Category Archives: Personal

WAGGGS Chair Team in the Philippines

The Girl Scouts of the Philippines is a member of a bigger organization, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts or WAGGGS. Last February 9, we have been privileged to be able to meet with the Chair’s Team which decided to meet in the Philippines.

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Nicole Grinstead is the current World Board Chair. The very first time I met her was during the 34th WAGGGS World Conference in Edinburgh back in 2011. At that time, she was running for the World Board. I have admired her ever since, seeing her passion to serve the organization.

The event aimed to have a dialogue with GSP’s young adult member and active girl scouts. One segment of the event was sharing about our experiences in participating WAGGGS events in different parts of the world. I myself have been representing the organization in various events, which has widened my horizon and unleashed my potentials. And of course, meeting friends from all over the world.

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It was really a great opportunity to share our vision with the WAGGGS Chair’s Team. Seeing them intently listening to us had renewed our faith that they are doing everything just to give chance for our voices to be heard. Truly, we are empowered for the chance to influence decision-making body for the organization.

I will be forever proud that I am a girl scout, and girl scouting empowers me as a woman.

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I have prepared a short video presentation of girl scouts in WAGGGS events, see it here: “We are stars” Happy watching! 🙂

Bookworm Alert – June 2015

One of my friends said she wants to read here in my blog the books I read. I love to read. From reports, blogs, books to newspapers – reading has been a habit ever since young. It has helped me survive life – land at my fulfilling jobs, be prepared and be an effective advocate. Reading also helps me be a conversationalist. So here, let me share to you the books I am reading this month:

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1. Doing Justice – Bible Studies on Advocacy (World Vision)

I got this for free! I rummaged through Philippine Commission on Women’s library collection when they were throwing some books. That was in 2013. I got a whole box of books. Last week, I opened the box because I was looking for something then I got this. It is from World Vision, a Christian international NGO so the book is having advocacy at the core. Being in international development, this book is such a great help to align my work with God’s will. I read this every morning.

2. The Power of Determination (Joyce Meyer)

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This one is from Fully Booked book sale, original price was 630 pesos but got it for 100 pesos! Good deal, right? It is filled with daily bible verses and her insights on how to live a life to be Christlike. As the title says, it highlights what it takes to be determined – faith, courage, boldness. It is a good quick read. I read this at night before sleeping.

20150624_073754_resized3. Cure for the Common Life: Living in your Sweet Spot (Max Lucado)

This is my first Lucado book. But at first chapter, he already got me! This is about finding your purpose in this life. He is talking about finding you “sweet spot” – where passion and calling meets. I like his writing and narrative style. Sharing anecdotes, bible verses and life lessons is all throughout the book. I have been learning a lot from this. I bought this I think with my first salary in Tacloban last year, the Philippine Christian bookstore was just beside our office. I normally read this on free time.

4. True Love (Robert Fulghum)

This is not a pocketbook with a romantic novel haha! Next to All I Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten, this is my second Fulghum favorite. 20150624_073819_resizedIn Uh-oh, he announced that he likes to receive short stories on love – all kinds of love – he was flooded with people sharing their stories to him. I knew that I badly want that book, but unfortunately National Bookstore, Fully Booked, Powerbooks, even the bookstores in UP Diliman did not have it. How I got this treasure – my friend Michelle got this for me. She found it in Book sale for just a whooping 30 pesos. Panalo! I always have this on my bag. It is not meant to be read in one seating. I will lend you for 15 minutes when we meet. I have this in my bag. 🙂

My favorite book though is still the Bible. When I was a freshman in UP, on my first day one student said “The Bible is fiction.” Whatever they think, that is still the best book for me. It speaks life. And most importantly, God speaks through it. I love metaphors and stories, life lessons and guidance on how to live a fruitful life.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

Go share your books for this month too!

 

20150624_073836_1_resizedP.S. I always write on my books, or highlight, circle, heart haha lahat na ng shapes! I have been using these Muji Gel Pens, I like to recommend it too. Per color is 65 pesos, but it goes a long long way. Mine I have bought 3 years ago pa until now di pa ubos.

What makes your heart beat?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Many people are trying to do anything to search for what their true passion is. For some, they discovered it when they were working; for others, it took them years to fully understand what they really want to do in their life. I think it is very important to understand what your calling is and live fulfilling what you are called to do.

When I was in primary school and asked what I want to become when I grow old, I proudly say I want to become a lawyer. I have such a loud and solid voice, and people always tell me it would really fit when you are arguing in court. Growing up, I always enjoy TV shows and movies that have scenes in the court, thinking someday I will also do that.

