Our People



Meet the Parabukas team and the wonderful people we work with

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Aya de Leon

Co-FOUNDER + Chief Executive Officer

Since 2011, Aya has worked on policies and programs to address climate change through forest protection and management, promoting social, governance, and environmental safeguards. She advises the Philippine government and non-government partners on forest and land use issues and rights, regularly participating in UN climate change conferences as part of the Philippine delegation. She recently joined the Climate Justice Fund as a member of its Board of Trustees.

She led the climate change and environment team of the Ateneo de Manila School of Government for three years, handling project management, training, research, and network-building. She was previously a lawyer with SALIGAN, an alternative legal NGO empowering marginalized groups to effectively engage in the Philippine legal and justice system.

Aya obtained her LL.M. and specialization in environmental law from the University of Hawai'i and her law degree from the University of the Philippines. She has a keen interest in good environmental governance and promoting citizens’ access to information, participation, and justice, especially through legal education and communications.

She is also a certified yoga teacher, enjoys playing obscure songs on the ukulele, and dabbles in graphic design and illustration.

 
 
 

Niner Guiao

Co-FOUNDER + Chief Financial &
Operations Officer

Niner has been working on international and domestic climate change policy since 2009, starting as an intern with the South’s Centre’s Global Governance for Development Programme. She has served as a legal adviser to the Philippines’ Climate Change Adaptation, Loss and Damage, and Agriculture teams at the UN climate change negotiations since 2012, and was involved in numerous initiatives leading to the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement.

She has taught climate change policy and international law in several institutions, and currently serves as a Senior Legal Associate at the Institute of International Legal Studies of the University of the Philippines Law Center, heading its International Environmental Law Research Program.

She has an M.St. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, a Master's degree in Tri-Sector Collaboration from the Singapore Management University, and a J.D. from the University of the Philippines. She has a particular interest in exploring cross-sectoral partnerships in environmental concerns, as well as linkages among climate change, sustainable development, and other areas of work such as energy, health, ecotourism, and cultural heritage.

Niner is also a certified therapy dog handler, frustrated novelist, and aerial arts enthusiast.

 
 
 

Nicole Torres

Senior Rights & Resources Specialist

Nicole has been working on environment, sustainable development and rights initiatives since 2007. She has gained field experience and practical knowledge from engagements with Philippine government agencies, international research and development institutions, and local civil society organizations, allowing her to build a specialization in a wide array of rights and resources issues, including community land tenure, biodiversity management, and forests and climate change. She follows work on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, REDD+ safeguards, and indigenous peoples' rights.

She has a J.D. from the University of the Philippines and is currently working toward a Masters in Anthropology, where she pursues research interests in culture and the environment and multi-species interactions.

Nicole is a birder, who especially appreciates how life finds ways to thrive in the big city. She hopes to one day go on a Big Year, and chase after the rare bird species that she hasn't yet seen.

 
 
 

Sophia Caralde

REsearch Specialist + Administrative Officer

Sophia spent her college years working with University and College Student Councils and student organizations, forging alliances, and fighting for basic human rights. She has been involved in ecological profiling, community profiling, and evaluating disaster risk reduction and management plans.

She became a certified paralegal in May 2019 after undertaking her paralegal training at the University of the Philippines Law Center. She earned her degree in Human Ecology, with a major in Human Settlements Planning, from the University of the Philippines.

Sophia enjoys learning about maps and making them. She is also into calligraphy.

 
 
 

Chester Tan

Communications Officer

Chester graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in Diplomacy and International Relations, where he also served on the Editorial Board of The GUIDON, the official student publication of the Ateneo, as its Externals Manager.

Chester’s interest in photography and journalism has led him to contribute and intern for various publications such as WhenInManila.com and Philippine Star SUPREME. He hopes to show how powerful the medium of photography is in telling stories that matter, especially in the digital age where people are constantly bombarded by fake news and disinformation.

