Student Leaders Gathered for 7th Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit

Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 by Mr. Tambay

As a student leader during my college days, I can't help but feel envy with the 90 students from the Philippines that were chosen as the official delegates of the 7th Aboitiz Future Leaders Business Summit (AFLBS). Held last August 16-18, 2012 at Radisson Blu Hotel, Cebu, Philippines, the top 90 student leaders were lucky to get some business leadership tips and tricks from the prominent leaders of Aboitiz Group. This year's AFLBS focuses on how the students can contribute in changing the status quo of the Philippines with the theme "Significantly Changing My Philippines."

The delegates were so lucky to have a pre-summit tour around Cebu. They went to Cebu's famous landmarks  like Magellan's Cross, Basilica Minore del Santo NiƱo, The House of Don Ramon Aboitiz, Visayan Electric Company (VECO) SM Office, and Persimmon Studios. And it was no ordinary tour, because they faced different challenges along the tour. Seeing the delegates completing the tasks as a whole is a reminiscing scene. Somehow, it makes me wanna go back to being a student.

Magellan's Cross, one of the delegates' pit stop.
Persimmon Studios: An AboitizLand Company

On the summit proper, it was very clear in their faces the delight they felt when the speakers shared some of their knowledge in running the business. Speakers during the summit were leaders from the different branches of Aboitiz Group and they were very eager in relaying some theories and the student delegates equated it by throwing some questions after their speeches. The interaction itself really showed that the delegates were very interested to know more about business leadership.

Gang Badoy, 7th AFLBS Inspirational Speaker

As an Inspirational Speaker, Gang Badoy, Founder of RockEd Philippines, was invited to speak for the delegates about the main theme of the summit, which is "Significantly Changing My Philippines." Some of the thoughts that she shared were "A nation like the Philippines is not geographical but a state of mind", "You have to identify what is yours, what you love to do, what are you good at, and what is not yours", "the most natural state of human being is when you're changing", "it is your call on how you consider a thing significant", and "you can't demand composition from everyone else." The delegates really enjoyed Badoy's speech that they can't help but give her a standing ovation after her talk.

Aside from talks, the delegates also underwent physical activities prepared by the Kool Adventures Camp Team. The activities, The Business Pit, The Aboitiz Corporate Tower, and the Aboitiz Spider Web, measured every delegate's leadership skills and teamwork. Student leaders were just like playing together when they did these challenges, having fun while learning in the process.

The Business Pit

Teamwork during the 1st Physical Challenge: The Business Pit
Teamwork again during the 2nd Physical Challenge: The Aboitiz Corporate Tower.
Teamwork again for the 3rd Physical Challenge: The Aboitiz Spider Web
As a costumary, the delegates were given a problem that they have to solve as the corporate management team. By applying what they learned during the entire summit, they grouped themselves and planned strategically on how to solve the problem. I have to say this task is very troublesome and stressful, but I salute the delegates for coming up with a solution from an overnight planning. Troublesome as it may seems, but I wanted to try it though. :(

A delegate carefully reading the case.
At the end of the summit, the delegates still showed to everybody that they still have energy to party and celebrate their success in finishing the summit. Smiling faces dominated despite the stress of making the proposal overnight, hours of sitting and listening to the speeches, and exhaustion from the physical activities. And if I were on their footing, I will surely express the same feeling as them.

Happy delegates with their proof of finishing AFLBS.
I had a chance to talk with the delegates from the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU). Benjz Gerard Sevilla (Electronics and Communications Engineering), Jenica Dizon (Fine Arts, Major in Information Design), David Lozada (AB Communications), Steffi Milcah Chua (Legal Management), and Eldridge Myles Tan (Mechanical Engineering) happily shared to me their AFLBS experiences. They said that the whole summit was overwhelming in a sense that it was worth the time and effort, well-organized and is a good way to give back, insightful and unexpected, humbling and had a right mix of physical and mental abilities. They told me about what they consider the "fun" and "hard" part of the summit. They all agreed that the "fun" part of the summit was the Aboitiz Spider Web and the Pre-Summit Tour because they get a chance to dwell with their co-delegates, be close to each other, to mingle and it was the right kind of bonding. They were also united in saying the case study was the "hard" part because it is in a business approach and they conceded that they can't really contribute that much because it is not their cup of tea. Other reasons were it was really exhausting and challenging because they only have an overnight to solve the case. When I asked what are the things that they learned from the summit that they will never forget, they answered in unison about the Bugsay Principle that was taught by one of the speakers during the Leadership Summit. Also, they will never forget the Aboitiz Family's humility and being down to earth, being genuine, and being an inspiration to the youth in giving back to the society.

I also grabbed the chance to ask them on their impressions about Cebu, David and Benjz, both first-timers in Cebu, said that Cebu is somehow similar to Manila but the convergence of modernity and rural life is apparent, they love how accommodating the Cebuanos are, and how culture is preserved. Jenica, Steffi and Eldridge, although already visited Cebu even before the AFLBS, still felt that friendly vibe of the Cebuanos, the pride that Cebu City has to offer, the lovely beaches, and the good mix of urban and peaceful living.

Delegates from ADMU: Benjz Gerard Sevilla, Steffi Milcah Chua, Jenica Dizon, David Bryan Lozada, and Eldridge Myles Tan.