TEN years ago (yikes, haha!), I was blessed to have been part of the regional search for Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) where I met the most amazing people.

Not your usual awards program, the annual TOSP search includes a formation program where bonds among finalists are built, you learn more about yourself and your leadership, and you discover new connections and paths you would like to nurture.

While other searches may aim for winning, this search aims to nurture young leaders into loving the country more and helping each other with their respective causes. Winning in TOSP was never about winning the medal—it was finding a community that shared the same values as yours, that cared as much as you do, and understood you wholly of your struggles, dreams, wishes and pains.

I was literally fresh out of college when I took part in the search. Our formation week, the one week where you spend all your time together with fellow finalists, was held in Dumaguete City. It was magical.

The whole regional search for the TOSP comes at a perfect time when you’re straight out of college, still a little confused with what you want to do out of your life, and yet deeply passionate about creating lasting change wherever you might go.

The TOSP search helps you put things into perspective—that whole magical week is a nurturing week that helps you understand so many things about your life and where you want to go and how you can best help the country and the communities you serve.

But more than anything, the whole search takes you to an alumni community that is your family for life. It’s been 10 years since my formation week, but the alumni community remains to be home.

We’ve grown over the years, getting new members each year. And while over time we age and place our focus on many other things as adults, the same passion to help each other, to help the communities we serve and to help the country still remains.

We’re still as noisy as ever once we gather every so often and we talk about our loves, our passion, our struggles and our hopes.

The search is open again for the 57th search for the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines in Central Visayas. If you are a graduating student with deep love for country, a young leader who is passionate about helping others, then learn more about the regional search of the TOSP at the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines Region VII Faebook page.

I look forward to meeting you as we all continue to learn, lead and serve for life.


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