Mother Delight Rice and Davina Bennett, Miss Universe Jamaica

November 29, 2017

The day I got hold of a book on Delight Rice written by her foster child Ronald Hirano was my first time to read about Ms. Universe-Jamaica Davina Bennett. That was Delight Riceyesterday November 28, a day [GMT] after Ms. Jamaica was proclaimed second runnerup in the 2017 Ms. Universe pageant held in the U.S.A. It was also yesterday, that I went to Rizal Shrine in Fort Santiago with my film made with, and for Deaf people. Entitled ULTIMO ADIOS, it is based on a poem written by our greatest hero Jose Rizal before his execution in 1896. Shot largely in the area six years ago, it is the first-ever interpretation of the poem in sign language.

Ms. Rice was an American with Deaf parents who founded the Philippine School for the Deaf in 1907. Ms. Bennett is a Jamaican who founded the Davina Bennett Foundation for the  Deaf in Jamaica. They both care for Deaf people to give them equal opportunities in the society. Ms. Rice stayed in the Philippines for many years to educate our Deaf youth, and even brought some to the United States to continue their studies in California.

Ms Jamaica

Having learned that Ms. Jamaica wanted the Miss Universe competition as a platform to spread awareness for all deaf people made me appreciate her beauty even more. On an earlier interview when she won the Miss Universe Jamaica competition, she said: “I started the foundation before Miss Universe. I needed a platform to have a voice for these persons who need my support.” With that said, I find in her a noble heart, beautiful inside out. How I wish she won the pageant!

Working and advocating for Deaf people myself, I feel more inspired to know that a lot more people come to recognize that Deaf people need equal recognition, and support.

Ms Jamaica with Deaf model Britney Barnes

Ms. Universe Jamaica Davina Bennett with Britney Barnes, Deaf model

Come December, I heard a monument of Delight Rice shall be erected in the compound of the Philippine School for the Deaf. It is going to be led by Mr. Ronald Hirano himself. Incidentally, the Foundation I am connected with, Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. supports a Deaf scholar.


Kambal na Dalandan – Weird!

November 20, 2017

“Dalandan” [Orange]

Before I peeled what appeared to me as a strange-shaped “dalandan” [Philippine orange], I tried to imagine how it would be like. What I saw made me excited because it was my first time to come across a twin-orange, “kambal” in Filipino language. The amusement in seeing these photos many months after I took the shots elicited the same feeling of excitement and fun. Dalandan is one of our local fruits. It is now in season but I haven’t seen anything like the one shown on the photos here. Indeed, it was a rare find.


Water – The Essence of Life

November 14, 2017

Another series of great and admirable photos from Mr. Steve!

Steve McCurry's Blog

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
Margaret Atwood

Weligama, Sri Lanka

Rovinj, Croatia, Yugoslavia

Cochin/Kochi, Kerala, South India

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
W. H. Auden

Bencota, Sri Lanka


Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Queenstown, New Zealand

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid…

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2018 Angels Walk for Autism

November 10, 2017

Already got my ticket!!!! Join us!


My nth year to join Autism Society Philippines’ annual event! Similarly, I shall be joining DLS-CSB SDEAS’ Celebration of their 23rd Deaf Fest’s Cultural Show next week. Happy to celebrate with these groups a special event they annually hold to raise awareness to the public re their respective advocacies.


Celebrate the 2017 Deaf Festival at DLS-CSB SDEAS!

November 5, 2017

De La Salle – College of St. Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies will celebrate starting November 7 this year’s Deaf Festival. This is part of the annual celebration of Deaf Awareness Week. As always, I am looking forward to their Cultural Show scheduled after the ASEAN Summit on November 18. The show will start at 5.30 pm.

It was exactly 10 years ago when I first witnessed a Deaf Cultural Show. I was amazed watching them dance to the tune and in sync with the beat of the music. As students of Filipino Sign Language under the FSL Learning Program [FSLLP], we were encouraged to watch it. No regrets!!! In fact, that was the time when I got inspired to include Deaf performers, specifically the SILENT STEPS in my films. FSLLP by the way is intended for hearing students.

Below is the program. Please double click to enlarge.


