No Image

All of us can be heroes By Valerie Tan (Inquirer)

By Valerie Tan


Last updated 00:19am (Mla time) 07/05/2006

Published on Page C5 of the July 5, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

RECENTLY, I went to a Gawad Kalinga seminar in MTQ. Gawad Kalinga 777 is an organization that aims to provide a solution to poverty in the Philippines by building 700,000 homes in 7,000 communities in seven years. The homes come complete with a school and clinic in each community.

At first, I felt really out of place in the seminar. I was still in my PE uniform and I was probably the only teenager there. My cousin had asked me to come along to keep her company during the seminar; she was required to attend it for her class. She told me that the Englishman who sold all his possessions and came to live in the Philippines, Dylan Wilks, was going to be there.

This man had always made me curious. Why on earth would the ninth richest man in the United Kingdom give up everything he had and live in the Philippines? Let’s face it, I thought, of all the places he could have decided to live in, why did he choose our country?

But first, there was Gawad Kalinga, of which I was really impressed. It had already set up over a thousand houses in different areas of the Philippines, turning slums into beautiful homes. Neighbors helped build each other’s houses, together with GK volunteers. I was so amazed at the genius of it all. Finally, a system that worked, I thought to myself. I had to admit that the concept was so simple that you couldn’t understand why nobody had thought of it sooner. I was impressed, all right, but not inspired.

Alarming passion

Enter Dylan Wilks. Like everything in this talk, he was not what I had expected. I envisioned an old man who was looking for a reasonable cause to blow all his ac(edited)ulated fortune, or at least someone in his 40s who looked like he had burned out.

But no, Wilks was a young, energetic Brit who hadn’t even reached his 30s! I was alarmed at his passion for GK777. I’d assumed someone as young as he would be all fun, fun, fun, or all about success in his life. But here he was, millions of miles away from his hometown, encouraging us to join his cause. He said he had realized there was a difference between pleasure and happiness. Pleasure always needed fuel, you always needed to recharge it, like buying clothes, toys, electronics and whatnot. But happiness, he said, was so much deeper. That was what sparked him to look for organizations around the world that would try to provide a solution to poverty.

It was only in the Philippines, and only with Gawad Kalinga, where he thought people had found a proper solution.

When he returned to the UK, he said, he looked at his brand-new BMW and he felt sick. Just one of the wheels of this car could buy two houses in the Philippines. Wilks sold his car and was able to make 80 houses out of the money.

As I listened to him talk on how amazing the Philippines was, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of guilt. Here I was, a Filipino, standing on Philippine soil and listening to a foreigner say how beautiful my country was. Obviously, something was wrong here. As I sat there, I couldn’t help but think: this is a man with not a drop of Filipino blood in him, and yet he was speaking as if he’d be insulted if he were anything but.


I felt wretched. What kind of a citizen was I to have to be encouraged to help my fellow countrymen by a foreigner? I listened to him talk about my country, my people. I couldn’t help but feel a sting in my eyes as I listened to him speaking with such pride, such love and such passion for Filipinos. A passion which, I was ashamed to admit, I didn’t have.

“Filipinos are very special,” Wilks told us. “They have something very unique about them that makes them stand out.”

When you drop a piece of gold on the ground, he said, after 400 years when you pick it up, you won’t see the gold. You see the dirt. Filipinos are all pieces of gold. But because of all the crises in our lives, when we look at ourselves, all we see is the dirt.

Wilks also told us of this 10-year-old Filipino boy who lived in Texas. He believed in GK777 so much that he thought if he sold his drawings to everyone he met, he would be able to set up a house. The boy was not only able to donate one house, but three, as well as a school.

Well, if he could do it—and all the way from Texas—I could do it.

Gawad Kalinga has inspired me to look for the gold. I want to help rebuild the nation, unite the Filipinos and ultimately rid ourselves of the plague of poverty. Gawad Kalinga has shown me that this is possible. With the spirit of bayanihan by our side, I believe we can rise again. Ninoy Aquino said the Filipino is worth dying for, but he is worth living for as well. As the GK777 motto says, “Every Filipino can be a hero.”

No Image

The Signs of Being a Filipino

Filipinos are always Filipinos. No matter how they try to adapt to their adopted country, the signs of being a true blooded Filipino still persist.