 

Helen Alkuino

Finance Officer

Helen is an Accountant with experience in accounting and bookkeeping for special projects with both local and foreign donors.

She is concurrently the Finance Officer of Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP) Foundation, Inc., and served as Accounting Officer of the Ateneo de Manila School of Government from 2006 to 2018.

Helen graduated from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Accountancy.

 
 

Read more on the team's Previous Experience here.

 

 
 

Our Fellows



The firm's pool of brilliant collaborators

 
 
 
Liz fellow.jpg

Elizabeth Crespo

Elizabeth graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2016 with an environmental certificate, primarily focusing on international environmental law through various studies and externships abroad and the school’s international environmental clinic. In 2014, Elizabeth interned for the Ateneo de Manila School of Government, where she worked on forest management issues.

She attended multiple UN climate change conferences as a member of the REDD+ Safeguards Working Group, where she advocated for stronger safeguards for emissions reduction schemes in rainforest countries, as well as for indigenous peoples' rights and ecosystems integrity in the Paris Climate Agreement. She also worked for the Ecuadorian organization CEPLAES (Centro de Planificacion y Estudios Sociales) as Gender Representative, tracking gender issues in the Paris Agreement.

Elizabeth has worked as a legal interpreter and translator on environmental law in both Spanish and Portuguese.

 
 
 
Bueta+-+photo.jpg

Grip Bueta

Grip is a private legal practitioner and consultant based in the Philippines specializing in environment, climate change, and sustainable development law and adjudication. He has worked with the public and private sector, and with various international development organizations. He has extensively worked with judiciaries and legal professionals across Asia on environment and climate change law, with particular in-country experience in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. 

Grip advises on legal and regulatory matters to companies in e-commerce, construction, management services, and NGOs. He has guided clients on corporate registration, intellectual property concerns, compliance matters, litigation, special projects, and commercial arbitration, among others. Grip has also been involved in legal and regulatory reforms on energy trade, corporate governance, and public private partnerships.   

Grip has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the Ateneo de Manila University, and earned his Juris Doctor Degree from the same institution, where he was the recipient of the St. Thomas More Most Distinguished Award for his graduating class.

 
 

 
 

Our Advisers 


Helping Parabukas grow through their wealth of knowledge and experience

 
 
 
Bobby_Julian-March2018-e1520363340876.jpg

Bobby Julian

Bobby began his energy work in 1992 during the Philippine power crisis with Buenaventura Filamor Echaus (BFE), a financial advisory boutique specializing in energy projects. His remit later expanded to other infrastructure projects, exploiting opportunities enabled by the Philippine’s Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law and Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) program. He developed a personal interest and practical competence in environmental infrastructure (clean energy, water, and waste management), leading to his appointment as the country’s first UNDP PPP Specialist for the Urban Environment.

In 1995, Bobby served as CFO to a pioneering USAID project that sought to promote renewable energy through policy advocacy and financial investments in start-up clean energy enterprises, an effort that became the first Philippine social investment fund in clean energy. Bobby also funded the country’s first biogas power and solar companies, as well as worked with carbon investors operating under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), developing a competence in carbon finance and climate finance.

In 2005, Bobby joined Solar Electric Company as COO and pursued a personal project in the modern generation of electric jeepneys, the first units of which were introduced in the Makati CBD in 2007 to worldwide recognition. Bobby continues to consult privately on energy.

After graduating with a degree in philosophy from the Ateneo de Manila University, Bobby joined government as a Staff Assistant in the Technology Resource Center.

 
 

 
 

Our Interns



Young people with eyes, minds and hearts to the future

 
 
 
IMG_9481.jpg

Renzo escalona

Ateneo de Manila School of Law, International Law and Development (Economic Law), 2020

Read more about Renzo here.

IMG_5659.jpg

Stephanie Hilario

Ateneo de Manila School of Law, International Law and Development (Environmental Law), 2020

Read more about Steph here.

IMG_9271.jpg
 

Bianca Berrino

St. Stephen’s School of Rome, 2019

Read more about Bianca here.