Posts Tagged ‘Alyana’


Future Educators to Watch ALYANA at DLSU-Dasma

February 16, 2015

As part of the activities for the Lasallian Festival, the College of Education of De La Salle University-Dasmariṅas located in Cavite will offer a free showing of “Alyana,” a documentary film on autism, for their students tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm, February 17, 2015.

Through the film, the intended audience will hopefully be enlightened and inspired in accepting and empowering individuals with special needs especially persons with autism. A segment on the experiences of sped teachers handling children with autism will also give them a glimpse of what lies ahead for them, and the challenges they will have to face as future educators. It is an opportunity to encourage these young minds to advocate for the protection and recognition of the rights of children especially those with special needs.

ASP President Bacoor Chapter Pamela Turingan and ASP Vice President Dasmariṅas Chapter Marino Andal will be present to answer questions during the open forum. Also, parents of children enrolled at the Neurodevelopmental Center of De La Salle University Medical Center will come to view the film.

Venue: Felipe Calderon Hall Rooms 106 to 107.


September Showings_Target Dates

September 7, 2014

Roadshow Sked of my docus:

September 20 – “Silent Odyssey”, Philippine School for the Deaf in celebration of International Deaf Day

September 28 – “Tiga-Isla” [The Islanders of Corregidor] – Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite, in celebration of Tourism Day

September 15[?] – “Alyana — A Study of Autism in the Philippines”, Dasmariñas, Cavite

All are fully subtitled in English.

More notes: Last Thursday, Architect Jaime Silva was interviewed for a docu on Apolinario Mabini

Additional Notes as of Sept. 18: 1] There will be additional showings Sept 19 at PSD; 2] Tiga-Isla showing in Kawit was moved to October; 3] Showing of Alyana finally sked on September 27


Autism in Media

October 11, 2013

ASP Flicker Photos

[Reposted from an article published by Dang Koe in Manila Bulletin last October 7  – Autism in Media]

A quick search of #autistic on Facebook or Twitter will show you a long list of updates which use the word as an insult or joke.

Mag Cruz Hatol, secretary general of Anak TV — an organization that is at the forefront of media education efforts and campaign to promote responsible and child-sensitive television — opined on what this phenomenon means for Filipinos as a society.

“Philippine media is replete with stereotyping for as long as we can remember. Actors and directors milked laughter from audiences through comic and oftentimes insulting performances that were shamelessly prejudiced against physical deformities and mental deficiencies. In fact, local media perpetuated the idea that if people who were physically or mentally challenged were not to be pitied, they were to be made objects of laughter,” said Hatol.

Furthermore, he said that it was media, more than anything else, which swayed the Filipino mind into thinking and accepting what was portrayed for them as “the normal.”

“It does not surprise therefore, that in small villages, one gets known by little monikers that point to peculiar traits of his physique. Consequently, the disabled either became the brunt of painful jokes (painful on the part of the subject), source of cheap entertainment (again at the expense and embarrassment of the subject) or because they were considered “punishment” for their parents’ former sins, were shackled or kept away from public view. Keeping them indoors meant avoiding the snickers of the community and lessening the chatter of neighbors who always conjectured that having bred children who bore some form of disability was nature’s way of exacting vengeance on the family for its infractions,” he added.

Angels Talk asked members of Autism Society Philippines what media professionals can do to build an honest and compassionate public perception of autism.

Len Macasaquit, mother of a 10-year old girl with autism, believes that “truthful, honest and more complete depiction of what people with autism go through should be pursued. Enough with physical manifestations as focus but instead explore what goes on in an autistic mind.” The HBO film “Temple Grandin” is a good example of what goes on in an autistic mind.

Raissa Marian Cruz suggested “more documentaries and interviews of families of persons with autism (PWA), instead of the usual portrayals in mainstream movies and TV series.”

Independent director, writer and researcher Mirana Medina describes her documentary “ALYANA” as a “concrete example of a film on autism that fully recognizes the PWA’s being; it tells the audience who they really are through testimonies of their primary caregivers, as well as through information coming from people directly handling them or working for their welfare. The shared experiences evoke empathy that leads to a better understanding of the PWA’s condition, and greater appreciation of their presence in society.”

Medina focuses her work on special children and persons with disability.

“It is my advocacy as part of a personal journey to make educational and informative films about them with the major aim of breaking attitudinal barriers. With that in my heart, any film form that I’ll shape up I know will, in turn, help shape the public perception of my subject. That way, I have the heavier role of making the society understand their condition, recognize their BEING and their potentials, NOT to pity but welcome them instead to the fold.”

She also agrees with another autism advocate, JC John Sese Cuneta, that “media professionals should first do proper and extensive research about autism spectrum before writing their reports or a new film/TV series.” This brings to mind a lot of pseudo-autistic TV/film characters that can mislead people about understanding autism.

