Walang makahihigit pa sa rikit at ganda
Ng bayang handog sa atin ng Bathalang dakila…
I Choose to Be Here
Central Luzon has been endowed with immense biodiversity, bestowed with a diverse culture and rich history and gifted with a multitude of great people. Great people who have been unselfishly dedicating and devoting themselves in serving the region with all compassion and love and have been dubbed as change-makers, transformation agents and nation-builders in their own ways.
The 17 outstanding youth leaders from the different provinces and cities of Central Luzon, despite of the demands of their time and pressures of scholastic and professional works, chose to be part of this year’s sixth edition of the Region III Search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) held last April 18 – 23, 2013.
These young people made an excellent choice as they embarked themselves in a life-changing and an awe-inspiring Regional Formation Program. With the theme “I Choose Baya,” Zambales took its turn in hosting this year’s nation-building activity which has been rotating within Region III’s provinces for the last five years: Bataan (2008), Pampanga (2009), Nueva Ecija (2010), Bulacan (2011), and Tarlac (2012). Aurora will host next in 2014.
The theme of the Regional Week reflects the quintessential roles of each one, specifically the outstanding young leaders, to dedicate themselves, their time, their efforts and even their lives in serving their fellow kababayans and rebuilding the bayan. It will always start with a choice, a choice that will truly change the course of the nation’s history, a choice to take the road of servant leadership and nation-building as a life-long commitment. The theme also posed a challenge to the young leaders to speak their mind and do something for the bayan.
On the first day, the regional finalists were welcomed by the officials and staff of CHED Region III with the presence of Director Virginia D. Akiate, Ed.D. who inspired the finalists with her thought-provoking words. In celebration of the fifth year of TOSP Region 3 Alumni Community of Heroes (TOSP-R3ACH), the alumni and finalists had a ceremonial tribute in Bataan where the community was formed in 2008. Colegio de San Juan de Letran (Bataan Campus) hosted the activity dedicated to the young heroes of Bataan defenders during World War II.
Ramon Magsaysay Technological University (RMTU), situated in the capital of Zambales, hosted the Welcome Ceremony. The university hostel accommodated the alumni and finalists. Dr. Cornelio C. Garcia, RMTU President, led the other university officials in welcoming the finalists and TOSP alumni through a welcome dinner. It was graced by Mr. Alfonso “Coke” Bolipata, an internationally acclaimed violinist and founder of CASA San Miguel, as this year’s keynote speaker.
In his keynote speech, Mr. Bolipata shared his life experiences as a musician and as a founder of the CASA San Miguel, a home for those who dream to be like him. He made the listening crowd realized that ‘choosing bayan’ is indeed a great choice and provoked them to do their own share in building this nation.
I Choose to be a Proud Central Luzon Youth
As part of the annual tradition, TOSP alumni and finalists were toured around significant historical sites in Zambales and Olongapo City.
The young leaders visited the National Historical Commission of the Philippines’ Magsaysay Ancestral House in Castillejos, Zambales wherein they had a flowering offering to Zambales’ notable son, Pres. Ramon F. Magsaysay and tour of the president’s house. The finalists also visited the Columban College in Olongapo City which houses the historic Zambal Museum. The finalists also had a chance to see the largest flag in the Philippines located at Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
To witness the glamour and beauty of Casa San Miguel in San Antonio, Zambales, the finalists also visited the site wherein they were serenaded by some of the music scholars of the casa with the presence of Mr. Coke Bolipata. The casa also houses some artworks of various Zambaleño visual artists. Afterwards, the group visited the San Andres Church, a National Cultural Treasure in Masinloc, Zambales.
The finalists were also inspired by the stories of two municipal mayors of the province during a courtesy call. Castillejos Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez shared his advocacy in skills development through providing TESDA courses to his constituents while Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora inspired the finalists in her agricultural developments and farming innovations introduced in their municipality.
The whole-day Zambales Day Tour made the finalists feel so proud of their grassroots and of their region – Central Luzon.
