PBOX and everything in between

PBOX hasn’t officially closed but since last night was our farewell party for our trainees, then might as well start my own speech here of everything i learned in the past two months that has passed since we started the project.

Project Based On eXchange. Our’s was the very first PBOX here in the Philippines. Who would ever think that Us, ESA, an applying LC would be the first one to do this kind of thing, a very big responsibility. My team only consists of Ces, the LCPresident, JP, Me, Cathy, Gretch, EJ, Gene, Mike and Kelvin. How can we manage everything with just 9 members? but then, it didn’t stop us.

countless of meetings were held in school, in Dencio’s, everywhere. To the point that I am having a feeling that “i am not wanting AIESEC anymore. it’s getting to my nerves. it’s not fun anymore. i’m to lazy to attend the meeting. Ces is CRABBY again.There’s just no action.” I know, Ces didn’t know all about this. NOW YOU KNOW IT. haha.  BUT BUT BUT the actual day, JUNE 14, 2006 – that marked the beginning of PBOX, the day we picked up Cem in the airport — full force in yellow, our parental guidance shirt, i just felt that this would be good. this would be different. everything i felt before was erased. from that moment on, i know this would be something really great. that my life would never be the same. from that day forward, I GAVE MY ALL.

Fourteen trainees from Nine different countries – Turkey, USA, Korea, The Netherlands, Poland, Bangladesh, China, Switzerland and India. I never thought that I would get to know people from those countries, know their culture and eat their food. I never thought i would be this confident in speaking english KAHIT NOSEBLEED. haha. Before i was very uneasy speaking english. i’m not used to it as means of communicating with other people. i may have few words, i may BE wrong in grammar, hell i don’t care. At least i was able to communicate with them and they could understand me. hahaha. i never thought that these people would eventually become my friends. at first i just see them as our trainees. but as time passed by, they became my friends. Especially Tam (from Korea). she has been a really special girl to me. i dunno, the very moment i saw her, sobrang gaan ng loob ko sa kanya. i know that this friendship is for keeps. i’ll always remember Michoso (Crazy), Pante (weird guy), Sarang hae yo (i love you), ann yong ha se yo (hi/hello), Gam sah ham nee da (Thank you), Ye (yes), Aniyo (no), Oppa (brother) Appa (father) Omma (mother) and a lot more. The first time i saw her at gayuma, we were beside each other. she was with her brother who went with her to study english here in the Phil. for more than a week of her stay here, she has always been a sleeping beauty. she always looks so tired. she’s pretty that’s why when w brought her the first time to school a lot of guys were asking for her name. hahaha. i wouldn’t forget her sweet voice and her either braided hair or pigtails and her singing voice. Everytime we talk was a very memorable one, but i wouldn’t forget the time we talked nothing but Korean Wave as what you call it — it’s korean dramas. hehehe. I’ll always remember you whenever i’ll eat in Jollibee because of your favorite super meal :). You will always be my first too. love you. Our Mayumi actually left today. i’ll really really miss her. Charlotte (from USA), i won’t forget the first time we met, i spilled my Big Chill in our table in dencio’s. too much surprises! but she’s so cool with it. i really thought that she was this nerdy girl who’s snotty but she isn’t. she’s a very bubbly person, so smart. i won’t forget her laughter. i won’t forget how she loves Spiderman and that her apartment was shown in Spiderman. and of course our endless conversations about everything under the sun. I’m already missing our Ligaya, but then she’s just a chat away! Cem (from Turkey) is our very first trainee who arrived, so he’s our very first baby, yeah a very big baby with a curly hair. hehe. i remember how cathy jokes around with Cem on his very first day. i remember how he envies our pictures in Bohol that he actually wanted to go there. – well, they actually went there. he actually gets tampo whenever he doesnt get a beso from me. for him, we’re already close when i started to do so. hehe. ooh, i love cem. i’m really missing him. he always says that “he is a pinoy” he actually tries to converse with us when we were speaking in Tagalog. he’s so funny, we’ll say “san ka pupunta?” he’ll say, “ako si Cem”. He