Wikipedia reports that “television programs featuring characters with autism or characteristics stereotypical of autism spectrum disorders have become commonplace, most notably in sitcoms. Series such as “The Big Bang Theory” have been criticized for their depictions of characters with ASD traits as whimsically detached, one-dimensional characters.” On the other hand, recent TV-series characters with autism were given super powers! Jake of “Touch” who never says a word but can predict future events, and Gary Bell of “Alphas” who processes information as fast as any computer.

But even with well-researched TV shows/movies, autism cannot be pinned down by just one well-portrayed autistic character. People have to also understand that while we have a near-genius “Temple Grandin,” a Raymond Babbitt (from the famous movie “Rain Man”) with savant abilities in Math and memory, we also have Dafu from “Ocean Heaven” who struggles to learn basic tasks, and the non-verbal Charlie from “Black Balloon” who strips half-naked while running in the neighborhood.

As another ASP member Chel Gan wrote, “PWAs can be as varied as any group of people, which is exactly what media needs to show.”

Finally, advocate mom Aileen Ni pleads for her 20-year old son: “Media, including social media, must help in promoting public awareness about autism. Netizens should be sensitive not to use words like “abnoy, autistic” to associate with corrupt and evil public servants. Every medium must be used not to malign but to advocate for them.” And this is exactly what ASP’s online campaign “1Pangako” calls for. (http//


At DZUP 1602 with Rose

July 27, 2012

With Ms. Rose Feliciano

Last Tuesday, July 24 i went to DZUP to meet Sarah Maniago, Broadcast Communication student of UP. She emailed me requesting for an on-the-air interview by Ms. Rose Feliciano for the program called ROSE [Radyo Oble Serbisyo sa Empleyado] AT YOUR SERVICE. It is a program that talks about the different government agencies and institutions for the benefit of employees as well as students, and aims to inform and address the community’s concerns and issues, and helps in the dissemination of information as well as to better address the needs of the community. According to Ms. Feliciano, DZUP started in 1958 at the UP College of Engineering, then moved to Palma Hall…until it found its permanent home at the UP Mass Communication Media Center Bldg.

I lived in Area II, at 107 J.P. Laurel St. in UP for nearly 20 years when my brother Gani was still alive and  teaching there but I only occasionally tuned in to DZUP1602. Possibly because I was already a UP resident, and hot issues, even gossips could easily be heard and gotten. Besides, I worked at the UP Film Center, and my brother taught at the UP Department of History, so together, news from our ends would be enough for us to talk about. Thinking of my brother, and our simple, somewhat rustic life there makes me nostalgic and sad.

Anyway, in celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week  (July 17-23) which is annually being observed in the Philippines, DZUP 1602 has decided to feature disability as the program’s theme for this month. Advocating for their cause is the reason why I was requested to be there. They invited me, according to their letter “to talk about your film, Alyana which is about the autism in the Philippines. Basically, the episode will concentrate on the said film, your advocacy, the relevance of the celebration of disability week as well as your inspiration in making different advocacy films.”

Re my experiences in making films for special children / PWDs, I ended up talking about them all — ALYANA, SILENT ODYSSEY [my journeys into the autism and Deaf world], even about Arch. Jaime Silva, in A BLIND ARCHITECT-The Vision of Non-Handicapping Environment produced by APCD, and A MI PATRIA, Rizal’s Poems for the Deaf, the Blind including non-PWDs.

How I wish I can already talk about the CP’s!!! My optimism remains, though its making has unfortunately been set aside for long  because of my last work, A MI… But even if A mi is already done, the problem is I have no camera to use when I move around to research. On my line up for interview are Dr. Bernadette Chua and Dr. Mary Ann Prudencio — who are both based outside Manila [another problem!]. But you see, God provides! That has always been my belief. And since I started it, I think 2 or 3 years ago, still I know that I will end up with a film more – on the CPs – in God’s time. I’ll just pray that my passion for making advocacy films never ends.


A mi Patria: Dream Come True

June 30, 2012

In my post “LOLO JOSE” posted sometime in 201o, [click to see: lolo-jose-rizal], I wrote about dreaming of a small project on Dr. Jose Rizal. At that time [March 2010], I never quite knew what I wanted. It was simply something on Rizal, a tribute to him. What I remember was that the idea quite formed only when I thought of writing a proposal to the NCCA. I also remember bringing my notes when we went to show “Alyana” in Rosales, Pangasinan sometime in mid-2010. I jotted my concept and ideas, my aims, rationale for making the film for I was thinking of something which was not meant for me alone. It was meant to benefit the Deaf. Later, I thought of the Blind, eventually students of Rizal and Spanish Courses, and the whole world interested in Rizal’s poems.

