Pinoy behind “Liter of Light” project honored in NY

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 20, 2014

NEW YORK – His name says it all. Illac is an Aztec word meaning “god of light”.

And light is what he gave tens of thousands of disadvantaged Filipinos.

Filipino model and actor Illac Diaz’ “Liter of Light” campaign has brightened more than 140,000 homes that lack electricity in the Philippines.

Diaz, together with 10 other leaders from the around the world, received the first ever “Asia Game Changer Award” for making positive contributions to the future of Asia.

The inaugural award, held at the United Nations on Thursday, was given by the Asia Society of New York – an educational organization founded by John D. Rockefeller III in the 50s to promote mutual understanding and strengthen partnership between Asia and the US.

“It means a lot na parang tinitingnan tayo,” said Diaz. “At na-o-honor yung mga proyekto namin nakakatulong, hindi lang sa Pilipinas, pero sa buong mundo. So to be put with all these people that are changing the world – in commerce, in business, in humanitarian works – malaking bagay ‘to para sa Pilipinas at sa organisasyon namin.”

But what’s the use of a sun-powered bottle of light if it does not work at night?

“During the day it charges the battery and at the same time it gives light for the night, so “Liter of Light” is a night-time solution. The daylight is just one step.

A re-invented “Liter of Light at Night” now comes with a simple circuitry that stores converted solar energy to power an LED light that automatically turns on at night for about ten hours.

“My dream really was to create a new movement, not only us, but to inspire other Filipinos – that we can do something on a global scale to help other people around the world,” said Diaz. “Because we receive so much, it’s about time that Filipinos use their creativity, their knowledge about survival, to help other countries with similar situations.”

Now in 20 countries, Diaz hopes to brighten a million homes around the world by 2015.

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