This solar advocate couple finds hope for Love in the Time of Pandemic

HSBC Philippines
 Illac Diaz Solar Advocate
Illac Diaz and Ami Valdemoro, leaders of the Liter of Light’s advocacy for reducing energy poverty in the world, take time out to experience Manila’s first drive-in theater.

Solar advocate couple Illac Diaz and Ami Valdemoro are finding hope to nourish their love despite the restrictions brought on by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“Love in the Time of Pandemic” is a catch-phrase that this solar advocate couple caught in the Philippines’ lockdown is embracing with the same passion for reducing energy poverty in the world going into finding new normal ways for dating and celebrating their relationship.

The internationally-awarded Filipino social innovation group Liter of Light’s dynamic duo were spotted enjoying the preview at the new drive-in cinema of the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) which officially opened September 9, 2020.

Diaz, the Executive Director of Liter of Light Foundation, and Valdemoro, Director of the foundation’s Board of Trustees, were celebrating the newest international recognition for their efforts to provide sustainable solar lamps to communities still without electricity.

The Light it Foward campaign that asks influential people to hand-build solar lamps and then to challenge others to do the same while honoring frontliners of the COVID-19 pandemic has been named the Best Social Prosperity project by the Asia Pacific Social Innovation and Partnership Award (APSIPA).

The solar advocacy champions together presented Liter of Light’s new project to the APSIPA panel of judges from around the region and were awarded for the case study on its current “Light it Forward” campaign which unites artists, the media, businesses, and service groups to change the world even while confined in their homes amid the pandemic.

Liter of Light received notice of the recognition for Light it Forward on September 8 which will be awarded during the Asia Pacific Social Innovation Summit which will be held virtually from September 21-25.

Illac Diaz and Ami Valdemoro returned to Manila after their successful Voyage of Light on the Peace Boat, a 100-day mission that provided solar lights to deprived communities around the world.

On the sidelines of its interview about the APSIPA award, Good News Pilipinas asked the solar advocates how they celebrated the recognition.

Diaz said they sampled Manila’s first drive-in theater at the SM MOA on the day they received the announcement of the win for Liter of Light.

The couple went there for the preview in the style – in a vintage 1952 Volkswagen beetle and providing a picture-perfect photo opportunity for the drive-in theater’s launch.

Diaz, an Edison Awardee who was featured on Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks film at the Universal Comcast in Philadelphia, said the drive-in experience allowed them to feel a sense of going back to before the coronavirus pandemic hit the world and restricted movements, while at the same time following health safety protocols.

“It was a feeling of going back no normalcy after the longest modern city lockdown in the world. It was very safe with the protocol of checking for temperatures at the gate, but all guides and servers with PPE. Even the handing of snacks was contactless and food order by text,” shared Diaz.

Valdemoro, who worked with Diaz on the Good Light Message of Hope solar lighting campaign during the Luzon lockdown, agreed with her partner and said she found hope in the chance to experience normal couple activities like dating.

“Kahit may takot or uncertainty tungkol sa pandemic, meyron pa rin pagasa at opportunities for doing normal things – going on a date with the person you love. We felt super safe and taken care of – parang nagenjoy rin yung staff who were there. It was something different,” described Valdemoro of the drive-in experience.

“We enjoyed being spaced apart (car) more than two meters. The sea breeze was perfect and comfortable. Ang mainit lamang ang paningin sa isa’t isa,” Diaz coyly added.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Illac Diaz and Ami Valdemoro, the solar advocate couple giving us hope with their Love in the Time of Pandemic!

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Aurora Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.