PECHA KUCHA @ A Space Manila

When we read the synopsis of this event, we knew it was going to be a lot of fun!

We arrived and the crowd was already in high energy. The room was packed and filled with endless chatter about great business ideas and people networking for big projects that could change the world. Shortly after we arrived, the event starts and the host tells us why we were all gathered together. She then introduces “PechaKucha 20×20”.

The PechaKucha Night (20×20) is a presentation format where presenters show 20 images relating to their business, and discusses each image for 20 seconds. PechaKucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps – just about anything, really.

PechaKucha is a form of gathering that started in Tokyo in 2003. Now, it happens in over 800 cities worldwide. In Manila, PechaKucha has been included in the events of Manila Startup Week, having artists, designers, photographers, and social entrepreneurs as part of the gathering. Among the crowd of brilliant minds, seven were chosen to speak about their ventures. And they all talked about pretty exciting stuff! The theme was “Creative Solutions to Social Problems”.

Because this was informal, there was no program. And the speakers had to draw lots to see who goes first. We could feel the pressure from them as they had to present all their work in a fun and rapid format. The first speaker was none other than the founder of A Space Manila himself, Matt Morrison.

Matt Morrison is the founder of A SPACE, Manila’s cowork central for the innovation community, a global tribe of awesome. A former digital nomad (20 countries and counting), Matt traded a successful career in London’s media industry (working for innovators such as the BBC and Grey Advertising) to pursue intellectual independence as a non-corporate business backer and advocate for ethical, value-creating startups. He set up A SPACE as a space that wasn’t Regus, wasn’t Starbucks, and wasn’t an imported concept without a soul.

Matt’s vision about A Space was enlightened. He says, “life is too short to be lived inside a box. But how can you think out of the box when you are constantly attached to one?”

Photo 4After Matt was Birdie Salva.

Birdie Salva is the founder of Curiosity, a Manila-based design research agency. Birdie came from a Philippine industrial design firm start-up, Inovent Inc. as its business development and user research director, where he built up an expertise in human-centered design. He is also a faculty member in the Ateneo de Manila John Gokongwei School of Management teaching the elective “Managing Innovations.”

Birdie’s vision of pooling together the creative ideas of so many people on human-centered and industrial design comes alive in this presentation.

Next was Karen Kunawicz.

Karen Kunawicz is a Philippine poet, writer, pop culture journalist, comic book editor, producer, and former television show host. She is also the founder of The Jolly Roger Rogers, where she heads a crew of pirates, Stormtroopers, and super heroes, all for a good cause.

Karen adds loads of fun and imagination in pursuing good causes and her passion is contagious.

After Karen, Evan Tan took the stage.

Evan Tan is the Regional Director for Southeast Asia of, and the Administrative Head of The Red Whistle, an organization which aims to spark conversations on HIV and AIDS.

In his organization are HIV advocates who aim to empower and inspire people to come together and help each other in the battle against HIV and AIDS. Using pop culture as a way to change mindsets, they hope to start discussions among the youth so that they will sound the alarm and spread the word that HIV is here — and that it must be stopped.

The Red Whistle is a collaborative platform for artists/individuals/groups to come together and show their support against HIV and AIDS. They are also an agent and partner for brands to show their support to the HIV and AIDS advocacy.

Not only do they spread HIV and AIDS awareness, but they also raise funds to assist their partner HIV organization so they can provide free testing, counseling, and financial support to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who need it.

The next speaker was Arnold Arre.

Arnold Arre is a renowned and multi-awarded artist, animator, and graphic novelist in the Philippines. He is the author of “The Mythology Class,” “Trip to Tagaytay,” and “Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat” and his animated short “Milkyboy” has been widely recognized in international film festivals

A memorable take-away from Arnold’s talk was a quote he said: “Don’t be replaceable, be remarkable. In anything you do, aim to be remarkable.”

After Arnold’s presentation, up came Kris Bay and Kitty Ureta.

Kristone Bayoneta, or Kris Bay, is a photographer and film maker while Kitty Ureta is a fashion designer. Both use Parkour, a philosophy and training discipline using free-style movement to help street kids get off drugs.

After the power duo, Ms. Clare Amador

For Clare Amador, the real work of nation building begins where human talent intersects with social responsibility. As assistant secretary at the Department of Budget and Management, she is involved in major governance reforms under President Benigno S. Aquino III’s administration, from organization development within the DBM to fund expenditure transparency across the Philippine bureaucracy. She serves as chief of staff to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and supervises the Office of the Secretary and its attached units.

She has worked extensively in the field of public service and development, and was founder of YTRIP, a nonprofit organization for responsible and sustainable tourism in the Philippines. She was also the founding chair of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Development Society, a student organization that empowers the youth toward fruitful public engagement.

Then in comes Bryan McLelland on his “Bambike”.

Bryan Benitez McClelland is a Filipino-American environmental consultant, ecoutourism developer and social entrepreneur. While working on his Masters degree in Environmental Resource Management at the University of Pennsylvania, he became involved with Gawad Kalinga (GK), a community development program based in the Philippines. After helping GK kickstart their green building program, called Green Kalinga, he founded Bamb EcoLogical Technology, Inc. in order to have a platform for his socio-ecological enterprise projects. He works with community members of a GK village in Victoria, Tarlac called Bambuilders. Bambike, a premium bamboo bicycle line, is the flagship brand and product of the company. Bambowtie was conceptualized soon after in order to upcycle the bamboo scraps and off-cuts from the Bambike building process. Most recently he established Bambike’s shop and headquarters in the heart of Manila within the historical city of Intramuros, where he also offers guided ecotours on Bambikes. After 7 years of living and working in the Philippines he is still fueled by an obsession for bamboo and social enterprise development. Bryan’s goals are to promote new green economies with appropriate environmental technologies and create jobs for the people that need them the most.

Last but not the least, was Brian Tenorio.

Tehran-born Filipino-American Brian Tenorio is a Manila/New York-based design manager and strategic communications consultant for international organizations and the corporate and social development sectors (ADB, WHO, the Republic of the Philippines, etc.). He is also CEO and co-founder of Kape Coffee Co, and also retired Shoe Designer.

Truly, we absorbed so much inspiration in one night and we couldn’t be more grateful that we were a part of PechaKucha. What a fantastic end to the Startup Week!

We cannot speak for everyone, but after an event like PechaKucha, it would be ridiculous to not feel the need to start something life-changing not only for yourselves, but for the world. Something impactful. Something helpful. Having said all of that, we realize that this is what their vision is. To empower people to change lives for the better.