July 18, 2011 at exactly 7:24 pm, I received an unexpected text message. The text came from an unregistered number. I immediately read it, without any idea:
I’m Prof. Serafin Arviola from the UNAP Award Committee for 2011 Outstanding Youth Leader. Your application belongs to the Top 8 in ranking. Please send via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org tomorrow at 2:00 pm if you will accept the award personally on August 3 at 2:00 pm with President Benigno S. Aquino III at Sarabia Manor Hotel, Iloilo City. Otherwise, we will give the award to the candidate who is next in rank. Please be informed also that transportation and accommodation in Iloilo shall be shouldered by the awardees. Thank you!
I was caught in total silence. Then I started reading the message again. Yes! This was it! This was the result I have been waiting for. After 18 days of waiting, finally the result came. My application to the United Nations Association of the Philippines Outstanding Youth Leadership Awards was indeed worth waiting. I jumped in jubilance and shouted in gratitude as I yelled up above, “Thank you Lord! Thank you! Thank you!”
Tears started to stream out of my eyes. I still can’t believe that I made it to this prestigious national search. My siblings asked me, “anong meron?” I laughed in tears as I said, “Nakapasok ako sa search. Aawardan ako sa Iloilo ni Presidente.” Then they greeted me in chorus, “Congratulations!”
So glad to receive the good news, I posted in my Facebook, “Thanks God! Thanks for the overflowing blessings.” ‘Tis a very advance gift! Then I started scribbling a message of thanks for my mentors who recommended me for the search and sent it via phone. I likewise thanked my friends and colleagues for helping me through.
My phone inbox and my Facebook account were flooded with congratulatory messages and it’s my pleasure to share them in this space as a way of my profound thanks to them.
Ano ba yan Dan. Grabe na ito. Wag ka sanang makakalimot. Dito lang ako. I’m so happy Dan! Nagbunga paghihirap natin. Grabe yung preparation natin huh. Dan, di pa talaga ako makapaniwala. You deserve the highest award RMTU could give. M,hn,ik6nhk0jbnim,I’m so proud of you Dan. Grabe! – Sir Jerry S. Cristobal
Congratz Kuya! You deserve it. Keep it up. I’m so proud of you! Malayo pa mararating mo kuya. Don’t ever change. Always keep your feet on the ground huh, wag kalimutan yun. Thanks din for being a part of your success. – Ma’amArselita M. Paranada
Congrats Dan! Very proud ngayon ang RMTU! You ’re so blessed. – Ma’am Junette Agpalo
Wow congrats! I’m proud of you Dan! You deserve it! – Ma’am Lorina P. Bundang
Ang galing naman, binabati kita iho. You deserve it! – Ma’am Mendaluz Laguatan
Congratulations! I have nothing to say but stay as you are and always be a blessing to everyone. – Sir Eric DS Ebro
Congratulations Dan! So proud of you! Wow! Galing-galing talaga! You’re exceptional. “The Danilo Rogayan,” ahem pasalubong na lang hehe. Congratz again, I was not surprise! – Sir Bernard M. Cambe
Congratulations Dan! I’m happy to know that you’re an outstanding awardee. Keep up the good work. I wish you more success in the future, I know you will! – Prof. Luz N. Corpuz
Congratz! You deserve that! – Ma’am Reyna Lyn A. Sahagun
Congrats Dan! We are proud of you. You’re a pride of RMTU and Zambales. Godspeed! You are more than deserving naman, congratz! – Sir Marlon N. Fulgencio
God bless dear. You deserve it! – Dr. Jo A. Espiritu
Congrats! Alam ko dahil sa tiyagaat talino mo kaya nakuha mo. – Ma’am Amy V. Aguado
