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    Message at the Graduation Ceremony of Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute (ACHI)-OVP Scholarship Grantees

    Graduation Ceremony of Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute (ACHI)-OVP Scholarship Grantees Batch 2

    Astoria Plaza Hotel, Pasig City

    Mr. Jeffrey Ng, CEO of Astoria Hotels and Resorts; Ms. Vivian Ng, COO and the other officials of Astoria Hotels and Resorts; may I also greet the officials of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar) headed by Ms. Vernon Reyes, VP for Academics, and Ms. Cindy Laforteza, Director of Alumni and Placement Office, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina; our 10 graduates this morning; sa inyo pong lahat: magandang, magandang umaga.

    Before I proceed, let me congratulate Jeffrey and Vivian Ng and the Astoria Hotels and Resorts for the Nation Builder Award. [applause] It is… it is a well-deserved and is a fitting testament to how… how Astoria has been a business with a heart. It is not very often that we meet people in the business who put priority, not just on profits but of helping the community. And the two of you and the entire Astoria Hotels and Restaurants are really proof that you have consistently been there to help the community.

    Naalala ko during the graduation of the first batch… Tama ba, nasaan na si Jean Loi? Nakita ko na siya kanina, Jean Loi. ‘Di ba ikaw iyong nagsalita? Si Jean Loi—Perez, ‘di ba?—si Jean Loi Perez was part of our first batch of ACHI scholars and nagsalita siya during the graduation. Naalala ko, Jean Loi, ‘di ba kinukuwento mo, how difficult it was to balance working here, studying, and overcoming difficulties. Iyon, napakalaking ginhawa. Tinitingnan ko kasi kaya touched ako, Jean Loi, kasi the last time I saw you, you were just one of the graduates. Tapos ngayon, nakita ko… nakita ko Program Executive ka na. Program Executive of Astoria Culinary and Hospitality Institute (ACHI). [applause] And the reason why… the reason why I wanted to highlight that is to give inspiration to our graduates.

    Naalala ko si Jean Loi, noong nag-graduate siya, parang naaalala ko pa, Jean Loi, parang Best Intern ka ‘di ba, sa Food and Beverage at saka sa Housekeeping. Ayon, naaalala ko iyon. [laughter] Tingin ko iyong time that you spent at Astoria, you were already able to realize na to succeed in life and to succeed in work, hindi lang husay sa classroom iyong measure. Hindi lang husay sa skills. Pero iyong pinakamahalaga talaga sa lahat iyong pagkatao. Iyong pagkatao, iyong integrity, iyong sipag, iyong disiplina sa sarili.

    And I think that is the benefit of doing your time here in Astoria. Paminsan kasi kapag tinuturo sa classroom parang madali lahat, ‘di ba? Kapag inexplain sa inyo iyong mga kailangan ninyong matutunan, madali lahat. But when you go out into the real world, maraming ibang mga problema na hindi tinuro. And you learn to deal with those day-to-day problems and it is what strengthens character.

    Marahil marami sa inyo, maraming pinagdadaanan at pinagdaanan na hirap. Pero iyong sa akin, iyong struggles in life, dapat ineembrace natin iyon kasi iyon talaga iyong nagpapatatag sa atin bilang tao. Marami na rin akong nakasalamuha and more often than not, iyong mga mahuhusay talaga, iyon iyong inembrace iyong kahirapan. Hindi lang kahirapan sa pagbuhay, pero iyong kahirapan sa maraming ibang bagay. Iyon iyong nagbibigay sa iyo ng disiplina, iyon iyong nagbibigay sa iyo ng lakas, iyon iyong nagshe-shape ng character.

    Ngayong graduation ninyo, sabi ni Sir kanina it is a time for thanksgiving and time for celebration. Tama iyon, ‘di ba? Kapag graduation, parati namang time for celebration at parating time to look back and thank the people. Kaya iyong nagsalita, si Emman, ano, si Emman kanina, pinasalamatan niya iyong… the many people that have been contributed to his success.

