Young Filipinos meet Asia (last of three parts)

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


DUGONG Dakila, the Philippines' delegates to the 2013 Ship for Southeast Asia Youth Program (SSEAYP), worked hand in hand with foreign counterparts through solidarity groups and discussion groups activities that let them glean the diverse cultures of each nation.

In this last part, Davao region representatives Sheldon S. Silva and Sheena P. Onlos, together with the 26 other young Filipinos, brought home new lessons learned from the different institutions in their ports of call. They also got the chance to experience and see how the international community worked when one country is in dire need of help.

Institutional Visits

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To each port of call, they came to visit various institutions to learn more about the country's culture, where they opportune to meet prominent and successful personalities.

"My favorite institutional visit was in Hattori Nutrition College, Japan. We met the man who is responsible about japanese food culture," he said.

Sheldon said they met with Dr. Yukio Hattori who gave them a lecture on the importance of Shokuiku.

"I learned that having a healthy diet does not only consist of eating the right food, it is also important to share it with your family. Food is meant to be enjoyed with people and not alone," he said.

In Thailand, they had fruit craving and learned to cook Japanese food in Japan, were just some of the activities they did.

Project Share

Share stands for "SSEAYP Helping, Assisting, Rebuilding, Empowering every Juan" was a project done by the delegates to extend help to the victims of Yolanda.

Dugong Dakila was able to experience how the international community worked and assisted a country who is in dire need of help.

Sheldon and Sheena recalled that the group had no idea when Yolanda struck the Philippines.

"We were cruising the seas and on our way to Vietnam when Yolanda struck, we had no idea that it had hit the Philippines," Sheldon said. He said that only when they turned on the television to check for news that they learned about Yolanda.

Sheena said the two delegates coming from Region 8 were in tears and were worried about their families since they couldn't reach their families through phone calls.

"It was a struggle for both of them because they had to maintain composure despite feeling down," Sheldon said.

SSYEAP, being a venue to strengthen the youths' spirits of international collaboration and to contribute to the society, took the lead and hatched the Project Share.

"We had a campaign drive: share a crane, share a champa flower, and share a bamboo fish," Sheldon said.

For every donation given, they handed out a crane, champa flower, or bamboo fish in exchange.

"For us, it was an overwhelming experience because of the overwhelming support," Sheldon said.

SSYEAP delegates also wrote letters to the victims and donated used clothing. SSYEAP International Singapore was also able to donate around 400 boxes of donations to the Philippines.

The 51-day journey onboard the luxury cruise ship Nippon Maru was not a R&R for these young Filipinos. The trip exposed these young men and women to a whole of challenging experiences, breaking down cultural diversities that led to the oneness of the delegates coming from different walks of life.

Also, SSEAYP made these young Filipinos appreciate and understand the culture of their neighbors. The trip not only educated and opened their eyes, but it also built friendships and bonds.

Next time when they come to visit any of the countries they had been, they are assured of friends to welcome them.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 03, 2014.

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