Story behind Cebu International Youth Day 2015

Weird how things work out in their own way sometimes. Last May, we had been struggling what topic our organization, the Josenian Junior Diplomats should cover this year. Our choices were World Humanitarian Day or International Youth Day. And I chose the latter.

The next step was to decide what topic and who will be the speakers. I really had no inspiration that time but I think there was a divine intervention that I came up with the concept. I was patient enough to connect the dots. The concept was born because of a book, a friend and a music video.

The book was The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. I finished this last summer as well. It was about globalization and how everyone in the world no matter what status or your race is; you can compete with anyone in the world because we are all standing in the same platform. Then I had my ‘Eureka’ moment, I realized not everyone knows about this and thus, everyone should know about this.

The friend was in the name of Mikkel Wilkinson Yang who I met in my event: ASEAN Integration the last year and crossed paths again last summer. He was the one who recommended the book and helped me out with the problem about ‘what upcoming event’ should I do.

The song was Kelly Clarkson’s People like Us motivated me more. It described what I observed in the city that there are a lot of active youth leaders but the number of those who aren’t are even greater.The song told me that the more we should take care of these leaders.  Here is a sample of the lyrics:

We come into this world unknown
But know that we are not alone
They try and knock us down
But change is coming, it’s our time nowHey… everybody loses it,
Everybody wants to throw it all away sometimes
And hey… yeah I know what you’re going through
Don’t let it get the best of you, you’ll make it out alive
OhPeople like us, we’ve gotta stick together
Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever
Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten
It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottomOh whoa oh oh whoa oh
We are all misfits living in a world on fire
Oh whoa oh oh whoa oh
Sing it for the people like us, the people like us

So one night I got all the dots connected. I saw my friends’ activities on facebook ranging from politics and what not. Then I thought of a program that will tackle everything at the same time still relate to each other. I saw my one friend’s post about a social movement called ‘Because I said I would’.

Boom! I just had an idea and that was to have different aspects to be discussed in two parts: Inspiring the Youth and Youth in Action. The first part is about the people who are experienced already about topics and are the reason why we are called the ‘youth’. These are composed of leaders ahead of us meaning they are veterans in their fields in the national level. For the second part, are leaders who are currently struggling their advocacies here in the city.

I thought of starting the second part with the world being flat and the rest will be how to be a millennial in this flat world. I believe all these areas won’t be possible if in the first place we will not say ‘Yes’ to our responsibilities as the Youth of this country.

The World is Flat. We don't know that it is happening. We are equal and we can compete.
1.The World is Flat. We don’t know that it is happening. We are equal and we can compete.
Find your brand and develop it then you'll be indestructible.
2. Find your brand and develop it then you’ll be indestructible.
The new trend is not to be part of the trend but to be against it.
3.The new trend is not to be part of the trend but to be against it.
Because I said I would then I will. Let's make our promises into actions.
4. Because I said I would then I will. Let’s make our promises into actions.
We only hear stories about LGBT but we want to hear it from the LGBT perspective. Is Cebu exclusive enough?
5. We only hear stories about LGBT but we want to hear it from the LGBT perspective. Is Cebu exclusive enough?
Say yes to opportunities but don't forget the responsibilities of this answer.
6. Say yes to opportunities but don’t forget the responsibilities of this answer.

Then after more details for the event, we had an online campaign which starts with our desires for the future and for the world. We always had promised or said that I want a world that is ____ and because I said so I will ___________. So the first ones who answered were the speakers who had really cool answers.

August 2015

The date was set and the speakers’ list was final. For the first part I had speakers coming from different fields; Sir Bill Felisan who is a police officer with an inspiring story, Kuya Darren Gonzales for YouthVote, Kate Alyson Ramil for feminism and Fiona Jade Lim for Social Entrepreneurship.

August 15, 2015 – Marcelo Fernan Press Center, Lahug, Cebu City.

The day has come where from one  crazy idea to this big event. I registered the event in United Nations Youth Development Program in the map of International Youth Day event maps. The crowd was overwhelming!

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The audience during the actual event.

The program started around 9 in the morning and with the Navy officer to open the event. The officer was so active with helping the youth and all.

Part 1: Inspiring the Youth

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Kate Alyzon Ramil with her talk: 15 things I learned as a feminist. The first one who spoke under Inspiring the Youth.

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“IYD’s talk on feminism reminded me that feminism isn’t about superiority rather it talks about equality and empowering one another. But just because I want to be equal with men doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate men who are chivalrous.” – Jerusha Adamae Tan

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“Be a wise voter and not a Bobotante!” -Darren Gonzales, second speaker says during his talk about YouthVote.
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The police officer who was a street child for how many years.
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Fiona Jade Lim the last speaker for the “Inspiring the Youth” part wherein she talked about a Greener and Livable Cebu.

Part 2: Youth in Action

Selected Cebu youth  leaders were selected to talk about topics concerning the youth. Starting with the World is Flat.

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First speaker: Mikkel Wilkinson Yang talking about the World is Flat.
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Alem Garcia for Branding 101
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Going against the norm by Shari Julla Gonzalez
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Danica Blanche Chua Fernandez talks about “Because I said I would movement”

“I learned that promises aren’t merely words. They’re so much more. When you promise something to yourself or to someone else, you’re making a commitment to fulfill that promise. It shouldn’t be taken lightly.” -Juniper Elle Abella

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Isaac P. Saguit , UP-Cebu student leader talks about Cebu’s inclusiveness

“Cebu city is one of the first city in the country who passed an anti-discrimination ordinance but we LGBT people must strive hard to fight for our equal rights nationwide.” – Renato Alondres III, AB International Studies 3

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Yes Man – Matthew Basabe talks about the “Power of Yes!”

Here are some of my friend’s reflections:

“The youth is so much capable of making things possible. They are equally as competent to those who have experience if they really want to. Desire and compassion can drive success to reality.” -Cherry Bo Fernandez, AB International Studies 2

“Out of all the many talks, I favored his because he talked about saying YES to life. I do admit that I rarely take risks because I think too much of what other people may think about me. I’ve always been playing safe and usually finding the easy way out. I keep declining offers because of my inferiority and fear of failure. During his talk though, he shared a story that showcased a person’s self-esteem regardless of how they look and how one sees themselves. He emphasized on the issue of self-confidence and believing in yourself no matter how different you are from the rest. His story of becoming Mr. Basabe despite his being short and stout made me think “So what if others seem to be higher than me?” because eventually I realized, just like what he said, we all possess something special in us. All we’ve got to do is use it. But we never would know our own capacity if we don’t take risks.. if we don’t grab the opportunity.. if we don’t say yes.

His victory paved the way to more and more opportunities.. Like he said “It was just one YES, yet it opened many doors.”
Also, he shared something about it finding yourself.. He was a “party animal” yet he was also a very generous man.. He locked himself in his room for a month just to figure out who he really was. His two sides contradict each other and he didn’t know who he was already. After a while, he realized “Why couldn’t I be both? That’s what I do. That’s who I am.” So he didn’t stop his life, he carried on with who he is. He wanted parties and so he’s in Spectrum. He wanted to continue his advocacy of helping orphans and so the Spectrum parties’ proceeds go to his foundation. He used innovation. He didn’t change himself. He embraced himself. He balanced his desires and his passion which I find very amazing. It just proves that you don’t need to be categorized into a single label. If that is who you are, don’t change. Be real!” – Phyllis Saromines , Beauty Queen
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Story behind Cebu International Youth Day 2015