Jug­gling the worlds of ad­vo­cacy and entrepreneurship

Build­ing com­mu­ni­ties through em­ploy­ment and ad­vo­ca­cies cre­ate waves of change in the youth

Cebu Living - - Contents - By MARBBIE TAGABUCBA Im­ages by GABBY CANTERO

At 22, Carlo De­lan­tar wears many hats, all for an al­tru­is­tic end: he is chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer of Flor­eia, a fash­ion ac­ces­sories man­u­fac­turer and so­cial en­ter­prise that uses sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als; show­room di­rec­tor of its mother com­pany Na­ture’s Legacy’s Manila show­room D+ M; he helps pro­vide ac­cess to clean wa­ter around the Philip­pines as coun­try di­rec­tor for in­ter­na­tional non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Waves for Wa­ter; and is also a shoe giver for Tom’s. He is now based in Manila af­ter ar­riv­ing from Cebu, and finds that to­day’s en­ter­pris­ing Filipino youth— whether they are from Cebu or Manila—can achieve more if they join forces.

How have your Cebu roots helped you in your suc­cess in Manila?

Cebu’s laid-back ap­proach has pro­vided me with a [calmer per­spec­tive]. Manila is fast-paced, which I pre­fer, but hav­ing a calm at­ti­tude makes a lot of dif­fer­ence.

Did you feel you had to ex­pand to Manila?

I’d like to think that we all have to start some­where in life. Liv­ing in Cebu and the con­sis­tent trav­els that are part of my work have given me a unique per­spec­tive in life. Be­cause of the is­land life, it is more laid-back and ev­ery­one knows ev­ery­body, so when I needed help with some­thing, ev­ery­one was just one call away. It be­came an ad­van­tage in ex­pand­ing Flor­eia in Cebu. Go­ing to Manila and start­ing D+ M, I had to find my way on my own. Google isn’t used by sup­pli­ers, so I had to go to Divi­so­ria, Quiapo, Bi­nondo, Que­zon, and Parañaque to source.

Tell me about the ex­pan­sion of Waves for Wa­ter in Manila.

As an NGO, it is very im­por­tant to have con­sis­tent sup­port for our ad­vo­ca­cies. Manila has given us the op­por­tu­nity to ap­proach the right peo­ple. Cebu, cur­rently, has been a strate­gic lo­ca­tion for dis­as­ter re­sponse be­cause of its cen­tral lo­ca­tion in the ar­chi­pel­ago.

What’s a busi­ness prac­tice you picked up from home that you use in Manila?

We ap­proach our lo­cal mar­kets dif­fer­ently. Lo­cally, it is more col­lab­o­ra­tive, where you get to meet dif­fer­ent par­ties to cre­ate pre­cise re­sults. I be­lieve in do­ing busi­ness in the way I have learned from my fa­ther: through build­ing re­la­tion­ships and work­ing to­gether for the long term.

What can Manila learn from Cebu?

Manila and Cebu are com­pletely dif­fer­ent cities. With tech­nol­ogy now, a lot of peo­ple are col­lab­o­rat­ing all over the coun­try. It gives us a sense of bayani­han even if we’re in dif­fer­ent is­lands. Peo­ple say Cebu is the Mi­lan of the Philip­pines be­cause of the world-class cre­atives we have. But Manila has great tal­ents in de­sign and the arts as well. Most op­por­tu­ni­ties come to Manila first, mak­ing the over­all com­mu­nity more for­ward-think­ing. But now the play­ing field has al­ready lev­eled. Filipinos travel within the Philip­pines more. In­dige­nous tex­tiles in fash­ion and de­sign are a good vis­i­ble re­sult. Manila de­sign­ers now em­brace lo­cal aes­thet­ics once seized by Ce­buanos, and Ce­buanos now de­sign with Western sen­si­bil­i­ties. The move­ment now is to em­brace our her­itage and be proud of where we come from.

VOL­UN­TEER WORK STARTED OUT AS CARLO DE­LAN­TAR’S MEANS TO FILL HIS SPARE TIME.

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