Archive for the ‘1’ Category


My 2012 in Photos

January 1, 2013


Anguish of a Mother

January 18, 2011

This article [posted last Monday – +possibilities+dale&cd=3&hl=tl&ct=clnk&gl=ph&client=firefox-a] was forwarded to me by Super Mom Rachelle [Reich] Delos Santos, mother of Dale [Arolf Delano Santos], now 12 years old, one of the preschool boys featured in my first docu on sped children, “ALYANA.”  Dale was then a student at Pasay City Sped Center under Ms. Mila Tolentino. To read more on her journey as a mother of a child with autism, visit her blogsite

“Untitled (due to too much pain)

Sometimes, you realize that there really is no easy way for a child with autism.  There will always be someone, or some organization that will put him down.

I just came from the Principal’s office where my son, Dale (12), is now enrolled as Grade 5 (included).  When I received a call from his adviser that the Principal wanted to talk to me, and it was about Dale and the upcoming “accreditation” visit (24th and 25th), my mind went into overdrive and it started speculating on its own.

There was only one thought that came into my mind.  That they would want Dale to not come to school on the said dates.  I was constructing words and answers that I will say to the Principal if that was the case.

Whatever those words were, it all disappeared when I actually heard what they wanted to say.  I was right.

I was dumbfounded.  I was hurt.  I was moved to tears.

These people had the nerve to tell me that maybe Dale should stay at home.  I stopped to breathe, looked away to control my anger, and asked her why.  She said that it was the suggestion of the teachers, Dale is difficult to handle, that they will be observed in all aspects, etc.

There is a second option, that is, during the times that the teacher cannot handle Dale, he will be brought to the Guidance office.

So, having him stay at home was the first option?

I was shaking with rage, but I controlled myself.  As an educator myself, I was trying to put myself in the shoes of those teachers.  I tried my best to understand their situation.

I gave the Principal a third option.  I said maybe his guidance counselor can shadow. She said that it was one of the options.  My mind was, like, questioning their decisions.  One of the options?   Because from my point of view, and I think from every person involved with a special child will say, that was the BEST option.

I told her, if your teachers cannot control one child, I don’t think that you deserve the accreditation.  I also asked her, would Dale ruin their chances for accreditation?  She said no.  Then, I don’t see any reason for them to fret and decide like this.  It’s awful.

I hate to say this, but I think the Principal is not fit to be one.  This issue should be handled differently.  The message should have been worded carefully.  Every action should have been thought over and over.  Pros and cons should have been considered before they acted.

They did not even think of the repercussions of their decisions?  On this day and age of computers and online communities?  I am not trying to besmirch their “good” name, that is why I have not included it in this post.  However, things like this cannot be helped.  If you throw a pebble in the water, ripples will form.  I have also thought about the repercussions of this post, and it also cannot be helped.  I am a mother.  I was hurt and I have the right to voice my opinion just like they did.

Before I left, I told her that we stick to the decision that Dale will come to school on those dates.  I use the word we, I said, because this does not just concern me.  This concerns the whole family.  And not just my family, but the whole autism community.  But I also told her, that on my part, I will “condition” Dale so that during those dates, he will indeed behave.

When Dale arrived, I talked to him, he said “But I do behave when there are visitors!  Of course, I have to because they are important people!”

I talked to his guidance counselor on the phone, and expressed my concerns.  She was very apologetic, very helpful and open to suggestions and views.  She also said that Dale does behave during observations last year.  So, I left the issue with her.  I also apologized for the additional work, and I expressed that I do understand where they were coming from, but they should also understand us first and foremost.  This was not just any school after all.  We pay them 50K a year for every child, and we have three in their care.

As Dale’s younger brother said when asked if their decision was correct:  “No, because we all have the right to education.”


Silent O Goes to Baguio_Tinig Ko…Dinggin Mo

November 9, 2009

Silent Odyssey poster

Silent Odyssey—about,  made for, and shot with Deaf Filipinos will be shown in Baguio City under the initiative of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf, led by its president Ms. Racquel Corpuz in Celebration of Deaf Awareness Week 2009 with the theme “TINIG KO…DINGGIN MO”. See the poster above for details.

