Garbed in a simple yet dignified outfit, I had no idea that I was talking to recent recipient of Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. BAYANING PILIPINO AWARD. His disarming smile was warm, I felt at ease. I was quite intimidated at first, knowing him to be a famous doctor renowned for his goodwill and advocacy. But later on with our conversation, I felt as if I’ve known Dr. Anton Mari Lim for a long time.
I had no idea he would be in Holiday Inn & Suites, Makati last Sunday, February 23, 2014. I had no idea that I would finally meet him through his partner in BAG943, Josh Mahinay. I went there for an appointment, not knowing that an encounter with him would add greater impact in my life.
Ripple Effect through Rappler
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
As a writer/blogger, reading and browsing the internet have been an integral part of my daily job. Having that quote as my motto, I want change and I want to make a difference even in simple ways. I’ve joined some advocacies worth involving with. I believe that somewhere out there, brave hearts would step out of their comfort zone and stand to make a difference in our nation plagued with indifference.
While surfing the net in August 2013, an article in Rappler “Leaving Los Angeles to Pursue Greener Pastures” (published on August 9) caught my attention. The tide of mixed astonishment and bewilderment engulfed me. Before rationalizing the thought of pursuing an American dream, I finished reading the article. It was like the author threw a pebble and made a ripple effect in the lake of my dreams.
Dr. Anton Mari H. Lim is the coordinator of Tzu Chi Foundation, Zamboanga Liaison Office and the Co- founder/President of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation. He happened to read the Rappler article written by Josh Mahinay, then a returning Overseas Filipino Worker. They both hail from Zamboanga. He made ways in order to reach Josh, decided to tie up with his advocacy; and the rest was history.
“The story of Josh really inspired me. He is an example of what we hope to see in the future from the kids that we are helping in our communities. Sometimes you question if all that you are doing are making sense, or if it is really making any difference, then you have this young kid who overcame poverty through the generosity of other people, and now is giving back to his root is just very inspiring.” ~ Dr. Anton Lim (Alita Hedoquio, “BAG943 Partners with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation”)
The partnership agreement was done during a meeting held on August 21, 2013. The partnership is set to commence with a project already scheduled on November 07, 2013 at a YBH community in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay.
“ To be able to give back to your own community is an honor and a privilege. And to partner with YBH who are led by leaders from the same region makes me even more proud. It’s amazing how in a challenged region, heroes are born.” ~Josh Mahinay (Alita Hedoquio, “BAG943 Partners with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation”)
Ripples of a Yellow Boat
Relating the humble beginnings of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation, Doc Anton mentioned that it just started with one yellow boat. Who would have thought that a boat would yield almost a thousand of boats given to poverty-stricken fisherman in different parts of the Philippine archipelago and even in other parts of the world?
“Yellow Boat of Hope sparked social media interest when co-founder Jay Jaboneta posted on Facebook a video that went viral about school kids from a community in Zamboanga who had to swim to go to school. Generous netizens responded with donations and boats were immediately provided. Now, kids from Layag-Layag don’t have to swim anymore to go to school.” ~Alita Hedoquio, “BAG943 Partners with Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation”
Since then, the generous supporters and volunteers of the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation have been channeling the huge blessings through endeavors of adopting fishermen and empowering them to start a better way of living. YBHF sponsored numerous fishermen in Yolanda-ravaged Tacloban City and other impoverished communities.
Friendly Challenge Accepted
Doc Anton challenged Josh to a race to 100 individual sales for one month. Josh’s team is aiming for 943 bags for #amBAG’s first bag drive in Tacloban on March 15th. He accepted the challenge after a short silence. He said that the true winners of this challenge are the Tacloban kids.
“As the founder of BAG943, I obviously can’t say no to the challenge. Second, it is really challenging to be challenged to sell your own product.
Doc Anton, you are a great friend. But I’ll take this win home.
Good luck to both of us!”
Josh emphasized that it was a fun challenge and yet challenging one. “The Tacloban kids are the true winners of this challenge”, he uttered.
