The Year 2015 in Pictures


Started off 2015 with a trip to Big Sur with Sean for my birthday


Then I took a tumble while riding my bike to work at the end of February. Broke my forearm bones and had to be in a sling for a while.


Sean and I went to Australia in March for my cousin Jeff’s wedding.


The extended Faustino Family


Took a couple of videography classes


My sister and her daughters visit SF

Sean and I went to Hawaii for Julie and Andrew’s wedding


Sean’s bday bowling, and then we went to Lazy Bear that night

I photographed Bola and Segun for their wedding


Went to Hawaii for Yuki & Phil’s wedding (yes, Hawaii twice in a year)


Sean and I went to his old stomping grounds in Montreal

Then to Vermont for James and Gaby’s wedding


One Degree launched One Home


We had the One Degree team retreat in the highest building in SF


Sean and I took a trip to LA for our 3 year anniversary and stayed at this amazing hotel


Visited Sean’s family for pre-Christmas

Visited my family in Las Vegas for Christmas

AND the big event! Sean and I got engaged!

The Year 2014 in Pictures


Started off 2014 with a trip to wine country with Sean, Karla and Karla’s mom


We began community outreach, and this is Karla giving a One Degree workshop at MEDA


My TV debut on NBC News for One Degree

Speaking YC Demo Day


Uncle Sean and Griffin

Uncle Sean & nephew Griffin spending some quality time together. Cc @swaughsfo

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Our Echoing Green Family in Seattle

#EchoingGreen #Seattle gathering at #OKcopay's world headquarters. #EGfellows2012 love!

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Dani, my former BUILD student, in Seattle


Cousin Celine’s graduation from college

Sean’s birthday trip to Monterey Bay Aquarim

It's #otter time! Happy birthday @swaughsfo

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Leela visiting San Francisco with Rachel

Leela's in town!!!! Spending time with my sister and my niece in #SF

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Rest in Peace, Tita Badette

Remembering Tita Badette. RIP Tita. Love you always.

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The One Degree team at FFWD demo day

Sean and I biked across the Golden Gate Bridge

Bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge with @swaughsfo

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Karla, Sean and I watched Pippin, my fav musical

PIPPIN!!! W/ @swaughsfo & @karlitaliliana #PippinSHN

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Sean and I took a trip to LA for our 2 year anniversary, and we visited the MOCA

At LA MOCA for #AndyWarhol Shadows exhibit w/ @swaughsfo #reysean

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Taj Mahal

Made it to the #TajMahal!!! So breathtaking

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Visited Sean’s family for Christmas

Pit stop at #Harvard w/ the Waughs on way to airport. Cc @swaughsfo @kelswaugh @hillwaugh

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Leela and Elliot, my little babies

Vegas babies! Hanging out with my niece and nephew

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Faustino Bros wish you a happy new year!

The Year 2013 in Pictures


Starting off 2013 with a trip to wine country.

Winter wine tasting on last day of vacation!

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Eating my favorite dish at State Bird Provisions with Grace.

In food heaven with @gcchung at State Bird Provisions. omg the best meal I've ever had in SF!

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First trip to the ballet!

First ballet ever at @SFBallet. Rite of Spring was amazing!

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Took a trip to SXSW in Austin and received the SXSW Dewey Winburne Community Service Award.

Honored & humbled to receive the #SXSW Dewey Winburne Award. Dewey was a great man!

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Another trip to wine country, this time to brand new winery, Young Inglewood.


Hiking in Las Vegas with my brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece.

Hiking Mt Charleston with the siblings. Leela was racing up the hills!

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Romantic dinner at State Bird Provisions.

We finally made it to @StatebirdSF Provisions. Happy Valentine's Make-up, @swaughsfo !

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10 year New Orleans reunion with Karla for the College Summit workshop staff training.

A crazy packed Memorial Day weekend in News Orleans French Quarter. @karlitaliliana @dannyprz

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Sailing San Francisco Bay.

Underneath the old Bay Bridge.

Sailing underneath the old #BayBridge.

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Underneath the new Bay Bridge.

Sailing underneath the New #BayBridge.

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We brought One Degree’s first hire, Eric, to the opera for his first week.


Independence Day yoga.

One Degree company trip to Colorado Springs.

Sean and his nieces and nephews in North Brookfield, MA.

Uncle Sean & the nephews & nieces in North Brookfield. Cc @swaughsfo

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Romantic getaway to Provincetown, MA.

Strolling through Provincetown #ptown

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Trip to Toronto, Canada for a wedding.

With @swaughsfo at the Dorn/Duncan-Brown wedding in #Toronto. #reysean

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Biking through Toronto.


AG’s birthday.

@adrigarcia at #AGbday with rey #bday

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Our intern’s last day of her internship.

Best opera I’ve seen so far: Mefistofeles.


New One Degree offices at Say Media!

Our one year anniversary!

Thanksgiving with the siblings.

Echoing Green All Fellows Conference in DC. Unwinding with the fellows.

Yuki & Phil’s wedding day!

Best birthday ever at State Bird Provisions — yes, that’s 3 times this year.

First Christmas in our new home.

I was evicted! Here’s how you can help

folsom st

This entrepreneurial life is like a roller coaster. After some great highs this summer, I recently hit a low.

After a year of living in my charming home in the Mission District, someone bought our building and is moving in — effectively kicking me and my roommates out. Since my current home is rent controlled, it has worked perfectly for my startup budget. I literally cannot afford anything more than the rent I’m paying now. Devastated, I’ve been holding onto this news for about two weeks because I quite frankly am scared about the implications of finding a new place to live.

Have you been on the Craigslist SF Housing/Rental section lately? It’s a scary, gentrifying world out there. San Francisco, I want to love you and live with you so bad, but you’re making it so hard.


I have about a month left in my home — until October 15. And here’s where I turn to you, my friends, and ask you for your support.

  1. Do you have a friend who is looking to fill an empty room in their SF home? Please let me know about them! I got my place now because of a referral from a dear friend.
  2. Can you recommend a good tenant lawyer for me? My roommates have been to the Tenants Union, and by now we’re experts at eviction laws and relocation fees, but I need professional help at this point.
  3. Do you have some space or a garage where I could possibly store a few boxes while I’m in between homes?

Thanks to my loved ones (especially Sean, my bf) and friends who’ve already shown a huge outpouring of love during this stressful time period. Your support means the world to me.

Happy 10th Rebirthday

Ten years ago, I woke up in a cold hospital room with a bloody tube protruding from the side of my chest, spleen torn in two places, bones broken, and barely breathing. It was a nightmare.

But I was surrounded by loved ones who nurtured me and my friends who were in that car. And I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the strength you all lent me.

Today, I stand at the edge of graduating from Harvard, and I’ll be competing in one of Harvard’s most prestigious competitions, the Innovation Challenge — all for the sake of launching One Degree and making kids and families’ lives better. This is a dream come true.

Thanks to everyone who’s given me love and strength over the last 10 years.

New Years Goals 2011


I can’t believe we are already at the end of February, and I haven’t posted my 2011 New Years Goals yet. Alas, this is the life of the graduate student. School comes first, and everything else is secondary. I mean, if you’re spending several gold doubloons for something, then you should immerse yourself in it, right? I’m pretty sure you can tell from my tweets and blog posts that I’m all up in the intellectual and academic world of Harvard and enjoying every bit of it. But enough about that.

2011 promises to be a year of evolution. At the very least, it will be the culminating point of three decades of evolution, along with the bright beginning of a new chapter in my life. It’s hard to imagine turning 30 in December. Some days I still feel like a kid and some days I feel like I just want to be out of school already to get some work done. The past 29 years have weaved a rich tapestry of experiences, and I’m kind of excited to be turning 30. So 2011 is really about the end of an evolutionary period in my life and the start of a whole new one.

As I was thinking about the goals I wanted to set this year, I thought about making a “bucket list” for the final year of my twenties, but that just didn’t seem appropriate. I feel like turning 30 is more subtle–more evolutionary–than that. I actually don’t agree that 30 is the new 20. I think we should let 30 be 30. 30 is the year that you automatically get street cred. You’ve been around the block for a little while. You’ve built up a reputation and 30 is dignified. So I’m going to ease into my 30’s, and keep doing what I’ve been doing to make the last year of my 20’s as classy, dignified, and fun as possible.

As I do every year during my reflection time, I started by re-examining my goals and values from last year and then brainstorming new goals that fit with my revised personal values. I did not change my personal values at all and have created 10 new goals for 2010.

