When I was still a kid, particularly in grade school, I was really active at school. Meaning, I joined every single contest that I can join, and I will make sure that I will win the contest.
In High School, I started to lay low. I seldom join contests, even those that I “dominate” way back elementary. I focused on myself and into socializing with others, but I didn’t paid the price much.
Enrolling for College, I said to myself “This is it. The last four years, or eight years (including Bachelor of Laws) in the academe. And I’ll be on my own. This is the last chance to make my foundation in life strong.”
I was sitting with my friends at the freedom park, chilling and doing some chit-chat. The next thing I knew, I was signing up for a volunteer group at FEU. And not just only that. I also took the test for editorial board of the altruist, the official publication of the volunteer group I just signed up for. Two responsibilities. Two birds with one day. Two things I can put to my resume one day. I told myself “Wow Mosh. You’re not a journalism or English major, not even a Mass Communication student. Why sign up for a publication?” Then I answered myself back “Excuse me, are you telling me I cannot write?” Then I laughed alone while walking my way back to school.
Resume. Resume.Resume. Is it the only thing that could define the worth of a fresh graduate? I said to myself “Hell NO!”. Then I began murmuring, “Kung hindi naman pala, then why am I doing this? Pwede naman sa bahay na lang ako at mag aral. Hang out with friends on a weekend. But why?”
The question kept hanging in my mind until I joined and participated in the Tamaraw Volunteers’ first Dumagat Immersion in 2010. It was actually an unplanned participation, since the immersion date was just actually a day after our block’s summer outing. Meaning, sumobra ako sa ipinagpaalam na araw. Sabi ko “sayang naman. I think this is the test kung kaya ko ba talaga ang sarili ko sa gubat or bundok. Then I’ll give it a try.”
Climbing four mountains is NOT an easy thing to do. When we reached the place of the Dumagats after four hours of trekking, I silently uttered “Oh thank God I am still blessed.”. The life of the Dumagats is really simple compared to the life of those who live in the metro like me. In Sitio Malasya, where there is no technology known much, and illiteracy is really rampant, people at the age of forty (40) do not know what numbers are, and what is their age. They do not even know how to hold a pen properly. They do not receive medical attention. They do not receive care. But there is one thing I managed to notice while leaving Malasya- they have a Church. That made me believe even more that faith in God can really go beyond the needs of man.
Going home, I gladly prayed to God: “Salamat po, at hindi ninyo kami pinapabayaan.”
Right after that Immersion, I came back to the question. Then I realized, “Hindi sa resume nalalaman ang kahalagahan ng isang tao.” It’s because a resume is just a paper that tells the BASIC information you have, but NEVER the things you do everyday in your life.
Then the poster for AYLC 2011 was posted on our Office of Student Affairs bulletin board. My mentor told me “Mosh, sumali ka jan. Sumali jan si kuya Mon Mon mo saka si kuya Ric mo.” I said “Sige po, pero hindi naman po ako pwede jan kasi wala nama po akong masyadong nagawa. Saka kulang pa po ang experience ko.”. My mentor told me “Paano sila maniniwala sayo, kung ikaw mismo hindi naniniwala sa sarili mo?”. Then i giggled “oo nga no, haha! Sige po sasali po ako. Tignan ko po kung kakayanin ko po.”
The day came for the orientation for aspirants in FEU. Sir Marcon oriented us about what AYLC is, how the search is being conducted, and provided us with every pertinent information we all need.
Then we were given the AYLC Student Packet. Then I thought “naku, madali lang ‘to. Fifill-upan lang naman pala eh! Saglit lang ‘to!”. With a strong spirit, I began working on my application that night.
Pero biglang bumigat ang pakiramdam ko nung nalaman ko na 2 essays each sa top ten leadership positions. Pero sabi ko “sige kaya yan!”. Then I started typing again. type. type. type. I looked to my watch- it’s 3:00 A.M. na and hindi pa ako tapso sa pagttype. I almost gave up in finishing my form, since it’s a very hard to accomplish, and it requires tedious and serious work and input.
Then the rest is history.
Days and nights passed, halos nakalimutan ko na nga na sumali ako sa AYLC. sabi ko “grabe ang tagal naman malaman kung iinterviewin!”. We were ten nominees from FEU and sabi ko sa sarili ko “malamang hindi na ako makukuha kasi ang dami jan na mas marami ang experince kaysa sa akin.” Then my mentor angrily told me again “kung hindi ka maniniwala sa sarili mo, paano ka paniniwalaan ng ibang tao?”.
Days and months passed, I kept on waiting for the bad news I am anticipating. (I was a pessimist that time).
Sir Marcon called me and he asked me to be at his office right at that time. When me and Aeron were at Ma’am Cao’s office, they gladly presented to us the letter to our FEU President, telling the good news that me and Aeron are qualified for the AYLC Panel Interviews.
