The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

08 November 2011

Conquering Our Fears

By: Gina Bermudo, ASP Trustee


I am fortunate to spend a few days with JR during ASP's 3rd Regional Conference on Autism in Cagayan de Oro, last Oct 28-29, 2011. As one of the guest speaker of the conference, he shared his personal journey with autism from childhood to present.


PWA JR Tan



In one of our side trips to Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon; one of our agenda in this trip is to try the Longest Zip Line in Asia. Being elevated a few meters from the ground, without being enclosed, is a great challenge for me. I've had this phobia since early childhood, but I never bothered to address this issue until the day I went with JR and my ASP family. JR inspired me to conquer my fear of heights.


ASP Trustee Gina Bermudo and PWA JR Tan in the longest Zip Line in Asia



As we reached our destination, our excitement began to build up. I couldn't make up my mind whether to be adventurous or not. But with a lot of prodding from my ASP family, I finally agreed and purchased my ticket.


Arriving at the disembarkation point, I kept on looking at JR. He had mixed emotions for the ride, but he was full of confidence, believing that he could make it. For so many years I hoped that I could conquer my fear of heights, but I was not doing anything about it. But that day, JR taught me that believing and doing something about it can make all the difference.


As I was being pushed for take-off, I stretched out my arms to decrease my speed. Then my adrenalin suddenly kicked in and fueled me up that instant. Wanting for more, I aligned my arms to my body to increase speed. I was enjoying the ride of my life!


After I reached the end of the zip line and was taken off from all the attached protective gears, it was JR's turn. I enjoyed the luxury of watching JR descend and see pure joy and satisfaction on his face. After his ride, I immediately went to him to ask how his ride was. In all honesty, he said he was scared and hesitated to let go of the rail at first. But with much encouragement from the other riders and technicians, he let go and enjoyed the ride.


We proceeded to get our Ziprider's Certificate as proof that we have successfully conquered the 840 MTR. (2,755.90 feet) Longest Dual Zip Line in Asia on the 28th Day of October, 2011 at 1,370 MTR. (4,500 feet) level of the Mt. Kitanglad Range, Bukidnon Province; having experienced extreme adrenaline at a cloudy weather, with a temperature of 71 degrees Fahrenheit and wind speed of 2 KPH. JR and I can now officially say that we earned our bragging rights!


During the October 29 seminar, while JR was sharing his life story, I learned to admire him more. With his persistence and hard work, he conquered not only his fear of heights, but also his fight with autism. He serves as an inspiration to others, including me. After his talk, I could not resist to give him a standing ovation that he truly deserves.


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About the author: Ms. Gina Luna Bermudo is a former international flight attendant and is one of resource persons for Cebu Pacific Air in its effort to improve its services for passengers with disabilities. Gina is also a producer and composer of the CD entitled, “Mga Awiting Alay sa Autismo ©" a compilation of heartfelt compositions inspired by her two boys with autism, Niko (16) and Xandi (13). Gina currently serves as a member of Board of Trustees of Autism Society Philippines.


Do your Christmas Shopping early. Order your "Mga Awiting Alay Sa Autismo ©" CD now. CD contains the song "Why God ©" click here to listen to sample. Call 926-6941 or 929-8447. Proceeds will go to ASP Programs and Services.

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