Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mabuhay Guides Training Day1

Today was my orientation and first day of training in the Mabuhay Guides program. We were welcomed by the project director, Susan Medina, the host of Travel Time. We also met Undersecretary Duarte who has been with the Department of Tourism for 33 years and he said he’s never worked a day in his life. He so loves his job, and wishes us the same thing when we get into the tourism industry.

They kept stressing about how extensive the elimination of the Mabuhay Guides are and how we were the chosen ones. Among the 150 people who submitted their application forms online, only 100 got to take the exam, and 50 passed the test to go the interview, and only 25 of us made it.

During the orientation, Susan Medina mentioned that Sec. Ace Durano got an email right after the 25 people got chosen for the training, the email came from somebody hi-ranking and was recommending someone and said he/she was very much qualified to be in the program. So, Sec. Durano asked Susan Medina if the said person was in the list or not? As they checked, the person apparently did not even pass the examination, therefore, the letter.

Sec. Durano was behind this project, it was his idea, and it was his vision. This program was conceptualized when Sec. Durano went to Europe and had the most unforgettably best experience he’s had as a tourist being guided, and he knew he had to do bring it back to help Philippine tourism. That is why Mr. Durano replied to the email with a simple, “OK.” He said that he will not taint this brilliant project with politics because he really wants only people who are qualified to undergo the training.

It is going to be a 6-week intensive training, which include 5 days in Bohol (yay!), we will also undergo practical training under the London Blue Badge Guide Trainer! We also received P5,000 as a transportation allowance for the 6 weeks; and upon receiving the cash, we also signed a contract that says, if we fail to finish the training, or drop out in the middle, we will have to return P50,000 to the DOT. This is such an amazing opportunity as they are getting the best of the best people to come and give us lectures about culture, history, arts, dance, music, architecture, geography and etc.

Anyway, when we come back from the training in Bohol, we’d have a day’s rest and then the next day, a written examination then 3 days of practical exam! :-ss It is until then we get filtered out once more, and finally be awarded the certificate of completion and a badge during the ceremonial dinner with no other than, Secretary Durano. We were discussing with the others that we felt like we were in a reality TV show or something, like Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model. Lol.

I cannot help but see us 23 (2 dropped out before signing the contract) like in some kind of movie, like Mission Impossible or Bourne Identity or something, you know we’re being the select few to be “trained” by the government from then on we become of service to the government, only not as spies or secret agents, but tour guides. Haha. Not that I am complaining or anything, but I do feel like I’m in some kind of study concentration camp, sort of feel like we’re computers, I think they feel like we’re sponges, like they just drag and drop information, which made me feel a bit intimidated and overwhelmed will all these pieces of information we have to take in. I mean if I feel like a computer, I’m afraid my hard disk won’t be enough, you know? (Which I doubt it will happen to any human brain) It’s just that I’m just afraid that I might be like a glass under a faucet of running water, that I won't even feel that I'm already full and new water are replacing the old water that's already inside...you know just over flowing...

I’m sure that they assumed or made sure (from the exam and interview) that we are adults meaning individuals who were not forced but came at their own free will to LEARN, therefore they would not even have to worry if these “students” were listening or not, right? because this is not like school. and it feels really good to have people expect that from you, I feel so grown up.

Having to undergo this training is great enough privilege for me, free knowledge from the best, getting to the exam would be the icing on top. At least that is how I feel for now. From today until the end of this training, I am so curious on what kind of person I would become 6-weeks from now, because I am sure that things like this change people. That’s why opportunities like this only come sporadically. I am so thankful for having to experience this so early in my life, and so grateful that I can afford to do this too. I am so blessed. J

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