JJCHMYLIFE : You’re a considering raising white belt and you are from Philippines. How is the brazilian jiu jitsu scene there and how you got involved ?
Meggie : The BJJ scene in the Philippines is growing. I think we can say that the Philippines is one of the best in Asia when it comes to BJJ. There are numerous quality BJJ athletes from the Philippines that have made their name in the global scene. It does still have a pretty long way to go but then again BJJ is an evolving sport. It just doesn't stop growing, and the Philippines actually isn't too far behind in that growth.
JJCHMYLIFE : To help achieve your dream of competing at the Worlds IBJJF 2014, you turned to social media. How was the process and what have learned ?
Meggie: Raising funds through social media was just…wow. Not only was I able to achieve my funding goal, there were also countless lessons learned and very empowering experiences along the way. All I did was come up with an account in makeachamp.com, pour my heart out in my writeup and promote it through facebook. From there, everything just followed. Several people shared my main post, and the word spread very quickly. I was able to get around 20% of my funding goal in less than 24 hours! My posts even reached the media. Two of the biggest media conglomerates in the country did features on the post, and I was even invited for a few TV appearances. To me, that was a very big thing because it helped spread awareness on BJJ as a sport in the Philippines, and it showed to people that the problem of funding is something that shouldn't prevent people from reaching their dreams. If you have a dream, you should do everything in your power to reach it. Challenges actually present opportunities rather than problems. Most of the time, they are what make your experience more worthwhile in the end. I was really overwhelmed by everyone's support, and I am just absolutely grateful! Complete strangers would donate to my campaign, and there were even a number of anonymous donors. Apart from that, people I didn't know would message me and say that I have inspired them to pursue their dreams. That, to me is just priceless, and that is one of the main reasons why I am determined to reach my goals. I really would like to help others achieve their dreams in any way that I can. By using social media, my journey became a shared experience. That makes me want to get there even more, because when I fight, it's not just for the mere fact that it is my dream, I fight with and for all those that believe in what I believe in.
JJCHMYLIFE : You quit your job to pursue BJJ and also started a non-profit grassroots organization. Can you talk a little bit about that ?
Meggie: Actually, my job was the non-profit grassroots organization. I used to work at a media-based environmental NGO that mainly focused on starting up community based sustainable tourism (CBST) sites around the Philippines. The concept of CBST, put more simply is tourism that empowers and mainly benefits local communities and improves the state of the environment of an area. When I quit my job to pursue BJJ, I made a promise that I wouldn't leave behind the advocacy that I believe in, which is CBST as a means for inclusive growth for the Philippines. Given that, my sister and I started up prooPH inc, a multi-disciplinary corporation (not a non-profit) that seeks to promote the amazing aspects of the Philippines. For now, the focus of our company is on tour operations through microcawesome tours. The tours will mainly be featuring CBST sites around the Philippines in the long run, aiming to promote the concept and to let people realize that economic, social and environmental growth can actually happen simultaneously. To me, pursuing BJJ will actually help in that advocacy. Like I said in my campaign, having an impact in any field will give you a voice, will give you the power to inspire, to influence, to motivate, and somehow, the more I achieve in the sport, the more capable I feel to actually deliver the message.
JJCHMYLIFE: Good luck at the worlds, we will be there rooting for you.
Meggie: Thank you so much for your support and for considering to make a feature on my experience!