Public School Teachers Batch 1 (Oct. 20-22, 2014)

Forty Public School Teachers from Navotas National High School comprised the pioneer batch of the Ninoy & Cory Aquino Leadership Journey for Public School Teachers last October 20-22, 2014.

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 the participants of the First Leadership Run for Public School Teachers about the experiences and insights they gained from the program.

“A time spent with NCAF family is truly a wonderful and a perfect timing for all of us. They gave us a chance to become better individuals who experienced how much we are loved and to give love. In this journey, I felt my purpose in life and it deepened my relationship to God. I am honored and blessed with those people who made this possible. I will treasure this and will embody what I have learned in everyday of my life. Thank you so much and God bless us all.”

Mrs. Lariza R. Gozo, T.L.E. Teacher

“In the 3 day Leadership Journey, I feel blessed because they remind me that there is someone who loved me like what Jesus did and how to return back the love I received. Thank you NCAF Family for sharing the wisdom and love. You inspired us, you built our own personality not only in the emotional aspect but also spiritually. And now, after one week of the Leadership Journey, I applied all the knowledge I’ve learned and it is working to me. Thank you NCAF Family!”

Mr. James Oliver K. Pingol, Science Teacher

“’Leadership begins with an inner journey.’

With the opportunity given to me for the 3-day seminar/retreat, I’ve learned a lot. I discovered who I really am. Through self-examination, I realized what I needed to lead as a teacher. Yet leading others should always start within me, so that I can have a positive impact, my words can inspire and my actions can move others. So I commit to lead my students to become people who will become good and productive citizens.”

Mrs. Gina B. Valdez, Filipino Teacher

“The Leadership Journey by the Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation has been a life changing experience for me. It has guided me to be more enlightened with the gray areas of my life especially as an educator. I now see teaching as a lifelong vocation rather than a job. Because of the NCAF, I realized that as an educator, I am not just responsible for my students’ intellectual being but on their holistic development to be better individuals. And with that, I will try to be the best in my daily dealings with my students. I will try to be a more effective and affective teacher.”

Mrs. Laarni M. Bonus, English Teacher

“I attended the 3 days NCAF Leadership Journey for Public School Teachers without a clue on what will transpire. I thought it was just a regular retreat wherein we will be given time to share our struggles, fears and challenges, but I was wrong. The approach is different and everything feels light. The positive atmosphere inside the room is just enough for us to feel the presence of the Lord along with the moving of the Holy Spirit that made the difference. It is a 3 day of fruitful activities and love.”

Mr. Ronaldo Domingo, T.L.E. Teacher


(L-R) NCAF Executive Director Rafael Lopa, Ronalyn A. Bautista, James Oliver K. Pingol, Francis A. Hechanova, Jasmin A. Rol, Aussie Claire C. Austria, Usec. Rizalino Rivera, and Navotas National High School Principal Cristina Robles.

“Originally, I am not included in the Leadership Journey. When the list got short, I was lastly invited for this event. I willingly said yes to the invitation. For the whole experience, I can say that this Leadership Journey made me whole again. It really energized me and kept me inspired to teach with the heart. It gave me meaning as to why I really teach. It started with the heart-warming series of activities, the peaceful & cozy environment of the venue, the healthy food and snacks, the down-to-earth speakers and facilitators, the generous sponsors, and God’s instrument, our beloved principal for choosing us to be the first batch for this program. Now I may say that every teacher need this kind of event every year.”

Mr. Gilbert E. De Castro, T.L.E. Teacher

“Na ang pinakamagandang maibigay natin sa ating mga estudyante ay ang ‘LOVE’…na maramdaman nila na sila ay minahal, hindi man natin sila matulungang makatapos ng pag-aaral. Kung naramdaman nilang sila ay minahal at paano magmahal, dadalhin nila ito kahit saan sila makarating at dito mag-iingat ang paggawa nila ng kabutihan. Ang ‘LOVE’ ay madaling ibigay sa ibang tao kung ito ay naranasan at naramdaman mo rin.”

