Kathleen Largo

I am the world's protégé in global entrepreneurship, marketing, and digital trends.
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This is my entry to the ADB Youth Initiative’s #DearYouth: Innovation Without Borders Video Blog Competition, entitled Youth for Social Media+.

The combination of “Youth for Social” and “Social Media” is fitting. In the Philippines, I feel like the youth have not used the power of social media to its fullest potential (i.e. teleserye shows keep trending on Twitter every night, Facebook groups and pages not maximized). If this attention was focused on far meaningful things, it would cause a good riot in the development world, I’m sure! #youthpriorities

In this entry, I introduced how the Philippines is one of the social media-savvy nations in the world. I also posed a challenge on how the youth can change the way we use social media — through impactful campaigns that have the 3 C’s: Content, Community, and Communication — by sharing my experiences in managing social media campaigns for Haiyan-related efforts in the past year.

Although we still have a long way to go in convincing larger groups and institutions into engaging in social media, I think the challenge has to be accepted by none other than the youth. It will take time to learn and develop the skills but it is not impossible!

So why should the youth use social media? Because the opportunities and possibilities are endless that it would be brainless for us not to at least try. #dearyouth

This entry has won me a job with the ADB Youth Social Media Team! It includes roundtrip tickets, accommodations, conference fees, and exclusive attendance at the 2nd Asian Youth Forum from 30 April to 1 May as well as the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank from 2-5 May, both in Astana, Kazakhstan.

If someone asks me about my taste in music, I don’t think I can give a solid answer. My taste varies according to my mood just like everyone else but I think it changes per life event. The second time I went to Singapore was for a conference and I had to stay with my sister over at far west side which meant longer travel time in the MRT everyday. Having recently uploaded Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto in my iPod defined that trip to be pretty much Chris Martin’s.

Discovering indie for the first time

High school was a definitive moment for me. I think I learned to appreciate rock music then because of the few bands that sprung in campus. Highly influenced by the OPM greats like Parokya Ni EdgarSugarfree, and Moonstar 88, student bands have lots of potential since most of the known bands started when they were in high school too. As part of the student council, I had to tolerate the manufactured noises made from basic percussion and string instruments, not to mention the adolescent’s pubertal voice of the lead vocals. Because they were all pretty much indie at that time, I found it convenient to learn more about other indie rock music out there.

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My favorite indie band was a group from Minneapolis. Gossip Girl, the TV series, led me to Motion City Soundtrack because of that Dan-Serena scene in the beach in Season 2 Episode 1 which really kind of stuck (emotionally). It was an acoustic version of the song “Fell In Love Without You”, one of Motion City Soundtrack’s popular songs which was pretty ironic considering that they were an alt-punk band. Later on, I got a hold of their whole discography and fell in love with(out) them ever since.

What’s your musical score?

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If each part of my life was written in cards and filed in a filing cabinet, I think the drawers would be labeled per artist per album. That time I was going through a breakup? Filed under The Script’s The Script. That time my bestfriend left for the States? Filed under John Mayer’s Continuum. That time I was studying for my toughest exams? Filed under Explosions In The Sky’s How Strange, Innocence. That time I went to a concert alone and absolutely loved it? Filed under Chvrches’ The Bones Of What You Believe. That time I met my soulmate? Filed under Coldplay’s Live 2012. That time I was crazy-for-someone-but-it-didn’t-work-out-and-that-uneventful-concert-was-shamefully-the-last-straw? Filed under OneRepublic’s Native. The ones above are only the ones I can remember because these were the times I felt the strongest emotions I can possibly have—loneliness, sadness, anxiety, excitement, passion. Each part of life is like a scene in a movie. If ever someone’s going to do a film score for mine, I have my list ready!

Living in all generations

Just recently, I helped my dad build his music collection of ’80s to the ’90s. Artists like Simon and GarfunkelBread, The Eagles, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and The Stylistics were not so bad. I also loved the music of Paul McCartney And Wings, George Michael, The Police, and Styx. It was interesting how I can share this with my dad whom I always used to fight with over the car stereo. Maturity really makes us tolerant to music of all genres, the way he must have tolerated my Britney Spears and M2M days from before.

That said, I don’t think I will stick to one genre when I’m listening to music. I’m more certain that I will stick with one album at a time to fully experience the story behind its creation. I have a lot of musician friends who have poured out their heart and soul into releasing their EPs, and I could never imagine how that feels like. The least thing I can do for them is to listen, rave and/or rant, promote, and simply just write about them.

