Our State of HAPI-ness in the Philippines
. What is Humanist Alliance Philippines, International (HAPI)
Trailblazers of secular humanism in the Philippines
First: we are HAPI because we envision ourselves as the trailblazers of secular humanism in the Philippines. This is our identity. It is our mission and vision, and the meaning of our logo:
E – Environmental humanism
The E in SHARE is the newest mission added; and yet it has been the most powerful, being the specialization of our current Executive Director, Jennifer Gutierrez.
The human symbols in our logo are not boxed, denoting that we are not contained in a certain belief system. We are free and dynamic. We are interconnected and flow freely. Whether or not we have differences in features and beliefs, we will still find a certain commonality as per our “big tent” policy.
The purpose and the meaning itself of humanism is the glue that binds us together. Something bigger than us. Isn’t that supposed to be the essence of activism, after all? One does something of one’s own volition, working for the greater good, without expecting remuneration?
Herding Cats on the Internet for Humanism
We in HAPI have always been serious with our advocacy. We have always preferred to work with people who are stable emotionally and financially, like most of the officers. And now we have wonderful volunteers, most of them independent individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their careers.
The old idiom about herding cats rings true in this scenario, though. Organizing a society of humanists who are independent cats with their own voices is a behemoth task that can be frustrating at times…especially when one is organizing things from thousands of miles away. Thankfully, we have the technology. The advent of social media has made our tasks a little easier. HAPI is a volunteer-only organization, and promoting it online was no easy task. We have been doing a lot of research in social media marketing strategies, and thanks to Alex Mendoza Wisner, that job is easier now.
HAPI Heroism on the Rise
Mostly, we are HAPI because things are looking up for us.
We are an emerging society, but we’ve had a stable foundation from the get-go.
We are sending our heartfelt gratitude to our biggest supporter, the American Humanist Association, which has given us the opportunity to promote secular humanism in the Philippines.
The HAPI International Council is composed of financially stable officers who are ready to share their time and money.
Our donations come in trickles, but we have been fortunate to get donors who are our very own officers, so we know where our donations are going.
The HAPI Nutritional Campaign in Alabang, will continue even if we run out of donations.
The monthly events will become self-sustaining, thanks to our very lovely HAPI Executive Director, Jennifer Gutierrez, for her organizational prowess.
Our events have been very interesting, FUN, but most of all promote critical thinking.
The HAPI Pasko with the kids in Alabang has gathered 500 kids. Here our noble guests dressed as superheroes, because that’s what we strive to be. But what makes someone heroic, anyway?
Heroes are special because they inconvenience themselves for the love of humanity, and for love of their country. They strive to be good people, simply because it is the right thing to do. They do not seek fame nor fortune; being comfortable is good enough for them.
However, heroes also have to deal with negative mentalities of self-entitlement and professional jealousy…sometimes from the very people they seek to help.
It is high time to break the counterproductive debates online that inevitably arise when people with different points of view encounter each other; these only waste precious time and energy, and pull people into emotional roller coasters.
We’re now on our third year, we have just scratched the surface, there is still time to join us and marvel the beauty of being in HAPI. If everyone will share their time and effort to HAPI at least once a month, we can become bigger, better, and more formidable, for there is strength in numbers and in diversity.
My heartfelt gratitude to our HAPI Core officers and sponsors, Atheist Alliance International, American Humanist Association, other international and local alliances, my sisters in Cebu, individual donors in the USA, Europe and the Philippines, for without them, we cannot continue our mission and vision.
Please continue our legacy.
We are in this together.
Thank you and kind regards.
Marissa Torres Langseth, RN, MSN, ANP
HAPI Founding Chairperson