What feels better than taking home a Grammy?
For The Black-Eyed Peas’ Allan Pineda Lindo Jr., more popularly known as apl.de.ap, it’s seeing less-fortunate children get proper education and, therefore, a chance for a better life.
In 2011, Pineda, through his own apl.de.ap Foundation and the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation, launched “We Can Be Anything”—a campaign to construct more learning facilities, to help alleviate the acute shortage of (an estimated 66,800) classrooms all over the country.
At a recent press con, Pineda told the Inquirer that his foundation has built 15 classrooms in various provinces, including in his home province Pampanga, as well as Cagayan and Bataan. He also reported that the foundation has furnished his alma mater, Sapang Bato Elementary School in Angeles City, with a music room and a computer lab.
“I’m very hands-on,” Pineda said. “When I find the time, I visit the classrooms and watch the students working on the computers, doing projects, editing videos. The teachers say the students are all doing very well. I’m very proud of them; they fill my heart with joy. That feeling is priceless.”
Currently in the country primarily for his coaching duties in ABS-CBN’s reality singing contest, “The Voice of the Philippines,” the Filipino-American hip-hop artist said he wanted to make the most out of his month-long stay by continuing his education advocacy.
“I see on television that some kids in far-flung areas walk long distances, even cross rivers just to get to school. I found that very disheartening but, at the same time, admirable. That’s what keeps me going, doing the best I can,” he said.
Now, Red Ribbon and the Franklin Baker Company have teamed up with apl’s foundation for a project whose goal is to raise money to build schools, starting with one in Zamboanga that will benefit over 600 students.
“I was fortunate to have been given a good education, and I want to give back. These children want to learn—I’d like to give them a place to do that,” said Pineda who, at 14, moved to the United States after securing a Pearl S. Buck Foundation scholarship.
Named by Malacañang as a celebrity peace ambassador in 2012, Pineda said he wanted to use education as a tool to inspire unity in conflict-stricken regions. “Education creates opportunities and, ultimately, prosperity. I hope it then inspires peace,” he said.
During the press con, Pineda performed his song, “We Can Be”: “Get your education/Change your situation… ” Thus, the international artist delivered the message that, with learning, one can be whatever one dreams of.
“Through my music, I want to urge children to dream, and dream big,” he said, and announced plans for his own vocational school, or even a music academy.
Meanwhile, he is bent on scouring the country for promising musicians. This, he said, was among the reasons that he decided to be a mentor in “The Voice PH.” Through his label Jeepney Music, he said, he planned to assist aspirants in jump-starting their music careers.
“We’d like to give them budgets for marketing or for making their own music videos. Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to do that,” he said.
Asked for updates about the independent movie that he planned to produce, Pineda said he was working on the story, which was still being refined. “I have received suggestions for possible directors, but I still have to go over their reels,” he said. “Essentially, the movie is about a boy from a small town who goes to a big city… it’s going to be a slapstick comedy.”
Was he open to acting projects for local television? Pineda seemed hesitant but, since doing “The Voice PH,” he said, he had become more and more relaxed in front of the cameras.
“As the show moves on, I feel more comfortable sharing my stories and relating with the contestants. Maybe I can do TV na!” he said, laughing.