Score independently: a suggestion

One thing I realized though after all these musings is how a pattern actually exists when I discover new artists and new music. As a visual learner, I prefer watching movies and TV shows and reading books. I’m getting good with my listening skills but I think I’m still a casual music lover. So how do I choose which music to listen to? TV soundtracks almost always does it for me. The soundtracks of Grey’s Anatomy and Girls (HBO) are one of the best ones. When I hear a good song in the background, I google the song title and artist and head on over to download their songs. When good music accompanies something that I’m seeing, then it definitely completes the sense experience and therefore, it’s worth an ear.

Indie artists should definitely consider selling rights to their music to the film and showbiz industry. Sure we have a lot of national singing contests on TV and our local films almost always get their title off the lyrics of a song, but the point is creating a different experience for the potential fan. I like discovering artists on my own because it gives me a sense of ownership and credibility. The problem lies in the hipster mentality that all indie bands prefer to keep. That or how production houses and record groups see film scores as a supplement more than a complement to the whole movie experience.

Otherwise, music festivals are always an option.

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Coachella, GlastonburyLaneway, Malasimbo, Wanderland, you name it. I recommend watching the Japanese film “Beck” if you want to know what it’s like to be in a music festival — minus the alcohol and the cigarettes plus the mud and shortchanged vocals. Music festivals altered the way I approach music now. It has definitely allowed me to grow and become a better person, if only by the judgments I make. Having limited tastes in music is overrated! I think it should be perfectly fine if you appreciate quite a number of genres because people shouldn’t be allowed to judge you based on it anyway. (Yes, I am friends with a lot of Beliebers and One Directioners. That doesn’t make me a bad person!)

Go to a concert alone. Check!

St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore 2014 was the first concert I went to on my own. I just won tickets a couple of days before so I didn’t really care if I got to catch most of the bands or not.

Out of all the bands who played, I like Chvrches, Daughter, XXYYXX, and Haim the best. I was only able to catch the last two shows (Chvrches and James Blake) which weren’t as bad as I imagined, considering that I was carrying a backpack with a beer in hand and a pack of nuts in the other, tapping my head to the beat. What an experience.

Standing beside me in the photo is Pam. We used to go to the same high school and apparently, was on the same flight going to Singapore. I came primarily for the ASEANpreneurs Youth Leaders Exchange while she came for Laneway and to celebrate CNY most likely. Glad to see a familiar face despite the solo act!

I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is a temporary condition.
Mike Todd

What better way to start my year than to finally self-publish a book? Well of course, it doesn’t come immediately but I need to train for it!

Last year I told myself at the beginning of 2013 that I would publish my own book. I had a working title! But then I realized that nobody wants to read a self-help book or an autobiography. I was a feature writer and not a novelist so my chances of finishing it was very small. Now, I think I’ve gained more knowledge about the real challenges and will start the habit of writing this year. However, I’m not counting on the possibility to publish it this year. Tentative date would be in 2015.

While all of us wait, join me and a thousand other people (led by Jeff Goins) as we embark on this 31-day challenge of writing 500 words a day.

My 500 Words Plan

1. Commit to the plan.

Blogged and tweeted! I have also joined the group of writers on Facebook.

2. Set some goals.

  • Get into the habit of writing.
  • Develop my own writing voice.
  • Gain followers and readers.
  • Friends to give unsolicited criticism and advice.
  • Tell more about my city.

3. Get up an hour early.

Out of bed by 6 AM.

4. Learn to free-write.

Free-writing is writing without worrying about editing or punctuation or anything.” I will definitely struggle with this.

5. Write about the most important day of your life.

The goal here is to paint the scene in the reader’s mind. Ex. graduation, becoming a mother, getting diagnosed for appendicitis.

6. Tell someone else’s story.

If I lack things to say or feel unimportant, I’ll just think about someone else and decide if he/she is worth 500 words. Otherwise, I’ll probably rewrite an ending to a popular novel.

7. Write a letter to your kids (or your younger self).

Basically a rant, I will write something with the reader in mind. Advice, regrets, gratitude — these will be some of the more common themes.

The rules

  • Write 500 words per day, every day for 31 days during the month of January.
  • You can write more if you want, but 500 words is the minimum.
  • Don’t edit. Just write.
  • If you miss a day, pick up where you left off. Don’t make up for lost days.
  • Encourage, don’t criticize (unless explicitly invited to do so).
  • Blogging counts, but email does not.
  • All of this is totally free.

I’ve learned that it isn’t so much about what we want in our lives that makes us happier. What makes us smile and laugh everyday depends on our pursuit of relieving pain and getting by without it. Katniss was right to choose the boy she can’t survive without because the same goes for trying to make this life bearable — make choices that give you the least pain.