actually joined friendster. You may not be a Pinoy by blood but i know, you’l always be a pinoy by heart. Kidlat reigns. The Chinese girls, Sydney, Janet, Julia and Jessica, i admit that i know nothing about them. We weren’t able to actually talk. most of the time it’s pure just work. we weren’t able to bond. but i’ll always remember sydney’s stylish clothes, her cute smile and her beautiful singing voice. Janet’s shyness and she’s the only chinese girl i weren’t confused with how she looks like. imagine till our third week together i am still confused witht the other chinese girls’ names? Julia’s always busy with her laptop, i wonder what she’s doing, yeh, online and always on an online phone call. woooh.. and of course, with our first few days together, jessica lost her camera in the tricycle. very cool huh. well, girls, i may forget what we gave you for your Filipino name, but now, i promise i won’t forget your english names. and i won’t forget you guys. Adnan (from Bangladesh) is one helluva photographer. i’ll always remember when i went with him and Tam on our Manila tour. He took a lot of shots of different sceneries and views with a lot of different angles. i was like, what the hell will he do with all those pictures, he’s not even using digital camera. i wonder how many films he used the whole stay here. but i am sure those pictures are very great ones. i may not be able to see it but i’m sure he’ll keep them all as memories that he will treasure forever. to our Makisig, make more memories okay? Martyna (from Poland) and i may not be really close but i love this girl, the way she dances and the way she sings, she really has talent. she’s very dedicated to her work. Don’t worry we’ll work on your passport! 🙂 and then again, i can’t remember her Filipino name. Regula (from Switzerland) is a very sweet girl. it’s funny that i find her name and the color red connected and i think it does, she loves wearing red clothes. When we’re talking we call her Pula meaning red. She’s the last trainee who arrived (if JK didn’t pushed through) and she actually arrived on the night of the launching of PBOX. We were partying around the school when she arrived. and i bet she was shocked the time she arrived. haha. maybe it didnt sinked in her mind that she’s actually in the Phil already. Well, we’ll still be seeing each other for a month because you’re not leaving the country yet, i hope you will enjoy the rest of your stay here, not anymore as a trainee but now as an actual tourist, hope you will love the beauty of my country as i love it even if i havent been in the places you actually visited and will soon visit. and then again, i forgot her Filipino name. The Dutch girls, Nynke, Betul and Marleen, were the fourth ones who arrived. i won’t forget how talkative they were when i first met them. i won’t forget how loud they’re voices were. i won’t forget how very liberal they are. I won’t forget Nynke’s line ‘i know you want to’ i dunno how this originated because i was not there. hehe. Marleen’s complains are the things i won’t forget. she’s always mad at us because we are late (not me actually, the others. hehe). she’s mad at us because the schedules was always changing. she may be the least liked trainee by the OC because of that but she certainly captured my heart. She definitely has a soft spot too. We made her cry. haha. nice one. *ehem* the tribute video that according to Julia – it’s beyond her expectation that we will do something like that. hahaha. anyway, i know marleen will always remember me and my twin, my digicam. hehehehe. but i’ll always remember her as the one who always makes the funniest faces in camera. Betul, our barbie doll, she became more beautiful than the first time i met her, with her tanned skin and soft straight hair. Her catwalks and her stilettos, i will never forget. her dimples and her smile, her hugs and her laughter and most especially her belly dancing. although i’ll still see more of her because she isn’t leaving the PI anytime soon, i’ll still miss her a lot when she leaves. To our Liwayway, Bituin and Amihan, Cheers for a very beautiful friendship. And last but not the least, the very last trainee, the trainee who came a bit later, the trainee who we thought who ditched us. haha. JK (from India). the much unforgettable dance moves are from JK and fastest speaking words are from JK and the trainee who will not leave anytime soon is this guy because he will actually be our schoolmate, welcome to ESA, JK! Have fun learning. Habagat groove some more!!!

