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Showing posts from August, 2017


Anna, once again, wanted to eat masarap. After a bit of searching on Google, we went to a restaurant called Foo'd (by Davide Oldani) at the Bonifacio Global City. Apparently, we hit a gold mine in this restaurant because it features fusion cuisine. It mixes European cuisine with the freshest ingredients available in the Philippines to create what Chef Oldani calls cucina pop, for everyone).
I like this concept because it means that access to high-quality food is not limited to the elite. The rest of the populace can afford to eat such good food in such lofty spaces without breaking their wallets and without keeping up with the Joneses.

Anna and I decided to go for the five-course tasting menu each. However, because of my food allergies, I had the signature tasting menu (no allergens!!) while Anna had the regular tasting menu (peppered with squid and anchovies).
I wholly enjoyed eating each of the five courses included in my tasting menu. And thanks to the chef who personally went…

Human Nature

ARoS is the largest art museum in Denmark and I wasn't able to tour the place! But that's because I was busy with UNLEASH networking with participants in the same region... but at least this activity happened inside an art gallery. I'll take that as a consolation.
The participants were assigned galleries for meet-ups based on their continent. Uhm... Asia is the largest continent in the planet. There's no way we could properly network post-UNLEASH if the region wasn't subdivided. 
Stop complaining, I thought to myself; the poster did indicate that Asia has been subdivided into three groups: Asia, Middle East, and East Pacific Asia (only that East Pacific Asia now also includes Oceania).

Interesting choice of venue for Asians (I was included in Asia, not in East Pacific Asia). We were assigned to the gallery containing the exhibit called "Human Nature", which, according to the introduction, is all about focusing on what is true throughout time rather than w…

and that's a wrap, #UNLEASHLAB2017

All good things must come to an end, including UNLEASH. The organisers made sure that we had a lot of good stories and experiences to bring home, and so the closing ceremony was nothing short of a bang.
First off, we were herded to the grounds of ARoS where we were invited in to listen to discussions on the SDGs and how different countries are trying address these goals at the UNLEASH festival. The participants were there together with representatives of youth groups in Denmark. This discussion was informative for people who haven't been immersed in SDGs and problem framing for the past 10 days. For me, however, it was the same thing I've been hearing since we've started in Copenhagen. I thought that I was alone in this but the other participants also decided to step out of the discussion and roam around and see the exhibits on the other side of the lawn.

I guess we were also antsy because we have been stuck indoors for several days already. It was high time that we had a…

hello, Aarhus!

The SDG Talents' last stop in our Denmark adventure brought us to Aarhus, the country's second largest city after Copenhagen. One of the first things I noticed is that Aarhus has a small-town, homey feel to it; in contrast, Copenhagen had a busier vibe. Maybe it's because we were dropped off where there weren't too many vehicles and we were crossing the roads at leisure, mainly.
Unfortunately, because our schedule was packed with business cases and pitch practices on our first day, pitch competitions on our second day, and programs on our third day, I felt like I didn't really get the chance to roam this quaint city the way I was able to see Copenhagen on foot. Nevertheless, I was still able to have a glimpse... noting that I'll be back here one day to really just absorb what I'm seeing.
So, right after we've been dropped off at our hotels, we were told to proceed to a company called Bestseller, whose building is found smack on the Aarhus harbour front…, my group's proposed contribution to the SDGs

Over the course of the innovations lab, my team figured that our proposed solution should not only touch upon food security but also address health and sustainable consumption. The problem we've identified was about poor people not having enough access to healthy, nutritious food because it's not convenient, it's expensive, and it's not tasty or attractive.
In comes, a solution that we propose could disrupt the fast food industry by making healthy and nutritious food easily accessible and affordable for poor people. We opted to sell to low-income households and college students in the USA because this demographic has the highest levels of obesity (thanks to the relative ease of accessing junk food) and who typically cannot afford to get sick. Marketing involves strong social media campaigns, banking on the following of one of our members, and involves shocking the audience with adult themes (that some members of the team think could actually sell h…

innovating at Brenderup Folk High School

After three days of putting the SDGs into some context, the UNLEASH participants were transported from Copenhagen to the Danish countryside. This was the meat of the trip: we were going to find solutions, break barriers, and work with people from all over the world. Idealistic, I know... what could we do in four days out in the countryside, right?

But the UNLEASH organisers knew what they were doing. I ended up in Brenderup Folk High School, on a different Danish island, with some of the Food theme participants. In here, we were guided throughout the innovations lab process by Deloitte and several UNLEASH facilitators and subject matter experts.  

