Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category


Fr. Cyril Axelrod, CSsR_Deaf-Blind Priest who Encouraged the Establishment of PFD

March 1, 2015
The Philippine Association of the Deaf [PAD] was first established in October 17, 1926 by Filipino Deaf leader, Mr. Pedro Santos. PAD was an official member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), an international non-governmental organization representing approximately 70 million Deaf people worldwide. WFD is recognized by the United Nations or UN. In 1990s, PAD and PAD Demonstration School were both closed due to internal mismanagement. PAD had no communication with WFD since its dissolution so WFD asked Fr. Cyril Axelrod, CSsR, the former director of Macau Deaf Association to check the status of PAD through the Catholic Ministry to Deaf People (CMDP) and its former Executive Director, Dr. Jandi Arboleda. He reported to WFD that the PAD was officially dissolved. 
Fr. Cyril Axelrod

Fr. Cyril Axelrod [Courtesy of DEAF Advocating News & Travels in the Philippines from fb account of CBDagani]

There was an informal community meeting in 1995 but did not push through. Fr. Axelrod, CSsR did not give up and push the community meeting with the assistance of CMDP. He proposed to the Filipino Deaf community to establish a new organization to replace PAD, In its stead, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf or PFD was founded on October 19, 1996. It was formally established the following year on May 18, 1997. This story was  shared by Raphy Domingo, former president of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf.

ASHES TO ASHES, DUST TO DUST! Ash Wednesday 2015

February 21, 2015

Ash Wed5

February 18. The first day of the season of Lent this year. Pastors and nuns applied ashes to the foreheads of Catholics, said to be signifying inner repentance.

Bac St Therese

Behind this is the wishing water fountain, or a wishing well[?] where the love padlocks can be seen on the fence.

Inside the compound of the National Shrine of the Mother of Perpetual Help in Baclaran, people lined up for the cross sign to be applied on their foreheads. It was kind’a festive, falling as it was on Baclaran Day, or the day of the Mother of Perpetual Help. Nevertheless, it wasn’t as crowded as I expected because the Mass was still on-going at the time I went there.

What caught my attention was seeing for the first time the padlocks— a la love lock or love padlocks in Paris bridges — on the fence protecting the wishing font placed behind the statue of Mother Theresa. Symbol of the lover’s love as in the West? Well, I am sure they got the idea from there.

Bac Locks1
However, the act by now is being seen as littering and vandalism by the authorities in the West. What will the Redemptorist Fathers do when padlocks totally cover the whole fence? Abangan!

Bac Locks5

On the 40th Day or the end of the Lenten season, I will most probably check how it will look like…


A Day with the Hiranos, and Renato, the Deaf Pope Francis Blessed

February 18, 2015

The Hiranos — Ronald and Catherine, and Renato Cruz, who with his family, Pope Francis blessed when he visited the Philippines last month were DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] visitors.  As I did not watch the encounter of Pope Francis with the three Filipino families in MOA, I did not know who Renato was until I became curious and asked Febe who he is while we were in the van on the way to Taal, Batangas. They were toured last Thursday by Giselle Montero and Febe Sevilla to four places in Taal Heritage Town: Taal Basilica, Camera Galleria, Villavicencio Wedding Gift House, and the Basilica Museum. Gi and Febe are part of Project Mabini production team that I am co-producing with SDEAS.


On the way to Taal, Renato Cruz was busy telling a story to Ronald Hirano while Rodolfo Soriano, Jr. looks on. All three are Deaf.

Paano ako nasabit sa lakad? Oh well, the day before the tour, it happened that I was in the office of Giselle because of the voice recording session that I had with Cris Lorenzana, narrator for our video documentary on Apolinario Mabini entitled “The Sublime Paralytic.” Cris is an inspirational speaker, and host to DZXL’s Sunday program Winner ka, Pinoy! Giselle invited me to join them and upon being told that they were going to a historic site… syempre, yes agad!

Renato Takes Photo of Ronald

Renato Takes the Photo of Ronald and Catherine Hirano in front of Taal Basilica in Batangas

Mr. Rodolfo Soriano Jr., octogenarian Deaf brother of actor Nestor de Villa was also in the group. I first met Lolo Rody when I interviewed him with Febe about his life during the Japanese period.

Taal Basilica_group shot

From L-R: Febe Sevilla, Ronald Hirano, Catherine Hirano, Rodolfo Soriano Jr., Giselle Montero, Renato Cruz

The special guest, Mr. Ronald Hirano is a Deaf photographer who launched his book on his mother, Delight Rice, founder of the Philippine School for the Deaf [PSD] in 1907.

