Wednesday, November 9, 2011

5 Reasons Why You Should Join A Speech Contest

Have you ever tried joining a public speaking contest? If you have, then you can understand my sentiments when I say that it’s one of the best experiences anyone can have. Whenever I join a speech contest, I feel so alive. It’s like my emotions are heightened. I feel a combination of many things at the same time. Fear, excitement, trepidation and a sense of anticipation. It doesn’t matter how long you have been a toastmaster or how old or young you are. There is no discrimination here in Toastmasters. Whether you are 18 or 78, as long as you are eligible, you are free to join your category of choice. And unlike beauty pageants there is no height requirement.

How many times have you tried joining a speech contest? Once? Twice? Or perhaps you have yet to try it. The 2012 District Conference is drawing near. Ok, so it’s still 6 months away. But remember that there are many levels - the club, area and division level. If you want to compete at discon, decide now so you can prepare your plane fare, hotel fare and oh, your speech material too in advance.

Here are 5 reasons why you should join a speech contest.

It makes you feel alive. Whenever I join a speech contest I feel many conflicting emotions all at the same time. I feel excited and scared. I feel like I have both diarrhea and constipation. I can feel my heartbeat thundering in my ears and my hands becoming cold and clammy. Really. It’s the best feeling the world. But please. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.

 You might win. I’m not kidding. Even if you've been a toastmaster for only a few months and think that you don’t know anything at all about public speaking, there's a good chance that you might win. Especially if there are only 3 contestants and you are guaranteed a spot no matter how badly you do. Even if you don’t get to be the champion, hey, they also give trophies to the runners up. You can then proudly display that at home people will think you are such a good speaker. You can even include that in your resume to impress potential employers.

Learning experience. Joining a speech contest is a great learning experience. Whether you win or not you get to improve. You learn. You become better. It’s not only the contest itself that allows you to become a better speaker it’s the preparation involved. The more time you invest in preparing for the contest, the better your chances of winning. Aside from it being a learning experience, it’s also a humbling experience. You learn how to accept defeat graciously.

You might meet your next love match. This is another excellent reason for joining a speech contest. Who knows? Your next boyfriend/girlfriend might be a fellow contestant. I have a clubmate who met his girlfriend through a speech contest. They were both contestants for the international prepared speech. He wasn’t able to get the trophy but at least he got the girl.

Registration refund. Are you a bit tight on budget? Here is the good news. If you represent your division in the District conference in any of the categories, you get a 50% or full refund on your registration fee. I know someone who joins contestants for this very reason. You know who you are. But seriously I get a kick about getting freebies too! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recommended Blogs

Learning is a continuous process. One way to do so is by sharing ideas and networking with other people.

Do you have something you want to share to the world? Contact me here and let's exchange links!

Here is a list of blogs I find worth reading:

1. Bo Sanchez
2. Jomar Hilario
3. Think Rich Pinoy
4. Seminar Philippines

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Midyear 2011 Evaluation Contest Results

The Midyear Conference is held once a year every October. Its main purpose is for the district officers to be able meet and give updates on the progress of District 75. Other districts only have a “midyear meeting”. But here in the Philippines, we have a “conference.”

For this years Midyear Conference one of the highlights was the Evaluation Speech Contest. This was facilitated by the Discon 2011 Evaluation Champion – me. I know. I’m so humble. ^_^ But, nevertheless, I had to pass along my crown to the new champion. There where 10 contestants, one representing each of the 10 divisions in District 75. Division A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and K. Although all the contestants where good, there were three that stood out. Sadly there was one who went overtime. But then, I know the contest has been a great learning experience for everyone. For those who weren’t at the conference here are the contest results.

Evaluation Contest Results

Champion: Susanne Lauria Osorio – Division B

1st Runner Up: Celynne Grace Echeveria – Division E

2nd Runner Up: Jamielyn Yaneza – Division G

Discon 2012: Sama na sa Samal!

The District Conference is the biggest event of Toastmasters. It is a 3-day event that is held once a year every April. This year it was held in Manila Ocean Park. For 2012, the District officers have opted to go tropical. Why? Because the conference is to be at the beautiful island of Samal in Davao.

