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3 Mindanao youth leaders to represent in ASEAN-Japan exchange program

ELEVEN Filipino young leaders including three from the Mindanao region will represent the country in the upcoming 47th Ship for Southeast Asian and Japanese Youth Program (SSEAYP) scheduled to take place in Tokyo, Japan, on  November 29 to December 8, 2023.

Established in 1974 and organized by the Cabinet Office of Japan, in cooperation with the ASEAN Member States, SSEAYP is an international cultural exchange program intended to cultivate a longstanding spirit of camaraderie and partnership amongst the participating countries.

This year’s exchange program also marks the 50th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. With the theme “What can the youth do in the new era of cooperation commemorating the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation,” major United Nations Sustainable Development Goals will be discussed including quality education, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, energy, climate change, economic growth and sustainable communities, good health and well-being.

The Philippine Participating Youths (PPY), this year, is carrying the batch name “Silay” – a Filipino expression that signifies the pinnacle of anticipation for the dawn of a promising future after a period of hardship. Silay is a poignant reminder that SSEAYP’s return to a face-to-face format gives a sense of renewed hope, as the Filipino youth involved in the program are given access to new avenues for growth and great expectations of catching a glimpse of what lies ahead through this diplomatic exchange.

Batch Silay brings together a diverse delegation, representing various sectors such as educators, students, government employees, and non-governmental organization officers. Leading the delegation is Jogepons Ruloma, a public servant, a registered environmental planner, and a licensed professional teacher hailing from Bohol.

Ruloma will be accompanied by representatives from the Philippines’ three major island groups. From Luzon are Verna Abby Catusalem, the designated Youth Leader from Aurora, Aldrine Anzures from Manila, Brian Delos Santos from Masbate, and Justine Angelica Orbe from Bataan. The Visayas contingent includes youth leaders Leyden Sta. Isabel from Bacolod, Kingsley De Los Santos from Iloilo, and Wilfred Paller from Aklan. Meanwhile, Mindanao will be represented by Raymark Estael, appointed Assistant Youth Leader from Agusan del Sur, Abdulfarid Guinomla from Cotabato, and Hilton Soberano from Davao.

The Philippines, through the National Youth Commission, will be sending these Philippine Youth Ambassadors of Goodwill to Japan. These ambassadors will participate in a wide range of activities for 10 days, including homestays, immersion programs, cultural presentations, field studies, collaborative discussions with international counterparts, courtesy visits, and attendance at the anniversary reception commemorating the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

To be updated on its activities, follow SSEAYP Philippines on Facebook ( or send an email to


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