Gabay community embraces new members in GOrSem 2021: Auroras

By Shandra Maralit and LA Tribdino

         Ateneo Gabay's newest members, lovingly called Gabayanews, were warmly welcomed into the community through the Gabay Orientation Seminar (GOrSem) 2021: Auroras on September 20 to 24 via Zoom and Facebook Groups.

         The event commenced on Monday with an opening ceremony hosted by Faye Dechavez and Lars Salamante. Gabay President Isabel Salsona welcomed the newbies by promising to be their gabay (guide) this year, and challenged them to do the same for others, especially to Gabay's sectors: Atenean scholars and public elementary school kids.

         Gabayanews were then given a glimpse of the organization's initiatives pre-pandemic through a short video. This was followed by a talk from Mr. Arvin Boller, Gabay's moderator. He shared about his experiences as a Gabayano, illustrating the organization as a melting pot of experiences and knowledge.

         "You will be with people who are in a different experience as you are," he shared. "A service-oriented organization [like Gabay] would allow you to experience how it is to apply what you're learning in the classroom and combining it with the experiences and the expertise of other people who come from different courses or from other backgrounds."

         Mr. Boller also explained the significance of Gabay's central concept of pagtataya and likened it to gambling, where one risks, sacrifices, and offers oneself for a particular purpose. He then described this willingness as the height of courage and ethics.

         "So, yung pagtataya is a really important part of who we are as an organization dahil dun natin pinapakita na willing tayo gawin kung anoman ang adbokasiya natin dahil tinataya natin 'yung sarili natin," he said. "We are offering ourselves. We are risking our time, our efforts, our sanity for the most part in order to achieve what the organization aims to achieve."

         ["So, pagtataya is a really important part of who we are as an organization because this is where we show our willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill our advocacy ," he said. "We are offering ourselves. We are risking our time, our efforts, our sanity for the most part in order to achieve what the organization aims to achieve." ]

         Afterward, Gabayanews were introduced to online Gabay life through a video by LULAN, the current Executive Committee, and an intermission number from GaBand. They then proceeded to breakout rooms for more activities centered on Gabay's advocacy. The program closed with remarks from Carlo Roel Cantoria, one of GOrSem's project heads.

         The festivities continued asynchronously from September 21 to 23 via the I ♥ Ateneo Gabay Facebook Group with activities like Bingo (Constellations), King's Cup Dare Thread, and a dance challenge.

         GOrSem concluded with a program via Zoom on September 24, hosted by Jegs Genova and Thea Dianito. Cid Gonzales, a GAlumni and former Executive Committee member, shared his journey in Gabay, which he divided into four themes: Joining Gabay, Staying in Gabay, Stepping Up in Gabay, and Choosing Gabay.

         He prompted the newbies to begin theirs by joining things that interest them. "Start immersing yourself in Gabay by joining things that pique your interest," he said. "By joining things that interest you, sooner or later you'll find yourself enjoying the people you meet along the way, and mas lalaki pa 'yung 'bubble' mo sa Gabay," he added.

         ["Start immersing yourself in Gabay by joining things that pique your interest," he said. "By joining things that interest you, sooner or later you'll find yourself enjoying the people you meet along the way, and your 'bubble' in Gabay will expand more."]

         Mr. Gonzales ended by reminding the members that what matters more is not why they entered the organization but what made them stay.

         The program continued with a breakout session and performance from the Gabay Amazing Dancers. This was followed by a quick raffle and surprise awards ceremony.

         Kahlil Gabrielle Garcia and Paula Joy Canlas were given the Early Bird Award for being the first to enter the Zoom room during synchronous events. Kim Umayam was recognized as the GaBeadle for their active interaction with asynchronous posts, and Alex Aguirre won the Uma-Aurora Award for the best dares during the King's Cup game.

         The program ended with closing remarks from Ady Gatdula, one of the project heads, where he returned to the event's tagline: "As you watch the day fade into night, we celebrate the birth of the new Gabayano light."

         "Samahan niyo kami sa pagtataya at paglilingkod. Remember that this isn't the end but only the beginning. Magkikita-kita pa tayo sa org and we look forward to seeing you there. We hope you find what you are looking for here in Gabay," Gatdula concluded.

         ["Join us in pagtataya and service. Remember that this isn't the end but only the beginning. We are still going to see one another in the org and we look forward to seeing you there. We hope you find what you are looking for here in Gabay," Gatdula concluded.]
         GOrSem is an annual initiative of the Member Formation Committee to introduce new members into Gabay's community and advocacy. This year's event was made possible through the efforts of the core team and overseers: Noelle Cubacub, CJ Marcelo, Rafi Kalalo, Carlo Cantoria, Ady Gatdula, Lars Salamante, Rawney Paderes, Sam Avila, Sheena Comia, Kel Budlong, Ayi Orio, Bianca Angeles, Liz Abibuag, Liecel Cenizal, Gayle Abriol, Nic Quejada, and Edge Mata.