Happy Monday! How are you?
I just came from a four-day cnvention held at Holiday Inn, Clark, Pampanga. For the past four days, I was in the company of about 350 Toastmasters from all over the Philippines. It was a very fun and rewarding experience
There are so many things I loved about the Toastmasters District Convention 2014. Okay, I’m not really listing down 101 things.
One, 44 champion speakers from all parts of the Philippines competed against each other in the four different Speech Contests Categories — Humorous, Evaluation, Table Topics (or Impromptu), and International Prepared Speech.
It’s a treat to witness all these great speakers during the entire convention.
Two,the top officers of Toastmasters Philippines all convened in one place as they shared tips on how to become a better communicator and leader.
Three, great speakers outside the toastmasters community were also invited to speak on different topics. Mr. Tony Meloto, a mentor I look up to, spoke about his vision to end poverty for five million Filipinos by 2024. I love listening to Tito Tony Meloto. He’s such an inspiring Filipino.
The Moments that Warmed My Heart
I guess the best parts of being in the Toastmasters District Convention are those moments when you felt loved and accepted, when you had so much fun, and when you gave love in the spirit of service.
Let me mention a few:
Epic Walk. I loved my friends Trixie, Gabby, and Deegee’s epic 2-kilometer walk from Holiday Inn Hotel all the way to Jollibee at 2:00am for midnight snacks.
Deegee was the overall stage director during the entire convention! Such a challenging task which he excellently carried out. As such, he was not really able to have decent lunch, snacks, and dinner because he was busy all throughout. At about 1:30am, hunger haunted him. He asked us to accompany him to Jollibee. We said Yes because we love Deegee! 😛
Dancing. I’m not a dancer and I would feel awkward when I dance.
For some weird reasons, I’ve always felt so free and happy to dance the night away when I’m with my toastmasters friends. Maybe because I would see my toastmasters friends Tita Cora, Tita Remy S., and Tita Remy K dance like they’re in their 20’s or 30’s. Or maybe because I see how enthusiastic, happy and carefree Trixie and Jane dance.
We were dancing to the tune of “Just Give Me a Reason,” “Celebrate” and many other secular songs but I felt I was dancing for God the entire time. I kept whispering… “God, this is for You! I’m dancing for You!” And I danced as if no one was watching, as if I knew how to dance. 😛
As with all the past toastmasters conventions we’ve attended, my Presidents Toastmasters friends and I were always the last ones to leave the dance floor. Dancing is so much fun when you dance with friends who accept you as you are.
After-Party Conversations. I will always cherish the after-party conversations and mind games we had after the Fellowship Night. I was with toastmasters Ed, Gabby, Duanne, Vince, Trixie, Jane, Deegee, Maricen, Alquin, Pia, DG JJ, and many more! We played Around the World, Black Magic, Let’s Party, Open-Close, etc. till past 1am. (The gentlemen paid a big chunk of the bill. Thank you!)
Early Sunday Mass. Despite getting only a few hours of sleep, it’s so good to share a meal (The Lord’s Body) with toastmasters who took effort to wake up so early in the morning to hear mass.
I loved it when Trixie said the night before, “Sha, mass tayo ng 7am bukas.”
Documenting My Friend’s Singing Performance. A lot of people know Trixie Barretto Esguerra as an entrepreneur and a brilliant host.
I guess not everyone knows yet that she’s also a singer by passion (only)! It’s such an honor to document her singing performance as she gamely sang “Alone” inside the elevator even if there were other people around… I love my friend’s pride and confidence! 😛
Lights Off, Lights On. My friend Deegee was the overall stage director during the entire convention. As his friend, I was part of his team and I was assigned some minor tasks. Though one of my tasks was as simple as “queue-ing the technical guys to turn off and turn on the lights, I took it to heart. Haha!
Short Conversation with Mr. Tony Meloto. After Tito Tony Meloto’s speech, we bumped into each other (more of, I was seated near the stairs where he would pass by). I greeted him and thanked him for his inspiring speech.
Sha: Tito Tony, thanks so much for your inspiring speech. I’m one with you in your vision to end poverty by 2024. This book Money & Me is my own little way to spread financial education and contribute towards the realization of that vision.
Tony Meloto: Thank you, Sha.
Sha: Tito Tony, may I take a picture with you, with my book?
Tony Meloto: Of course, Sha.
And he gamely posed for the camera.
