Pen Strokes

June 1, 2009

Losing it, Learning from it, Loving it!


Me, giving my contest speech

My views of the 2009 District 75 Annual Convention

I left for Davao with high hopes of winning the International Speech Competition; but I came back empty-handed… I lost… and had a great time losing! That’s right; I didn’t even “place” in the International Speech Contest, but I had a blast! So how could I have had a great time?

Well, before I give you my thoughts on the contest, I’d, first, like to tip my hat to the DISCON organizers for a job well done! Not only did they come up with a fantastic event, they also helped arrange tours for us to enjoy the wonders of Davao. This was very considerate of them. One of the reasons we hold events in different places is for us to discover the beauty of that place; and our organizers were gracious enough to realize this. Not only that; all the contests were spectacular! They lived up to the hype and much more! The Youth contest, Table Topics, Humorous and the International Speech contest were amazing! This was the best series of speech contests I have ever witnessed.

Jemimah Pearl D’lonsod (Division E) - Youth Champ!

Jemimah Pearl D’lonsod (Division E) - Youth Champ!

The Youth contest set the tone. And boy; did those little tykes deliver! Those speeches were probably some of the best I have ever witnessed. The three Youth winners were so good that they could’ve even won or placed prominently the International Speech or Humorous contests. I’ll bet all the contestants (like me) were so mesmerized by the Youth contest that we had no choice but to bring our very best to the stage. I mean, who wants to be upstaged by the Youth; certainly, not I (wink)! The winner, Jemimah Pearl D’lonsod (of Division E), was charming, funny and powerful. She even made me comment that if she competed in the International Speech contest, I might be forced to back-out; a comment that our District Governor, DTM Deling Royo, simply had to repeat on stage. Yikes! Now everybody knows about the yellow-streak on my back. This is embarrassing!

Table Topics was another treat for all of us. The contestants were all on the money with their answers. Their delivery may have ranged from humorous to touching, but they were all effective! Honestly, it was hard to pick a winner from this bunch. In our table (I sat with the Molave group), we had a lot of people with score cards, mock-judging the event. When we viewed our results, we discovered that there were about 7 potential winners on our score cards. When the smoke cleared, however, Khris Albano (of Division K), deservingly took home the gold! Khris’ strength was a killer “close”, which was just enough to edge out this ultra-talented bunch! Great job Khris! I can’t wait to compete against you. It would be an honor.

Jabez Oberez (Division D) - Humourous Champ

Jabez Oberez (Division D) - Humourous Champ

The Humorous contest was a blast! I’ve attended Humorous contests where there was only one contestant that made me laugh; but in this contest, nearly everyone was funny. Many speakers observed the things happening in the DISCON and incorporated them in their speeches. One particular line that was used (or even abused) often was a favorite line by our Keynote Speaker, Mr. Bo Sanchez… Ask me why? Uhm… Actually, “ask me why” was the line. I believe that observing the things around you and incorporating these into your “prepared” speech is a talent only few posses. Yet, in this contest, nearly every contestant had the ability to adapt to change and incorporate recent events to their speeches. This made it hilarious! Another discovery I made was that nearly all the contestants were teachers! In fact, all three winners of the contest were teachers. And the clear winner of the contest was the “single, sexy and satisfied” Jabez Oberez (of Division D)… and, as I mentioned earlier, she’s a teacher too! It kindda makes me wonder what my kids are actually learning in school…. Hmmm (eyebrow raised)!

Hermie Garrobo (Division G) - District 75 Champ!

Hermie Garrobo (Division G) - District 75 Champ!

The International Speech contest was way beyond anything I had ever expected. Instead of feeling bad that I didn’t win, I felt honored and humbled to be counted amongst such magnificent speakers! I was proud to have competed against them. Each contestant was so unique from the other that it almost seemed like a battle of styles… extraordinary styles (which was fantastic since “extraordinary styles” was our theme for the DISCON)! Each contestant’s message was unique, yet, each message made a whole lot of sense! The winner could have been a toss-up amongst the contestants… that is until Hermie Garrobo (of Division G) spoke! When Hermie spoke, it was like watching an International Speech Champion… no kidding! That afternoon, no one could’ve beaten him. He simply took the stage and owned it! That afternoon, he was simply the best! And, he deserves to represent our District… our Country… in the World arena of public speaking!

I am particularly proud of Hermie because worked so hard for this. Logistics alone were working against him. He’s from Baguio; which means that the travel to Davao alone would have taken him more than 10 hours (and that does not include the waiting time). I also found out later that he competed three other times in the District before he finally bagged it in Davao. Wow! Now that speaks a lot about his courage and determination. Hermie, if this article, somehow, reaches you, I want you to know that you have my full support and that I am willing to help you any way I can. You have inspired me to continue my quest for the gold, just as you have. Thank you, CHAMP!

