Thirty-one exceptional student-leaders from Visayas joined the eleventh run of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey held last June 28-30, 2013.
The NCA Leadership Journey aims to build the nucleus of a new generation of leaders that are grounded on their spirituality who can eventually transform Philippine society. Using Ninoy and Cory Aquino as role models, the program seeks to reintroduce spirituality as a major foundation for Filipino leadership. Harnessing their innate values systems, the participants take part in a process of self-reflection that will ultimately lead to self-transformation and self-commitment for others and country.
Below are reflections written by NCA Leadership Journey Batch 11 graduates about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.
Xanthe Kamille F. Almonguera, West Visayas State University
The Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey showed me the way to the truth and life. It made me realize so many things in different perspectives. I found myself dumbfounded with all the learning. The Lord is truly there for us every time and everywhere. He never leaves us even during our darkest moments because God’s love is truly unconditional.
Karen Jane G. Imalay, John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Molo, Inc.
The Journey is really something to look up to. When one gets to experience it, surely, they would love to go through it all over again. Every moment is an experience worth remembering. From the very first up to the last, I feel so filled, so free and so loved which made me now face my days with strength, courage, and faith.
Rona Mae S. Lamsen, John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Molo, Inc.
The Journey made me realize that I must let go of my baggages from the past so that I could move forward; setting my heart free from hatred and letting God in — seeing that God is in everything; that in loving God, I should love others as well. It made me remember to commit myself to God in everything that I do. The Journey itself made me realized that everything happens for a reason if only we believe and trust God for the great plans He has for us.
Christian Christopher D. Lopez, Cebu Doctors’ University
I thought I have the worst luggage of problems. Then, God put me in a circle where one and all shared and defined our common thread, we are all carrying heavy burdens. What was even more meaningful is that He made me part of this community – his sort of telling me, “Xan, I have been waiting!”. I embraced Him fully right away. A lot has changed in me holistically after the journey. Now, I journey with Him.
Raoul Danniel A. Manuel, University of the Philippines – Visayas
The Journey weekend is one of the best weekends of my life. Never did I imagine that spending three days with inspiring people and like-minded youth will have a significant impact on me. The Journey clarified my perspective of God and His nature: that God loves you, me, and everyone unconditionally. Just when I was beginning to look at God as an impersonal, invisible being, this experience came just in time to remind me of God’s loving presence in my life and that He has always been there through a parent, sibling, friend, and at the same time, showing me His love in so many ways each and every day. After the weekend, the question I now frequently ask myself is “If I accept this responsibility or perform this task, will it serve you, my God?” I am now braver to let go of attachments for the sake of showing my love for God through purposeful service, for I’ve learned that I’ll never fail by putting God first in my priorities. This Journey strengthened my resolve to be an instrument of God and to pay God’s love forward.
Camille Denise T. Peñafiel, University of the Philippines – Visayas
I found my Journey weekend as one of the most life-changing events that I have encountered. It taught me to love the real me. It taught me to appreciate, recognize and share the blessings I have received from the Lord. If I were to have another life, I would choose to apply to this program all over again and experience that once in a lifetime event.
Vincent Louie A. Raotraot, Holy Name University
The Journey weekend I experienced will always be memorable. I’ve learned and develop a lot of things in me that I never thought I still lack. It was amazing! I feel I am new person right now in the sense that I think I am closer to God and I have bigger trust in Him right now.
Even though I was quiet or silent on that weekend, I really enjoyed being with my Companions in the Journey. They are really amazing because despite of the language barrier we have, we still able to fully connect to each other.
Rhyle Clifford L. Sayat, University of San Carlos
As both an advocate of organizational development and youth empowerment, my perception of leadership trainings would usually involve organizational development, skills training, panel talks and discussions by known leaders and advocates, and of course, team building activities. Having been through a lot of these, my view of leadership revolved around concepts related or in line with those. Little did I know that that perception was going to change.
The Journey opened my mind to the idea of integrating God into leadership. The Journey gave me a greater understanding of the statement, “Always have God in the center of life”. It tells me to not only have God inside of me but to share Him to the world through the channels that I currently possess and in ways and means that I can do best, one of which is in leadership.
Anna Katharina L. Tirador, University of the Philippines – Visayas
It was really an eye- and heart-opening experience that cannot be forgotten. Everything just seems so new, and I got to see things in a different, more positive view. The Journey weekend went deeper than its “Leadership Journey” title. It was more of a “Life Journey” for me.
Therese Claire D. Varon, University of the Philippines – Visayas
The Journey revived my soul. Every moment of it felt like something is being changed inside me. The joy and peace that I felt is indescribable. It made me realize the essence of life and that is to live with love, a love that brings us closer to God. A life shared with other people is what brings genuine happiness in this world and the Journey didn’t fail to engrave it in my heart. For that I am truly grateful. I will always treasure the experience in my heart. Now I know, even with the struggles and obstacles I may face, I will be ready. With bravery, I will continue my Journey.
Christy Kim P. Velez, University of San Jose – Recoletos
I became more open minded. I offered every stress, pressure and sleepless nights to Him. I became closer to God and kept my words of working hard in my studies as a sign of my gratitude to everything He has given me.