The journey towards Ayala Young Leaders Congress is a steep rocky mountain, arduous to climb, yet exciting and fulfilling to reach its summit. Preparing all the necessary documents for the application to this prestigious search really entailed sacrifice and patience. But I didn’t let myself be discouraged; I joined the search and submitted my application.
December 16, 2011. I was then traversing the long and winding thoroughfares of Baguio City to attend a national conference when Sir Jerry, my AYLC adviser, received a call from the university informing him of a letter sent by the AYLC Secretariat. After that call, Sir Jerry gleefully said “Congratulations Dan, you and Totoy made it to the Ayala.” I just smiled but deep inside, my intestines were jumping in gladness. I can’t shout my jubilance that time for I might bother all the other 60 passengers inside the bus. Then I whispered above, “Thank you Lord!”
‘Twas indeed a great morning; GOD has listened to my prayers. After the long wait, the good news has come. A simple DAN made it to the elite list of the Outstanding Ayala Young Leaders in the Philippines. I remembered myself telling Totoy that time in the bus, “GOD gave me this gift, a consolation to all my leadership sacrifices… for my endeavors as a leader do not wait payment in return.”
Then the rest was history until I found myself traveling on the morning of February 9, 2011 passing through the highland Tagaytay City bound to Alfonso, Cavite where the 13th Ayala Young Leaders Congress will be conducted. A waving welcome of the facilitators, staff and AYLC alumni greeted us as we reached our destination.
Being part of AYLC 2011, tagged as the Batch KISLAP, was more than a prestige and honor, it was for me a gift and a great blessing bestowed upon by God, a very rare opportunity and a life-transforming experience one would truly treasure throughout his life, just like what it did to me.
The congress truly touched my heart and enriched my mind in a very unique way. The insights and thought-provoking words uttered by multitude of great leaders, guest speakers, facilitators and my fellow delegates moved me in a way I have never felt before. I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with my session group members, my endeared Kalembang Group. Equal enjoyment I felt in executing various challenges with the L outdoor group, a group bonded with teamwork and unison.
Meeting, talking and knowing the 80 most promising and brightest young leaders of the archipelago really excited me the most in the congress. Yet, I wasn’t able to meet them all in the congress; still I always find time to know each one of them through various means that I know. The reflections and sharings emerged after every course, activity and session as well as the powerful words and motivating phrases about servant leadership awakened me into a better perspective.
Listening to the panel discussions inspired and invigorated me so much. Every piece of insights I got from each panelist will always be kept in my heart and mind. Doing all the course challenges and the sharing of learnings afterwards, kept me most alive in the congress. While the cheers and encouraging yells of my co-delegates whenever I perform the challenges, energized me a lot. Talking to my fellow youth leaders during the congress, and picking valuable lessons from them, raged the burning passion of leadership in me.
The congress taught me a myriad of priceless lessons. More than knowing myself well, I have relearned the value of teamwork and unity; that concerted effort among the group members would always lead to success and victory. I have also relearned the value of listening. One should not always the one who talks and he should sometimes need to listen, for listening would always pilot the group to understanding and would lead to clearer plans and actions. The value of giving your trust to your colleagues is also one of the lessons I have relearned in the congress. One should never doubt the capacity of his members if he really wants to achieve the next value, the value of creating good rapport with your co-members.
I have gained a lot of insights and experiences which I believe would truly help me so much. All the learnings I acquired from AYLC molded me more into a better individual, better leader and a better member of our family. It changed some of my perspectives in life into a more optimistic one.
I could affirm that attending the congress for three days transformed me into a more grown-up DAN. I became more sensitive to the feelings of others, especially of my colleagues in an organization. I became more passionate in responding to my social responsibility as I always believe that I exist not only for myself but also for others. Likewise, I became more energized to continue my visions towards contriving substantial transformations in our community and in the nation as a whole. And became more appreciative to the things which I know will make me a better person.
After the congress, I was able to live up and continue upholding the precious thoughts, lessons and insights I have learned as I continue to be an effective instrument for change. And I realized that all what I’ve learned in AYLC is worthless if I will not be able to apply these in the real world and that is serving our community towards transforming the lives of my fellow men and sustaining the passion for service and leadership.
I would always be grateful that in once in my life, I attended a national congress, not an ordinary one, but a congress on which I came to know myself, I came to know other great youth leaders in the country and came to know that I could do more towards building the nation.
Indeed, the 13th Ayala Young Leaders Congress is a collage of treasured memories, fountain of unforgettable moments, haven of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, threshold of meeting great leaders and a rare opportunity of knowing oneself and one’s leadership potentialities better.
Danilo V. Rogayan Jr. is a current senior student of Ramon Magsaysay Technological University – San Marcelino Campus in San Marcelino, Zambales, taking up a Degree in Secondary Education, Major in Biological Science. He was one of the 81 delegates in the 13th National Ayala Young Leaders Congress on February 9-11, 2011 at Alfonso, Cavite, Philippines.