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Western Union's Heroes for Better

In celebration of Western Union's 25th year anniversary in the Philippines, a global tribute and advocacy campaign to celebrate and recognize the efforts of Filipinos around the world who have given their time, money, skill or expertise to make a positive change in their own little way. The "Heroes for Better" campaign also aims to showcase them as role models to inspire others to likewise take positive action to help create a better world.

In line with this advocacy, Western Union will be honoring 25 Heroes for Better, from around the world, with inspiring and interesting stories to tell.

One of these role models is Eddie Vega "The Barefoot Bandito". His story is known for setting the world record for most marathons run on bare feet as a way to raise awareness and funds to over 300 million children worldwide who don’t have shoes, including those in the Philippines.

Though far from his native land, he never stopped caring for young Filipinos. In fact, the passion he has given his cause clearly goes beyond remembering these kids. What struck him even more is the fact that in many countries around the world, schools refuse to accept children unless they wear shoes. For him, this contributes to the vicious cycle of poverty.

And that is where his advocacy began; one that started out as a dare. Running on the 5th day of his 50th marathon for the year 2012, he joked about having no more shoes for his last run. He had only brought 4 pairs, and he had used one each for the past 4 races. It was then that he decided to run the race barefoot, dedicating the effort to his parents who had passed away. The move introduced him to a whole new method of running, which he totally enjoyed. Moreover, curious people who saw what he did began to spread the word about his feat.

As of May 2015, Eddie Vega had completed hundreds of full marathons in different countries, barefoot. He is one of only six individuals in the world to complete a marathon in all 50 states of the US within one calendar year. He holds the distinction of being the only person in the world to complete more than a hundred marathons within one year, completely BAREFOOT.
Other heroes currently on roster of Western Union's "Heroes for Better" campaign are Edmond Corpuz and Adelaida Saito.

Edmond Corpuz, "The Pencil Crusader", together with friends, initiated and organized the "Black Pencil Project" targetting far-flung barrio schoolchildren from kinder to grade six to donate school supplies from the Ifugao communities, to other remote provinces as far as Batanes, Sulu and Southern Palawan. To date, the project have inspired and mobilized immersion programs like photography and art workshops, as well as experiential tours that teach volunteerism, aptly called "voluntourism".

Adelaida Saito, "The Neighborhood Champion", spearhead an organization named Ishinomaki Hawak-Kamay which initially aimed at helping Filipino tsunami victims in Japan, and now also provides financial aid, relief goods, emotional and spiritual refuge to victims of natural disasters even to other parts of the world.

The acts of giving of the 25 Heroes for Better can fall under, but not to be limited to, any of these categories:
  • Education
  • Health
  • Livelihood and Entrepreneurship
  • Science and Technology
  • Promoting Security and Safety
  • Protecting and upholding Human rights (i.e. women, elderly, children)
  • Culture, Arts, and Sports
  • Volunteerism
  • Environmental Protection
  • Migrant Causes

Watch the video to know more about Vega’s story or visit

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