With special people and friends, the day had been quite memorable, fruitful, wonderful, wholesome, and enjoyable! On the way home, we had a stop over at Starbucks in Tagaytay City.

[Except for a couple of shots, I shot all the photos using an ordinary point and shoot HP cam].


Deaf Nisei Ronald Hirano in Manila to Tell the Story of his Mother Delight Rice

February 3, 2015

The Life Story of Mother Delight Rice and Her Children

Delia Delight Rice was the first teacher of the deaf in the Philippines and her story is told by one of her adopted children, who is an author, a photographer, and a deaf community leader. He is scheduled tomorrow February 4 to talk about his book on Delight Rice and to hold a Photography Workshop with Deaf students on February 5. [Please read the details below]

Hirano at CSB


To Deaf Filipinos – I Love You Sign from the Pope

January 26, 2015

POPE Deaf Sign
Pope Francis and Cardinal Tagle gesture during meeting with families in Mall of Asia Arena in Philippines

Taken at SM Mall of Asia Arena during Pope Francis’ Encounter with Families, January 16, 2015

Photo courtesy of,


POPE FRANCIS – A la Super Typhoon in the Philippines

January 15, 2015
Pope n Rizal

T-Shirt that I chose with our flag design and Rizal Monument as background

Pope Francis is arriving in Manila from Sri Lanka this evening at 5.45 for a five day visit here starting today January 15 up to January 19. The preparations for his coming is akin to the preparations made before the coming of recent super typhoon Ruby. The government agencies concerned, and the citizens readied for the typhoon’s onslaught to avoid the same outcome as when Typhoon Yolanda “visited” the country. Media had special coverages. Similarly, preparations for the coming of the Pope were lined up but this time the Church and State are working together to welcome the Pope. The media is playing an important role in giving information to the people. Radio is observably turning to be more reliable since schedules shift from time to time. For ex., an earlier radio report says that Mass at the Cathedral will start at 12.15; in an hour or so, the same station says it will be at 11.15am.

As almost all sectors are affected by Pope Francis’ coming, it can be said that he is like a super typhoon. But unlike typhoons that bring devastation to life and properties, the Pope restores lost hope and faith to Man. Thus, hundredfold activities to welcome him are being prepared by all concerned including ordinary citizens, with his security and protection against lawless elements topmost in the list of “to do’s.” Understandably, visiting us is Christ’s representative, Shepherd to over 80 million Catholic Filipinos, and head of state of Vatican City as well.

Ordinary citizens in Manila and Tacloban, places the Pope are visiting are quite excited to see him. It is also like preparing for the coming of Superman. Though the Pope already said that focus should be on Christ not on him, still it seems that he is seen as a hero. For many who are looking for someone to lift their spirit up from feeling of distress perhaps, or from poverty – either of spirit and economic lack, the Pope with his enchanting and charismatic personality loom large as figure of hope. With so much news on corruption, drug lords living as kings, leaders who think of themselves more that the country and the people that they should serve, the Pope’s coming serve as a breather… a rest…He is seen as Light, as Hope for renewal, for change. He brings Christ.

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Pope “fever” is high: radio stations promise mega and non-stop report from his arrival; on newspapers and on television the Pope is headline. As I live in Pasay, the first city where he is arriving tonight – in between Villamor Airbase where the Pope would disembark and the Mall of Asia where his Mass with selected families is to be held on Sunday — it has become common to hear and see helicopters hovering around the area; part of the authorities’ dry run possibly on the routes the Pope would take from the airport to the Nuncio’s house in Manila. For several days now, priests are daily being interviewed about him by different radio stations. Like them, I heard Cardinal Tagle sounding very “high” and happy when he recounted his experiences with Pope Francis. His coming is most anticipated.

Inside Baclaran Church yesterday afternoon –just a day before the Pope arrives, I saw a team of foreign correspondents, taking notes about the on-going Wednesday novena, perhaps having their preview of the community who would welcome the Pope. Much unlike in Europe, where Catholicism seems “dead” [I remember entering a very huge church in Belgium with not more that 10 people inside it]; here it is quite alive, especially in the Mother of Perpetual Help Shrine in Baclaran, the Catholic church located nearest to our house.