The 2012 Discon Chair, DTM Elisa Tay, promises to give her fellow Toastmasters an experience they will never forget. Imagine frolicking at the beach, eating delicious food and having fun with your toastmaster friends. And lest you think Discon is all fun and games, there are also educational sessions where you’ll get to hear well-known speakers from around the country. And, of course, let’s not forget the contests. There are to be three main speech competitions for Discon 2012: Table Topics, Humorous and International Prepared Speech.

Whether you are long standing member of Toastmasters or a neophyte, this is one conference you shouldn’t miss. So mark your calendars people! Here are the details for Discon 2012.

When: April 27-29, 2012

Where: Camp Holiday, Samal Island, Davao (tip: book your flights early to get a good rate)

Registration Rates:

October - December 31, 2011: P3,000

January-February 29, 2012: P3,500

March- on site: P4,000

Where to pay: BPI account number 2030-0046-07
(disclaimer: please check with Discon chair Elisa Tay to verify account number first before making a deposit)

After paying scan deposit slip and email to or fax to 082-228-6695.

The earlier you register, the more you save. So what are you waiting for? Don’t miss out on all the fun. Register today. See you in Samal!

For more info call or text Discon Chair Elisa Tay at 0917-700-8891.

Boracay Midyear Conference 2011

Every year, District 75 holds a Midyear Conference in order for district officers to get together and discuss the progress in their respective areas of responsibility. This is the “serious reason”. But frankly, I think the real reason for holding Midyear conferences is so that Toastmasters can get together and have funnnn! Yes. The once-a-year District Conference isn’t enough for us. That’s why we created another national conference. Did you know that we are the only District that holds Midyear Conferences? For other districts they just have a midyear meeting. The district officers sit down, discuss their progress and that’s it. But for us, we’ve turned it into one big party.

This years Midyear Conference was held on October 22 – 23 on the beautiful island of Boracay. The 2-day conference held at La Carmella de Boracay was packed full of activities. It was opened by a processional of the Past District Governors (PDG’s) present: PDG Elisa Tay, PDG Erni Limkakeng, PDG Mike Chua and PDG Noli Espina – who is currently a Region 14 International Director candidate. The District Officers, the Big 3, Lt Gov for Marketing Katrina “JJ” Letargo, Lt Gov for Education Grace Paras and of course, District 75 Gov Vic Navales also had their runway moments. There were also National and International Officers present such as Past International Director Johnny “Pawe” Uy, NaComPhilTo  (National Commission of Philippine Toastmasters) Chair Jeff Dy and the International Director of Region 14, Christine Temblique – who also happened to be our keynote speaker.

The conference was jam-packed with educational and fun activities. We were inspired by the words of wisdom of our keynote speaker DTM Christine Temblique as she shared her experiences as a Toastmaster and a leader. She was introduced by DTM Pawe Uy where he revealed to us her deepest and darkest secrets. That was the longest – and most humorous – introduction I’ve ever heard. If he’d joined a humorous speech contest, he would have won hands down. We were motivated by 2-time International Prepared Speech Champion Michael Del Rosario as he shared with us the 4 S’s on how to “Communicate with Power”. We were also fortunate enough to hear Life Coach and Writer Raju Mandhyan speak to us about “Industry, Innovation & Integrity for Leadership Excellence”.  

Of course we do not only focus on Educational portions. As Toastmasters we have within us a competitive spirit that cannot be extinguished. That’s why no conference can ever be complete without a contest. In last years MidCon we had the Talentadong Toastmaster, Talk N Talk and the Duet Singing Contest (all not recognized by TI by the way). This year we had a “real contest”. One that TI recognizes. We had the Evaluation Contest. It was hosted by the Discon 2011 Evaluation Champion (ahem, ahem), myself. Just trying to be factual here ^_^. For the Midyear 2011 contest results click [HERE].

Now another thing we love to do is to have fun. And that was what Fellowship night was all about. Fellowship and fun. On the night of October 22 we had Ati-atihan Night. It was complete with a festive opening number by sexy babes in bikins, fire dancing and numerous contests – all of which happened to involve alcohol. I should know. I was a contestant. Sadly I didn’t win because my competitor had a more flexible back. I guess this were we got our name – “Toast”masters.

