Thank you, Japan International Cooperation Center, for giving me the opportunity to experience Japan’s beautiful culture and spend priceless moments with its wonderful people. Thank you also, National Youth Commission, for choosing me as one of the youth ambassadors who represented the Philippines in the Kizuna Bond Project.  I am deeply humbled by the opportunity. 10 days was too short to fully understand Japan’s culture but nonetheless, those 10 days were enough for me to be inspired the Japanese’ strong patriotism and humility.
Above everything that I learned from my experiences, what struck me most is the importance of valuing one’s country and seeing the best in our fellowmen despite whatever negative circumstances may arise. Indeed, at times of catastrophe, we draw strength first from the people closest to us: our family, friends, neighbors, or simply our fellowmen. I hope that we, Filipinos, can show the same practice and try our best to stand as a unified nation at all times. Disasters may cripple our properties and grounds, but never our hope and faith. :)

Thank you, Japan International Cooperation Center, for giving me the opportunity to experience Japan’s beautiful culture and spend priceless moments with its wonderful people. Thank you also, National Youth Commission, for choosing me as one of the youth ambassadors who represented the Philippines in the Kizuna Bond Project.  I am deeply humbled by the opportunity. 10 days was too short to fully understand Japan’s culture but nonetheless, those 10 days were enough for me to be inspired the Japanese’ strong patriotism and humility.

Above everything that I learned from my experiences, what struck me most is the importance of valuing one’s country and seeing the best in our fellowmen despite whatever negative circumstances may arise. Indeed, at times of catastrophe, we draw strength first from the people closest to us: our family, friends, neighbors, or simply our fellowmen. I hope that we, Filipinos, can show the same practice and try our best to stand as a unified nation at all times. Disasters may cripple our properties and grounds, but never our hope and faith. :)

When people knew that I was going to Japan, I got different random reactions. Some said that they were envious because I spent my “vacation” with the cherry blossoms and snow. Some were wondering if I went there as an exchange student to finish college in a university in Japan. A few of them even congratulated me for they thought that I was there to work. 

Truth is, my Japan experience was not a vacation, more so, it wasn’t an opportunity for me to find a job or the like. Here’s why. :)

http://princessubay-ubay.blogspot.com/

I’ve wanted to remain silent about it but lately, some people have been skeptical on the matter so I think it’s just proper to express my stand. If we want a Central Student Government that nurtures, develops, and sustains, the best that we can do is to forget politics after the elections and form a unified government. This is the reason why I appointed Abdul Hakeem Adiong Lomondot as STRAW Chief Commissioner even if he was my rival candidate during the Botar Atenista 2013. Without prejudice, I believe in what he can do for the student body and I am firm with my decision. After all, it’s constitutional for the President to appoint the STRAW Chief Commissioner. :)

As student leaders in an Ateneo university, the first thing that defines us is neither our experience nor performance, but our attitude. If we show the right attitude in our words and actions, it is by that which fundamentally creates our Atenean image – one whose values build the proper work ethics for the common good.

The position that we hold does not give us the authority to criticize others for what they do not know or have, but instead it gives us the opportunity to set an example of how an Atenean leader should be. AMDG 

March 24, 2013
A picture of my Japanese family during my homestay. :) It’s definitely an experience like no other. Indeed, what makes Fukushima beautiful is not just its wonderful attractions, but most especially its people.My ojisan (grandfather) was just like my own grandfather - someone who usually prefers to be quiet when obasan (grandmother) does all the talking. My obasan was also very similar to my own grandmother. She made all the delicious dishes at home and constantly asked us if we’re feeling okay. My sister Elmira Villareal and I are lucky to have them as our parents/grandparents! Such a beautiful experience.

March 24, 2013

A picture of my Japanese family during my homestay. :) It’s definitely an experience like no other. Indeed, what makes Fukushima beautiful is not just its wonderful attractions, but most especially its people.

My ojisan (grandfather) was just like my own grandfather - someone who usually prefers to be quiet when obasan (grandmother) does all the talking. My obasan was also very similar to my own grandmother. She made all the delicious dishes at home and constantly asked us if we’re feeling okay. My sister Elmira Villareal and I are lucky to have them as our parents/grandparents! Such a beautiful experience.

March 26, 2013
 
 
Kizuna (Bond) Project - a youth exchange program among Japan, Asia Pacific, and North America. Finished presenting our action plan before the Japanese government, ministry of foreign affairs, and Japan International Cooperation Center. Our action plan is what we’re going to do as we return to the Philippines in order to dispel the harmful rumors (“Fuhyo Higai” in their local dialect) about Fukushima. Today, when people think of Fukushima - one of the greatest affected areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake, they normally associate it with contamination, radiation, and disaster. But the truth is, it’s not. In fact, Fukushima has stricter food safety measures than most developed countries. We stayed in Fukushima for 10 days, ate their meals, lived with the local residents, but look, we’re alive. It is definitely a beautiful place with oishi food and beautiful people. We want people all over the world to see Fukushima the way we see it right now. And this is what our action plan is all about.Their stories are not stories of despair, but of hope. Hoping that we, the Philippine youth ambassadors, can implement our action plan successfully and bring back the image that Fukushima once had before March 11. 2011. Sasukene Fukushima!
 
