Archive for the ‘Notes’ Category


Partnering with UP Special Education Council

February 18, 2017

The partnership between UP Special Education Council [UP SEC] and our foundation, Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. [GMEFI] was finalized last February 9. They accepted our offer of collaboration in support of my educational documentary, PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon. I had several UP groups in mind to choose from as partner[s] but it was UP SEC that I gave priority to because the participants in this particular film are special, and my subject, Apolinario Mabini, one of our great heroes is the recognized icon of Persons of Disability [PWDS] in our country.

I know that sped teacher’s training would be to maximize a person with special needs’ potentials. It so happened that in this film, the talents and capabilities of Deaf students as performers, and a Person with Autism who is a music genius are showcased. Our objectives aligned.

Though I was a little disappointed in my last partnership with UP SEC some years back, I still reached out to this group, since this time, I know that there would be a new set of officers. Comparatively, they appeared to be quite a happy lot too as shown in the photo below.


[L-R seated]: Joey Guardiano, Mela Mendoza, Cherry Nicdao, Lowe Crisostomo, Selina Sandiego, Mirana and Shaira Odono; Standing: Gil Reoma

Well, my first impression was that this batch is promising —and that they are going to be different. They initially showed enthusiasm and interest in the project, and I could feel that full COMMITMENT, unlike before would be there in their hearts. Still, I do hope that they would really put into practice good Service, awesome Excellence, and 101% Commitment to make our joint project a success.

I was referred to them by U.P. College of Education Dean Therese A.P. Bustos, my consultant in A MI PATRIA, a collection of Five Poems of Rizal in Filipino Sign Language. This is my fifth time to work with the UP College of Education – Special Education Area. The first time was when ALYANA was premiered in 2006.


Walking with Nameless and Countless Angels with Autism

February 16, 2017

February 5, Sunday. The annual gathering of Autism Advocates and Angels with Autism was held once again at Mall of Asia in Pasay  City in celebration of the 2017 Autism Consciousness Month. It should have been held in January but with the holding of the Miss Universe Pageant at the same place where the program had to be done, the event moved to February.

I was there for the nth time to witness the ever-growing number of people joining the event each year. I focused my camera on ordinary people, on those without whose presence and support, the activity would not be that awesome and meaningful. From far and wide they excitedly came, and heeded the call to be there in solidarity with the advocacy of Autism Society Philippines. Even Persons with Disability [PWDs] joined the special celebration.

The 2017 Angels Walk for Autism


2015 Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach is Indeed Confidently Beautiful with a Heart

February 2, 2017

Veering 360 degrees away from my usual stuff is a subject about the recent 2016 Miss Universe Pageant held in Manila —-

Love, comfort and assurance was given by former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach to Maxine Medina right after the coronation of Ms. France Iris Mittenaere as the new Miss Universe. Maxine was the Philippines’ bet to the Miss Universe Pageant held last Monday morning, July 30 at SM Mall of Asia Arena here in our city. She placed 6th among 86 participants from Europe, Asia, North America, South America, Africa and Australia. Medina [same surname as mine!] was sadly subjected to social media bashings from the time she won the Miss Philippines-Universe title because of her English communication skills problem. Despite the bashings and home court pressures, she performed quite well, and graciously in the different competitions. She was stunning in her performances as shown in the short clips below.

Pia, the confidently beautiful woman with a heart who gave moral support and protected Maxine from bashers even before the “Judgement Day,” immediately looked for Maxine after transferring her crown to Miss France. Having lost twice before finally winning the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title to represent the country in the 2015 Miss Universe competition, she must I assume emphatized with her feelings, especially aware of what Maxine had gone through from the time she won the Bb. Pilipinas-Universe title until the competition day.

Pia’s compassionate gesture touched the hearts of many people, not only her fans. And it is possible that her act must have shamed Maxine’s bashers as well. Such gesture had an impact on Neal Alday, who came up with an equally impactful artwork [see below]. By adding the yellow color encircling the tight hug [representing the sun], and the three stars in the background [representing Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao], our national flag could immediately be perceived. He titled his wonderful interpretation as “Solidarity.” Truly, that sense strongly emanated, as well as the sense of sisterhood, of togetherness in a fight for the country. You could not but rejoice to see such an image in an act that conveys: “You are not alone. You’ve done the best you could for our country so you must be proud.” In fact, she did tell Maxine to keep her head up. Pia said Maxine did not cry then, and was in fact very happy with the experience. Maxine thanked all those who supported her, and just told her critics to Move On!


