When RICE meant something else

June 18, 2013

First of all, I have to warn you that this is a lengthy post since I’ll be pouring my heart out.

If you’ve been a reader of my blog since way back, or you know me personally, then I deem you understand that I love being involved in organizational work (no matter how tiring it may seem) and that you’ve seen my post about RICE (click here [x]).

So the moment of truth finally came and we all were nervous on the first day. You know, the what ifs kind of thoughts. “What if there will be no participant?” or “What if we won’t be able to reach the target?” and “What if the speakers don’t appear?” But we let go of the doubts, trusted God’s faithfulness and let out positivism!DAY 1 – June 14, 2013

Hotel Venezia, the official venue for RICE Bicol.

During check-in and registration upon the arrival of the participants in the venue.

Venue for the first day, Hotel Venezia Convention Hall.

Prof. Merlie Arbo, Dean of the Office of Student Services of Bicol University, delivering her welcome message for the participants of RICE Bicol.

Ms. Nydia Delfin, Area Officer of the National Youth Commission (NYC) in Naga City, also giving her message for the RICE participants and orienting them about NYC accreditation and the Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO).

Our adviser, Prof. Jonathan Jaime Guerrero, while introducing one of our keynote speakers.

Ms. Fatima Villasenor, Head of the Screening Committee and Board Member of the National Association of UNESCO Clubs in the Philippines (NAUCP Inc.) delivering her brief keynote address.

Sir Norman Mirabel, also one of the Board Members of NAUCP, delivering his message.

Ms. Fatima Buen, the last speaker for that morning, talked about achieving Education For All (EFA) goals.

The participants during the opening program.

The food served during lunchtime was beyond remarkable (Lechon Kawali, Fern Salad, Rice and Creme Brulee for dessert). Too bad I wasn’t able to get a taste of the fern salad though. It had something in it that might provoke my skin from acting up (due to allergies). And as they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. But my friends’ feedback was that the fern salad was very delicious. Thank you for that sumptuous lunch, Hotel Venezia!

A few of the secretariats during the first day while the participants were having lunch.

The first half of the day was indeed already energy-consuming, but it all went well and better than we imagined. There were a lot of walk-in participants and unexpected setbacks but all in all the opening program went well. The plenary sessions during the afternoon were also very educational.

Kuya Christian Antiquiera, one of the speakers in the afternoon, talked about The Filipino Youth and the International Landscape: Views and Opportunities. I must say that listening to him talk, I was a bit envious (but not in an entirely negative kind of way) but at the same time happy for his international experiences and achievements. Proud BUena here!

Sir Allan Matamorosa, adviser of the Supreme Student Government (SSG) – UNESCO of Gogon High School, talked about the Sustainable Development practices they were able to carry out in their school.

And then there was me. Lol. I talked about The UNESCO Clubs: Transformational Leadership and Experience. It was a different thing to stand in front of the people and talk about your personal experiences and make them realize how it has actually transformed you. That despite all the trials you faced as an organization, you never gave up because the cause for the org was greater than any problem.

The program for the first day ended with Sir Jaime talking about the UNESCO Club Primer, how to get accredited as a UNESCO Club, what are the requirements and stuff related to that. Afterwhich, we dismissed the participants. We were supposed to watch The Cove during the first night but because of constraints, we weren’t able to. So it was just a free night for the participants.

DAY 2 – June 15, 2013

We had to wake up early for the 7 AM call time and the coaster that would transport us to the second day’s venue (Bicol University College of Science Auditorium) will be there by that time to pick us up.

This was taken while we were having breakfast. And I tell you it was a challenge for me since I had to eat fast because I was the emcee for the day.

Just the participants waiting for the program to start.

Dr. Lucy Estioko, Dean of the College of Science, delivering her welcome message. (Please notice how Mhelj is so prepared for the shot. Lol.)

(1st photo) Atty. Norly Reyes, one of the speakers for the second day, talked about the Rights and Duties of Students. I believe the participants (even those from Laguna) really enjoyed his jokes and other side comments or simply his talk as a whole. I must say I was quite impressed as well. (2nd photo) Atty. Reyes answering a few questions that were raised.

Dr. Amelia Dorosan, Vice President for Administration of Bicol University and former dean of the College of Science, talking about how RICE’s objectives and theme are one with the university and college’s vision and mission.