Me, in the midst of champions!

Me, in the midst of champions!

Though I lost, I refuse to hold my head low. The speech I gave that day was the best speech and the best performance I’ve ever given; however, it still isn’t the best I’ll ever give. If anything, DISCON 2009 has inspired me to reach greater heights. I’ve seen the battlefield; and it is one I can conquer! I have also seen my weaknesses and that will make me even more dangerous next year. But, I need to prepare differently; I need to start early; I need to recreate myself continuously!

Some of my fellow Toastmasters told me that competition will be a lot tougher next year. Our club alone has many excellent speakers who want to compete and will give me all I can handle. There are rumors that former District Champions will be giving it another try in 2010. The competitions will be one hard-fought battle after another; from beginning to end! I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I’m going to win, I want to win in the toughest environment possible. And if I lose, at least it would have been against such noteworthy foes. So, I urge the other would-be contestants to prepare hard; because in 2010, I’m bringing the tempest with me! You have been warned (hehehe)!

Toastmasters… LET’s ROCK!!!



  1. Hey Boom,

    Live to fight another day 🙂

    Wonder if I should join the fray next year, hahaha!

    We district losers should form a club – The Losers Toastmasters Club. And wouldn’t it be hilarious when the MC announces, “the District Champion, from the Losers Toastmasters Club…”

    Comment by Andy Uyboco — June 2, 2009 @ 7:29 am | Reply

    • Hey Andy!

      Thanks for the comment! Hmmm… That’s not a bad idea for a club name. Hahaha!


      Comment by boom8088 — June 2, 2009 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  2. Andrew: you competed before! Wow ha! See you Friday for the reunion!
    Boom: Tempest huh? any chance you’re free Sat or Sun lunch this weekend for my pizza or just for conversation? It would be interesting getting “pointers” from you, haha!

    Comment by Leony — June 2, 2009 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

    • Yes, Lenore… Tempest! And I’m bringing it! Scared? Bwahahaha!

      As for pizza on Saturday… you’re on!

      Comment by boom8088 — June 2, 2009 @ 11:51 pm | Reply

  3. I congratulate you Boom … You did your best, and that counts a lot. I affirm your winning in the future ..

    Comment by dante jarabelo — June 2, 2009 @ 12:42 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Dan! I’ll certainly do my best! And if bringing the Tempest isn’t enough then, next time, I’m bringing down a Firestorm!

      Comment by boom8088 — June 2, 2009 @ 11:53 pm | Reply

  4. Gailing mo boom! I support you in your next contest!:)

    Comment by lisha — June 2, 2009 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  5. Galing mo boom! I support you in your next contest!:)

    Comment by lisha — June 2, 2009 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

    • Lisha! Thanks for your post! Although you shouldn’t get so excited. Nadoble tuloy ang post mo ng comment… Hehehe!

      Comment by boom8088 — June 3, 2009 @ 12:12 am | Reply

  6. Hi Boom!

    Great article! I’m surprised you didn’t win. Now I’m not just saying that–I’m surprised because I know how well you speak. 😉

    The Losers Toastmasters Club. Yeah, I like it too hahaha.

    Hey, I hope I see you in a TM meeting soon! 😀

    Comment by Mike — June 3, 2009 @ 11:48 am | Reply

    • Hey Mike!

      Better believe it brother! But next year, I’m really taking it several notches up. I just hope it’ll be enough… Thanks for the vote of confidence! Maybe we can meet in IAME one of these days.

      Comment by boom8088 — June 3, 2009 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  7. tito boom! nice blog! visit mine too ha?

    Comment by pokerbabe — June 3, 2009 @ 5:03 pm | Reply

    • Surely! Ano ang URL mo? You can post it or ping-back for free… Hehehe!

      Comment by boom8088 — June 3, 2009 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  8. A nice article, Boom. It captures the excitement of the District Conference. It also show terrific sportsmanship and collegiality, as well as the determination to learn from the experience and improve.

    Well done!

    John Zimmer
    International Geneva Toastmasters
    District 59

    Comment by John Zimmer — June 4, 2009 @ 6:12 pm | Reply

    • Hey John!

      Thanks for those encouraging words; and thanks for tweeting this as well. It’s always great to hear from Toastmasters outside of the Philippines. I truly hope I get to meet you in next year’s International Convention.

      Congratulations again for your victory in District 59!


      Comment by boom8088 — June 5, 2009 @ 1:13 am | Reply

  9. […] This post was Twitted by zimmerjohn – […]

    Pingback by Twitted by zimmerjohn — June 4, 2009 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

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