    Pero aside from thanksgiving and celebration, ito din dapat iyong you challenge yourselves, ‘di ba. Alam ko na iyong pagpupunta pa lang sa Astoria is a challenge itself, ‘di ba? Iyong pamasahe, iyong hirap ng pagbabalanse ng oras. Pero ano iyon eh, bahagi iyon noong pagpapalakas sa inyo. And sobrang… sobrang grabe iyong benefit na nakuha ninyo compared to some of your other classmates because you have been given the opportunity to feel how it is in the real world.

    Hindi naman naging madali na makasama kayo sa top 10, ‘di ba? Hindi siya naging madali. You had to go through rigorous interviews saka tiningnan iyong inyong mga resume. Ganoon na ganoon kapag mag-apply na kayo ng trabaho. So ito, parang dress rehearsal na ito to the real world. I am sure na kapag umuuwi kayo sa bahay, marami rin kayong reklamo. [laughter] Pero iyong reklamo, kabahagi kasi talaga siya ng buhay. Kapag madali lahat, hindi tumatatag iyong pagkatao. Kaya ito, napakalaking bagay.

    Magkaklase kami ni Jeff, ano. Magka-klase kami ni Jeff when we were in college at saka si Judith, nandito rin iyong isa naming kaklase at isa ring Angat Buhay partner through RAF Forwarding Incorporated. Sobrang swerte ko na iyong mga kaklase ko who have been very successful in life have been very supportive of our Angat Buhay program.

    Siguro iyong mga school officials, alam na iyong opisina namin, marami ring… maraming limitations. We don’t have enough budget, we don’t have enough power, we don’t have enough resources. Pero dapat lesson din iyon na sa buhay, you can’t have it all. Marami talagang mga pagkukulang pero nasa sa iyo iyong paghanap ng paraan. Parating sinasabi na ikaw lang iyong in-charge sa sarili mong happiness at saka success ‘di ba? Iyong kaligayahan at iyong kaginhawaan, hindi mo puwedeng i-blame sa iba kundi sarili mo. And sa amin, naging blessing siya. Naging blessing iyong kakulangan ng resources, naging blessing iyong kakulangan ng power, kasi nakita namin na gaya ni Jeff at ni—si Jeff at saka si Vivian siyempre—at saka si Judith, napakarami palang taong gustong tumulong. Marami kaming natutulungan because of them. Maraming ibang mga pareho din ni Jeff, ni Vivian, at saka ni Judith na gusto lang tumulong. Ang iba, hindi lang alam kung papaano.

    Ito, second batch na ito, pero I remember—Judith, naaalala mo iyong pagpunta natin sa Palawan when we went to Astoria Hotel—to the Astoria Hotel in Palawan—nagtetrain din sila doon ng mga members of the indigenous communities. Ang tinetrain nila para sa hospitality skills, mga members of the indigenous communities. Very touching iyong inabutan namin na… ano pa nga lang iyon, end of phase one of the training. Pero ito, nandito iyong susi ng progress ng bansa natin: if government and the private sector are working hand-in-hand.

    Next year, we are looking forward to our partnership again with Astoria in Bohol. Mayroon doon na napakagandang school—public school na nag-ooffer ng hospitality track for senior high school students. Pero lahat sila, theoretical lang. Sabi namin, sayang kasi iyong inaaral nila hindi nila napapractice and we’re very glad that Astoria Hotel very kindly offered to be the laboratory for them to enhance their skills.

    So ito, ito siguro iyong pinaka-message ko lang aside from congratulating you, hindi din madali na natapos niyo iyong training. I am sure, many times iniisip niyo rin na, “Hindi ko na kaya. Pagod na pagod na ako.” Pero later on, you will realize when you look back, you will realize na iyong opportunity na ito, napakalaking bagay sa kahusayan ninyo.

    So my hope today is sana mamaximize ninyo [ang] knowledge and the skills that were imparted during your training here. Naka-ungos na kayo sa iba. Sana to show your thanks to Astoria and to your school administrators and teachers, ipakita niyo na gaya kayo ni Jean Loi na mahusay din.

    Kaya congratulations sa inyo. Thank you again to Astoria; thank you to Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina for also partnering with us. Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat. [applause]

    Posted in Speeches on Nov 13, 2018