WHAT would a Civil Engineering Licensure Examination (CELE) board topnotcher construct? A home for the squatters was the answer of topnotcher Maricel Aquino who garnered a score of 99.1 percent in the November 2008 CELE. “Ayaw ko kasi ng may palaboy laboy. Nung nagtrabaho ako dito sa Manila, nakita ko ang gulo. May mga squatters. Gusto kong magconstruct ng matitirhan nila [I don’t want to see people loitering in the streets. When I started working here in Manila, I saw chaos. There were many squatters. I want to construct a home for them.],” said Aquino. Aside from building a home for the squatters, Aquino would like to focus on the field of sanitary engineering in the country. “Basura. ‘Yung ang nakikita kong unang-unang problema. Para sa akin, dun bumaba ang Pilipinas. [Garbage. That’s the primary problem I see in our country. For me, it has degraded the Philippines.],” explained Aquino. Aquino earned her degree in BS Civil Engineering at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), which was noted as the best performing school in Civil Engineering with 100-percent passing rate (28 passers out of 28 examinees). Despite working full-time in the quality control division of EBA Construction simultaneous with her review classes from June until August, Aquino managed to balance her time and top the exams along with 1,672 passers. “Ito talaga unexpected sa akin. Planado na kasi para sa akin ung buhay ko. Magta-trabaho muna ako before review. Iipon muna ako. [It was really unexpected. I already planned my life. I will work first before review. I’ll save up money for the review.],” related Aquino. For Aquino, taking the refresher course in her review classes helped her a lot in answering the three-part and two-day examination. “Nag-resign na ako nung September at nag-focus na ako sa review. Nakatulong talaga ‘yung refresher course kasi halo- halo ‘yung tanung dun. [I resigned from my job in September and focused on the review. The refresher course helped me a lot because the questions were mixed.],” added Aquino. Having been exposed to Civil Engineering work, Aquino sees the field of Civil Engineering as a bridge that connects everything. “Lahat ng fields sakop niya: civil works, construction, sanitation, piping. Lahat ng nakikita mo diyan, hindi mo pwedeng masabi na walang connection ung CE dun. [All of the fields are covered like civil works, construction, sanitation and piping. Everything that you see is interconnected with Civil Engineering.],” explained Aquino. Aquino will be leading the oath taking of the new civil engineers on December 20, 2008 at the Plenary Hall of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City.
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By Marjorie Gorospe INQUIRER.net MAE Paner has been in advertising industry for 25 years. Her debut in directing commercials came in 1997 when she came out with “Black and White.” Since then, she has found herself drowned in a career of “selling” soap, political personalities and products appealing to a certain target market. Paner is a stage actor in the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). Aside from directing, she has been a commercial talent, appearing in a funny Boysen paint commercial as the nagging mother-in-law to a man painting his home. In the commercial, the nonchalant son-in-law keeps painting the wall white until he decides to paint over Paner who continues nagging him. For years, Paner thought she was doing okay with her chosen career as an artist until she saw Rodolfo Noel Lozada, Jr.'s expose on the controversial National Broadband Network project during a Senate investigation. “I was crying as I watched him. I felt so sad knowing that this is how terrible corruption is in our country,” Paner said. She realized that as an artist, she must do something to promote love for country because the greed for power and money is rooted in the lack of love for country. Paner later invited her friends to join her in an advocacy but very few responded. This did not stop her. She and some friends eventually formed a group called “Convergence Team,” whose objective is to promote nation building through art. The group also hopes to encourage good governance. The group eventually came up with a modern and inspiring music video of the Philippine National Anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” which practically slowed down the way the anthem was sang from its usual 4/4 cadence to a slower, heartfelt beat. Paner directed the video. She also got the Loboc children’s choir conducted by Alma Taldo to sing the national anthem. While it may sound cliché, Paner believes that the children are the country’s future. Not surprising, the music video of the Lupang Hinirang features a child. The music video is simple: it shows a child walking and eventually finding a little Philippine flag on the ground. Next, the kid starts climbing a flag pole, and towards the end of the anthem, plants the little flag on top of the flag pole. “What will a kid do when he sees a flag on the ground?” asked Paner. In the music video, Paner shows that children who symbolize innocence will take and clean the flag. But it goes beyond that, as the child makes an effort to put the flag where it belongs. The kid’s presence in the music conveys innocence and pure intention. If only Filipinos would also show such love for the country, then we can all move forward as a nation, Paner said. “I am done with selling political ads and products, now I want to sell our nation,” she added. Indeed, incorporating social values is a rare practice in profit-oriented businesses. Paner suggests companies should also help in nation building. The Lupang Hinirang music video has so far been getting positive responses from people. Paner said her group is thinking of more and similar projects in the future. One problem they have encountered is delay in production due to tight budgets. For now, the group is using the Internet to spread the music video. People has already found their music video on YouTube.