For the schedule of activities of the 15th Deaf Festival at DLS-CSB School of Deaf and Applied Studies, please click below


For the proclamation of the Department of Education on the 2009 NATIONAL OBSERVANCE OF DEAF AWARENESS WEEK, click below




October 21, 2009

Last night, as part of the World Cinema Section in the on-going 11th CineManila International Film Festival, I saw Paul Schrader’s film “Adam Resurrected”—a type of film I haven’t seen for quite a time; a film I watched with awe—beautiful, gripping, with stunning performances by Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe…; of the likes of Tin Drum but a film I appreciated better. The revelatory technique kept me in suspense from the beginning of the film…until it ends. I had seen quite a few films tackling the Nazi days but Schrader’s choice of subject and treatment was so unusual you’d really journey in with the main character Adam Stein—in his past and present. With him you’d feel the pain, his psychological pain. With him you’d understand more what most of the Jewish who suffered from the Nazi hands went through. I have read some stupid remarks about it on the internet but I think the person who commented it [from Germany] is just in denial of their past or simply mediocre in appreciation of this type of movie which I would say employed magic realism.

For me, Adam Resurrected is a masterpiece…it is great cinema. A film everybody should see.

“Adam Resurrected” follows the story of Adam Stein, a charismatic patient at a mental institution for Holocaust survivors in Israel, 1961. He reads minds and confounds his doctors, lead by Nathan Gross. Before the war, in Berlin, Adam was an entertainer–cabaret impresario, circus owner, magician, musician–loved by audiences and Nazis alike until he finds himself in a concentration camp, confronted by Commandant Klein. Adam survives the camp by becoming the Commandant’s “dog”, entertaining him while his wife and daughter are sent off to die. Years later we find him at the Institute. One day, Adam smells something, hears a sound. “Who brought a dog in here?” he asks Gross…[from IMDB] The rest of the story should be seen however not told.

Paul Schrader is in Manila right now to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from CineManila for the body of works he had contributed as writer, director, as total filmmaker.


Request of a Special Child

September 13, 2009

Please accept me as I am
Do not ask me to excel intellectually or athletically
Love me, teach me, discipline me but please don’t pity me
Believe that my life can bring honor to God in a unique way.
My weakness will demonstrate the power of God.
Look at me through the eyes of love.
See my gifts as well as my limitations.
Rejoice with me in each step I take
But do not compare the size of my steps to those of other children.
Do not face me into a mold that just will not fit
Remember, tell me of God’s love.
Help me to meet and know and love God.



Up and bouncing again!

August 18, 2009

As from yesterday, I’m back to work — back into film editing and book production of my brother’s writings, the 4th volume of “Mga Ani ni Gani” series. This week, I’ll be meeting with Prof. Rosa Vallejo who wrote the introduction with so much personal touch and feelings, being a good and very close friend and colleague of my brother, IRM; Fernando Escora who will do the book design [he designed my SO poster] and Nestor de Guzman, the copy editor who works at the UP Press, a very kind and mellow person I came to know when I worked with my brother at the UP Press during the production of “Ilang Talata nang Paghihimagsik…” at the instance of Laura Samson, then UP Press Director. Come Saturday, a special screening of Silent O will be held for researchers from National Technical Institute of the Deaf [NTID] and new students of DLS-CSB at SDEAS PEN.


Dinig Sana Kita in Cinemalaya 2009

July 27, 2009

Romalito Mallari, student of DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) where I studied Filipino Sign Language (FSL) starred in “Dinig Sana Kita,” by Mike Sandejas. Said to be a festival stand out by Nestor Torre, it was the only film I managed to view. That was last Saturday, July 25. I saw familiar faces: CJ Patriarca, Bronson and Myra Medrana. All four can also be seen in SO in their performances as members of Silent Steps and Dulaang Tahimik. I was happy to meet again after so many months, staunch Deaf advocate Dr. Liza Martinez. Dr. Therese Bustos, Dean Techie dela Torre, Liw Caldito, Febe Sevilla (Hey! salamat sa ticket!), the whole SDEAS staff and students seemed to be all present. It was more for me like a reunion. And a happy one!

I just hope and wish that the Deaf would be encourage to really do their own thing, continue to explore and show their own world in their own films. Calling on Myra Medrana to do this! I have high hopes for Myra. She can do it and when she does, her films will be more powerful than what any hearing people like us can do. Myra is the first Deaf to make a feature-length film narrative movie with both Deaf and hearing persons (“Empathy”). Mike is the first hearing person to make a feature film narrative starring a Deaf person. Silent Odyssey is the first feature-length documentary on Deaf Filipinos made by a hearing person.

Last year, after the preview of SO to the Deaf community, Myra suggested a proposal for us — Myra, Dennis and I to make an advocacy film narrative together. I hope that comes true because as I move around with SO something always gets sparked within them, in their hearts most probably as what even Deaf in India who saw it experienced. After my last week’s showing in Samar, Brother Nilo, head of Tacloban Christian Deaf Association who saw the film,  intends to organize a similar showing in Leyte.