Souvenirs with his photos, T-shirts, fans and badges are also all over. Photo standees were made so that people who won’t be able to go near Pope Francis in person could at least take their photo with him. Classes are suspended until he leaves; offices are closed; roads are to be blocked; airplanes cannot plane in before and until he arrives / leaves. Prayers and petitions are being readied by people hopeful of change from within and without one’s self.

I can feel the Hope that he is bringing to our country. Stories about him abound regarding his Love, Mercy and Compassion for the poor and “the least of our brethren.” He goes to the people; he serves his flock. His simplicity and Humility is something our corrupt leaders should emulate and follow.

I am not a practicing Catholic anymore but I am as excited as any pious and religious Catholic who are waiting for “The People’s Pope.”

I am just praying that typhoon “Amang” which just entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility  dissipate, if not, completely melt away, or change its course of direction. It is currently bringing rains to Tacloban and Samar, the two most-devastated places affected by Typhoon Yolanda. So many believe in the power of prayer. That includes me! Nevertheless, in case he experiences the typhoon rains in Tacloban, it would be giving him a more complete picture and feel, even just for a fraction on what the victims of Typhoon Yolanda actually encountered.


Mabini Descendants Interviewed

December 11, 2014
Mabini Descendants2

Chika time before the interview with Mabini descendants

Last November 21, I interviewed two descendants of one of our great heroes, Apolinario Mabini whose Sesquicentennial Birth Anniversary is being celebrated this year. He was most vocal and active against Spanish and American sovereignty over the Philippines at the turn of the century. American newspaper reports called him the “Brains of the Insurrectos”. Fearing that his presence in our country would bring in trouble, they sent him on exile to Guam in 1901. He could only return to the Philippines — as their term of conditions — if he swears his oath of allegiance to the US. Ms. Pelagia Mabini, a third generation descendant recounted that when asked to kiss the American flag, Mabini vehemently refused.

Mabini Descendants

Third Generation Descendants of Apolinario Mabini — Pelagia Mabini from Monico Mabini family line and Reynaldo Mabini from Alejandro Mabini family line who quite resembles the looks and simplicity of his Lolo Apolinario

An “insurrecto” to the Americans; he was to the Filipinos — the “Brains of the Revolution” and “The Sublime Paralytic.” Yes! he was a physically disabled man, paralyzed in 1896 two years after he graduated from UST. As a writer and political philosopher, Mabini was feared, and quite annoyed the Americans because of his unwavering conviction to fight for absolute independence. It just showed how much the Americans valued the power of the mind and the pen over physical disability. Isn’t that cool?

Mabini was appointed as Chief adviser of the first Philippine President, Emilio Aguinaldo in June 1898. He was also the first Minister of Foreign Affairs. He could have been the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court were he not discriminated due to his disability. In January 1899, he became the prime minister or president of the council of secretaries of Aguinaldo Cabinet.

Mabini Descendants3

Ms. Pelagia Mabini in front of the genealogical graph of Mabini Family. She used to work as Museum technician in Tanauan, Batangas. She shared stories about Mabini that were handed down to them by their parents and grandparents. [Shot during my interview with her, Mabini Museum in Tanauan]

Mabini resigned however when factions and clashes of ideas with the ilustrados arose; time when he felt that was not serving the popular will as many were against his convictions. Even then, he continued to write inflammatory articles against the Americans when they took over the Spaniards after the Treaty of Paris was signed on December 10, 1898. The Filipinos’ trust was betrayed as time and history would reveal.

Anyway, during my research, I actually saw the need of providing Deaf access to information on Mabini. The audiovisual materials at the Mabini Museums, both in Tanauan, Batangas and in Sta. Mesa, Manila obviously only target the regular hearing audience and elementary students it seems, based on the treatment and the type of graphic presentations used. For our project, I want the students to feel the ambience of Mabini’s time. And that is only possible by showing actual photos and documents available, sparse illustration, if none at all, and news reports about him in the 1900’s. Most importantly, I want to expose the students to lesser known heroes at the time of Mabini and Rizal.

From July of this year, I have already visited museums, archives, went to the National Library to check on available microfilms that are relevant to his life, and maximized on the use of available books in the personal library of my deceased historian-brother Isagani Medina — a big influence on the type of docus that I am doing, and want to do. I also interviewed for the film a historian, Arch. Jaime Silva, the blind architect, and the curator of the Mabini Museum.

Apolinario Mabini was born in Talaga,Tanauan, Batangas on July 23, 1864. It is a town located outside Manila. Without traffic, one can get there in an hour or so. Nearly a month ago, I was there.

[The project is being made in collaboration with DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies].


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