SAN FRANCISCO — Thomas Graham, a British journalist, says that after leaving his life behind and spending a year living among the poor in the Philippines — he finally found purpose.
Through understanding the importance of fighting climate change and poverty, mixed with the lure of the Philippines to travelers around the world — Graham co-founded Make a Difference or MAD Travel.
“I learned amazing values from the Filipinos such as bayanihan, walang iwanan, no one gets left behind. And you have to experience these values. It’s not just enough to hear about it or to learn a translation, come and discover it yourself.”
Travelers can help reforest the land in Zambales, grow sustainable farms in Bulacan, and do other things that will help the Philippines — all while enjoying their stay.
“If you want to go island-hopping. If you want to go surfing, if you want to stay in a 5-star hotel or a 1-star hotel it really doesn’t matter. That’s great. Whatever fits you but the most important thing is come to the Philippines and make your trip truly meaningful.”
While Graham says that he has people from all over the world using the program — he noticed there was not much participation from the US.
After visiting numerous cities — he is targeting US-born Filipinos.
“It may be that you’re becoming more curious about what it means to grow up kind of American, kind of Filipino, at the same time, and all I would say to you it discover it for yourself.”
Consul General Henry Bensurto says that MAD Travel is aligned with the consulate’s program spark, connect, empower to connect the Filipino-American youth to the Philippines.
For more information, you can visit madtravel.org.