By Anna Valmero and Izah Morales INQUIRER.net MAKATI CITY, Philippines – For 20 years, Consuelo Foundation has offered hope to about 50,000 children and families in the Philippines. Offering support to non-government and nonprofit organizations, the Consuelo Foundation has been involved in programs for the development and rehabilitation of abused children and spouses, as well as the homeless. The Consuelo Foundation has about 125 partner organizations both in the Philippines and in Hawaii. The Consuelo Foundation started a year after Consuelo Zobel Alger’s meeting with Patti Lyons who established Child and Family Service Philippines in 1987. Lyons was foundation president and CEO until 2006. After struggling with funding for the shelter program for the sexually abused kids in Baguio, Lyons met Consuelo and introduced the Filipina who retired in Hawaii to the shelter kids. Alger had a vision to renew hope for those who have lost it and give hope to those who have never had it. “After introducing to Consuelo the 40 children in the shelter, she told me: ‘You know dear, I never had a child of my own. And I think that now I have 40 children and I want to do this forever.’ Consuelo then became a benefactress of the CFSPI. And a year after started her foundation,” Lyons said. Alejandro Padilla, Consuelo Foundation board of director member and grand nephew of Consuelo, said the foundation supports organizations through various activities, including capacity building, training in entrepreneurship, finance and service delivery or whatever aspect that the foundation sees is required to better run operations. “We are forming joint ventures by choosing organizations with programs that can be duplicated in other areas and support them in the long-term so we have a sustainable program, Padilla said. A good example of this join venture is the foundation’s program with local partner International Deaf Education Association (IDEA) Philippines. Bohol-based IDEA trains houses deaf and blind individuals, allowing them to earn by working in the restaurant and café located within the vicinity of the organization’s compound. According to Geri Marullo, the president and CEO of the Consuelo Foundation, the organization will focus on different programs this year. These programs will include 'Healthy Start' under which LGUs will go house-to-house to look for cases of abuse in families, training for e-skills, livelihood as well as teaching social responsibility and life skills. Among the 122 partners of Consuelo Foundation, two of them shared how they built their dream and achieved their goals through their partnership with the foundation. “I was just beginning with a dream and they believe in that dream. So they partnered with us. And they were the first one to give us the first building of a dorm school,” said Fr. Rocky Evangelista, founder of Don Bosco Tuloy Foundation (DBTF). Evangelista said the Consuelo Foundation helped them with the operations and encouraged them to pursue their dream. IDEA president Dennis Drake recalled how Consuelo Foundation helped them through financial, moral support and technical expertise. IDEA was able to send 361 kids in school and employ 120 deaf in different skilled professions. Drake shared the story of a deaf beneficiary who was once an abused child and is now a successful chef, a husband and a father to a college student. “So he’s just part of the regular community and everybody looks to him as a success story. Very successful and contributes to the community well,” added Drake. The beneficiaries Maricar Miranda, 16, and Marilou Cuevas, 16 of DBTF also shared their story of regaining hope when all was lost. “Dati po, hindi po ako nangangarap. Pero ngayon po, may patutunguhan po ung mga tulong nila sa amin [Before, I wasn’t hopeful. But now, their help has given us hope,” said Cuevas. Cuevas who is now taking vocational technology course in electrical and electronics technology at the DBTF, wants to enter the call center industry when she finishes school. Meanwhile, Miranda said the foundation has helped them build their character, helping them achieve their dreams and ambitions even if they are poor. The foundation will soon start a program for training foster parents who will take care of the children coming from the shelters they support. The Consuelo Foundation together with its partner organizations held a program Monday to commemorate its founder. Concurrent with the program is a two-day meeting of the foundation’s local partners to share best practices and innovations.
By Ria Mendoza FOR many Filipinos in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the underlying dream is to save up, go back home, start a business and eventually attain financial independence. But even though many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have done this before, a huge percentage has also found the path to entrepreneurship very difficult. Eventually, the savings from years of hard work end up in smoke. (Photo: From left to right: UP Professor Ilano, Philippine Consul General Benito Valeriano, PBC President Lucille Ong and UP Professor Florendo awards the sixth 'Managing for Business Success' seminar participants the certificate of completion). On the other hand, others have no solid idea where to start realizing their dreams. This is the reason why 19 Filipinos working across all sectors made a beeline for the “Managing for Business Success” seminar organized by the Philippine Business Council (PBC) in association with the University of the Philippines (UP). The three-day seminar, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel from September 23 to 25, is the only seminar certified by UP outside of the country. Choosing the right business to get into is always tricky, but the discussion of UP Marketing and Strategic Management Professor Art Ilano gave the basics of not only finding the right fit for a person, from franchising to starting an all new enterprise, to branding, expansion and effective marketing. Complemented by the lectures of Joselito Florendo, UP Professor of Finance and Accounting, the participants learned the intricacies of income statements, cash flows and balance sheets. However, Florendo emphasized that though the work can be done by accountants and bookkeepers, it is important for business owners to know how to interpret this data to know how their business is faring. Philippine Consul General Benito Valeriano attended the closing ceremony and awarded the participants their certificate of completion together with PBC President Lucille Ong, Professor Ilano and Professor Florendo. The “Managing for Business Success” seminar is the sixth in the PBC-UP seminar series to be held in Dubai and was sponsored by the Western Union Foundation.
