Illac Diaz, My Shelter Foundation, 1 Liter of Light, Peace Boat

Illuminating the World Through the Voyage of Light

A kind of familiar voice with a very familiar name joined in my then favorite duo on the air in an episode of the SAGO. The usual morning mix became even more delish with the eye candy guest. Though I couldn’t see them but could definitely hear total excitement from the duo’s voices. And it was just the icing on the cake since the man of the hour was wearing his heart on his sleeves. My usual laugh-out-loud bit while listening became an aww moment. Yet I couldn’t figure out why he sounded so familiar.


His name’s Illac Diaz, the Executive Director of My Shelter Foundation. He just got back from the States and wanted to share his learnings with us, fellow Filipino. He’s presenting an ingenious idea that could light up Filipino homes without even trying. The 1 Liter of Light project. It’s a recycled plastic bottle daylight system with a liter of water mixed with 5mm bleach in it then mounted on the roof. Not much sorcery but plain Science. The refraction of light in the mixture illuminates the space. It’s a readily available solution to end energy poverty in the country. An advocacy Illac wanted to take part in. And that morning conversation gave awareness to everyone who tuned in, including me. Definitely me.


From then on, I kind of followed the voyage of light. From the daylight system in 2011 to simple solar circuits a few years later. So simple even 12-year olds can make them. This innovation came in handy when Tacloban was almost wiped out by the super typhoon Haiyan. The team flew in to teach youth groups and women to build solar solutions by hand. From converted kerosene lamps to mobile charging systems and streetlights.


1 Liter of Light was not only spreading light around the Philippines but it sparked a global movement. By having a liter of light installations in Colombia. Participating in the Launch of the International Year of Light in 2015 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. Winning the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2016 in the NGO category in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Partnering with various private companies, like Pepsi, to share the knowledge of building these solar lighting in some parts of the world. Also selected as one of the top 100 youth-led solutions around the world by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a youth advocacy partner of the United Nations. Back in the Middle East, this Filipino ingenuity was recognized as one of 70 Global Innovators from over 2,300 candidates to showcase its technology at the Dubai Expo 2020 as part of the EXPO Live program.


This year, I finally saw the face behind the somewhat familiar voice and very familiar face since he used to model, at a press event on Dec. 11th. As he’s about to set sail around the globe TODAY, Dec. 26th, aboard the Peace Boat.

A Japan-based international NGO which holds Special Consulta- tive Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN). It promotes peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. Peace Boat carries out its main activities through a passenger ship that travels the world. Guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Peace Boat’s activities onboard and in port empower participants, strengthen local capacity for sustainability, and build people-to-people cooperation beyond borders.

The conception of this partnership surfaced during World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi back in January 2016. This voyage is kicking off in Yokohama, Japan. Then docking in 19 ports around Asia, Africa, and South America in 100 days.

On the boat, Illac, together with the 1 Liter of Light team will have the opportunity to lead workshops and teach participants how to create solar lights. These lights, along with the ones assembled in advance in the Philippines, will be delivered to communities in need at the ports of call throughout this voyage. In each light fixture, Filipino spirit and ingenuity shine the brightest.


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