“Semilya sa Kinabuhi”

That’s “Seed of Life” in the local dialect.

I’m here now down South at Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, going through the Business Development and Training workshop in the Semilya sa Kinabuhi business leadership center.

 It’s an out-of-the-box training approach 

After a much-delayed, two-hour Cebu Pacific flight from Metro Manila to Cagayan De Oro City, we traveled by car for another hour to reach Bukidnon. Semilya’s facilities are clean but spartan. After a simple pinakbet (local ratatouille) and fried chicken dinner, we had a short orientation about what Semilya is all about. Its mission: “Semilya sa Kinabuhi will be a model of business stewardship and the greatest influence of intimacy and complete obedience towards God.” Simply put, it seeks to show that business and the Bible are actually compatible. I’ll write more about that in future blog posts.

Let me share the first four hours of day one.

We woke up before 5AM. For an hour, we read the assigned passage from the Bible, which they told us would be discussed later in the sessions of the day. Reading from Genesis 1 to 10, it reminded me that, being created in God’s image, we are called to rule over the whole earth through being fruitful.

A portion of the Semilya sa Kinabuhi Training Center

After that, we did two hours of farming. We did weeding today. The task is meant to teach us to be humble and compassionate. As I do it, I realized that I was learning more than humility.  We don’t just pull the stalk of the weeds. We had to root it out to keep it from growing again. When we pull out the stalk without digging up its roots, the weeds will just grow again.

Somehow, I saw a connection between the supposed menial task and business leadership. When we address problems in the organization we are leading, we need to get to its roots. When we don’t do so, we are just addressing the behavior but not the belief behind it. Thus, any change would be at best temporary. Somebody wrote that if we are to permanently change a person’s behavior, we have to change his way of thinking.  That’s a valuable lesson already. And the lecture hasn’t started yet!

Where we did the farm work.
Weeding is backbreaking. My shirt was drenched after the task. After washing up, we had breakfast of fried eggs and fried tanigue. My hands were trembling. I felt my legs were lead. I could barely lift up the spoon and fork to eat.

But I know I already learned so much valuable lessons in life and work… and it’s only the first four hours.

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