UNA SA LAHAT
To our Honourable Guests, Distinguished Officers and Members of the UAP UAE Fellow Architects, Colleagues in the Profession Families and friends, Good evening and welcome to the 1st General Membership Meeting of the United Architects of the Philippines Abu Dhabi chapter for the Fiscal Year 2013
Small Steps to a Greater Journey
Let me start with an observation I had. Being a father, a friend, a colleague to several "new" fathers in my lifetime, one of the greatest joys I saw and experienced was the: FIRST STEPS OF a Child.
To a dad, "It is not the distance that the child has treaded for the first time but the number of steps he has made. It might not be much at first, it might not have the direction desirable , but it is a clear start that this person begins the journey of life with these very first simple steps." And as every father (or parent) contemplates, "Ah my child, today you start the so called WALK of Life." And indeed from here every person moves on and lives on. I can't help echo this familiar saying, "That the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step." Architecturally speaking there's no kilometer with an inch.
The First 3 Steps:
On a similar note, today we see a new chapter in the life of our organization, the UAP Abu Dhabi. It's been 3 years since we saw it made it very first steps, unchartered and challenged. It made its very effort to lift its foot one after another to move forward. Guided with a vision: UNA sa LAHAT, it embarked on a journey in behalf of the Filipino Architects, by the Filipino Architects and to the Filipino Architects in the UAE.
Being privileged to be the author of such vision, dubbed by some of you as "Father of UAP UAE" or" Kuya (big brother) ng mga Arkitektong Filipino sa UAE", I saw it as a building stone for a strong and sustainable organization of distinguished Filipino Architects in the Emirates as a whole. Together with other concerned architects, Arch. Arny Lana et al, we strived to make sure that this vision will come to pass, so on this very day, TODAY, as I hand over the leadership to the new administration, there is an organization that they can proudly and enthusiastically work on and serve by. UNA sa LAHAT is not just a slogan or a witty CATCH PHRASE, or an agenda to advance personal desires or wants or a platform of popularity to selected few. It is a foundational strategy to create a strong, sustainable and distinguished association. Like any good Architect, we build with stability and with the intention of leaving a mark in history, a LEGACY. UNA sa Lahat has 3 sequential foundational elements that by very design aim to accomplish this very intention:
U – Unity – to bring together Filipino Architects in the Emirates (emphasis in the Emirates) in a common platform of pursuing excellence, standing proud and developing servant hood attitude for the greater good of all Filipino Architectural Professionals in the UAE; focusing initially on the RLAs (Registered Licence Architects) then to others. This is the foundation, the corner stone to the subsequent elements of the vision. I personally dubbed this as "The Calling".
N- Nurture –is to elevate the professional capacity of the Filipino Architects in the UAE not only to be at par with other global and best practices but to promote the uniqueness of who we are and showcase the level of creativity and professionalism of Filipino Architects and break the mould of being" copy cats" to pioneers in the profession. Believe me when I say to all of you, Filipinos are truly" world -class architects."
A – Advocate – to create a change in status quo. I believe in the saying as I put my little twist on it, "You cannot sell what you do not believe. If indeed you had, you're a Fraud." And that is exactly what we're NOT! We are not second class or back of the house support professionals. We need to be recognized truly World class Architects in all sense of the word. However, we can only advocate if we are well united and well equipped.
The last 3 years, I saw men and women (various batches) of the UAP Abu Dhabi stand by this vision and principles. Unselfishly giving their time, talent and more so their treasure (we do it pro-bono) to serve you and create an organization that we can all be proud of. Countless hours and efforts are invested to have an organization; well distinguished and with integrity. The UAP Abu Dhabi Leadership, in spite of their personal challenges and busy schedules proudly represent you here and abroad striving to establish a cordial and professional rapport with concerned organizations relevant to our profession. Collectively, I personally witnessed the officers and membership of UAP Abu Dhabi go beyond their means just to make sure that the spirit of being true and united Filipino Architects in the UAE is reflected in their actions and in their stand. These are extra ordinary steps of people in a profession that is by nature –egoist. By these I commend all of them. Some of these people are not with us anymore. Several are in the Philippines or other countries of opportunities. To enumerate their sacrifices that led us to where we are right now is beyond any list that I can think and write about. All I have are words of appreciation, in behalf of all of us, my sincere Thanks. Visionary Leadership
There are no short cuts in this journey. Those small steps are indeed great steps! Those steps might not win awards or outright recognitions, to aim for those without strengthening the very legs that will carry us on our journey is foolish, selfish and irresponsible. You cannot claim the prize without running; you cannot run without first learning to walk, to walk needs steady limbs and everything begins with few simple steps. That's a journey, a life journey, the UAP UAE (Abu Dhabi) journey.
Today we will witness the turn-over of leadership to the next batch of distinguished men and women who will usher the UAP Abu Dhabi in a new and greater journey. They are talented, dignified and committed people that I believe will continue the legacy we have started. I firmly believe that they will bring us in an even more exciting sphere of accomplishments. I believe in them. I believe that those first steps we made several years back will now translate to distances and directions beyond our expectations. Truly they will carry on the visionary leadership we have aim for.
In conclusion, let me illustrate briefly my personal aspiration and prayer to our new chapter officers and members as they will embark on this new responsibility; as a father, when I saw my children made their first few (very few) steps in front of me (not a great deal of distance), it brought a mix emotion in my heart. First, a bit of concern –that they might fall and hurt themselves, second, a great deal of excitement as I saw their enthusiasm and courage to embark, lastly but more so - great pride and joy knowing that it is the beginning of their walk in life and one day they will be able to stand and journey on. That is the joy of a father.
To all the incoming officers and members of UAP Abu Dhabi; may God continue to strengthen you and lead you in your endeavours. May He bless your every step in His light as you bless others in leading them in the path of goodness and integrity. May He bless your hands with all the instruments of success and preserve you in His love and grace.
Maraming Salamat at Mabuhay ang Arkitektong Filipino !