Wow! Galing galing naman kuya. Congrats and we’re very proud for you being a member of RMTU family. Yehey! – Ma’am Nora A. Alcayaga
Hi Dan! Congratulations! Masaya ako para sa iyo! I know you deserve it. Proud ako na kaibigan ko ang awardee ng Outstanding Young Leader Award of the Philippines. Pwede papic and paautograph next time we meet? Hehe. Napatunayan mo, kaya mo naman di ba? Congrats din sa parents mo. I know you’re mom is watching over you, at I’m sure sya for you. Congratz again. God bless! – Ma’am Marie Edurain
I’m very proud of you, Dan. Congratz! You deserve it! Isa ako sa talagang nagmamalaki sa kung anumang blessings ang natatanggap mo. Sana di magbago ang Danilo Rogayanna isang mapagkumbabang tao. It’s my honor that I once a teacher of you. You’re a good example of a student na lagi kong ibinibida sa klase ko, kaya well-known and kuya Danilo Rogayan sa San Agustin. Hay, no kidding! Basta promise ko sa’yo forever kong ipagpe-pray success mo sa buhay, sa education, career and of course lovelife. Hehe. Alam ko balance ka lang. – Ma’am Marites A. Abelon
Congrats ha. I’m proud of you. Congrats sa award mo ha… Keep up the good work.. Keep inspiring the youth of Castillejos. – Councilor Mike Felarca
Ang galing mo Dan, napapaluha ako. Ang galling galling talaga. You’re the best. I’m very proud of you! God is so great. Napakalayo na ng narating mo Dan. Grabe, napakaproud ko sa’yo. Saludo ako sa’yo Dan! – Sonny A. Santos
Congrats Dan! May the Lord bless your heart and guide you always! – Jumaica Pullido
Congratulations! Kaya proud na proud mga Ramonias eh! – Divine Grace L. Valencia
Congratz Sir. Layo na naabot mo… at sa layo, yung maleta mo dito, di mo na makuha-kuha. Hehe. – Andrew V. Paje
WOW! Congratulations! Based on what I see, it is a well-deserved honor. I will make sure that I will be able to meet you next year sometime in February! – Sir Danny Arimboanga
Congratulations Kuya Dandan. Proud po ako sa’yo! – Manuel Q. Garcia Jr.
Congrats sa mga achievements mo. Mas malayo pa dyan mararating mo. God bless Dan! – Adonis delos Santos
Congratulations Kuya Danilo Villar Rogayan Jr. We’re very proud of you! – Anjanette Paje
Congratz Kuya! We’re proud of you! You are not only a pride of RMTU but a pride of Zamabales as well. – Clarizel May M. Kuhutan
I’m so proud of you talaga ading. I’m sure, your parents are so much proud of you. Iba ka talaga! Thumbs up talaga ako sa’yo. – Beverly Beltran
Congratulations Dan! We’re proud of you! You deserve it! – Davielyn Joy V. Rogayan
Wow! Taray mo, congratz! – Lalaine Ballon
Congratz Dan! You really deserve it! Galing mo talaga! Saludo ako sa’yo! – John Ray Minas
Hi Dan! I’m so sorry for the late greetings…I received your txt but been so busy. Anyway, I just want to extend my warmest CONGRATULATIONS to you. You really deserve it! Now, I have a whole lot of reasons to meet you. I’m so proud of you…Keep it up! – Ronz Epiz
Congratulations dear… thumbs up! – Ma’am Karen P. Andres
Congrats Sir DAN! nice one,,,hehe. – Regina Asuncion
Naka2 WOW! talga nman…SUPER THUMBS UP!!!Sir Dan… – Jerlyn Dela Cruz
Congratzzz sir . dan…..more blessings to come,… – Alvin Fababier
Talaga naman…. di paawat eh…congratulations uli!!!!! Keep up the good work at huwag makalimot magpasalamat sa Ama sa lahat ng blessings na natatanggap mo po. –Ma’am Ma. Milmor M. More
Congratulations for another great achievement… keep on realizing your dreams… – Sir Ferdinand V. Tamoria
Congrats Dan! Grabe. Amethyst pride! We’re all proud to be your classmate. God bless you more. Congrats Danilo! – Adrielle dela Fuente