When asked about how he found the Midyear Conference District Governor Vic Navales said, “Fantastic! I had fun and the attendance was higher than ever before. I have received a lot of good reviews from the participants. The only negative comment I got was about the weather.” Well, well. Next time lets ask our Midyear Chair to do something about the rain, shall we? DTM Vic further said, “Mhel did a great job. It was amazing, flawless. It was very organized. All details were considered and no major lapses were observed. The district council meeting was very successful. The nominated district officers were unanimously approved.”

From what I have heard from our District Governor and from other participants it seems that congratulations are in order for our Midyear Chair, Mhel Sillador. But according to Mhel, the success of the conference was not only through his own efforts. He says, “It was ok because I had a very good team. We didn’t have any problems or fights within the committee and that helped a lot.”

All in all it was one heck of a weekend. Boracay was beautiful, the venue was great and the food was delicious. Who can ask for more? Oh that’s right. I know what to ask for. An extension of the conference! I had so much fun I didn’t want to leave Boracay. It’s a good thing I have Discon 2012 in Samal Island, Davao to look forward to. For those who weren’t able to join Midyear, don’t miss Discon 2012. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

How to Improve Your Speaking Skills – Overnight! (Or can you?)

We would all like to improve our speaking skills. Why? So we can give a great presentation, impress our boss at work or break up with a boyfriend – smoothly. There is no doubt about it. Good speaking skills are an asset. But good speakers are made – not born. And most people don’t want to go through all the trouble in order to be a good speaker.

So the question is how can you improve your speaking skills overnight? The answer is – you can’t! Not really. There is no shortcut to developing one’s speaking skills. Just like get rich quick schemes won’t allow you to keep your wealth for long, quick fixes won’t do the trick. The road to becoming a great public speaker is a journey. And it is not the same for everyone. We all travel at our own pace.

They say that practice makes perfect. And that holds true when it comes to public speaking. The more you do it, the better you become. My own journey in improving my public speaking skills wasn’t easy. But it certainly was interesting. Toastmasters often pushed me to step outside my comfort zone. I learned how to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. I learned how to make it work.

I did many things to hasten my improvement in speaking. And I did see a difference. Only, it didn’t happen overnight. I played an active role in club meetings, gave speeches, said yes to hosting gigs and joined speech contests. And when I was able to compete and win in the 2011 Evaluation contest I felt that it was all worth it. Of course I lost more often that I won but that didn’t matter to me. Because every contest that I joined helped me improve my speaking skills in some way.

Most people only see the victories. They look at champions and think, “He’s so lucky,” or “Oh, he must be born that way.” But I’m telling you, luck often has nothing to do with success. You create your own luck in this world. If you want to win in anything you have to be willing to work hard for it. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty and roll in the mud.

Now let me ask you, do you really want to be a good speaker? Do you want to be able to sway people with your reasoning and convince them with your logic? If so, then there is one sure-fire way to do so and that is to speak. Yes. It’s that simple. Just speak. Do it as often as you can. If someone asks you to host an event, say “yes”! If someone asks you to give a presentation, say “yes”!  If your VP for Education asks you to deliver a speech next meeting, say “yes”!  There is no better way to improve as a speaker than to do just that. Speak and improvement is inevitable. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to close a Real Estate deal in 1 Week

Last weekend our real estate team, TrulyWealthyRealty Corp., closed another deal. How much time did we spend on the deal? 1 week. For those of you who are in the real estate business you know that closing a deal can be challenging. It requires patience and a great deal of perseverance. Being a real estate broker can be tough. There are times when we get bogus buyers, when clients don’t show up on property viewing schedules or when even sellers refuse to cooperate. In addition to that is the competition. There are a lot of realties, brokers and agents (both accredited and non-accredited) in Cagayan de Oro.

So you may be wondering: what does it take to close a real estate deal in 1 week?

