Banahaw experience gone well
I BELIEVE that in the past, I have been mentioning the fact that I conduct team building not just for corporate groups but also for sports teams with Mt. Banahaw in Dolores, Quezon as my favorite venue because of my personal experience of how this mystical mountain can affect a change in people’s thinking.
And last weekend, I had the opportunity to bring the Foton women’s volleyball team to Banahaw for what I promised team owner Rommel Sytin and team manager Diane Santiago would be a powerful experiential team building. And at the end of the two-day experience I provided to the players together with the coaching and team management staff, their conclusion, not mine, was it was the best team building they have undergone.
I was not surprised really because a Banahaw experience will indeed leave a lasting impression on people as it has on previous sports teams I have brought there like the UE Lady Warriors, the Lyceum Lady Pirates and the Centro Escolar University women’s basketball teams.
I brought them to the river trails, dividing the players into two teams composed of buddy pairs and one rule that I gave was they need to take care of their respective buddies. In fact, no one could enter the dining area in the house where we stayed when it was eating time unless she was with her buddy and the team would not start eating unless it was complete.
Everyone enjoyed dipping in natural pools, bathing under waterfalls, walking over rocks and boulders, and even picking up trash along the way which is a condition I set for any group I bring to Banahaw. But there was more to come after that first river trail trek as I brought them to the Kweba ni San Jacob. It was a small tight cave they had to enter and once down in the cave, they had to go down a ladder into a small cold river inside the cave, definitely a psychological challenge more than a physical one. For one, they had to help each other inside the cave, guiding the person behind which by itself is a team bonding exercise.
Of course as we were trekking, they had to help one another over some of the tougher parts of the trail but again it was a team building after all.
That night after a hearty dinner, I processed what they did and how they carried out themselves as a team, even asking them to rate one another as team leaders and members and we ended the night with some realizations obvious in the faces of the players, but there was more to come the following day.
We went to Kinabuhayan and on the way, practically all the team members chose to ride on top of the jeepney as an adventure by itself as we all had to watch out for low lying tree branches along the way and the zigzag road to our next destination. It was another river trail trek starting from the Yapak ni Kristo and another cave experience in Eden, but this time at the end of the trail, where there was a waterfall, I gave them a team challenge.
They had to cross the natural pool to get to the other side where the waterfall was, and whether one knew how to swim or not, they crossed. Of course, I strung out a rope which the non swimmers used to cross while their strong swimmer teammates swam along side them, another successful team exercise.
After lunch, it was time to put meaning in what they had done and for them to share whatever realizations they had. It was also time for the players to make their teammates, coaches and management know them better and give their respective commitments. Tears were shed but that happens as a natural course but for the players, it was a very emotional experience letting go of some feelings long bottled up.
And it was at the end when Diane said it was the best team building experience she had undergone. A feeling that a lot of the players I believe also shared and a feedback that facilitators like me can only appreciate from the heart.
I would like to thank Foton for the opportunity to share Banahaw with them, my staff Kim Lanto from my Y-JAM days, Banahaw Nature Villa where the players stayed, and Robin and his team in the house of Mama Mendoza where I regularly stay when in Banahaw. Robin made sure the players would go back for second even third servings with the home cooked meals he served.
It was another Banahaw experience for me gone well.
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