Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A quick encounter with Japan Ambassador Toshinao Urabe

I was seated on a stone under the tree – contemplating some challenges in life, breathing fresh air and enjoying the beauty of nature when a group of visitors walked through the lush grasses. Without a second thought, one of them must be Japan's Ambassador to our country - the idea came because of the welcome signage posted at the entrance of Antonio Isidro Hall.
The picturesque view of the golf course I enjoyed watching. 
The welcome signage
I set my eyes to the whole entourage trying to guess who among them was the ambassador because there were a number of them being photographed and assisted. I dared to get closer until one of his staff brought answers to my questions.
The ambassador and company approaching
She affirmed that Ambassador Toshinao Urabe wears a white long-sleeve. Accordingly, the ambassador wanted to take a glimpse of the Lanao Province, the very place when his father- the late ambassador to the Philippines was abducted. The conversation was cut short because the woman got busy taking photos and everyone had to catch up the set appointment at 11:00AM for the courtesy call to the Mindanao State University System President Macapado A. Muslim.
They're getting closer to the trees.
Gladness filled my heart as the ambassador and company braved to set foot on a “horrid place” (a stigma some people used to describe Mindanao). I can see in their faces the appreciation on the lush environment, the picturesque Lanao Lake and the fresh air.

The Ambassador Toshinao Urabe looking at the photo
With fellow Japanese men

That encounter, that moment to see them, that opportunity to observe them may be very short but it had a lasting impact on me.

First, Mindanao like any other place is worth a visit, worth an immersion and worth an experience. It is only when you have an actual / real experience that your biases and prejudices will be challenged – and yes, you will realize that the place is not that horrific than what you thought it to be.

Second, on the personal level, I realize that life is not all about being affected, being challenged by problems and being pushed to the limit. Rather, life is an opportunity to cherish the moment, a chance to become more receptive on the solutions to the problem and a blessing to share it to others. 

Thank you so much... Hope to see you again one day... God bless... 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Receiving a Leadership Award is an extra blessing

Receiving a Leadership Award is indeed an extra blessing. For students venturing into graduate education, getting a degree is of primary concern. The long years of drudgery in itself is enough for a graduate student to finish his/her chosen degree and receive a diploma.

Few days before the College of Business Administration and Accountancy’sPre-commencement and Recognition Ceremonies, we had our rehearsals at the IIT gymnasium. Prof. Stephen Fajardo, Assistant Dean of CBAA, then announced the graduates with extra-curricular and co-curricular achievements. I heard him say my name for the Leadership Awardees of the College which surprised me because I least expected it, considering that I was taking up a masteral degree.

Then the Pre-commencement Exercises happened.
The Program
Prof. Fajardo called me up and upon receiving the medal and the certificate made me feel grateful and proud. I thank the Master in Business Management Department/Office/Program for recognizing my contributions to the studentry and the program. Being the President of MBM Student Board from 2010 to 2012 was a bit challenging not to mention the diverse personalities of professionals I was dealing with. One thing I am grateful though is that everyone was just as excited as I was to have general orientation, get-together party, enhancement seminar, outreach program and of course the educational tour a.k.a. laag-laag :D But truly, we learned a lot from all those educational trips especially the laughter, laughter and laughter all throughout the trip :D This among others makes me nostalgic of my MBM journey because of the moments shared together. You can read my post on my MBM Journey here.
The Certificate
With Vanessa, Ma'am Abeth and my fellow MBM graduates
The award I received will always remind me to be humble no matter what; to have the desire and passion to lead; to be compassionate with others; to do conscientiously the plans even if it meant a sacrifice; and to never stop learning lessons even beyond the four corners of the classroom.
The Medal
With Rolly and Brian. Thank you so much for coming over. Thank you sab Kyong :-)
These I thank you my MBM Family. As of this writing, I am already teary eyed… Hope to always connect with you guys… Thank you thank you thank you… Thank God… 

Thank you so much my MBM Family
With my nephew JR, Tatay, Nanay, Rolly, Lloyd and Brian. Salamat much :-)
With Sir Adrian, Ma'am Narido and fellow MBM graduates
With the ever supportive CBAA Graduate Program Coordinator Prof. Narido. Thank you so much Ma'am :-)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Falling in Love with Puting Buhangin Beach

Located along the coastline of Surigao del Sur, the Municipality of Cagwait boasts to house the ever-charming Cagwait White Beach - attracting a number of visitors during summer and Feast of St. John the Baptist every June. With the popularity of the white beach, tourists and locals alike choose to go there to relax and enjoy what the beach offers.
The welcome view of Puting Buhangin
Unknown to many is this one of a kind beach in the same municipality, a beach that is unspoiled, untouched and pristine that one could find it romantic, dreamy and mesmerizing.
A stretch of white sand :-)
As a proud native of Cagwait, I gladly welcome you all to the Puting Buhangin Beach!!!
A picturesque view of Puting Buhangin
Puting Buhangin Beach is located at Bitaugan East, one of the 11 barangays of the Municipality of Cagwait. It is a 30-minute drive away from Barangay Aras-asan terminal – one of the entry points to Bitaugan East. The beach is so named Puting Buhangin because in Bitaugan, it is the only beach with a sand color closer to white. As seen on the photos, the sand is actually brownish, giving the viewers a room for inquiry why it is called Puting Buhangin (White Sand). Nevertheless, this beach among others is more than just the white sand, it’s the soothing feeling, a sparkle of appreciation and a magic of love that it gives its visitors.

A walk to remember :-)
Oh, I must have fallen in love with the beach because of the romantic atmosphere it sets. A walk through its soft sand leaves remarkable footprints – one thing that I really enjoyed there. A dip in the beach with cute little waves is also revitalizing and what a great way to just lie down the seashore enjoying the fresh sea water touching my body.
Just want to lie down for a long time... 

A grateful pose :-)

Sitting on a driftwood along the shoreline :-)

My high school batchmate Mae Grace 
Truly, Puting Buhangin is perfect for anyone to have self-reflection, for lovers to have a date and for groups to enjoy each other’s company. How I love to stay there… enjoying fresh air, taking a barefoot walk on the sand, swimming, relaxing, meditating and appreciating the beauty of nature. Thank God for such a paradise!!!

Getting There:

From Butuan City, Bislig City and Davao City

Ride a bus going to Tandag City and tell the bus conductor that you are going to Barangay Aras-asan. Alight at the Aras-asan Terminal. The bus driver and the conductor usually announce that you have arrived in the said barangay. From there, habal-habals (motor vehicles) are available for hire. Tell the driver you are heading to Puting Buhangin, Bitaugan East. Fare is Php 25.00 per person.

If the road is not muddy, you will be sent directly to the shore of the beach. Since we went there last December, we walked a few meters to reach the beach.

A view before reaching the beach
From Tandag City

You can ride a bus heading to Butuan, Davao or Bislig City and tell the bus conductor that you will alight at the Aras-asan Terminal. There are also jeepneys and vans from Tandag as options for you to reach Aras-asan.

Where to stay

To date, there are no resorts in the area offering accommodations to visitors. I suggest that you go there in the morning and go back to Barangay Aras-asan or proceed to Cagwait White Beach where there a number of resorts. Click here.  


Bring some food for snacks or lunch as well as your preferred beverage because there are no stores near the beach.