Model turned entrepreneur calls for Filipino ideas to combat natural disasters

SAN FRANCISCO – The Philippines is one of the most-disaster prone countries in the world and surviving super storms has taken its toll on many people.

Filipino social entrepreneur Illac Diaz saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

He decided to help poor kababayans, especially those who lose power in their homes because of disasters.

He started a project called “Liter of Light” with two goals in mind: to provide light to those who need it and recycle useless trash.

The project uses empty plastic bottles filled with water and bleach and places them in tin-roofs of homes.

During the day the water inside the bottle refracts sunlight, delivering as much light as a 40- to 60-watt incandescent bulb.

So far Diaz’ project has provided light to as many as 28 thousand homes.

Recently, Diaz brought his idea and the lessons he learned from surviving typhoons to an audience that included architects and environmentalists in San Francisco.

He sat on a panel of experts as they shared their own concepts of resilient architecture and design for countries impacted by natural disasters.

Diaz says that recent typhoons in the Philippines are a call for more ideas to combat disasters brought about by climate change.

“It’s just a matter of time till the next disaster so the point is everything must change not only now but innovation must be put in so that future generations that have to deal with this not in one generation storm but a storm that happens every year,” said Diaz.

Diaz is a part of the Open Online Academy which is a New York based organization that offers free online education in design and other related architectural fields.

Diaz hopes they could come up with ideas to create disaster-proof homes – in areas devastated by typhoons in the Philippines.

“Thousands of architects came together, uncommon people that are not in the disaster field but precious in the same ideas and crowd source knowledge is an effective way to come up with these collaborations to come up with breakthroughs,” said Diaz. “We are always looking for Filipinos that can engage in this kind of open, online massive courses to help create this non-existent, ground zero in emergency architecture and start creating this kind of scalable new solutions.”

Diaz will be in Paris next month as one the many contributors participating in the International Year of Light which is a United Nations exhibition of the importance of optical technology in providing solutions to worldwide challenges.

You can contact Rommel Conclara at and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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