Joana Bacallo




Youtube (Rappler talk)

The lives the youth live nowadays are unparalleled.

I work among the clouds- I am responsible for your inflight safety and comfort because I am an international senior flight stewardess. I have moved away from the Philippines about eight years ago and embarked on a traveled life.

Free flights are amazing- this is one of the perks of my day job and it made me experience art and beauty but I also saw the ugly side of it too especially with water, sanitation and hygiene to countries I visit.

Although my office is 40,000 feet up, I spend my days on ground learning about surrounding topics on water and advocating for people in rural communities to have more knowledge and access to cheap drinkable water.

I wanted my impact magnified even after I created Agua Pura Natural, a purified water filtration and refilling station startup in my hometown in Metro Manila and I am continuously pioneering on how to engage young people to be advocates of water and its conservation even when they belong to different industries and practicing different crafts- they can make a change, they can start a difference in their respective communities.

I believe entrepreneurship empowers communities especially its young women as this activity provides the tools to immediate solutions to grassroots yet basic social problems we usually take for granted like the lack of water and poor sanitation.

This is where the real impact starts. Everyone can be a practical and a tangible sources of hope in their small respective circles- the ripple effect!

There’s a rainbow always after the rain… with Joana Bacallo #isharehope Episode 113

Summary: Joana’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?

Joana Bacallo:

I just like to play outside and if it’s raining, I cannot do that so I get upset but my grandpa would always say “the rain won’t last” and he was always right. “It wouldn’t be raining the entire week, you’ll have that chance to play again.” I carried that thought onto adulthood that any challenging situation I have wouldn’t actually last. There would be a sunny day the next day and I always look forward to that sunny day. For me that is hope.

Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?

Joana Bacallo:

My grandpa played a lot of role in my development as a woman that I am right now. My parents raised me and I would say that a great part of my education in terms of formation is going to be my parents. They are no longer together. My dad went to Saudi Arabia and my mom went to Abu Dhabi. I grew up with my sisters – we looked after each other. Maybe I didn’t want to because I wanted to play, I wanted to discover things and travel, but no, I had to be a parent. I embraced that and I think if my parents’ separation had not happened, we would not be the women we are right now, so I would not change a single thing.

Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?

Joana Bacallo:

There was a moment in our family that I didn’t understand why adults did things. Why are they fighting? I had to work to fund my education because my parents were gone. I didn’t understand. I had to be a parent to my younger sister and at the same coordinate with my sister so we were all in that limbo – lost. It’s either I get away and resent this whole thing or keep calm and coordinate with my sister and stick with my values and the principles that my parents taught me. Again, I knew this difficult time wouldn’t last and maybe the hope would be forgiveness in the future. I didn’t know how forgiveness looked like. Forgiveness happened when my sister got married and my parents were invited. I haven’t seen them for a decade. I thought that was going to be weird, but my sister was very calm and I was so tensed. When I saw my dad, I paid respect. In the Philippines, we grab the elders hand and put it in our forehead – we call it “mano”. That’s the first thing I did.

I told my sister if forgiveness has an act, that would be this particular moment. The three of us haven’t seen our parents for a long time and this is the first thing that we did. This was the day that I said from this day on everything was going to be okay. This was the sunny day that I had been looking forward to. It happened. It was true – the rain wouldn’t last.

Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?

Joana Bacallo:

I was going back and forth and in that whole process, I was able to build a startup and a very good friend of mine oversees it. I just thought I was giving access to water. I just thought I was earning money from the entrepreneurial venture. I did, but looking back and comparing with the countries that I visit, I’m actually providing clean water in a small community and the people that I cater to are the massive population. They are not well-off and they have the least access to water. I’m a flight attendant and I knew I had to learn more about water so I did research and I stumbled upon an event called The World Water Week. That’s where I was able to start this whole thing. It’s in Stockholm. I just went there and I learned that this generation that we have can actually end water poverty. From that day on I try to connect myself with people who are very important and doing relevant work about water and sanitation. I’m not from the industry but I can travel anywhere, so I used this platform to spread awareness, do volunteer work and organize events as much as I can and as far as I can. I was engaged into this group called Young Professionals for Water. They’re under 35 and they’re all in different industries too. The common thing for us was we wanted to learn and we wanted to make some changes. I organize events and crowdfund and am able to start water projects. You just have to partner. I think there’s power in partnership. It’s fun!

Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?

Joana Bacallo:

(1) Take the responsibility of wanting to share hope and stick with it. Cut all the excuses not to do it.
(2) Use your available resources in sharing hope.

Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes and Stitcher.