A seventeen-year-old senior high school student awarded by the president of the Philippines! Praise be to God!
That once in a lifetime opportunity left me rich memories to share. It started when our school’s coordinator for the Girl Scout of the Philippines approached me with an offer to be a candidate for the Chief Girl Scout Medal Scheme Award (CGMS). As stated by the Girl Scout of the Philippines Program, “This scheme is built on the Girl Scout’s concept of developing the total girl, making her well-rounded in all aspects – spiritual, physical, mental, emotional and social…highlights the Senior and Cadet Girl Scouts’ responsibility as inspired by the Chief Girl Scout… recognize Senior Girl Scouts, who meet the criteria for outstanding service to their community… emphasizing on the girl’s discipline, perseverance and the development of her sense of responsibility towards herself and the community’’.
My heart thrilled upon hearing such a wonderful privilege. Since I already witnessed the activities that one of my classmates did who successfully received the same award, I eagerly accepted the proposal. In lined with my responsibility, I decided to conduct a feeding program for my project as part of my role in community development. After I implemented my project for a year, time for the evaluation arrived. Assigned Girl Scout superintends from the national council assessed my reports, inspected my beneficiaries, and interviewed the barangay health workers and my fellow girl scouts who supported me in my endeavors.
During those moments, millions of butterflies seemed to surge in my stomach. At last, after an hour of critical deliberation, they revealed the result. I made it! I passed! Oh how much I thanked all that supported my efforts.
Excitement filled my heart as I anticipated my first trip to Manila. What I pictured above all the places in the itinerary was the legendary palace of my country, the Malacañang. Not everyone can enter inside even just the strict-guarded gate of that mansion.
The most awaited day came. We lined up going towards the royal stairs to the Rizal hall. Amidst all the instruction to maintain formality, yet both teachers and students buzzed with amusement. All are delighted in each sight and moment. Upon seeing the huge hall, I whispered to myself, wow! I say in amazement, stunned by the magnificent elegance of the gigantic place illuminated by the vintage beauty of the largest wood and glass chandeliers I had ever seen so far (on that age). I gazed on it, captured as much memory of its splendor as possible. So just also, think of its ceiling’s dimension with that kind of chandeliers hanging on it. Since we still waited for the program to start our chaperone gave us enough time to go to the comfort room. Of course, even if I didn’t feel like urinating I still went with the other girls just to see what it looks like. “As in? “grabe”! (really? superb!) I reacted as I entered the comfort room. Its length equates that of the hall. My friends and I even agreed on the funny fact that we can sleep on its very clean floor. My mind wandered as I roamed in all possible corridors as I could until the very last minute given to us. I thought of the possible events occurred in the palace until it directed me to the spooky thoughts of ghost tales. However, I reassured myself of God’s presence and continued my adventure. In my limited escapade and continued to walk around, I stopped in front of the closed windows of the hall’s veranda. The scene I saw showed the old 20 Philippine peso bill’s reverse side, It was actually the Malacañang palace’s back structure and not the front. I stood on that portion overlooking the Pasig river with smiles playing on my lips.
Then the program started, we sat on each assigned upholstered benches by region and waited for our name to be called. When the lady of the ceremony called my name I felt an ecstasy of happiness, much more when I came face to face with the president of the Philippines herself; awarding me the CGMS medal of recognition for a job well done.
Nevertheless, the surprises continued with luscious food prepared for us in the foyer just below the ceremonial hall. Then we relished on taking pictures with new found friends and acquaintance in the glamorous wall of the hallways, and even in the garden on our way out.
It had been quite a day, a splendid one! I will surely remember that experience for the rest of my life! To such great opportunity, my gratefulness overflowed to God.