By Quay Evano, Contributor INQUIRER.net "MGA Iskolar ng Bayan na nasa ibang bayan, tumutulong para sa Iskolar ng Bayan at sa Inang Bayan." What's the best way for "Iskolars ng Bayan" who work as overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates to escape from the fast-rising temperature of the summer desert heat? Not to mention the monotony, stress and pressures of everyday life and being away from their loved ones and their beloved home country, the Philippines? How about raising funds for a fellow Iskolar ng Bayan, while at the same time having fun doing it? Well, going on an island escapade on April 25 organized by UPAA-UAE, the first-ever UP Alumni Association in the Middle East, was one way of doing it. By spending a day at the Palma Resort island in Umm Al Quwain, one of the seven emirates of the UAE (which is about a two-hour drive from Dubai), UPAA-UAE members and guests were able to raise a significant amount of money to fund the ongoing UPAA-UAE Scholarship Program. Participants at the event basked in the Middle Eastern sun, frolicked with childlike candor along the beach, and simply had incredible fun, all in the name of camaraderie, friendship and charity. The Island Escapade was a jam-packed day of events such as badminton, an "Amazing Race"-like game, tug-of-war, kite flying, swimming, beach volleyball, eating, and endless hours of laughter. "Through the ticket sales, which unexpectedly went beyond the targeted numbers, and the generous sponsorship of Western Union, VLCC and Wrinkle Iron, we have raised a significant amount of money that would surely be a big help to UPAA's projects, specifically the UPAA-UAE Scholarship Program,” said Albert Alba, UPAA-UAE president (shown in photo below). "We would like to thank our guests, both UP alumni and non-UP alumni, who bought tickets and participated in the event. Their support in this endeavor is highly appreciated and we hope that they would continue to do so in our next fund-raising events," he added. At present, UPAA-UAE is sponsoring one scholar who is currently enrolled in UP Mindanao. She is a Muslim student who graduated from the province of Sulu, and UPAA-UAE has conveyed its preference to the UP authorities at UP Diliman for consideration in its selection process. In the future, UPAA-UAE is aiming to sponsor more scholars, hopefully from the various UP campuses in Luzon and the Visayas. The UPAA UAE was founded and established in November 2004 with around 50 members, and has since grown to about 100 official members as many UPians, especially fresh graduates, have either opted to work as OFWs in the UAE and have been hired by local and international companies in the country. To date, the group has about 400 names in its database, an indication of the growing number of Iskolar ng Bayan seeking employment opportunities in the UAE. This is also an indication of the group's potential to make a significant contribution in giving back to UP and Philippine society in general, the fruits of their labor which were acquired and harnessed by their educational background in UP. A decade ago, there was only a smattering of UP alumni in this then still-barren but developing country. Now, there’s a scattering of UP alumni in practically all the seven emirates, holding different jobs and positions in various private and public sector companies in this rapidly growing nation.
May 2008 Archives
INQUIRER.NET multimedia reporter Izah Morales visits the town of Nagcarlan to see how espasol, one of Laguna's famous delicacies, is made. She interviews Ester Almanzor, daughter of Belen Castelo, who established Aling Belen's Special Espasol. Video taken by INQUIRER.net online videographer Janie Christine Octia in Laguna, Philippines.
MANG Larry, who sells the famous isaw at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus, talks about what makes his isaw different and why Filipinos love to eat street food. Interview conducted by INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Izah Morales. Video taken by INQUIRER.net online videographer Janie Christine Octia.
ADJUSTING to college life is already a challenge in itself, and Jestin Samson, a Filipino freshman at California State Fullerton University, talks about the additional difficulties he encounters as a visually impaired person. He has been diagnosed with general aniridia and glaucoma, visual malformations that prevent his eyes from operating normally. Video taken by INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla. This is the last in a series of five videos capturing a day in the college life of this Filipino student. Check out the first, second, third and fourth videos.