Mrs. Melanie M. Quitco, T.L.E. Teacher

“The Leadership Journey helped me discover myself more. It made me realize that being a teacher is not a duty or a responsibility but it is a vocation and a promise to love, care and appreciate my students. I am a teacher and I would be of help to my student’s need. In addition, I come to realize that I, as a teacher and second mother to the students, encourage them to soar high and work hard for their future.”

Ms. Mirasol R. Del Rosario, English Teacher

“The NCAF Leadership Journey succeeded in making me feel that I am loved. And because I am loved, I want to share the love I am experiencing to others especially to my students. I may not be the best teacher but knowing that God is with me and I have the heart in teaching, I know I will never fail. Throughout the Journey, God answered my question, ‘Lord, How do you want me to serve you?’ And He answered, ‘Teach your students and love them as I love you.’”

Mrs. Kristine R. Pernia, English Teacher

“Life-moving and a life-changing event. A retreat that stirs up the hidden and ignored emotions I have about teaching. It made me realize the true value of my profession. It brings me back to what called me to be a teacher. It lights up the fire burning inside my passion in teaching, to really make difference on the lives of students I encounter. It was an awesome Pit Stop on my journey as an educator.”

Mr. Janno B. Abance, M.A.P.E.H. Teacher


Together with Mr. Rapa Lopa, Usec. Lino Rivera and Navotas National High School Principal Cristina Robles are (2nd Left to 3rd Right) Romeo L. Quijano, Jr., Laarni M. Bonus, Lariza R. Gozo, Richelle Ann L. Reyes and Raquel F. Catamio.

“Sir Jampao Reyes said that he wanted all the teachers to feel love and I really felt loved after that activity when I got to learn who really sees and appreciate my effort in terms of teaching, my noble profession.  On the second day, what struck me during Mr. Pagsi’s (Onofre Pagsanghan) talk was his recurring theme: “Love your calling with passion, it is the meaning of your life.”

Mr. Romeo L. Quijano, Jr., M.A.P.E.H. Teacher

“Binuhay ng 3-day Leadership Journey na ito ang pagmamahal at pagpapahalaga ko sa trabaho at sa mga estudyante lalo na ang mga batang may problema sa Buhay. Ngayon ay mas pinahalagahan ko rin ang aking sarili dahil alam ko na may mga taong nagpapahalaga sa akin at nangangailangan ng tulong, ang aking mga mahal na anak (estudyante).”

Mrs. Jasmin A. Rol, Math Teacher

“The NCA Leadership Journey is truly a gift for the teachers. It caters the most effective form of leadership, which is transformational. We are reminded to renew our commitment as loving teachers. And this will make a difference, if we first establish a strong relationship with our God.”

Ms. Richelle Ann L. Reyes, English Teacher

“After the Leadership Journey, there is a very big miracle that happen, first my relationship with my husband become stronger as the days go by. I realize how lucky I am because I was loved. With regard to my students, I become more patient to them and start to understand their situation and their individual differences. Slowly, I am adjusting my self on my day to day activity in school, and at home. I’m very happy and much contented now.”

Mrs. Milette M. Castañeda, T.L.E. Teacher

“The 3-day Journey nourished my mind, my body and my soul. By listening to the stories shared by my colleagues, I’ve realized that we were called and chosen with the same reason, same stories but different in time. God is so amazing because I was able to meet high-spirited persons, selfless and passionate in same profession where I belong. He let us meet the people with the same story, to be shared with us, to fully understand our mission, that is teaching. He never fails to inspire me to become a good nurturer and I am not alone in this mission. I was enlightened because God made the impossible possible. I have realized that I will encounter many struggles but I just have to believe, have faith and continue what I have promised to him and surely he will lead me on the right track. I feel youthful, because the ambiance and the environment were stress free. Being closer to God makes us feel young.”

Ms. Aussie Claire C. Austria, Science Teacher


(L to R) Rommel S. Peñaranda, Leomel C. Ramos, NCAF Executive Director Rapa Lopa, Marlon B. Gozon, Juriz A. De Mesa, Usec. Rizalino Rivera, Bernadeth C. Claveria and Navotas National High School Principal Cristina Robles.

