Human Development International Vanguard Corps: Call To Save The Mountains Of The World

January 25, 2008

Getting to know HDI Vanguard Corps with Janelle So of Kababayan TV (LA 18) in Los Angeles. Click here if you cannot see the video.

A couple of Saturdays ago, I invited John Ryan Largo, the founder of Human Development International Vanguard Corps, Ian Jon Mendoza, Executive Director for HDI Philippines, and Ryan Largo, HDI USA Action Officer, for dinner at my Fisherman’s Wharf apartment. Bam-i, the classic Cebuano dish with silver noodles and canton noodles (that takes time to cook, you bet!) was something I wanted to share with them. Instead of my fabulous Leche Flan, I opted to serve a selection of Trader Joe’s signature dessert dishes.

Great conversations normally accompany home-cooked meals — and this dinner was no exception. Except for Ryan Largo, who is one of the young professionals I’ve been coaching off-and-on since 2005, I hadn’t seen John and Ian since their visit to Northside Community Center almost three years ago. Since then, John and I have used yahoo messenger to chat. The wonders of technology!

Ryan’s emails to the HDI group of advisers in the US were about updates on the latest endorsements for their call to action “to save the mountains of the world,” as individuals or groups. What I found out that evening was about the group’s more concerted efforts in sustainable development, such as their tree planting projects. My opinion is that something as simple as planting a tree can move mountains, no pun intended. HDI’s all-volunteer efforts have paid off, one small step at a time.

That night, I got to know Ian Jon Mendoza a little bit better. This young engineering graduate is very articulate (see the video). Although I coached him during dinner about contextual undertones in the American English language and warnings about the American dating scene for the “MySpace” generation (watch out, girls, his intelligence is sexy!), Ian certainly walked away that night with lots of books I couldn’t bear to part with but for the sake of orderliness in my life, I had to. Thank you, Ian, for helping me out with my burnt-out kitchen lightbulbs!

This non-profit group has successfully collected endorsements from some of the world’s most revered and respected leaders such as The Honorable Kofi Annan and His Holiness The Dalai Lama and pop culture celebrities. What turns me on is the development aspect of their programs. We hope more donations can help with the scholarships for this corps group.

Go ahead! Plant a tree to honor someone you love. Join the global calling “to save the mountains of the world!”

For a photo book of HDI’s endorsers, go to






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