Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Stepping up to the challenge of our time by Chuck Baclagon

The 7x9 feet three panel mural painted by the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle Fraternity to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SV Rainbow Warrior’s bombing.

To the dismay of my colleagues here in the Philippine office I am licensed to surf the web and even log on to this pesky website called Facebook –and come to think of it is indeed really interesting what you can find over there, as a few minutes ago I was able to come across Greenpeace International’s profile picture on their page and seeing it again (although technically I see it everyday as it is one of the first things that will always greet me as I enter the office) reminded me of the my first assignments when I started to become a part of Greenpeace, fulltime, not to mention one of the first people that I’ve been glad to call a comrade in the cause who is none other than —Tomas Leonor.

It was during a rainy after noon sometime in August 2005 when I first met Tomas, I remember having been assigned by the office to write an article for their project to paint a mural painted to commemorate the 20th anniversary of SV Rainbow Warrior’s bombing.

Tomas among the Greenpeace activists demanding an end to Lafayette’s polluting operations, in Rapu Rapu Albay.

Greenpeace Activists assemble smoke-spewing coal plant at the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila.

Tomas was a part of the University of the Philippines Artists’ Circle Fraternity a university-based fraternity, which carried out the task of creating a 7×9 feet three panel mural which will serve as a fitting tribute to the first Rainbow Warrior which was bombed back in 1985 for its role as a symbol of the growing consensus for a nuclear-free world at the time.

During the violent direct action at Masinloc, Tomas was again one of the first activists that I interviewed at the scene after the activists were intercepted by plant security.

Over the years he has been one of the more active Greenpeace volunteers who’ve dedicated his time and talent for advancing our campaigns and to add color and life in our creative confrontations with the powers that seek to jeopardize the welfare of our planet.

Greenpeace activists dress up as genetically modified (GM)'zombie' crops.

His signature can easily be seen in the works that he has done over the years here at Greenpeace not only in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia who could forget the coal plant that we constructed outside the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila; or the Whaleshark costumes that was used at a protest in the Department of Environment office in Manila; or the Genetically Modified Zombies that blockaded the Thai Government House; to the novel solar cooker that was deployed during a cookout that was done in at the site of a soon-to-be constructed coal plant in Iloilo to demonstrate the viability of renewable energy like solar energy; to the recent alien costumes that I was able to wear during the ADB’s Climate and Clean Energy Week among the many other things that he did for Greenpeace and its allies in the broader civil society movement.

Tomas collecting plastic rubbish from Manila Bay.

A group of unidentified aliens visited the Asian Development Bank.

None can question Tomas’ flare for outrageousness and his penchant for creatively getting our attention on important issues like climate change, genetic engineering, toxics pollution and the like.

All this is evident with his recent endeavor called Step Juan which is the embodiment of Tomas’ dream of helping out children under the Cancer Warriors Foundation‘s Treatment Program.

Step Juan is a walking expedition done by Tomas. The idea is to walk from Pagudpod to Sorsogon without any means of vehicular assistance and to do this for several weeks, straight, stopping only for food and rest. The backbone and foundation for this idea is to raise funds for the cancer children under the Cancer Warriors Foundation.

Step Juan with his rickshaw, "Karl"

It is with great joy that I speak for the rest of Greenpeace in our support for this venture, because we know that change (whether it b ecological, social or political) is only possible if there are people who are crazy (in a good way 😉 ) enough like Tomas who seeks to step up to the challenge of the time and have fun while working to make the world a better place for all of us.

Click here to know more about Step Juan

Chuck Baclagon

10 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Tomas is one of the best example of volunteerism, the spirit of communal responsibility towards a common goal, providing skills and time for the battle. What Tomas and other volunteers did (and continuously doing) for Greenpeace and other organizations is truly commendable. Common people with extra-ordinary heart.

Apir Chuck, for this special blog, hindi ako si tomas pero na-touch ako 🙂

Let’s all support STEP JUAN and raise funds for the cancer warriors!

p.s. my typo ka, hindi kayo 2009 nagkakilala ni tomas :p

Comment by joan

Oops my bad, tama ka Joan 2005 dapat yun. Salamat for pointing that out ayusin ko ngayon din. Salamat din for the kind words. Apir!

Comment by Chuck Baclagon

Chuck, Salamat ng marami, pumatak ang luha ko sa nabasa ko. 🙂 Ipagpatuloy natin ang ating gawain para sa kalikasan at kabataan. 🙂 ~tomas

Comment by Tomas Leonor

Walang anuman, Tomas. 😉

Comment by Chuck Baclagon

Isa siyang tunay na kahanga-hanga nilalang. Hindi niya pinagdadamot ang talentong binigay sa kanya ni Bathala.
Mabuhay ka, Tomas!!!

Comment by kiko noveda

The most comprehensive info I have found on this subject on the net. Will be back soon to follow up.

Comment by teeth whitening

[…] 24, 2010 by Chuck Baclagon When longtime Greenpeace volunteer Tomas Leonor told us about Step Juan, I thought it was a brilliant idea. Step Juan, which was co-organized with […]

Pingback by Step Juan: Stepping up for children with cancer « Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Does this still allow my airway to get air while I sleep?

Comment by Smoke Relief encourage me to participate more on environmental and social outreach program..and to impart my acquired knowledge as envi.mgt graduate..thanks that you’re there to encourage me..because as of now i’m losing my hope to change the attitudes of the people around me towards environment..

Comment by lg

Are you proud of me?

Comment by Langley

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