CHARIS and Cebu-based partner recently conducted a Leading Leaders seminar to more than 20 student-leaders and young professionals in PAREF Springdale in Cebu City. (See related post here:

Below are write-ups of four Leading Leaders participants who share their experiences about the event.

A big thanks to the four contributors Melissa Reanne Dela Cruz, Nicholette Jeanne Legaspi, Kayle Jhan L. Yap and Jobelle Marabiles.

Leading Leaders: Uniting the Nation in Virtue

By Melissa Reanne Dela Cruz

Melissa Reanne dela Cruz in Leading Leaders - Cebu Springdale

Melissa Reanne dela Cruz in Leading Leaders – Cebu Springdale


The concept of leadership has long been put aside by the average Filipino. Leadership in our country has been seen as simply a power position taken to better one’s stake in the lottery of life. However, the concept of having leaders of virtue is a truly novel and worthwhile idea. This is the first time I had encountered and was introduced to something of this kind of leadership. The seminar was a worthwhile and informative experience that reinforced my beliefs in the ideals of changing the type of politics in our nation.

I liked how they began the seminar by starting with the self, because of this I better understood the type of leader that I would want to be. Sometimes all it takes is a minute of self-reflection and this has been overlooked by many of the leaders of today. I see the value of the youth and the potential for leadership in each and every child, teenager and adolescents in the country. The betterment of our nation is ultimately in the hands of the next generation of leaders.

A nation-state is by definition a form of political organization which a group of people who share the same history, traditions or language live in a particular area under one government. The Philippines is a nation-state in the sense that it had united a divided archipelago yet it lacks the cultural understanding necessary to be a united front. Having a sense of identity is one of the more important drivers for growth and success not only as an individual but as a nation. As seen in the nation’s of Singapore, USA and various nation-state’s in the European Union.

There should be a greater audience for this kind of seminar as I see a potential for it to stir the youth to participate more in becoming leaders formed with virtues. I enjoyed being in the company of my fellow workshop mates because I learned from them as much as I learned from the speakers and the workshops.



A different kind of Leadership Training Seminar

by Nicholette Jeanne Legaspi


Nicholette Jeanne Legaspi in Leading Leaders – Cebu Springdale

Days after graduating from college, I was quickly warming up to the idea of a much older me.

Someone who didn’t have to rush home every day from school to do homework. Someone who didn’t have to wash her hair on a daily basis. And someone who didn’t have to attend lousy leadership training seminars (LTS).

Admittedly, all of the LTSs I have attended have proved me wrong in the end. They were never lousy; they were always fun. But that didn’t mean I stopped hating them at the beginning…

…For a good number of irrational reasons with a recurring adverb:

  1. Because they are supposedly breeding grounds for the corrupt leaders of tomorrow
  2. Because they supposedly serve cheap cold food
  3. Because they supposedly comprise an endless cycle of perky talks and artsy-fartsy activities


I joined last Saturday and Sunday’s “Leading Leaders” Seminar, because I believed in chastity. This, in turn, led me to ICAN, CHARIS’ Cebu-based affiliate which, literally and metaphorically, stands for Integrity, Chastity, Affability, and Novelty.


The prospect of giving up an entire weekend, albeit in the middle of summer vacation, wasn’t very encouraging. That, I suppose, was one of the greatest challenges in committing to what would be the beginning of a lifelong mission of sorts. In many ways, the “Leading Leaders” Seminar is quickly becoming the mother of all leadership training seminars, because it puts a premium on posterity. It doesn’t talk about dreaming a dream but of concretizing one.


Here are the top 3 reasons why I think LTSs, from now on, should be patterned after “Leading Leaders”:

  1. Because it goes Back to the Basics  (points for the Oliver Tuazon reference!)
  2. Because of VOICES
  3. Because of mentoring


Point one: Because it goes Back to the Basics


I was ridiculously happy to find not one but two books in my seminar kit, one of which entitled Back to the Basics: Fundamental Principles and Values for Nation Building, was edited by Universitas founding adviser Oliver Tuazon. Its message, cliché as it may seem, invites young leaders to “be the change that [they] wish to see in the world.” In today’s post-modern mindset that big is (almost) always better, the dream of building a nation has been littered with very intimidating roadblocks. In Back to the Basics, nation building starts with the self. It tackles values and virtues, good governance and responsible citizenship, character and formation, freedom and direction, and yes, even love, sexuality, and friendship. Basically, you don’t need to start your own charity foundation, feed thousands of street children, or other great philanthropic feats worthy of international news coverage. Not yet, anyway. God willing, yes, you can do those things someday; but you don’t have to wait until then, you can start now. 


