Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amor Patria: A Review of Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto's 'Builder of Dreams'

 “When your dreams came true, you are great. But if others’ dreams came true because of you, you are noble.”

Gawad Kalinga Founder Tony Meloto's Builder of Dreams
In a third world country like the Philippines it is undeniable that negative political and social issues are prevalent, as well as the intricate challenges faced by Filipinos all left undone; and indeed, “transforming leaders” are needed for they bear the good heart enriched with volunteerism and love for others. These are those people who are propelled into meaningful actions and purposes. Despite the fact that a united prayer can make this all settled, Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio “Tony” Meloto proved doing more than this can make everything better.

As Tony Meloto’s living revolves over his life as an entrepreneur and a Couples for Christ servant, being a loving father of five and a caring Lolo of three grandchildren, he felt the need to do something that could make the slum-dwellers’ life better. He desired to mold his ideals and goals into something that would benefit larger groups of Filipino people. And one of his ways in order to achieve this is to write the book “Builder of Dreams” which he dedicated to Ninoy and Cory because their nationalism has inspired him since 1986; when democracy was restored in the country.

The “Builder of Dreams” is “about faith of common believers who choose to act rather than to preach, about citizens wanting to correct what has been corrupted rather than blame, about people who chose hope over cynicism by planting their dreams on the ground and learning to do it with others.”  Through this book, Tony Meloto had reflected what patriotism and good deeds are truly all about. The book embodied the hope of Filipinos who dreamt better times after living as second class citizens within 400 years. It definitely emerged the Filipino spirit and unleashed its greatness. The book also recognized the growing armies of Filipinos who vowed to bring the dream together.

                His primary goal is to revive what was lost and to bring the best out of it. He narrated how his efforts created the very first Gawad Kalinga village. It transformed the ever known Bagong Silang in Caloocan City into a neighborhood that endowed new, safe, and attractive homes for the needy; unlike how it looked like before— where gangsters, young and old, and crimes sickened the place. He shared how his actions paved way for the rehabilitation of the youth who had led wayward lives. His movement blossomed; adults learned acceptable ways of earning money and the kids who were once crime-makers decided to go to school. “There was no blueprint, no road map and no budget when we ventured into unknown territory, just a lot of faith, a strong intuition and the conscience to do what was good and right; the impulse to act and the instinct to survive.”

                The book sparked hope and consciousness as this country is a gift from God. It identified proper recognition of who the real character is and who will support him on the play of his objective. “The government is not our enemy; neither is business or rich landowners or, the criminals in the urban slums, and the rebels in the countryside. Poverty is our enemy, along with all the evils that cause it—the peaceful way to vanish this is to discover winning formula where rich and poor benefit from caring and sharing.”

                Tony Meloto has never been a fictional-story-writer or even a superb novel author; but his writing style is real good. It caught souls that will soon embolden nobility. Each word reflected how reality looks like. It helped readers to understand what Philippines has to be and how Filipinos should be. Sharing real life stories in the book also helped Meloto in his pursuance of his aspirations and beliefs.

                In this book, Tony also revealed his heart-melting sacrifices just for the accomplishment of his vision. Sacrifices not only in his own self, but as well to his family, friends and the usual society he’s living with; the parameter where true-blooded Filipinos dwell. And these encumbrances caused him to attain what he was aiming for.

                “In writing this book, I remember with fondness the friends I have lost along the way. I carry the burden of losing people I treasured, in exchange for the friendship to the poor. The fault is mine, but the gain is mine as well. In time we will be wiser and we will gain our friendship so nothing is lost at all.”

Gawad Kalinga villages in the Philippines. 
                The three major steps in the attainment of the goal— Social Justice, Social Artistry and Social Progress, as designed by Meloto’s Builders of Dreams, are therefore the key steps to help every Filipino for major survival and to make a big leap on our journey way back home—to a greater country that we are proud of and with the people that we loved and always will.

Never stop hoping for our country,
Don’t stop caring for our people,
Demand greatness from yourself as a Filipino,

Inspire greatness in other Filipinos.

Minamahal kita, Pilipinas!