I just arrived from Manila and I had a blast, got to unwind and made some interesting discoveries with the way I see things and how to improve it and that would be my blog entry for today.
I went to Manila to attend a forum on Media Ethics and Journalism at Ateneo de Manila University courtesy of Katipunan Magazine. We were treated with the expertise of ABS-CBN News and Public Affairs Head (and former CNN Correspondent) Maria Ressa and the ABC 5's News Head (and former ABS-CBN Correspondent) Ed Lingao. After the forum I kind of wanted to become more of a Journalist than a soldier (joke!!). But the more important concern are the issues that were raised in this forum. Maria Ressa gave her lessons in her years as a journalist, seemingly little but says a lot about how a person goes about in her function as a journalist. I particularly felt how emotional it got when she was teary eyed while talking about what people can do if only they remained true to their convictions. She warned against cynism and instructed everyone never to be cynical no matter how frustrating the situation is. Ed Lingao talked about doing things for the right reasons because in the end we will not be able to contribute to society by just doing things for shallow reasons. I went back to our billeting area when I received an invitation to watch the play Twenty Questions by Juan Ekis at Timog meeting up with a good friend that I haven't seen for the past year. The trip was finally capped up with a night-out at Metro Comedy Bar where we I shared some laughter with other cadets. As I was looking out the window on the way back to Baguio I made a remarkable realization that I think changed the way I am to live my life from this day on.
The past week was frustrating for me. I was denied the chance to join a leadership congress that I had been dreaming to join from the time I first heard about it. The Forum I attended where alumnus of this Congress and I can just watch in envy thinking that I will never be able to experience what they experience as participants of that congress. That frustration came back again as I watched a play that was written also by an Alumni of the same congress seated together with Ralph(also an alumni of that congress) who kept on telling me stories about joining the congress. My frustration came crashing down the more as almost all people that were introduced to me all attended this congress. I just tried my best to forget about it by drinking beer at the Comedy Bar only to be awakened by the same thought the morning after.
As I was looking out from my seat in the Bus, still depressed with what happened, I remembered something that Maria Ressa said, NEVER BE CYNICAL. That thought sort of repeated itself inside my head until something just snapped. I remembered Project ISLAM, something that I am beginning to really feel committed to, I remember how I talked about it with Ralph who is connected with Ayala Foundation hoping that he'll do something in support of the project. I remember the so many ideas I had the minute I caught the message of that project and suddenly I realized it is not really necessary for me to join that congress after all.
I realized that the real reason why the congress was organized was to gather young leaders for them to catch the need for members of the youth that will not only live their lives trying to be successful but becoming catalysts in making this country a better place. It was an avenue where the values of service and patriotism can be awakened among the best talents of our country's young people. With that, there was no longer a reason for me to join such congress for I already caught the message. I may not be acknowledged as a participant of such gathering, but I am a leader in my own right. Although I dreamed of having the opportunity, the congress is not what matters but what it makes out of you after you've been part of it. As for me, I can dream on but my war is not joining these gatherings but my war is happening right now. I realized the tremendous power I have being able to write about these things and open the eyes of people on realities that we have ignored. I am humbled by the role I am going to take once I graduate from this institution. Above all, I am amazed with what I can do now instead of doing all the formalities required for that congress including the possibility that the people who will attend might not get the message for whatever reason.
So I made a vow. I vowed to make a difference. I refuse to give in to cynism and will never ever allow myself to be frustrated again by things that I can not control. I will use writing as a way to open the eyes of people. I will be the change that I want for this country and I will never cease to be better each day. I am declaring July 30 as my new birthday --Today I am a catalyst for change. I may sound ambitious but again who cares, I will just do what my heart tells me.
Now, as my first order of business, I will make this website true to that new me. Ang Munting Bukayo is moving on not just as a way to express myself but also to bring out a message. A message of hope, enlightenment and service. In the coming days, a lot will happen, please pray for me with this. God help me, I am yours for the taking...