Of Love and LEAP

by Cris Maquiling (Leap 1) September 1, 2015 Top Stories

I could never forget the number 7,777. That was the amount I invested in LEAP at the start of the new millennium. As a student, I thought of so many things I could do with the money that was a lot back then. Little did I know that my choice, to believe in OCCI would put my life on a path I never would have imagined. Back then, I was alone, clouded in my own darkness; and the only way I could best express myself was through anger. I pushed people away without a care in the world – and I thought that it was cool. Being so disconnected with it all, I never realized how much I damaged my relationships – specially with my family. In those 8 weeks, my awareness expanded and I learned more about myself through the 8 other people I journeyed with. I learned that my capacity for hate was the same as my capacity to love. The moment I realized that, I was able to accept that I love and I deserve to be loved. I started to heal myself and moved on to make amends with my family, and the people who I pushed away. It was an uncomfortable process but after breaking through it, I knew in my heart that I have changed for good. My father passed away a few years after. If it wasn’t for LEAP I wouldn’t have been able to fully express my love and gratitude to him; and I probably would have been stuck in a much darker place than I was before, filled with regret. I have come a long way, I’m in a different place now and my journey still continues. Thank you OCCI. For the lessons, for the love, for the tough love and for the friendship. I will always be your number 1.