To celebrate my ten years in the business ( charrrr ARTISTA! haha) I will look back on how I started to my joruney as a peace builder. Grabe I feel so old already, being in this kind of advocacy requires commitment, passion and super habang patience kaya I think I am improving naman na sa mga aspects na yun. Last year when I was looking through my photos when I was a kid, saka ko lang nalaman na noong mga panahon na my mudra forced me to make rampa sa stage ay PEACE PRINCESS pala ang labanan. I was shocked.
I wanted to be a nurse, astronaut, writer and director back in elementary and high school pero hindi ko alam na bata palang pala ako nakatadhana na akong maging isang peace builder at mameet ang original Peace Princess of the Philippines. And so here’s the story of how I started my peace adovacy and how I met Ate Honey.
December 2007- ako unang namulat sa Peace Building ng dinala ako ng aking dating guro na si Sir Yussuf Morales sa Waging Peace Conference sa Ateneo noong December 2007. Naluha ako sa video na pinalabas tungkol sa Sumilao Farmers who walked miles from their community in Bukidnon to Manila. That was my very first eye-opener of the different injustices brought about by the different kinds of conflict that are present in our society.
March 2010 – Dialogue Mindanow! After exposures in GZO and Generation Peace Activities, we were invited to join Dialogue Mindanow which was organized by OPAPP and GZO. That’s where I met Ate Honey and Doc. She was a cousin of one of my mentor Sir Gaddi Alawi. Together with Amie, Iki, Noah, Shella, Kuya Marlon, Boggs, and Doc, we played different games in the pool with others while Ate Honey was just sitting on the bench watching us. There was no interaction with me and her at all and I found her “suplada” that time. Maybe she was too tired na dahil buong araw ang conference.
October 2010- I was broken-hearted because of one major ‘thing’ that happened in my life. I was devasted for weeks, and I could not even eat ( P.S. It was not a heartbreak). During that time, AAI needed facilitators for their Baguio-Benguet Peace Caravan, and so for us to take a break, Sir Gaddi recommended Brave and me to be trained and joined the team.
We went to Benguet for 4 days, and that’s where I got to know Ate Honey better and started to admire her for her dedication to peace advocacy. A
January 2011- I officially became part of AAI, and for more than two years, we were a TEAM and organized a lot of peace projects together including Project EDSA which lasted for six months including the planning and preparations. In AAI, I have learned a lot of things I need to know because I needed to like: finance, organizing events, dealing with other people and a lot more. I grew not just in size but also in experience. I have focused myself a lot on doing the mission that I have no time to feel hurt because well, I have no time.
Through AAI, I met a lot of inspiring people, accomplished tasks I never thought I could and toured the Lanao lake two times! It was not an easy journey, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but because of Ate Honey, I have surpassed it all. AAI built our foundation, and everything I learned from there was necessary because those are the things I need for the future, it helped me grow and become a better person. When we left AAI, we realized how much we needed that experience for us to be able to develop and evolve into someone who could lead an organization, a movement.
October 2013 – The planning for making our organization that focuses on Peace Education started. You know when God wants you to do something, he will always find a way for you to make everything easy. There may be hindrances, but He will still remind you that no matter how hard it is, Do not ever give up.
Nov 7, 2013- We finally made it official by creating the TPBPM Facebook Account. We started small, with Ate Honey’s dining and living room as our office and my iPad as my power tool to type documents and do stuff because I don’t have a laptop ( because we need to return the issued laptop to AAI). We didn’t have salary or allowance for six months, but everything was provided for me, and I still got to watch movies thanks to our sponsor Kuya Doc ( Ate Honey’s husband) who believed in us ever since the beginning.
I have chosen this mission, why? I have lived with my grandparents since I was young and lived with all my Titas so that I could finish high school. It was hard always to adjust, to have no permanent friends because you have to transfer from one location to another just to survive. When we started Teach Peace, it became my family. A space that I can call home, my sanctuary. My parents would never understand why I have devoted so much to this mission, why so much of my energy, time, passion is being invested in the movement. I don’t understand it as well, All I know is that I love this family so much that is why I am doing all my best to keep it together. I love all the members of this family who has selflessly dedicated their lives to be with us, to be with the children, schools, and communities that we serve.
The impact of what we do cannot be seen instantly, but we hope that deep down in the hearts of the children that we invested so much of our time, lies a new generation of peace heroes who will continue what we have started. It’s an indescribable feeling, and I may not understand the wisdom ( all the reason) why God put me here, I know someday I will. The reason could change my life, but maybe my goal (purpose) is to inspire lives. Who knows? God knows. 🙂
PS. This post cannot justify how extraordinary and mind-blowing my journey is and I cannot encapsulate it in just one blog post cause it’s too long and too many details, but I wish I could post more content soon re: my journey. Please pray for my brain cells. HAHAHA.