"a caterpillar doesn't just grow into a butterfly. a caterpillar must undergo metamorphosis, and a cocoon is where a caterpillar risks it all: enters total chaos, undergoes total rebuilding, and is born to a new way of living. only in taking the risk of entering that inert cocoon can the caterpillar go from dormancy to potency, from ugliness to beauty."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

dancing the tinikling

"you don't go to the precipice of yes and then stop.
you don't say yes and then hold back. you don't say yes and then change your mind. the biggest thing to do when you go to the precipice of yes is to jump off and feel the exhilaration of
saying 'yes' to a noble calling."

-- mr. pagsi

last weekend (june 9-11), i joined a leadership retreat held at the betania retreat house in quezon city. i'm one of the participants this time, not one of the facilitators -- nice change.

the retreat gave me more than a mere break. on top of the opportunity of spending time with friends (whom i haven't seen for quite some time) again, i also had the great opportunity of forming new friendships with other young professionals (naks!) whose dreams are not that different from mine although they belong to other fields and they grew up in other parts of the country. more than opening doors for lifetime friendships with at least 21 other people...

• the retreat strengthened the Filipino soul in me.

• it affirmed my conviction that more than financial investments, i should have socio-civic investments.

• it made me realize that i do want a closer relationship with God and that means i want to know Him more. please don't raise those eyebrows. i'm somewhat a lost sheep and i really want to find my way back.

• it also inspired me to continue believing in the concept of team: together everyone achieves more.

i had a lot of realizations last weekend. i also had a lot of fun during the stay-in. it was good to find myself in the company of "people of like mind" -- people who believe in this country's potential despite and in spite of everything, people who have not given up on the concept of nation-building (big word, i know) and on being Filipino.

together, we ate, laughed, cracked jokes, and sang love songs with guitar as accompaniment during breaks in the discussions. with them, i had the time to pause, identify and openly talk about my real fears. i listened to their stories and they listened to mine. the flow of the discussions reminded me of the choices and the changes i can make. the activities helped me pin-point my gains and my losses, my pains and my blessings. they made me assess and reassess my paths as well as renew my commitment to my dreams. in a way, i could say that i got recharged by dancing the tinikling.

imagine young urban professionals coming together and dancing the tinikling: medical doctor, councilors, project managers and assistants, engineers, programmers, accountants, scientists, lawyers, and new graduates. well, yes, the tinikling! some of us had to do the limbo. some of us had to revive seemingly-forgotten top-spinning (pagpapaikot ng trumpo) prowess. some of us had to show how to do the sipa and the siko. some of us had to crack not-so-common philippine riddles. some of us had to pull the slingshot (tirador) and put down designated targets. all of us had a dose of alibata. all of us were made to dance the tinikling!!! more than being challenging, it was helluva fun!!!

here, before i get too carried away with my fun-fun-fun tinikling experience, let me share some of the lines i jotted down during the discussions:

"success begins in the mind. it is nurtured in the heart and is expressed through labor."

"it takes courage to do the right thing everyday. one has to have values to stand on, values that must not be compromised. after all, the people who make a difference are those with virtues."

"love is not a pinky-pinky thing. love is service."

"the most terrible thing that can happen to one's life is to be no longer needed."

"anything worth doing is worth doing well. a job well done is its own reward."

"if you want to have a fulfilled life, then you must choose to invest your life -- not just on a goal but on an ideal."

"in times of crisis, people either break down or shine. there is so much magic in woundedness."

by the way, the name of the leadership retreat is AGIMAT. interesting name, don't you think? well, we had an interesting line-up of speakers, too: dinky soliman, ateneo boys high's very well-revered onofre "mr. pagsi" pagsanghan, manila water's president antonino aquino, newsbreak magazine's editor-in-chief marites vitug, AFP's major dennis eclarin, ang lingkod ng panginoon's atty. bobby quitain, and society of jesus' bro. javi. if those names don't ring a bell, you're missing on a lot of information about the people in this country... time to read up!

as a consequence of attending AGIMAT, i added the following to my "to do list":

• answer this question: "what do you put in the center of your life?"

• complete this: "in the morning, when i wake up..." maybe come up with a poem, song or an essay?

• identify those who are in your hall of fame. guide questions: who are your heroes? why are they your heroes?

• plot (and re-plot) your lifeline. be as detailed as you can be. identify the ups and downs.

• val, make up your mind on this jolting question: "are you investing your one life on the right thing?" if the answer is yes, justify. if the answer is no, what then is the right thing and what are you currently doing with your one life -- why are you not investing it on the right thing?

challenging-enough list, eh? as you can see, i have no five-year nor ten-year plan in my "to do" list. i refuse to do anything like that because i can only clearly see as far as next month (i'm not even sure about this. sometimes, i can only clearly see as far as the next hour, haha). in fact, i'm not even gonna start budgeting my money and my time on paper. that means i'm not so sure about plotting (and re-plotting) my lifeline although i have no problem in identifying my ups and downs.

p.s. feel free to take on the challenges, if you want to. i think they'll make interesting blog entries, if you care to share... and, oh, they require honesty.


  1. Mr. Onofre Pagsi Pagsanghan, the yoda man... i have a grudge against this old man because he chooses to teach only honor sections in Ateneo high (Section A freshmen students only (probably prefers 'em young and hung, tends to be swishy)), never taught/does not teach in non-honor sections as far as i know... Because of this, he comes across to me as an arrogant jerk... Practice what your preach bi tch!!!

    - - - - - - -

    And i like your site settings by the way... readers cant anymore select texts or do right clicks on images

    inform me ha, want to use this technique in my blog also, since its a neat way to discourage plagiarism and stealing of personal pictures (those stalker stories you had was quite alarming)... although alt+print screen still works...

    well, ill just manual type this line that stuck in my head in reading this post. "i have no x-year in my to do list. ... i can only clearly see as far as next month" ... i concur, i feel the same too. I dunno what to do with my life!

    p.s. caterpillar, i came up with this idea, how about blog guest-writing, whatyasay?

    haay, im so bored

  2. krislan, in all the times i heard him talk, he admits teaching section A freshmen ateneo boys for the longest time in his teaching life. i didn't get the impression that he limits himself to those boys... it's quite interesting to hear something different and off about sir pagsi.


    please give me your e-mail (see my blogger profile for my e-mail addy) so i can send you the code to "intimidate clueless potential plagiarists" and discuss that blog guest-writing idea as well.

    thanks for droppin' by.

  3. Hi there, my name is alvin and i am currently preparing to do a Leadership Paper… will it be possible if you could provide some sort of external views….

  4. pagsi's the greatest teacher i've ever had.


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