Updated: Jul 19
By JL Teña
With his jolly personality and laudable mind, JL manages to always put a positive impression on the people he meets. Currently, at 21, JL exerts efforts in dancing, learning new languages, meeting new people, and exploring the wonders of photography. His energy suggests that he is up and all-in for any challenge!
Challenging the limits
Known to fully test and dive waters for as long as he could, JL has always entered every opportunity he gets. When he sees one, he resets his mind and strives his way to work things out. Even though he doesn't have plans to actually go for it, he puts his head first and sees no hassles in going for gold. Now, he sets his eyes on ISC67 as one of its prime participants.
I always knew I had to take it. For every step of the way, opportunities that come at you should be greeted well. It's never given unless you can't handle it, right?
He shared how he went "all-in" and threw his hat for something. For him, fixing priorities comes along with deciding what should be done at the moment. He even shared how he went from "John Lester Teña" to "JL Teña" after 1st year of college. With this, he mentioned how easy and harmless that change would be but he still saw it as a limitation.
I just thought it would be fun to change things a little bit. We are on a pandemic. It transpired drastic change to the world. Maybe it's time for a new me to rock the world.
Now, he spends his time relearning how to dance. Growing up, JL has been involved in the dance club of his high school. Despite loving the art, he mentioned how he challenges himself every time their club is tapped to present for a culminating activity or a very special occasion.
Of course! I love my craft and when I want to present it to the public, it should be at its feistiest, spiciest, and most confident form. That's the challenge.
Currently, he is now a member of Viva Voce COC, the premier public speaking organization of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines - the college he attends in Manila.
Manila: More than just a tropical paradise
JL, who hails from the Philippines, was asked what he loved about his country. As an avid lover of the Philippines, he briefly shared how the country was limitedly seen as a tropical powerhouse in Asia.
Out of the many beautiful things I could describe and share about my country, I think what I love about the Philippines is how we are underrated by the rest of the world. People may think about the Philippines as a tropical paradise alone when we have so much to offer than that.
He described how the country has been "offering first-class talent, services, and wonders to the rest of the world." Knowing his cultural roots, he has shared the dynamics of his culture of how it transforms from one place to the other. For instance, Manila may offer its concrete jungle centers, massive translacions, and modernity. But when you go to a place like Zamboanga, you would be truly shocked and challenged by the language and culture they use there.
The Philippines is a great country. Literally, it's a country that's "all-in" when it comes to tourism. It's a "one-stop shop" for fun and leisure. Holding on to its natural powers, it's an attractive place in which you can learn how to love it; yet, at times, could be very much "challenging."
A member of Table 1, which is Political Activism and Political Participation: Why should they take part in politics in Japan?, JL has been open about his political activeness and participation in his country. He shared how his initiative of being part of various conversations made him go all-in when it comes to politics and societal issues.
Since my political awakening in late 2015, I have fully engaged myself with political discourses and societal issues in our country. With that, I was overwhelmed by how the society I am currently living in was deprived of good governance and accountability. I realized that I may not be one of the people who are suffering from the relevant societal issues, I knew I needed to take action to act for the oppressed. It has come to my understanding that I need to do my part in order to help others. I won't provide a voice, as all of us have one, some were just silenced by the oppressor. But in a way, I will amplify the voice and rally them behind me.
With his description of "political madness" in the Philippines, he was drawn to the membership conference ISC67 had on its Facebook. The intensity of his ambitions for a better society is what drove him to hit the link and apply himself to a new world that was never explored by him before.
Aside from the fact that ISC67's Table 1 would give him opportunities to have fruitful discussions about political activism and political participation, he seized this chance to meet with other people from different parts of the globe.
I saw ISC67 as a bridge to reconnect with people we've been disconnected by the pandemic. We need to find alternatives and eventually reach others.
Just like his ambition for a better society where the government will listen to its constituents, he aims to become a significant contributor to achieving the inclusive solution we have all been longing for. Through ISC67, he hopes to be part of a larger project that would mark the start of a discussion that concerns the people.