ALEx Interacts and Distributes Good to Fire Victims Kids

A fire broke out in Brgy. Labangon sitio Bugnay last May 29, 2011, razing 26 houses. in the area. For the mean time, the victims of the fire are currently living in tents near the chapel.

The Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence brings 65 ‘back to school’ goodies to the children of the affected barangay.  The goodies were from the donations of the Dutch partners of ALEx, the donations from UP chapter and the materials bought using the proceeds of the ALEx Shoe Sale conducted weeks ago.  A small program was conducted before we proceed with the distribution. The program began with a prayer led by Michael.

Michael volunteered to lead the prayer.

After the prayer, Vinder Singh, one of the active members of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence conducted the ‘Bring Me’ game. Not only the children were excitedly participative, their respective parents were as well. The winners got to take home toys, courtesy of the donations of the Dutch partners of ALEx.

Vinder plays Bring Me with the kids.Here he asks the name of the girl who has given him what he asked for.

After the ‘Bring Me’ game was concluded, ALEx introduced its members.

Vinder, the host had forgotten to introduced himself, too. When he asked the kids if they knew who he was, they all said ‘yes’, and shouted, ‘Alex.’ It was a good idea after all to introduce ourselves to the kids or they’ll think that ALEx is a person in the face of Vinder Singh.

Another game was started. This game was the famous parlour game ‘The Boat is Sinking.” Five winners were selected from the game and they received toys each.

This little boy is closely paying attention to Vinder. You can see how much he wants to win from how his eyes glitter.

The ALEx members started to distribute the goodies after the last game was finished.

Razilee, ALEx Chair and Clarizza,the program's head read the names of the children 0n the list and the other members (Cheyenne in the picture above) handed the goodies to those who were called.

The happy face of this child upon receiving the goodies makes ALEx members happy and fulfilled.

Such a huge smile on his face.

At the end of the distribution, Vinder had advised the kids to benchmark the members of ALEx who dedicated a part of their time in helping and making children happy. Razilee, the president gave the final words. Then, ALEx turned over a box of clothes to donate to the victims of the fire. The distribution of these school supplies goods is just one of ALEx’s activities to bring joy to less-privileged children. ALEx hopes to be doing more than this in the future.

The kids wave the bundle of joy they received from ALEx. You can tell that they love their presents and the camera as well.

ALEx with the Brgy. Captain of Labangon, Vic Buendia



Commitment unlocks the doors of imagination, allows vision, and gives us the "right stuff" to turn our dreams into reality.” James Womack

In every commitment, there lies a promise and with every promise there is a hope that the commitment will be honoured. Commitments, when fulfilled allow us to gain trust and respect—these two things are rare but valuable gems. Commitments that are not kept create false hopes. False hopes create disappointments and disappointments corrupt trust and respect.

Difficult as it is to honor a commitment, it is more difficult to commit when you see others not doing it.  It is a two-fold difficulty. You see others not fulfilling their promises and you start to doubt yourself. “If they are not doing it, why should I?”  The youth are especially guilty of this. Not having established a strong principle on honouring a commitment, they are easily dissuaded by the influence of their environment. Seeing that their peers are not fulfilling their respective commitments, they find it difficult to see the importance of a commitment. Gradually, the value of commitment erodes and horrifyingly, the disregard for it becomes widespread. The vicious cycle goes on and on.

I was a scholar of the Young Minds Academy, a youth program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. The program has a very high regard of commitment. Since RAFI invests so much in its scholars, they ask of their scholars’ commitment to finish the whole duration of the program. At the beginning, we are asked to sign a covenant expressing our commitment for the program. We must uphold these commitments, because not upholding is very expensive. (If we discontinue YMA, we pay 30php, the amount RAFI invests in each scholar). The program taught me that commitments should not be taken for granted but it had also taught the magnitude of punctuality. In our minds, it is instilled that Filipino time is on time, in contrast to the other’s notion of Filipino Time. The result of my learnings from YMA was my involvement and commitment to the Aboitiz Leaders of Excelllence (ALEx), a fresh and recently re-established organization. The reason ALEx has gotten on its feet is because of the members who have put their time and commitment into making it move forward. As you can see, commitments inspire action and direction.