First of all it is vital to recognize that there is nothing “magical” about a successful sale. A sale becomes a success if the important elements are there: hard work, perseverance and, of course, a great deal of marketing. According to marketing expert John Carlton, Luck” often has nothing to do with success. There is nothing magical about great advertising. So the first factor is Extreme Marketing. This was first introduced to us by real estate guru Trace Trajano in his Think Rick Quick Seminar. Extreme Marketing is the act of advertising your product or service using different media, multiple times. This includes both offline and online marketing. Bandit signs, fliers, online ads and multimedia marketing are only a few examples of the types of media you can use to get your message across to your consumers. Marketing plays a vital role in the success of any business. Think about it. People won’t buy your product – not matter how great it is – if they don’t even know it exists! Look at the most successful businesses today and you will see that they do extreme marketing. Take Jollibee for example. You see their advertisements on TV, you see their billboards on street corners and you see a Jollibee branch everywhere! Heck, there’s even a Jollibee stall inside their outlets. Now that’s Extreme Marketing.

Second, identify your target market. No matter how good your marketing is, if the people you are advertising to don’t need it or can’t afford it, then you won’t make a sale. In the case of real estate, say for example, you are marketing a 5 million peso property. Who is your target market? It’s the high end buyers. Don’t go promoting your property to those looking for a house with a budget of 1-2 million. Even if they liked your property they won’t buy it because they can’t. The bottom line is to give your buyer what he wants. This is pretty basic. But you would be amazed at the number of real estate brokers and agents that violate this basic tip. They try to foist off their properties to their buyers without considering what they really want. As one real estate guru said, It’s easier to find a house for a buyer than a buyer for a house.” So craft your ads to suit your target market.

Third, act professionallyNever make empty promises and always deliver. Trust is important in any relationship and keeping your word will instill trust. If you say you are going to meet your buyer at 9 am then be there by 8:45 am. Don’t keep your client waiting. If you say you will deliver the documents today then do it today. Being a man (or woman) of your word builds integrity and a good reputation. And that is priceless. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Toastmaster President’s Farewell Speech

Leadership by example, these are the keywords of a president. For the past year I have done my best to emulate these words. It wasn’t always easy. There were times when I didn’t feel like attending meetings, when I’d get frustrated with members who promised something but didn’t deliver or when I just didn’t feel like being a leader. But in the past year, I’ve learned that leaders couldn’t be ruled by their emotions. Otherwise, the club would suffer.

According to leadership expert John Maxwell, if you can’t carry the ball you won’t lead the team. There were times during my term when I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was right. But I realized that this was normal. No one starts out in something knowing everything about it. You figure it out as you go along. In a way, leading Iligan TMC has helped me find myself. And I have my mentors, the club officers and club members to thank for that. I could never have done it without them.

Being the president of Iligan TMC has taught me so many things. But if I could sum it up in four words it would be vision, attitude, generosity and commitment.

Vision. You achieve only what you can see. Good leaders create a vision and place them continually in front of the members. In my case, I didn’t have to create one. Toastmasters International did that for me. Yes. I’m talking about the Distinguished Club Program. A compelling vision gives your club direction.

Attitude. More specifically, a positive attitude. What you believe, you can achieve. A positive attitude is extremely contagious. I’ve observed that if leaders exhibit a positive attitude the members catch that and the club becomes a constructive environment that fosters growth.

Generosity. It is the job of a leader to give more than they take for the essence of leadership is in putting others first. I observed this first-hand with ACB Nene Legaspi. I noticed how she would always praise and give credit to other people rather than receive it herself. I have tried to emulate this in my own club and I am amazed at how people seem to bloom and grow right before my eyes with just a few words of praise. 

Commitment. People won’t follow uncommitted leaders. I’ve observed that if you want people to follow you, don’t tell them what to do. Show them.
Being the president of Iligan TMC has been an amazing journey. But if I could name one thing that has been instrumental to the club’s success it is teamwork. Without the support of the members of Iligan TMC and the rest of Division F none of this would be possible.

Leading such an incredible club has been a great honor for me. And I want to thank Iligan TMC for trusting me to fill this important position.
As my term ends, I promise to continue to support and serve the club in any way possible.

To the incoming set of officers, I know that with your commitment and ability, this coming year will be even better for Iligan TMC.

To the next president, ACB Mark Grageda, I trust that you will be able to lead the club well. With your skill and superb leadership I know that you will surpass all that the club has achieved in the past year and carve out a new milestone this year.

This has been a great year for Iligan Toastmasters Club. But I know that we can be better. I believe that we are only a fraction of what we can be. Of what we should be. Of what we are meant to be.


Iligan Toastmasters, let’s continue soaring high!

