Editor's Note: Macaullay Raquel, who just graduated last December, was a finalist in the 31st Search for Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines held last December 28 – 30 in Manila. In the following article, he shares his experience in the search.
UB's Macaullay Raquel (last row, middle) and his co-finalists in Luneta Park
I am happy to be one of the finalists during the Search for Jose Rizal Model Students of the Philippines. Some of my co-finalists were from Ateneo de Manila, University of the East, Adamson University, and University of the Philippines Los Baños among others.
December 28, 2019: This was Day 0. We were assigned to our respective rooms and we were oriented on the activities for the event.
December 29, 2019: We set out for an interview at the Knights of Rizal Headquarters. First, we were asked to prepare our essays on the topic “Huwarang Lider sa Ikalawang Siglo.” The second part was the oral interview, which included questions such as “What is the most significant work of Rizal to you and why?” and “How can the teachings of Rizal be applied in your course?”
December 30, 2019: We assembled in Fort Santiago. It was the 123rd commemoration of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal. A small program in honor of Rizal was held. Afterward, we walked from Fort Santiago to Luneta Park. Government officials and local and national organizations were in attendance for the raising of the flag and offering of flowers.
After which, we went to Rizal Park Hotel for the closing and awarding ceremony. We met some of the members of the Knights of Rizal. A short program followed, which included the “1st Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken Look-Alike” segment. The awarding of the Top 10 Rizal Model Students of the Philippines concluded the ceremony.
I was sad because I didn’t make it to the top 10, but I was overwhelmed to be one of the finalists.
Having the chance to bond and get along with other student leaders around the country gave me a sense of pride. It gave me a different perspective about the different people from different walks of life, who have different purposes. Most importantly, it gave me hope that the country is set for great changes with the young who share the same ideals of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It just really proves that Rizal’s “kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan” is still indeed true.
Macaullay (seated, extreme left) and his co-finalists during the closing program
Macaullay represented UB in the national search