Sunday, March 15, 2009

Batang Ladder

By grace, I won in the Search for the Batang Lider (formerly TOSLIC). Maybe Kevin Piamonte tampered with the results. Haha. This was my crazy speech at Robinsons, March 11, evening.

Good evening, everyone.

For some reason, I have always had the rare misfortune of running into lunatics, what we Ilonggos call as “bu-ang.” Once, outside my parish, one suddenly approached me and started asking – no, demanding – for clothes and stuff, and she was ordering me to deliver them the next day! Another time, as I was on my way to school in CAT uniform, a woman in white stopped me on the sidewalk and demanded to know where I bought my sword – and if I was an NPA! Then, last Saturday in a restaurant, a third one barged into the room, headed for our table, and demanded for her money – or her lunch and dinner – whichever I’d prefer.

My dear friends, these are three curious incidents which happened to highlight the sad plight of lunatics: That they have no sense of direction. And how does this at all relate to leadership? Because if there’s one important thing which a leader should inculcate upon his followers, it must be a clear sense of direction.

Maybe that’s the reason why we are all gathered here today – we are celebrating the success achieved through that clear sense of direction. Ladies and gentlemen, gazing upon these faces onstage tells you so much about what’s inside all of us. That these young students who share the stage with me right now have the makings of a leader. That we are the ‘Batang Lider’ awardees for 2009!

Times are hard nowadays, and this generation waits for no one. In order for us to succeed, we must keep up with the tides; we don’t, and we crumble to pieces. That and more, a leader should imbibe. No matter how strong the waves are, he must be determined to swim to the shore. No matter how tempting the luxuries and enjoyments of life are, he must be willing to sacrifice his time for a much nobler and greater purpose. No matter how difficult the path is, he must be dedicated to reach the finish line.

Tell you what, upon joining this search, I myself almost did not reach the finish line.

You see, while most of my fellow awardees here onstage were probably deciding over the best cover designs or the best layout for their scrapbooks, I, on the other hand, was in the Bicol region, in Naga City. I was a delegate to the 2009 National Schools Press Conference, and by hook or by crook, I had to attend the event – with a competition and an award awaiting me at the same time. To make the long story short, I eventually passed my scrapbook with just an hour and a half to spare.

But why am I telling you this? Because I strongly believe that for a leader to succeed, he must not only have a clear sense of direction, but also determination to succeed, willingness to sacrifice, and hard work and dedication – qualities which somehow stressed themselves in my simple story.

Now, a few exceptional people genuinely deserve my heartfelt gratitude for their equally commendable sacrifice, hard work and dedication. First, to my family: to my parents, whose support has always been undying, and whose concern for my welfare is ageless; to my brother and sister, who’s gone with me from start to end. To our beloved school principal, Dr. Carmen P. Santos, for her boundless generosity and support; and to my advisers in The Chain, Mr. Philippe John Fresnillo Sipacio and Ms. Sybil Agreda, whose wonderful souls and collective pot of wisdom helped mold me into what I am now. To my class adviser, Mr. Roger Antonio Alavata, whose openness and trust I will truly appreciate; to our head teacher Ms. Janet Escubio, for having been a second mother in school; to Ms. Colleen Bernabe-Cabayao, for always being there to guide and help me; to Mr. Anthony Laurea, Mr. Jun Victor Bactan, Mr. Randy Toledano, and Ms. Faith Casquero, and to the all the noble souls of the ICCHS faculty, I will never forget your invaluable assistance, without which, I wouldn’t be here right now. To the members of The Chain especially the senior staff and editors, to the CAT Eagles 2009, to ICCHS 4th Year Guava – my classmates, who are currently risking their Calculus and Economics exams just to be here with me – and the entire Batch 2009, life would have been very much different without you. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Or as we say it in Chinese: “Gan xie! Gan xie! Zai gan xie!”

Last but not the least, I offer up everything to the Lord Almighty for it was only through Him that I got the opportunity to stand and speak before you this evening.

So, will I get to meet more ‘loony people’ in the future? Hopefully not. I’ve already had too much of my share of experiences, which I must say enlightened me countless ways on the concept of leadership. For now, I’ll settle with living up to the title of being a “Batang Lider,” a gracious honor which I humbly accept today.

Allow me to end with this wonderful quote from James Maxwell, who said, “Leadership is influence… nothing more, nothing less.” The influence to do what is right, what is good, and what is best for humanity.

Thank you and good evening!

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