“Malaki ang naiambag ng Leadership Journey na ito sa aking pagkatao at sa aking propesyon bilang guro. Muling binuhay ang aking puso at pagmamahal sa mga estudyanteng uhaw sa karunungan at pagmamahal. Sabi nga, una tayong minahal ng Diyos at ‘wag tayong matakot na magmahal. It is a life changing experience!”

Mr. Aldrin C. Balite, T.L.E. Teacher

“It was an awesome and great experience. The 3-Day Leadership Journey reminded me the very reason why I am here. It made me feel that I am deeply loved by my Lord and Savior and the people around me. It also gave me the challenge that since I am loved, that ‘love’ should be passed and shared forward to other people especially to my students who are entrusted to me.”

Mrs. Ronalyn A. Bautista, Science Teacher

“The 3-Day Leadership Journey inspired and reminded me of two significant things:

  1. Do everything excellently.
  2. Do everything with great love.

I witnessed how everything changed after the Leadership Journey. Now, whenever I feel tired, unappreciated, disheartened and disappointed by the people around me, I always go back to the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing. It is because I’m loved and because of that love, I love others back through my service as a teacher.”

Ms. June Grace S. Casaje, English Teacher

“Blessed and Rejuvenated. Two words that best describe the three fruitful and awesome retreat days we had. My heart was reignited with passion for teaching and leading my students to develop their best potential. Thankful for NCAF for giving us the opportunity and making a difference in our lives. I salute your commitment of passing the love forward and I am also inspired with the love I felt. Big thanks!”

Mrs. Bernadeth C. Claveria, Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao Teacher

“’It is worth attending.’ These were words of satisfaction I have expressed in this training. The spirit of the Lord Almighty and experience of unwinding and distressing wherein I only feel love and appreciation. All I hope for is that all my colleagues would be able to experience the same once-in-a-lifetime experience so that there will be greater love and lesser misunderstanding.”

Mrs. Raquel F. Catamio, English Teacher


The teachers receiving their Certificates of Participation (L to R: Aldrin C. Balite, Janno B. Abance, Reyiel V. Pela, Canor P. Aguilo, Jr., and Gina B. Valdez).

“I feel so blessed every time I remember what I had experienced on the 3-Day Leadership Journey. I remember how we were totally loved through the entire program. Indeed, it was a wonderful experience I could never forget and share.”

Ms. Reyiel V. Pela, Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao Teacher

“Isang makabuluhang pangyayari ang naganap sa mga guro sa tulong ng NCAF. Malaking linaw ang mga nabahaging kaalaman tungkol sa mga pusong pagmamahal. Naipamulat sa amin ang kahalagahan ng isang guro sa kanyang mga mag-aaral at ang diwa ng isang guro.”

Mr. Francis A. Hechanova, Filipino Teacher

“The 3-Day Leadership Journey which was organized by NCAF has rekindled and re-energized my passion in teaching. Through this, I have realized also that God has a purpose why I became an educator. I am now certain that I am one of His flashlights. God is my guide in every step of the way so I can mold my students to be the best that they can. Knowing all of these, I am now more passionate and understanding. I really feel blessed as one of the participants I would always be grateful for the opportunity.”

Ms. Betty D. Habig, English Teacher

“The retreat conducted by NCAF really has a big impact on me as a public school teacher because it made me realize my purpose as a Public School Teacher. It made me improve my way of teaching and caring for my students. With this, I commit to do my obligations as a good teacher and as a parent to mold them to who and what they are in the society as good citizens. I will do my duties and responsibilities as a teacher in order to impart my knowledge to them and to develop them as a total person.”

