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Building the New World, the GK Way
[Date Created: February 5, 2013]

Dear Patriots and Friends,

The fixation of many on the Mayan prediction of the world ending on December 21, 2012 is for me simply a metaphor for the passing of the old world at war with itself and the birth of a kinder and safer planet that people can build together.

Gawad Kalinga was born out of this desire to bury the old world of greed, corruption, injustice and hopelessness through compassionate self-giving to ease human suffering. Through heroic sacrifice for our country we are building intentional communities for a platform of good citizenship, productivity and sustainable prosperity. We have shown in the last 10 years that we can do it. We need to do more in the next decade.


No prosperous nation was built without sacrifice; GK continues to grow bigger and stronger through the blood, sweat and tears of our everyday heroes, patriots and generous friends. What is significant now is that majority of our caretakers and volunteers are empowered residents of our GK villages. Many beneficiaries are now benefactors.


We honor our daring volunteers who learned to walk on water to save others in 2011’s typhoon Sendong that devastated Iligan and Cagayan De Oro. They are setting a pattern as often the first to arrive in disaster areas for rescue, a dedicated ground team for relief operations and the last to leave to do rehab and relocation work in keeping with the GK spirit of “walang iwanan” (leave no one behind).

The spirit of "Walang Iwanan" reigns in the Bayanihan sa Iligan Village, one year after the devastation of Sendong

Our heroes go to dangerous areas to make them safer, will not abandon the needy who are considered as family. Because of this Gawad Kalinga has become the top-of-mind choice of many big donors like San Miguel, Berjaya, Shell, SM and BDO and also the most popular brand in the country for volunteerism. The global awards this year, notably Skoll and the World Entrepreneurship Forum, attest to the effectiveness of every day heroism in the Philippines on a scale that can inspire other nations as a template for ground-up inclusive development.


In all of this I must commend our Executive Director Luis Oquiñena for his compassionate and competent leadership. Not only is he effective in directing  a big ground force for massive relief and rehab operations nationwide, he continues to  inspire a growing global army of corporate partners, government supporters and committed volunteers to support the nation-building effort.

>> Read more about the ongoing efforts for Typhoon Pablo

The massive relief operations for Typhoon Pablo victims inspired a growing global army of partners and volunteers

While continuing to move with the spirit, he has gained support from a pool of experts, led by an exemplary  Board of Trustees, in strengthening systems and operations to deliver the GK2024 vision to help end poverty for 5 million Filipino families. Of course Issa Cuevas-Santos is a big help in putting in order the backbone for nation-building while both do home-building at the same time for their growing family — 3 kids for Luis and 2 for Issa.   


As we view the landscape this year, GK is gaining greater public recall as a brand of hope starting with former squatters in urban slums, now to calamity victims in vulnerable areas and soon to farmers as we expand our economic platform for countryside development. Radical optimism builds sustainable communities — more than 2,000 GK villages to-date and counting — turns idle men into productive citizens, encourages  graduates of exclusive schools to work with farmers to make the land productive and create jobs in the countryside.


The first (of 24 sites nationwide) GK Enchanted Farm Village University in Angat, Bulacan is attracting convergence for bottom-of-the pyramid wealth creation and rural job generation. The Shell Centre for Social Enterprise Start-ups, Hyundai Centre for Green Innovation, Human Nature’s Wellness and Beauty Centre, LifeBank’s Bayanihan Economics Centre, ODM’s Design Centre, Mitsui’s Agricool Centre and Berjaya’s Culinary Centre will hopefully be ready by June 2013 to cater to two hundred thousand visitors annually. With the entry of  DAR, DENR, DA and LGUs, the stage is nearly ready for an effective public/private partnership that aims to raise five hundred thousand social entrepreneurs to help improve the lives of five million rural farmers.

>> Read more about the GK Enchanted Farm in "A Convergence of Love"


This is coming at a time when the Philippines is gaining the trust of the global community due to the honest and competent leadership of President Noy Aquino and his cabinet, making our economy the fastest growing in Southeast Asia with the most stable stock market and currency. There is a surge of patriotism that is so palpable, encouraging more young Filipinos not to leave the country, engage more in social innovation, create more opportunities at home rather than seek for it abroad, turn unproductive fertile lands into fields of abundance and secure our food source and supply chain for industrialization, produce and patronize excellent local products and trigger a period of Social Artistry for sustainable prosperity and peace.


The GK Enchanted Farm is capturing the global mood for greater solidarity and more effective stewardship of people and planet and attracting a growing stream of foreign interns, starting with hundreds of French changemakers, to discover the treasures of Asia in our GK communities and help achieve prosperity with justice. Europeans, North Americans, Australians and Asians converging in GK villages to teach and to learn, to give and receive the best from one another.

The future of business is in social entrepreneurship, optimizing profit that restores human dignity, protects the environment and builds peace.

At the GK Enchanted Farm Village University a new generation of Filipinos will learn to be better stewards of this rich and beautiful country, to be global citizens who will attract visitors and investors to discover the Philippines as the gateway to Asia and the hub for social entrepreneurs.

>> Read more in "Young People Who are Changing the World"

Starting June 2013, the Enchanted Farm is expected to host annually 200,000 visitors from schools, corporations, government agencies and LGUs, NGOs, foreign interns and tourists to the various camps, corporate team building and family day events, weekend markets, day tours, conventions, seminars, weddings, etc. So much to learn, so much to do — let’s continue to enjoy the journey.


The worst of times bring out the best in us.

Heroes are born with every tragedy.

Sacrifice is the heart of love.

To end poverty the poor must be seen as wealth creators, not objects of charity.

Farmers and blue collar workers will be the new economic heroes of the land, after OFWs and BPO workers.

To achieve social progress, agriculture must be prioritized for food security and sustainable industrialization.

We must support the spirit of social innovation in the young for them to build a better and safer world than this decaying world they have inherited from us.

Through miracles of solidarity, a new world will rise where no one is homeless or hungry, neither an enemy, a victim or a prey.

Our Saviour came into this world as a squatter with a simple carpenter for a father to show us that the masterplan for global prosperity and peace is to build sustainable communities where resources are shared and none is in need (Acts 4:31-35), scant resources are leveraged following the miracle of the 5 loaves and 2 fish (Matthew 14:13-21) and sustainability is achieved following Jesus’ direction to bear fruit that will last (John 15:16).

The dream to build a new world will come true for those who love and those who hope.

Thank you to all who took this faith journey with Gawad Kalinga where hope abounds and the love of Christ is always around.

Tony Meloto

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