Ferry Boat Ride in Historic Pasig River

November 4, 2017

I accidentally found the photo files of my very first  boat ride in Pasig River via the ferry boat then newly introduced to the people due to mass transit and traffic problems in Metro-Manila. The photos were taken after my research on Apolinario Mabini at the Mabini Shrine in PUP Sta. Mesa in 2014. I didn’t know that the terminal was right inside the campus of the university. I felt both lucky and excited to try it. I am used to plying from Manila to Corregidor Island via a ferry boat. I then wanted to know the difference.

And what a difference! Just a handful — not more than four people including me who was the first to arrive at the station — took the ride. We joined some few others who were fetched from the previous terminal. I bought a ticket from Sta. Mesa to Guadalupe in Makati. We were to pass through the Pasig River alongside which industrial buildings and residential houses are built. Pasig River used to be very popular in the past when industrialization has not yet polluted the place and fishes were said to be abundant in the place. It was immortalized in songs, even in novels. It used to be a center of economic activity during the Spanish period, and an important transport route.

Then and now, the change is undoubtedly quite great. Industrialization has changed its face altogether. The price of industrial development and population explosion???

Anyway, it was for me an experience to have seen and watched the way of life of people living near the river. I saw ordinary boats loading and unloading people, especially students to take them to destinations or points not under the watch of the Metro-Manila Development Authority [MMDA], the government agency handling the ferry transport. They must have been the inspiration of MMDA. People surely would reach their destination faster than if they take ordinary buses or jeepneys — the most popular mass transport modes.

FerryBoat Ride to Guada7

FerryBoat Ride to Guada5

And despite murky waters, and water lilies floating on the river, children enjoyed swimming by the riverside. FerryBoat Ride to Guada3

Approaching Guadalupe Bridge

FerryBoat Ride to Guada12IMG_6953FerryBoat Ride to Guada11

I would have wanted to go up to Escolta in Manila but I was in a hurry to get back home. Indeed, it did not take me long to reach my destination – Guadalupe Station in Makati City. It was a good ride but for people who need to take another ride or transfer in EDSA, a boat station near the main road or closer to the station would be great. As per my experience, it was walking to MRT station that took me more time. Nevertheless, I just enjoyed walking around, learning the curves of Guadalupe area after taking a short ride to get near the train station.


Up North in Aparri Where Cagayan River Meets South China Sea

October 26, 2017

AparriAparri5For four days — from October 18-21, we were away from the madding Manila crowd. Up North of the Philippines, we attended the 38th National Conference on Local and National  History held at the Audiovisual room of the Lyceum of Aparri. Philippine National Historical Society President Bernardita Churchill invited us via Metro Manila College. The group was welcomed by no less than the Most Rev. Sergio Utleg, Archbishop of Tuguegarao and President of Lyceum of Aparri, their EVP Rev. Fr. Joel Reyes, and the Governor of Cagayan himself, Hon. Manuel Mamba, brother of Pat, my co-teacher at Don Bosco Technical Institute who became a close friend. We joined the school almost at the time. Sad to know that she died two years ago of breast cancer according to the Governor.


Anyway, it was good to learn a lot of things about Northern Luzon in particular. Experts from different fields and discipline delivered their papers with enthusiasm including two foreigners. Papers on precolonial matters interest me the most and the one about the contemporary literature of Sulu. Papers supplemented with visuals proved to be interesting unlike those that are purely textual. Hopefully, video documentation would be in the future used as supplement to their lectures.


Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba welcomes the group

It was my first time to be in Aparri and my first time as well to  join the PNHS conference. My brother, a historian, friend and colleague of Dr. Churchill used to speak in the said conference. It was through him that I became familiar with it. I went there with my niece, Oying Villafuerte as an observer. And since I am into making historical video documentaries, I immediately acceded to MMC’s invitation to join it in their behalf. Dr. Churchill by the way was my guest speaker when PULE was shown in UP Film Center last August.


[L-R]: Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, Lyceum of Aparri EVP Rev. Fr. Joel Reyes, PNHS President Bernardita Churchill, Archbishop of Tuguegarao Archdiocese Most Rev. Sergio Utleg and NCCA Plan/Policy Formulation and Programming Division Head Mr. Bernan Joseph Corpuz who delivered the message in behalf of NCCA Chair National Artist Virgilio Almario

On our first day in Aparri, or the day before the conference we visited the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Lady of the Rosary. I was quite happy to know that Mama Mary is their patron saint. Day after finding a chance to go to the place they say is “where Cagayan River meets South China Sea or West Philippine Sea” we hurriedly went to take a peek at the place.