Mr. Ramil C. Cano, Math Teacher

“The 3-Day Leadership Journey brought me lots of realizations in my life as a teacher. Showing passion to the students is an endless process. I’ve learned that my impact as a teacher affects the lives of my students. Aside from teaching, I’ve realized that it is my obligation to inspire my students. Showing love to those who need it the most is my greatest role as a teacher. I would like to thank the NCAF organizers and staff for letting us experience this wonderful retreat. I’m hoping that you can inspire more teachers who are exhausted in teaching. Lastly, this experience intensified my love for my students and family. God bless!”

Mr. Petervon T. Tañedo, Science Teacher


With NCAF Executive Director Rapa Lopa, Usec. Lino Rivera and Navotas National High School Principal are (L to R) Gilbert E. De Castro, Ronaldo S. Domingo, Sheryl Lou T. Borja, Milette M. Castañeda, and Melanie M. Quitco.

“Isang pribilehiyo ang mapasali sa unang batch ng Public School Teacher sa Ninoy and Cory Aquino Foundation. Sobrang nabago nito ang pananaw ko ukol sa mga bagay na madalas tinatanong ko kung bakit. Bakit ito pa ang naging trabaho ko? Kung bakit dito ako nilagay ng Diyos. Ang NCAF ang nagpalinaw ulit ng mga bagay, na bago ako pumasok ay naguguluhan ako. Nagpapasalamat ako dahil pinakita sa akin ng NCAF ang iba’t ibang mukha ng isang guro at nakatulong ito sa’kin. Mas lalo kong minahal kung ano ang meron ako ngayon tulad ng pamilya, trabaho at mga estudyante ko.”

Mrs. Rachelle Jean I. Laureano, Araling Panlipunan Teacher

“There are times that I felt so tired in my work, but through this Leadership Journey I recall why I chose this profession, why I am still here. I realized how blessed I am to be able to give love and inspire other people, mold their minds and touch their lives. It came to me how happy I am, how loved I am, how special I am and because of it, I’ll keep on loving this calling with high spirit.”

Ms. Anika Dana J. Sengco, Math Teacher

“It helps me value more my profession and reflect why I am in this vocation. I’m grateful that I experienced to attend this kind of seminar. The guest speakers are truly inspiring. The things they shared to us are really valuable.”

Mr. Rommel S. Peñaranda, T.L.E. Teacher

“This is the most interesting and fruitful retreat that I have ever attended in my whole life as a teacher. This retreat cleared my mind from the different challenges that I am experiencing not only as a teacher but as person, who sometimes commits failure and tired. Through this retreat, I felt like I am a renewed individual. I think I now have more patience and understanding. It is because I feel more loved and I realized more that through teaching I could return this love by serving with a HEART.”

Ms. Juriz A. De Mesa, Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao Teacher

“Thank you very much NCAF for the opportunity that you gave us, the opportunity to love our vocation as a teacher. To everyone from NCAF, thanks for the wonderful journey. The fruits of this retreat will help me bring back the passion and love for teaching. From the start of our journey, NCAF reminded us about love and service. This two words will surely guide me to become a better teacher and person through the light of God.”

Mr. Marlon B. Gozon, Filipino Teacher


(L to R) Carlos Luigi B. Carlos, NCAF Executive Director Rapa Lopa, Russell P. Samson, Betty D. Habig, Mirasol R. Del Rosario, Anika Dana L. Sengco, Usec. Lino Rivera, and Navotas National High School Principal Cristina Robles.

“The 3-Day Leadership Journey by NCAF gave me the perfect opportunity to retrace my 17-year journey as an educator. The talks have strengthened my commitment to give my best and offer my time, talent and treasures to the service of education, all for the glory of God. As the sessions focused on love and service, I felt greatly reassured and immensely inspired. Mr. Pagsi’s words still linger in my mind, the most enduring of which is: “Love your calling with passion, it is the meaning of your life.” Indeed, it is. Teaching is my passion, hence I will always be committee to love and impassioned to serve.”

Mr. Edmundo Jose Ternida, English Teacher

“Enlightened, inspired and well-motivated are words that describe my feeling after I attended the 3-day Leadership Journey. I came to realize my inner-self and the answer to the question why I am here, doing this vocation. The speakers truly inspired me a lot with their vocation story and hoping that I could do the same as my teaching journey continues. I’ve learned the real meaning of passion, love and care for my students through this NCAF Leadership Journey.”

