Batch 5 (February 10-12, 2012)

Last February 10-12, 2012, 27 exceptional student-leaders from Western Mindanao were selected to participate in the fifth run of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey held in Zamboanga City.

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 5 graduates about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.


“Being a Muslim, I’m so fortunate to be one of the participants of the Journey. I didn’t feel any hardships in dealing with the organizing team and other participants because I was never excluded. I felt so much in the family. It also helped me in finding who I really am and where I’m supposed to be.”

-Fatima Edzra Akmad, Notre Dame of Jolo College

“It was a transformative 3-day Journey that allowed me to unburden myself of the darkness of the world and be closer to my God. The experience made me realize the true essence of life – being loved and loving back. Many people, including me, had sought the richness of life through honors and materiality but missed out the essential thing. This is the turning point in my life that I will forever cherish.”

– Milarose Barraca, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

I still can’t grasp it all. God really is a God of timing. It wasn’t an accident why I applied for Batch 5 of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey. Something pushed me to apply for it. I don’t even have any idea what this program was before.

I’ve been a student leader already when I became part of the Journey. But then I asked myself, for 6 years of being part of different organizations and being a student leader, “What have I actually done?”

I was really curious, why is it a Journey and not leadership training or seminar? Little did I know that it will be the turning point in my life.

During the Journey, I met strangers. Strangers which later on became my companions. Like what Sir Eddie said, “…for you to relate to others, you have to talk to strangers.” And that’s what I did! I discovered numerous amazing people and I’m so blessed that they were with me for three days! WOW! I never realized that i’ll have the chance of meeting and being with these people.

The Journey was great! It reconnected me to God! I was so amazed and i’m surprised of what God’s Love truly meant. The best part of it was when I knew that God loves me even if I don’t have any achievements or awards. He loves me just as I am and that’s one of the greatest things that the Journey made me realize! God is really awesome!

The Journey even taught me what true love is.  Love is patient; Love is kind. It has no envy, nor it boasts itself and it is never proud. It rejoices over evil and is the truth seeker. It protects; preserves and hopes for the positive aspect of life.

It was really a life-changing weekend. I guess it’s the best leadership program that I have attended.  I thank God for the opportunity that He has given me. I realize that I’m not the center of the world and that I also need others. This Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey helped me understood what true leadership meant. As exemplified by Ninoy and Cory themselves, God must be the center of everything even in leadership.

I was really transformed and because of that 3-day Journey I can say that I’m a better lady now! I will love and serve others as I love and serve the Lord. The NCALJ was an eye-opener for me and it made me see the beauty of true leadership.

The Journey Continues.

Pro Deo et Patria (for God and country). 🙂


– Shalini Kristy S. Dalis, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

Unlike the usual leadership trainings, the NCA Leadership Journey is a journey, not a race, to develop your self. The Journey taught us how to become a leader by knowing your self and how God is really taking part in our life.

– Patrick Dumdum, Western Mindanao State University

The NCA Leadership Journey is one of the greatest opportunities I had in my life. Even if I was away from my family and friends, I still felt at home. I found two new things in my life. I discovered more about myself and learned that my mission is to pay it forward to the people who are in need.  Also, I found that there are other people who share the same mission. I found them who remind me that I am loved, I am guided, and I’m always welcome to return to God’s arms.

– Lady Diane Francisco, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

The Journey was an eye opener for me. It made me come to terms with myself. Each of us has the power to make a change, that we can all be leaders for the betterment of our tomorrow. It was also an overwhelming experience of gratefulness that the Lord is so good;  He never abandons us and that sometimes it is we who forget to remember Him, the blessings He has given us, and His unconditional love.

– Ma. Belinda Gonzales, Immaculate Conception Archdiocesan School

It came just in time… in time when I lost the God I believed in… I was reminded of my chosen path; of my idealisms imparted by people who have passed on. I see a new path…wider…my own journey. But this time, I am not alone anymore. This is no idealism, no dream, no fantasy. This is real!

