Flight 364

 Its been almost 2 months after our Pre-departure training last July 29, 2011 when 28 Young Leaders all over the county were confirmed as Youth Ambassadors to the 38th Ship for Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP). As I watched the clouds on the airplane window traveling to Manila, I felt excitement and fear but inside of me is a growing strength and courage knowing that representing my country is a once in a lifetime opportunity that only 364 youths has the chance to experience.

SSEAYP is like waking up from a very beautiful dream and then finding things were already happening as you had seen it before you opened your eyes. During our 12-day training in Tagaytay International Convention Center, I found friendship and had seen the beauty of Philippines through the faces of my comrades. It is where i realized that every Filipino value their relationship with each other beyond fame, power or pride. Regardless of our age differences, our backgrounds or our religious beliefs, we came to understand that we have one mission to fulfil upon joining the program - to  make our country proud and see the sun and three stars shinning through the skies.

First Group Picture Taken at NYC, QC
If I would describe "PintigPinoy" ,which is our batch name,it best represents our group. It's a word that commemorates the 150th Anniversary of Jose Rizal by which through him, people from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao came to realization that we are all Filipinos - the start of the Filipino heartbeat. Going deeper, 'Pintig" which means heartbeat and "Pinoy" or Filipino literally means Filipino Heartbeat or the Filipino heart beats to serve his countrymen. Love for country cannot be true unless you love the people in it. And true love can only be expressed through service that does not expect something in return.

As I continued to watch the amazing view from  21,000 feet above the ground, I can't help to say to myself how extravagant God is for making this country like a paradise. The more than an hour trip was worth the wait and as I stepped down the plane, we will be on a month long series of trainings, activities and seminars to prepare for our 52 days cruise around Japan and ASEAN. One thing is true, when we return after this program -  we will continue what we have been doing and we will carry out here what is applicable from what we have learned. 

For now, I came to a conclusion that we just have to put on a little sacrifice by going out of our usual routines or being away from our comfort zones, and always remembering that its not our name that we carry when we meet other young leaders from other participating countries but - we will be waving our very precious and noble country - PHILIPPINES. Only the best,nothing less.
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