“Whoever will cross the finish line first…IT’S THE SCHOOL KIDS who will win!!! Thanks!” was Doc Anton’s response when I teased him that I believe Josh could bag the laurel of the friendly challenge.
Greater Challenge Accepted
This is his acceptance speech during the Gawad Geny Lopez Jr. Bayaning Pilipino awards night. I asked for the copy for an excerpt. But after reading this, I decided to post the whole thing because there’s nothing I don’t want readers to miss. I was tremendously inspired and blessed.
“Heroes are people who decide to make extraordinary things out of their ordinary lives.
Some of them willingly offer their lives so that others may live with dignity, and free as a people.
Some of them, still live to fight the many challenges of today. But many of them are heroes undiscovered and undeveloped.
Often times we look at a problem and wonder why no one is taking action to make it better, until we realize that we can be the solution.
To everyone in this room, there is a hero inside all of you waiting to be awaken. All it needs is for you to push that I CARE button in your heart!
To all the awardees I am honored to share this stage with tonight, our real task is to live in such a way that we commit even more, to unleash the hero potential of many more Filipinos, because if we are to see a better future for the PHILIPPINES, we need to inspire and be a country of ‘everyday’ heroes.
It is indeed very humbling to accept this award.
I’ll gladly take the joy that comes with it. But the honor and recognition, I want to offer back to God for the privilege of serving Him and his people. To the selfless volunteers in all the advocacies I am lucky to be involved in, especially to the volunteers of ” Kinablangan Funds for Little Kids” TEAM KINSABA, who are here with us today. YOU ARE HEROES IN MY BOOK! My heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your hard work!
To my generous family – who often jokingly makes a comment that “ I am their offering and contribution to humanity and therefore will end up as the poorest in the family!” Thank you for your patience and understanding!
And lastly, to an outstanding volunteer Carol Lim who died of Cancer two days after she completed the nomination process for this award without my knowledge. Carol, this moment is your legacy to me, and the many other future moments that may come after this.
Thank you UGAT foundation for inspiring us to do better by recognizing our small efforts in nation building. Muchisimas Gracias a todos!”
Here’s the testimony from Dr. Anton Mari Lim’s partner and mentoree, Josh Mahinay.
“Doc Anton was among those who reached out to me after Rappler published the article I wrote entitled “Leaving Los Angeles to pursue greener pastures”. Shortly after few phone calls and chats on Facebook, he immediately turned into a mentor and a friend. He invited me to events and connected me to a lot people, which provided BAG943 platforms and venues to share its story and mission.
We hear this being said, “ Lit your self with passion and people will come to watch you burn”. Doc Anton did not just come to watch, he flamed the fire inside me even more.
I learned and I am still learning a lot from him. His work values and discipline is very admirable. He does not speak about humility, he acts out with humility. Integrity is his first teaching to me. Honoring commitments, valuing the time of others, and doing things right and of excellence.
It is rare to find a mentor and a friend who is really committed to invest on your success and the success of what you believe in. To that, I am so blessed and thankful to God. BAG943 has found a power booster in him.”
I couldn’t agree more to what Josh has testified. It’s a humbling experience to have spent quality time sharing and having the words of inspiration and wisdom from this humble servant of God.
“There’s no such thing as accident, this meeting is of divine appointment; same of how I met Josh and be able to work closely with Bag943…You can’t give love unless you’ve experienced it.” ~ Doc Anton Mari H. Lim
To know more about Yellow Boat of Hope and BAG943 kindly visit:
Must read articles:
The Ingenuity of the Filipino Spirit
A Hole in the Roof “Adopts” Fishermen
In These Yolanda-Ravaged Areas, Each Boat has a Story
Here to Help: Why Mitch Albom Decided to Visit PH
The Yellow Boats of Hope
Bag 943 and Yellow Boat Hope Foundation inspiring the youth to pay it forward
© 2014 LAF
Note: Photos credit to Doc Anton Mari Lim & Jay Jaboneta. This blog has a copyright . The photos and articles should not be used, reproduced and manipulated by any means without a written request and consent from the author.