I reached Grade 6, and I became our school paper News writer. Then in high school, I intentionally chose Journalism over Home Economics. I became the Editor-in-Chief of Ang Gabay, our school paper in Filipino. Writing became my way of voicing out my thoughts and influence people. It then led me to consider becoming a journalist as a profession.

I vividly remember how I easily chose Broadcast Communication as my first option for undergraduate course when I filled out my UPCAT form. I know deep in my heart that I want to be a communication major in my four years at the university. But circumstances did not permit me to take up BA Broadcast Communication. I passed and was admitted in Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts in UP Diliman. Let me tell you, until now I am thanking God for bringing me to that department. Who I am today has been influence by my UP training as a Speech Communication major.

During all this time, there is something that didn’t change: I am a girl scout. This has exposed me to be independent, to lead others, and to empower girls. In 2006, I became a volunteer at the National Headquarters in Manila that gave me the opportunity to participate in national, as well as international events.

God is with me through all this journey in knowing what my true calling is. My spiritual family also helped me understand God more, and helped me in developing my relational skills.

Put all this together, my heart beats to be the voice of young girls and women. I want to be forever an advocate for young people. Being an advocate is not a profession, it is a way of living. God has blessed me with skills that I can use efficiently. On every opportunity I am asked to speak, I know it is an opportunity to influence lives. Extending help to every needy is helping myself as well. This is my way to change the world.

Last November 2, 2012, I went to the UN High Level Panel meeting with young people in London. There was uncertainty, but I know I will be there to fulfill what I have been wanting to, that is to represent the voice of young people. True enough, I was given a chance to speak in front of eminent persons around the world, and other young people with the same passion. It was surreal; I was on the verge of crying because I was overwhelmed with that once in a lifetime opportunity. I was there, standing, in behalf of the young people worldwide.

My heart belongs to the young people, if I would specify it would be the girls and young women. I envision a world where every girl goes to school, where she has access to health rights, where she is given the voice in the decision-making, where she is empowered. Reality tells us that we have to do more to achieve that vision. I want to be the change; I am doing my role in this society for my dream to become a reality.

Only few people discover the path they want to take at a young age. I am grateful I discover it this early, so that I can have every chance to develop this passion and live a fulfilled life.

You are not too young or too old to know what your true passion is. During one of the speeches of a Korean advocate Ms. Hana Biya, she asked everyone a significant question we need to answer in life: What makes your heart beat?

I am asking the similar question to you. Go find it.

 

 

 

A boy I will never ever forget

I heard a sad news that Multiply will no longer function as a social networking site, thus on December 1, if you didn’t save your files it will just be gone with the wind. Multiply documented my entire college life, and there are some important things I posted there that I want to save, like this one. This is rather a long post, but I want to share it, and I hope you’ll be inspired.

Posted March 10, 2009

When I was on my way home this afternoon, I saw him again. I saw his one big smile. I was supposed to ride a SM North Edsa jeep, but I perceived a great competition at the shed so I just planned to transfer at Philcoa.

Tantananan.

*flashback*

One day, inside the UP-Katipunan jeepney, I saw one of the most beautiful smiles ever. A street kid went inside the jeep. He didn’t hand any envelope to the passengers; he didn’t even wipe our shoes. He just sat, and asked the driver to drop him off somewhere (medyo close sila ano). He was smiling to everyone. But he gave his biggest smile to a school child sitting beside her mother.

I had the second encounter with this kid in my college building. I asked him “Babae ka ba?” ‘Cause he really looked like one. He ran away, got a cap from a friend and returned “Ayan mukha na ba akong lalaki?” Then I got to know that his name is Joseph (probably you have met him around the UP campus). He didn’t fail to give that one big smile.

*back to reality

A familiar 9-year old boy went inside the jeepney. I wondered why the driver didn’t shoo him off. So he sat again and talked to the lady beside her. “Uy ate ikaw pala yan.” Then he asked for money. He received nothing from the girl. “Kala ko pa naman mabait ka”. Then manong driver-na-wala-naman-masyado-magandang-maidudulot-sa-buhay commented, “Di na uso ang mabait ngayon.” I wanted to tell the driver right away “Thanks for the inspiring words.” 

