The Romulo Peace Center is a gathering place for contemplative practices such as yoga, pranayama, and meditation. General Romulo, for whom it was named, was one of the Philippines’ greatest public servants and international thinkers.
“We offer yoga and meditation and other practices that will hopefully encourage people to ‘wake up,’” says Liana Romulo, its founder, “so that they’ll want to stop thinking of just themselves, just their families, their clan . . . their barangay. We want to cultivate in people a desire, maybe even a need, to think globally—the whole planet—and help others.” The Center opened in January 2015 under the auspices of the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development.
Liana believes yoga, pranayama, and meditation can help individuals uncover the best parts of themselves. Modeling her grandfather, who won the United Nations Peace Prize, she wishes to do her share in the global shift toward peace.
“We wanted to build a center dedicated to activities that protect peace, promote spiritual growth, and hopefully produce nicer people,” says Liana. “We have to be kind and compassionate individuals first, because to stop killing it’s individuals that have to refuse to kill. To stop cheating and corruption, we have to get people to want to behave with integrity.”
Growing up in her grandfather’s household, Liana grew up thinking of the world as a small place made up of interdependent nations, each one needing to do its share—not just of effort but also of yielding. A longtime practitioner of yoga, she feels the urgent necessity of shifting to more sustainable ways of tenanting the planet, citing climate change and disasters like Yolanda. In general, she promotes a shift toward “world communal living,” a term her grandfather used in 1945, at the founding of the United Nations, in a speech that prompted the only standing ovation at the nine-week conference.
“Yoga cultivates in us a readiness to yield and to tolerate,” she explains, “to not grasp, to not fight.” In her view, these are preconditions to building a global family and a peaceful world. “In Lolo’s words, we have to come together as ‘a human family on a tiny planet circling a minor sun.’ I’m just trying to help make that happen.”