Alessandra Victoria D. Zeta, ACB
Immediate Past President, Iligan Toastmasters Club (2010-2011)
Champion, Evaluation Speech Contest, Discon 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

4 Secrets to Winning a Speech Contest

I have interviewed several District Conference speech champions and I have asked them the vital question, How do you win a speech contest?  What is the big secret of Discon champions that sets them apart from the rest and makes them winners? As it turns out, it’s not really a secret after all. They all had different answers. But if I could summarize them into four points, it would be this:

Secret #1: Acquire the vision. If you can’t see it in your mind, you won’t be able to manifest it in your physical world. Champions see themselves as such before they’ve even won their first trophy. It’s called visualization. The clearer you see your goal in your mind, the bigger the chance that you will realize it. So see yourself on stage delivering that winning speech

Secret #2: Learn from the experts. No matter what we want to accomplish in life, chances are that someone has already been there and done that. Winning a national competition is not rocket science. Thousands before you have already done it. It’s not easy. But it can be done. Ask for the advice of past champions. Watch winning speeches on YouTube. Read books about public speaking. Use every resource you have to your advantage.

Secret #3: Practice, practice, practice! Seeing yourself deliver that winning speech in your head is just the beginning. Nothing can still take the place of practice. Preparation is the key to success. Public speaking is all about practice. The more you practice your speech the better you’ll become. If you can, practice in front of mentors so you can get feedback afterwards. 
Winning a speech contest is often a group effort.

Secret #4: Believe. Have faith in yourself and in your abilities. According to Henry Ford, whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right. In other words what you believe shapes your reality. Our belief is the thermostat that determines what we accomplish in our life. Therefore it is not enough that we want to win. We should also EXPECT to win. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

4 Reasons Why You Should Go to the 2011 Midyear Conference

Reason number 1: The venue. This year’s conference is going to be held in Boracay – the ultimate party place of the Philippines. The sun, the beach and the night clubs. What a perfect combination. Think about it, after the conference you can party all night long in any of Boracay’s night clubs. Or you can go relax at the hotel spa at La Carmella de Boracay. Boracay has the most beautiful beaches in the country. Imagine walking along the seashore, barefoot, hearing the soothing lull of the water crashing at shore. It may be a good place to party but it’s a great place to relax in too.

Reason number 2: The people. You get to meet new people. And believe me when I say that Toastmasters are among the friendliest people on the planet. It’s like being a Toastmaster is enough to strip barriers away. One minute you are standing alone and the next, you’re talking to a Toastmaster you’ve just met like you’ve known each other forever. Yep. This is a pretty common scenario during conferences. I have friends whom I’ve met at a Toastmasters conference that I’m still friends with until now.

Reason number 3: The food. Toastmaster conferences are always filled with good food. We just love to eat. And with the conference being held in Boracay you can sample the mouth watering dishes at the various restaurants and cafes there.

Reason number 4: The fun!!! Midyear conferences focus on one thing – FUN! Unlike Discon’s where every competition is a tough and nerve racking experience – even for non-contestants – Midyear contests tend to be more relaxed and laid back. It’s basically competition without pressure. Last year we had a duet singing contest, table topics and Talentadong Toastmasters. I can’t wait to find out what the contests are going to be this year.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now and experience the time of your life this October.

Here are the registration rates, exclusive of accommodation:

Early Bird: 1,700  (May 2 – June 30, 2011)
Regular: 2,000 (July 1 – September 15, 2011)
Late Registration: 2, 500 (September 16 – October 15, 2011)
Onsite: 3,000 (October 15 – 22, 2011)

Payment may be deposited to China Bank Bacolod North Drive.
Acct name: Toastmasters International Division D
Acct number: 1610353010

For inquiries and concerns contact Midyear Chair Mhel Sillador or call/text him at 09052811776

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Midyear 2011: Run Away With us to…Boracay!

The Midyear Conference is held annually on the month of October to bring together Toastmasters from all over the Philippines to enjoy food, fellowship and healthy competition (without the pressure of winning).   Oh, and it’s also supposed to bring together the district officers for their yearly midyear meeting. But I suspect most people focus more on the partying. I should know. I’m one of those people.

That’s why when I found out that this year’s conference was going to be held in Boracay I did not hesitate to register immediately. The venue is going to be at La Carmella de Boracay Resort Hotel. It’s to be hosted by Division D and organized by Midyear Chair ACS Mhel Sillador.

