It was an emotional, tearful goodbye.  We had seven days of happiness, waking up in the midst of a cool forest, warmed by smiles and conversations, fed by others’ experience in democratic education, entertained by young artists who remind us what it is to truly be free, and inspired by everyone who have big dreams for a better world.  The organizers did an astounding job putting this event together.  It wasn’t easy and their road was paved with challenges – logistical and personal, but it was a journey of heroes, a journey worth taking.  Our kudos and appreciation goes out to each and every one of them and to those who participated from various countries: Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Japan, Korea, China, America, England, Australia and the Netherlands.

Coming from the Philippines, I’m now excited to spread the word about this yearly gathering that creates and strengthens bonds among kindred spirits working on alternative education.  Whether it is in the fringes or within the mainstream, on a personal, small or large scale, each effort is equally important and when combined, greater than the sum of its parts.  There were homeschoolers from Taiwan and there were those who have been leading the democratic education movement for decades.  There were students and teachers who probably shouldn’t be labeled as such because they were BOTH students and teachers.

I still have two and a half days’ worth of notes that have to be transformed into blog entries and I don’t know where to start.  I was tearful at the end because I realized what I found — a new family.  Do you know when you have crazy-sounding ideas in your head and some people even in your own family don’t understand?  Some people put you down, laugh at or consider the concept ridiculous, irresponsible and reckless.  Sending children to a school where they can play all day – how preposterous is that?  Now, none of that matters because you know you are not alone.  There is family.  Family, not by blood, but family.



How many conferences do you know are organized by a real, live, head-banging rocker-convener?  Phenix, you rock our world!


To everyone who made these seven days possible, thank you, thank you, thank you!  Our hearts overflow. 

I will miss waking up to the sounds and smells of forest.  I will miss eating under a tent full of passionate souls.  I will miss the rhythm of the past few days.

But there are so many things to look forward to such as IDEC in Israel on April and APDEC in Tokyo on August next year.  And friggin crazy as it might seem, in the future, APDEC will come to China.

Please read my other entries about APDEC 2016 here:

About Yaacov Hecht’s keynote speech

About Simon Hulshoff’s speech and notes from casual talks and open spaces

About Shure University, Tokyo and my dream school

About our one-day off visiting an aboriginal school, biking and pigging-out

About Professor Fong’s lecture and Peter Gray’s first open space

About Summerhill and the talk given by Henry Readhead, A.S. Neill’s grandson



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