[Professional Fellows ’14] Earl Oyas: “A mentor’s visit to the Philippines”
It was a fine Tuesday morning when I picked Toni Panetta up from the Marriott hotel in Cebu. Toni was my mentor during my 3-week stay in Denver, Colorado. The moment I saw her in the hotel restaurant, the memories of my trip flashed back. I felt like we were going to one of our meetings in Colorado.
From Cebu we traveled about an hour to my hometown in Catmon. Once we got there, we went straight to the Municipal Hall where the municipal mayor and all my fellow councilors were waiting for us. Toni got a brief orientation about Catmon. Later, we went to the Barangay Hall of San Jose (Barangay is the smallest form of government) to meet the Barangay officials and discuss my professional fellows project. During our meeting, these officials pledged support to my Professional Fellows project. Toni also observed how Barangay conducts council meetings and visited our rural health unit, the social welfare office and the senior’s citizen affairs office. She was able to get a glimpse of how local government runs in Catmon.
We went back to the municipal hall for lunch hosted by our Mayor Dan Jusay. The highlight of Toni’s day came at our council meeting where she was presented with a resolution, stating: “A resolution expressing the appreciation and gratitude of the Municipality of Catmon to Ms. Toni Panetta, ACYPL state host, for having visited the Municipality of Catmon to gain personal perspective into the challengers and opportunities of local, political and government system, share professional knowledge, strategic advice, best practices and shared aspirations.”
After the council meeting, we went to the Fort of Catmondaan, which was built in the early 1800’s to protect the early Spanish settlement from the depredations of the Moro pirates plying the coastal areas. Toni was greeted by elementary school students who sang while she entering the fort. Before Toni left Catmon, the HunaHuna beach resort hosted an afternoon meeting with the municipal mayor, vice mayor and all the councilors. We then traveled to the city to have dinner in my home, where Toni met my entire family.
Toni’s 2nd day was spent in meetings and on a city tour. She met Vice Governor Agnes Magpale and Governor Hilario Davide Jr. During lunch she tasted the roasted pig, known here as lechon, which the famous Chef Antony Bourdain tasted when he visited Cebu. Dinner was hosted by the officers of the National Movement of Young Legislators (NMYL). During dinner she met young public servants of Cebu. Toni’s 3rd and last day was spent on the powdery white sand beach of Mactan Island before she left for Manila.
I’m grateful Toni had the opportunity to visit me in the Philippines!
Earl H. Tidy Oyas is a member of the Catmon Municipal Council in the Philippines
Want to see more photos from Toni Panetta’s trip to the Philippines? Click here.