Carlo Delantar pays it forward with clean water for communities
By Joanna Cuenco
WHO becomes country director of anything before the age of 25?
Wanting to do something unorthodox and unconventional, Carlo Delantar, 23, has been making waves as country director of Waves for Water, not to mention his other work for sustainable and high-impact projects around the Philippines.
Carlo first heard of Waves for Water through surfer friends. Among various activities, W4W’s main mission is to distribute simple filtration systems that can provide clean water to entire villages. Now operating in 20 countries, the organization was founded in 2009 by Jon Rose, a pro surfer who was inspired by his father’s work of traveling to Africa to provide clean water to communities there.
When Typhoon Yolanda struck, W4W responded immediately. “Nobody oriented me, but I understood what they needed — buckets, transportation, other logistics,” Carlo said. It didn’t matter that he had never met the W4W team personally before he picked them up at the airport. “I thought of all those people affected by that huge typhoon, and I just wanted to help.”
While the team was responding to northern Cebu, they were already planning for far-flung communities that are not easily accessible but have the same need for clean water. Carlo has been working with W4W to support communities around the Philippines and in Asia. He was appointed country director a year after Yolanda, and W4W has to date helped over 800,000 Filipinos.
W4W is not Carlo’s first or only venture in community work. Growing up, his family’s upbringing made social responsibility and sustainability seem normal and expected. The family business, Nature’s Legacy, has manufactured and distributed environmentally sound home and garden furnishing and accessories to 40 countries for 30 years. His parents not only make sure that the products are socially responsible — even leftover components are upcycled into fashion accessories under their Floreia line — but the business is as well in providing meaningful and rewarding jobs to their staff.
When he was in college in the US, Carlo volunteered for a non-government organization in California that provided solar panels to communities. As part of JCI in Cebu, he spearheaded the Shoe for Every Juan project with Toms Shoes, which became even more meaningful after the 2013 earthquake in Bohol. “I’ve worked with the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor,” Carlo says in describing the scope and scale of his pursuits.
“If you receive so much but don’t pay it forward, there’s an imbalance,” Carlo explains when asked why he does what he does.
On the go
Carlo moved to Manila about a year ago both to expand his work for W4W and for the family business. He is the showroom director at D+M (Design and Manufacture) in Makati, which makes it easier for architects and interior designers to approach them for customized accessories for world-class establishments like Shangri-La, Pan Pacific Hotel and South Palms Beach Resort.
In the style of today’s young executive, Carlo has mastered the art of working mobile. Technology and social media are no small help for him to get his work done. Through Instagram, W4W was able to raise awareness and $100,000 for Yolanda.
Carlo is also an active member of the Cebu hub for Global Shapers, an organization under the World Economic Forum of 20 to 30 year olds who curate projects to improve the world from the grassroots level. His involvement took him to Indonesia in 2015, where he was the youngest participant at the World Economic Forum. “The Cebu hub is here to make Cebu a better place,” Carlo said, adding, “2016 is going to be a big year, with bolder things to come from the Global Shapers.”
On many days, he may get a call needing urgent response to typhoons for W4W, and immediately after, get a call asking for D+M to rush accessories for 500 hotel rooms. But when Carlo has time to himself on his twice-monthly visits home, he goes free diving, where he can be in his element in complete silence.
When surfing and free diving, one has to master balance physically and mentally. Carlo takes this important lesson with him in all that he does even outside the water. “Knowing that I’m balanced inside, I know I can do anything.”
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Grooming: Joanna Cuenco