Siargao, Mindanao for a week-long leadership retreat, details of which I have been sworn to secrecy. These past five days I am again a little less of a foreigner in my own country. The more I see of our 7,100 islands, the clearer I am that the majesty of the Philippines is not her beauty – it is the endlessness, randomness and ubiquity of that beauty, most of which we can only experience on the wings of these little hand-made boats we call bancas.

Like our people, our children, our islands and seas, our past, present and future – our bancas are sturdier than they look. They brave the storms and carry the day. I believe they always will.

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Andre Yap September 15, 2015