A couple of months ago, I found an online global community that recognizes the efforts of young people around the globe. It also seeks to empower them through providing an avenue for sharing ideas, dreams and vision. This global initiative transpired in an online platform called World Merit.

World Merit aims to bring people together for a common purpose. Each year, the community selects an ambassador who will travel around the world to share the vision, work on social projects, meet world leaders and provide more opportunities towards inspiring the next generation.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the finalists vying for this year’s Your Big Year (YBY) Ambassadorship. Competition tasks consisted of organizing an event to introduce World Merit in the community and documenting the stories of experts from various merit disciplines- highlighting their big year, the importance of their discipline and the aim to support the future generation. The process of completing these tasks has given me the opportunity to get to know the people of Merit, people whom I deeply admire.

 By the end of August, YBY’s chosen top 12 will fly to San Francisco, California and be among the Merit Champions to compete in the final round of the competition. The winner will become an Ambassador and will pursue a one-year global journey of World Merit.

MERIT NEXT is the next big thing for the Merit community - the world’s most accessible and moving leadership program for millennials. This month-long program and internship will enable a handful of young and exceptional individuals to travel the world to learn, hands-on, from industry experts in the fields of media, business, entrepreneurship, culture, politics and public services, science and technology.

Leading this network is a pool of talented professionals working around the clock to assist the community. Heading the team is Chris Arnold, World Merit founder and creator of YBY. Chris’ primary goal of creating the community is to be able to link talents to opportunities and present young people with an effective network to industry leaders and mentors with strong knowledge base and a dose of inspiration.

 Here are some of the interviews I conducted- inspiring stories of real people and how they, in their own efforts, supported the youth of today:


Joining the community ignited and relieved my dreams of fighting for a better world. I gained an incredible amount of energy and motivation from other members who continue to push one another to reach their full potential.

 For me, YBY is more than a competition. It is beyond competition. It is not only fun. It is not only inspiring. It is a chance to be one and share genuine friendship with equally talented people worldwide. It is life-changing.

 How about you? Do you have what it takes to join the biggest youth movement of your time? Visit us at www.worldmerit.org.

By: Mark Aethen G. Agana, 25 y.o., Manila, Philippines Philippines finalist, Your Big Year Competition 2013 World Merit*

 Mark Aethen G. Agana is a consultant in NGO projects and an alumnus of The Outstanding Students of the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter @NonitoAgana or send him an e-mail through mark.agana@gmail.com.


World Merit Aquathlon 2013 (Night Race) on June 30!


As part of the growing need to address public health and fitness and to celebrateMerit* Month this June 2013, we are organizing an aquathlon aimed to highlight potential of our today’s generation through swimming and running.

Join the World Merit Aquathlon 2013 (The 1st Night Race in Metro Manila)!

Sunday, June 30, 2013
Assembly time: 5:00PM

Amoranto Sports Complex Don Alejandro Roces Ave., Quezon City

Entry Fee: 
Individual participants: PhP 700.00
(inclusive of finisher singlet, race kit, & drinks)

Medals for 1st-3rd
Finisher’s Kit from Sponsors

Registration Period

June 17 to June 28, 2013

Procedure of Registration: 
Deposit the Registration Fee at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Savings Account #2449 0806 48 in favor of Mark Aethen G. Agana. Post a copy of the deposit slip here in our event page with your FULL NAME & SINGLET SIZE specified.

Bring the deposit slip to the Venue on Race Day and submit it to the the World Merit* Secretariat to redeem your Race Bib/Kit.

Singlet design:

Available sizes: XS, S, M, L

This event is open but with limited slots only.

For Inquiries: +63 927 754 9036 ( Mark Aethen Agana) | +63 917 581 7576 (Ace Alvarez).

Or visit the Facebook Event Page:  

What is World Merit?
Watch the video below or visit www.worldmerit.org for information!


to start again

I will make changes to this blog soon. I might start a new one. I should have maintained aethen.com last year.  SIGH.