These people had actually inspired me and the rest of my team. These people have actually helped people through Gawad Kalinga even for a short span of time. These people have actually made a difference through the art therapy with the autistic kids and the kids with hearing deficiency and also through their homestays with some chosen families and their interaction with the microentrepreneurs and lastly, these people changed lives of all the people they have encountered, met and worked with in the whole two months that they stayed here. We hope they have embraced the Filipino culture as we have got to know theirs. We hoped they loved the Philippines priceless possessions – the beautiful spots we have and the culture as much as every Filipino loved them. I hope they learned so much from their experience here in the Philippines as much as i learned so much from them and from this project. Each of us grew as an individual because of this. definitely a very worthwhile experience. i never imagineeed myself doing the jobs we did the whole duration of this project. We learned from each others cultures and we learned from one another as a whole. well, i learned a lot of korean. hahahaha. i learned that i can do anything if i believe in myself. i learned that no matter how tough everything gets as long as there is determination and love, we’ll get through it. i believe that i am really a better person now. i believe that i really grew emotionally, mentally and physically – literal alam ko tumangkad ako ng konti eh. haha. and that We can do anything as long as we work together and have faith with one another.

To Halmen & Coni: Thanks for guiding us through the whole project without your guidance maybe things would be a little different, maybe even worst. Thanks for inspiring us to do our best in everything we do. di namin makakalimutan lahat ng mga pangaral mo at mga moments na nagagalit ka sa amin dahil sa mga stupid mistakes namin. but i know, you still love us. hehehehe. i love you both.

To the SEE Foundation, Caroline and Sir Joel: without you PBOX in ESA wouldn’t be possible. Thanks a lot for everything.

To Ces: You have been a great LCP and mama to us – okay, omma. hehe. You didn’t know that i really appreciate everything you have done and spent for this whole project, sleepless nights, blood, sweat and money. You may be always late. hala baguhin mo na yan. but you still made a difference in my life, in our life. thanks for putting me into this very difficult situation. haha joke lang. into this very worth while and unforgettable project. once in my life, na experience ko ito. (kasi malay ba natin kung nasa ESA pa ako PBOX Season 2 diba? hehe) i love you mama.

To JP: Ano, napasabak ka ano? haha. don’t worry, katulad ni mama – you did a great job. shempre partners kayo eh. ooops… haha. dipa ko tapos. partners in crime. diba papa? laglagan na ito. hehehe. ikaw din, tulad ni mama – sleepless nights, blood, sweat, money, food, bahay, gas at si cindy. Our project may not be as perfect as we wanted it to be, i know you still did your best to make it as the way we wanted it to be. right OCP? di pa tayo tapos… almost pa lang. hehehe. I may have not said thank you to you personally, pero super thanks kasi nanjan ka to always bring me home pag mejo inuumaga na tayo. alam ko naman di mo pababayaan ang anak mo eh. i love you papa.

To my teammates, Cathy, Gene, EJ, and Kelvin: I know we did our best. Biruin niyo, natapos natin ito. parang kailan lang, planning stage pa lang tayo ngayon, patapos na, nag-iyakan na nga tayo eh. and we wouldn’t be able to accomplish everything with out each other’s help. love you!

To my absent teammates, Gretch and Mike: Sobrang na-miss ko kayo dito, we wouldn’t be complete without you. Thanks pa rin kasi sa mga times na we badly need your help, nanjan pa rin kayo. di pa rin kayo nang iwan. i know you won’t. right? love you!

To our newbies, my younger brothers, Niko, Andre, Jareed, Andrew & Louie; to my younger sisters, Shalom & Val; to our Kuya, John and Ate, Angelica and to Renz: Thank you for putting up with us. Thank you for all the help. I hope you’ll love AIESEC as much as we love it. You’ll be the next batch of leaders and changing agents we hope you learned a lot from us, from all the experience you have went through with us, your ates and kuyas.

and to God: who have helped us in the past few months. thank you so much.

 

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Today has been a very lonely day. I actually wore my Comfort Shirt – sino kaya nagbigay nito sa’kin last year ano? Basta, sinusuot ko ito tuwing nalulungkot ako eh. Tam and Marleen left to go back to their home countries. I wasn’t even able to join ces and jp to the airport. kasi naman, mga late. haha. pero okay lang. feeling ko hindi ko pa rin kaya na makita si tam na umalis. baka mag break down lang ako dun. nakita niyo naman ako kanina diba? Pumunta na lang ako sa school, since super aga pa, wala pa gaanong tao. Tinanggal ko yung mga flags and fliers ng Korean night yesterday. umupo ako dun sa caf, dun ako umiyak. kasi super lungkot ko talaga. iniintay ko din kasi si Niko and Shalom eh. wala naman kasi yung teacher nina niko, kasama ko lang si niko. hindi na ako umiiyak ng time na ito. majo na himasmasan na ako. nagdaldal na ako. nagkikwento about my life. yay. tapos, nung kinda nagutom na kami, kumain kami sa Jollibee – shempre si Tam naalala ko buti napigilan ko ang sarili ko na umiyak. after nun, pumunta naman ako kay ellai. sinabi ko kasi na super lungkot ko ngayon. buti wala siyang pasok. and then, umuwi na ako. naka-subsob as usual ang muka ko sa harapan nitong PC. then, biglang nagtext si ces. “Max, surprise!” sabi ko “what?” sabi niya, “baba ka!” ayun pala, sila ni JP napadpad dito, may dala pa si ces macaroni salad for me and sundae. aww. my mama and papa are so sweet. we watch Bring It On 3: All or Nothing. and a little more kwentuhan and they went back to school kasi Indian night pa ni JK. di na ako sumama, di ko kakayanin pa. malulungkot lang ako dun. See how much my friends love me.

so much for this drama and all the realizations i had and everything. all i can say is that i would never ever forget this.

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