Jaysee becomes an Emerging Pinoy Leader | Day 1 of the Leadership Congress by RAFI and ALEx

When people ask me “how was the congress?” I uniformly say, “One of the best experiences I had.”

The Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress is a two-day leadership training and a convention that gathers up student leaders from all over Cebu to think of ways of how to solve problems, share ideas and success stories and most of all become a leader that thinks globally but acts locally. Genesis Valley in Consolacion provided a great venue for us to interact and hold our event that happened through the efforts of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx).

Sleeping in tents, playing games that were metaphoric to leadership realizations, socializing with other student leaders, engaging in a lot of dialogues, talent night, and ultimately drafted our first Youth Declaration were just a few things we did during the two-days one-night event. We were around a hundred participants representing 42 organizations ranging from SK federations, college student government, foundations, and non-profit organizations.

It was really refreshing to be around people your age or sometimes younger who have this so much passion for our people and our nation as a whole. Everyone was so eager to say what they want and gave the most.

I represented Cebu Bloggers Society Inc. with Mikyu Maglasang – Vice-President (ifancy.me) and Vernon Go - President (vernongo.com). I was also representing AMA Student Body Organization as Vice-President alongside with Craig Ford Samson – President and Zilfa Villarba – Acting Secretary.



Last December 18, 2010, we rallied up in the Ramon Aboitiz Development Studies Center in Cebu City waiting for the buses that will take us to the mountain resort. Upon arrival, we gathered up at the club house where chairs were arranged to form a huge circle. We started with a prayer led by Mariejo of ALEx.

Right after, we played fun games that not only broke a lot of ice but as well as burned a lot of calories. It was officiated by Kuya Lemuel who is called “Nanay” and Kuya Martin. Among the games we played were the “Butterfly and the Worm” where we partnered up and decided who gets to run like the butterfly that will catch the worm and we also played “The Boat is Sinking”. We also challenged ourselves with “World Records” where we were supposed to arrange ourselves by first name and back to the seating arrangement and stating our name one by one in the least amount of time; and for 47 seconds and a 100 participants, we must’ve been so proud to break our own record.



si mel giving population of the philippines report

After the games, ALEx President, Raz, gave a speech about the whole point of the congress. It was followed by Mr. Mel Yan’s very interesting way of giving us the ground rules through a word triggered “Sikop.”

Right after the break, the club house was rearranged to have a lecture setting where Sir Mel projected figures and graphs on the screen that showed the present State of the Philippines Population Report and excerpts from the book, “Pinoy Youth.”

It was then that I have learned that each and every year, 1.7 million babies are being born in the country and most of it comes from young women. That is the very same reason why we know a lot of young parents. It was also noticeable in a graph that Region 7 is third highest number of out-of-school youth and what’s worse is that Region 7 is second highest in terms of youth offenders.

“If we have young leaders like you in Cebu who are active, why do we have a youth like that?” Sir Mel asks us which I think puts the whole point of doing all this congress in a nutshell. Either we were not heard, we were not united and we were not doing enough.

A growing number of youth are engaging in risky behavior without understanding the consequences. We actually have enough rage to make the government and institutions to be concerned to pay attention and we have statistics to brandish. These numbers doesn’t even include undocumented cases which worries me all the more.

“We are working in our own worlds. We have so much to do and so many things could happen if we collaborate,” Sir Mel reminds us. And we can’t do this on our own so he also emphasizes that adults need to address our unique experiences and needs too.



Butter, Ate Zilfa and Me playing bahay bata bagyo
Butter, Ate Zilfa and Me

This is the second time I had played this game and the first time was through the Club i55 hangout. We gathered up in the open field under the heat of the sun to enjoy the game. In groups of three we were to pick who gets to be the houses “bahay”, and the child “bata.” We then have to introduce ourselves to our group. When the ‘it’ says “bahay” the house has to find a new child to house. When “bata” is uttered, the child finds another home. And when “bagyo” is shouted, every one has to form another group. Aside from introducing ourselves every round, there were also asked some questions we need to answer to each other like
what qualities do we have as a leader”,
among those qualities which are the ones we consider our strengths” and
how did we apply those qualities in performing our duties and responsibilities.”



jaysee with the blue team discussing
Jaysee and the Royal Blue team

Based on the color of ID slings which were given upon registration, we were formed into smaller groups which eventually become our team for the rest of the congress. It was our first time to meet each other so we introduced ourselves and appointed a convenor which was Jammi of ALEx and yours truly, Jaysee Blabs, as the secretariat. Our first task was to discuss how do we utilize our strengths to solve our problems in the larger community and how do we solve it and unite. We had a very interesting set of answers which deserves another blog post a little later on. After the very lively group discussion everyone pretty much needed the heavy lunch.



During the registration before the congress started we were asked to enlist our self to an area of engagement that interests us the most. I enlisted for the Environment so after lunch we hiked up the hilltops to make it to the gorgeous Chapel Areas and Courtyards where RAFI and ALEx organized different stations depending on the area of engagement. I was with Ate Zilfa while Kuya Ford was at the Governance. It was then we met the lovely environmental speaker Viv Zerrudo. She works for the Laws of Nature Foundation and was one of the Philippine delegates for the Cop16 in Cancun, Mexico. Her talk is about what it takes to become a good leader and how art and environment work together.

With a presentation shown on her MacBook, she showed us some cool stuff like how a 12 year old built Plant for Planet Foundation which eventually got the endorsement of the world’s supermodel, Gisele Bunchen.

“The Earth itself is a masterpiece,” thus says Ate Viv. She also shares that there are two Spectrums of Art: (1) using our surroundings as art (2) using art as a tool to create social awareness. She also shared her experience in Cop16 particularly the interesting booths like the Fossil of the Day Campaign which shows which countries are not doing good in the negotiations, the “I love Kyoto Protocol” photo booth, and the Young Future Generations Day.

jaysee pingkian with environmental group
My group brainstorming on the causes, effects and solutions to Plastic vortex

My group explaining the causes, effects and solutions to Plastic vortex to ate viv
Explaining our work to Ate Viv

She then grouped us further into two where we are to make a creative road map that addresses a specific environmental issue and I had just learned about Plastic Vortex or when the plastic and its harmful compounds enter the food chain when the sea creatures accidentally intakes plastic components from the garbage thrown on our bodies of water. I spearheaded the organization of thoughts and we designed the road map with its solutions and roadblocks.

plastic vortex
I might dedicate a separate blog post explaining our very informative and cute output.

This is supposed to be a scene of Titanic. hehehe

Since we were done way ahead from other groups, Ate Viv decided that we play “Paint Me a Picture” and we depicted scenes like the Nativity, the Zoo, the Shopping Mall, a Wedding and even America’s Next Top Model. And I’m proud to say that we won. Jump shots and picture taking with our outputs followed thereafter.

environmental group aboitiz leaders congress breakout

There ends the first part of the Day 1 Experience of yours truly at the recently wrapped up Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress organized by the RAFI and ALEx.

photos courtesy of Vernon Go

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