Ms. Rosemarie Buan, Representative of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Region V (1st photo), Engr. Gilda Ranido, Representative of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (2nd photo) and Ms. Ma. Gina Surles, Representative of the Department of Education Region V (3rd photo) shared with the participants “Assessing Regional MDG and EFA Goals Towards 2015” in their respective government agency’s views.

Joel Sabio, one of the participants, was awarded a BU Raglan from one of our sponsors, Loudle Shirts, for being the first participant to register during RICE’s first day.

The first half of our second day was bombarded with speakers but all the talks were very informative and educational. Lunch was served afterwards and a short break was given to the participants. One of the members of the secretariat told me we should play Mhelj’s GenTV episode during the National Innovation Conference on Education (NICE) in Laguna last January then we immediately gave the floor to our visitors from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Ms. Paullete Santiago from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) here in Legazpi talked about the basics of Financial Literacy.

Sir Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner from Greenpeace Philippines sharing “Millennium Development Goals and the Philippine Waters” with the participants. He also gave out free stickers to those who were interactive with his talk.

Ms. Ella Verano, Representative of the Department of Labor and Employment, on “Assessing Regional MDG and EFA Goals Towards 2015.”

Our last speaker for the duration of the event, Ms. Fatima Villasenor. She talked about the Role of UNESCO Clubs in Achieving the MDGs.

Participants from Laguna together with Sir Norman Mirabel.

We ended with the evaluation of the event and “screening” of GenTV NICE episodes. πŸ™‚ We packed up and then went to Embarcadero de Legazpi for some needed break by the participants. While they were there, we went back to the hotel to change clothes and leave the things we used for the sessions that afternoon. Then, the coaster brought us to Embarcadero again for dinner. We also filmed another episode of GenTV here! πŸ™‚

We went back to the hotel after dinner and worked on the certs and receipts for the participants. They were expected to sleep early because of the mangrove planting activity for the last day (but I doubt they did since they prolly made the most out of their last night).

DAY 3 – June 16, 2013

For the last day, the participants went to Lamba for the mangrove planting activity while Jervie, Dick and I went with the delegates from Laguna and Sir Vince to tour around a few good destinations in our city. We went to Cagsawa Ruins, Lignon Hill, the Albay Capitol and had lunch at the 1st Colonial Grill so they could try out the Sili and Pili Ice cream. (I have no pictures of us though. :)) After dropping them off to their respective hotels, we went back to Venezia to meet up with the other secretariat.

And that ladies and gentlemen, was what transpired in the span of three days. It just went by too fast and yet the planning and everything else in between seriously seemed liked years for us.

It was all this man’s fault (pardon my epic face). Prof. Jonathan Jaime Guerrero, Lead Convener of RICE Bicol, NAUCP Board Member and a person who really made a big contribution in my transformation as a UNESCO Club member.

If I will tell you the whole story behind RICE Bicol, you might get shocked. But there’s only one thing I can say: The Lord is faithful. Whenever there were setbacks, we knew He was preparing us for a comeback. He was always there to provide the things we needed. We went through the hardest of times, the most complicated, the mind-boggling kind of questions. It wasn’t easy – it never was. We had our fair share of misunderstandings, arguments, disappointments, frustrations and minor disputes, but at the end of the day, we came up with big blast for the start of the school year. I will never regret the day I agreed to help out when Sir Jaime and Pete tagged me to be a part of UNYAP-BU (now known as BU-UNESCO Club.) I now know the essence of pursuing something and never give up on it merely because you believe in it so much and how much it could benefit other people.

While I was drafting my talk for RICE, there was a point where I got teary eyed. It was because I never thought we would come this far. It might be true, what they say, then when you put others first and yourself last, then you will reap fruits that will cause you sheer bliss. The perks of being a UNESCO Club Member (taken from my talk) Formation, Future, Fun, Fruits and Family, I believe is applicable to every UNESCO Club around the world. That sets us aside from any regular organization. That’s what makes us stand out.I may bid farewell to my BU-UNESCO family but no, not forever. Physically perhaps, but never, ever, emotionally. It gave me so much to remember and take me with me wherever life may take me. I’m proud to say that there was a year in my life where I got really involved and I don’t have any plans of stopping there. I still want to be involved. I still want to be a part of the possible solution to our numerous problems.Β Are you willing to take on the same challenge? πŸ™‚

Photos are not mine. Credits to Bolen Osial and Miguel Canale

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