Last November 16-18, 2012, 31 exceptional student-leaders from all across the country were selected to participate in the eighth run of the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Leadership Journey held at the SPC 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 8 graduates about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.
University of the Philippines-Manila
Through the NCA Leadership Journey, I experienced love in its truest form. It was a love so unconditional, so pure. It was the love that saved the world – love no other than God’s love. It was just so overflowing that I could not anymore contain it. That is why there were times I found myself crying; not because of grief and sorrow but because of overflowing joy and love. Perhaps it’s because it has been years since I had that kind of encounter with my God.
In my 19 years of existence, I have been through a lot of life’s corners and crossroads. Through all those hardships, it seemed as if God was missing in action. But through this Journey, I came to realize that in all those worst times He was there; He never left. It was just that it was me who constantly fails to realize His very presence. He has always sent someone to be my guiding light and to lift me up in times of troubles. I realized that loving truly is loving in spite of the pain. It was through this realization that I found joy in pain and experienced genuine love amidst suffering.
As an Iskolar ng Bayan, I have been bombarded with the toxicities of UP life – exams to prepare for, reports to do, hell weeks to endure and extra-curricular activities to participate in. I get too preoccupied with the many things going on in my life that I forget that my relationship with God is as equally important as my concerns with my family, friends and studies. Sometimes, I forget the importance of putting God in the center of my life, of letting go, of just letting God. This Journey allowed me to let go of all of life’s toxicities and to just savor some quality time with God.
After the Journey, I felt renewed. I was able to renew my faith in Him, to realize once again my mission and priorities and to get back on track after all my ‘Egypts’. I felt I was finally able to let go of all the pain and burden that have hindered me from becoming the person God calls me to be. Most of all, I felt ready for the world, for I now I am certain that God is with me, more than willing to walk with me as I go on through life’s journey.This Journey gave me an overdose of inspiration – an inspiration to love, to serve, to lead and inspire others. It ignited my passion to love and serve the Lord in any way, in every way that I can. It instilled in me the principles of leadership with faith and love at its core. Indeed, this journey moved me in ways I never imagined it would, and I will forever be grateful that I’ve been blessed with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embark on one wonderful journey with the Lord. Our three-day journey might have come to its end, but the invaluable learning and insights we have gained through this life-changing experience will surely transcend a lifetime.
Anna Bianca Sarte
St. Scholastica’s College-Manila
In the NCA Leadership Journey, I, as well as the other young people, am called not only to become the leaders of the future but also “transformers” of the past and the present. It is through responding to the love of God that we will be able to return that love by loving others. Thus it is through love that we will give even our flesh for the goodness of others.
“Ako’y tinawag magmahal, maghatid ng tunay na kabutihan. Ako’y isang Kabataang Pilipino nakatingin nang tuwid sa Panginoon.”
Aldrin Joseph Hernandez
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde
I am very thankful to be a part of this Journey. It has been a very amazing experience for me, and it’s my first time to experience this Journey of knowing God and understanding the purpose of love and trust, yet at the same time enhancing our leadership skills. I am also grateful for knowing a lot of awesome people involved in this Journey, and it’s my first time to spend time and build a relationship with them. I just can’t wait to use all my learning from here and serve my community. Also, I can’t wait for the next batch because for sure I will be there and share my experiences.
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Sa Journey ko unang kayang tunay na ipagpasalamat ang sakit at pagkabagabag. Ang dami Niyang pinaisip sa akin at tinulungan ako ng Journey n aiproseso ang mga ito. Noon, naniniwala alng ako sa Diyos at sa turong lagi s’yang nand’yan. Pero sa Journey ko lan gnapagtanto na hindi lang siya nand’yan, lumulutang kung saan at nakamasid. Nand’yan s’ya sa lahat ng taong nakakasalumuha ko, sa pamilya, sa kaibigan. Nand’yan s’ya sa lahat ng nararanasan natin – hirap at saya. Nand’yan s’ya sa lahat ng meron at wala ko.
Cdt. 2nd Leonora B. Paulino
Philippine Military Academy
The NCA Leadership Journey is one of a kind. This is my first leadership retreat so I never expected that it would be so amazing. I think it’s a once in a lifetime experience for me. I love it. I will never forget everything that happened – all that I learned. I t will always stay in my heart.
Krystel Grace L. Calderon
Mindanao State University
Being the only delegate from Mindanao, I never felt out of place. Instead, I felt love. For months, I was wondering where God was, but in this Journey, I found out that it was me who was lost. But after 3 days of love and love, this NCA Leadership Journey reaffirmed to me that I am a child of God and I am here from love and because of love.