2013 has been challenging but equally interesting. Towards the end of 2012, I had a lot on my plate and decided that the coming year will be full of big things. I told myself that I would be open and more objective, keeping to mind the unknown future that lay ahead.

I had a few things to guide me as I survived the past 365 days of 2013 full of events, milestones, life-changing news, and people. I can (sort of) guarantee that if you do the same, it will make each day bearable. Turn your unremarkable days to extraordinary ones, only if you accept that your life isn’t made out to be the most ideal one.

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Some victims lost their family members. Most victims lost their homes. If there is one thing that supertyphoon #Haiyan cannot take away; it’s the resiliency of the Filipino people.

Show your support in uplifting the spirits of every Filipino affected by the storm. ASEANpreneurs Philippines is selling T-shirts for a cause for only SGD 25.00*. All proceeds will go to the devastated communities in Cebu, Palawan, and Iloilo.

In 7 days, help us reach our target number of 100 orders by reserving shirts so that we can get them printed and delivered to you. A successful campaign would mean a faster turnover of cash proceeds to the beneficiaries, resulting to appropriate relief that will lessen risks of communicable diseases due to the poor health of our #Haiyan survivors. To know more about the relief operations, please go to http://www.globalshapers.org/projects/shapeph.

Let us unite and be one in telling the typhoon victims that they are not alone. The whole world is joining them to rise up and overcome this tragedy.

Reserve your shirts online at http://www.slingprint.com/risePHshirts. Campaign ends on November 19.

*exclusive of shipping fees

For the past month, I’ve been crazily joining online contests and raffle draws to win tickets to see OneRepublic LIVE in Manila. I’m a big enough fan to actually do this half my time and if you will look at how many plays my OneRepublic playlist has had, you’ll be surprised.

Imagine my excitement when I found out that I actually won a contest! Don’t get me wrong—I don’t jump in to any contest and join just because. I feel that when someone really wants something so bad, the universe conspires to give it! And so it did for me!

I won two VIP tickets and a meet & greet pass from Spinnr and MCA Music and found out on the concert day itself!

SPINNR is powered by Smart Music and it allows you to

  • stream unlimited music
  • customise a playlist
  • download songs at a discount

Spinnr just launched last week and I’m just so incredibly lucky that I found out about their giveaway. It’s like the Pinoy version of Pandora, an automated music recommendation service and internet radio available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand only. With SPINNR, Smart will be the first to offer in the country a music-streaming subscription service with unlimited access to more than 3 million songs from the catalogs of worldwide music leaders MCA Music, Inc. (internationally known as Universal Music Group, Inc.); and Sony Music Entertainment, through a partnership with local licensee Ivory Music and Video.

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MEET & GREET: OneRepublic

I was so excited! I kept thinking about what I should do when I finally meet them because we were given very clear instructions on what NOT to do. I We got to take the picture at almost 7:30pm and we really had very limited time to chat with them. I stood beside Drew for the photo op and you couldn’t see it, but I was clutching at his waist. NUKS!! Ryan was giving everyone a fistbump and to me that was more than enough. I just felt so lucky to be in the same room with them!

My favorite part (song) during the concert — I can’t decide whether it’s Good Life because the lights were just so amazing, or Feel Again because of Ryan Tedder’s dance moves, or Counting Stars because the crowd’s energy was nuts!!! One thing I can definitely say though is that this concert had all the good stuff—incredible setlist, amazing stage, very talented frontman, and fantastic crowd. Everything was just beyond my expectations!

Thank you SPINNR and SMART for letting me meet my music idols. Like any music lover, I went inside to stay put, soak in the sounds, sing the songs along with everybody else, and just enjoy the moment. I basically couldn’t tear my eyes off of the stage for a minute!

Fan In 30 Days

I have an advice for everyone who like a song so much that they think the artist or band behind it is a musical genius. When this particular artist/band is coming to Manila but you’re not sure if you should go because you only know a couple of songs (that changed your life anyway), here are some steps on how to become a fan in 30 days:

1. Buy the band’s or artist’s album on Spinnr PH.

2. Look up their previous concert set lists on Setlist.fm.

3. Create a playlist on Spinnr and pattern it over the most recent and relevant setlist. (e.g. If you’re from Asia, follow the Asian tour setlist rather than European)

4. Look up their song lyrics online and make yourself your own lyrics sheet with all songs in order.

5. Save it on your computer, smartphone, or tablet so you can access it whenever you want, on-the-go or at-home listening to their music.

I’m listening to OneRepublic through Spinnr right now and I just can’t help but relive each song in my head as if the group was there in front of me again, performing. Really a great addition to my list of unforgettable moments this 2013!