Sa wakas na-gets ko na.. haha.. Congratz kua dan.!!! Grabe ibang level kn tlga… haha..Kelan ba tau pupunta? haha.. Congratz uli!!! You deserve it! GBU! go bsed4! haha. – Bryan Jester Balmeo
CONGRATULATIONS!!! galing2..yohoo!!!ikaw na Danilo Villar Rogayan Jr!!!hahaha – Arianne P. Eugenio
Congratulations too, Danilo Villar Rogayan Jr! Magkasama naman tayo ulit sa parangal na ito. 🙂 See you here in Iloilo! – JP Peñol
Congratulations Mr. Rogayan for such an awesome and a very outstanding achievement….We, here in America are very proud of you. – Ms. Beverlyn Antonio-Lindee
Our Mother Balaybay must be very proud of you! You are one good example of our youth deserved such a recognition for an outstanding achievement. Congratulations!!! – Mr. Bong Cortez
A budding leader, we’ll see more of you doing great things. Refreshing. Congratulations! – Ms. Constante Foronda
Congratulations! – Congw. Mitos H. Magsaysay
Wow thats great! Congrats danny and keep up the good work. Am so proud of your success. – Mdm. Wilma D. Billman
CONGRATZ!!!!…KAW NA NGA!!..PINOI HENYO!!.hehehehe… – Ailene Joy Belmonte
Congratulations Dan… We are very proud of you. Ipagpatuloy mo ang iyong adhikakain. Nasa likod mo kami para maproteksyonan at mapaganda ang ating environment. – Mr. Reynaldo Rodolfo
Ang galing mo talaga Dan….congratulations…baka di mo na mabuhat mga medals mo sa graduation ah. – Ma’am Letecia Adoro
Praise and thanks God! That will be great kapatid!Pakisend mo sa akin yung details ng award so i can share it sa AYLA family. Walang anuman, maraming salamat sa oportunidad upang makatulong sa kapwa lider kabataan at sa pagbabahagi ng iyong sarili.I’m so happy and proud of you kapatid.! God bless! – Kuya Joseph Navarro
Galing galing mo talaga Dan! Iba ka talaga! – Lashaundra Mae D. Ballon
Congratz Dan! Keep up the good work. I know you can reach all your dreams in life. May the good Lord guide you always. Ganyan talaga si God. He always gives rewards and blessings for good people like you. Pag alam Nyang deserve at pinaghihirapan mo, ibibigay Nya. – Lhea R. Garcia
Congrats! You deserve it. But don’t forget to keep your feet on the ground. God bless! – Melissa
Congratz, deserving ka naman Kuya Dan. Proud kaming BSED 4 sa naachieve mo Dan! – Princes dela Rosa
Wow! Congrats Sir! You really are deserving. – Ailyn D. Caritativo
Ang galing mo Dan, so proud of you! That was expected. Galing mo, di na kita masight! – Ramish Baldoza
These congratulatory messages would always be engraved in my heart. You are all part of this achievement.
Thanks to all of you especially to my mom up there for letting me see the splendor of the world and the gifts of nature. Thanks to my Dad and the rest of my family for the love and support. To all my mentors, from elementary up to now, for the never ending encouragement. Special mention to Sir Jerry for the big help.
To all my friends, colleagues, batch mates, classmates and schoolmates, thank you for the inspiration.
Above all, thank you Lord for such a precious gift! Thank you for the abounding graces that You incessantly showering upon me. I pray for humility, happiness and good health and may I continue to be a blessing to others.
Few days to go, I will be flying to Iloilo to receive the Outstanding Youth Leader Award for Environment Category. This accolade will be another source of motivation and inspiration for me to do more for the environment and for nation-building.
Maraming salamat po!
For details, you might want to read this.