Typical festivals are like a gourmet restaurant. Money is exchanged for food, but ultimately the chef cooks your meal because it’s their job. Your interest in the restaurant ends once you are full and the chef will keep on making that meal for anyone, regardless of who it is. Think of Burning Man, as potluck. Have you ever spent hours preparing that special dish that was the hit of the party? What if everyone worked as hard on their dishes as you did? What if nobody phoned it in with a store-bought veggie platter? Not for money, not because it was their job, but because they knew every bite would bring happiness to others. You feel pride to create an experience for someone! Now multiply that potluck by 70,000 artists, musicians, and creative types and you have Burning Man – the world’s biggest potluck.
There are no spectators at Burning Man, only participants. Each one creating that special something of their own that open your eyes to what humans are capable of. A weeklong temporary city in the Nevada desert, with thousands of things to see, experiences to help you grow, and new people that become lifelong friends. We work year round to create something that tells the world who we are, where we are from, and what we can do.
I’ve spent countless hours trying to put into words why Burning Man is important and why we are drawn to it. Ultimately I’ve realized it’s because it teaches us the value of participation. We can’t sit back and let others create the world we live in. If you want your life to be beautiful and have meaning, then CREATE SOMETHING to make it that way!
I plan to contribute to this world by sharing the beautiful Filipino culture through a moving work of art in the shape of our national bird. The Jeepney Eagle will be a beacon for our people and help others to learn who we are. In turn I will use this project to share the principles of Burning Man with the Philippines. It’s a country where resources can be scarce and it’s hard to think of the bigger picture if you are struggling to get by.
Burning Man has become a lightning rod for attention on the internet and social media. Showcasing your work can lead to millions of people around the world seeing and hearing your message. Big changes all start with a spark and if I can get the conversation started with someone who sees the jeepney, it may help them realize no one else is going to take action to help their community – they will have to do it themselves. I hope I get questions from strangers in the Philippines and Filipino Americans asking why I am doing this. I want to tell them it’s because I’m proud of who I am and where I am from. I will tell them if we all contribute the best of ourselves and take care of each other, the Philippines and the Filipino American community will thrive.