06 Oct

by Kat Altomonte 110157 SA21-Q

Take a quick look at the title. Yes, I know that it’s a terrible pun but I had seriously waited months for this event to happen! If you aren’t familiar with TED or TEDx — read up, buddy:

“Our mission: Spreading ideas.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world.”

Ever since I found out about TED two years ago, I had found myself going to their site to watch a video every time I wanted or needed inspiration. I have heard only the BEST talks over here. Those who speak range from scientists:

To comedians:

To writers:


To absolutely anyone who had already inspired change and innovation:


Those videos are worth watching, pinky swear!

The original TED Conferences only happen twice a year — one in California and the other in Scotland. Both speakers and guests are allowed to attend through an invite and must go through an intense screening process that include essays and interviews. But it doesn’t stop there…entrance tickets cost $6,000. So yes, TED organizers go for the rich geniuses of the world to hear these talks. Immediately, this event becomes one for the prestige and biased against people in society who cannot afford it. There is a bias against the poor and does not give them a chance to set the world on fire with the new ideas that they could have. This scenario does make sense, though, because higher-class people are extremely influential and can make an immediate change in the world.

The TEDx program has the goal to allow other people around to organize a conference, in the TED spirit, for their community. It is to spread inspiration on a local level. Examples of these conferences that had already taken place in the Philippines were TEDxXavierSchool, TEDxManila, TEDxBonifacio, TEDxKatipunan, and most recently TEDxDiliman which happened last September 15, 2012.

I was complete SHOCKED when I received my email of acceptance. opened the application to attend to the public, but only one hundred of those who applied would be able to attend.

“Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that your application to attend TEDxDiliman 2012: The Future has been approved.Because of the extremely high demand (we accepted less than 1 out of every 4 people interested), we need you to confirm that you can attend and will stay for the entire event .”

I was pretty damn proud of receiving that email.

I began to question it, though, during the event itself. Had it been a mistake? In the Malcolm Hall lobby I could see absolutely no one else my age and instead, could count around ten lolos in the room. Dead serious about that.

Malcolm Hall Lobby during registration

I had gone along with a good friend of mine and we decided to use our spare time to mingle and network with the other attendees. The first person I met was seated right behind me. It turns out that she was a student from Ateneo as well! It was her fifth year is BS Bio. We talked about school, the student orgs we worked for, and how we were both big fans of TED. She asked how old I was and when I said I was 17, she said, “Wow, I didn’t know they allowed younger people to attend these talks.”

Thanks ha!

This is what the stage and theatre looked like!

Benjamin dela Pena was the first to speak about urban planning. Teddy Te followed with an amazing talk on law and human rights. Leticia Shahani opened her talk with something like, “It’s unusual for an 83-year-old to give and talk about the future because all we talk about is the past.” Cute! Her slides showed us informational charts dated a couple of decades ago.

After the first 3 speaker, we had our first 30-minute break. This was where I spotted Brian Tenorio, a well known fashion and shoe designer. He noticed how my friend and I were having a hard time mingling with an older crowd and introduced to a few interesting people like Sarah Meier, an MTV VJ and the event organizer, Gigo Alampay. Gigo, at first, was pretty surprised to see us as attendees. After that, he didn’t seem to take an interest in me or my friend and pretty much shrugged us off only after a few seconds into our conversation. He went around the Malcolm Hall lobby to talk to I’m guessing, more important people.

Yet again, thanks ha!

The talk continued with direk Joey Reyes’ rant about social media being a bad thing and photographer Rick Rocamora’s stories though pictures. I got to meet both of the during the second break and they were both very welcoming and friendly.

Carlos Celdran was busy talking to everyone and I waited for at least fifteen minutes before I caught him walking around alone. He is VERY intimidating in person! And thanks to the genius part in me, the first thing I said to him was “YOU RETWEETED ME ONCE!!!” He gave out a hearty laugh after that one. It sounded like how Santa would laugh. Just sharing.

Tony Oposa opened the third session of the event. Wow. He could really connect to the audience! He was both funny and inspiring. He made us recite a pledge saying how we would save our environment for the generations to come. The speaker that followed was Jaemark Tordecilla who would talk about the future of sports. He talked, of course, about basketball — everything I expected and less.

Carlos Celdran ended the event with my favorite talk and the words, “If you can’t find beauty and poetry in Manila, you won’t find it anywhere else.”

I was happy with meeting really interesting people that day: PR and HR heads, artists, photographers, professors, you name it! I loved how such a diverse group of people could come together and interact through a small yet powerful event. I had felt, many times that day, very unimportant compared to the other attendees. It was tough not being taken as seriously as I would’ve wanted to.

I knew, however, that being a part of this crowd was a gave me an edge. I was chosen, amongst the other hundreds of people, to attend this talk for something. The people I had gone to the event with were meant to be leaders of society and were meant to go against the grain. The TED sprit encourages a plan of action and to start something revolutionary. Ironically, some of the older fellows I talked to that day didn’t see me as an important member of society despite the whole “the youth represents the future” ideology.

One only has to remember that society will only keep on pushing you to go along with everyone else. What TEDxDiliman made me realized was that ideas could change the world — they already have and will continue to. TED encourages going against society by spreading your own revolutionary ideas, having a voice and embracing the world with creativity, passion, and enduring optimism.

TEDxDiliman promotional banner

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: