GK honors Hecky

Hecky was honored on December 6, 2010 during the Gawad Kalinga Builders Night at Club Filipino in Greenhills for his efforts in alleviating poverty and for being a role model and a “kalinga hero”, a caring hero which is one of the values that GK promotes to fight poverty. Tammy, Hecky’s wife, Hecky’s family and friends were all present that night.  GK’s founder Mr. Tony Meloto was also there and talked about Hecky being his hero. Below is Mr. Tony Meloto’s tribute to Hecky as published on GK’s website.

Hecky: The Genius is my Hero


In my amazing journey I am blessed to walk with heroes every day.

Their company keeps me happy, sustains my energy and lights my way.

Daily I am inspired by the constancy of this caring and doing army

of countless country-lovers, hope-weavers and dream-builders in GK,

ordinary citizens without claim to immense power, vast property or money,

armed only with the audacity not to accept poverty as their shameful legacy

and the integrity not to embrace corruption as the way to scandalous prosperity.

One stands out among many —

Hector Villanueva or simply Hecky to me.

Husband to Tammy, father to his twins, son-in-law to my friend Danny.

Hecky is the good-looking face of the new Filipino patriot and the pride of my race,

the man with an honest mind, an intelligent heart and a spirit that is at peace.

At par with the best in the west and at home with the least in the east,

with a doctorate in his vest, the world was his yet chose his country as the best.

It is hard to understand the heart of a hero or the genius of a true Filipino,

who loves country beyond self and even sacrifice family to create abundance for many,

who sees country as gift and opportunity and countrymen as wealth and family.

He inspired generous family and friends in all ’85 to be all- caring and all-sharing,

to shelter the homeless, to teach the idle to work and the hungry to feed themselves.

I was speaking at Harvard when I heard the news that my quiet hero took a rest.

It was the perfect setting to remember a patriot who knew what true genius meant.

He went peacefully as the dawn – softly and silently as his nature not to fuss or bother.

Dearest Hecky, thank you for the gift of your presence and the power of your example.

Your life is our template for faith in action and our fuel in transforming our nation.

Your book is our guide in our spirituality to be a people who honor our Creator.

You will be in every village that will rise, in every step towards our victory in 2024.

You live because you give.

Hecky with GK ALL85

Hecky with wife, Tammy
More of Builder of Dreams>>>

Gawad Kalinga (c) 2010
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Dreams Coming True | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online

Dreams Coming True

By Cecile Jusi Baltasar
January 30, 2011, 3:26pm

It’s been described as many things—from “astig” to “kulit”, to even “the product for a renewed manufacturing future for the Philippines.”

“It” is bamboo bikes, made by Kawayan Tech, a unique company whose objectives are, according to its mission-vision statement, to “design, develop and market bamboo products, technologies and services; and to develop indigenous forms of bikes and other alternative means of transport—such as…bamboo skateboards—as social entrepreneurship initiatives with expansion and replication goals.”

Kawayan Tech is composed of dive instructor and resort operator Boy Siojo, visual artist Eng Chan, U.S.-based educator John Climaco, and Eric Cadiz, an electrical engineer who also runs a motorcycle dealership. The most outspoken among them was urban anthropologist and environmental consultant Hecky Villanueva, a bright, passionate man who passed away last November 2010. “We were ‘triathletes,’” he said in an old interview about him and his friends, who were all members of the U.P. Mountaineers. “We’d ‘try this, try that.’”

Hecky Villanueva was an urban anthropologist who, in 2006, was looking for a dissertation topic and stumbled on Gawad Kalinga (GK). He adopted it as his own—he organized GK walks in Tucson, where he was then based with his wife Tammy; he also spearheaded two GK villages. In 2008, Hecky heard about bamboo bikes and became fascinated with the idea. He delved in deeper until he realized that bamboo bikes would be a good business opportunity—for himself, GK, and, hopefully, countless other Filipinos. Hecky then tapped his UP Mountaineer friends to help put up Kawayan Tech and realize his dream.

In July 2009, with a couple other groups, Kawayan Tech invited over bike builder and designer Craig Calfee, through his Bamboosero program, to give a bamboo frame-building workshop. Calfee’s SBamboosero program gives training and other support for bamboo bike building in countries that need it. After a week-long workshop under Calfee, the Kawayan Tech partners finally had the proper technical know-how to build their own frames.