Sad but true, the neglect of commitment is already mainstreamed in the Filipinos’ culture. Being habitually late for about an hour or so has been branded ‘the Filipino Time.’  While it is a popular trademark among Filipinos, it is nothing to be proud of.  It is not even a laughing matter or something that can just be tolerated.  Sadly, what’s happening now is a pervasive leniency of Filipino Time. It is so widespread that even people from other nation and every Filipino themselves believe that being late is a distinct and inherent Filipino characteristic, that it’s natural for a Filipino. This way of thinking trivializes the gravity of this impropriety.

I have high regard of commitments and punctuality, but at times, I am discouraged. There are times when I set up a date with my friends and I tell them what time we should assemble. My pals would always beg me to set the time an hour earlier, knowing that without doubt, people would start arriving an hour later. There is also this time I was attending a debut that was set to start at 6pm according to the invitation; however the program was started at 7pm. There was this incident also when I thought I was going to be late for a meeting. I arrived five minutes before the time, only to find out that I was the still the only attendee. Countless of times, I have been a victim of the Filipino time. That is why it’s frustrating and disheartening. Frankly, there are times when my high regard for this deteriorates and that is because of me developing a frame of mind that ‘since people arrive late, I might as well not come on time so I do not have to wait and waste my time hanging around’. This kind of mindset is general and true to most people. That is why the seemingly irrevocable rampancy of the Filipino time goes on and on.

What we Filipinos lack is a capability to exercise honouring our commitment and making it part of our system. It is difficult to honor punctuality with our lack of role models in society, with everyone else tolerating tardiness and with everyone thinking being tardy is an innate Filipino trait.. There is no question that society plays a very vital role in the prevalence of the Filipino time. School facilities and public events that are held by the government do not even honor time. It’s practically very difficult to eradicate it when punctuality is not epitomized and when the leaders we look up to like the school and the government exhibits a lackadaisical disregard for commitment.

Jose Rizal had said that the youth is the future of our nation. I firmly believe that we, the youth have the ability to change the face of our society. But first and for most, we have to begin with ourselves. It would not matter that our elders are being apathetic about it. As the youth, what we should do to combat this misdemeanour is to instil in ourselves that for everything we do, we have a responsibility and that it’s not all the time somebody else’s fault. We should not make excuses anymore and blame the traffic, the alarm clock, the car, our parents, our siblings, etc. We should erase the common notion that programs and events don’t start on time. We should set good examples, even if our elders are not doing great themselves. We must instil in our minds, as it was instilled in mine when I was a scholar of YMA: Filipino time is on time and not late. It is a way of showing our respect for other’s time and schedule and a way for us to be reciprocated.

Honoring commitment and being on time conceives us the gems of trust and respect. If we cultivate this, we’d enhance mankind and turn our country into a better nation, where everyone thrives in respect and trust.

ALEx Distributes Shoebox to Urgello Kids

Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx) assisted Communitty Christian Fellowship (CCF)  as co-facilitators in conducting their three-day Catechism Program themed, ‘God Makes Me Stronger’ that was held on April 26-29, 2011. The beneficiaries of the program were children from Urgello ages 3 or 4 years old to preteen. On the third and last day, ALEx distributed the shoeboxes that arrived from Netherlands (cared of Sandra Pronk).  About 75 children received goods from our Dutch friends, wide smiles on their innocent faces when they opened their packages.

Bringing the shoeboxes to Urgello was not an easy task because the boxes were very heavy. (Too heavy that the maximum number of boxes I could carry was only three.)  To top that, it was scorching sizzling hot (thanks to me?). With the weight plus the heat, we’d surely culminate with EXHAUSTION, maybe even DEHYDRATION. But it was worth it because the feeling of fulfillment after you know and witness for yourself that you’ve made 75 children happy can compensate for the exhaustion and of course, water or a bottle of Coke Sakto can make up for dehydration.