March 26, 2013
 
 
Kizuna (Bond) Project - a youth exchange program among Japan, Asia Pacific, and North America. 

Finished presenting our action plan before the Japanese government, ministry of foreign affairs, and Japan International Cooperation Center. Our action plan is what we’re going to do as we return to the Philippines in order to dispel the harmful rumors (“Fuhyo Higai” in their local dialect) about Fukushima. Today, when people think of Fukushima - one of the greatest affected areas of the Great East Japan Earthquake, they normally associate it with contamination, radiation, and disaster. But the truth is, it’s not. In fact, Fukushima has stricter food safety measures than most developed countries. We stayed in Fukushima for 10 days, ate their meals, lived with the local residents, but look, we’re alive. It is definitely a beautiful place with oishi food and beautiful people. We want people all over the world to see Fukushima the way we see it right now. And this is what our action plan is all about.

Their stories are not stories of despair, but of hope. Hoping that we, the Philippine youth ambassadors, can implement our action plan successfully and bring back the image that Fukushima once had before March 11. 2011. Sasukene Fukushima!

 



March 26, 2013
At Tokyo, Japan
 
Great friends are like cherry blossoms. They can start and end your day right. :)
 
March 26, 2013

At Tokyo, Japan
 
Great friends are like cherry blossoms. They can start and end your day right. :)

 

March 23, 2013
At Fukushima, Japan
A picture of me and the Student Council President of Hisawa Junior High School. Honestly, I didn’t expect that they have a student council too! :)
I definitely had a great experience in visiting their school and knowing more about the Japanese culture. What impressed me most is the fact that high school students in Japan are very neat and disciplined. We didn’t see even a small piece of garbage anywhere in their school. We were even told that cleaning the windows of their classrooms is their usual hobby. :D 

March 23, 2013

At Fukushima, Japan

A picture of me and the Student Council President of Hisawa Junior High School. Honestly, I didn’t expect that they have a student council too! :)

I definitely had a great experience in visiting their school and knowing more about the Japanese culture. What impressed me most is the fact that high school students in Japan are very neat and disciplined. We didn’t see even a small piece of garbage anywhere in their school. We were even told that cleaning the windows of their classrooms is their usual hobby. :D 

Tomorrow, March 31, at 12:00 noon, I will officially leave my position as the SBM Student Council President and take a greater responsibility as the XU Central Student Government President. My presidency in the SBM Student Council taught me more than what I learned in my  life as a whole and I know that my learning will be instrumental in leading the CSG with greater efficiency and relevance. A lot of people have been asking me why I still want to lead, why I do not get tired, and why it seems to be okay for me to sacrifice so many things for the student government. Truth is, I do get tired, I do ask myself the same questions, and sometimes I do get confused too why I do what I do. But I guess it all goes back to the one word that answers everything: CALLING.

I know that this is my calling and that God uses me as an instrument to do good things in this world. And so in spite of the countless times when I almost wanted to give up, I thank God for giving me the strength to take the challenge of spending another year of sleepless nights all for the sake of answering to His call. - the call that gives meaning to what I do and constantly ignites my passion for service. :) AMDG 

March 13, 2013
Today, we let go of a great man who has served our municipality and province for 30 years in public service. His life is an inspiration which showed us how it truly is to become a servant leader. He is definitely our version of Jesse Robredo in our simple town of Alubijid, Misamis Oriental. God must be very happy to welcome you as his newest angel, Papa Bert!

Public viewing at the Alubijid covered courts before the burial. 
 
EDILBERTO UBAY-UBAY
*Municipal Councilor: 1968-1971
*Municipal Mayor: 1972-1986 
*Provincial Board Member: 1986-1992
*Sangguniang Bayan Member: 1998-2004

March 13, 2013

Today, we let go of a great man who has served our municipality and province for 30 years in public service. His life is an inspiration which showed us how it truly is to become a servant leader. He is definitely our version of Jesse Robredo in our simple town of Alubijid, Misamis Oriental. God must be very happy to welcome you as his newest angel, Papa Bert!

Public viewing at the Alubijid covered courts before the burial. 

 

EDILBERTO UBAY-UBAY

*Municipal Councilor: 1968-1971

*Municipal Mayor: 1972-1986 

*Provincial Board Member: 1986-1992

*Sangguniang Bayan Member: 1998-2004

3 days ago, I made the toughest decision in my whole life. It was when I decided to decline my participation in an all-expense-paid short term youth exchange program in Japan because I want to be present during my grandfather’s burial. Tomorrow would have been my flight to Japan but I chose not to make it because my lolo will be buried by Mar.13. It’s my first time to be granted an opportunity like that but as I pondered, I realized that in my life, opportunities may knock at my door a thousand times but I will only have ONE chance to bring my lolo to his last resting place. It’s hard but with a peaceful heart, I chose to stay.

Then just recently, I got an email from the Japanese organizers telling me that they understand my situation and they will re-schedule my participation in the same program to next week. So yes, I can still go to Japan!!! :) 

Indeed, you wouldn’t know what miracles may come in your life when you choose to value what is necessary. God’s love is extraordinary!