According to surveys, environmental concern comes in twenty second in the hierarchy of needs. Pero sinasabi ko, napaka-importante ng kalikasan. Kung walang kalikasan, wala tayong kabuhayan – wala tayong buhay. Hindi naman natin sinasabi na maghahanap-kita tayo; sinasabi natin, maghahanap-buhay tayo. Hinahanap mo ang kapakanan at kinabukasan ng anak mo. (But I say, the environment is very important. If there is no environment, we will not have an economy – we will not have life. We do not say we work to live; what we say is we work to live. You work for the sake and for the future of your child.)
What key goal, given the success you have now, that you have to achieve?
It is easy to be overwhelmed by so many issue in the government but you have to pick the low-hanging fruit. I always believe that it is better to swim in a small pond of doables than in a larger lake of probables. To me, the worst form of corruption is the corruption of the ecosystem. Our work done in LLDA, building the first accredited government office building is an example of a low-hanging fruit. It’s something people can see, experience, be inspired by, and ultimately emulate.
What is your favourite quote?
You cannot protect that which you do not value and you cannot value that which you do not understand.
Who is the one person you would like to meet?
The Dalai Lama, also Whang Od – the oldest tattoo artist in Cordillera. (When asked what he would ask them) Nothing really. I just want to be in awe in their presence. I believe that they are our connections to our past, our spirituality. Again, I say this in constancy with the idea of connection.
What inspires you most?
I grew up in Bukidnon, surrounded by the richness of nature. Maybe that is why I believe that I am connected with the Earth.