A Guest Speaker’s 24 hours in Albay

Feb 23rd

Out of my excitement, I got to the airport about four hours before my flight. I mean, who wouldn’t be excited? I decided to make the most out of my time and stayed at the nearest charging station where I squeezed my brain out for an article.
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While working on my pending article for WIM, I decided to go over my presentation again, wondering if I somehow missed something. Surely, I could modify some parts, add more information and delete the ones that weren’t exactly necessary for the presentation.

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I had been invited by St. Raphael Academy, Legazpi, Albay, through the help of VIBAL Publishing, to deliver a speech for the school’s 69th Foundation Anniversary.
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Containing my excitement had been very difficult because it would be a number of firsts for me: first time to travel to Albay, first time to handle a seminar with 2000+ participants, first time to speak in a foundation anniversary, etc. Seeing Mt. Mayon intensified that feeling. Who wouldn’t be so humbled seeing something so majestic?
Vibal booked me a room at Lotus Blu Hotel, a new hotel–as I was informed–somewhere in Terminal Rd 1. The place was marvelous. I had the room all to myself not unlike when I had been seen to Taiwan two years back.
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The only difference was the view. If in Taipei, my room had had a great view of Taipei 101, in Legazpi, I had a great view of the sunset and Mt. Mayon engulfed in her blanket of clouds– I had assumed the volcano was a he but it was a she all along. Nonetheless, it was love at first sight.
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After sifting and refining my article, inspired by the looming mountain of fire at a distance, I decided to head out to Four Seasons, a restaurant nearby. I’ve got to admit that I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t find a place where I could get authentic Bicolano food but man! Their fried chicken was amazing and you’ll love their beef noodles!
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Just about five steps from the restau was a coffee shop after my own heart:
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Artisan’s modern, chic, black and white environment called upon my Minimalist soul and I enjoyed it along with my iced Americano and double chip cookie cheesecake.
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Feb 24th

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Good morning, Mayon!

By now, I think it is obvious how much I loved Mt. Mayon.

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One mirror-selfie chance that I couldn’t let pass ^_^

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Miss Cindy and I almost got lost but we arrived at Legazpi City Convention Center just in time for my talk and lo and behold! Look at that crowd! The place was brimming with people: St. Raphael Academy’s administrators, faculty, students and parents. Sister Marilyn Gustilo confided that there were approximately 2300 participants in the venue.

What an honor!

The theme of St. Raphael Academy’s 69th founding anniversary was ‘Strengthening the Bond of Solidarity as One Raphaelite Community’ clearly embodied through the participation of 2300 people in the event.

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Yours truly with Ms Cindy Go from Vibal and Sister Marilyn Gustilo of St. Raphael Academy

I was honestly amazed by how participative and enthusiastic the students and their parents were! It came as no surprise though since my topic was “The Impact of Social Media on Millennials” and I was pretty sure about 80% of them had access to social networks. Then again, Grade 3 students amazed me by reading a number of my slides and answering my questions in complete sentences. How cute!

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After a one and a half hours of talk, I had to give myself a pat on the shoulder for preparing slides that the Raphaelites found interesting. It was amazing being asked questions about the presentation and responding appropriately in return. The commendation from the parents and Sister Marilyn with the certificate I got from the school was enough a reward for my efforts. I was blessed to be part of the celebration, and even more blessed to be recognized as a speaker.

Feb 24th, afternoon

After the event, Ms. Cindy accompanied me to places where I could buy souvenirs and try the famous SILI Ice Cream — which I definitely love!
We also visited Cagsawa where I had the chance to get a closer look at Mt. Mayon.

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The girl in the black scarf!

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It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was so proud of what I had been able to accomplish but like what I mentioned before, seeing Mt. Mayon humbled me and reminded me once again that I was a representation of something bigger.
PLUS: Reading this tweet on my flight back to Manila capped it all off.

 

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How did 2017 go for me?

I am not here to bore you to death with how it went –you’ve got enough on your plate without me ruining your digestion anyway. Let me just break it down to three categories:
a) Reading Updates
b) Writing Updates
c) Personal Goals

So without further ado, here’ s the list:

Reading Updates
I managed to read 150  books in 2017.

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Don’t let the number fool you though. More than half of the number are volumes and volumes of Manga- Japanese comic books. Before you say I cheated, and admittedly I know it looks cheating to anybody, Goodreads counts it just like that. Besides, finishing one entire series of manga is a difficult feat in itself.

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Writing Updates

Articles and more Articles. I poured my heart, soul, and time into these babies and seeing them published gives me great joy. Who would have thought that a childish dream of seeing one’s name in Google with great merit was actually achievable?

Bloggingwise, I think I did better last year and my somehow I’m pretty much consistent with my content. The unplanned series was Monthly Articles where I kept a list of the notable articles I had read in a month and a short review. This was introduced in March of 2017 and I didn’t miss posting a list until December! I intend to keep at it not because it gets readership but also I sincerely learn tons from the articles that I read.

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My manuscript, on the other hand, is there somewhere. I can’t spill the deets yet as there isn’t anything substantial to spill.

Personal Goals

My only personal goal for this year was to chill. After going through a successful operation in 2016, I promised that I would detach myself from things that were irrelevant to me as a person and as a writer. I managed to focus more on things that actually mattered like saving money and keeping my body healthy. Connecting to my family members and establishing a closer relationship with them became my strength.

2017 was a great year for me and it opened a lot of doors. 2018 is the time for me to go through each one of them and grow. Yes, I suck at endings. Happy New Year.

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