The year 2013 is about to end. It is apt for me to wrap this year up with a year-end post highlighting five of the happiest things that happened to me this year.
In general, 2013 has been a great year for me. There have been plenty of ups and downs, but this year is a year of vindication for me in more ways than one. Allow me to cite five of the most significant events that filled my 2013:
1. Climbed up the summit of the tallest mountain in the Philippines
It is every mountaineer’s dream to climb up Mt. Apo, the Philippine’s highest peak. I am so lucky that in the first quarter of this year, I was able to scale the summit of Mt. Apo, together with my team — Team BUNDOL Mountaineers — and friends I met in Tudlo Mindanao, including returned Peace Corps volunteer Tracy Fuller. Having seen the magnificent sunset, poetic full moon, glorious sunrise at the peak of Mt. Apo, it was indeed one fortunate climb.
2. Recognized as an Outstanding Teacher
When I started my teaching career, all I wanted was to be effective in what I do. I did not dream of being recognized. If you are doing well, people can’t help but notice you. Some would try to pull you down. A few broad-minded individuals would appreciate you and give you a recognition you deserve.
During the celebration of the World Teacher’s Day the Department of Education Region XII decided to honor my achievements as a teacher along with seven other teachers in the region.
3. Won Grand Jury Prize in a Film Fest
It has always been my dream to make my own film. This year, through the Sarangani Shorts category of the SalaMindanaw International Film Festival, I was able to create my very first short film, SanSwe (Bethrotal), which is about the B’laan tradition of marriage.
I first realized that I have a knack for this form of art when I wrote and directed a stage play in high school that successfully bested those created by older batches. Combined with my interest in photography, I was able to produce a short film that has been shown in a local theater. That alone is huge achievement for me, but God went extra generous, He gave me a Grand Jury Prize.
I would also want to thank the rappers, whom I worked with in five music videos I produced this year. These videos served as my training in preparation for filmmaking. Allow me to share the music videos I have made this year in support to local artists.
4. Appointed Google Lead for Google Educators Group in GenSan
During the GDayX Mindanao, I was asked to speak about how I use Google technology in the classroom. With no less than the Southeast Asia Lead for Google Outreach, Aileen Apolo, in the audience, I shared my experience in using Google in the classroom leading to the idea of a paperless classroom.
Right there and then, she appointed me as the first Google Educators Group (GEG) in Mindanao. Definitely, this is going to be a tough job for me. But I will gladly do my best to help my fellow teachers learn more about Google products and integrate them in their teaching — getting the interest of the students while simplifying tasks that are usually tedious.
5. Qualified to the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) National Finals
My team, Team BUNDOL Mountaineers, with our banner project, EcoTrek: Advocating Tourism, Education, and Environmental Protection made it to this year’s National Finals of the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations of the Philippines, a search lead by the National Youth Commission.
The national finals will be held in January. We need your prayers to help us win and make it to the Top Ten.
Aside from the TAYO recognition, this has also been a great year for Team BUNDOL. We have just held our 3rd EcoTrek recently, which is, so far, our most successful event yet. It was attended by mountaineers from as far as Davao Oriental, Kidapawan, and North Cotabato.
Aside from the EcoTrek, Team BUNDOL has also been involved in many community outreach activities such as the one we conducted for the kids of Pongoleel.
My gratitude to God is endless. He has made my 2013 a wonderful year. I look forward to more achievements in 2014.