La Carmella Hotel is found in Station 2 right in front of the beach. It has beautiful rooms and excellent amenities. 

For those who have yet to register do it NOW! Don’t miss out on all the fun.

Here are the registration rates, exclusive of accommodation:

Early Bird: 1,700  (May 2 – June 30, 2011)
Regular: 2,000 (July 1 – September 15, 2011)
Late Registration: 2, 500 (September 16 – October 15, 2011)
Onsite: 3,000 (October 15 – 22, 2011)

Payment may be deposited to China Bank Bacolod North Drive.
Acct name: Toastmasters International Division D
Acct number: 1610353010

For inquiries and concerns contact Midyear Chair Mhel Sillador at or call/text him at 09052811776

The Midyear Conference: When did it all begin?

In the Toastmasters world, there are two national conferences to look forward to: The District Conference and the Midyear Conference. The former happens around April or May while the latter happens on October. Another interesting thing to note is that the Midyear Conference only happens here in the Philippines. Yes. The main reason for this conference is so that the district officers could meet in the middle of the year to discuss their progress in their respective areas of responsibility. But eventually it morphed into a national event that was hosted in turns by Toastmasters from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. After all there’s no reason why we Toastmasters can’t work and party at the same time, right?

Now aside from the district meeting, a variety of contests are included in the program. These are designed to find the best speakers, dancers and singers from each Division. Yes. We Toastmasters are very talented. (Is there nothing we can’t do?)

The first Midyear Conference was held on October 10-11, 2003 at the Orient Pearl Hotel in Manila.  It originally began as the Luzon Conference attended only by Division’s A, B, G and H. It was brought about by PDG Jimmy Pamintuan’s proposal to hold a conference that would feature games, fun, food and fellowship. What couldn’t be done in a District Conference could be done here. Thus, the Quartethlon was born. It was a contest wherein one contestant had to compete in all 4 categories: evaluation, singing, entertaining and impromptu speech. If you think competing in the District Conference is tough – think again. The first Quartethlon Champion was Grea Tulio – a Toastmaster from Harbor TMC-Division H.

It was in 2006 when the Luzon conference officially became the Midyear Convention.  In 2008, the Midyear Conference was held outside Luzon for the first time - at Bacolod City. Since the first Midyear Conference, this midyear tradition has only become more and more popular. The success of last year’s conference which was held in Cagayan de Oro City, hosted by Division F and facilitated by Midyear Chair ACS Albert Mabaquiao only whetted the people’s appetite for more. And I have no doubt that this year’s conference is going to be spectacular. Why? The venue says it all.

Midyear 2011 is going to be held at the beautiful island of Boracay. It is to be hosted by Division D and organized by this year’s midyear chair ACS Mhel Sillador.


Have you ever been to a Midyear Conference? If not then this would be a great time to try. Read all about it in my post Midyear 2011: Run Away with us to...Boracay!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Competing at Discon 2011 by Alex Zeta

I have already been to three Toastmaster’s District Conferences. But this conference was special – at least to me. Why? Because this time I was competing in 2 categories. For the last 2 Discon’s I have sat in the crowd and wondered what it would be like to be on stage competing. Finally I was going to be able to find out first hand. There were four categories to compete in: Impromptu, Evaluation, Humorous and International Prepared Speech. I was Division F’s representative for the Evaluation and International Prepared Speech category.

I have prepared for this moment for months, from the club contest up to the district conference. On the first day they had all the contestants register for the categories each one would be competing in. After the briefing, which was done by PDG Gina Mapua, they had us pull out our speaking order. I got number 8 for the Evaluation contest. Perfect! I was visualizing number 10 but, as long as it wasn’t number 1, I’ll take it. For the Prepared speech I got number 5. It was good enough.

The Impromptu and Evaluation contest was scheduled on the first day – April 29. The Humorous and Prepared Speech contest was set on the next day. The morning went swiftly by. Before it knew it the Impromptu Speaking Contest and the election of the next set of district officers was over and it was time for the Evaluation Competition. We were all asked to sit at a table in front so we could listen to the test speaker. Then the martial escorted us to a holding room to wait for our turn.