– Julnazar U. Halil, Western Mindanao State University

Through this NCA Leadership Journey, I got to face my fears and weaknesses with full courage. My I-God-Family-Others relationship has made me stronger. I will never ever regret that I applied, and now I am part of the Journey family, the Journey of a lifetime.

– Kevin Roy Jimera, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

It is an amazing experience for the soul. The leadership concept became the search within – a journey with God. I am proud of the fact that it has enriched me into what it feels like to be human with a God and told me that love is indeed the binding force of that reconnection with our Lord. I have felt the comfort and happiness for within these 3 days of my life, 3 wonderful days of my life. NCALJ is worth remembering. I am now confident to journey forward, to share the love that loved me.

– Earl Rasheeda Joe, Western Mindanao State University

Being part of the Ninoy Cory Aquino Leadership Journey is truly amazing. I keep repeating to myself each day: “This Journey is not about the accomplishments that you have achieved. It’s all about knowing yourself, and knowing that God loves me.” The Journey program has had a great impact in my 19 years of existence. Talagang kakaiba! Talagang nag-iisa. It will be in my heart forever.

– Rissa Mae Montojo, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

My experience during our NCA Leadership Journey was amazing.  It was more than what I’ve expected.  All speakers/guest speakers and even facilitators influenced me positively by those realizations and wisdom that they’ve injected in our hearts and minds.

The Journey was absolutely far different from the seminars and leadership programs that I’ve attended.  I probably became a better individual as a whole with a deeper relationship towards our God.  My experiences cannot be defined and uttered in any words or sentences, it’s really the best among the rest and will never be bought.

– AJ Primalion, Western Mindanao University

It drew me closer to God and made me more the real me. They will let you be the one that you really are, accepting and loving you just the way you are. This leadership is far different from the others. It’s a heartwarming program.

– Marybelle Pulis, Universidad de Zamboanga

It’s a program that makes us remember that we are not alone in this journey and made us feel God’s unconditional love. It was an experience that I will never forget for it helped me know and understand myself better. It was also fun and good to meet many new brilliant friends, whom I will always remember.

– Hazel Anne Retusto, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

This is a journey that I may describe as an unbreakable and an undying journey. It is very different from the rest I’ve attended. It gives a new spirit to everyone; it is somewhat a beginning for a change and to propagate more and more.

– Rolly Santiago, Universidad de Zamboanga

Dahil dito, mas nakilala ko pa ang buong pagkatao ko, kung ano talaga ang gusto ko. This serves as my inspiration as I go through my journey. This really helped me grow. It made me realize where my passion really is and I will keep the fire burning!

– Vanessa Valencia, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

It made me dig deeper into myself, not only the leader in me, but the real person that is inside. It opened my eyes to a better meaning of love. A person’s love is powerful. It can move the heart of others, the heart of a whole nation. And at the center of this love, we find Him, He who loves us unconditionally. And as I learn to live with this love, then I knew, this program is not just a 3-day journey. It’s a journey that never ends.

– Jonica Villalon, Ateneo de Zamboanga University

It made me realize how much I am loved by God; I never really knew it until I became part of the program. It may be just a 3-day Journey, but it will be a lifetime journey of living a meaningful life with God. Because of the Journey, I am now set to carry on the love God showed me, and show it to others. I am grateful for it made me realize who I really am – more than a leader, a son, a friend – but a Son of God, so much loved. And I encourage other youths to be part of the Journey and discover the love of God for yourself.

– Ronald Cszar Villano, Western Mindanao State University

The Journey was absolutely far different from the seminars and leadership programs that I’ve attended.  I probably became a better individual as a whole with a deeper relationship towards our God.  My experiences cannot be defined and uttered in any words or sentences, it’s really the best among the rest and will never be bought.

– AJ Primalion, Western Mindanao University