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  • Michael Ostan-de la Pena

Finding meaning through Ideas Positive

Updated: Aug 22, 2022



The most fundamental question in this universe is, “What is the meaning of life?” Unfortunately, despite my four years of arduous study in Nursing, the answer remained a rare fish to catch – that is, until I discovered the Ideas Positive program of Unilab Foundation.

The most fundamental question in this universe is, “What is the meaning of life?” Unfortunately, despite my four years of arduous study in Nursing, the answer remained a rare fish to catch – that is, until I discovered the Ideas Positive program of Unilab Foundation.


Ideas Positive is like a majestic cave for me. It is a program that is challenging yet very fulfilling. During my fourth year in college, I found it very difficult to juggle studies, clinical exposures and paper presentations. But every time I woke up early in the morning, whenever I saw myself in the mirror, the fundamental question kept on appearing like a ghost, haunting me, asking about my existence.


“I must do something.” As a die-hard fan of the 1987 constitution, allow me to quote Section 13: “The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation building.” As a member of the youth, the future of this country, it is our duty to help in nation-building. Ideas Positive was the start of something great and daunting.

WAYA, my group which I’m very proud of, was shaped by the passion to make a difference in our own unique ways. With the providence of a just God, we entered the cave last 2013 with the mission to build a healthier community for the people of Sitio Pang-Pang in Dumangas, Iloilo.


Our project “Tahong for Life” addressed the high incidence of diarrheal diseases in a community where people process tahong or mussels as their main source of livelihood. The unsanitary working environment and practices resulted to diarrheal diseases, which affected almost 70 percent of the children in the community.

Our project empowered the community members to form a strong and unified cooperative to formulate solutions to the health problems. Health education, skills validation, environmental modification and livelihood support were the main ingredients that led to the success of the project.


The journey was very, very dark. We fell down many times during the battle. We were crushed like ice under the scorching heat of the sun, but because of our strength, we never evaporated. Through bayanihan, our friendship and shared purpose in life, we were able to eradicate the high incidence of diarrheal diseases in the community from 60 to zero after our project implementation. We saved lives. We prevented an epidemic.


Yes, by profession I am a nurse. Ideas Positive made me realize that the meaning of my life is to nurse the country, especially the highly neglected people, in a way that only I can.


Michael de la Peña or Mikee is a member of Team WAYA, the Grand Champion of Ideas Positive Run 3. He hails from Iloilo, and is now a Project Officer of Ideas Positive. He loves community work, creative writing, and law.

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