I Can and I Will

There’s no perfect leader. It’s obvious. As they say, you can’t have it all. But if there would be a chance, even just for a day, to meet my ideal leader face to face… I would definitely be the most thrilled person in the world. I bet that the monsters under my bed will also feel my frustration as I let out a deep, long sigh. This is ridiculous. I’ll go to sleep, I guess. I covered myself with the blanket and let my unconscious mind take over me. 

I woke up feeling light-headed. “Where am I?” As I look around, the place looks familiar but… Not so much? My gut says that I’m in the city but how? Our place doesn’t look like this. This place seems so unreal. The skyscrapers stand so tall that it could almost reach the sky. The buildings are covered with horizontal gardens and there are a lot of trees! I stand in awe then I uttered to myself, “Wow. Just wow.” 

I decided to walk around. I no longer see roads packed with various cars—from motorcycles, private vehicles to jeepneys and trucks. As I walk a bit more, I found myself towards the subway tunnel. “Really? There is a subway now? Ah! I can’t find any beggar here.” Strange. The streets are usually full of children asking for some change (as I do, too, with the current administration that we have). 

“Miss, what is the name of this place?”

“Quezon City, Ma’am.”

“Are you sure? This place doesn’t look like Quezon City at all.”

“Are you from the province? This town evolved a lot for the past years.”

“Past years? What year is it?” 

She looked at me with a puzzled face. “It’s 2050.” 

“2050?! What? Hold up. It’s just 2020!”

How come? Is this a dream? Have I… traveled in the future? What is going on?! 

I had an internal turmoil for a while because this is just silly. I turned around and pinched my cheeks. I’m still here! I slapped my face once, then twice, then THRICE. Maybe I should slap myself harder?! What do I do? Am I trapped in here? I hope so… This is the best place I have ever been to. 

I went to the information clerk again then asked, “Uhm, who’s the current Mayor of Quezon City?”

“There she is” as the clerk pointed out.

“Is she always roaming around?”

“She visits different areas of the city thrice a week without notice. Just to see if the system or the operations are being done effectively.” 

Who is she?

She wears a cream t-shirt covered with a black long-sleeve sweater and a pair of jeans. Her hair is in a ponytail and she holds a purse in her hand. Dup. Dup Dup.* I can feel my heartbeat increasing as our eyes met. She smiled then walked towards me. 

“Hi. How are you? What brings you here?”

“How co-co-… How come Quezon City is like this?” 

I mentally facepalmed as I stutter. I’ve been to so many training regarding social communication. Why did I stutter? 

“Come with me.”

I walked behind her as we stroll in the city. This place is like a mixture of urban and rural. The technologies are advanced as I see holograms and peculiar equipment while observing. Despite that, it’s surrounded by trees and we were walking towards a huge open field. She sat on the grass so I decided to do it too. 

“It has really been a long journey before achieving this milestone. I remember before how this city was too crowded, stressed with traffic, full of issues regarding waste, flooding, transportation system, and a lot more. I never saw myself in public service but I know that I will be a leader in any way. Back when I was 17, I read a creative content post by The Fresh Approach by John Saludez. It was titled Fresh Thought #4: Who’s Your Boss? That time, I was also a student-leader and was part of both school and community organizations. Reading his blog contributed a lot to how I see an ideal leader. It was so impossible to think of a great leader that will provide and create actual solutions that the community needs. I thought all of it was absurd. I was too small before. I didn’t think that I could ever make a huge difference. Who am I anyway? I’m just an average teenager who can’t do anything. But you know what? There’s no such thing that starts big. Everything undergoes through the process.”

She paused for a little bit and looked at me, “I don’t want to settle for less. I want to set the bar high and attain the standards the Filipino people deserve. So, I chose not to look for an ideal leader. I chose to become one.”

I looked at her with much amazement plastered on my face. I am beyond speechless. 

“Do you want to come to my office?” 

I eagerly nodded. Her office turned out just like what I expected, not too big but not too small too. Just the right size. Everything made out of bamboo and other contemporary zen designs. It also reeks of coffee. Then I looked at her table…

Steffany Grace M. Limbaga. Quezon City Mayor. 

Shockingly, I tried to catch my breath while trying to relax and steady my heart.

I looked around and saw myself inside my room once again. It felt like it was a long, long dream. I got up and stared at my reflection in the mirror. 

It is all but a dream and ideals until you decide to act. 

I have myself. My family. My friends. My God. I can do this because I want to and I believe I can.

Through taking little steps, starting from how I think, I will then be on the process of who I want to be. 

I will not look for an ideal leader. 

I will become one. As the saying goes by Rene Descartes, “I think, therefore I am.”

Steffany Grace Limbaga