Anyway, congrats to all the members of the production staff of Dinig Sana Kita! Here is the complete list of the recently concluded Cinemalaya 2009 winners:

Best Film: “Last Supper No. 3”
Special Jury Award: “Colorum” and “Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe” (tie)
NETPAC Award: “Baseco Bakal Boys”
National Council for Children’s Television Award: “Dinig Sana Kita”
Audience Choice (Full Length): “Dinig Sana Kita”
Best Director: GB Sampedro (“Astig”)
Best Actress: Ina Feleo (“Sanglaan”)
Best Actor: Lou Veloso (“Colorum”)
Best Supporting Actress: Tessie Tomas (“Sanglaan”)
Best Supporting Actor: Arnold Reyes (“Astig”)
Best Screenplay: “Nerseri”
Best Cinematography: “24K”
Best Production Design: “Mangatyanan”
Best Editing: “Astig”
Best Musical Score: “Dinig Sana Kita”
Best Sound Recording: “Astig”
Best Short Film: “Bonsai”
Special Jury Award: “Blogog”
Audience Choice (Shorts): “Tatang”
Best Director (Shorts): Dexter B. Cayanes (“Musa”)
Best Screenplay (Shorts): “Behind Closed Doors”


SO Showing in Eastern Samar

July 2, 2009

For the first time ever, the San Julian Differently Abled Persons Association (SJDAPA) is organizing some activities in celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week this July 2009.

SJDAPA is an organization which helps to empower Persons with Disability (PWDs) in all walks of life. As of the moment, the members are composed of hearing, visually and the orthopedically impaired.

Prior to the event proper, some activities will take place as a synchronized activity to the town fiesta. The activities are as follows:

July 13-14, 2009
1. Medical Mission (free consultation and provision of medicines)
2. Booth for PWDs – photo and livelihood products exhibit

July 15, 2009
1. Parade (together with the LGU and people of San Julian) at 7:00 am. This is also one way of informing the community and increasing awareness of the disability celebration. It is a back to back activity of the barangay fiesta.

July 22, 2009 (first day)
1. Chess, Spelling bee, slogan and poster making contest which takes place
2. Sign Language to be imparted by Gilda Quintua
3. Distribution of medicine purchase booklets and PWD IDs

July 23, 2009(second day)
1. swimming and parlor games
2. Film showing of SILENT ODYSSEY, a documentary film on Filipino Deaf Culture
3. socialization and awarding of prizes

This is just the beginning. Members of SJDAPA see the big significance of the event as it will help increase the awareness of PWDs in the community of San Julian.

Spearheading the event is Ma. Gilda Quintua, Deaf Tour Operator and Go-Negosyo awardee in 2007 for entrepreneurship.


A Blind Architect_The Vision of a Non-Handicapping Environment

May 22, 2009

Finally! My latest film is now over.

Entitled “A Blind Architect: The Vision of a Non-Handicapping Environment,” the film produced by Asia-Pacific Development Center Foundation (APCD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was made in collaboration with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Committee on Accessibility and JICA Philippines.

Very short in duration (13.46 min) compared with my own personal advocacy films (usually feature-length), it nevertheless required from me the same amount of effort, commitment and involvement. Working at it was no different too from my own since I have worked with the same people in my previous SO production— 3 Js Janus Victoria, Joseph Leña and Jojo Sia, Jr. The major difference being that I had to contend with stakeholders which took me longer time than usual as I had to wait for a collective decision before I could move on.

The film is about the background history of the Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) movement in the Philippines, with a time span covering 1997 to 2008. Arch. Jaime “Jimmy” Silva, a good and inspiring gentleman who became blind at the peak of architectural design career is the film catalyst. Turning blind because of glaucoma, he also turned into an NHE advocate in the process by making known to those involved with the built environment how important accessibility is to those with physical disability. It was a realization he only came to know when he became blind.

“Networking” as in the words of Arch. Jimmy is what I have “earned” in the process of making this film. It was really great to have met many other people who are dedicated and sincere in trying to make the society change their attitude towards the PWD sector by starting to effect a change on the built environment through enforcement of Batas Pambansa (BP 344) which had been around since 1983 but remains not fully implemented or taken for granted. I am right to say that my advocacy is not a lonely one.

If before I was only conscious in targeting the change of attitude towards the PWDs, now, the NHE concept has added a new dimension in my knowledge which had given me a more rounded idea about their needs. New terms are added in my memory bank— “access audits and talkshops,” “non-PWDs” instead of “abled” persons; and new concept and ideas— “barrier-free environment,” “rights-based concept,” “story-based knowledge management” strongly registered in my consciousness.

