A Santo Niño de Cebu giant solar artwork commemorating the Philippines’ 500 Years of Christianity is being lit to encourage people to be climate heroes.
Liter of Light, a Filipino-born global grassroots solar lighting movement, is unveiling the largest solar tribute to the Santo Niño de Cebu on April 26, 2021, the eve of the Quincentennial celebrations of Lapu Lapu’s Victory at the Battle of Mactan in 1521.
The solar installation is done in partnership with the Cebu City local government, Philippines Air Asia, Rotary Club of Makati Business District, SM Seaside City Cebu, SM Cares, Dexcom Philippines, Inc., and Lalamove. Collaborating institutions include Rotary Club District 3860, JCI Cebu Sinulog, and Big Seed PR and Events.
Each of the hand-built solar lights that make up the installation was hand-built by thousands of participants who signed on to the Liter of Light’s “Light It Forward” Challenge. Inspired by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, LIGHT IT FORWARD has given Filipinos a new way to connect for good by inviting them to build solar lights for communities without electricity from the safety of their homes. Since July 2020, this pioneering digital campaign has empowered thousands of families in energy-poor and disaster-stricken communities across the country.
The Santo Niño de Cebu solar tribute is the first of its kind in Cebu province, where the social enter-prise recently kicked off the Visayas leg of its pioneering LIGHT IT FORWARD campaign. Upon unveiling the finished solar tribute, Liter of Light is inviting people from around the province to come together on Monday at 8:30 PM to share a pre-taped online prayer in unity for the health and safety of the people and planet. The prayer will be led by the Augustinian order, featuring the largest solar rosary in the world.
The tribute to Santo Niño de Cebu is one of several artworks that Liter of Light will be building and unveiling in Cebu over the next months.
Since its launch in July 2020, LIGHT IT FORWARD has counted on the support of 350 celebrities with an estimated total fan base of 30 million supporters, including Cebuano celebrities and influencers like Ellen Adarna, Jen Martinez, Toni Pino Oca, Kali and Tonyo Carcel, Divine Lee Go, Ben and Vern Enciso Lim, and Neil Felipp San Pedro, each of whom has committed to building a solar light and challenged others to join the campaign.
“The quincentennial is a very important time to remember the birth of Christianity in the Philippines, but also to remember the rebirth of a stronger community that with unity and faith will be able to get through this pandemic and shape the next 500 years of the country,” says Illac Diaz, Liter of Light’s Founder and Executive Director.
“His Holiness Pope Francis, through his Laudato Si encyclical, reminded us that nature would arrive at a point where it would no longer forgive. We need to take action now to restore our planet. We chose to pay tribute to Santo Niño de Cebu to remind us all that it is up to each and every one of us to do what we can to create the sustainable future we all want, with faith, hope, and love,” Diaz added.
“SM Seaside City Cebu is honored to be a partner of Liter of Light Organization in its effort to build the largest solar tribute to the Santo Niño De Cebu to commemorate the 500 Years of Christianity (500 YOC). The theme of the 500 YOC is ‘Gifted to Give’ and it is but truly appropriate that the Liter of Light organization has gifted and given more than 350,000 lights in 15 countries all over the world. This monumental collaboration has truly given more significance as SM SM Seaside City Cebu and the Liter of Light organization join the Filipino nation in celebrating 500 Years of Christianity,” says Marissa N. Fernan, Vice President, SM Prime Holdings Inc.
The participative solar artwork is the latest in a series of large-scale solar installations that the Liter of Light has built since November 2020. The foundation built the largest Philippine solar-powered flag in Asia, which was unveiled on Monday, November 30, the birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, and last December 30, Liter of Light paid tribute to Jose Rizal with a large-scale solar portrait of the national hero. On January 6, the organization built the largest solar rosary in the world to unite Filipinos in healing prayer for the world, led by the Manila Cathedral and in partnership with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines. All three of these images were made in honor of the Filipino frontliners that have kept us safe, healthy, and well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This 2021, the organization created a large-scale replica of the UN SDG wheel and artworks representing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, in partnership with Makati City Mayor Abby Binay, the Rotary Club of Makati Business District, and the Bonifacio Arts Foundation, Inc., and the City of Taguig.
Everyone who participates in the LIGHT IT FORWARD campaign receives a kit that they will use to build a solar light, which takes less than 30 minutes to assemble. Liter of Light has created online videos to guide participants on how to assemble the devices. Challenge participants are asked to dedicate their light to an essential worker or frontline that has impacted them during the COVID-19 pandemic. After recording their solar light building, each participant must challenge their friends to build a light.
The campaign is part of a broader strategy for Liter of Light, the official Philippine private sector representative to the upcoming World EXPO, which will take place in Dubai from October 2021 to March 2022. [https://tinyurl.com/yxfv2e7b] The organization will use its platform to shine a light on how Filipino malasakit is paving a way for a brighter future in a tangible, measurable way.
This article was first published on GoodNewsPilipinas.com. To learn more about the Liter of Light and the Light It Forward campaign visit the website here, the Liter of Light on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.