wish to change for the better instead of just sitting it out or waiting for the change to happen.

It takes a whole community to change things, that is why we need to work as groups.

So, ask me again: “What, you are again in another group?”.

Yes, I am. That is the way to change the world.



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