Who wouldn’t feel compensated upon seeing these happy faces?

>KAHON PAHALIPAY SA SUGBO: It’s better to give than to receive


December 22, 2010-– The Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence celebrates Christmas by distributing boxes containing Christmas presents for kids in the South. This even was participated by the members of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx), representatives from those who supported our shoe box project which was launched a few weeks before the distribution day. There were participants from Cebu Doctor’s University, NSTP class of Sir Aldwin (USC), JPIA and UP.

The beneficiaries of the Shoe box Project are children living South with ages 0-12, we were going joyriding to South. The Shoe Box Project was intended to be a caravan. Hehehe, however, it turned something like a race and our jeepney was always left behind. Anyway, even if it is so, what’s important is not how the convoy or caravan went, it’s making kids happy on Christmas day.

FIRST STOP: Talisay City…

It was so difficult getting this shot. The harsh sunlight did not cooperate with our cameras. We, the photographers, took a long time finding for a good angle. This was an amateur shot. I think Kuya Arnold and Vernon got better shots with their Cannon E05.
Second STOP: Naga…

We actually had trouble with the boxes in this area. I think it has something to do with the labeling or numbering of boxes. The team was starting to get stressed and I’ve heard comments from participants saying that they were beginning to get tired and stressed out already; nevertheless, they are happy.

Third STOP: San Fernando

I successfully connected my C3 to San Fernando’s Wi Fi

The third stop is the municipality of San Fernando. Ricci Reluya, one of the members of ALEx and a participant of the Kahon Pahalipay sa Sugbo Project belongs to a political family. Up to now, there are still unresolved political issues in San Fernando. When we visited to distribute shoe boxes to children, some people misconstrue our good intentions to be political. I didn’t witness it with my own eyes, but members of the opposite political party to which Ricci belongs, harassed some members of ALEx. They thought that the Shoe box project was a political plot.

The event saddened me, but in a way it opened my eyes to the reality. You really can’t please everybody. An act of kindness may be misinterpreted and be given malice. I remember the story of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, “You can’t make a million friends without making a few enemies.” 

Obviously, Clarizza is beginning to stress herself out. Still lookin’ good, though.
Fourth STOP: Sibunga

This was the place that conducted a small program among all the others we visited. Because we were entitled to the sound system, we played tunes from our phones and magnifying the voice by microphone. We did this while distributing the gifts to the children.

The wife of the municipality Mayor of Sibunga assisted us in distributing the boxes.

Before proceeding to the Last Stop, we had a processing session and a sharing of insights and learnings. We huddled together by the shore and probably attracted attention from the residents.
Unfortunately, before my appointed photographer Ricci could take dozens of photos this time with me in it, my camera ran out of batteries. Thankfully, he was able to take this good pic of our huddle. We actually played the Boat is Sinking and ‘Bahay, bata, bagyo, baha’ after coming as one. I could feel the sand getting inside my shoes. It’s weird and uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind. I had fun. After having the last set of Bahay, bata, bagyo, baha, we merged with another group to form a group of six. We six would discuss our learnings, insights, feelings and suggestions.

Last STOP: Carcar

We only dropped by to leave the boxes. There was no interaction with the children. Unfortunately, I don’t have much picture of the place, since my batteries died. I was able to take a few shots, but at one point, I couldn’t do something with the freakin’ batteries anymore. It’s freakin’ dead.. total flat line. It was very unfortunate that my batteries had to die; Carcar was such a nice place. The architecture of the Spanish era was clearly demonstrated by the preserved ancestral houses there.

This is the Museum. I would’ve camwhored some more if it weren’t for the fact that my camera’s batteries were dead.

This is where my good friend Regie goes to High School.

