Thursday, Jun 24

Tzu Chi Environment Talk in Ateneo 2019

October 08, 2019 | Anna Geronimo

Peggy Sy and Judy Lao in the middle surrounded by the students who attended their talk【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

Story Highlights

  • Ateneo De Manila University invited Tzu Chi to be one of the speakers of TALAB or Talakayang Alay sa Bayan, an annual whole day event to encourage discourse between students.


Ateneo de Manila University invited Tzu Chi Philippines to speak in TALAB or Talakayang Alay sa Bayan on October 8, 2019. TALAB is a whole day Alternate Class Program, whose name roughly translates to “discourse for the nation” where students can attend talks that invite open discourse on the different issues of the Philippines.

The talk started at 2:00 pm in the afternoon. Judy Lao opens the talk about Tzu Chi involvement in Tacloban after Typhoon Yolanda; this includes the Cash Relief program, the Livelihood programs, the temporary housing and temporary school projects and the many volunteers and programs of Tzu Chi.


Then Peggy Sy takes center stage and introduces to Ateneo students the Tzu Chi mission vision, and then talk about the effects of climate change. She then gives an inspirational speech on how even small changes in our lifestyle, could drastically help the planet.


Marco Giancarlo Santos, one of the more receptive students commented, “The effects on humans on climate change is much more than I thought it to be. That even when I’m not a guy that thinks I’m contributing to the problems in climate change, I’m actually doing something.  What Tzu Chi taught me is that there is so much that one person can apparently do, how much more with an entire community, an entire school, can contribute just by simple things like choice of food or refusal of the consumption of particular goods.”

When asked if he has heard of Tzu Chi he says, “I’ve actually never heard of Tzu Chi in the first place but to know of its existence, the things that they’ve been doing, I think it’s great that they’ve been able to give one’s time and service and being able to just be with the people and actual interactions with the different communities is amazing. I do plan to volunteer. I mean with my education as an Atenean, it’s always about trying to interact with the community, not just as a means of donations in cash, and other material goods, but being able to give time and just sharing not just my time but my life to other people is amazing. Having heard of this? I would consider it, really.”

Jacqueline Lapira pipes up, “I learned that even if there are a lot of bad things happening in the world, there are still good people. Amazingly, I’ve never heard of Tzu Chi. It’s my first time knowing in TALAB.  It’s quite intriguing that even if you have such a low profile, you helped so many people and that you helped them for such a long span of time which is really amazing. I learned that despite having a different religion, Tzu Chi is open to everyone. You help others with their housing, their livelihood, you also help them spiritually, mentally, and most importantly psychologically like in Yolanda, you inspired them to give donations even if at that time, they have lost everything.”

When asked if she was inspired, she giggled and said, “Very much so, yes, especially with Miss Peggy, with her saying that you can sponsor a student, even if you yourself is still studying”.  

Joan Lee, another students meekly said, “This talk was my first introduction to the organization, otherwise, I’ve never really heard of it. But seeing the whole talk, I saw the extent of everything that was done. What was most interesting about the talk was the principles the foundation has, the sincerity, and its principles. For example, given that it is a Buddhist organization, but it still supports and helps build Catholic churches and has members of different faiths, it really shows the sincerity of the principle of “Great Love” and I found that really inspiring.”

When asked what small thing she would do to help the environment, “One of the interesting things I’ve heard from the talk is that Tzu Chi has a recycling centre. I’m going to look into that. I’d really like to get into Tzu Chi’s projects and like what Miss Peggy said the little things like cutting down meat and the Five R’s (Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink)”

After the talk, Judy Lao and Peggy Sy were awarded certificate of appreciation and gifts. Judy and Peggy then took a picture with the class of students that attended their talk.

  • Peggy Sy reunited with her professor from her days in Ateneo University【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • One of the Ateneo staff introduces the Tzu Chi speakers.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Judy Lao talks about Yolanda and the help Tzu Chi gave to Tacloban.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Students listen and take notes as the talk goes on.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Some of the students are Tzu Chi Youth and they listen to the speakers intently. 【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • One of the students, Marco Giancarlo Santos, asks questions during the talk.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • More students taking notes intently.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】

  • Judy Lao (far right) and Peggy Sy (far left) receive certificates of appreciation from Ateneo.【Photo by Anna Geronimo】