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Frence Boiser, Bohol, Philippines (English)

"A climb to Mt. Batulao in my country led me to step my feet victoriously on this rock winning over my trembles and anxieties."

I am Frence Boiser, 31 years old from the Province of Bohol, Central Philippines. I am doing a full-time work with youth, students and teachers as the Administrative Officer of the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines (SCAP) National Secretariat based in Tagaytay City where I now stay for six years. As part of SCA Philippines, I am tasked to design, monitor and implement office systems operations. I am also assigned to coordinate with student leaders around the country at the same time facilitating them with necessary skills on leadership and youth formation geared towards social change.

My day to day activities vary a lot. However, my usual mornings, when not too busy, is to play with my pet cat and start with an early solitary walk before the sun is completely up. I also opt to even walk alone around the city when the sun sets, especially, if I miss my morning schedule. My working hours are not fixed because there are times we are out-of-town doing leg work. One of the bigger chunks in my weekday schedules, however, are team meetings of our organization and collaborators. Most of the time, I am online since I deal with the social media of the organization as well as updating the organizational website. Meeting people every day physically and even virtually, let me view different but colorful perspectives of life.

"I am privileged to experience the Alternative to Violence project for the first time near the capital region together with our kind, understanding and competent facilitators. (from left: Valerie from Australia, Kins and Ludwig from the Philippines)"

Though born, raised and taught as Catholic, I am thankful enough to embrace ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue. This I give gratitude in joining the Student Catholic Action during my early youth. It led me to stay and encounter in an ecumenical community in Taize, France for three months. From there, my faith was deepened and my heart became more open to understand each culture, beliefs, practices and spirituality. That rich experience challenged me how to build and to care for a community harmoniously despite the differences.

After attending two workshops in AVP recently, I learned that there are still a lot of simple ways to value reconciliation, justice and peace. It taught me well to be a more compassionate, honest, sensitive yet fair person. I see this takes place when I encounter disagreement and misunderstanding in a regular office meeting. The use of right language, tone of voice and gesture are essential. Having a positive mindset is a big help. I can say, there is always a way to seek the non-violent way and I am grateful to share these treasures with others.

"During my stay in Taize, an ecumenical community, I sleep in a big room together with my friends who are from Korea (Yonhoo and Sinwoo with the flutes), Taiwan (Benedict at the back) and Vietnam (Kien with the guitar). We sing and play musical instruments often before retiring for the night."

I have several bunches of friends coming from every place I visit. I value a friend’s spirit of commitment towards community and social work. Most of all, I value a friend’s honesty, integrity, respect to life and nature and creativity.

To have a world where each person cares for each other is a dream still to come true. I hold on to hope for a peaceful place wherein one enjoys freedom yet mindful enough to the needs of others. This I am reminded of in one of my formation sessions that there are three important things that make a person happy. That is when he or she is free, able to love and be in solidarity and able to give in service for others.

 

March 2015