Personal Values

  • Challenging Adventures – I live for new and challenging experiences, whether that’s professionally or personally, with others or in another country. The thrill of adventure stimulates my soul.
  • Contribution to the World – I live to make lasting, positive impacts on society’s most pressing problems.
  • Expressing Creativity – Being able to express myself artistically, musically or professionally keeps me inspired.
  • Lifelong Learning – I love to learn. I am energized by the steady and deliberate journey from ignorance to competence to mastery.
  • Quality – I choose to live a full and quality life, which is neither excessive nor is it below my standards of excellence.
  • Family & Friends – Above all, my life is about the people I choose to journey with. They are my heart.

New Years Goals 2011

  1. Do something physically challenging
  2. Do better at celebrating my friends and family
  3. Explore and get to know Boston and New England
  4. Continue improving my Tagalog comprehension and speaking skills
  5. Enter in a case competition and a business plan competition
  6. Take a risk with a personal relationship
  7. Go through the start-up phase of business plan for nonprofit
  8. Honor and celebrate the last year of my 20’s

Here’s to a constantly evolving and improving life, and to a fabulous culmination of my 20’s!

End of the Year Check-in 2010

At the beginning of 2010, I said that this was going to be the year of taking incredible leaps and trusting that I’ll land safely, even though I wouldn’t know exactly where I would wind up. Ominously, last year at this time I said that 2010 was not going to be easy, and guess what…. it wasn’t. 2010 was indeed a rollercoaster of a year. After spending a inordinate amount of my fall of 2009 working on grad school applications and essentially hidden from the world, I spent the beginning of 2010 wondering if all of that work paid off. And then in January, there was a large blow to our family when my dad’s mother, Nanay Ising, passed away. I was able to be there with her in the Philippines during her final moments, but it was an incredibly sad way to start 2010. I knew, however, that my grandmother was with me in spirit on March 22 when I received my acceptance letters to Harvard. The beginning of the year was truly bittersweet. Here are some other highlights from the year.

  • Spending Nanay’s funeral and mourning period with my entire family in the Philippines
  • Trips to New York (Tony’s bday & watching the US Open), DC, LA (Steve & Jen’s wedding!), Austin, New Hampshire, Maine and of course Las Vegas (oh, and my parents moved to the Strip!)
  • Finding out that my little sister got engaged, and then finding out that she’s pregnant!
  • Going on my 10th BUILD college tour
  • Leaving BUILD (and SF) in July after 5 amazing years
  • Moving to Cambridge and starting at Harvard
  • Getting certified as a Rap Director after 3 years of training with College Summit!
  • Dream come true: visiting the mother of all mother countries (Spain) with Karla and falling in love with Sitges, a gorgeous beach town
  • Meeting CEO’s of successful nonprofits: Year Up, Pratham, Planned Parenthood, United Way, and more
  • Watching some awesome speakers: Muhammad Yunus, Michelle Rhee, Rachel Maddow, Arne Duncan (OK, so he wasn’t an awesome speaker, but it was interesting nonetheless)
  • Becoming an uncle when my brother’s baby, Elliot, was born in October
  • Writing a business plan for my Education Policy course that I will probably launch
  • Let’s not forget that Prop 8 was overturned and DADT was repealed
  • Raising enough money to work with Gawad Kalinga during my winter break

And as I do every year, I wanted to check-in on the goals that I set for myself last December.

  1. Go on a spiritual journey – Yes, the trip to the Philippines for my grandmother’s funeral was quite the spiritual journey.
  2. Take a GIGANTIC risk – There have been a couple of gigantic risks taken this year, but the biggest by far was leaving my position at BUILD after five years and starting my grad program at Harvard.
  3. Get more involved and make a positive impact in the gay community by doing some gay rights advocacy work – This wasn’t exactly as I imagined, but I joined the staff of Harvard Kennedy School’s first-ever LGBTQ Policy Journal.
  4. Learn how to write music and then write a song – Yes!
  5. Build something with my hands – Yes, I built a laptop stand. 😉
  6. Continue improving my Tagalog comprehension and speaking skills – Yes, they’re getting better
  7. Deepen my spiritual practice (yoga, Catholicism) – Yes, at least definitely with the yoga.
  8. Read at least 8 new books – Yes, I think this is true, particularly since I started grad school, and we do a ton of reading all the time.
  9. Connect with my international relatives at least once a month – Yes, via video chat or IM.
  10. Continue spending time with family members – Yes, I took a lot of trips home.