Mr. Canor P. Aguilo, Science Teacher

”At first, I was excited and at the same time, clueless, as to what will take place in the NCA Leadership Journey. Then, with the activities we had, it was nice because we shared almost everything that we experience in our profession and how we got into this career. We all thank the NCAF for making us realize that we not only teach but also we give part of our lives for the future of our students.”

Mr. Carlos Luigi B. Carlos, Science Teacher

‘This experience reminded me that being a teacher, I am loved. I want that love be back not just to my family but also to my coworkers and specially to my students. Being a teacher is not just to teach, but especially to make the school as their second home, to serve them with love and to take care of them. It is an opportunity that every teacher must avail. Thank you to NCAF.”

Ms. Sheryl Lou T. Borja, Science Teacher

“‘Nakahinga, nakagpaghinga, at muling hihinga.’ The BREATHE of God’s love circulated everywhere. I was able to feel enlightened and be loved once again. Parang may sapi, kakaibang sapi.  This REST, a total reflection that I am human, and this break was enough to lead me back in the track again. I got the chance to be with myself –  to search for myself. And at the end of the NCAF Retreat, ako’y natuto na ako’y muling hihinga, bilang isang guro, para magsalba ng mas maraming naghahabol ng hininga, na gustong mahalin, at mabuhay. Thank you NCAF! Ang sarap huminga – itong hinga ng minahal at nagmamahal.”


(3rd Left to 2nd Right) Emma T. Borda, Kristine R. Pernia, Rachelle Jean Laureano, Petervon T. Tañedo and Ramil C. Cano.

Mr. Avengel Joseph A. Federis, M.A.P.E.H. Teacher

‘”The retreat reminded me that teaching is the noblest profession. Teachers produce other professionals in the country. As a teacher, I believe that I can help my students to achieve their dreams.”

Mr. Russell P. Samson, Science Teacher

‘The Leadership Journey was very inspiring and fruitful. The best part here is the group sharing wherein you could share yourself to others without the fear of being judged but being loved and accepted just as I am. No dull moments but instead, every minute is worth waiting. The speakers were great and I learned to deepen my passion (love for students) to continuously spread and share the love for students. A memorable experienced organized by NCAF.”

Mrs. Edlyn A. Santos, Araling Panlipunan Teacher

“Malaking tulong ito para sa mga gurong katulad ko dahil muling nabuhay at naantig ang aking damdamin na mahalin pa ang propesyong napili ko upang mas lalong maging epektibong guro ako. Kailangan ang walang hanggang pasensya at pagmamahal sa mga bata. Malaki ang impluwensiya ng isang guro upang mabuo at maabot ang pangarap ng mga batang kumikilala sa atin bilang pangalawang magulang na aakay sa tuwid na landas na tatahakin nila.”

Mrs. Emma T. Borda, Filipino Teacher

“This journey was indeed a blessing in disguise.  Mas nahahanap pala natin ang ating sarili kapag sinusubukan natin na bigyan ang ating sarili ng isang ‘STOP’.  Salamat at nagawa kong maglakbay kung saan ako nagmula, nadapa at lumaban. Salamat dahil mas nakilala ko ang aking ipinaglalaban bilang isang guro. Salamat dahil nagawa kung buksan ang puso ko na magkwento, making, at higit sa lahat… magmahal. This NCAF Journey led me to realize that who I am right now is the result of what I have been through and what have I done… sa lahat pala ng pinagdaanan ko, nandyan lang Siya. At mahal niya ko. Thank you NCAF. I’ll bring this journey together in my heart, a lucky charm to remind me that, as a teacher, I can light up more hearts to love Jesus more.”

Mr. Benedict G. Antonio, M.A.P.E.H. Teacher


(2nd Left to 3rd Right) June Grace S. Casaje, Edmund Jose O. Ternida, Benedict G. Antonio, Edlyn A. Santos, and Avengel Joseph A. Federis.

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