What made this conversation really special were the facts that he still remembered my name and that he took time to listen to what I had to say… And yes, despite his busy schedule, he also took time to read my book Money & Me and write his endorsement for it. Thank you, Tito Tony!
Mr. Tony Meloto, who prefers people to call him “Tito Tony” instead of Sir Tony, is such a humble and inspiring man. He has a sharp memory, too. He remembers names.
Speeches that Made Me Cry. I loved all the speeches delivered by all 44 contestants. I was inspired by the speeches of the International Prepared Speech Contestants and I truly commend everyone for speeches well crafted and delivered.
There were two speeches that deeply touched my heart and made me cry. As I am writing this part, I could still feel the emotions of the speakers… and yes I’m crying, too.
Toastmaster Mike Del Rosario, owner of a 100-room hotel, four restaurants, and many other businesses in Baguio City shared that one day, his father asked him to have lunch with him. He declined because he was busy with his businesses. That same night, his father passed away…
He shared other instances when he missed the recital of his daughter, when his young son cried because he was the only boy in their class activity whose father was absent, and so on because he was too busy earning more cash…
Towards the end of his speech, he shared that his success is not defined by the amount of cash he has but by the amount of time he spends with his family.
Toastmaster Kenn Arcenal shared about having the courage to stand and speak up.. and this is not just about public speaking.
He shared how he witnessed a battered wife silently accepting the beatings from her husband… for years! One day, a young boy finally stood up and with a shaking voice, he said, “Father, stop!”
That was enough to inspire the wife to stand up against the beating. That wife was Kenn’s mother and Kenn was that little boy.
I broke into tears while Kenn was speaking. I felt his emotions. I felt his pains. Like a pro speaker, good thing Kenn cracked a joke that made me and the rest of the audience laugh. Otherwise, the hotel ballroom would have been flooded with tears.
Speeches that Made Me Laugh Out Sooooo Hard! D
I love watching Humorous Speech Contests because I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh, too! (Someday, when I’m funny enough, I’ll compete in this category, too.)
The purpose of this contest is to make the audience laugh. You could imagine the bursts of laughter while all the 11 contestants delivered their respective speeches.
These three were the funniest! 😀 I wish you could watch the recorded video of their speeches. (Will find out where to watch it and share the link with you.)
Norhaida is the first Muslim toastmaster who competed in the District category (district means national). Her speech title was “Just Like You, People.” She talked about other people’s misconceptions about her being a Muslim. It was an enlightening speech, written and delivered in such a funny way!
Ralph Waldo Lim talked about his “First Time” to ask a girl out on a date. What’s funny about Ralph’s speech was his comic delivery. I later learned that he is actually a theatre actor. With matching seriously funny facial expression, he said, “Do you know how difficult it is to ask a girl out? And do you know how costly a date is? So girls, please… Don’t bring your friends along!”
Toastmaster Greg Vallejera, Jr talked about his wife’s “Lighter Side.” Greg stood near the podium and had to hold the podium from time to time to support himself. In other words, he had limited hand and body gestures but he managed he managed to make the audience laugh more than 100 times during his 7-minute humorous speech. It was the funniest speech I’ve heard so far.
I call him Lolo Greg. Hehe.
I admire his passion for learning despite his golden age and arthritis. I have so much respect for Toastmaster Greg. He is an epitome of humility, zest for life, and humor. Amazing! Felt so blessed to listen to Toastmaster Greg! It’s an honor to meet him in person.
There are many other Lolo Gregs in the toastmasters community — senior citizens who remain young at heart because they keep learning, they keep growing, and they remain in the company of the young ones.
This is why I love toastmasters! No matter what your background, age, or religion is, we all share the same interest in communicating a message and changing the world (I hope) through public speaking.
During the convention, I shared a hotel room with my toastmasters friends Trixie and District Protocol Officer and Distinguished Toastmaster Tita Cora Oliva.
Tita Cora is in her senior years. As a protocol officer, she would wear a serious and strict hat during the activities because she had to make sure we observe all the rules and standards set by Toastmasters International during any of our toastmasters events.
Outside her role as a protocol officer, she’s one of the most caring persons I’ve met. I loved those moments when we talked about life and relationships inside our hotel room, while Trixie was busy having a concert inside the bathroom.
That particular night, I was a bit down (slight lang naman) because I didn’t expect to see someone in the past who have deeply hurt me and who never had the courage to say sorry to me in person. Though I’ve already forgiven that person a long time ago, that person’s presence brought some uncomfortable energy. Tita Cora took time to listen to me and give me words of wisdom in the most gentle way possible. Her words and her loving gaze lifted my spirit. I wanted to hug her right there and then. Thank you, Tita Cora! I love you!
