Juggling the worlds of advocacy and entrepreneurship
Building communities through employment and advocacies create waves of change in the youth
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.