During the interivew, I was zero degrees cold dahil sa sobrang kaba at nerbyos. To ease that feeling, I made friends, me and Aeron went out of our shell and nakipagkilala kami sa mga co-interviewees namin. We met a lot of people, and I will NEVER forget how ate Lis was so welcoming to me that day, How kuya Ivan was at my back, encouraging me and cheering me up dahil ako na yung susunod na iinterviewin, how I looked up to kuya Mon Mon and kuya Ric while they escort the other interviewees to their rooms, and how kuya Jag and Kuya Jojo talked to me to relieve my stress on that morning.
The rest is history again. Months passed, and i was about to proceed to being so much serious in pursuing my childhood dream- to become a lawyer. I have decided to be a super bookworm and run through the pages of my law books when my mentor texted me one night telling me the good news everyone has been waiting for.
I rushed to my room to check the result of the search and my heart jumped as I saw my chubby face on the list. I thanked God so much for being so good to me that He gave this chance even if I doubted myself for so long.
Napapangiti ako tuwing maiisip ko na tuwing aalis ako ng bahay, papagalitan ako ng mama ko kasi alis daw ako ng alis kahit nagmemeeting lang naman kami sa school, pero nung araw ng aking pag alis for AYLC, ihinatid pa nya talaga ako sa Ayala Ave. :)) I think nag aalala lang talaga ang mom ko sa akin pero deep inside, she is proud of me. :))
AYLC for me is the “Turning point” I had in my life. I was about to be focused just on myself, but the Congress called me back to that call where I was being called.
AYLC is such a “WOW!” experience for me. Dito natutunan ko na hindi dahil leader ka, kailangan saluhin mo ang lahat ng problema sa mundo. Dahil marami ring ibang leader na gustong gumawa ng pagbabago. Habang nagpapatuloy kami sa program ng AYLC, isang phrase talaga ang hindi ko makalimutan hanggang ngayon:
“Never stop believing.”
Madalas ko itong sabihin tuwing may workshop kami, kasi ito talaga yung pinaka tumama sa akin. Dahil dito, naalala ko talaga na kailangan ko lang talaga maniwala sa sarili ko, at susunod yung katawan at isip ko. Kailangan ko rin maniwala sa mga bagay na akala ko, hindi para sa akin, kasi sa paniniwala, nagkakaroon ng pagpapala. Hindi nga natin alam kung ano ang maaaring mangyari sa atin, pero nung nagtiwala ako sa Kanya, biglang nag iba ang takbo ng buhay ko.
I also learned that as leader, you really have to step back at times, so you can give others to chance to become leaders themselves. Leadership is not a showdown, na kailangan gawin mo ang lahat. Dahil may mga leader rin, naghihintay lang ng pagkakataon para madiscover nila na leader rin sila.
Naisip ko tuloy “paano ko magagawang maging leader yung ibang tao na nakikitaan ko ng potential?”
Biglang pumasok sa isip ko yung performance namin na “Firework”. Dun mismo sa lyrics malalaman mo na kaya mong maging KISLAP para sa ibang tao, para maging firework (leader) rin sila.
Sa dami ng panel discussion, sa dami ng workshop, sa dami ng outdoor activities, napakarami kong natutunan sa AYLC. Sabi ko nga sa isang workshop session namin, “Hindi kasya sa notebook na ito ang lahat ng natutunan ko sa AYLC.” Sa dami ng new leadership techniques na natutunan ko, halos hindi ko mai-jot down ang lahat. Some even escaped my memory even before I was to write it down.
Sa outdoor activities, may tatlong importanteng bagay akong natutunan:
1.) Pagtitiwala sa team members
2.) Pagtutulungan sa loob ng team
3.) Pagtitiwala sa sarili
Yung #3 natutunan ko sa last challenge.
Marami ang nag enjoy sa challenge na ito. At marami rin ang nahirapan at natakot. Isa ako sa natakot sumubok. While the rest of team Y are busy readying their body harness and preparing for the challenge, I told myself and Ma’am Romz “Ma’am, hindi ko po talaga kaya. Takot po ako sa heights eh. Sorry po.”
Then sabi nga nila, hindi naman kami required to do it kung hindi talaga namin kaya. Anyway, nasa dulo pa naman ako, I can still change my mind if ever. Eto na kasi yung chance where I can conquer my fear of heights.
I told myself “hindi ko talaga kaya,”
Then people climbed and jumped, climbed and jumped. I noticed one person who was really brave to do and finish the challenge- Mhigo Mendoza. Sabi ko “Wow naman buti pa si Mhigo kaya yung challenge.”
“Never stop believing.”- ito lang yung inisip ko and the next thing I knew, I already jumped into the open air, fully trusting no one but God.
Going back to Manila, I will always treasure what AGC gave me. This is one strong foundation that I will carry in inspiring more people. In the next few years, I may be able to reach my childhood dream, but I will still go back to the call that I am called to- Leadership.
Leaders are not born. They are MADE. And everyone can be great, because everyone can serve in their own little way. And that is one thing I will continue to do- to ignite the leader in the the youth.
After AYLC, I suddenly had the dream to become the mayor of Valenzuela. And if I will be able to reach that dream, I will mostly invest in the youth. for I am called to serve. I am called to lead the youth.
Mosh is taking up BSC Major in Legal Management at Far Eastern University.