Youth of Different Organizations Come Together for the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress


December 18 and 19 – the very first two days of my official Christmas break was a day that I witnessed proactive youth discuss about social issues, their stand on it, what they have done and what they planned to do. This was the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress organized by my organization Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx). I had gone to seminars and a lot of congresses before, but this recent congress was none like the other. The participants, composed of officers from different organizations, either an NGO or SSG and the SK were very open-minded and outspoken. I even joked to myself that I was going to get anemic after the congress since the participants had a lot to say, even things that I myself, had not known before. It was nice interacting with them and knowing their sides and stands on specific social issues, concerning on health, governance, environment, social welfare, education and values. We focused on issues that concern the country and the youth. While we had every chance to discuss all the six categories presented, time seemed not enough. There are just too many issues that we, the delegates pointed out. There’s too much to fix and too much problems to solve.

 Here are some that I’ve remembered we pointed out during the discussion.


  • Poor public healthcare system in state-owned hospitals. 
    • If you’ve been to Vicente Sotto Memorial Hospital, you’d know what I’m talking about. There are three or four patients occupying the bed. Disputes even arise from patients fighting over the bed vacated by a discharged patient.
  • Malnutrition
    • While feeding may be an alternative to this problem, it is not enough because to satisfy one’s stomach for one meal is ephemeral. .There’s another issue: Feeding Programs are meant to cater children, but even older people queue for the food not meant for them; a testimony of their dependency. 
    • there’s still the stigma and discrimination brought about by the disease. People are not much educated yet on the disease.
  • High mortality rate among mothers and infants, more than often because of teenage pregnancy.
    • I’ve learned that health among mothers and infants is the biggest indicator of the Health condition of the country. Seeing that the mortality rate among these two vulnerable sectors is high, it means that the health condition of the country is poor.
  • Global Warming
    • In the near future, when icebergs have melted, out of 7,107 islands in the Philippines, only 7 will not be submerged in water. There is climate change due to this pressing issue on the environment and sadly, it is irreversible.
  • Biodiversity Loss
    • Extinction 
    • Endangerment of species
      • It is shameful for us that the Philippines, so rich in biodiversity and natural resources doesn’t have the wisdom to protect what they are blessed with.
  • Pollution
    • Noise Pollution
    • Air Pollution
    • Land Pollution
    • Water Pollution
  • The tolerant or easy-going implementation of the well-written laws, ordinances and rules

    • Brain-drain
      • Degree-holder teachers flock abroad where there are greener pastures, leaving greenhorns to teach the future of the nation. I’m sorry for being so candid, but let’s face it. Some of the best teachers are out there teaching foreigners, instead of investing in the Filipino Youth. This is due to the lack of incentives and motivation in the Philippines. If teachers are the sowers of knowledge, shouldn’t they at least be given more benefits, so that they wouldn’t need to go away?
    • Lack of Facilities in Public schools
    • The ratio of Teachers to Student
    • One Teacher is to a hundred students? Even the best teacher’s efficiency and effectiveness decrease if this is the case. I remember a certain law in Economics: The Law of Diminishing Returns, which states that ceteris paribus or with other things constant like the size of the classroom, number of books and the teacher for example; if a factor of production, in this case, let’s say the students, increases, the efficiency of the teacher decreases.
  • OSY or Out of School Youth
  • Inaccessibility of Tertiary Education (Please see poverty of adverse effects)
  • Nepotism
    • Our leaders serve only those who are close to their hearts. 
  • Misconception of what is democracy
    • Euvic, a UP Pol. Sci student, demands that we, citizens of the Philippines should demand from our leaders to serve us and not that we allow our leaders to serve themselves . He made me see that the democracy of the Philippines is perversed. The people should have been the one to hold power, because in the first place they were the ones who put that person in position; however, it is the other way around. The people do not exactly know what democracy means.
  • Puppetry of SK
    • SK is supposed to be the voice of the youth. But in some cases, they have become puppets of higher officials. They are impeded to do what should have been done for the youth and are not given much importance by the higher officials. This should not be the case. They are SK: the voice of our youth, the representative of the youth in the government. They should not be hindered to maximize their potentials.
  • Corruption
    • Cliché… The word corruption has somewhat became a culture in politics. There are so many ways and forms of corruption.
  • The mindset that Politics is dirty
Social Welfare
    • Lack of Education
      • In the Philippines, to get a good job, you must at least be a college graduate or have finished at least two years of College. Tertiary education is not even accessible, so how can one improve his or her standard of living if he or she doesn’t get a good job? Education is always the key to many doors of opportunities, but if that key is lost, what’s going to happen? That person will always be locked out from the opportunities of better living.
    • Dependency
      • We have noticed how the poor seem to get too demanding. How they are so dependent on gameshows such as the former gameshow Wowowee, which gives really big prizes. In my opinion, gameshows breed Filipinos who depend on luck and good fortune for them to earn money, when instead, they could be working their asses out.
      • There’s this debate: Is poverty a product of the mindset or is the mindset of the people influenced by poverty?
        • People may be experiencing poverty because of their fatalism. Thinking that their lives would never improve, they gave up hoping that one day, they might rise from poverty. Or…
        • People may be experiencing poverty because poverty is a physical thing. They are poor because it is evident by the paroxysm of hunger that they feel or the discomfort brought about their unsanitary and dilapidated houses.
        •  * I think these were the points of the two debating groups.
    • Unequal Distribution of Wealth

