Back in the year 2014, right after my college graduation, I was called to be one of Pangasinan’s delegates for the 10th National Youth Parliament under the supervision of the National Youth Commission. Four representatives from Pangasinan were selected (three from University of Luzon, and one from University of Pangasinan-PHINMA).
“The Parliament of Youth Leaders, also known as the National Youth Parliament, is a gathering of at least 200 youth leaders and youth sector representatives from all over the country who engage in a simulated legislative process where they present, discuss, and craft policy recommendations that will address pressing issues that directly affect them.
Consistent with Republic Act 8044, otherwise known as the Youth in Nation-Building Act, the Youth Parliament meets at the call of the National Youth Commission every two years.” – National Youth Commission
Our main agenda, then, was the reformation of the Sangguniang Kabataan, which, honestly, on my video resume, I didn’t adhere to it at first. If I remember it right, I mentioned this in my previous blog post entitled, “Welcome to the Days of Future Past.”
This was the set up: Youths were divided into committees: Committee on Health (where I belong), Committtee on Employment, Committee on Education, and Committee on Participation.
When Kim, Ate Dawn, and I arrived at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel, we stayed in the hotel room before we head on to the Ambassadors’ Hall for the Preliminaries. By the way, this hotel played huge roles in Philippines’ history [the location of the inauguration of the members of the First Philippine Assembly in 1907], and I believe, since May is Heritage Month, the National Youth Commission decided to convene the youth there. And this is where Jez and I met, in the most unexpected and awkward situation.
Okay. Let’s go back to when we had just arrived. Later that night, after the Preliminaries, somebody’s knocking on our door. I opened it and to my surprise, a man and a lady with backpacks, said “Hi”. Then, the lady asked if there’s a space for her. Before answering, I looked at Ate Dawn and Kim who were, also, astonished by the fact that we’d not be, exclusively, using the room as we need to share it with a fellow. Later on, I opened the door for her. She asked the crew to provide her with an extra bed. And so the story starts there, but it doesn’t end…little did I know, when I opened the door, I was coined by her and her boyfriend as “ang babaeng galit sa mundo” because of my facial expression, then. 😂✌🏻
This lady was named as Jezrel Olaer, a delegate from Davao City, part of the Committee on Employment, and now a licensed Customs Broker. We had built an amazing friendship in the most extraordinary ways. Thanks to technology. This friendship was made possible despite our geographical distance. For three years, we shared each other’s lives and with and through God’s grace, we, finally, saw each other, again.
Truth be told, I had a planned trip in Davao but it didn’t push through because of an unforeseeable event. But God’s timing and ways are perfect! If I wasn’t able to go to Davao, Jez was scheduled for a Pangasinan trip. So, here we are. Tea sesh with her after she met my parents. *Butterflies all around my stomach* I had to admit I almost cried when I hugged her. It’s been three long years!
This woman is, extremely, humble, sweet, and generous! Whenever I asked her questions answerable by “YES” or “NO”, she would answer me, “Opo” even if we are of the same age. Also, she had spoiled me with an abundant amount Davao delights (Durian candy, Durian Yema, Durian Pastillas, Durian Piaya because the real fruit is prohibited in airports, Mangosteen Candy, and Ube Candy). Aren’t they all sweet? She, also, included Taiwanese teas and key chain. As a support to my studying Law, she gave me a cute notebook, pens, and coloring book from Miniso. “I have to do some de-stressing,” she said. Oh, how sweet and supportive you are to my Law schooling, Jez! Thank you.
I have proven how disciplined people from Davao are. While she was ordering our teas, she, unconsciously, put her one thousand peso bill on top of the table just beside us. So I said, “Wow, Jez! Dyan mo lang talaga ilalagay?” Then, she said, “Sorry.” That’s not just it. Even after my instruction that Pangasinan is different from Davao, that in the former, you have to hold your wallet or even grocery bags all the time, she, used to put her wallet beside her where others could sit. When I noticed it, she laughed and said, “Sorry.” You see how normal it is for Davaoeños to leave their stuffs without fear of being robbed? It’s a lesson for me, for us, for every city in Philippines!
Thanks be to God because I found such a rare opportunity to meet good people. National Youth Commission, I commend you, too, for bringing youths to participate in policy-making as a tool to national development, and for making youths from across the archipelago friends for life! 🙂
Like I said, I’ll see you, soon, Jez. XOXOXO