Growing up as a child, I received formal education at a co-ed private school in Cubao. It was a Catholic school offering primary and secondary education, yet I transferred after graduating elementary because I qualified in the regional science high school. Back then, all I feared was change. Who were my classmates going to be? What will the lessons be like? Will there be a Religion subject? How will I find new friends? These were petty questions, but back then, it was all I cared about.

I never knew what it was like not to go to school. My parents always told us that education was the only thing they could leave us with. My paternal grandparents didn’t finish grade school, so my father always tells me this whenever I do something bad in school. My maternal grandparents were both teachers, therefore my mother grew up as an achiever and wanted us to be the same. Education had been important to me since the beginning. But I never valued it as much as Wadley did.

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Wadley is the second girl you’ll meet in Girl Rising. She was 7 when she survived the devastation that was the Haiti earthquake. It destroyed her school, but it didn’t stop her from wanting to get an education. I was inspired by her love to study when she stood up to the teacher and said “No” after she was asked to leave. “I will come back every day until I can stay,” Wadley said. It really touched me how a girl her age wants nothing else but to study; to hold a book and read, to grip a pencil and write. I remember a similar enthusiasm with new books and supplies back when I was her age, but it never occurred to me that I can be deprived of them. When expectations meet reality, there’s always something taken for granted.

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Teaching education to children is special. Everybody learns quite differently from each other. Ruksana, an 11-year old girl from India, likes to learn best through drawing. In her story, the best day of her life was when her father bought her a sketchpad and coloring pencils when all she expected was to receive punishment after getting caught doodling in class. It was a very heartwarming scene, soon followed by a reenactment of how Ruksana’s house was demolished. She lives on the pavement.

This was the closest story I could relate to the Philippine context. It affected me to know how families living in slum areas are actually hardworking people who left their villages because they know their children will have better opportunities in the city. A good education and a well-paying job — these are their priorities. It occurred to me how we could prevent these families from leaving their provinces if only we could give a similar quality of education in their area. Decongesting Manila doesn’t translate to relocating informal settlers to the province. I think it starts with developing rural villages, giving incentives to people who move back to their hometowns, and making it sustainable for each family to live.

Girls here in our country are fortunate compared to girls in South Africa or Southern Asia. In these areas, girls are not allowed to go to school. They face hardships like sexual abuse, child slavery, and arranged marriage. In Afghanistan, nobody bothers to record the birth of a girl child.

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Amina (not her real name) was only 11 when she was married to her cousin in exchange of US$ 5000, which her father spent on a car for her older brother. Women in Afghanistan are child brides, widows, daughter-in-laws — they all face scorn and disrespect from their families and society. The writer of Amina’s story, Zarghuna Kargar, bears Amina’s message in her words saying,

"When we seek freedom, we are burned. When we speak the truth, we are stoned. When we go to school, we are bombed, poisoned, shot. Don’t tell me it is simply because it has always been so. I don’t believe in your resignation. I refuse ignorance long ago. Don’t tell me you are on my side. Your silence has already spoken for you. Do not tell me to blame lies in my religion, in my culture, in my traditions."

Amina’s story left me feeling helpless. I do not know how else I can help girls like her. I am currently doing a project that can hopefully enable people to know how to help and where exactly to help. There are existing solutions to some of our country’s problems but the link between them is missing. Hopefully I can change that.

I never knew what it was like not to go to school, but this film changed that for me. Now, I carry with me the stories of other girls who wanted nothing else but to study. To them, not going to school meant child slavery, early marriage, and discrimination in society. To them, education is a treasure—a form of true wealth—that is the brightest solution to their problems. 10x10’s #GirlRising film encouraged me to engage in discussions about education and the girl. Through the film, I was able to see the different plights of girls around the world, particularly those countries that were featured. I quickly realised how lucky I am to be where I am now and to accomplish what I have accomplished. Part of this realization is a responsibility to do something to change the situation, no matter how small. Towards the end of the film, I was convinced that I wanted to be more like these girls—strong-willed, courageous, and determined.

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Girl Rising is a global action campaign for girls’ education. It’s a documentary-drama directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins. The film “spotlights the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change a girl — and the world.” It tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries, written by 9 celebrated writers and narrated by renowned actresses such as Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, and Meryl Streep.

Don’t forget to catch Girl Rising at a film screening nearest you. Currently, Girl Rising can be hosted by individuals, non-profit organizations, schools, and companies. To learn more about how you can bring it to your community, click here.

You can dare to be different. You can break the rules. And while some will scold you for it, others will shower you with outsized reward.