Great learnings come from life experiences

(Draft: May 2016, Published: April 2017)

I have heard from my college friends that our batch (PUP BSIT 2013) will be conducting an outreach program in Laur, Nueva Ecija. At first, I just wanted to give some amount of money since they are collecting funds for the said event. But hey, it has been a while since I have done such an outreach, so I took part in what’s going to happen. Initially, what I am told is that the community that we are going to visit is really secluded and far-flung, no cellular phone signal and even electricity. I also did some research of the place and it amazed me that Laur was once a place where New People’s Army (NPA) dwelled, and there are a couple of military camps situated in the area. My thoughts? Honestly, I am not used to any rural living but I really feel challenged given those initial insights.

May 14, 2016. So, this is the day. My alarm rang just once and I already got into my feet to prepare myself (it means I am excited since during ordinary days, I need five alarms to wake me up! Hehe). I got my things packed and I arrived in the meeting place 5 minutes before the agreed time. We’re a total of 28 volunteers from our batch heading to the community in Laur. We got all the stuffs we need for the outreach – school supplies, food packs, and a prepared heart. Travel time is more or less four hours, and everyone seemed a bit sleepy since some came from their work, others busy preparing all things prior to the event. Four hours of travel is a bit tiring but the moment we reached Sitio Kamias (situated at the top of a mountain) around 1 in the afternoon, all tire faded and is replaced with joy after seeing all the children of the community waiting for us to arrive.

Kids of Sitio Kamias

The kids of Sitio Kamias waiting for our arrival.

As soon as we unloaded all our things, we headed to the place of gathering so that we can rub elbows with the kids and the kids at heart. The program started and we got to know the young minds better. Fun games, gifts, foods, and a lot of encouragement and motivation to strive in life – a bunch of new learning which I will treasure forever.

Kuya Mark and his family – an epitome of persistence and strength.

Everyone’s tired after executing all the activities and it was already a few minutes until dusk. We can barely see as darkness filled the place, and the only beams of light came from our cellphones. That signaled that we are about to regroup and immerse ourselves in the community. The community head grouped our team and assigned each to a family whom we will spend the night with. I was clutched with Mark Gervacio and we were assigned to Kuya Mark’s family. We headed to their humble home and started to prepare our dinner. I don’t usually cook, and definitely not with the conventional type of cooking where you need to scorch the fire woods. I tried, I really tried, but no luck. Good thing Mark has little knowledge on how to do it, and we were able to prepare a simple yet very special dinner – corned beef and omelette. While eating together, I was able to talk to Kuya Mark and he mentioned that they make houses out of “banig” (a woven rattan which they usually get from the mountain tops – one similar to the background on the below image – and takes them at most a day to make 25 meters). I am really amazed with their dedication as they still need to go down the mountain to sell it for 2 pesos per meter. Despite that fact,their son manages to go to school, a 4 hour walk down the city proper – which is really amazing and inspiring. I can see through their eyes the persistence and contentment. We got ready for a good night sleep – totally no electricity, and the family was kind enough to lend us a “kulambo” (a net used to prevent insects, usually mosquitoes). We’re about to freshen up, and as expected there were no comfort rooms, just a “poso” or a manual water pump which is quite distant from their house. Even though my muscles aren’t prepared and there awaits a long queue, I enjoyed the so-called “pag-iigib ng tubig” (getting water from the poso) just for us to have water to use. Meanwhile, we also got a chance to attend a “pista ng bayan” just before going to sleep. This is a local festivity full of dancing and fun activities.

By and large, this is one experience I will forever be thankful of – neither written in any pages of a book nor published in any web sites. I am grateful that I’ve been part of this life changing endeavor.

Moments before we leave the community

The volunteers. Hopefully I can still take part next year.

College friends. Reunion at the top of the mountain.

