Last November 18-20, 2011, 29 exceptional student-leaders were selected to participate in the third run of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey held in the St. Paul de Chartres Vigil House, Taytay, Rizal.
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 4 graduates about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.
Warlie Zambales Diaz
John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University – Arevalo, Iloilo City
The NCA Leadership Journey was a transformative experience that have anchored my faith firmer to God. The program made me realize that leadership is a passion and sacrifice of doing what is right and better for all. To become a leader is to start dreaming great things and wholeheartedly dedicating one’s life to the mission. It is spending 525,600 minutes of a year sharing love, giving love and spreading love.
The Journey inculcated within me the values of resilience, dedication and sincerity. The program taught me that a life of selfless service is not distinguished by fame, achievements and money, rather, it is of passionate heart willing to fulfill its responsibility for our nation’s progress and a strong spirit believing in God no matter how difficult the challenges in life are. I’ve found another family, which have shared experiences of laughter and tears and have promised to be friends forever.
University of Sto. Tomas
Applying for NCA leadership journey was not really in my plans but I don’t know what struck me to pursue it. Entering into an unknown battlefield was not really me. I think it was God’s plan for me to join such because He always has reasons that we can’t explain.
After the three-day leadership retreat, I felt like I am a new person ready to face every battle in my life and to surrender myself to God. It was one of the most memorable transformations happened to me – bee myself, take risks and appreciate every blessing. It touched me in every way that it can.
Moreover, I found another family not just only friends. From different walks of life, I never did hesitate to open myself to them and that made the three days special. I am very thankful to all the speakers and the organizers for giving me the chance to be included in the family where no barriers hinder from being just ourselves and with no pressures unlike the real world we are in. NCALJ is a sanctuary filled with God’s love. Leadership was taken into a whole new sense.
De La Salle University – Dasmarinas
Faith, Passion and Love
The Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey is truly a blessing. I can truly say that it is God’s plan that everyone – the organizers, the speakers, the previous batches, and my fellow batchmates, including I, were present in the three-day Journey.
It is actually not just a journey for the Batch 4, but I do believe the speakers and the organizers themselves have learned something through reflection from their experience in the Journey. The three-day stay at the Vigil House may seemed to be short, but is just the beginning for Batch 4, and the continuation for everyone else.
It truly is a one of a kind leadership retreat, an it has brought about a lot of realizations. First, that God is truly omnipresent.
Second, that no matter what, He will always love us, which will always be felt, though may not be as obvious as the smell of the flowers, the rising and setting of the sun, and the beauty of His creations. God loves us very much. It takes a silent moment every day, for us to realize the greatness of God’s love for us.
Third, God has planted seeds of talents within us. It is up to us to sow these seeds, find our passion, in order to find out our true mission and purpose in life. It is passion which drives us and keeps us moving forward. It is not always about competence to achieve greatness, but it is passion which helps us bring out greatness, all for His glory. Competence will only get you somewhere, but passion will take you to where God wants you to be.
Fourth, life is not a straight path. It’s not about how many times you become successful or how great or many your achievements are, but what counts is the number of times you fail, and what you do to bounce back.
The NCALJ has made me realize that it takes failure for a person to grow. It takes passion to keep moving forward, and it takes faith in God to truly become a man of value.
Finally, I have realized that the three most important values we have to have in life are Faith, Passion, and Love.
University of Bohol
Our lives are made up of a million moments spent in a million different ways. Some are spent searching for love, peace, & success – others for surviving day to day.
But there is no greater moment than finding that life is meant to be lived one day at a time with God. I found that moment during the NCA Leadership Journey. Now, the Journey Continues. 🙂
Ghio Angelo Ong
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Before the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey batch 4 started, we came from different backgrounds. I was just an ordinary student searching for more thrills in life. He is an officer of a certain organization. She is a young professional. They made their ways to some prestigious gatherings.
Despite this fact, one inanimate yet very powerful thing sealed and conquered us all together: LOVE.
The program helped us realize further that God so loves us that He will never let us fall and feel we are worthless in times of failure and despair. That He will always give us the unending hope of doing our best in everything we do. That He will always regard us ah His children, His ever-dear children.
It manifested the love God shows us through the company of new friends. We might had differences in beliefs and achievements, but love broke these barriers and made us into a one big family through the soul-tickling and heartbreaking experiences we had throughout the three days we shared all together (and we still could not, and will never, get over them).
Finally, it heeded the strong yet comforting call for us to share that love we experienced through servant leadership – that we will be able to attend to those in need of our help, that we will be considerably open to all possibilities – triumphs and failures alike – for us to grow, that we will be more than generous to give ourselves to God, community and our country in all means, little or huge.
I am forever grateful to the NCAF family for leading us to a worthwhile Journey of loving God, loving our families, friends and communities, and loving our country more than our lives, and will promise that this Journey shall continue and live on for the rest of our lives.
Jesha Villamar Villasis
University of Sto. Tomas
And again, God’s time is the right time. He again planned something for me that I did not expect. His plan turned out to be one of the best things ever happened to me. The NCALJ taught me a lot of things – from appreciating the little things in life, to learning how to give unconditionally. The Journey has helped me to become more in touch with my spirituality. It has helped me to clear my mind and to embrace my passion.
Aside from gaining new inspirational stories, God let me also gain a new family – a new family whom I could tell my story, be it embarrassing or painful; a new family who would accept me regardless of my weaknesses and failures; a new family who would never judge me for my shortcomings. I really thank God for giving me a once in a lifetime chance of being part of the NCAF’s Leadership Retreat.
And now, the Journey continues.
West Visayas State University
In the Name of His Love
I realized that there certainly are a lot of things I should be thankful for because of my experience in the Leadership Journey. I was reminded to stop seeing the world as plain as black and white but instead view it in different, magnificent hues where every hue is symbolized by even the little things.
Before, I neglect to see these. Most of the time, I tend to only appreciate those that are grand and those that will do me good. Only then did I realize that I perfectly work and live according to God’s plan, and isn’t it that God’s plan, no matter how trivial, are mysteriously wonderful?
I know now that despite the bumps along the road, big or small, I grow with those bumps, learn from them, and continue onwards with God’s love. Sure, I may not have experienced moments of extreme darkness so far for me to actually say that with conviction but that’s what makes it special. It is in this way that God shows Himself to me. It is in this way that I am able to say without doubt that His love is not only amazing but encompassing.
Now I would like to talk about that special thing that the whole Journey made me feel¾ love. All my life I’ve been with a company of people whose love for one another is silently expressed. As a result, I would sometimes feel less loved¾ which shouldn’t be the case. I’ve kind of missed the point there. Their affection, support, and presence linger still, so what more could I ask for?
My relationship with the Lord was like that one too. Little did I know that God’s love works differently; sometimes you feel it immediately, sometimes you have to wait. There are also times that it doesn’t come as you please. But God’s love, no matter what the circumstance, is there and it has always been. Besides, our senses are there for a reason. We only have to use them.
For the countless times, the Lord has called me to witness His love through the blessings I have received or in the lives of others and yet, before the Journey, I can’t seem to find it inside me. While it is true that one can’t give what one does not have, I asked myself, “Was I just giving away emptiness in the course of my life and work as a student-leader?” Now I realized that I truly am full of His love. After all, I wouldn’t be who I am now or I wouldn’t have become God’s instrument in inspiring others without His love.
Recognizing God’s omnipotence in our life is like finding an eternal source of hope and love. And it is in recognizing God’s love that we actually dwell in a life of happiness and live a life of love and for love.