After nearly a decade and a half of sailing the seas of our childhood and teenage years together, the winds have finally shifted, signalling the end of our arduous journey together and marking the end of a big chapter of our lives. Although our final year in this beloved institution was greeted with an unexpected storm of hindrances, this was just yet another harsh wave in the waters that we have persisted through and in the end, we remain triumphant. The boat we have mounted on together ever since we were little children may have been rocky and unstable a few times along our voyage, but at long last, the tides have now calmed down as we near the end of our journey. As we sail on more settled waters, we get to reminisce and reflect on what we have gone through as a whole and appreciate the times we have spent together before we part ways and be the captains of our own ships.
Last April 19, 2021, the Batch 2021 Spartans went through a virtual version of a retreat, a recollection if you may, which was (sadly) shortened to only half a day. Even so, it was still a memorable activity that served its purpose greatly: to allow us to dwell on both the good and bad experiences we have gone through, as well as help us reconnect as a batch before we finally move on in our separate ways. This Online Recollection was presided by Mr. Bryson Bonsol, a motivational speaker and the founder of Be Blest Training and Formation Center, who has actually been handling the retreats of the previous batches of PIQC Seniors as well.
Before everything else, a short ‘kumustahan’ took place where we got to break the ice a little and exchanged some laughs to wake us all up. Questions like “Why are you tired today?” were answered with banter like “Because I keep on getting called handsome every time” or “Because I just broke up with James Reid”. It was truly heartwarming and amusing to see lighthearted jokes made by my classmates bring smiles and joy to all of our faces first thing in the morning.
Moving on to a more serious activity, Mr. Bonsol conducted a short meditation session for us to clear our minds, absorb a good aura, and release any negative energy in our systems. It was also a time to self-reflect on the blessings we have received in the past year and send our wishes for our future out to the universe. Further, a lyric video of the song “Pilgrim’s Theme” was presented to us, and later on the lyrics were analyzed by each of us as we shared the lyric that resonated with us the most. This exercise was an eye-opener to the fact that we all serve a purpose in this world and that “all things [eventually] fall in place”.
The seas we have sailed had its fair share of smooth sailing and rough waves, and all of these have contributed to the growth of each and every Spartan. With that, we proceeded to the first sharing activity of the day, wherein we exchanged our most memorable experiences in PIQC. A variety of memories were shared by the batch, some being funny and feel-good moments that would make us laugh whenever it is brought up, others being victorious milestones that reminds us of the camaraderie we have developed throughout the years we have spent together, while the rest were more sentimental and sincere, containing a much deeper meaning behind a simple occurrence. Regardless of the nature of the memories shared, this exercise served as an avenue for us to look back at both the highs and lows of our batch. It was a time to celebrate the triumphs we have achieved, learn from our shortcomings and failures, and be grateful for the lessons we’ve learned, friendships we’ve made, and experiences we’ve acquired. As Mr. Bonsol said, we get to “savour the past while we bring it to the present”.
As the trip down memory lane reached its end, the time had come to move on from the past and celebrate the now. Having been surrounded by the same people we’ve been with since kindergarten (some since highschool), it is no doubt that we have an adequate amount of knowledge regarding each other’s skills, strengths, and personalities. That being so, we progressed to the following activity with the name “Love on Air”, in which each of us were put on a virtual “spotlight” while the rest of the batch sent in messages of love, positivity, and affirmation for the person in the spotlight. This was the greatest highlight of the entire event, as a huge wave of positivity washed over everyone and we all had the chance to be on the receiving end of this outpour of love and appreciation. For once, we had the chance to turn a blind eye to the gray, thundering clouds surrounding us and be immersed in a state of pure bliss and euphoria. It was in that moment that we got to realize how remarkable we truly are as individuals and how much we have grown as the years passed by. This was indeed a much needed boost of spirit and morale and a great way to bid our farewells, by leaving behind genuine words of affirmation for each of us to carry and remember as we move forward in our own journeys.
The land ahead of us becomes clearer in vision, indicating the final stretches of our voyage as Seniors. As with any departure, goodbyes are bound to be exchanged between one another, yet a simple “adieu” will not suffice. Thus, several farewell messages were shared before the day ended. At this point, we each said our words of gratitude, apologies, and wishes for the future. Yet, it mustn’t be a sad occasion because this only means that as we set ashore and end this expedition, more new adventures make way into our lives and although we start to sail our separate ways, the bonds we have formed within Batch Spartans will forever be there for us to come back to whenever we encounter both losses and victories. Our compasses will always point towards home and to family, the Spartans family.
The horizon before us is vast and we have yet to reach our fullest potential as individuals. We now set sail on our own separate voyages in life and though we may experience instability along our ventures, nevertheless, each of us as Spartans will surely be able to brave whatever waves the sea of life surges at us. Good luck and bon voyage, Spartans!
Written by: Ysabel Calderon