Skill-Power Institute, Inc. Commencement Speech

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat lalo na sa pamunuan ng Skill-Power Institute, mga kapwa ko guro, at sa isa sa mga nirerespeto at hinahangaan kong guro sa San Beda College na naging daan para ako po ay makasama nyo ngayong hapon. Maraming salamat Prof. Cadz Malbarosa.

I’m wondering what all of you are expecting to hear from me today. But I hope I will disappoint you so you can start living the “real” life after graduation. Anybody who told you that life is sweet and easy is lying. If you think studying is difficult, wait until you go to your 20th job interview and get the same result after, “we will call you.”

If you think your parents are strict and unreasonable, wait until you meet your first boss or supervisor. If you think I came here to inspire you, then I will disappoint you. Let me be honest with all of you. I have to make this brief as I have equally important things to do for our company, our advocacy, and our country. If you follow me via social media, you know what I am saying. And in the next few minutes, you will all be in our social media updates because I am here.

But hey, you are the next leaders of our country. And as Dr. Jose Rizal said, you are the hope of our nation. Do you even know it? Do you honestly believe that? That’s the reason why I have to travel for almost 2 hours, leave my work and be here with you today on your graduation day.

We are here for you, your professors, your parents, your loved ones and friends, and pets (in case someone brought their pets). We are all here for you because we believe in you. And if ever you doubt you will be successful someday, then listen to me carefully…

I don’t know how my story will help you (become successful) but please don’t envy those who have more in life, and look down on yourself because you have less. Poverty isn’t just a financial condition, it’s a disposition – a state of mind.

Don’t work for the money. Aim not for success, but to find joy and meaning in whatever you choose to do.  It’s your life. Live it.

I must admit I was driven by money immediately after graduation. I wanted to help our family. But I had so many frustrations, disappointments and fears. I couldn’t make right decisions. I couldn’t see opportunities except those conveniently within my reach – less effort, less risk.

But I will spare you from the dramas and heartaches of my life. I just want you to do something.

Gusto ko bago mo harapin ang bukas, harapin mo muna ang katotohanan ng buhay mo ngayon. Pasalamatan mo ang mga tao, lalo na ang mga magulang mo na bagamat hindi naibigay ang lahat ng pangangailang mo, ay binigay ang buhay nila para mabuhay ka. Ang pagtatapos mo ngayon ay pagsisimula ng bagong buhay na ikaw lang ang makakagawa. Baunin mo lahat ng natutunan mo sa loob at labas ng klasrum, kasama ang mga sakit at sermon na inabot mo. Pero hwag na hwag mong kakalimutan na masaya at maganda ang buhay.

Whatever happens, wherever life brings you, be grateful. Life is a gift. We have to take care of it. And your graduation theme, “Moving Forward with, for the Filipino Millennials” should serve as a challenge for each and every one of you.

They have said a lot of bad things about the millennials, but I will tell you a secret. I am still a millennial, born in 1982. Don’t take my word for it, google it! Moving forward, I hope with all the noise, politics and social media happenings, you will not just “like” and “share” the posts of your FB friends, but live a life with a purpose.

The world may not be kind, but still be kind and loving, and forgiving. Remember, no matter what thet say or do to you, you are lovable, beautiful and worthwhile.

Have you seen or heard about the new TV program, 13 Reasons Why? It’s about a girl who committed suicide and her 13 reasons why. I have watched it via Netflix, and it bothered me.

I think that’s the danger about us, “selfie generation.” We tend to be too conscious and concerned about what other people think or say about us. We are too afraid of rejection, failure and even, commitment. We are very creative, but we can be shallow and empty inside. We think too much of ourselves, and have become unmindful of others and our environment.

Forgive me, but I have to be honest. Some of us, if not all, have lost our moral compass because we are afraid to be different. Our sense of right and wrong have been confused with what others or everybody is doing. I don’t need to say this, but I feel obliged to remind each of you: EVEN IF EVERYBODY IS DOING IT, IT DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT.

And we cannot fight evil with evil. If someone wronged us, we cannot take revenge and risk our life and reputation to get even. We will get hurt. Someone will malign us, betray us but it doesn’t give us license to malign others or betray the people who love & trust us especially our parents.

A lot of us are involved in a lot of things, but are not involved in our own families. A lot of us complain about graft and corruption in government, but are not exercising our rights to vote or are voting the same people, or family.

We want change, but we don’t want to change.

Our country needs us. We need to love our country a little more each day, and take care of each other, our people – others whom we will never get to know personally.

Let’s not compromise our values for success, fame or wealth!

Be careful. Protect your integrity, your honor.

For your family and loved ones, for a better future, for a better Philippines, let’s aim to be better sons and daughters, better citizens (as Filipino millennials), and hopefully better and honest taxpayers!

To all our graduates, CONGRATULATIONS!

Rest assured of my prayer for each of you and your family.

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