Steve Harvey, MU host last year who read Ms. Universe-Colombia’s name instead of Pia’s hosted the event again. He was however handed a pair of eyeglasses by Pia before he announced the 2016 Ms. Universe winner. The pageant ended without any ISIS threat disturbances, no traffic halting when their convoy pass, and no expenses spent by the government, the organizers said which I personally doubt. Private entities were suppose to shoulder all the expenses incurred during the pageant period. Nevertheless, kudos to the organizers for the successful event!


Dagami Binagol

January 11, 2017

A petite friend, Jill Untivero brought home from Tacloban City, Leyte a delicacy called Binagol. Tacloban became globally known when Typhoon Haiyan, locally named Typhoon Yolanda struck it and the nearby provinces, especially so, when Pope Francis held the most solemn mass I’ve ever seen, made dramatic while the heavy rain falls as he officiated it. Jill says the rise of Tacloban is great, a feat indeed from an area quite devastated and where thousands drowned and died.

Anyway, I marveled at the pasalubong’s packaging. It was tied with dexterity. The tie could easily be removed in just one pull of the string. Wrapped in banana leaves, the ingredients as listed contained coconut, gabi [talyan], sugar, milk, margarine peanut, vanilla, malagkit rice and eggs. Coconut shell serves as the bowl. It was my first time to eat it, and I found it quite yummy.

“Binagol is a delicacy that originated in Eastern Visayas, in Dagami, Leyte…It is taro pudding with nuts, which derives its name from its container — a polished coconut shell, called “bagol” in the local dialect. It’s just half of the coconut shell, because if it’s in the whole shell (with glutinous/sticky rice as the main ingredient), that would be the kalamay of Bohol.” For the recipe and how first-timers should eat it, click:
I unfortunately read this blog after I have consumed it. I ate it as if I was eating any kalamay [glutinous sweets]. I did not realize that it should be treated like leche flan which should be turned upside down first so that the caramel sugar would coat it, the reason why at first taste, I found it bland.


It’s All About Love…

January 7, 2017

…Of God, of Others, and most importantly, of Oneself. It is about being positive and being happy, of becoming truly Xtra-Ordinary. But not without effort though. That is what for me Cris Lorenzana’s book, “Refuse to be Ordinary” is all about having read it from cover to cover. True enough, how else can one become extraordinary if we concern ourselves too much on what others would think or say when we do something different, unusual or uncommon; or, when we trod to take a path less traveled? How can one be a Jonathan Livingston Seagull if you would always have to go with the flow, or do what flock members are expected to perform ordinarily; or, when you stop or refuse to explore your potentials. The ripple effect is there I believe. When we love ourselves, it will be reflected on how we treat others — be they to human beings or any of God’s Creations. “When there is Love; there is Kindness,” that is very true. War and conflict will never arise. Peace, Harmony, Love are only possible if first of all, there is God within our hearts, for God is Love.


Cris Lorenzana Launches Her First Book

Even before its publication, I was expecting the book’s content to be akin to WINNER KA PINOY! — that it would be a radio program on print, if not, an extension of it. I was right! On page 235, Cris says anyone who’d prefer hearing, rather than reading The Optimist Creed and Desiderata may send her a request for their audio file copies; I say that — for her radio listeners like me, there is no need at all because from page one, I could already hear her voice as I read the book. It is as if she is reading in front of me, or over the radio; her presence is felt despite a lot of quotable quotes from those whom she considers her mentors. What a voracious reader, you couldn’t help but think.

However, there is big difference between printed matter, and virtual, aural, and digital materials like CD’s where her weekly episodes are recorded. The former needs no gadget. You can at anytime leaf through the pages to read and re-read, review or just be reminded of fave segments…You can touch the pages lovingly, or tear them with bitterness because some truth may have cause pain in you for realizing that you have wasted a lot of your time doing nothing, or your existence itself seem a complete waste. Which is what Cris is trying to tell everyone all along, to think positive and be with positive people: “Move On! Do not surrender!” What a warrior, this gal!

booklaunch-cris2Indeed the book is quite awesome; it is easy-reading yet thought provoking. At some point, you will have to stop, look back and reflect on your own experiences, relationships, interactions with others; or wallow in the deeper meaning of the quotable quotes as they apply to your own life. Her examples help in understanding them better.

Amidst contemporary chaos locally and globally, amidst daily news reports of deaths, especially EJK’s, of the dangers and fear terrorists sow and spread; of corruption in the government, and apathy now wrapping many of our citizen’s Being, Refuse to be Ordinary is refreshingly a must-read — for downtrodden hearts, those feeling hopeless and useless as it shares thoughts and tips that will help raise self-worth and self-esteem, providing keys to success to become a winner in life. Again, with Love as the bottomline.