For their initial bamboo supply, they relied on Hecky’s network of bamboo lovers. Boy also visited provinces where they had friends—and friends of friends—with farms, and the contacts grew from there. Currently, Kawayan Tech has bamboo suppliers in Dumaguete, Antipolo, Rizal, Laguna, Batangas, Tarlac and Pampanga.

After tweaking some kinks in the production process, and training two workers from the Sitio Pajo (in Baesa, Quezon City) Gawad Kalinga village, Kawayan Tech was able to churn out an average of four frames a month last year. These finished masterpieces are marketed through and sold to friends of the partners. Their reputation spreads by word of mouth from aneurysm.

Since Hecky’s passing from an aneurysm, Tammy has now taken over his role in the company.

Beyond bikes

Apart from the obvious—that Kawayan Tech’s bike frames are made of bamboo—what sets these bikes apart is the fact that each one is handmade. The only power tool used in production is an electric drill, which runs for a maximum of three minutes per frame. Still, Kawayan Tech is fine-tuning its production process so that, eventually, even the use of the drill can be scrapped—they want to build their bikes with pure elbow grease.

“People will usually think metal bikes are better because they’ve been tried and tested,” says Tammy. “But here are bamboo bikes that are easier on the environment. So why not [try them out]?”

These bamboo bikes are also an easier ride. Because of the nature of this specie of grass, bike frames built from bamboo absorb much vibration from the road. This means less chatter, less discomfort on the bottom.

So far, Kawayan Tech has built frames from different species of bamboo for mountain bikes, road bikes and fixies. The frame’s base price retails at P20,000, which may go up depending on the artwork used to decorate it. “One plan is to have Mindanao artists handpaint the frames, or put capiz inlays,” Hecky shared in a prior interview.

Clients are usually from Europe—Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland—and the U.S.

They’ve also come up with a push-bike for toddlers and bigger children learning how to ride a bike. (The push-bike has no pedals and no training wheels. It runs when the child pushes down on the ground with his feet—developing coordination and balance—and doing away with unnecessary dependence on training wheels.) Kawayan Tech also produced, last year, the Philippines’ first electric bamboo bike, the Electric Eric, designed and built by—who else?—Eric.

Beyond these, Kawayan Tech plans to build bamboo skateboards and wheelchairs. But they won’t stop there. After all, Hecky envisioned Kawayan Tech to be “all things bamboo.” And so they aim to produce as many products they can make out of bamboo, even, perhaps, down to the humble toothpick.

Aside from your usual chairs, benches, and tables, “there are 1000 to 1500 products that can be made from bamboo,” a perfect opportunity to promote creativity and manufacturing unique to the Philippines, and arrest the current direction of the country’s relying on imports.

Like abaca, another sturdy native plant that can be worn, eaten, and used as building material, “everyone should consider investing and exploring planting bamboo,” Hecky once said. It takes three to five years for it to mature, “but after that, you’ll be growing and harvesting every year. You just have to know what to do with it. Everyone should get into planting bamboo, especially OFWs—they should see how they can invest their savings, and explore (the future of) bamboo…Our country could represent regional excellence in bamboo if (likeminded) people get together.”

A Social Conscience

Hecky left behind, among a host of other things, a dream that was just taking off. However, Hecky’s partners are pushing forward with the grand plan Hecky thought up for Kawayan Tech and, ultimately perhaps, the Philippines.

“Eventually,” says Eng, “we want to act as distributors of Kawayan Tech’s products. We will continue to partner with Filipino communities and they, in turn, will become our suppliers.”

“Ultimately, we’re building partners,” adds Boy. “We want people to farm and harvest bamboo for us, another community to measure and cut up the bamboo, and another to build the frames for us. And then we’ll buy the frames from them for distribution. We will expand not by hiring employees but by creating business partners.”

Gawad Kalinga is the first community that Kawayan Tech has partnered with. But there are others these cyclists plan to tap in the near future. Presently, they are in talks with the Aeta community, trying to convince this indigenous people to farm bamboo for Kawayan Tech.

With its social responsibility written into its business plan, Kawayan Tech, through Hecky’s efforts, landed as a finalist in last year’s BiD (Business in Development) Challenge. The BiD Challenge, where final judging is held in Amsterdam, is an annual international competition among entrepreneurs who can present a business plan that balances profit with a social responsibility. —With reports from Gina Abuyuan

Kawayan Tech is online at www.kawayantech.wordpress.com and in Facebook (Kawayan Tech Bamboo Bikes). For orders and inquiries, e-mail kawayantech@yahoo.com.

