SYNERGY. The Xavier Stage members huddle before the community building activity formally begins.

Written by Chloe Mostrales
Photos by Chloe Mostrales and Queenie Roluma

The Xavier Stage (TXS) held its annual community building activity with the theme “Harnessing Teamwork for an Inclusive and Sustainable Synergy” last November 25, Sunday in Mapawa Nature Park, Malasag, Cugman. It was open to all the company’s members, faculty, students, community members, and alumni of TXS.

The objective of the activity was to strengthen the camaraderie and openness among the members of the company. This year, it involved several team-building activities which encouraged the members to engage in teamwork as well as friendly competition with others.

The community building was organized and facilitated by a team composed of senior members of the theater company, Queenie Roluma (project head), Maika Guitguit, Charyll Jauculan, Ezra Sumandar, Yancenoel Tapulgo, and Marley Lago. It was also overseen by TXS artistic director Hobart Savior.

At the crack of dawn, the attendees assembled at the Museo de Oro grounds and headed to Mapawa Nature Park.

BATTLE OF THE TRIBES. The different tribes of The Xavier Stage members take on the challenges to rise to the top.

Developing unity in diversity

As the day arose, the first highlight began, the Battle of the Tribes. The members of the company were divided into three different groups or tribes; Tribong Katubigan, Tribong Amihan, and Tribong Kalayo.

The tribes consisted of a mix of different members of the company, from different schools, age group, and courses. the friendly competition offered a chance for the members to work as a team and develop communication skills with others.

“It was amazing," said April Plaza from TXS Batch 10. "I got to know the members more. Bonding with the people I don't see very often was exciting.”

Another member, Kirk Ramos of Batch 9 shared: “The importance of community building is to be able to find and establish the rhythm of TXS as one company. Although its members are diverse in terms of personalities, we have one collective identity and this [was] established through this activity.”

The tribes faced off by undergoing a series of challenges scattered throughout the park, posing a competition with the other tribes to see who would finish with the highest score.

The Battle of the Tribes included different stations, each with a different challenge for the tribes to overcome. These ranged from anywhere to being able to count to a minute with the other teammates without uttering a single sound, to having to speak in fluent English while trying to flip over a tarpaulin. No matter how bizarre the activities were, there was always a value to be learned during each station; pakikiramdamay, teamwork, willingness to finish the job, focus, unity, patience, and feeling.

Director Savior expressed how it was essential to give meaning to the company as a whole, not just as individual members. Many of the members were from different schools, from different courses, and had different interests, but in the end, the members cherished the importance of unity in the midst of challenges.

TEAMWORK. Tribong Kalayo burns with the competitive spirit as they decorate their team banner.

Nurturing synergy

At the end of the Battle of the Tribes, Tribong Kalayo finished triumphantly, with Tribong Katubigan and Tribong Amihan close behind. Yet, the Battle wasn’t over. Afterward, the facilitators revealed that there was a ‘glitch’ in every tribe, someone was pinpointed to meddle and purposely mess with the progress of the group.

“Since I was assigned as one of the glitches,” recalled Ramos, “I learned that there is no glitch to an effective leader and team as a whole. A team would carry even its weakest member to victory.”

Although the reveal of the glitch was supposed to dampen the mood of the members, it only served to be a stepping stone in the learning process.

When the company had its processing, most of the members still found the experience enjoyable and fun, regardless of the glitch in their team, which the teams still treated as their own member.

In the Battle of the Tribes, the members got to learn and develop synergydefined as "the combined power of a group of things when they are working together that is greater than the total power achieved by each working separately."

The different challenges they faced could not have been completed alone, but only through working together and pulling each other up.

OPENNESS. The company visits the falls and has a few team building exercises to share gratitude and open communication.

Empowering core values

The Xavier Stage holds dearly its core values: GIFTS - Gratitude, Integrity, Friendship, Teamwork, and Service. Through the activities in the community building, several of the core values were exemplified in the process.

In the afternoon, the company went to the falls to relax and engage in a few more team-building exercises. One of which was the inside-out activity, giving members an opportunity to express their gratitude and encouraging words to other members of the company. Within the small span of time, words, hugs, and tears were exchanged between the members. It was an avenue for the company to fully express words of love.

“It was really heart-warming and it made everyone sit back and reflect about ourselves, our co-members, our director, and of the company. It gave us the time to fully accept and learn things about each other,” said Batch 10 member Camille Reyes.

Importante kaayo ang pag-abri sa imong kasing-kasing para sa uban tao ug ang pag respeto sa usag-usa,” said Joven Amplayo, a community member of Batch 10

Savior noted: “In the CB, the values of gratitude, teamwork, and friendship were certainly developed. Everyone was grateful for the experience, and teamwork and friendship were manifested with the activities. Through these three, the company is able to build integrity and service for others.

He added: “I hope that the student members take away that TXS is not just working; the company teaches life lessons and nurtures other aspects of learning. Because there is a turnover of old members and many of the older members are graduating, there is a need to develop the quality of membership for the current batch of TXS.”

COMMUNITY. The Xavier Stage members end their activities with a dip into the falls, celebrating their community building's success and nurturing the built synergy into positivity.

The activity concluded with the members feeling a sense of appreciation and love. Its goal was to foster high moral and positive relationships between the members of the company.

The Xavier Stage is a theater company dedicated to fostering not just talented artists, but also to nurture the essence of being part of a larger company with a sense of camaraderie.∎

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