Illustration by Ma. Kristina Ham

Regarding the book cover though, I prefer the illustration on her CD, “Live an Extraordinary Life” simply because literally and graphically, showing someone off the ground, and levitating is in itself extraordinary.  Don’t you find being off the earth magically uplifting? And metaphorically seeing or feeling the spirit being taken up in Cloud-9? The ecstatic stance depicts being triumphant, victorious, in euphoria. Besides, the title size as used in the cover snatches the attention that could have been given to the visual element of the girl dancing. In fact, I did not notice the love/heart sign formed by her hands until I intently looked at the form. I could sense the love in labor from Ms. Ma. Kristina Ham’s illustrations and dexterous calligraphy.

Well, speaking of euphoric moments, I once dreamt of being in such an amazing feeling and setting. I remember being high up in the clouds, standing and actually riding on a giant flower that gave me an aerial view of the entire city; the flower moving like a magic carpet as it took me on a journey around, while soft breeze enveloping my Being drowned me with bliss. An unforgettable dream, yes!


Proof of Attendance

Above everything, my preferred illustration reminds me of my favorite writer, Kahlil Gibran. His book illustrations possess surreal, and ethereal qualities that I admire. Beauty is relative but that is how I perceive them in comparison. Having said that, I want to thank Cris for inviting us to her book launch with matching souvenir photo during the occasion held last December 15.

Below are some photos sent by Cris as documented by Col. Clark Abellera.


Photo Op with the rest of the Privileged Few who Attended the Book Launching

I was supposed to treat Cris for giving birth to a dream; pero hindi nangyari. Siya ang nagtreat — birthday treat daw. Anyway, we had nearly three hours of fun just talking, and laughing with some exchange of notes re her book. Our last moments at Chili’s [left photo below] spoiled Cris’ mood though because of sudden ‘bad element’ that came her way…

However, Gelatos at Cafe Ti-Amo [right side photos above] helped in regaining her cool back.

Being with a very positive person, and seeing how she reacted to a negative element was quite notable. I would have reacted the same way she did. Naiimbyerna rin! How one says something really matters.

My treat next time!


Best SDEAS Deaf Cultural Show that I’ve Seen

November 21, 2016

“Of signs and wonders: Jesus made the lame walk and the blind see. At the 22nd Deaf Festival, in His Name and for His Glory he made the Deaf dance! And that is truly a miracle…” – Susan Abad, a relative I tagged along with to watch the show texted this to me, a day after witnessing for the first time the culmination of the 22nd Deaf Festival held at the ARG, CSB Theater in Taft Avenue, Manila.


From Facebook – photo from CJ Patriarca of the Silent Steps

Last Saturday, November 19, I managed to find time to attend the 22nd SDEAS Deaf Cultural Show. I met old friends — both Deaf and Hearing. Many of them were members of the Silent Steps, the All-Deaf playgroup with whom I have worked with in several of my Deaf films, and the current faculty staff of the DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS]. I have seen Deaf theater presentation for the first time a decade ago in 2017 when I first enrolled as FSL student of SDEAS’ Filipino Sign Language Learning Program [FSLLP], a module intended for hearing persons.


Me [3rd from right] in between hearing interpreter Febe Sevilla [4th from R] and Susan Abad [in dark glasses]. The rest are Deaf Faculty Staff of SDEAS. Jenn Balan on the extreme right and Anna Arce [2nd from left]

This year is, I would consider the best Deaf Fest presentation amongst several other cultural shows that I’ve seen in the past. All the participating performers were highly charged, energetic and were visibly enjoying their performances. The only thing they should consider next time when presenting is the pace with which they change from one performance to the other. There should be no long breaks in between presentation. In film, it is called transition. There should be fast but smooth transition flow.


The Silent Steps with Myra Medrana, their choreographer on the extreme left [with eyeglasses]. Photo from her fb post. I recognize Mary Rose Gozon and Marvin [extreme right]

Myra Medrana’s choreography was great! The integration of film and theater which is something that I’ve done in several of my films for the Deaf was quite impressive, and really wonderful. A memorable performance that really touches the heart, and must have made some Deaf in the audience cried was the one that tackles Deaf issues on discrimination.

Even the video presentations highly leveled up in quality and form. Congratulations to SDEAS for the continuous support that they are providing their students!



A Touching Adoption Story of a Child with Special Needs

November 3, 2016

Sharing with you a video that made me teary-eyed but happy. This is about a child with no limbs adopted by an American family who came all the way to the Philippines to fetch her. For the first time ever, I clicked “like” on youtube.

A story of love, yes!!!…unconditional love! I am sooooo happy for this girl, and very grateful to the family who adopted her.

May she grow up to be like Nicholas James Vujicic, a very inspiring person, without limbs like this girl, but who can easily put to shame those who call themselves abled for being courageous in overcoming his difficulties, living a wonderful life as a great inspiration to Persons with Disability and non-PWDs alike.