It’s been a great year, and I’m really looking forward to 2011!!!

First Week at Harvard

The first week at Harvard has been a rollercoaster. Coming off of a fantastic vacation in Spain, I definitely started out on a high note. Even biking around town in the pouring rain to buy groceries and take care of other business didn’t really phase me. Sure, I miss my car a lot. Every time it rained in San Francisco — actually even when the sun was out — I took my trusty Prius to where I needed to go. This biking/walking/busing lifestyle will take some adjustment, but I’m getting there.

And then orientation at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government started, and let me just say that I have some ridiculously amazing classmates. We’ve got a guy who was one of the first astronauts from South Korea, a lady who has her MD and her MBA and who’s looking to get a third. We’ve got fellow nonprofiteers, former teachers, servicemen and women, and people who have hobnobbed with heads of state. We have this one girl who has three passports, and this one guy who has visited 86 countries. We’ve got future politicians, future ambassadors, future foreign ministers, leaders who are bound to make some real social change in the next few years. Wow. To say that I was humbled on that first day upon meeting my classmates is an understatement, yet I held my own. I know my purpose here, and I am extremely excited to have such high caliber classmates to add to the fabric of my education.

However, I’m not going to lie. There was a millisecond where I felt like I slipped in undetected, like I was a spy living a double life. “I snuck into Harvard! I got in without them noticing! Ha!” I certainly felt a tinge of that as I sat in HKS’s storied John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum, where heads of state, celebrities and students all have had the chance to speak. But Debbie Isaacson, the director of the MPP program, reminded us that “Harvard does not make admissions mistakes. You belong here, and you were meant to be here.” And as several other speakers reminded us on day one, each of us was chosen because of our propensity to be leaders and our drive to fix our world’s most pressing problems. We answered the call.

So as I lay here in bed, after a long weekend of being ill (I had to get these vaccinations, which caused side effects, like fever, aches, cramps and tiredness, for about 48 hours), I am still astonished at this journey of which I am about to embark. And I remain grateful to everyone that has helped get me to this place.

Wish me luck as I start classes this week! (And that I get over this illness quick so I can actually go to classes!)

Seven Weeks Left in the Bay Area

I have these gigantic 3 ft by 2 ft calendars on my wall to see all of our activities and events for the upcoming three months. Since today was June 1, I took down my May calendar, and put up the July and August calendars… And then it hit me. I’m not even going to be working at BUILD in August! My last day at the org is July 16, and I have about seven weeks left at this organization that I called home for five years. A few days after my last day at BUILD, I’m driving down to Las Vegas to spend time with my family, and then flying to Boston to find an apartment. Crazy.

Over the last few days I’ve been trying to brainstorm all of the things I want to do/get done in the Bay Area before I leave, so below is my audacious (narrowed down) list of fun things to do. If you are around and available, please join me!

Fun things to do before I leave

One of my favorite places in the city, Dolores Park
One of my favorite places in the city, Dolores Park


  1. Pacifica Beach Trip: Surfing & L&L Hawaiian BBQ
  2. Napa Wine Tasting
  3. SF Pride!
  4. Mistro (Mission/Castro) Crawl: Mission mural tour, picnic at Dolores Park, Castro Slides
  5. Yoga Classes: Darren Main, Janet Stone, Rusty Wells, Pete Guinosso, Dina Amsterdam & of course, Eric Kobrick‘s Yoga en Espanol in preparation for Spain trip
  6. Golden Gate Park & Presidio: Yoda Statue & CA Academy of Sciences
  7. Hiking: Muir Woods, Mt. Diablo
  8. Singing: Karaoke at the Mint (which is a given!), SFGMC Pride Concert

My Favorite Restaurants

  1. Back-A-Yard in Menlo Park

    My heaven: Back-a-Yard Caribbean Food!
  2. Cha Cha Cha in the Mission
  3. Sushi Time in the Castro
  4. Sol Food in San Rafael
  5. Front Porch in Bernal Heights
  6. El Zocalo in Bernal Heights
  7. Zante’s Indian Pizza in Bernal Heights
  8. Taqueria Cancun in the Mission

New Restaurants that I want to check out

  1. Lucky Chance’s Filipino Buffet in Colma
  2. Mission Pie in the Mission
  3. Thanh Long in the Sunset
  4. Pi in the Mission

Anything else I need to add to this already ridiculously long list? And again, join me!