When you now the truth

June 04, 2015 (Thursday). It was just a normal busy and stressful day, staring at my computer resolving bugs and investigating on software issues. In deed, the work load started to pile up, and I can’t seem to catch up with the demand of work. I should know because it is my first time to do a system on a window-based platform. I’m actually decided to shift to another career, where there my passion is, where I can show off my strengths more and improve on my weaknesses while seizing all opportunities for growth.

And there goes an alert from my Facebook messenger! I took a few seconds to see who sent me a message, and it’s from someone not familiar to me. “Hi Bryan, kamusta ang career mo?”. A question which I can really relate. I answered back, “I’m good” (though i’m not, just some sort of a typical feedback), and he replied, “You interested in being a career coach for the young people?”. Before I respond, I tried to do a background check first – of who he is and what might be his intention. He seems legit, we have mutual friends, and he is an officer of an IT academic organization. Sounds good, and it seemed like there’s an opportunity knocking. Who doesn’t want to become a career coach? Well, aside from the fact that it is my passion, this might be a good point where I can start off and utilize my skills. I asked him several questions to look into the opportunity further. Then, after a long chat, he invited me to an event happening that night. He said he’ll be meeting me at Cafe France inside the Asian Institute of Management by 7 p.m. and I confirmed my presence later that night. In addition he told me that a foreign consultant on coaching who used to be a Director of Oracle in the US is arriving for in depth training on June 6 and 7. Wala naman mawawala kung susubukan, so after my shift at work I headed to AIM for the meet up.

He called me to know my whereabout and fetched me from where I am. Finally, we met each other and had a chance to introduce myself to him. But, to my amazement (this is quite ironic), he just invited me to some sort of a seminar, and I know that this in not just an ordinary seminar. He assisted me to the registration area, where he paid a hundred pesos for the fee. Wow, really, I thought to myself that I knew all of this!

When we entered the hall, it looked like a plenary or a justice hall but never mind the place, what’s so familiar is the vibes of the people inside the room. I’ve been hearing a lot about financial freedom, and the like.

The person who invited me started to ask question and explained to me that I should finish the seminar. So, it started with a video presentation about MONEY MAKING and FINANCIAL FREEDOM. Then, a speaker was introduced to explain a system and testify on how good it is and the benefits that he’s getting from it. I really got bored. It was a trap but this time I won’t fall to it again. Yes, this is another networking scheme, where you are encouraged to be a member and sell some products!

After the seminar, the one who invited me asked of my thought, and I just said that it was good but there’s something better. I asked him of his purpose in life. But he answered me with things that is of this world. I tried to explain to him that there is more to life than just acquiring a lot of money. I am reminded of a verse in Matthew that we must store up treasure in heaven and not in this world where moths and vermin destroy. After that, I don’t know but he acted very religious and started mentioning bible studies and all.

Bottom line, he failed to recruit me as his down line, I saved my self a thousand peso and I know that I did shared something to him. It really gets you out of trouble when you know the truth. 🙂

Another day has passed and I am looking forward that tomorrow will bring a great opportunity to me. After all, this day is really a two cents worth!

A door closes because a new one opens

CS AM-A Batch 2015

CS AM-A Batch 2015

I have been thinking of this for quite some time. It’s really hard to say goodbye to something that you love doing, but it is much harder when you only need to choose one from the things that you love to do.

A new chapter will commence on April 6, and my time requires me to focus on my new career as a Software Engineer Anaylst at Navitaire. Though it really saddens me that I’ll be leaving my students, I know for a fact that I have imparted them not only with knowledge and skills but also honed their character for them to become a better person in the future. I know that this won’t be the end as I’ll be guiding them still given the time.

Teaching gave me a whole new experience that I will treasure for a life time. It gave me the opportunity to express myself and impart something to students. – motivating them and encouraging them to push their selves to the limit and to be excellent in every endeavor given to them.

Though I am not closing my doors to possibilities that I’ll be teaching again some other time, I guess, this will be a ‘see you soon’ for this craft.

To my students, see you around. I know that we can still meet once in a while to talk about your academics, and eventually talk about life.

