Written by Joseph Gieward B. Layao, Coach, Mindanao State University-Marawi

To produce champion athletes with character, provide them the luxury of sports science and management, give them the generosity of benefactors and, most importantly, surround them with coaches of quality and integrity. – Coach JGBL



Firstly, l would like to congratulate each member of the Mindanao Peace Games Leadership Group that have joined the trip in the 2nd MPG Leaders’ Summit held in Singapore last July 16-21, 2017. That was undoubtedly a life-changing journey and most probably, the best leadership training adventure ever taken by a school-based sport organization in our country. Hence, before I proceed to the reflection part let me first express my heartfelt gratitude to Coach Noli Ayo, the Convenor of the MPG and his able assistant Coach Simone Jaldon for efficiently and generously leading us all the way. I sincerely thank both of you.


Secondly, if I have to rank all the meaningful and memorable events that have happened in my whole life, either personally or professionally, the 2nd MPG Leaders’ Summit in Singapore tops it all. In my mind, it could easily become my ultimate champion experience of all for a simple reason that it has greatly empowered, enriched and inspired me as a person and as a leadership practitioner in sports and physical education far greater than my previous experiences in life. The whole experience was magnificent and holistically satisfying.


Furthermore, I would like to categorically describe everything that I have taken away from everything that have transpired in the six-day Summit with the acronym B.E.S.T. (Benchmarking, Environment, Standard, Travel)


  • The trip was a big eye opener for me. It has shown me a lot of new, different and sophisticated things in life that I never saw before. Things that I discovered far are better than what I am used to seeing or experiencing. In the field of physical education and sports, specifically, Singapore sports institutions have afforded us higher levels of experience. The quality and positive dispositions of their personnel reflects the quality of leadership they have and are highly admirable. The state of their physical education, recreation, and sports programs are highly relevant, highly diversified and highly organized. Their facilities are near-complete, Olympic- quality standard and regularly upgraded. Hence, these observations made us see and compare what we have and what we do not have as well. More often, the guided discovery taught us valuable lessons such us there are better ways of leading people, there are better ways of running programs, and there are better ways of building and managing the facilities.
  • The first thing that struck me during this trip is the environment. The clean, green, highly urbanized but orderly Singapore. I could not imagine but only appreciate and be wowed by how they are able to put everything into order. The cleanliness of the surroundings and the orderliness of things in this modern country only shows how they are able take good care of the environment and how its government and its people understood the essence of ecology. Generally, this line of consciousness is something we don’t have yet as a country. Yet a valuable lesson we can all learn from the clean, green, and majestic Singapore.
  • In as much as sports science and leadership is concerned, Singapore is now my standard. It is now my point of reference when it comes to planning, organizing, leading, and evaluating leadership, personnel, programs, and facilities in physical education, sports science and sports management. I can confidently say that it is far better than what we currently have in the Philippines and in many other countries in the world as well. It then convinced me so strongly that Singapore is, so far, my primary model for learning as a sports leader.
  • My amazing, enriching and inspiring experience in the 2nd MPG Leaders’ Summit in Singapore has taught me one very convincing lesson: “Travel a lot!” It’s telling me to go out and learn. For in this trip I realized that it is in traveling that we discover new things. It is in traveling that we are able to expand our horizons. It is in traveling that we are able to break barriers. It is in traveling that we can see more of ourselves, understand it and become knowledgeable and confident in making progressive improvements. Therefore, keep on traveling and realize your potential of becoming the person or leader you are destined to become.


Lastly, because of this amazing Summit experience, I can confidently say that I am now a much better person and a much better leader as well. And, to sustain this enormous personal and professional growth, I am looking forward to more leadership travels in the future. Thank you very much and God bless us all.