How did the nomination come to you for this award?

I am already retired from government service. Initially, I wanted to decline the nomination, but due to the insistence of my nominator, I obliged. Looking at the list of documents to be accomplished for the award, I told the person who nominated me that I was not sure whether we could make it to the deadline. But in so short a time, endorsements came from different sectors: the Barangay Council, the City Council of Puerto Princesa, from the Regional Executive Director of the Girls Scouts of the Philippines, Southern Luzon and from the Palawan Girls Scouts Council, as well as from friends in the religious sector. I was overwhelmed by the support of the people whom I have served for the past 43 years.

What were the thoughts that came to your mind upon receiving the award?

When I received the award, many thoughts came to my mind. Memories of experiences when I was really challenged to live the Gospel in government like when one Provincial Board member, who in spite of accusing me wrongly, I was still able to make the first step to reach out to him. I remember another experience when one Board member had a change of heart, and did not pursue his plan to unseat a rival officer in the Board. This happened after he read a copy of the Word of Life (a commentary of a Biblical passage for reflection and practice) I handed him, thus preventing a chaotic situation in the legislative body. There were also moments when I made an effort to listen patiently to the members of the minority in the Board, who from time to time would unload or air to me their negative sentiments about anything…These and many more small experiences of losing and loving, that made my life in government service very colourful and meaningful!

For you what is the meaning of this award?

In essence, I think it is a recognition of the genuine relationship I tried to build with everyone in the Provincial Board, regardless of their Party affiliation, because I was in that position to be of service to everyone without counting the cost, and not expecting anything in return.

What were some highlights of your recognition?

Reading the citation signed by Governor Jose Alvarez, I was surprised at how the people I have served see and know me. It says: In recognition of her outstanding contribution and service toward the development of Palawan in the field of women development. Her exemplary, integrity, meritorious and dedicated services rendered to the province of Palawan, both as civil servant and private citizen, earned numerous awards, citations, and appreciations from local government units, people’s organization, civic-oriented groups and associations. Guided by her principles in life “Live the Present Moment” and “Be the First One to Love” as inspired by the Focolare Movement, she is well-respected and admired, an inspiration for living a simple life, a true character of a Palaweña
and a woman worth emulating by all generations.”

Who is your inspiration for all these?

Of course Chiara Lubich… I am aware that my workplace was the laboratory, where I could concretely live the evangelical gospel of unity or the life of unity for every neighbour put beside me by God, in every present moment. Living the life of unity paved the way for my being recognized as one of the recipients of this Governor’s Award in the Province, an honor and citation that rightfully belongs to God. As Lubich once said, “It is the love that goes, and the love that returns.”

Interview by Jose Aranas

Palawan is continuously rated by the Condé Nast Traveler Readers as the most beautiful island in the world and is also rated by the National Geographic Traveler magazine as the best island destination in East and Southeast Asia region. The province was also categorized as “doing well” in the 4th Destination Scorecard survey conducted by the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations, and Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted its beaches, coves and islets as the tourist destination with the best beaches in Asia. Renowned underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau has described the province as having one of the most beautiful seascapes in the world.

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