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A three-termer, Acosta is a 2008 recipient of Kabalikat Award given by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or more popularly known as TESDA. She was also awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Councils of the Philippines in 2009, a joint search initiated by the Philippine Councilors’ League and the office of Senator Edgardo Angara.

Acosta, who is currently the chairperson of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology, and Arts and Culture, was cited as a science ambassador for her advocacies.  “Coming from a family of educators, her advocacy was geared towards the learning development of the youth,” it said.

She finished Masters in Management at the University of the Philippines in Mindanao.  She was a national leader of the Philippine contingent of the 39th for Southeast Asian Youth Program 2012 and a Kaya Natin Champion (a movement for good governance and ethical leadership).

I had the pleasure of meeting Mabel when I was part of a project initiated by the Java Jive Coffee.  When I asked her about the hardest experience in her life, she could not think of any. “I am so resilient in that sense,” she admits.  “I tend to roll with the punches and appreciate life’s lessons.”

No wonder, she has more things to do.  “I look forward to days that I would have more time to be more creative,” she says and lists artist, scientist, singer, baker, farmer, and gardener as something she wants to be in the future.  But what she’s looking forward to is being “a grandma.”

Acosta has two formulas for success: preparation and prayer.  “My mother always said, ‘There is no substitute for preparation, and don’t forget to pray.’ When my faith, family, work, advocacy, creativity is challenged, I do what is necessary: to be prepared, and I pray,” she explains.

Her piece of advice to today’s young people to become successful: “Always do your best in anything you do.”

On the other hand, I have met Abella when she came to the center where I work.  She brought some of her constituents to undergo training on vegetable gardening and how to collect seeds.

“She is a strong advocate of environmental protection and preservation,” said the press release obtained by this author.  “In her continuing dedication and passion to preserve the environment, she was chosen as the Committee Chair on Environment and Natural Resources in the Council (from 2010 to 2013).”

According to the document, “Abella spent most of her time helping people both from the upland and downstream areas and generate income from the surrounding natural resources.”

From being former Mutya ng Dabaw during her younger years, she raised the banner of the belief that “there is money in garbage.”

Two Davao-based singers were also named during the occasion: Jose Inigo Homer Lacambra Ayala and Ronulfo “Popong” Landero.

A singer and songwriter, Joey Ayala is also the former chairman of the music committee of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.  “He is well-known for his style of music that combines the sounds of Filipino ethnic instruments with modern pop music,” the press release said.

Actually, he gained quite a following when he released an album that was recorded in a makeshift studio in Davao City.  This was in 1982.  Since then, he became known throughout the country.

In 2013, he performed in the Green Guitar Festival, which gathered 10,000 guitarists/guitar enthusiasts from all over the country.  It resulted to a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to adopt a watershed in support the government’s National Greening Program. (By Henrylito D. Tacio)