As per usual during the summers, not only is it going to be filled with sunshine and renewal, but also a lot of traveling.

Tentative Summer Plans

  • June 12 – BUILD Graduation
  • June 24 – SFGMC Pride Concert
  • June 26-27 – SF’s 40th Pride
  • July 7-11 – College Summit Workshop at University of the Pacific
  • July 14-16 – BUILD All-Staff Retreat
  • July 16 – Last Day at BUILD
  • July 20 – Last Day in SF
  • July 21 – Drive to Las Vegas for Faustino Family Time
  • July 28 – Fly to Boston
  • August 4-8 – College Summit Workshop at University of Southern California – Also my Rap Director Certification workshop!
  • August 10-22 – Trip to Spain’s Mediterranean Coast with Karla
  • August 24 – Harvard Kennedy School Orientation
  • September 1 – First Day of School!

Taking the Next Big Leap after BUILD

After five amazing years at BUILD, I’ve chosen to take the next big leap in my life: this summer I’m going to graduate school at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Yes, I’m going back to school! I’m moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts! I’m going to Harvard! 2010 is truly the year of leaping and landing.

I’ll have more to say about BUILD over the next few months as we go through transition — I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done over the last several years, and very optimistic about what the future holds. I’m deeply indebted to the BUILD staff for believing in me, challenging me and trusting me with our flagship site. All of our amazing mentors, volunteers, and board members have been crucial to BUILD’s success as well, and I would be remiss if I did not thank you all.

And I especially am grateful to our BUILD students and alumni, who continually inspire me to do the work that we do and show me that our society’s educational inequities and problems CAN be solved… even if it is one student at a time.

I’m pretty sure that I’ll have more to say about my Harvard experience as I transition to the East Coast. Ya’ll know that education is extremely important to me — and I specifically wanted to model that by going back and getting more education. Special shout out to my parents for instilling the love of learning in me! And they say it takes a village… to raise a child, and then send that child to college, and then to send that child to grad school. I want to communicate a deep gratitude to all of the people who aided me throughout the application process: Oudete, Karla, Chantal, Suzanne, Larisa, Sal, Tim, Amber, Craig, Kenyon, Alex, Jim, Amber, Sandie, Regan, Steve, Adriana, Elizabeth, Tony, Jed, Richie, Bola, and of course my family–Mom, Dad, Francis & Rachel. I literally could not have taken this gigantic next step without you!

Below is a note I sent out to everyone in the BUILD Family, with a little bit more explanation for why I chose to go to Harvard.

Onward & upward!

Dear BUILD Family,

Over the last five years, BUILD has grown in significant ways. We have expanded into three sites with a robust, life-changing and innovative program. I have had the privilege of working with phenomenal BUILD students, aiding their growth into confident young entrepreneurs and college students. And I have had the opportunity to work with talented community members and partners, like you, in the fight for educational equity. I am so proud of all that we have accomplished together in my five years at BUILD.

This summer I am about to embark on another personal journey. It is with careful thought and great anticipation that I want to let you know that this will be my last school year with BUILD. In August, I will pursue a master in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Pursuing my education in this country has been a lifelong dream. This next step will allow me to be a better leader for communities of youth in our country and around the world. After delving deeper into education policy in graduate school, my goal is to affect systemic, transformational change in the education sector at national and international levels. Although it is hard for me to even imagine leaving BUILD (and California!), I would be a hypocrite if I did not take risks in the way we ask our students to.

The BUILD Peninsula site is in good hands. Nicole Oppenheim, our current E1 program manager, will be the next site director of the BUILD Peninsula site, and I have the utmost confidence that she will lead the Peninsula team to achieve new and exciting heights. Her management experience and innovative vision and implementation of our freshman year program showcase her qualifications for the site director position.

My last day at BUILD will be on July 16th, and I encourage you to please reach out directly if you have any questions before I leave in the summer. I am equally available on phone or email.

Thank you for our relationship, your continued support of BUILD and your partnership in the fight for educational equity.

With deep appreciation and gratitude,


PS – Because of the transitions, we are hiring an Academic Program Manager and an E1 Program Manager at the Peninsula site as well as a few other positions in Oakland, DC and our Headquarters. Please check out our website for more information and please spread the word:

PPS – I’d love to stay in touch with you: Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter