Enriching would be the perfect word to describe my experience of the in-person workshop of the Philippine Digital Content Creators Hub Fellowship by Climate Tracker and Oxfam.

“Celine, you have food in the room,” read the message from my roommate Pat, the latest in a string of messages in the group chat with the other fellows and some of our mentors.

The timestamp was 9:32 PM, and I haven’t yet arrived at the hotel.

It took two flights to get to Manila from my current homebase of Camiguin — which, to be fair, was quicker than having to drive our camper van, our mobile home, from Mindanao back to Luzon. But that did not change the fact that I missed the acquaintance dinner.

From backreading through the chat, I could already tell that connections were made, inside jokes were brewed, and I felt a great sense of #FOMO from not being there.

When I finally got to my room at half past 10, Pat was out to meet some friends, so on the first day of the in-person training, I didn’t see anyone in person.

Fortunately, that all changed in the next few days. From the next morning’s breakfast to the last day’s session at the pool and the moments in between, I got to hang out with the most amazing individuals. I got to learn with and from mentors with diverse backgrounds and expertise, and the relatively small group size made the sessions intimate and the bonding deeper.

This training was the first one I had ever since I became full-time in my conservation work, and I was so glad for the opportunity. From being intentional with your work, learning how to pivot, making impact with low effort, to incorporating principles and techniques from tv writing and visual arts to content creation, the access we got to a trove of experiences and knowledge was astounding and incredibly enriching. I mean, where else can you get a thorough, insightful one-on-one feedback session with a multi awarded journalist?

Perhaps the most important thing about this training for me is getting to know the other fellows, people who valiantly took up stations at different fronts in this Good Fight — LGBTQ rights, feminism, sustainable fashion, food rescue, access to public parks, indigenous wisdom, social justice among them. There we were, all tugging at different strings to finally unravel this worn out fabric of greed and oppression, and weave a cloth where everyone has a livable future. Different ways, different voices, but all clamoring for the same thing: a kinder, better, more compassionate world. There we were, sharing and feeding off our energies and passions.

Building and nurturing communities is revolutionary, and learning from and with these inspiring, talented, and committed individuals was an awesome way to cap off my January.

About the author of this article
Celine Murillo

Celine has written extensively on conservation and environmental issues. Her work had taken her to remote jungles and wild forests. She’d immersed herself in indigenous cultures, learning how their traditional practices and beliefs impact conservation measures. She spends most of her time documenting wildlife and wild places.

View Celine's stories