9 ways your passion can transform your life

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Excelling in your chosen field of practice — whether design, journalism, or film — also means inspiring others well enough to make their own mark. In photo: actress Iza Calzado, one of the speakers for CNN Philippines Life and Ayala Museum's Inspire Every Day. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — There’s no better way to spend a weekend than to look at art, learn about the country’s culture, and discover new things about oneself in the process. For Inspire Every Day, CNN Philippines Life and the Ayala Museum teamed up for the second year in a row to treat visitors to free access to the museum and a one-of-a-kind experience filled with activities, games, and endless inspiration.

There was no shortage of creativity and fun, whether you admired the breathtaking exhibits, made your own silkscreen poster at the Team Manila Design Dept. booth, embraced the future at the VR station, went back to your childhood joys of using crayons at the coloring tables, or tried your hand at being a CNN Philippines news anchor for a day at the makeshift TV station, complete with a desk and prompter.

inspire every day.jpg Coloring tables allowed visitors to make art and listen to speakers at the same time. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

inspire every day.jpg Manila's preeminent voguers House of Mizrahi PH held performances all throughout the museum. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

The inspiration levels reached sky high thanks to the day’s speakers — designer Dan Matutina, journalist and CNN Philippines president Armie Jarin-Bennett, and actress Iza Calzado — all stressing the importance of your passion and how it can affect the world in ways you may not expect.

Here are nine takeaways from the talks that may just change your life — and help you change those of others.

Design can make a difference — but it’s only the beginning.

Matutina’s work and those of designers like him have been able to rebuild business and build connections. These efforts, according to him, go toward energizing communities and aspiring for victory. “But,” he says, “there’s still a lot of work to do,” adding that it’s an ongoing process that calls for the involvement of the community as a whole.

A strong brand identity helps send a message.

Matutina’s talk focused on the role design plays in rebuilding and rehabilitating communities; specifically, his experiencing working in disaster relief in Japan. Using his project with the Kesennuma-based Anchor Coffee as an example, he underscored the importance of creating a distinct story and identity for what you create. The smallest details — the logo, a strong nautical theme, even the coffee itself — can let people from all over the world feel and see a city’s passion and resilience.

inspire every day.jpg Graphic designer and illustrator Dan Matutina has worked with clients such as Google, Wired Magazine, and Samsung. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Always be open to different ideas.

Asked about keeping design authentic, Matutina says: “Kung hindi mo papakinggan [ang client], hindi lalabas ‘yung gusto nila sa work.” Although he says that designer tendencies sometimes kick in when certain concepts and aesthetics clash with your own, you need to be flexible to make a project work. “Para hindi ka rin maging rigid.”

Journalism is a public service.

According to Jarin-Bennett, whose talk was about the importance of telling the story of the Filipino, the role of media is to inform, to educate, and to serve. Calling journalism a “privilege and an opportunity,” she stresses that the information shared must go beyond standard who, what, when, where, how, and why questions — it must also be about the impact. Who will be affected? Why does the story matter?

inspire every day.jpg The CNN Philippines booth allowed visitors to be a news anchor for a day. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

inspire everyday.jpg The 'news anchors' read from a prompter. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

We tell stories to reflect on and understand who we are.

Jarin-Bennett’s definition of “the story of the Filipino” is broader than simply politics or what’s deemed as relevant by the elite. It should also be the story of “people just like us,” delving into history and culture as a whole. “These stories about our past, the culture, the arts,” she says, “they tell stories about how we got here and that is a good story to tell.” She adds: “It’s nice for us to take a step back and really understand how rich our culture is.”

In reportage, only facts matter.

For Jarin-Bennett, a true journalist never says, “I think.” In reporting, opinion on the story isn’t important, but the facts and the details are. This way, the audience is encouraged to think for themselves. “If we’re consistent doing our storytelling that way, that we present both sides, and it doesn't have to be just different political views, then I think it will help strengthen our nation,” Jarin-Bennett says. “Because we are educating our public, we are explaining what is behind that story, how we can benefit from it, why we should care about it, and perhaps in doing so we can encourage you to do your share also.”

inspire everyday.jpg CNN Philippines president Armie Jarin-Bennett. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA


One rejection, or even a hundred, is not the end.

In the beginning of her talk on what makes a great actress, Calzado admitted that she experienced a lot of rejections when she was starting out: “I still wasn’t enough.” It was difficult, she shared, and heartbreaking. But eventually she saw these setbacks as hidden opportunities. “Rejection means you tried, but when things don’t work out, you find something good out of it,” she says. “Failure means you didn’t try at all, or you let yourself go down a path of misery, destruction, or negativity after not succeeding.”

inspire every day.jpg Craft Carrot and Design Dept. had popup stations for Inspire Every Day. Photos by KENNETH ABALLA

inspire every day.jpg Inspire Every Day's free museum day included access to "The Diorama Experience," an interactive walk through Philippine history. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Even in entertainment, it’s substance that matters.

Rejection only made Calzado more determined. “It made me want to focus on something beyond the physical,” she shares. “It made me focus on wanting to get better at my craft.” She took classes, paid attention to her directors and fellow actors, and studied her character and the script. “In the long run, even if beauty gets you in the door, it’s talent that matters more. Hype fades, but talent and substance remain.”

inspire every day.jpg Museum goers embraced the future at the VR station. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Stay curious.

Calling forth the theme of the event, which is Curiosity, Calzado stated what it is that makes a great actress. “Confession: I am hardly ever satisfied with my work,” she says. “It is my desire to learn something new about my craft and life and people and want to keep evolving that has gotten me to where I am now.” She adds: “I constantly want to do something that will challenge me and bring out something in me that I wasn’t even aware existed or that I was capable of doing.”