New people along the road were encounted as the APCD Staff —consisting of Japanese and Thai people; Arch. Jimmy and his deputy Arch. Armand Eustaquio from UAP, Ms. Gigi Ruiz and her staff from NCDA, the JICA staff and from SM, their staff working on disability affairs. I would like to make special mention of  Ryuhei Sano, Noriko Fort, Naoko Ito and Daisuke Sagiya from APCD and JICA Phil.—people I directly worked with for months. Enthusiastic and very passionate in their work, their spirit has helped to pump up added energy in me to realize the film.

Above all, I acknowledge that without help or spiritual upliftment from above and from Mama Mary of Manaoag, making this film would not be as it has been. Or, would have been much more difficult for me.


Encounter with PVI Volunteers

February 19, 2009

Last February 15, Sunday, I was invited as a resource speaker on Deafness to PVI volunteers who are under training for the summer camp that they are going to conduct in April. It was held at the Makati Youth Center in Guadalupe, Makati City. PVI Foundation Inc., formerly known as Pagkakaisa Volunteers Inc., is a non-stock, non-profit organization established in February of 1979 and is composed of volunteer students and professionals. It has been an advocate arm of DSWD for promoting the welfare and development of Children with Special Needs (the mentally and physically challenged, abandoned, socially deprived, street smart, the physically and sexually abused, children with autism, with Down syndrome, with cerebral palsy and children with ADHD). PVI will hold a 10-day Summer “Therapheutic” Camp named as “Kamp Pagkakaisa” from April 15 to 24, 2009 in Pampanga with approximately 400 kids and 200 volunteers. This yearly project aims to maximize the kids’ innate talents and potentials by providing them with the best opportunities outside their families, institutions, and schools. It will also make the sponsoring communities become aware that special children have special place and have rights.


I honestly never imagined myself to be standing before any such group to “lecture” on Deafness. Since it would only last for an hour, and I knew that it would be impossible for them anyway to learn sign language within that time span, (it takes seven years at the most according to Dr. Therese Bustos of the UP Sped Education Area before one could really sign and interpret for the Deaf), I told Cathy, member of the secretariat who invited me that I could only share some conversational and useful signs and more of my experiences in my immersion in the Deaf world as a hearing person. She agreed. I also thought that aside from imparting some simple and common signs, it would be better to use my two films (“Breaking Down the Barrier” and some excerpts from “Silent Odyssey”) to help make them understand fast who Deaf people are and what their needs are. Afterall, the two films are focused on the Deaf themselves and how it is like to be in their community. I really wanted them to “hear” the Deaf voicing out their own concerns, introduce them to the word “audism” or Deaf oppression, let them know from the Deaf themselves that they get hurt being labeled as “Deaf and dumb,” “Deaf-mute,” “pipi,” and “HI” or “Hearing Impaired.” It is my belief that before learning a language, it is helpful to give them an idea first who those people are and to know something about their culture.

I also lined up and did talk about the differentiations between the two major views on Deafness—medical/pathological view and the view which I am taking that Deaf is a “cultural linguistic-minority” group. I also used some power point slides which I borrowed from DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) courtesy of Noemi Pamintuan which is about dealing with the Deaf and how to communicate with them other than using signs, i.e. tapping their shoulders, switching on and off the lights to get their attention, stomping the feet, texting, etc.

My film “Breaking Down the Barrier” is a short and funny film that I made as a class presentation when I was studying Filipino Sign Language at SDEAS. It is a prelude piece to SO. Largely shot by Deaf students, it is about my immersion in the Deaf world. It covers the experiences of our batch during the Visual-Gestural Communication workshop handled by Dennis Balan, who later worked with me as one of SO’s cameramen. On that day, we were not allowed to speak at all during the workshop, can you imagine yourself not saying a word for hours?? Literally, “napanis ang laway namin!”

There was a delay in the schedule and I was the last to talk. Unfortunately, the LCD projector became so heated up that it stopped working at all. We managed to only play a bit from SO. They were not able to watch, enjoy and understand better what Visual-Gestural communication is which is actually the hearing person’s first step to communicate with the Deaf.

Anyway, Agnes Dizon my classmate at SDEAS, our “class, rather batch valedictorian” (we were just two when we reached FSL 3, last stage in the study of sign language there) joined and helped me in teaching some word signs. It had been fun for me nevertheless, to have shared no matter how little whatever knowledge that I have learned as a sign language student myself.

I “graduated” in 2007 and it is true that without practice, we tend to forget the signs that we have learned. But since currently a Deaf graduating student, Carmi Octavio is consulting with me for her thesis—an animation film about Deaf identity—I am getting refreshed with the word signs that I have already forgotten and in the process learning and adding up some new signs to my word sign vocabularies.