Finally, I was up. The stage looked scary to me. I started walking towards the platform. The room was deathly silent. It was like everything was happening in slow motion. My heart was beating so fast I felt like I was going to have a heart attack any second. My mouth was dry and my hands were cold and clammy. Then I started to speak. And it felt like I was back were I belonged. Once the first few words were out I began to enjoy myself. Adrenaline rushed through me and I thought, this is why I love speaking. There’s nothing quite like the rush of nervous excitement when you’re on stage.

Competing for the International Prepared Speech Category was even more nerve racking for me. My mouth was so dry I had a hard time pronouncing the words at first. But I had memorized my speech so thoroughly I couldn’t have forgotten it if I wanted to. But after those first few seconds I began to feel my speech come to life. I had poured my heart out in that speech. And now all those feelings that I put in it: anger, betrayal and finally, forgiveness came rushing to the surface. Tears threatened to fall and my voice began to reflect the rawness of the emotion I was feeling. At that point I no longer thought of winning. What mattered to me was that I shared my story and maybe, through that, I could uplift someone who was going through the same experience.

I won 1st place in the Evaluation Category. As for the Prepared Speech, I didn’t even place. But I still felt like a winner. Just being able to compete among such amazing speakers was an immensely humbling experience for me. This experience taught me so much.

I have been a Toastmaster for over 2 years now and although this was my first time to compete at the District level, I’ve competed several times in club and area competitions. And I can honestly say that after ever competition, win or loose, I’ve grown as a speaker.

Winning is an amazing feeling. But what makes it so special is the person you have grown to become. Success is never accidental. It requires passion backed by hard work. It’s not easy. But it’s definitely worth it.

Have you ever wondered how the Midyear Conference began? Read my post on the The Midyear Conference: When did it all begin? to find out!

Toastmasters Discon 2011 Contest Results

Every year, District 75 holds a national conference to showcase the public speaking prowess of Toastmasters from all over the Philippines. This year it was held on April 29 – May 1 at Manila Ocean Park and was organized by DTM Voltaire Victoria. The main event of every district conference are the speaking competitions. There are four contest categories: Impromptu, Evaluation, Humorous and International Prepared Speech. Each category has 10 contestants one representing each of the ten divisions in the Philippines: Division A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, and K.

The first two days of the conference were packed full with activities. All the contestants gave the audience a show and everyone enjoyed themselves. For those who weren’t able to go to the conference, here are the Contest results for Discon 2011.

Contest results for Discon 2011:

Impromptu Speaking Contest

1st place: Philipp Matthys, Division D-Iloilo Executive Toastmasters Club
2nd place: Alvin Neil Gutierrez, Division A-I-Connect Toastmasters Club
3rd place: Mark Novem Grageda, Division F-Iligan Toastmasters Club

Evaluation Contest

1st place: Alessandra Victoria Zeta, Division F-Iligan Toastmasters Club
2nd place: Jenny Monastrial, Division B- TOPS Toastmasters Club
3rd place: Stephen Michael Lumanlan, Division g-Baguio Living Synergistically Inc. Toastmasters Club

Humorous Contest

1st place: Mark Novem Grageda, Division F-Iligan Toastmasters Club
2nd place: Adrian Alo, Division C-Queen City Toastmasters Club
3rd place: Eduardo Catayoc III, Division A-Camanava Brunch Toastmasters Club

International Prepared Speech Contest

1st place: Michael Del Rosario, Division G-Pines City Toastmasters Club
2nd place: Darwin John Moises, Division C-Lexmark Toastmasters Club
3rd place: Ma. Cecilia Onate, Division A-Metro Manila Toastmasters Club

Analysis (courtesy of Discon Chairman, DTM Volts Victoria)

Division F = 7 points
Divisions A, C & G = 4 points
Division D = 3 points
Division B = 2 points

According to Discon Chairman, DTM Volts Victoria, this is Division F's highest standing over the years :)


Next year’s District Conference is going to be at Samal Island, Davao. We’ll be able to enjoy the sun, the beach and the company of our fellow Toastmasters. For those who haven't registered yet please send an email to or call 09177008891

Look for Discon Chair DTM Elisa Tay

 See you all there!

Read my next post Competing at Discon 2011 by Alex Zeta.