    • I remember my organic Chemistry lesson which was the Markovnikov’s law which determines where you put the alkyl group or the hydrogen when breaking a bond. If you’re not too chemistry-inclined, I’d put this simply: the rich becomes richer and the poor becomes poorer. The Philippines may not be a hydrocarbon, but that’s what’s happening with the wealth in the country. The rich becomes filthily richer while the poor becomes dirtily poorer. Even ‘JUSTICE’ is deprived from the poor and is just too available for the rich. The benefits of the government seem to root for the rich only while the poor are given if not less, none. The society is a triangle. The one’s on top are the rich and they are the fewest in number. Majority are the poor. When can this triangle be toppled so that no one has to be on top and no one has to be at the bottom?
  • Moral decay
    • Once upon a time, the young people of the Philippines are first-class when it comes to respect. We practice kissing the hands of our elders or by using ‘po or opo’ in answering our elder’s question. Today, this practice is almost extinct.
    • Once upon a time, virginity was highly valued by the religious youth of the Philippines. Now, sexual revolution has flourished in the country as conservative and as religious as the Philippines. According to the 2002 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study by the University of the Philippines Population Institute and the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, 26% of Young Filipinos from ages 16 to 25 have admitted to committing premarital sex. Worse? About 38% are already on a live-in arrangement.
  • Colonial Mentality
    • The Kpop fever has swept the country. Imported products are being patronized more than our very own. What will happen to the rich Filipino culture? Is it just going to die because the Filipino citizens have lost their sense of nationalism?
  • Overdependence on Technology
    • Text anyone? Facebook? Twitter? Dota? Let’s face it, the Philippines have evolved into a cyberzone. Cebu City is even the cyber hub of the Philippines. Improvement and development of technology is good, but because of which, the youth have become enslaved by it and the generation gap has become wider and harder to close.

There are just too many issues. I didn’t even write everything. I just wrote what I think is most pressing and depressing.

Fortunately, the youth is not just aware of what is going on around them. They have also begun to act and respond to these issues with their respective organizations or by themselves. It’s a manifestation, a testimonial and a proof that the youth can also mobilize. Actions have been done already. The only thing that the youth can do is to retain best practices, benchmark each other and work together. In other words, they should unite in order to create a bigger impact to the society. Small stones do not create large ripples, but larger ones do and not only create a ripple but also a splash.

The purpose of the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress was to unify the youth, coming from different backgrounds and having different fortes and areas of engagement to create one big and loud voice that would not only be heard, but be listened to. In order to achieve this goal, the delegates of the Emerging Pinoy Leaders Congress created the Youth Decleration.