Exactly a week ago, I headed to the capital to participate in the 13th International Youth Day and just like every other activity, it was something I could not really “just forget”.

For one, it was my first time to participate in that particular program of the United Nations Youth Association of the Philippines, the arm and the only arm hahaha of the United Nations Association of the Philippines, although I was planning to attend last year’s conference that took place in Ilo-ilo, circumstances did not warrant, so I really pushed to be able to participate this year.

And the second reason siguro, no make that the second reason TALAGA, is because of the people whom I have met, interacted and befriended there. Kaya nga I hate attending seminars because it brings me back to high school days, those days when I was still very active in science camps, handle several group of people, become close to them, and suddenly before you know it, you’ll be separated from each other and maybe miss them. Cycle goes on. Difference is, right now, I am just a mere participant, and I had all the time in the world to interact with co-participants unlike in high school when time was limited because aside from facilitating a group, I had to attend to other internal things.

For three days, majority of our time was spent on listening to different lectures that revolved around Sustainable Energy as it was the theme of the event, although the initial speakers were not able to attend and I would like to believe that it was because of the Southwest Monsoon, the organizers from the New Era University were able to provide us with alternatives who were equally competent also.

Our first lecturer, Atty. Jonas Leones
Atty./Tita Malen, chief of staff of Cong. Arenas delivering her “ambush” lecture.
Atty. Al Jumrani of the Court of Appeals delivering his talk about Gender Sensitivity. He was from Pagadian before.
Sir Nel Espiritu during his talk.
National Youth Commission’s Commissioner Leon Flores III in his solidarity message.
Dr. Gonzalo Catan of MAPECON, a renowned inventor.
Ms. Janice Adolfo delivering a talk about HIV AIDS.
Youth leader Ralph Irish Santos.
Zambales Representative Mitos Magsaysay.
Staying awake was always a battle for us  though there were complimentary coffees given, this picture clearly shows I wasn’t able to ask for one that time.

It would have totally killed me if the conference was just all lectures, and talks. But good thing, it was not. There were activities also where we got to enjoy and made even more friends. During our first night, we hanged out with some of our co-participants and went to a comedy bar. Indeed, we laughed the night away, and boy it was a good way of getting away from all the stress that has slowly been taking its toll on me.

Eagerly waiting for the show to start.

Star of the night, Anton Diva.

The second night was the cultural night, which was spent inside the Central Dining Hall of the Central Temple of the Iglesia ni Cristo. We were told to wear the national costume but deviant as I am, just kidding, I wore a costume of the Subanen people, one of the tri people in our province, Zamboanga del Sur.

On our way to the Central Dining Hall with fellow UNYAPers.
WILD UNYAPers sporting their cultural..and not so cultural attires.

What made that night great, sorry to say this, was our presentation hahaha that made everyone dance. Participants from Zamboanga Peninsula, me included, performed an ice breaker “Alegre Kita Aqui” or “Dito Ay Masaya”. Mind you, even the young at hearts were very participative.

Last day was spent on giving relief goods to a depressed area in Quezon City and the tour at the museum of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Elections for regional presidents took place also where I got elected as the president of the Zamboanga Peninsula region, yes another pressure placed at my back.
Just a few hours after lunch and few photo ops with friends, everyone bade farewell, we know for sure it was time to get back to reality and face our individual lives back in our place.

Oath taking of the regional presidents, October this year we shall convene again to elect national officers.

If you ask me what was the most important thing I learned, it was not about sustainable energy, but it was about friendship. For me, the lectures were only secondary and we could always relearn that again somewhere else, but friendship can’t be relearned, especially with those genuine and cool people.

WILD UNYAPers family.
WILD UNYAPers family.
Group hug!! Group hug!!

To my WILD UNYAPers family, you made me not want to board my flight to Cebu that day. I actually wished that the event be extended, but nevertheless, thank you for the good times spent, I look forward to seeing each one of you again, maybe next year at the 14th IYD?? (I heard it’s gonna be either at GenSan or Davao so ipon ipon na tayo hahaha)

Fello participants, fellow UNYAPers.

To my fellow UNYAPers, I hope you enjoyed the event just like how I enjoyed it. Despite the many changes in the program and the disappointments that we have against the organizers, it was still a successful event, after all, hosting such a big crowd is never a piece of cake. I hope you go back to your places still filled with the enthusiasm to serve UNYAP.

Some of the UNAP Board of Directors with Judge Reciña, the president.
With Tita Malen 🙂

To the UNAP board of directors, and special mention to Tita Malen ( wow, feeling close? Haha) thank you for letting this activity push through. As a first time participant, I really enjoyed it and learned a lot from it. You guys can expect from our part that we will continue the advocacy and integrity as leaders and volunteers, diba nga Tita Malen “Maging bitch ka na, wag ka lang maging sinungaling”?
Once an UNYAPer, always an UNYAPer.

(See more photos of the event here: It’s Annjo with a double N Facebook Page)

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