2nd Michelle Estuar’s FUNd Racing dubbed as ULTRAlympics 2012

WHAT: 2nd Michelle Estuar’s FUNd Racing dubbed as ULTRAlympics 2012
WHEN: November 30, 2012 (Friday)
WHERE: PhilSports Area (ULTRA) Track and Field
RACE CATEGORIES: 400m dash for kids, 3km, 8km, 16km, Titan Circuit Team Challenge

Online Registration: Oct. 8 – Nov. 16, 2012 visit http://michellefundracing.org
Race Kit Claiming Dates: Nov. 17,18, 23-25
Race Kit Claiming Sites:
- A Runner’s Circle Manila
- Skechers Trinoma
- Skechers Filinvest Mall Alabang
- R.O.X. BGC

Minimum Donation per Runner: 100 Pesos (all categories). Add P100 to your donation, and you get an exclusive ULTRA-Athlete event shirt to be claimed on Nov. 30, upon finishing.
Promo: Register as a group of 10 for the same category and get 1 FREE bib (except for the TITAN Circuit Team Challenge)

Race Assembly Time and Gun Time
Ti•tan  (ttn)
a person of exceptional importance and reputation, having phenomenal strength, size, or achievement

The TITAN CIRCUIT TEAM CHALLENGE is an original, ultra-modern test of physical fitness.  A pet project of Coach Michelle and Team Titans, this tests  the basic components or health-related skills of Physical Fitness, namely:
1.       Cardiovascular Endurance
2.       Muscular Endurance
3.       Strength
4.       Flexibility or Agility
5.       Body Composition

Objectives of the TCTC: 
- To be a TITAN, one must be SUPERIOR in the 5 Basic components of Physical Fitness.
- To be SUPERIOR in all components means to be EXCELLENT in any activity or sport, including running.
- The Team that performs the best in any given task will be declared the CHAMPION.

Brief description:           
A group or team, composed of ten (10) members, must pass thru as many stations as they can in a given time. There will be 8-10 stations. Each station will require teams to accomplish and properly execute a TASK. Each task will measure a certain skill/s and will be executed by the team based on either:
1. TIME & REPETITION - Given X time, do as many repetitions as possible.
2. TIME TRIAL - Each member has to perform and accomplish the task on his own, before allowing the next member to perform the same task.

Each team will be given points based on their performance. Points for each task will be added one the time has elapsed. The team with the highest total score will be declared as the CHAMPION.

- Registration is primarily online (http://michellefundracing.org) .
- Claiming of Kits (Bib) and payment of donation will be on the following dates: Nov. 17,18, 23-25 at the chosen claiming site from the online registration : A Runner’s Circle Manila, Skechers Trinoma, Skechers Filinvest Alabang, R.O.X. BGC
- Race Guidelines (parking, baggage claiming, etc.) will be provided upon claiming of kits.

For Registration Inquiries:
Globe – 0917 8041936
Sun – 0922 8940669



A run to help a fellow runner's dad, who sustained a head injury and is in a coma from a vehicular accident

June 30, 2012, Saturday 5:00 A.M.
Bonifacio Global City-McKinley Hills

Assembly time: 4:30 A.M.
Assembly Area: Park In front of Riovana Store BGC, 28th St. cor. 9th Ave., BGC
Gun start: 5:00 A.M.

No registration fee
Donations gratefully accepted

Registration Venues:
Online: To be updated
On-site on race day: Assembly area

For donations:
BDO: SA 690 001 1550 (Maria Juliet Maccay)
BPI: SA 978 360 3214 (Joey Neil Canaya)
Send us copy of receipt at teamtitansrun@gmail.com for acknowledgement

For more details contact Mark at Mobile +63 927 339 1454


Team Titans

At team titans, we don't just help each member attain their personal running bests; may it be to run faster, run longer or compete in multisports events. We also focus on camaraderie and friendship to make each running opportunity a fun and memorable experience.

TEAM TITANS - running together to become better runners!

Like us on Facebook Team Titans :)


Paraiso Verde Resort and Water Park: Mindanao’s Largest Wave Pool Is In Koronadal City

I am a very beach or outdoorsy person, but there’s one thing that excites me, a world-class tourist destination in my beloved hometown in Mindanao. Paraiso Verde Resort and Water Park has been teasing the public with the promise of a world-class resort and water park that will be the biggest in Mindanao and one of the best in the world.

Paraiso Verde boasts of four exciting water attractions:

Sounds absolutely fun, right? Paraiso Verde spells pure fun for everyone.

Paraiso Verde is now open to the public and is having regular events every week. This is one of the best barkada / family get-away for a big fun in Mindanao!

My personal favorite among the water attractions is the wave pool that boasts of a typhoon-like experience called the diamond spin. Though the deepest depth is only 4 feet — the swell goes as high as 10 feet. And with crystal clear fresh water — you’ll definitely have the time of your life!

Paraiso Verde Resort and Water Park is located at Zone 1, General Paulino Santos Drive, Koronadal City, South Cotabato. For more information, contact them at + 6383-520-1338. You may also visit their website at http://www.paraisoverresortandwaterpark.com, email them at paraisoverderesort@yahoo.com, connect with them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ParaisoVerde, or follow them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/PVerdeResort.


