Dingdong Dantes inspires AHS students with LIKKAS speech

March 26, 2015
Moca Dator

Art Birit, the closing activity of LIKKAS, was held last February 10, 2015 at the Ateneo de Manila High School covered courts. It was graced by actor and National Youth Commission (NYC) commissioner-at-large Dingdong Dantes. An alumnus of the AHS Class of 1998, Dingdong was chosen to be the special guest speaker of LIKKAS not only because of his popularity but for his many achievements outside of show business. 
Though new to public governance, he is a known supporter of the NYC and its programs since 2009, and a staunch advocate of the youth, the education sector and the cause of environment since 2005, helping the Department of Education and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources promote their programs.
Here is the transcript of his speech:
Sa ating mga iginagalang na mga tagapamuno ng ating minamahal na paaralan;
To our dear principal, Mr. Gabriel Mallilin.
Dingdong Dantes and former teacher (now APSA) Ron Capinding. Photo by Moca Dator
Associate Principal for Student Affairs si Ser Ron Capinding 
Associate Principal for academic affairs, Mrs. Jen Conception
Associate Principal for Formation, Fr. JBoy Gonzales
Chairman of the ART subject area, Mr. Mark Santos
Ang ating mga magagaling na mga guro at kasamahan sa Mataas na Paaralang ito: My former teachers Mrs. Moca Cano-Dator, Mrs. Sansan Mallillin-Borja, Bernie Santos, Mr. Nolasco, Mr. Ignacio, Coach Ompong, Eloi Bermio Albert…
Mga panauhin, mga kabataang mag-aaral, sa inyo pong lahat, isang magandang umaga po. 
Maraming salamat po sa tatlong sumagot :) Muli isang maganda at makasaysayang umaga sa inyong lahat.  Ayan, buti sumagot na kayo, akala ko tatlo lang ang tao dito :) 
Harapin mo nga ang nasa kanan mo at sabihin mo sa kanya, “Masaya akong narito ka.” Harap naman sa kaliwa mo, tanungin mo siya, "Naligo ka ba?" 
Dapat ngayong araw na ito tayo ay maging masaya sapagkat nagkakatipon tayo ngayon para sariwian ang kahalagahan ng ating kasaysayan na ipinakikita sa sigla ng ating kultura at kahusayan sa larangan ng Sining at kalinangan. 
But before sharing my humble thoughts with you, I want you to know that standing here in front of you today elicits a sense of overwhelming gratitude, as well as good memories, as I recall how I once spent many good years of learning in this school.
The word “Many” for this matter may not really be a lot, for it was actually just four years of my life that I spent on these beautiful grounds.  In fairness…physically, I must say not much has changed. Mabuti naman dahil napakaganda talaga ng high school grounds na ito, at kung maihahambing ko sa isang babae ay “Marian” ang itatawag ko dito. “Mary for you….” 
Heto na marahil ang isa sa mga lugar sa campus kung saang wala masyadong mga gusaling itinatayo. Well, bukod sa Moro Gym na wala pa noong araw, iba iba pa noon ang lokasyon ng mga “wings” kung tawagin. ang fourth year wing ang pinakamalpit sa parkingan at watawat, at ang third year ay naroon kung saan malapit sa bakuran na mala-gubat. Wala pang K-12 noon, at wala ring asul at khaking uniporm sa aming panahon…at kung ikaw ay may katanungan tungkol sa kahit anung bagay, ay nariyan si Big Boy sa likod ng kanyang Big Table na talaga namang ipipaglilingkuran ka niya nang tunay…
Change is inevitable, but there is one thing that can never be changed in the personal history of my stay here in the High School, and that is the fact that those were indeed the 4 best years of my life. 
I was never tagged as a best student, nor was I dubbed  the worst. I’ve had my fair share of jugs and posts…but never on the suspension list…only the graduation list…haaay salamat.
I must admit, it was not an easy ride, but it was the most important one that actually opened myself to write my personal story, with learnings that led me to the choice of jobs that I have right now, inspirations that will always leave a mark in my vocation of service that I offer as contribution to our rich and growing culture and the arts. Because of that, my life right now as a Filipino is defined by the formative years I had as a student, and I will forever be grateful for that. 
In speaking to you today on the occasion of the celebration of History, Culture and the Arts, I am reminded of the concept of a prism. As I understand that our event today puts into a single celebration three fine expressions of knowledge- distinct as they may be, I desire that we understand History, Culture and the Arts in the backdrop of who we are as Filipinos. Like a prism that throws a beautiful spectrum of different hues of light, looking at who we are will also reveal the distinct colors of our history, our manner of living, and how we express the beauty that is within us.
It is interesting to look at what history is. As many as the definition and approaches to studying it, we can look at history chiefly in two ways - the objective and subjective way. 
The objective take of history puts the world events as a succession of concrete occurrences that need recording. The more subjective understanding of history puts weight into the contributions of humanity in the shaping of the events of the world. We put in ourselves, our possessions, our ideas, our mistakes, our life and our destiny into the very slate of events that would shape our history. 
I am led to believe that history is both what the world offers and the contributions that we offer to enrich it. Personally, I would rather we underscore our role in it. In fact, if there were no human beings to make the world events intelligible, there would be no history for us to actually read. We should therefore discern carefully how we can "contribute" to the progress of our own selves, our own race, our own life, and ultimately our own history. 
There is an interesting theory in which is called the "Linear Progress Theory." The theory states that "History is about progress. The world is constantly improving and heading in an ultimate direction."  This theory on history is "heavily based on the idea of cause and effect: "this happened, and then that happened; that happened because this happened first."  If history is really about progress, and history is that of our making too - since we leave the prints of contributions in it - then it is really our task to give history its due by doing our part in ensuring progress and improvements in our lifetime. 
My dear students, your role is to write your own history, so write it well. Make your history count and make it stand out.  The interesting part to that is that your history began the dates back into the events that connect you to your own past, and to the more proximate past of your loved ones. When you create your own history in a manner being excellent and ideal, you chart a roadmap for progress not only for your own life but also for those connected to you. Make your own history the best story of your own life - then the world will, proudly I must say, take it as its own.
Nagpapatuloy ang kasaysayan sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat natin ng ating mga sariling kasaysayan ng pagpupunyagi at pagsisikap na makamit ang Buhay na inilaan sa ating ng ating Dakilang Diyos.
I would like to challenge you to dare discover your place in this world. Ika nga ni Mark Twain: “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.” 
Nakakalungkot lang isipinin na maraming tao ang nabubuhay na parang dagling dumadaan lang ang kanilang oras at buhay ng walang malinaw at matibay na paglalaanan nito. Tandaan natin na kaya tayo nabubuhay sa mundong ito ay dahil sa espesyal na misyong kailangan natin gampanan.
You don't have to be a juggernaut to make an impact in history. Every little success, every little improvement- they are welcome developments all the same. Start small, but start now. It matters little where you are at; it matters more that you are aware that you are writing your history well. 