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.
JESTIN SAMSON shows INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla the Disabled Student Services room at California State Fullerton University and the equipment he uses to help him study and surf the Web. Samson, a Filipino freshman at CSFU, has been diagnosed with general aniridia and glaucoma. This is the fourth in a series of five videos capturing a day in the college life of this Filipino student. Check out the first, second and third videos.
VISUALLY impaired Jestin Samson, a Filipino freshman at California State Fullerton University who has been diagnosed with general aniridia and glaucoma, explains how he uses the Braillenote Empower device to study and write his papers. Video taken by INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla at the CSFU campus. This is the third in a series of five videos capturing a day in the college life of this Filipino student. Check out the first and second videos.
JESTIN SAMSON, a Filipino freshman at California State Fullerton University who has been diagnosed with general aniridia and glaucoma, shows that his condition cannot stop him from having fun. An avid gamer, he is shown here playing Dance Dance Revolution. Video taken by INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla at the CSFU campus. This is the second in a series of five videos that capture a day in the college life of this Filipino student. Check out the first video.
A FILIPINO freshman at California State Fullerton University, Jestin Samson goes through the typical experiences of a college kid, only he might see things differently -- literally. He has been diagnosed with general aniridia and glaucoma, visual malformations that prevent his eyes from operating normally. Here he explains his condition over lunch at the school's food court to INQUIRER.net multimedia reporter Erika Tapalla. This is the first in a series of five videos capturing a day in the college life of this Filipino student.
By Volt Contreras Inquirer MANILA, Philippines -- Before Oscar Franklin Tan drew raves for his commencement address at the elite Harvard Law School the other day, this young Filipino lawyer had his share of silent, awkward moments when basic things like meals became ''an issue.'' In a candid, light-hearted exchange with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tan shared how campus life could be tough even for excelling foreign students like him in one of the world's premier institutions. He managed to stretch his limited food budget, for example, by improvising his menu and even collecting ''leftovers'' at school functions. He also took advantage of his professor's habit of bringing two baskets of apples to class each Friday. Tan saw an opportunity when he noticed that most of his classmates, especially the Americans, ''just ignored'' the treat. ''There was usually at least one basket left. I would bring an extra backpack every Friday and waited until everyone left and had free fruit half the year, thanks to Professor Lawrence Tribe,'' he said. Tan fondly recalled all these ''embarrassing'' episodes in his e-mail to the Inquirer on Thursday, the day before he stood proud and tall as the commencement speaker at the 2007 HLS graduation rites, an honor bestowed upon him by his class. The 27-year-old bachelor and 2005 law alumnus of the University of the Philippines completed his master's degree at the premier institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was chosen to speak at the ceremony in behalf of some 700 American and foreign graduates. ''Food was really an issue because I was on a tight budget, having entered Harvard Law practically a fresh graduate,'' said Tan, whose studies were shouldered in part by the HLS, the Ayala Scholarship Fund, his law firm (Angara, Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz law office) where he is an associate, and with a little help from his father, fellow lawyer Edmund Tan. ''Some of the Asian and African students have become notorious for trying to save on food, and looking for free food. I became one of them after I learned that Harvard threw away uneaten food from all the functions and talks (which shocked the Africans in particular), and I just brought the food back to the dorm.'' Chow time in his fourth-floor unit at the Gropius dormitories, ''the ugliest but cheapest'' lodging on campus, often had him ''experimenting with many combinations to save food, such as making sandwiches and buying microwaveable chicken strips.'' He also stocked up on canned soup and tuna whenever there was a sale. But while his cupboard was almost bare, Tan apparently had in abundance memorable campus experiences, especially with classmates of diverse cultural backgrounds. Being Filipino with Chinese lineage gave him a ready affinity with East and Southeast Asians. Coming from a former Spanish and then US colony like the Philippines made it easy for him to relate to Americans, Latinos and Europeans, he noted. ''That leaves the Africans. I also had a ready affinity with them because I was from a developing country with postcolonial issues. I'd like to think that each of my classmates identified with me one way or another,'' he said. A Thai classmate was kind enough to help carry Tan's refrigerator to his fourth-floor unit, since the dormitory had no elevator. A Saudi classmate, apparently familiar with the many Filipino workers in his oil-rich state, could understand most of Tan's sentences in Filipino. But his international relations were not always that smooth. ''There was one embarrassing moment where a French classmate and I almost had a fight until we sat down and compared our cultures. Our Nigerian classmate had lost a close relative and was feeling very sad, so I e-mailed the class requesting the religious students to pray for him and console him.'' The French classmate then sent Tan an e-mail, expressing "shock that I would violate someone's privacy in such a public manner.'' ''We discussed it, and he realized that grief is treated as a community issue in the Philippines (and in other developing countries), where public wakes are held and everyone tries to pass by to pay their respects. It was very new to him,'' Tan recalled.