Past District Governor Grace Paras is another leader I really admire. In the past three days that we bumped into each other, she would always ask me, “How are you, Sha? How are your books? I pray you”ll write many more books!” And we’d greet each other with a smile and a hug. Thank you, PDG Grace!
Another leader who inspires me is Past District Governor Dinah Loomis. She’s a certified image consultant, a bestselling author, a renowned speaker, and one of the all time best-dressed women I’ve ever seen. She said great words about me and my book. Thank you, PDG Dinah!
Small Acts of Kindness
During Day 2 of the Toastmasters Convention, I was having severe migraine. I felt so uncomfortable, I kept massaging my head. Trixie volunteered to get water for me.
Gov. Ida Sih noticed I looked uncomfortable. She asked me if I wanted to take advil. She said my migraine would be gone in five minutes. I don’t really take medicines but at that time, I just couldn’t bear my migraine anymore, so I drank the advil she gave me. Ida then rubbed some menthol oil in my head. Indeed, my migraine was gone in minutes! Was it the advil? The oil? Or was it the care of Trixie and Ida? hehe!
Moments like these melt my heart. Toastmasters is not just about public speaking. It’s about friendship. And these random acts of kindness are some of the moments that make my journey as a toastmaster really worthwhile.
Words that Inspire.
“Sha, I saw my friend and fellow toastmaster read your book Money & Me. I scanned a few pages and I liked it… So here I am. I want to get a copy of your book. Please autograph it for me.”
I loved that comment because I noticed that those who read my book are helping me market it through word-of-mouth. Money & Me is not just a book. It’s bigger than a book. It’s bigger than me. It’s an advocacy, an advocacy to help end poverty by 2024 through financial education.
“Sha, I finished reading your book last night! It really inspired me. It showed me a glimpse of my future.”
I smiled when I heard that from a toastmaster who is still in college. One, this person really took time to read my book and finish it that day that she bought it — amidst the jampacked activities we had during the convention. Two, I envision that this book will be read by all college students even before they graduate so they get a glimpse of the future and they would be equipped with inspiration and learning on how to properly manage their finances.
After the four-day convention, my friend Trixie and I were both physically exhausted from the four-day convention and the three-hour bus ride from Clark to Manila but our spirits were still high to talk about things that interest us. We talked about our plans, dreams, and passions!
I love talking to someone who is full of enthusiasm and passion because I get energized by that person’s energy, too!
Later that day, Trixie sent me this message. It warmed my heart.
- The text message that soothed my tiredness away
I thank God for surrounding me with great people who inspire me to become better and better.
There are so many other random things I loved about Discon 2014.
> Khris offered to carry my luggage.
> Chris carried my tarps on my behalf.
> Fritzie of Pampanga (a reader of my blog and books, attendee of my seminar, and who later on became my friend) and Kuya Greg of Business World helped me man my book table while I was attending the convention.
> Ann mentioned my book a couple of times during Day 2 of the convention.
> And Many More!!!
Everything is about moments
Sometimes we get so busy with our work and businesses that we fail to recognize the seemingly little things that would give us real happiness.
While we work hard in achieving our goals, may we also enjoy the many blessings around us –the beautiful sky, the gentle wind that kisses our cheeks, our family who loves us, our friends who stick with us through thick and thin, that one single act of kindness showed by our friend, that smile from a toothless child…
Enjoy every moment. Savor God’s blessings!
Have a good week ahead!
I hope to see you in the next toastmasters activities!
I wish you success and happiness!
What are the moments you cherish the most? Please share in the comments.
Author, Money & Me
P.S. Were you at the Discon 2014? What were the highlights of your Discon experience? Please share in the comments.
P.P.S. Special THANKS to all the Toastmasters District 75 Officers who made the Discon 2014 experience a success!
Thank you to our Discon Chair Gov. Yolly Meru, Programs Chair Gov. Pam Castro, Mitch Macapinlac, Kris Pura, Jenny Monastrial, Art King, Jazz, etc.
Big thanks also to the hardwork, dedication, and leadership of our Top Trio DG JJ Letargo, Gov. Boyar Archie, and Gov. Dotty Du…
Thank you also to International Director Joseph Gomez, DTM.
*Simultaneously posted in HappySha.com