The first thing on the agenda was defining the problem, putting it in a proper frame, and finding like-minded people who would like to tackle the same issue. In my case, I wanted to deal with consumer choice and food security. Through a process of self-organisation, I found myself working with Rafael (Spain, conflict resolution), Mikhail (C…

solving global problems, one enzyme at a time

As we, UNLEASH participants, started mulling over what we were supposed to do in the next few days of innovation, the organisers gave us a glimpse of how Denmark is addressing the SDGs.
One of our stops in the Food theme was Novozymes. It's a company that develops enzymes for industrial applications. Being there took me back to the day when I was mulling over whether I'd take Industrial Microbiology (once course, four units, I think) or Human Development and Immunology (two courses, combined weight is five units, I think). My dream of becoming a medical doctor took precedence so I took Human Development and Immunology. 
Look at where I am now.

Anyway, I found the Novozymes approach to be a good example of how technology and income generation could help the world become a better place (yes, I sound so idealistic... indulge me). It partners with many different companies to put their enzymes in these products to help achieve the UN SDGs. For example, a detergent company uses Novozy…

food #firstworldproblem

As we, UNLEASH participants, started mulling over what we were supposed to do in the next few days of innovation, the organisers gave us a glimpse of how Denmark is addressing the SDGs.
One of our stops in the Food theme was Wefood, Denmark's first food surplus supermarket. Food surplus... that's such a first world problem! For someone from the third world, where food insecurity is the main concern, I found a conceptual discordance to the whole idea. And I wasn't alone. After the visit, I was in conversation with a tomato farmer in Kenya and a youth capacity builder from Liberia... they had similar reactions. I then listened in on conversations of people from more developed countries and I got the impression that to these participants, the Wefood concept made sense.
So, I had my first UNLEASH lesson handed to me on a silver platter: I had to keep an open mind and a listening ear because I needed to understand the context on which these types of companies try to contribute to…

meeting Michael Bøm Frost

As we, UNLEASH participants, started mulling over what we were supposed to do in the next few days of innovation, the organisers gave us a glimpse of how Denmark is addressing the SDGs. 
One of our stops in the Food theme was the University of Copenhagen. I was excited because this is where the Nordic Food Lab is found. I'm a fan of the work that the team there is doing and I've been following the research of the lab under the leadership of Michael Bøm Frost. I was absolutely thrilled, to say the least, that I'd actually be sitting in one of his lectures. 

In his lecture, he talked about exploring the meaning of deliciousness. This lecture was well-timed because I just came from a gastronomic adventure in India and I was still processing what I learned from it. Dr Frost's lecture took us through the wonderful world of food flavours and how sensory scientists try to measure, to make sense, and to simulate what people enjoy when they consume food. After all, food is not…

searching for ice cream in Copenhagen

Yes, it's cold in Copenhagen, but who says no to Danish ice cream, right? So, Danila and I went to Strøget, a pedestrian shopping area (the road is exclusively for foot traffic) after the first day of UNLEASH which saw me munching on a dish filled with grub that could cause Timon and Pumbaa to sing hakuna matata all day. I needed to get the taste of insect larvae off and I thought an ice cream could fix that.
The walk along Strøget felt like being in Diagon Alley because of the narrow side streets and the tall buildings at either side of the main street. It definitely wasn't as brightly lit as Osaka's Dōtonbori district.

That doesn't mean to say that it wasn't an interesting walk. There were many shops and restaurants whose designs were pretty eye-catching... like this statue, welcoming diners in his own special way.

But Danila and I had our eyes set to ice cream. So we found this place called Isbar and got ourselves ice cream cones. The ice cream I ordered was so…

strolling in Copenhagen before breakfast

I woke up at the crack of dawn despite the jet lag because I knew that this was one of the last chances I had of exploring Copenhagen during this visit courtesy of UNLEASH Innovations Lab 2017. Armed with my trusty map and camera, I started my walking tour of the city at H. C. Andersen Blvd... of course. After all, he is the city's most famous author. There is a museum dedicated to his memory in Solvang, California. Little did I know that in about a year and a half, I'd be walking the real thing!

The buildings along the boulevard have designs that are inspired by the tales of fairies, princesses, and dragons. True, I'm a few centuries too late to wonder at listening to these stories but still, it's fascinating to see that the city has been able to preserve this rich cultural tradition despite the industrial feel of the city. It was tempting to stop and mull over the architectural styles and the aesthetics of the ornaments; however, I wanted to see other places too. So…