Over 2,300 volunteers listen to 30,000 stories
Mark, 20, a volunteer for Project Makinig, admits to having trouble interacting with people, especially strangers. “[Kaya] favorite kong part of Project Makinig is how sobrang genuine ng mga tao sa pag-share ng mga hinaing nila, mga aspirations,” he said after his listening weekend in Mandaluyong. “Yun yung gusto ko sa kanila. These people have the courage to share kahit na hindi nila ako kilala.”
“May trust talaga sila to share, which is very surprising. Siyempre kung hindi mo kilala yung tao, hindi ka agad mag-o-open up. That’s why I think this is a great experience.” Mark particularly enjoyed talking to older generations, which to him was a rare and eye-opening experience. “I love how halos pare-pareho lang yung mga gusto nating lahat. Makikita na may middle ground despite intergenerational differences.”
Mark is one of about 2,300 volunteers who have listened to about 30,000 Filipinos throughout the country share their hopes and dreams through Project Makinig, a face-to-face, volunteer-driven listening campaign aimed to get real stories from real people outside of the toxic environment of social media, said project coordinator Ivan Picazo Sunday.
Many have shared inspiring, positive encounter from their listening sessions, but not all conversations have been light. A volunteer from a Bulacan session had to wrap up one of her interviews with a heavy heart after meeting Nanay Rita, 61.
“Tatlong taon siyang nagsilbi bilang parking attendant [sa parking lot ng Bulacan]. May diperensiya man sa mata, maayos niya pa ring nagagampanan ang kanyang trabaho,” she shared with her fellow listening partners afterward. “Nakagiliwan siya ng mga regular clients niya, maganda at regular ang kinikita niya, at masaya siya sa kanyang ginagawa. That must be the reason kung bakit may nainggit sa kanya.”
Nanay lost her job to younger parking attendants who told her to get out of her favorite spot and threatened to kill her when she refused. “Sa takot ni Nanay Rita, iniwan nya ang trabaho at ang mga taong natutunan nya nang mahalin. Ngayon, makikita si Nanay Ritang palipat-lipat sa mga buildings sa Malolos, bilang isang manlilimos.”
Ely, 20, student who joined a listening session in Mandaluyong, also shared an encounter with a grandmother whose son was shot dead by a riding-in-tandem group. “Medyo heavy, may iyakan na nangyari. Aware naman ako [sa tokhang situation natin] pero when you hear the experience from the mother of a victim firsthand, [it becomes so real].”
Despite the occasional difficult and heart-wrenching conversations, however, Ely appreciates how Project Makinig provides people with the opportunity to hear the sentiment of fellow Filipinos. “A lot of people want to participate in nation-building, but not everyone has the platform to do so. I think Project Makinig is a great starting point.”
Lorelei, a volunteer who also joined listening sessions in Bulacan, called one of her interviewees “a breath of fresh air.”
“Normally, pagdating ko sa last two [tungkol sa bayan at sa mga magagawa ng mamamayan para sa bayan] ang unang mga salitang ng aking respondents ay ‘Ano nga ba?’ and then they would flounder for words. Pero iba siya! She had tons of ideas! And when she said, ‘Patuloy kong mamahalin ang bayan ko’ as a response to my last question, she actually got sentimental and teared up. Her love for the Philippines was so palpable I could almost touch it.”
‘No longer just an LP project now’
Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, president of Partido Liberal who initiated Project Makinig, is awed by the project’s momentum. “Only seven weeks since we launched Project Makinig, our 2,300 volunteers have conducted almost 30,000 face-to-face conversations! At mas maganda pa sa numbers ang mga kuwento: Nagkakaroon ng bonding ang mga volunteer at ang mga pinakikinggan.”
The project, which now includes volunteers from Team Pilipinas, Kilos Maralita, Sentro, Movement Defending Democracy, Kaya Natin, Kaya Natin Youth, Aksyon Kabataan, Millennials PH, the multi-sectoral group Batutilan Bicol, the Pili Youth Time for Change Movement, and various youth and student organizations, continues to gain traction among LP supporters and non-supporters alike. “Hindi na ito proyekto ng LP lang kundi proyekto na rin ng lahat ng grupong naniniwala sa mga layunin ng pagkilos na ito,” Pangilinan said.
He also reiterated his call for volunteers. “Let’s urge our family and friends to join and hold as many conversations as possible. Sumali mismo tayo sa pakikinig. Ibahagi natin ang konting oras at alamin ang kwento ng ating mga kababayan. Let us continue to build this movement we have started.”
Sign-ups ongoing, listening weekends to be held until mid-December
Volunteer sign-up at www.projectmakinig.ph is still open for all.
More volunteer testimonials can be found under the hashtags #Nakikinig and #ProjectMakinig. Project Makinig is on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @ProjectMakinig, where updates to the project are regularly posted, including schedules for weekly nationwide Grand Listening Weekends.
Contact person: Ivan Paul Picazo, Project Makinig project coordinator, 0917-8124161