Applying Knowledge and Experience from
IATSS Forum & Paying Forward to Community

Participant's Voices


  • Country : The Philippines
  • Forum : 58th batch (2017 Autumn forum)
#helloJapan! There is an overflowing joy and excitement as I am preparing myself for the 55-day journey that I have to embrace and experience during the 58th IATSS Forum in Japan. I have less than a month left to finish everything at work before coming there. I am making sure that I will bring no baggage of worries, unfinished tasks and other small destructions that might hinder me from getting everything that I have to learn and experience with my fellow ASEAN delegates. I have been a constant follower of IATSS facebook page since the first time I applied as participant for the 55th and 56th IATSS Forum, where I was chosen as an alternate delegate. Since then, I would frequently visit the website and browsed the galleries, read stories of previous delegates and checked for the next round of application. The #helloJapan was kept in my heart, believing that one day I will be chosen as one of the participants. Then here I am now, writing this short article as an official 58th IATSS Forum participant. I am very much excited meeting my fellow delegates, explore Japanese culture with its food, beautiful places and kindhearted people, especially the IATSS committees and staff. I understand that coming there is not to make myself free from all the worries and stresses that a young professional, public servant and an emerging leader could have. But I understand that coming there, is an opportunity for me to be trained, to be sharpened with my skills and to be helped by others in building my leadership capacity by and through working with them. My purpose is to redefine my vision and mission as a young public servant in my country, especially in the local region (Bicol) where I came from. My purpose is to set myself as an example to my fellow young professionals in working faithfully and skillfully towards the goals we set for ourselves, for our families and for our communities. My purpose is to bring all my learning and experiences from IATSS to the budding leaders of my generation and the next generation to come. Lastly, my purpose to be an excellent servant leader who will serve and help my country in building a sustainable community for everyone.
Mabuhay from the Philippines! Everything about the 57-day experience in Japan provided to me and to my fellow delegates from ASEAN countries, remains as fresh as it was three (3) or four (4) months ago. As soon as I stepped out the airport and met my sister in Manila, I sat with her and tell my day-to-day experience and learning that I got from the forum. While unpacking and repacking my luggages with souvenirs, I continued sharing with her how I lived in Japan with my new friends and family. The storytelling and film showing of my IATSS Forum journey continued as I reached home in our province. What is most interesting was to tell them that I had a bike accident which left me a “scar”. Yes, a scar that would serve as a mark/remembrance of how I successfully overcome all the challenges that I had to face daily in the forum. The scar was never meant to expose my weakness, but it was meant for something greater that allowed me to share my learning from Japan, especially with the people I was with. Soon after, I got back to work with greater motivation for the things I do and the tasks I have to accomplish. With the seminars, field study, group study and leadership training through experiential learning, I was able to define my role as a public servant and as a leader in the field where I am now. Though I have not formally launched the project which we planned back in Suzuka during our group study, I initiated to solicit help for my province especially for the evacuees due to Mayon Volcano eruption that started early in January up to now. I connected with my friends and fellow IATSS Forum alumni from different countries to raise funds for our relief operations initiated by the organization I am with in our city. I am very much thankful that many have responded to that call like my IF batchmate and friend Adyla-san from Malaysia and many others the Philippine IATSS Forum Alumni Association. Even the incoming participants for the 59th and 60th batch also extended help and I really appreciate them. Unfortunately, I was not able to join the relief operation due to my grandfather’s passing. But rather, I have turned-over the amount and materials I collected. Nevertheless, the evacuees are very much thankful for the help we have extended for them and not to mention all the names, I would like to say thank you to them. With the disasters coming in and out in our place like the recent volcanic eruption, I am starting to plan and conceptualize a project/program to help my community become disaster resilient and applying all the learning I got from Kobe and other places in Japan. For the 59th and 60th batch of IATSS Forum, my congratulations to all of you. This is an opportunity you should not forego or miss. Get the most of the experience with 100% of your heart and mind. Enjoy the whole process of pruning and training until you become the better version of yourself when you get back to your respective countries. I hope one day we can meet together to share how IF have helped us and what positive changes and contributions we were able to give in our society, especially in ASEAN countries. To the IF staff, my host family, Japanese volunteers and to my 58th IF family, my sincerest gratitude to all of you. To the Philippine IATSS Forum Alumni Association, thank you welcoming me wholeheartedly. We will make our hopes and dreams for our nation in reality.