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dirt weekend

Kawayantech raced their bamboo bikes at the Dirt Weekend bike event held at Nuvali in sta. rosa laguna last Nov.27-28,2010. we entered two racers, Eng and Russ Chan in the cross country category and two teams in the 24 hr MTB race. our first team, Kawayantech-Nemar placed 2nd in the all male category, completing 116 laps around the 3.5km loop and our second team, Lagalag-KawayanTech, placed 7th with 98 laps.

Kawayantech-Nemar team composed of Ewok,Mark and Inan

russ chan in the top ten of the womens crosscountry category

KawayanTech-Nemar team

Levi Nahayangan of team Lagalag-KawayanTech with his engineered black bamboo MTB

Ariel of team Lagalag-Kawayantech in the transition area

Al Viado, the one who did the most number of laps in the team Lagalag-Kawayantech

Thanks to Jong Narciso for saving the team from all the bike mechanical problems!

at work

at play

Our bamboo bikes performed very well. The only problems we had came from the bike components.

bot and rene our bike builders

Tammy Villanueva with the twins Bixia and Quintin, dropped by on Sunday to cheer and give encouragement to the team in the final hours of the race. Hecky was looking forward to this event and we know that up there  he’s proud that his dreams for the future of bamboo bikes are slowly being accomplished.


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thank you for introducing bamboo frame bicycles in the Philippines.

thank you for leading and guiding KawayanTech.

thank you for touching and enriching our lives.

thank you for being a friend.

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engineered bamboo handlebars

31 inches wide.

2 inch rise.

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Last May 28 – june 5, one of the pillars of KawayanTech, Hecky Villanueva, represented the Philippines at The BiD Network Week 2010 in the Hague, Netherlands. During this week he connected with potential investors, other  SMEs, coaches, experts and other business people. Hecky also got the chance to present KawayanTech’s business plan in front of  a jury  during the event “Growing SME’s- IT’S TIME TO INVEST!”, an international marketplace and SME focused conference. Overall, it was a week full of learning, exchanging experiences and networking.

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“Electric eric”

KawayanTech has come up with its own Electric Bamboo bike aptly named The Electric Eric.

Years ago, when the partners of KawayanTech were much younger, Eric Cadiz was hit by lightning on top of Mt, Makulot in Cuenca, Batangas. He was knocked unconscious and he had to be carried down the mountain. The swiss knife he had on him at the time when he was hit looked like it was welded. His pants had a rip on the side reminiscent of how kids draw lightning. Eric survived that ordeal and the UP Mountaineers started fondly calling him Electric Eric.

Eric took the lead in developing this product as such we have named this model The Electric Eric

It is the first electric bamboo bike in the Philippines and it had its first ride on September 21, 2010.  With an average speed of 21 kph, it performed well on its 42 km trip from Lipa to Taysan and back.

The Electric Eric 350 watt electric bamboo bike


Eric Cadiz with his electric eric bamboo bike


The 350 watt Electric Eric poses with the 650cc Suzuki Gladius.


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Adobo on Kawayan

AdoboRice.com features Kawayan Tech

Ana Gonzales of AdoboRice.com recently featured Kawayan Tech on their homepage.

AdoboRice.com, based in the United Kingdom, is one of numerous online initiatives by Filipinos worldwide to spread Filipino culture and heritage.  Thanks Ana!

Check out their website.  They’re also on Facebook.


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Kawayan Tech online

Kawayan Tech has been cropping up in the online world courtesy of friends and colleagues.  The plugs, dear friends, are much appreciated.

Bim Legisniana of Dispatch Magazine Online or dispatchmagonline featured Kawayan Tech recently. Check out the pictures of our single fixie bike.

Lastly, urbanist, artist, UNICEF ambassador, and trendsetter Daphne Osena-Paez blogged about the KT bike that her husband, ABC5 news director Patrick Paez, recently acquired and set up.  With a Brooks saddle seat to boot, the bike is a beauty.

Patrick’s bike. Photo from Daphne Osena-Paez’s blog

Bamboo bikes-we.are.alternative.energy…

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ride for cory!

In honor of the first death anniversary of our beloved President Corazon C. Aquino, Kawayantech participated in the “Ride for Cory” bike event last sunday August 1st. Organized by the Cory for Carewell Cyclists, we rode around the Ortigas-Bonny Serrano-EDSA-Connecticut loop with other bikers for the benefit of the Carewell Community who provide education, support and hope to persons afflicted with cancer and their loved ones.

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