On May 31, 2015, Marc Butiong, Bayanihan Foundation NEXTGEN Fellow played the role as emcee and host for the evening’s fundraiser. The theme for the evening’s fundraiser is coming home (Pagbabalik). I prepared him a short speech to briefly introduced himself and the evening’s program. Instead, he shared a passionate speech that sets the tone for the evening as the Bayanihan Foundation announced the first recipients of the NEXTGEN Travel Fellowship. Marc shares his personal reflections as he travels “home” to the Philippines for the first time.
“It is such an honor and privilege to be able to share that me and two other recent college graduates have been selected as the first-ever “NEXTGEN: Pagbabalik Scholars” for the Bayanihan Foundation. We have been selected among a talented pool of applicants to travel back home to the Philippines to contribute to local, sustainable projects that will have an impact on the communities for years to come. We will embark on a journey to develop our Filipino identity through the projects we will take part in and look forward to the cultural immersion that will manifest in our travels. This is an opportunity to experience the homeland through a program that will undoubtedly expose our group to the beauty, history, and indigenous practices of our native Philippines.
It is important to note that we take this opportunity as more than just the chance to visit the homeland. This opportunity that the Bayanihan Foundation has awarded us will be a transcending experience. We were chosen for a reason. We were chosen because of our leadership and willingness to allow the experience to transform us. To transform our perception, thoughts, and eventual goals for what we can contribute to the Philippines not only through the trip, but for years to come. It’s important for us to share these stories with our families and friends. These stories and experiences will influence our own communities and serve as the continual reminder that we can always look to the Bayanihan Foundation for inspiration in allowing us to continue to grow as leaders.
This is the first year the Bayanihan Foundation has awarded scholarships for second-generation Filipinos to go home. Much of the success of the trip now and years to come depends on a successful first year. I can honestly say that we take that sentiment to heart and look forward to contributing our efforts to build this program to its highest potential. As bridge-builders do, we will be there every step of the way to form a solid foundation. That foundation starts now.”