Scholars Upscale Social Marketing To Promote Hero Farmers

Can you imagine life without farmers? A team of scholars from the Young Minds Academy (YMA) Season 5 leadership program can’t. They harnessed the power of marketing strategies mostly through the new media to promote a farmer empowerment project in Consolacion, Cebu. Because of the on-going training that the farmers are undergoing, they will soon yield better and abundant harvests in their respective farms all over Cebu.

The online community has been abuzz with the iluvfarmers farmers
campaign that champions hero farmers in Cebu.

About KabalikatsaKabuhayan

Team CPMPC of the YMA program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. created a campaign for the “KabalikatsaKabuhayan.” The project aims to educate farmers in vegetable and fruit production and innovations as part of the poverty alleviation goals of the Municipality of Consolacion.

Around 120 farmers go to the 5,000 square meter demo farm site in Brgy. Danglag to learn from the trainers from Harbest Agribusiness Corporation and the Department of Agriculture Regional Offices.

The program’s aim is to empower our farmers with knowledge to improve farm practice and increase yield, thereby providing better income opportunities.

The project started last September 11 and is set to end on November 18, 2011. This has been done in 18 other project sites all over the country as well, and as of writing, graduated more than two thousand farmers.

About iluvfarmers

The Team CPMPC scholars of YMA drafted and implemented a massive campaign to help these farmers gain social awareness and support from the public with the parameters set by RAFI which is 1,000 likes on the Facebook page and 10,000 peso donation or signature of commitment within a one month period.

But instead of focusing on achieving the goals, they turned to the notion that the quality of interaction and support they get is more important especially within the deadline.

As part of the marketing strategy, they branded their campaign as “iluvfarmers” to imply the need for people to appreciate our farmers who are considered as unsung heroes. Meticulous planning and execution was done from designing the logo, content creation and development, setting of specific goals, art direction of campaign materials such as online posters, advertisements, teasers, blog posts, endorsements from different personalities and regular updates in the social networking sites. They also went to the farm demo site and worked with the farmers themselves under extreme weather conditions and poor classroom setting.

The scholars themselves underwent input sessions with social marketing experts in the region today.

They created a Facebook page with a custom designed landing page which can be accessed at http://fb.me/iluvfarmers where details of the program and how you can support the campaign and the farmers are placed. They also created a Twitter account http://twitter.com/iluvfarmers where conversations and interactions are done not only with netizens but as well as Agriculture and Farming organizations all over the world. To curate the beautiful life stories of the farmers and to regularly update the supporters with the latest developments of the project, Team CPMPC scholars also had created a blog site http://iluvfarmers.blogspot.com for better content and brand establishment.

The iluvfarmers Campaign is being spearheaded by Jaysee John R. Pingkian, LorbeCatadman, Babykit Marie Nunez, Irish Nunez and John RhecelSolon members of the Team CPMPC of the YMA Season 5.

Why you should help?

Farming is not as fun as you would experience through games like Farmville. It actually takes a lot of effort and life as we know it and some people have not only considered it as livelihood but life in itself.

The project needs to sustain because they have learned to pursue a reliable source of income with very little capital through the technologies and knowledge imparted to them.

They need not only awareness from people but as well as donations in money or in kind such as farming tools and fertilizers, vegetable and fruit seeds and seedlings because after the training they are expected to apply their knowledge unto their respective farm lands.

Keep in mind that they are also the providers of their families.

They also need social awareness because little attention and support is given to these people whose efforts are barely recognized and compensated for the amount of work they are doing.

How can you help?

4 Steps to Help Them!
  1. LIKE and SHARE this page! COMMENT on photos and posts as well!
  2. DONATE your Facebook or Twitter Status:
    • They work hard to provide us food. We can help them do better. FOLLOW @iluvfarmers and LIKE http://fb.me/iluvfarmers 
    • Somewhere in the mountains are heroes who work tirelessly to provide us and their families. FOLLOW @iluvfarmers and LIKE http://fb.me/iluvfarmers
    • Facebook is not just for emo stuff. It could also be used to support our hero farmers! FOLLOW @iluvfarmers and LIKE http://fb.me/iluvfarmers
    • Or you could CREATE YOUR CREATIVE STATUS and post it on the Facebook page so they could feature you!
  1. FOLLOW us on Twitter http://twitter.com/iluvfarmers
  2. DONATE or ask people to donate money, farm tools, farm supplies, seedlings or seeds.
    • Contact iluvfarmers Campaign Ambassador LorbeCatadman: 09299613737