As everything traverses in time, Ang pinakamalaking kayamanan na mayroon ang kabataan ay ang inyong oras…ang ating oras pala…kasama pa ako riyan. dahil habang ika’y tumatanda, mas umiikli ang ibinibigay na pagkakataon sa iyo…so don't waste your time. Make sure that you spend it the best way possible. As even in committing mistakes, time is your canvass for a masterpiece. As the renowned preacher Ravi Zacarias put it, “When we commit mistakes, we are being true to who we are. Take risks and do not be afraid to commit those mistakes. Instead, learn from them and learn from them wisely. Transcend every mistake with a resolve to improve.” 
Kaya nga ang tawag ay "mistake" it means you missed a good take. Kung ganun, e di "re-take." Ganyan lang naman ang buhay, ang mahalaga ay hindi naman yung ilang beses kang nagkamali kundi ang mga natutunan mo bunga ng iyong pagkakamali- mga aral ng buhay na magpapatibay ng iyong pagkatao sa pagharap  sa mas magandang bukas. 

Ganyan din sa pagtataguyod ng Kultura at Sining. Buong tapang nating hanapin kung nasaang larangan naka-angkla ang puso at galing natin, ibuhos natin ng buong kagalingan sa larangan nais nating pasukin. Ito ang pagsisimula ng mas makulay na pagsulat ng katotohan ng ating sariling kasaysayan. 
Hari nawa, ang pagdiriwang natin sa sigla at saya ng makulay na Kultura at Sining ng ating minamahal na bayang Pilipinas ay maging daan para sa ating lahat na ipagpatuloy ang pagsulat ng ating natatanging kasaysayan- Ang kasaysayan ng kadakilaan at pagpupunyagi ng pagiging Pilipino. 
In the end, the truth of our existence - and our own history for that matter - rests solely on the one who oversees us as we traverse the great path of history - God. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, as our school motto puts it. We are here in this world, and we are given the privilege to write our histories, precisely and only on account of giving the glory back to God. May your life and, in particular, your scholastic training here in the Ateneo de Manila High School bid the choicest blessing from God who is the source of- and our companion- in our own little and personal histories. 
Tandaan, iyong kasaysayan... Kadakilaan ng Diyos at Bayan
Kung gayon, ang Iyong Kasaysayan.. Iyong Kadakilaan..
Ika nga ni Ginoong Capinding, “Lahat puwede, pero hindi lahat, dapat.” 
Mabuhay ang Kultura at Sining Pinoy.. Mabuhay ang kabataang Pilipino. Maraming salamat po.