TOSP – NCR Chapter Awarding Ceremony


When in Manila, you know this is where you will meet some of the brightest and passionate people in the country.


Last April 30, I was lucky enough to be invited at the Ten Outstanding Students of The Philippines Awarding Ceremony held at the PLDT Innolab at Mandaluyong. Before attending the event, I knew in my mind that I would be among the bright young minds in Manila. I also thought that this was just  some kind of recognition for students in Manila who excelled in their respective alma maters and received honors on their graduation.


TOSP Dinner

The guests while waiting for the program to start


TOSP Dinner hosts

The hosts for the night, Ms. Marie Eugenie Dizon and Engr. Herbert Klaus Martin Hallig


TOSP Dinner Attendees

Parents of the students and representatives from their alma maters graced the event


The program started with an invocation and singing of the National Anthem. The hosts talked about a little background of what TOSP was about and why we were gathered in the hall that night.


TOSP Dinner Opening Remarks Jose Concepcion Jr.

Opening Remarks by Jose Concepcion, Jr, founder of TOSP


Jose Concepcion, Jr. delivered his opening remarks with enthusiasm and wisdom. Well, what could we expect from the visionary behind the prestigious TOSP? Only pure genius and passion. He established this organization at Jose Rizal’s birthday 50 years ago as one of the bench marks of the organization which believes that the hope of the nation does lie on the youth.


After Mr. Concepcion’s speech, he was given a Certificate of Recognition by his fellow TOSP Alumni. What followed is also the recognition of the judges for this year’s TOSP selection process. 


TOSP Dinner Recognition for Jose Concepcion Jr.

Recognition rites for the judges who did the painstaking selection process for this year’s TOSP awardees. From left to right: Pamela Asis-Layugan, National Chairperson, TOSP Alumni Community. Teresa Pacis, Assistant Vice President for Corporate Affairs, GMA Network. Jose Concepcion Jr., Founder of the TOSP Program. Natashya Gutierrez, Multimedia Reporter, Rappler. Cecilia Manheimer, President, Gawad Kalinga – GKnomics. Sherwin Pelayo, Chairperson, 2012 TOSP NCR Screening Committee; Service Line Leader, Business Analytics & Optimization, IBM Solutions Delivery, Inc.; and Vice President for Internal Affairs, Exempli Gratia Foundation


After the recognition, we were treated to a nice dinner buffet. This was where I got to talk with Kenneth Cabusay, Rappler.com’s intern. He was introduced to me by Ms. Maika Bernardo, Documentation & Publication Committee Head of TOSP Alumni Community – NCR Chapter. I also got to meet Ms. Natashya Gutierrez, one of the judges for this year’s TOSP selection process and Kenneth’s boss at Rappler.com. I was really among brilliant minds that night.


TOSP Dinner Rappler Kenneth Cabusay Natashya Gutierrez

Rappler.com’s Kenneth Cabusay and Ms. Natashya Gutierrez


After dinner, an audio-visual presentation about what the 21 outstanding students went through for the past 3 days was shown. They really seemed to enjoy each other’s company just by watching the AVP and also while they were together at the hall that night. Next was the awarding of the Certificate of Recognition for the 21 outstanding students and the participating schools in the program.


One of the highlights of the event was having Atty. Dong Puno as the keynote speaker. What I remember about his speech was that the quest and initiative for positive change in the country is timeless and not impossible. Even if the people around us are pessimistic, we should still find ways to go for our vision of a better Philippines.  


TOSP Dinner Keynote Speech Atty. Dong Puno

Keynote speaker Atty. Dong Puno, TOSP Alumni Batch 1965


TOSP Dinner Recognition Atty. Dong Puno

Awarding of Recognition for Atty. Dong Puno


Then came the moment that all the attendees were waiting for: the announcement of the chosen Ten Top Outstanding Students of the Philippines. I could feel the anticipation of the 21 students as they wait for the announcement. 


TOSP Dinner Awarding

TOSP Dinner Awarding

Emotional moments during announcement of the Ten Top Outstanding Students of The Philippines – NCR Chapter


The awardees were Juan Carlo P. Tejano and Ada Marie S. Tayao  from UP Diliman; Muhammad Muktadir A. Estrella  from UP Manila; Angelita A. Bombarda, Jerome V. David, and Kurt Gerrard T. See  from DLSU; Glenmore L. Sibal from FEU; Kenneth Isaiah I. Abante  from ADMU; Floramante Sir John Don King Howard T. Ponce III  from PUP; and Rochelle O. Obleno  from UST. 


TOSP Dinner Awardees with Judges


TOSP Dinner 21 students

Some of the brightest minds in Manila


Bombarda, one the awardees, delivered the Batch 2012 response that was composed by all of them. I particularly liked the part of her speech where she said “We will not forget our dream of a country where gender equality exists, where human rights are revered, where education is a priority, where quality health services are available for those who need it, where journalists do not fear for their lives, where local tourism is celebrated, where sustainable engineering is the trend, and where Filipinos are proud to belong to this archipelago.” Personally, I do believe in this vision and I never lose my optimism for a better Philippines. I am glad that there are still Filipinos who share the same sentiments and actually take action about it.


TOSP Dinner Batch 2012 Response

Batch 2012 Response delivered by Angel Bombarda of De La Salle University


The TOSP alumni and Bacth 2012 joined together in singing the Alay ng TOSP song. When the last part of the program has been reached, Pamela Gracia C. Asis – Laguyan went up to the podium and gave a very energetic and lovely speech. It was the perfect way to cap off the night. We are people with the same vision and values that are built to last, she said to her fellow TOSP members. 


TOSP NCR Chapter Awarding Ceremony

Closing Remarks by Ms. Pamela Gracia C. Asis – Laguyan, Chair of the TOSP Alumni Community – National Chapter


 After the event, I realized that I had the wrong impression about TOSP. It wasn’t merely a recognition for students who  excelled academically in their college alma maters. These were students who exemplified leadership and takes action to pursue their advocacy of social responsibility. They shared the vision of nation building and idealism burns brightly among these people at this time when the power of the youth for social change is stronger then ever. 

TOSP #nationbuilding


So When In Manila, take inspiration from these bright minds and make #nationbuilding from a trend to a revolution!