Written by Timothy Chua
“Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” If you don't look back to where you came from, you will not reach your destination. The words of this Filipino proverb echoed throughout the arena of the Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center in Bago City, as John Mark Rico, the newly appointed President of the Alumni Committee Relations opened his speech. On Sunday, 25 May 2014, BagoSphere alumni and students gathered alongside BagoSphere staff and partners for a memorable day of celebration and festivities.
It was an uplifting time of recollecting past memories and enjoying present ones as over 60 BagoSphere alumni and students from Pilot 1 up to the current Batch 7 gathered together. We also welcomed the company of our valued friends and partners from the Bago City government, Kickstart Ventures, Teleperfomance, Panasiatic Solutions, and Project Ma2wa, a Youth Expedition Project from Singapore.
The day kicked off with the launch of the Alumni Relations Committee, with Ms Charry Ann Luntad, Head of Alumni at BagoSphere, installing John Mark Rico as President, Janica Pangcobila as Vice-President, Elvie Cabigon as Secretary, Irene Valencia as Treasurer and Markel Serva as Business Manager. Speaking with resolve and conviction, John Mark explained that the Alumni Relations Committee exists for three reasons.
“Firstly, we want to impact our community. Secondly, we want to lead another generation to escape poverty. Lastly, we want to help our alumni to start working on their own dreams and inspire them with our stories.”
And true to their words, the Alumni Relations Committee officers already started doing so. Janica boldly and passionately shared her dream of becoming a site director at Teleperformance, after an inspiring story of grit and aspiration, as she recounted her journey from initial financial difficulties to finally finding success after graduating from BagoSphere. With passion and belief, Markel presented his dream of becoming the largest supplier of rice in the whole province of Negros Occidental, in addition to financing farmers at affordable rates. His words, “Behind the dark clouds, the sun is still shining” strongly resonated with each individual in the hall, who had their own hopes, dreams, and stories to share.
After more inspirational sharing from our distinguished guests, the alumni participated in suspenseful and exciting games like chapteh and team puzzles led by Project Ma2wa of Singapore. This was followed by the highly energetic and entertaining BagoSphere’s Got Talent that showcased BagoSphere alumni’s diversity of talents. From role-playing “Snow White” to melodious, soulful singing, everyone was enthralled act after act.
As our day drew to a close, everyone gathered on stage to sing Hawak Kamay together. It was a special moment for all of us. Despite coming from all walks of life and backgrounds, we held each other’s hands on stage to signifiy a special affinity with BagoSphere. The event was ending, but we knew that this alumni celebration was just the first of many more to come. And as we revelled in each other’s warmth, joy, and vitality, the song finished on a moving note, Hawak-kamay, Hawak-kamay, Sa Mundo ng Kawalan.
Regardless of difficulties and challenges in this uncertain world, when we join hands together and work towards our common goal of empowering youths and catalysing change, the sun does indeed shine a little brighter.
Timothy Chua is passionate about exploring different landscapes, listening to people’s stories and forming deep, meaningful relationships in life. A rising sophomore at Yale-NUS College, Singapore, he is interested in exploring ways on how he can help the lives of others who may not be as blessed as he is.