An Afternoon with Senator Legarda

April 3, 2024

An Afternoon with Senator Legarda
Assumption College San Lorenzo Makati
3 April 2024| 1:30 P.M. | Pardo Hall, Henry Sy Building, Assumption College

It doesn’t feel like that long ago, but it is actually approaching half a century since I walked these halls as a student. I know that what we felt then, under the safety and nurturing of the sisters, is what you may be feeling now — a little hopeful, a little confused, and experiencing extreme emotions.

“The spirit of the Assumption is characterized by straightforwardness, openness, thoughtfulness, simplicity, honor, kindness, and courage.” These words from St. Marie Eugenie have been among my guiding principles as I tread the path toward my strong desire to touch people’s lives in a meaningful way.

In this world full of complexities, being straightforward builds trust and strengthens our credibility as an individual. Openness encourages us to welcome ideas and viewpoints from others without judgment, creating a space where everyone has the freedom to contribute to the progress of our society.

Pause, think, and consider the consequences of our actions; this is where thoughtfulness comes in. In this fast-paced world, let’s not ignore the importance of being prudent in making decisions and choices, as our actions may affect not just our future but the future of the people around us and even our communities.

Simplicity for me is living a slow lifestyle, letting go of unimportant things, and prioritizing what truly matters because we can truly find genuine happiness and contentment in the simplicity of life.

Living a life full of honor is showing integrity and dignity as an individual. It is about standing up for what is just and treating others with respect, even when faced with opposition.

Kindness shows us the beauty of compassion and human connection. Through acts of kindness, love blooms and unity is strengthened. Lastly, courage – in the face of adversity, stand strong, resilient and confront challenges with conviction.

My path to the life where I am now was never straight nor easy, I have constantly reminded myself to embrace these principles in everything I do. These and my never-ending quest for learning have brought me to earn a degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman, become a topnotcher in the National Defense College of the Philippines, completed the Command and General Staff Course under the Armed Forces of the Philippines and promoted as a full-pledged Colonel of the Philippine Air Force (Reserve), and of course learned and mastered the art of survival in a male-dominated Philippine Senate.

This is what I would like to impart to you, never lose the spirit of inquiry, that insatiable curiosity, about the world and how it works. Always show compassion and be aware of what is happening around you. Immerse yourself in the realities of today and be a solution for our fellow Filipinos who need our help and assistance. Acknowledge the significant impact they can make if we empower them to realize their potential and provide them with the resources they lack.

The more critical, life-changing lessons aren’t just confined to textbooks. They come to you when you are broken and confused, when you tell yourself this is not acceptable, when you decide to make things different. Listen to that voice and remember my advice when you are at your lowest.

Another quote from St. Marie Eugenie, that I know all of you here are familiar with, is “to see the best side of others is a great gift.” As we face the complexities of human nature and societal challenges, we should be looking beyond the surface. We should recognize the potential of each individual as a valuable component to the growth of their communities and the nation as a whole. Seeing the best in others can inspire us to pursue a more inclusive, equitable, and compassionate society.

You have both your youth and energy and the technological capacity to make much larger waves than we ever did. You can make a big difference by steering development in the right direction.

Here’s to us, as we show how united we can be, though separated by generations, the proud alumni of Assumption, and to a future filled with endless possibilities for ourselves and our beloved country.

Thank you at isang luntiang Pilipinas sa ating lahat!