Thirty-four (34) young Indigenous Peoples (IPs) from Pamulaan Center for Indigenous People’s Education joined the Ninoy & Cory Aquino (NCA) Leadership Journey last June 12 to 14, 2015. This 16th Batch of NCA Leadership Journey consisted of IP students from the said center, currently starting their senior year in college, from different indigenous tribes all over the Philippines.
The IP participants spent three days revisiting their spiritual journeys in quiet prayer and reflection, guided by Ninoy and Cory Aquino’s own core value of spiritual-leadership. Aside from having their own quiet time, the participants also had several small group sharing, assisted by Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation’s (NCAF) partner-facilitators and two (2) psychologists from the Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang (MLAC) Institute for Psychosocial Services.
The three-day Journey was also graced by guest speakers who shared their personal stories to the participants. Philippine Toy Library’s founder and President, Mr. Edsel Ramirez, talked about his own walk with God and how his passion for service became the fruit of his love for the God who loved him first: “It was there [in helping different communities] that I gained my purpose: that every time I helped any person, it was my way of loving my God.”
Pamulaan founder and Director, Mr. Benjamin Abadiano, opened the second day by sharing the importance of integrating one’s spirituality with one’s indigenous identity: “There will be a time when you will all be leaders, I hope that you bring this connection of our faith with nature, that you promote this care for one’s spirituality and the nature around us.” Pamulaan alumna, Ms. Kring Sumalinab, deepened this reflection by sharing her own story of living out her learnings in Pamulaan as a volunteer worker for Indigenous Communities all over the country. Ms. Sumalinab shared that, “All the skills and talents you may have learned from your tribe and family, you should hone those so that you can contribute to your community and your family as well. I know that my life is no longer just for myself, that my life is accountable to the lives of other people as well.” Other guest speakers included Niko Capucion from Bo Sanchez’s charismatic community: Light of Jesus Family; NCA Leadership Journey Batch 1 Alumna, Joy Critica and former Philippine Jesuit Prison Service Associate Director, Fr. Tony Basilio SJ.
The participants also expressed their gratitude and shared their own insights from the Leadership Journey. Clarise Alindayo, an Ifugao native, thanked NCAF saying, “I want to say thank you to the entire NCAF Family for this opportunity. In the end, I am able to say that God is good and that we are able to continue in our journey. We are so blessed that God used NCAF to bless us.” Analyn Victoria, a member of the Aeta tribe in Capas, Tarlac, shared her own personal take-away: “The main thing that this NCAF journey has taught me is the unconditional love of God. So, even when problems come in our lives, I know that He is with us, with me. And I will share my story to others, hopefully, to inspire them as well.” Lastly, Jean Marie Casilia-an of the Mangguangan Tribe in Davao Del Norte gave a message of hope, saying, “Through this retreat, my faith in God was strengthened. I also learned the value of sacrifice for the people you love. Above everything, all things are rooted in love. These will be my guide even when I leave after this experience.”
NCAF Executive Director, Mr. Rapa Lopa, ended the three-day Leadership Journey by welcoming the 16th batch of Journey Companions to the Leadership Journey family, saying, “We’re all running our race, we have a journey to continue. What is important is for us to choose to respond to the invitation of God’s love, just like Ninoy and Cory Aquino. In our journey, what is important is for us to journey with each other. God is inviting us to be part of His heart.”
The NCA Leadership Journey 16 would not have been possible without the support of Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education, and Air Asia Philippines.
The Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation (NCAF) traces its roots to the Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. Foundation (BSAF), established by the late Senator’s widow in November 1983 to perpetuate his legacy. It seeks to build on the legacy of Ninoy and Cory Aquino by supporting activities that embody the spirit of People Power as a strong and positive force for social change in a robust democracy. Since 2008, the Foundation has made a deliberate effort to strengthen this advocacy through leadership formation development.
Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education is an educational institution dedicated to the indigenous peoples in the Philippines. The first of its kind in the country, its main thrust is to create a culturally appropriate and relevant pathways of training and Formation for the indigenous children, youth, community leaders, and development workers. The Center hopes to produce graduates equipped with knowledge and abilities to initiate collaborative actions towards sustainable development of IP communities.
The MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services is founded by renowned psychologist and Philippine Play and Family Therapy pioneer, Dr. Ma. Lourdes A. Carandang. The team consists of a mixture of seasoned and up-and-coming psychologists, all of whom were trained Dr. Carandang herself. The Institute is founded on the innate truthfulness, honesty, and wisdom of children. The main goal of the group is to apply the scientific principles of psychology for the well-being of Filipino children and families, especially the poor, the disadvantaged and the traumatized.
Philippines’ AirAsia was born out of the strategic partnership of Filipino entrepreneurs and AirAsia Berhad through AirAsia International, Inc. in 2010. AirAsia Philippines is proud of the high-quality of Filipino service that AirAsia offers to its passengers. It integrates the Filipino cultural characteristics such as respect and friendliness in their service in order to provide the best possible experience of professional and safe air travel to its customers. Its mission is to connect people to their destinations, new experiences, and truly unbelievable journeys. At present, AirAsia services nine (9) domestic and four (4) international routes from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).