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Sofila “pewpew” Lafuente-Gantalao-Bohol, Philippines (English)

Maayong Adlaw!

Here I am, happy and at peace with the world.

My name is Sofila Lafuente-Gantalao from the 7, 107 islands – Republic of the Philippines. I live on one of these islands and I am happy to call it my home-Bohol. I am 35 years old. I am a mother of two girls – my first born, Sophia Antoinne (13 yrs. old), and my youngest, D’Lois Fied (10 yrs. old). We live with my mother Virgilia, who is a retired Biology Teacher in the same island province. My friends and family call me “pewpew,” which I am very accustomed to since childhood.

I am presently connected with the University of Bohol as Principal of the Senior High School department. I am just recently assigned to this responsibility and my day to day learning experiences and challenges are made lighter with the support of the people around me who are willingly extending their time and guidance to me, not to mention a very strong support system back home which I am ever thankful for.

Going home is the best time of my day. I so love to be home.  It gives me that sense of peace, security and warmth. Going home spells a very good rest and good food as well.  It is being at home that refuels me to start another day at work. I could say that I also do motherhood the best I can, considering the fact that I had been on my own building a good home foundation for my children.

Work and career-related activities also form part of my time. I would like to believe that I do well in what I do and at my age, I am at that point of making a niche in my career. Although in the past couple of years I noticed in myself that I have personal discoveries and rediscoveries in the pursuit of a career path.

The workplace gives me countless opportunities for growth as a person – dealing with colleagues teaches me to appreciate diversity and beauty in individual differences and how each person contributes to the making of a team. Aside from that, my hands-on experiences with students have truly taught me to enjoy the vibrancy of youth and I would like to believe that working with young people keeps the youth in me alive…. sharing raw visions, learning and relearning real-life lessons and that eagerness to get back up with hope to make things new and call the shots.

May I also affirm that I am a good friend. I value friendships a lot. Those friends who had been journeying with me ever since the beginning have become a family to me. I am very blessed to have such friends who are basically growing with me.  Having them in my life is a reminder of how God has been so generous to me.

Friendship as I would like to define it is that mirror image of my person -that reflection where there is not ever a need to hide for they truly know me by the pulse. These people cheer me up even in my most difficult situations and give me that needed push when my little world has stopped on me and I need to keep going because there is more to life right out there – oh friendships!

I am simply one small town woman who loves the simplicity of living. I have not even explored a bit of the entire world. I cannot even tell how helpful and useful I am to the bigger world, for my giftedness I know has not yet created those many many ripples of great great effects.

But what I am hopeful about is my eagerness to choose peace rather than chaos in whatever community I may belong -be it at home, in the workplace and with people around me! I know that there is something special lurking in my person. I know I have God-bestowed gifts just ready to radiate.

A pose with Nadine Hoover during her visit to the University of Bohol, Philippines in 2017.

I am happy to share that in the past years since AVP has opened up that choice to peace right before me, I have become more calm and poised at my core even in the most challenging and uneasy situations. I noticed that I am hopeful always to expect the best. And yes, I am happy that I am a work in progress.

Life I know is more than just living with routines. I am truly aware. I hope that some time, in just one big chance break, all my tiny acts of peace and kindness will one day spark real big change in the community. There I will find that sense of fulfillment to have done my share for the world.

I owe a lot to the environment that sustains us. It is a pressing call for me to take part in the care towards healing the earth and I am really challenging myself to devote more time to it. I would also like to commit to social justice one day. I know one day, I shall have one great part of my life devoted to this. And I also dream of travelling and exploring the wonders of the world!

God has been my anchor, my compass, my source of goodness, beauty and truth all the days of my life. It is my desire to be an agent of truth, goodness and peace to the world and I am positive in claiming that I shall be one.

I am prayerful pewpew – a happy advocate for PEACE from the Republic of the Philippines!