The joy of teaching

It’s a great privilege to criticize systems made by students when we had our culminating activity for the semester last Thursday.

Together with Miss Janell Rose Solinap and Mr. Karl Nicholas Lisondra, both from Accenture, the drama begun. Six systems, eight hours of unending reproach, countless sleepless nights with one goal, that is to pass their subject. In deed, system defense isn’t that easy.

Though it sounds so normal to have a system defense, something stirred up in my heart during that day. After four months of teaching these students, it is now the time that they will be applying the things that they learned from me. If this is their make or break moment, then we must have the same feeling.

“Thank you very much, see you next semester”. These statements marked a smile on the students, having an assurance that they somehow have high hopes of passing or getting a good mark. But not all groups received the same statement.


During the system defense with co-panelists Janell Rose Solinap and Karl Lisondra

After every group, I asked them three questions, that same questions that I asked them during the first day of the class.

  • What is your name?
  • Why are you here in this course?
  • How do you see yourself two years from now?

After hearing/reading their answers, I am secured that I really enjoy what I am doing as an IT Instructor.  A mentor to aspiring practitioners, and a coach to their lives as well. Yung malaman mo lang na kahit papaano, may naidagdag ka sa kaalaman ng mga batang ito, sapat na. Words of gratitude is totally a plus on my part.

Now, I am really excited to meet my students next semester for C# and ASP.Net and Software Applications. So far, the size of my heart is still expanding in accommodating these students, and future students to come.

Bawal ang Cell Group na Gutom

No to Hunger Games during Cell Group Meetings!

It’s has been my policy that whenever I’m going to meet people, food must be served. Feasting it is! I don’t want them just hearing everything I say and focusing on their resounding stomachs.

Well, I know you can’t win them by physical food alone (of course the main course of the meeting is the Word of God) but it really helps a lot when building a relationship with them. I should know, who doesn’t want to eat while sharing life?

Actually, I acquired it from my leader before, where every meeting is a feast. The same goes now with my team.

Pasko man o hindi, may birthday man o wala, inside the cell group, we can’t play hunger games.

Kaya kapag nakita nyo ako alam nyo na kung bakit ako lumaki ng ganito (hahaha!) and you should know how to answer the most famous question inside my cell – “What is our general rule?” 


UnliTwirl @FamilyMart Shaw with G12 Cell brothers Mike Manalo, Mike Duero and Ronielyn Dairo


Pansit Canton sa UP Diliman pagkatapos mag-jogging with Angelo, Bryan, and Jom


Seafood Island with Dyule and Ronie 🙂


Thanks Kuya Mike for letting us use the rooftop of your condo unit. Simpleng salu-salo ngunit nagiging espesyal dahil sa mga kasama mo. If I remember it correctly, may VIP kami dito, Jerome Tabangay. Haha


Kuya JC’s birthday celebration @Shakey’s Shaw.


Trying a newly opened fastfood at Isetann Recto Mall after WildSONs Youth Gathering.

Gerry’s Grill MOA with Mark Tuburan.


Maulan na bonding at Chef Lau’s Ayala. Vision Casting ito eh. Haha


Birthday Celebration ni Aries sa ever favorite na kainan kapag gutom sa tapat ng Pureza Station – ChefVon!


Happy Birthday Aries!

The Alpha

Hello World! I’m Bryan, an IT Student, a Leader, and above all, a Servant of Our Lord. I’m just enjoying my life right now. Few months from now, my journey as an IT Student will end, but I am really excited what is up for me in the industry.
About the blog title, TheConnectionString, well, according to Mr. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit, it is a string that specifies information about a data source and the means of connecting to it. I first encountered this term in my C# Programming class last year, and it sounded good for a blog title. 😀 But kidding-aside, it can be compared to my life right now which I am going to discuss on my future blog entries.
Anyway, this is just the Alpha. I am really excited to share my thoughts and probably you, too, can share what’s on your mind!  I hope that this blog will be a wonderful way to inspire and motivate people and for all of us to share our ideas.