Over a hundred students turned a rainy Friday night into a bright and sunny one as they listened to inspiring talks on positivity and kindness in the launch of “The Happinews Project” at the University of the Philippines (UP) Bahay ng Alumni in UP Diliman.
“The Happinews Project,” is a movement that encourages Filipinos to post and share positive stories on social media as a way to counter the bad news and negativity that proliferate online. Currently, over a thousand people have joined the Facebook group of The Happinews Project, which will also go to the University of Santo Tomas and Far Eastern University to spread the good vibes to more people.
Fresh from her London trip, “Happinews” ambassador Gretchen Ho recounted how losing her bag in a foreign land and being locked out of the place she was staying in actually led to good things.
“I lost my belongings but I also witnessed first-hand the kindness of Filipinos who volunteered to help me. Even if what happened to me was bad, there was still a better side to the story,” she said.
Gretchen added that it is “happy news” like this that should circulate more on social media.
“We should share more happy thoughts, happy stories, happy news, in a world that’s full of bad news and conflicts. We need a breath of fresh air. Why don’t we highlight instead these small acts of kindness,” she explained.
In her talk, Dr. Rosel San Pascual of UP pointed out the incivility among people that has made social media an even more toxic place. She said that people should learn how to express disagreements “intelligently, passionately, and respectfully.”
ABS-CBN Creative Communications Management head Robert Labayen, an advertising legend who is the brain behind ABS-CBN’s well-loved Station IDs, also advised the students, who were mostly communication and business majors, to use positive communication when creating a brand.
“It builds a warmer relationship with your audience. If you make them feel good about themselves, they will feel good about you,” he explained.
UP alumnus Miggy Bautista, meanwhile, shared how positivity was key for him in getting through college with flying colors, even as a person with a disability. Gawad Kalinga’s Issa Cuevas-Santos, on the other hand, reminded the students not to put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to making a difference in the world.
“You don’t have to be the superhero every single time. You just have to be the good one. Being good is enough because it inspires others to do good,” she said.
Apart from the inspiring talks, the students also enjoyed fun booths like a freedom wall, photo booth, and games in the event, which was held in partnership with UP Ad Core.
Joshua Ambrosio, president of the student organization, said they were happy to help share an interesting advocacy to the UP community.
“A lot of times when you are in school, you get tunnel vision. You are so focused on what you are doing that you forget to see like other happy stuff outside and your immediate experiences,” he said.
Loudette Tejada, a business administration major, also praised The Happinews Project, which is an initiative of the ABS-CBN Integrated News & Current Affairs.
“It’s good that we are inviting more people to join the Happinews group. I really think it is a good way to engage people to share the happy vibes,” she said.