Point two: Because of VOICES

Have you heard of the VOICES? Sorry, bad paranoia-inducing introduction, but that was how I first “heard” of the VOICES, too. VOICES stands for Vision, Objectives, Introspection, Concrete Steps, Expected Output, and Sources of Inspiration. If there’s one scientifically-proven and effective way to set and achieve goals, VOICES has got to be it. When I drafted my first VOICES, my vision was something comparatively humbler than the visions of my fellow youth leaders. I wanted to be a good teacher. They wanted to establish a keener sense of Filipino identity. From the littlest goals to the greatest goals, VOICES keeps the drive alive.


Point three: Because of mentoring

Before coming to a close late last Sunday afternoon, each of the “Leading Leaders” participants were assigned to a mentor. A mentorship is a beautiful necessity; just because change starts from the self, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Having a mentor promises that the learnings I have had in the last two days won’t go to waste, that they won’t be empty dreams that will bear no fruition. As I (cleverly) put it previously, “Leading Leaders” doesn’t talk about dreaming a dream but of concretizing one.


I was, once again, proven wrong at the end of the “Leading Leaders” Seminar. It was GREAT! I met some very promising people with interests ranging from medicine, engineering, politics, and education. It was a humbling experience to be with young leaders who, with the right amount of motivation and mentoring, would not become the corrupt leaders of tomorrow. The food most definitely did not suck; I just did not think it would be very leader-like of me to come back for a third, fourth, and fifth plate heaping. And I did not have to endure the boring stereotypical LTS cycle of talks and art activities that I braced myself for. The CHARIS speakers were CHARISmatic, and… I don’t know any more adjectives that begin with “charis.” Good job – though it would’ve been great if CHARIS members brought its President Chris Tiu along too.



A Summer Vacation well-spent with Leading Leaders

by Kayle Jhan L. Yap

Kayle Yap in Leading Leaders - Cebu Springdale

Kayle Yap in Leading Leaders – Cebu Springdale

On April 12-13, 2014 at Paref Springdale school in Cebu City, college students and young professionals across various disciplines learned that among the most productive ways to spend summer vacation is to optimize one’s potentials through virtue-anchored leadership training. And that was exactly what the Charis-iCAN*Leading Leaders Leadership Training delivered.

What sets this leadership course apart is the utilization of the renowned training module “Leading Leaders: Uniting the Nation in Virtue” authored by Oliver Tuazon  that has elevated the standards of leadership training as it covers the concepts of person, leader, and nation building arranged in a hierarchical fashion and highlights the significance of combining competence, character and commitment to mold present-day society. The speakers, being young professionals alike, were once recipients of the Leading Leaders program.

Blended with workshops and talks for a simplified and practical approach to application of the concepts, the event concluded with the VOICES analysis for effective implementation of professional goals set by respective organizations.

*Charis Foundation and iCAN sealed a partnership for the Make A Child Smile (MACS) project which aims to foster the virtues of charity and selflessness in the face of adversity.



Starting Over Again with Leading Leaders

by Jobelle Marabiles

Jobelle Marabiles in Leading Leaders - Cebu Springdale

Jobelle Marabiles in Leading Leaders – Cebu Springdale


April 12 – 13: CHARIS/ICAN Leading Leaders Workshop

Starting over again – became my battle cry in Charis/ICAN’s leadership training held on April 12 and 13. It restarted, reprogrammed, and restructured what used to be my foundations of leading. The concept of beginning with the Self, the People, and the Nation – is something profound and must be the basis of forming the leaders in us.

I have known so many managers, CEOs, politicians who speak BOLDLY of changing the world by bombarding us with promises of a better tomorrow – very typical – CLICHÉ even – and predictably, we all know what happens next.  Sometimes, it makes one wonder if they have EVER undergone any form of leadership training at all. And if they had, the worst thing that comes to mind intriguingly is what happened???    This takes me back to V O I C E S.   It is wise to incorporate such in a sense that it encourages and pushes leaders to have a mission, to be goal-oriented and to reach for their dreams without losing their vision and their virtues.  Add MENTORING to the recipe and VOICES will be achieved.  Human as we are, leaders experience frequent quicksands in their lives. Thus, by having a mentor, leaders will have a pillar of strength to help and guide them through where they are in their projects personally and professionally.  Otherwise, unless acted upon, everything said will remain just words.