IT LOOKS like 2018 is an unusual but lucky year for me in terms of moving around the country, as I was able to visit several islands on both personal and official capacity. First, was my Davao official trip as information officer representing the DTI-CAR for a national communication summit at the home city of President Rodrigo Duterte. I am reminded of the term "benchmarking" and "observation tour" as the main purpose of our travels years ago when our Alay Sa Kalinisan team visited places such as Olongapo and Puerto Prinsesa on an official mission to observe and learn from the best practices of local government units with good ranking in the clean an green program of the Ramos administration. My travels this year is part family matters, official tasks and creative undertakings with historical, cultural and social geography on the side but certainly not what others consider as junket.
We enplaned to Zamboanga City in May 10 for a weekend family-related gathering as it was the wedding of my niece PSI Sofia Loren Pang-ot Deliu who is now Mrs. Abdurajak. What makes the event more special is the traditional or customary exchange of vows between a Muslim groom and a Christian bride set in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte who gladly accepted a role as matrimonial godfather. It was a good weekend break for me and my wife who was also given an official travel status because she was asked by her Philippine Information Agency head to meet with the Zamboanga PIA personnel to discuss agency concerns.
From May 7 to May 12, I was invited by NCCA Sub Commission for the Arts for the Amping Sining outreach program as a resource speaker on smartphone filmmaking in Sta. Monica of the island of Siargao as the cinema representative. All the seven sub-commission for the arts had an immersion activity and it was in fact a well spent outreach program of NCCA because we were able to conduct workshops on dance, visual arts, up-cycling, theatre, music, literature and filmmaking with over a hundred participants from the place. The island is a favourite destination of surfers because of the big waves and sandy beaches which is far away from big cities.
From July 31 to August 3, I joined seven of my officemates to Iloilo for a national conference involving various service units of DTI where I represented the Knowledge Management component of my regional office. The theme "Creating Connections, Building Bridges" best reflects the agency effort that seeks to blend the services of our finance, human resource, administration, property, information technology and knowledge management which I represent as the information officer. Coined as FHRAPIK, our composition serves as the core groups that help mobilize the agency to perform its expected tasks and accomplish its mission, vision and goals. Said training likewise part of our continuing skills development more so as ISO 9001:2015 certified that practices Risk-Based Thinking in our quality management system or QMS. Accessing my smartphone's map reader, I explored part of Iloilo's Bay-walk and business district by early night time and observed the peaceful surroundings.
Our travel to Zamboanga Del Norte on August 18 and 19 was the more memorable vacation with my wife because we, did not only attend the wedding of our foster son who is a junior officer of the Philippine Coast Guard but we were also stranded in Dipolog due to the incident at NAIA involving a Chinese passenger plane that slid off the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway during a heavy downpour affecting both domestic and international flights. Our one-day delay and flight rebooking as chance passenger did not really end-up as an ordeal because Helen and I seldom travel together and that we even had the chance to visit an old cathedral, the Dapitan shrine of Dr. Jose Rizal and meet our foster son Mikko Castro who is now an Army Captain.
On October 10 to 12, I was sent once again to Davao City for a two-day seminar required for me to comply with a set target to have at least one skills training for every year. The training was about effective decision making or coaching that taught us to consider given options and understand the root causes of problems by asking questions. There, we were told that we cannot be part of the solution if we were not part of the problem.
On October 22, the NCCA Committee on Cinema flew to Busuanga, of the Calamianes group of island in Palawan for another immersion activity. As cinema council member for the term 2017-2019, Coron was the identified place for our outreach activity and to discuss detailed plans for the 2019 "Sandaan Philippine Cinema Centennial Celebration" set next year for an all-year-round film related activities that include island film festivals.
Our Chair Teddy Co left us in Coron to catch up the presentation and awarding of the new set of national artists and our committee felt happy that Kidlat Tahimik was named however members of our group was saddened to learn that actress Nora Aunor was once again by-passed. My roommate Archie Adamos who appeared in numerous films as either antagonist or support cast intimated to our group the name of Eddie Garcia as a possible candidate to which we all nodded in silence realizing that nobody may have taken the extra effort to nominate the country's surviving versatile actor who can do comedy and villain roles with much intensity. Having spent most of my child and adult life in Baguio City which is over 500 feet above sea level, travelling to coastal areas and sweating it out in warm places is like freeing oneself from hibernation to soak oneself with salt water and inhale sea breeze, something that only happens once in a while.