Twenty-nine exceptional student-leaders from Mindanao joined the ninth run of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey held last February 8-10, 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 9 graduates about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.
Lenin Sotto, Marian College
The program was my guiding light. It helped me to re-examine myself so that I’ll be able to know myself better. Nothing is more compelling than knowing that I am loved by God, by my family and my friends. It was totally, absolutely amazing.
Ma. Rhenette Cabanero, Ateneo de Zamboanga University
The Ninoy and Cory Leadership Journey is about new beginnings and new life. I love the spontaneity of the program for it directly relates to each of the participants’ physical, mental and emotional state. It truly catered to the participants’ needs—a mark of success for any leadership endeavour. Furthermore, the sensitivity of the organizers made me feel that as a “journeyer” I am special and important to them. They rocked me to my core in unimaginable ways. The true, great people are the ones who can adjust themselves with the rest, value the people as people, and make the ordinary feel that we are after all, the same—that is we all have a mind to think, a heart to feel and a hand to help. Indeed, it is a journey of a lifetime and will forever be etched in the hearts of those whose lives were touched.
Robert Sinsuan, Western Mindanao State University
The Ninoy and Cory Aquino leadership journey is a one in a billion. It transformed us into better individuals in order for us to become effective leaders in the society. They looked not on our mistakes, imperfections, not even our hard-earned credentials. We stood there as equals to one another, as children with the same potential to grow, and as human beings capable of wrongs and correcting wrongs. God’s hands are at work through this spiritual journey. It shattered us into tiny pieces, only to mold us into greater shapes. It brought out our deepest insecurities and darkest secrets, only to purify our souls. I am a whole new person after that life changing experience. They marked their spot in my life and in my heart, and I will always be reminded of God’s love and my responsibility to share this blessing to others. I will always be indebted to the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Foundation for pointing me to a better direction, for making realize God’s presence, and for helping me find the answer to God’s call.
Marge Caceres, Ateneo de Zamboanga University
The power of the Holy [Spirit] takes the form of inspiration through those speakers that shared their life story to us. Our minds are moved to see the truth and our hearts are moved to love, which pulled us to act and respond in a particular way, to a transcendental call. Moreover, it’s amazing how complete strangers can become friends and then have such an impact; they feel like family members that I just couldn’t live without. I never thought this could be a life changing experience. I rediscovered God into my life, the authenticity of my approach to the Holy Spirit. I found a new perspective in life, stronger faith, and a deeper drive to share the best and serve others because of GOD’S LOVE. I will take the one less traveled road; to be an inspiration to my fellow youth and; to be a servant to my community.
Youssry Jaranilla, Ateneo de Zamboanga University
The “savouring” moment I felt and witnessed in this program enlightened me to live life responding to HIS call; a call that will make me more mature and holistically molded; and a call that will embrace and share HIS love. I realized that it’s not all about the awards and achievements in life that define who you are and what you’re capable of doing as person. It’s also on the process of learning to let go of things that hinder you to keep moving forward in life. Because in letting go, you finally realize your own worth.
Ching-Ching de Loyola, Philippine Advent College
The retreat was filled of mysteries. It taught us to become leaders not just by using our heads but most importantly, by using our hearts. I’d found out that I am valuable and my worth is more than any perishable things. God loved me first, even when I was still in my mother’s womb, until the day my mom left me to her friend. The retreat was a catalyst in answering my questions and in finding myself. I am now ready more than ever—ready to serve my family, community and country. It proves to me that God works in mysterious ways. I was loved first by God and to bring back the blessings I’d received, I will share this love to others through service.
Adrian Rhoy Lebin, Universidad de Zamboanga
This leadership journey let me realize about the importance of God. It let me realize that even if I feel alone in this world, God is still watching us. It made me realize the importance of my family, friends, relatives, and the other people around me. Since I joined the NCALJ, it changed my perception about the world. [The Journey] opened my eyes to see God.
Hyder Rashien Aming, Western Mindanao State University
Being a gay is a gift, being a Filipino is an honor, and being a gay Filipino Muslim is a challenge, but being part of the NCALJ and molded by the NCAF made me feel every single thing is a gift, not a curse and it will never be one. The whole experience made me feel that I should love everyone selflessly and unconditionally. Now I can say I’m a human—a human that has been made by God with love.