2018 ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop

Francis Renzo Bangoy – Philippines

It’s cliché for me to say that every second of the program was my favorite, so I re-evaluated every fiber of my being just to ask myself, “Where did the program really make a huge impact to me, my group and to the entire delegates?”

A Philippine Welcome

To kick things off for the Philippine leg of this year’s 2018 ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop, the Asian Center of the University of the Philippines welcomed the delegates at the University of the Philippines. Here, the 10 new Filipino delegates joined the workshop, adding more flare and spunk to the already strong groups who started off in Korea.

What made the welcome all the more exciting was the dinner prepared for the guests after the opening ceremony. Filipinos show their hospitality through food, and true enough, that dinner paved way to making new friends on the first night. With traditional Philippine cuisine being showcased at the dinner table, and a bamboo musical ensemble playing, it only took a few minutes before we broke the ice and danced with our fellow delegates.

Dinners may not have been considered as a major activity in the program, but this welcoming dinner was more than special. Everyone was dancing and cheering as the music played – with smiles everywhere! At some point, this was no longer a formal dinner, but rather, it was a full-blown cultural dance party! On the very first night in the Philippines, everyone felt that it was indeed more fun in the Philippines.

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Getting Lost in Las Casas

Las Casas de Azucar was like a 3-hour gem hunt. The bus ride was excruciatingly long, but it’s beauty was worth every second. Even locals would agree that it was quite spectacular. More than its scenic views and architectural marvel, Las Casas de Azucar became a time vortex, showing the rich history of the Philippine culture to the curious delegates of the program. The story of how each house and antiquity have been restored and preserved illustrated how Filipinos treasure their history and ancestry. Given the size of such undertaking, and adding to that was the historical relevance of each piece, Las Casas de Azucar became a feast for the eyes, the minds and the hearts for everyone.

Moreover, because this was a youth network workshop among ASEAN members, it is definitely worth remembering some of the Philippine games which all teams participated in at the site. Sack-race, egg-relay and Luksong Baka, these games not only showed how competitive teams were, but also portrayed teamwork and camaraderie among one other. Does this not reflect how we, the ASEAN citizenry, can mutually support one another, and how each ASEAN country can beautifully co-exist with each other?

Jeepney ride, historical sites and great food—they say that experience is the best teacher; and to experience Philippine culture first hand makes Las Casas de Azucar a memorable trip.

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Ako Din at ACUDEEN!

ACUDEEN to me was an inspiration of how the youth can make it in this digitalized age. Starting young, the story of how their CEO, together with the other pillars of their company, was able to build and grow this start-up company is a story which needs to be heard by many of us. Banking on his skills and the skills of his colleagues, and utilizing new innovations through genius business models, he was able to grow this company to what we now know as ACUDEEN.

The ingenious name of the company also struck me: ACUDEEN! Being derived from the Filipino words “Ako din!” (Me too!) showed how inclusive the company is. Prioritizing resources and helping cash flow for smaller businesses, ACUDEEN has embodied inclusivity to all its transactions. This in turn also makes every delegate hopeful – hopeful that we too can achieve our goals; hopeful on the day when all of us can say Ako Din, I made it!

 

Rappler on Real world digitalization

Stories are what digitalization has amassed. Large quantities of narratives and information float around the digital sphere and now we are faced with a blurred truth. The Rappler site visit restored my confidence on solving the problems we now face with Global Digitalization.

Going beyond what is always talked about and into the nitty and gritty of social networking, Rappler has been very informative on how we can protect ourselves from the repercussions of digital connectivity. Trolls, bots, fake news and many others — we can see that there is a need to equip ourselves from exploitative influences.

Being an online social news site, Rappler has extensively enumerated the importance of the truth in stories. Given that the truth is now bent by anonymity and public scrutiny through likes, shares and edit, Rappler’s fruitful discussion not only gave us an idea of the black and white of digitalization, but also showed us what we can do about it. Fact checking and source citing, as well as proper internet decency should be a norm among all internet users.

 

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The 2018 ASEAN-Korea Youth Network Workshop was more than a program, but a reflection of our future. I think everyone would agree with me when I say that the program was a total success. With the conclusion of the workshop, all of us delegates will be going back to our homes, taking with us little parts of each other’s stories, lives and culture.

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