Monday, March 28, 2016

the raya school of naga

19 march 2016
st. jude orchard clubhouse
naga city
school heads, teachers, parents, my dear graduates, good afternoon!
i do not have words to describe my reaction when teacher bel told me she was inviting me to do this task of speaking here before you, young graduates, and you parents of these cuties.  i have never been invited to do a task as, shall i say, delicate, as this. i have been speaker to numerous engagements and talked myriad topics, but never to kids as young as you are.  i have often wondered what it is or how it is to have a child, how to rear a child.  i can only guess.  at first, i was hesitant to do this, after much thought and prayers, yes, prayers, i accepted.
i mentioned earlier that this is a delicate task. it is because i am pretty much aware that a kid's mind is like a sponge and can absorb anything and everything that comes its way.  what i will say now, will hopefully remain in your minds and hearts.

graduates, i am talking to you as a farmer, an artist, an environmentalist, a social entrepreneur and a citizen of the universe. big words. you will understand what those words mean, later. maybe even later in life.  so many hats i wear. and i wear them all at the same time, all the time.

your school, the raya school of naga, has provided you with the atmosphere and environment that honed and sharpened your potentials to be all those.

your parents have the open minds and hearts to see the sights beyond the much-used box.  they have not only opened a window for you where you can see the world, but also have paved and are still paving your paths with the hope and conviction that you be constructive citizens, balanced individuals, humane, productive, democratic, moral and creative, and a student of integrity.  this is not just a special thrust in education. this is a crucial and most needed thrust in education in this country of ours.   if i were the deped secretary, i will go for this! sadly, i am not.
listen to these words i will yel you now:

never lose your sense of country. be proud filipinos. we are a great race! do not give up your citizenship, who knows, someday, you would be running for the highest in the land?

be proud of the colour of your skin! don't you know that this colour of skin gives us the lowest risk of skin cancer?

grow wings and fly high, aim for the stars!

let your imagination go wild! who would have thought we could fly to the moon and back?

nurture your creative spiriy. our country's ills can only be cured by a creative leader. you are our country's future.
i go to a lot of schools, both public and private and in every visit, i can only cry in dismay and helplessness.  the quality or the lack of it, in our educational system, makes me cry.  but i never lose hope.  being here with you now, gives me a new sense of hope.  a different light shines at the end of a long dark tunnel.

before i end my speech, i would like to share with you an experience:  in july of 2014, my farm in baao was devastated by typhoon glenda.  after years of nurturing my trees, my plants, after years of planting  and grooming my forest of dreams, an overnight lashing from an angry mother nature brought most of my trees down.  the morning after was the most dreaded morning! the sight of my farm brought me to tears and down on my knees.  it took weeks with a crew of seven, to clear and clean the area.  after the cleaning and clearing up acticvities, i was left with a heap of broken branches and broken twigs.  i didn't want to use them as just fuel, i had to wear the hats i mentioned earlier, all at the same time.

as a farmer, i had to replant and use branches to fence my farm,
as an artist, i hand-painted the wooden discs i asked my farm help to make for me,
as an environmentalist, i do not burn leaves, instead make compost for fertilizing and mulching to protect the roots of the trees,
as a social entrepreneur, i commissioned local artists to paint on more wooden discs and provide them with a simple livelihood, hired some artisans to make organic fashion accessories, (am wearing one now)
and as a citizen of the universe, i planted more trees and in doing so, provide more oxygen for everyone.
let life's circumstances bring out the best in you. life's storms may break your trees'branches, but do not let the storms break your spirit!

as gifts, i would like to give each of you a hand-painted wooden disc magnet and one blank wooden disc magnet that you can paint on and make you remember the day you met me and the day you recieved your diploma from the raya school of naga.

thank you!