LOOK: Filipino Wins in First Ever Olive Tree Global Writing Contest

Ever wanted to win an international contest? Here’s some advice from the #PinoyPride who recently became one of the first-ever “Olive Tree” awardees in history!

Michael Jaleco Lacson, or “Mico” to his friends, wins first prize on a new writing competition called the Olive Tree Awards, along with Mariana de los Santos from Mexico (who he tied with) and Maryann Asim from Pakistan (2nd placer).

The Olive Tree Awards is about how travel and tourism can help reach United Nation’s “Sustainable Development Goals.”  Sustainable Development Goals is “a collection of 17 global targets set by the United Nations” including ending poverty, ending hunger, and ensuring better education, just to name a few.

When we think of travelling, we dont always see it as a way to solve serious international problems, so it’s fascinating that this competition brought light to that topic. Among the more or less 100 participants from all over the world,  Michael’s essay stood out. Mr. Shivdasani, one of the judges, said that “Mr. Michael Jaleco Lacson’s essay clearly stood out from the rest. His view that Travel and Tourism brings the world together and increases compassion, learning, understanding and wisdom is one I share quite strongly.”  

This is the first time that the contest was held, and it claims to be the first-ever writing competition about the topic. Having a Filipino as one of its two first grand winners shows how Pinoys really care about making a difference! Michael also received a certificate from Cornell University’s Civic Ecology Lab about Environmental Education a month before he won.

This raises awareness on how wanderlusts like us can help in pushing businesses and politicians to use tourism not only as a way to earn money, but also as a means to fix our society’s crises in a responsible way.

Here is some advice at winning writing competitions from the grand prize winner himself:

Be proactive in finding competitions to join.

There are so many international respectable competitions under our noses, but they’re not always advertised mainstream. That means you have to do the work in sniffing them out.

Focus on contests that cater to your skillset.

If you want to increase the chances of winning a prestigious award, you have to be clear on what kind you want to join, and that means playing up your strengths. Don’t enter a category if you know it’s not your forte, nor join one about a topic you don’t feel passionate about.

You have to offer real value.

Global competitions are usually held because of a serious topic. These are used to send a message about a meaningful subject or even offer solutions or suggestions to real problems.

Make sure your masterpiece answers the topic by giving important, useful, and smart ideas that can be used to make the world better.

Welcome feedback,  hear people out, and learn from them.

Michael says he considers himself lucky that he is surrounded by intelligent people that help widen his horizons. “Having meaningful discussions about relevant topics with my family, friends, and colleagues them be more open to new perspectives, which is an important trait when tackling international issues with people hailing from other nations.”

Michael also advocates eco-tourism and responsible travelling,  such as proper waste disposal when on a trip and choosing only businesses that don’t harm the wildlife.

“We have to take care of the environment, because Mother nature can survive without us, but we cant survive without her. Besides, if we’re more responsible in conserving the planet when we travel, there will be more beautiful places for our travel goals, not just for us, but for the generations to come.”

Check out this digital copy of the magazine where his winning essay was published:

The Olive Tree Awards is sponsored by Sonu Shivdasani, the CEO of luxury hotel chain Soneva Hotels, created by journalist Imtiaz Muqbil, and judged by various experts in media, politics, and business from Thailand.


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