Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Donsol ‘writing challenge’ spurs Filipinos’ creativity

August 14, 2020 - 6:10 PM
Joseph Gordon Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks at a TED talk in this photo uploaded on his official Instagram account on Aug. 21, 2019. (Photo from Joseph Gordon-Levitt via Instagram)

Filipinos allowed their creative juices to flow as Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt looks for Pinoy writers who can compose a good story about a “beautiful moment” in Donsol, a town in Sorsogon Province.

The “500 Days of Summer” actor launched the search on his official Facebook page on Friday morning where he shared a picture of a fishing boat seated on the waters of a beach in the town.

“Looking for people from the Philippines who like to write… know anyone?” Gordon-Levitt wrote with a smiling emoji.

“I need someone to write a sentence or two that tells the story of this beautiful moment in Donsol,” he added.

Those who are interested may send their entries at the link he provided on the post.

Looking for people from the Philippines who like to write… know anyone? :)I need someone to write a sentence or two…

Posted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Thursday, August 13, 2020


The link leads to the website of HITRECORD which seeks to look for entries under the “Passport Poems” series.

The website was founded by the American actor in 2004 as an open online community for creative collaboration.

Gordon-Levitt said that the platform is where people can “create and develop art and media collaboratively.”

“So rather than just exhibiting and admiring each other’s work as isolated individuals, we gather here to collectively work on projects together. Videos, writing, photography, music, anything— we call them all RECords,” he explained.

The actor added that contributing artists also get a share of profit once a collaborative work goes “especially well” and is able to be transformed into “money-making productions.”

Gordon-Levitt previously sought the help of Filipinos for an international project where participants should record themselves saying a prompt in their native languages under the “Poetry Around the World” initiative. reported that the project earned various translations of the prompt in local languages like Tagalog, Cebuano and Hiligaynon.

The project also encouraged participants to send poems written in their own native languages.

Donsol spurs creativity  

Gordon-Levitt’s latest project about Donsol has 260 contributions as of this writing.

Some of the creative pieces submitted to his platform are titled as “Captivated,” “Enigmatic Beauty,” “Cradle,” “Dapithapon,” “Amethyst” and “Solace.”

There were also Filipinos who attempted their luck in the comments section of the actor’s Facebook post where he announced the initiative.

“It’s funny, this two sides of the world. The first one is in utter chaos, while the other one seems like time couldn’t touch it at all,” a piece by Facebook user Allyssa Gaspar reads.

“The soft wind kisses my cheek. The fleeting sun still smiles at me. The whisper of the sleeping waves relaxes me. The songs of birds above and unseen warms my soul. The sand envelops my feet and embraces my heart. I now realize, in the here and now, whatever life may bring in the days to come, that I held peace in my hands, and it shall be with me, until I find my way back to shore again,” wrote Guile Canencia.

“I would abandon the boat and drown in your cold depth despite the fervency the rose quartz skies could give me,” wrote Marinella Del Pilar.

“A place where I always find myself literally chasing the light.
I wonder what that must be like, to live in a place where the sky is forever restless,” Naynet Belmonte wrote.

“She gasped at the sight of the hues around her thinking it must be true what they say, that you see through rose-colored glasses when you fall in love. It was because she fell in love with Donsol even before the sunset majestically colorized the skies and all,” wrote Iam Iyam.

Donsol is a town in Sorsogon that is famous for its whale shark sightings, specifically from November to June. It was noted that the “world’s largest congregation of whale sharks” can be found in the municipality.

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet said that the town used to be an “obscure, sleepy fishing village” until a local diver in 1998 “shot a video of the whale sharks and a newspaper carried a story about Donsol’s gentle butanding.

Last year, it was reported that over 100 new whale sharks were spotted in the area which World Wide Fund for Nature said increased its “ecological significance.”