November 30 is declared a national holiday in the Philippines to celebrate the heroism of Andres Bonifacio. This year, the date takes on a special significance as the dark clouds of the coronavirus pandemic lend an air of anxiety to countries all over the world. The Philippines is no exception. And in a timely manner, Bonifacio Day was commemorated in a different fashion this year. Thanks to the grassroots movement called Liter of Light, a special tribute was unveiled to honor the new modern-day heroes of 2020 – the Filipino health frontliners who have sacrificed their lives in the fight against Covid.
At the demo site in Rizal Park, Manila, over 3,000 sustainable lamps have been put up by volunteers to form an outline of the Philippine flag. In the countdown to Christmas, the thousands of individual lights making up the image will be rearranged to form equally stunning images of symbolic significance in the global fight against the Covid pandemic.
The Philippine flag is expected to be only the first in a series of glowing tableaux as other groups of volunteers such as doctors have come forward to express their willingness to create their own tableaux using the individually-assembled renewable lights.
Liter of Light is the brainchild of young visionary Illac Diaz who conceptualized the organization as a way of providing affordable, sustainable solar lighting to people with limited or no access to electricity.
The idea was for volunteers to teach marginalized communities how to assemble and use recycled plastic bottles from locally sourced materials to illuminate their homes, businesses, and streets. As a result of the project, carbon emissions have also been reduced substantially. Since its inception, Liter of Light has helped more than 1.5 million individuals in 32 countries worldwide.
Diaz has been selected as the Philippines’ private sector representative to Expo 2020 Dubai as part of its EXPOLIVE ImpactInnovation Program showcasing the work of innovators of global importance. Liter of Light’s grassroots platform operates hubs in 32 countries and has positively impacted the lives of over 1.5 million individuals globally. After the Luneta event, the lights will be distributed to off-grid communities ravaged by typhoons Rolly and Ulysses with the help of partner airline, Air Asia Philippines.
“In the darkness of Covid, stars of hope have emerged. Where there is light, there is always hope and that’s exemplified by our dear Filipino frontliners,” Diaz said.