The Awarding Ceremonies were held on March 11 at the Laguna Cultural Centre. My parents and my siblings were unable to attend the ceremonies, but Ate Madie, Trisha, Tita Mely, and Tita Lucy went with me. =) When we arrived, I heard people asking my aunts if I was the scientist because they saw my signature (a lot of people scanned my portfolio?!?).
Winners in other categories were really impressive. I couldn't believe I joined the ranks of heroes and of famous people I only normally see on the television or read about in the newspapers. I couldn't recall the names of the firemen and policemen who were all involved in the search and rescue operations in different towns after floods wreaked havoc all over Laguna in 2009. Other awardees included Jiggy Manicad (GMA) and Sol Aragones (ABS-CBN), broadcast journalism; Lahing Kayumanggi Dance Ensemble, dance; Maria Rachelle Gerodias, music; Irma Dimaranan, film and television; Ricamela Palis, cultural educator; Susan Ong, landscape architecture; Bum Tenorio, literature; and Doroteo Gerardo Alanguilan, Jr., visual arts.
Then there were other awardees too. I just wasn't able to note their names down.
When I was named the winner in the youth category, my mind just went blank, and I didn't hear what the emcees were saying about me. I just kept on wishing that I wouldn't trip over myself as I walked to receive the award (the usher made sure I didn't fall off, thank goodness!). Up on stage, I remember Neil Nocon (Laguna second district board member), Virgilio Lazaga (President, Laguna History, Arts, and Culture Council), and Ningning Lazaro (Laguna governor) were all very happy to learn that a fellow Calamba City resident won in the youth category. =)
With that, I thank the Laguna Youth Development Office Selection Committee for picking me as the "Natatanging Lagunense (Youth)" for 2010. I am very honoured to receive this recognition. I am grateful to Ate Madie and Ginny, who believed that I am qualified for the citation (and gave me the form hot off the printer). I acknowledge Bob and Melissa for providing letters of recommendation to the Selection Committee. I also thank my friends and relatives for their encouragement. =)
The one thing that will probably stick to me many years on is what Gov. Lazaro said to all the Gawad Youth finalists: Do not forget where we came from.