These are signs the you are a Filipino.

No Image

FILIFEST 2006 – A Celebration of Filipino Culture

By: Mel C. Wood
Photos by David Wood

Filipinos in the Wellington region and the South Wairarapa area, gathered together at The Little Theatre in Lower Hutt, to celebrate the 2nd Filipino Festival (Filifest 2006) last April 1, 2006.

Organized by the Wellington International Filipino Society (WIFS) headed by Ms Nilda Campbel, Ms Anita Mansell and Ms May Young, the annual event presented different regions of the Philippine islands, through songs and dances.

No Image

RA 9189 – Overseas Absentee Voting Act

The next election in the Philippines will be in 2007. Overseas Filipinos can once again express their opinions in the governance of the Philippines as granted by Republic Act 9189, the Act known as “The Overseas Absentee Voting Act of 2003”. This law grant citizens of the Philippines, the right to register and vote unless otherwise disqualified by law, who are abroad on the day of elections.

No Image

Filipino Unity In A Foreign Land

Filipinos like all other Asian nationalities in New Zealand are still considered third class citizens. This is the truth whether we will accept it or not. Though New Zealand is considered to be one of the most accommodating country for Asians, we Filipinos still feels a bit of difference particularly in job hunting.

Unless given a job offer before arriving in New Zealand, Filipinos feel the pressure of culture shock and coping up in a higher standards of living. Filipinos tend to land on job they need rather than on the jobs they want.

No Image

GMA Pinoy TV

TNZF has finally received a reply from GMA 7 about our inquiry on having a the GMA Pinoy TV in New Zealand.
Good Day!

Please watch out for GMA Pinoy TV in your area soon!

You may surf through our website to know the latest news and events. Just visit for further information.

Mabuhay ka Kapuso![/quote]

TNZF have made further inquiry with GMA 7 on the details. Watch out for it!!!

No Image

RA 9174 – Balikbayan Benefits and Privileges


This Balikbayan Program is instituted under the administration of the Department of Tourism to attract and encourage overseas Filipinos to come and visit the Philippines in recognition to their contribution to the economy of the country through the foreign exchange inflow and revenues that they generate.

This program includes a kabuhayan shopping privilege allowing tax-exempt purchase of livelihood tools providing the opportunity to avail of the necessary training to enable the balikbayan to become economically self-reliant members of society upon their return to the Philippines. The program likewise showcase competitive and outstanding Filipino-made products.

No Image

Guidelines to Passport Renewal

Passport renewal in a foreign country may be tricky to Filipinos. The New Zealand Filipino provides some guidelines to make the renewal of passport easier.

No Image

Planning to Visit the Philippines

The Philippines has many beautiful places at par with the world’s best. Like may other tourists destinations, knowing the background of the place will make your visit more enjoyable. To make your visit to the Philippines more exciting, here are some tips you need to know.

No Image

RA 9225 – Dual Citizenship Act

Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003, Republic Act No. 9225 declares the policy of the State that all Philippine citizens who become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their Philippine citizenship.

No Image

Filipino Channel For The New Zealand Filipinos

The result of the survey to bring The Filipino Channel in New Zealand is overwhelming. The comments of our Kababayans really suggest that a Filipino Channel really need to be aired in New Zealand. The survey will continue until Tuesday, 18 April 2006. If you have not participated the survey yet or you know of any Kababayan who have not done it, please do so before the end of the survey period.

TNZF have already contacted Ms Cristina Soqueno, Senior Manager of the ABS-CBN Cable and Satellite Operations, Asia-Pacific about the survey. Ms Soqueno have not responded yet probably because of the holidays. Once TNZF receives any confirmation from Ms Soqueno or any ABS-CBN executive, the updates will be posted in this section.

GMA7 Pinoy TV was also mentioned in the comments thus TNZF have likewise made an inquiry on the possibility of airing the GMA 7 Pinoy TV in New Zealand. Updates on this regards will also be posted in this section.

Watch out for any updates!

No Image

Welcome to The New Zealand Filipino

Welcome to The New Zeland Filipino(TNZF), in service to the Filipinos in New Zealand.

TNZF will be featuring information about the Philippine government offices, Filipino Communities, Success Stories, Job Opportunities, Community Forum, Community Photo Galleries, Useful Tips and many others.

Mabuhay ang Filipino!