After knowing he’ll get nothing from his “friend”, the boy sat beside me and asked “Ate marunong ka mag-plus?” Then I realized this kid must have attended Dean A’s Rhetoric class for knowing what persuasion is all about. He also knows what it means to ENGAGE. Sabay banat sa napakahinang tono, “Ate pengeng pera.” I seldom give money to beggars. What I really want to give is food. Eh at that time I didn’t have any baon on my bag, so I just said “Sama ka sa akin sa Philcoa, ililbre kita”. He nodded and went on story telling. When we passed the Shopping Center (SC), he shouted “Para!” and said “Eto na SC”. Out of the way niya daw niya ang Philcoa. We went to SC,  and guess where he wanted to eat – Rodic’s. At ang gusto niya—Tapsilog. Haha. Natawa talaga ako nun and was thinking (ako nga minsan lang kung mag-Rodics, pero minsan ko lang din gagawin ‘to, go na). Then he started eating. My treat. :p

All the time I was thinking this kid will just ask money from me, as he usually does to others (but he keeps them as friends).  In that short moment I spent with this kid, I learned a lot. I learned that behind his sweet smile is an aching heart.

 I am not saying I am a kind person, a compassionate who feeds the needy. I am not trying to be the Mother Theresa here, huh. I didn’t gave him big bucks because I still wanted to make sure that what I give is beneficial, in it’s simple way. I wanted to keep this experience  by myself, pero hindi ako makaget-over sa experience.

I am sharing some of the conversations that we had that time:

While he was eating, I was interrogating Joseph.

“So kumain ka na?”
“Hindi pa nga eh.”
“Aanhin mo ba ang P45?”
“Pambili ng ulam P20, bigas P25.”
“Anong mangyayari pag di ka nakadala ng pera?”
“Edi di makakapasok sa bahay.”
“Asan ang nanay mo?”
“Sa bahay.”
“Ang tatay mo?”
“Asa Cubao.”
“O akala ko sa Caloocan ka, bakit nasa Cubao tatay mo?”
“Patay na pala si Francis M. no.”
(Yun ang tinatawag na segway)

“Bakit kelangan ikaw ang bumili ng pagkain?”
Wala lang.
Di pwede wala lang.
Eh ako naman ang may kasalanan nito. (I want this answered though sayang di ko masyado natanong pa.)
Matagal tagal ko din nakausap yung bata. Ito ang ilan sa aking mga natutunan 🙂

On TRUST
Kaya pala una niyang tinanong sa akin  eh “Ate 22+23?”, kasi that  day. All he needs is P45. P20 ulam and P25 bigas. Up to now I don’t know if he was just screwing me up. He already has P22 pesos that time, so all he needs is P23. Simple Math. 🙂

As I said I don’t want to give him money. So eto ang nagyari:

Mitch: Tara bili tayo ng isang kilong bigas.
Joseph: Doon na sa amin, P25 lang.”
Mitch: Weh? Di nga. (Sinusubukan kung mabubuking ko siya)
Joseph: Bakit ka ganiyan, wala ka na alam sabihin kung di “Weh?”
TRUST.

Naglalakad papuntang Area 2 (I was looking for a Sari-Sari store to buy for him)
Joseph: Wala diyan. Ayaw mo maniwala.
Mitch: Meron yan tignan natin….
(after a while)
Mitch: Wala nga.
Joseph: Sabi ko sayo eh.
TRUST.

On NEIGHBORHOOD and COMMUNITY
Joseph: Alam mo ba may nasaksak ako ng stick.
Mitch: Talaga? Ano nagyari?
Joseph: Ayun na-ospital.
Mitch: Ano ginawa sa’yo ng nanay nung bata?
Joseph: Sinigawan ako “Manang-mana ka sa Tatay mo!!!!”

On THANKSGIVING
Joseph: Pag yumaman ka ‘te, wag mo ko kalimutan.
Mitch: Pag yumaman ka ah, wag mo ako kalimutan.
Joseph: Oo. Pupuntahan kita.
Mitch: Eh paano mo ako mahahanap.
Joseph: Sa mukha mo.

ON MONEY
Joseph: Pag ako yumaman, bibili ano..ano..lalagay ko dun sa  bangko. Ano nga tawag dun, yung nilalagay sa bangko?
Mitch: Savings.
Jospeh. Pag yumaman ako, magsasavings ako, tapos maglalagay ako 10M. Tapos bibili ko nung ano, yung nasa probinsya ano yun?
Mitch: Mansyon?
Joseph. Oo yung mansyon.

ON FAMILY
Joseph: Pag nagkapera ako, tapos magkaanak ako bibilhan ko siya ng bike*. Tapos pag nagka-asawa ako, sasabihin niya “Bili ka naman ng pagkain”. Bibilhan ko siya ng pagkain.

(gusto ko maiyak sa moment na ‘to)

*Dun sa jeep, sabi niya gusto daw niya bumili ng bike na P2,000. Nag-canvass pa kasi alam ang presyo. May pinaghuhugutan.

