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Alma Aparece, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines (English)

"Expecting the best allows one to happily climb mountains and tackle ridges." Photographer: LuReyn Acojedo at Mt Batulao, Nasugbo, Batangas, Philippines, January 21, 2015

My name is Alma Aparece, Kins for my friends, 45 years old, from Tagbilaran City, Bohol,  Philippines. I am connected with the University of Bohol as the Dean of Planning and Development. As a lawyer, I work pro bono for the environment, women, children, youth and culture. I just also got appointed as the Executive Director of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP), one of the oldest secular student organizations in the country.

My daily life is challenging and colorful. I put a premium on nourishing the health and soul through meditation, quiet and physical exercise.  For an average of nine hours, I do my administration tasks in the university. On the side, I attend meetings and get-togethers with various groups and NGOs that I assist. Juggling intended tasks and targets allowed me to see a good picture of humanity and connects me a lot to the reality in the country and the world.

"Hello sunshine!" Photographer: Lope Hubac at Morning Hills, Loay, Bohol, Philippines 2014

In my youth, I have been very active in the Catholic Youth Ministry through the Student Catholic Action (SCA). At a young age, the methodology of See, Judge and Act or the review of life method by Card. Joseph Cardijn has been very much ingrained in me. I have been very privileged to experience plurality of cultures and spirituality which is quite rare for the Philippine context. During weekends, we spend time giving formation to youth and students, helping them to discover their calling and how to best serve their communities, the country and the church.

This experience enabled me to take a hard look at the meaning of truth, reconciliation and peace. It also made me realize the importance of maintaining integrity to God’s creation. It made me more and more convinced that I am called to stand up for justice for all creations. This paradigm allowed be to choose my advocacies clearly from the local and even at the global level.

"Caring for others moved most of us to introduce AVP in the Philippines. With me is my supportive University President (at my left), Valerie Joy (far right) and Ludwig." Photographer: Jenelyn at the Chocoreich Café, Tagbilaran City, Philippines, November 2014

When AVP was introduced to me 15 months ago, I was enthralled at how realistic and simple it was to be applied to different groups and contexts. I committed to share it to my friends and the people I worked with. This caused positive responses to the participants. AVP is very much aligned to non-violence, dialogue and reconciliation that I have been involved with for decades now.

My friends span through generations. I consider myself a keeper of friends. Of late, my friends are those coming from my interests. I value coherence, compassion, creativity and depth in a friend.

I find hope in seeing the sincerity and the perseverance of the peoples across the world to find meaning in life and to contribute to the bank of hope and trust. Seeing an individual or groups of people pursuing their dreams and hope for a better world would give a jolt to my heart, a great reminder that indeed, another world is possible.

9 Feb 2015