I Choose to Lead by Example
The heart of the TOSP Regional Week was held on the third day – the Formation Program Proper held at RMTU College of Law Conference Hall. This is where the finalists got acquainted with the most pressing issues confronting the region and the nation in the entirety and laid their response in resolving the identified problems through their presentations of their respective project proposals. They also shared their life experiences and their insights on servant leadership and nation-building through small group discussions.
In the evening, the traditional Alumni Night was held at Bakasyunan Resort and Conference Center in Iba, Zambales. The 2013 Regional Finalists were welcomed by the growing R3ACH community through an incomparable and unforgettable shore-and-boat ride alumni initiation.
The night was filled with nostalgic reminiscence as reflected by the sharing of testimonials of the TOSP Alumni from various batches as R3ACH celebrated its fifth year as a community. Mr. Jonathan de Quiroz, R3ACH Chairperson, recollected the memories of the community since its establishment in 2008 and challenged the alumni and finalists to continue the quest for nation-building.
As they choose to lead by example, the evening was ended with the ceremonial sharing of commitment of the Central Luzon bayanis followed by the heart-warming singing of “Alay ng TOSP.”
I Choose to Celebrate the Best Things in Life
The next day, the finalists were immersed in the Gawad Kalinga Botolan in New Taugtog, Botolan, Zambales through a Community Day. The alumni and the finalists taught the Sibol kids of the GK village on the proper way of brushing their teeth and washing their hands. Afterwards, the finalists had a story-telling activity which made the kids inspired in gladness. The Sibol kids likewise received gifts of school supplies from the R3ACH community.
The activity was capped by a boodle fight-themed lunch with sharing of the alumni and finalists of the outpouring of insights learned throughout the regional week. The lunch also served as a celebration of the best things in life, serving a community with gladdened hearts and delighted souls.
I Choose to Serve my Region
In the afternoon, the alumni community partook in the Amazing Race: The Botolan Escapade which was conceptualized by Miss Noorain Sabdulla in coordination with the Team GK RMTU. The alumni and finalists underwent grueling yet exciting challenges around the municipality of Botolan.
The highlight of the race was the Humility Challenge wherein the alumni and finalists had to ask foods of any kind from the Botolan villagers. The foods were given to the families in the GK Botolan Community.
After the amazing race, the alumni and finalists had swimming and sunset viewing at the Botolan beach then afterwards, the finalists had their networking activity. Holding their respective torches, the 17 finalists shared their dreams and aspirations and where they will be after five years. Most of them see themselves serving Region III after five years from that day. The sharing of aspirations ended with the lighting of the bonfire.
The alumni and finalists were fostered overnight by accommodating families at Gawad Kalinga Botolan.
I Choose to Give my Best at All Times
From Zambales, the finalists were ferried to King’s Royale Pampanga in the City San Fernando where they had their Batch Day. In the same place, Batch Siklab, as they call themselves, convened to scribble their Batch Response.
Giving their best at all times, Batch Siklab ignited their ardent passion, blazing commitment and glowing aspirations not just for the region but for the nation as a whole as reflected in their batch response. They have committed themselves to relentlessly keep the torch of nation-building fiery and burning!
I Choose to Learn, Lead and Serve for Life
The awarding ceremony was held at Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University on the 23rd in the historic town of Bacolor, Pampanga which just celebrated 250th anniversary of being the Philippine capital during the British occupation of Manila from 1762 to 1764. The event was graced by Mr. Jose Mari Ochinena, Philippine Information Agency Undersecretary as keynote speaker.
Indeed, the 2013 Zambales Formation is another great milestone for TOSP R3ACH. Thanks to the generosity and benevolence of the different sectors of the society – academe, government and private institutions – who extended their hands and hearts to make this year’s regional week remarkably successful.
Kung kaya’t ating pag-ibig at pagkalinga
Sa bayan, ating ihandog sa tuwina…