On SHARING
Joseph: Ate sige na penge pambili bigas.
Mitch: Bibili nga tayo.
Joseph: Sabi mo yan ah. Tapos hindi na ako kakain kasi kumain na ako ngayon eh. Sila na lang.
Mitch: Di mo na ba maubos?
Joseph: OO. Uuwi ko nalang kay Mama.

ON RELIGION
Joseph: Patay na pala si Francis M.
Mitch: Paano mo naman nalaman?
Joseph: Sabi niya (pointing upward)
Mitch: Sino?
Joseph: Papa Jesus.
Mitch: Bakit si Santino* ka ba?
He laughed.

After sometime…

Mitch: Sabi mo kanina kilala mo si Papa Jesus.
Joseph: OO!
Mitch: San mo nakilala?
Joseph: Dun o sa simbahan.
Mitch:  (smiling, thinking that the priests or the volunteers at the church taught him) So ano ang sabi niya?
Joseph: Maraming salamat!
Mitch: (LOL). Nakaputi? Pari yun.

On DEATH
After sharing that Francis M is dead…
Joseph: Kung mamatay kaya ako, iiyak ang nanay ko?
Mitch: Oo naman. Tapos baka pagalitan ka niya sige ka. Kasi iniwan mo siya.
Joseph: Pag namatay siya, mamatay na din ako.
Mitch: Bakit?
Joseph: Basta inutos niya, susundin ko. Siya naman lagi ang nasusunod eh.

***

Di ako maniniwala na inimbento niya lahat yan. At kung inimbento man niya ang summary ng buhay niya, bakit hindi happy ending?
He always smiles. That’s all I remember.

“Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.”

Flashback: Mitch in 34th WAGGGS World Conference

I just realized that I haven’t posted anything about my girl scouting life here in my blog. Yes! I am a girl scout. But I don’t sell cookies; I change the world.

On this day, last year, I had a dream that was made into a reality, and that is to attend a World Conference of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). That happens once every three years, so imagine how blessed I was.

I want to share first how I was able to attend, and the faithfulness of God in fulfilling his promise. Late February last year, I received an email from my beloved Tita Lyn ( GSP’s International Officer) that WAGGGS was looking for 15 girls from all over the world to represent the organization during the conference. They were looking for the ones who already joined an international event, so I was qualified. Seeing that as another great opportunity, I sent my application, and prayed that I will get a spot. Fast forwarding, on my birthday (yes, such a timely gift), I received a confirmation that I was chosen, and I will fly to Scotland on July 2011! I was the happiest kid ever.

Then came arranging all the documents, and the hard-to-get visa. I applied for a UK visa, and for the first time it was denied. For some reasons I didn’t lose hope, because I know that when God promised, he will fulfill it. Amazingly, I was able to provide a bank account, with sufficient money for myself, and the second application was a success! I got the visa, and everything was made official!

So on July 06, 2011, I, together with other GSP Tita’s and Kyla, flew to Edinburgh, Scotland and had a great experience for two weeks! It was my second time in Europe, and just like the first one, it was an all-expense paid trip. How amazing God is.

So what did I do in the 34th WAGGGS World Conference?

On the first day, I proudly represented the Girl Scouts of the Philippines in a panel by Young Women. In front of all the participants, we shared our leadership stories. I happily shared mine; some even gave their taps on my back after. One said I was so energetic! My happiness radiated to the audience! 😀

Then for the entire week, I attended the plenary sessions, and workshops that increased my knowledge about WAGGGS, and also my skills to continue our advocacy. Everything was really helpful and worth the time. During the plenary sessions, there were voting for important matters, such as accession of some countries. The celebration of the countries after everyone voted for them to be members were so heart -warming.

As a Young WAGGGS Representative, I was part of the group that managed the Intergenerational Zone. It was a spot in the conference where girls and women from all ages spent time to discuss some topics related to leadership, and we encouraged intergenerational discussions.

Every World Conference, there is a special gathering of all the Juliette Low Seminar scholars. It was my first time to attend, and I love hearing JLS stories of other participants. It was like being in a time machine! 😀  In 2008, I attended the Juliette Low Seminar in Our Chalet, that was my first WAGGGS event, and it really brought change in me as a young leader.

And my favourite night in the conference was… the International Night! I love seeing all the participants in their own international costumes. It’s like Ms. Universe International Costume Competition. 😉

That was one whole week that will never happen again. It was an opportunity to meet old friends and have new ones. But more than that, I think it was a chance to see that WAGGGS is an organization that is progressing, and dedicated to be a voice of million girls worldwide.

Girl scouting is a way of life. An I’m praying I will grow old serving in this organization.

P.S. I will make another blog post about Edinburgh and Scotland. Yeah, we had the chance to visit significant places there! 🙂