Lighting Up The Sky

Fly over Manila come nightfall and you’ll be greeted by millions of twinkling lights from the window of a plane. Miles upon miles of city and suburb are lit up with the yellow glow of fluorescent bulbs; street lamps along major thoroughfares, hundreds of glass buildings in the heart of the business district glowing from within, and tawdry after-hours establishments selling their wares by neon signs and flashing bulbs. Yet only a few hundred kilometers away, an eight year old boy in the small town of Pola studies his Panitikan aided with nothing but a kerosene lamp. It’s 7pm, and his day is over. In the world, 1.5 billion people live in complete darkness come nightfall. In the Philippines alone, 3 million households have absolutely no access to the power grids that supply light and electricity within their homes. Three companies are trying to make a dent in this disparity by bringing not just light, but empowerment where it is needed most.

Stiftung Solarenergie


On a mission to provide renewable light to households living off the grid, Stiftung Solarenergie developed a compact solar lamp that can be recharged during the day through plain old solar energy. The little lamps are equipped with LED bulbs and a small socket capable of giving off enough wattage to charge a cellphone—which will allow users to refrain from walking at least 4 kilometers to the nearest outlet and pay PHP 15 just to make sure they’ve got battery enough to send a text. The Solarenergie foundation also started the Hike for Light and Ride for Light campaigns, bringing lamps to countless households living along the mountainside in the Philippines.

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Isang Litrong Liwanag


Aided by the MyShelter Foundation and Pepsi Philippines, the Isang Litrong Liwanag project explores the re-use of 1 liter plastic soda bottles and household bleach in order to absorb solar energy within the day and reflect it within an isolated area at night. The eco-friendly and sustainable method is meant to benefit underprivileged communities and informal settlers within the urban landscape, acting like a self-replenishing solarium once darkness falls. Developed by students in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this sustainable technology is not only free, but environmentally friendly as well.

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One Million Lights


Spearheaded by two high school students living in Metro Manila, the One Million Lights project is a global initiative that aims to bring safe and sustainable lighting to impoverished homes all over the globe. Along with India, Cambodia, and Africa, the Philippines is paving the way to providing hundreds of households with lighting sourced from the sun. With solar lamps that can be recharged throughout the day, the One Million Lights project began in Catanduanes, and is continuing its efforts to light up the sky all across the Philippine landscape.

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