Well, looking back, I feel quite triumphant as I managed to realize my dream — A MI PATRIA — armed only with creative and novel ideas, confidence, patience, determination, will power and above all, faith in God that I will be able to finish my film, and “overcome” all hurdles through His help. It is because whenever I start a project, I never really have a budget to finish one in reality; I only know that my idea is doable and with guts and confidence, I also know that God’s grace and help will come  in so many ways and form. When I start, it has to finish, that’s my line of thought. For A mi… “sariling sikap” helped and I know for sure, some God’s plan and design really worked to make my dream for others come true. As such, I am not giving up on making the docu that i started for the Cerebral-Palsied. [I even have a working title for it: “CP KIDS”]. I started it. Sometime in the future — I never know when — it will finish. I worked on Alyana that way. I started never knowing when to finish.

It is just unfortunate that now all my cameras, four of them, are not working anymore. Bumigay na lahat. Moreover, even my editing software has malfunctioned. Now, I am dreaming of a Mac. For the first time, I am dreaming of a Mac because virus attack on my computer really doubled-even tripled the processes for me to be able to move on in my editing of Rizal film. Besides, Final Cut Pro is widely used and since I am not familiar with the software, I take time to edit. Nevertheless, even if one is so good at using all the shortcuts and knows all the configurations, if he/she doesn’t know the proper editing principles, he/she will forever be just a cutter.


I Made it to the 12th National Conference in Sped Education

October 23, 2011

I am not a special nor a regular teacher; not a school administrator or a school staff; not a parent, but the grand-aunt of a special child [Alyana]. But yes! I managed to attend the conference yesterday on INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: Educating the Child with Special Educational Need in the Regular School. And I was one of the WALK-INS Dr. Edilberto Dizon was “lamenting” about. Some he said were calling up to 8:00 o’clock, Friday night trying to make reservations. But I can’t help it. My sked is so erratic, I can’t say whether it would be possible for me to attend up to the last minute, despite my want. The demands of film making is quite different from an ordinary work.

Anyhow, I found Dr. Dizon as energetic as when I first saw and met him in 2004 when I first attended the same conference with the topic: Pro-Life, Pro-God, Pro-Humanity… for the purpose of immersing myself in the world of special education and special people. That was my first initiative to know and understand Alyana’s world. I was on the research stage in the making of ALYANA—A STUDY OF AUTISM IN THE PHILIPPINES, and I did not know back then where to start. And God, yes, who else but God? led me to attend that conference where I found myself seated right beside the mother of two children with autism from whom I first heard of ABA, of Shanti Kilduff’s center [BMAC] and all. Being there was sort of a baptism to me…

Seven years later — at the UP Film Center where I used to work….

What brings you here? were the same question that I heard from Therese Bustos and Je-ann Villanueva who were part of the organizing group. To answer: I went there to update myself as to the real and current concept of inclusive education, and if the way I understand it is correct or not. I am happy to know that my understanding is correct at least, but I have learned many more of course about “inclusionary” education. In 2004, I do not remember hearing that word [inclusionary] yet. “Inclusive” was the more common term back then.

Proof of Attendance Not for Work Promotion Purposes

The conference speakers presented well  except for the last one whose presentation turned out to be boring mainly because: 1) Her slides were not that readable. There were plenty of texts per slide at times. And they were “slided” too fast in some cases that I was wondering why they have to be used. They were gone midway while you were still reading them. Added to that were examples with texts presented in light, not bold fonts when the background is dark, in solid red crimson hue which ate up the light fonts; 2) The manner of presentation itself… I kept on hearing, ok. ok. ok. And most importanly, there was lack of eye contact with the audience. The speaker’s attention focused more on the slides. Well, I am just talking from the point of view of an ordinary viewer/listener… one of the several hundreds who attended the conference. It just made me feel I wanted to go home…because reading her presentation would have been the better option.

But I stayed on until 6 p.m… and got my certificate. [I have scanned and posted it so I can easily find it when needed…for notation purposes, not to get promotion or any of that sort. I really attended the conference just to update myself on what is happening in the sped world.] T-shirts for walk-ins will be available from Nov. 8 according to the announcement of Dr. Dizon. Pamaskong Handog!!!


editing asiong salonga 2011

July 6, 2011

i have started editing asiong salonga in pagsanjan last monday july 4. the footages are promising. we are going to have a real good, action film. i edited the sequence of the ‘duel’ between asiong and boy zapanta, played by gov. er and ronnie lazaro respectively. it was an interesting segment to edit. it turned out to be my ‘guinea pig’ in the use of final cut pro. i am used to pinnacle editing software. nevertheless, since it uses the adobe premiere icons, i just have to recall and again be familiar with it. we were using at the up film center the adobe premiere — during those times when we had to wait long for the movie to render. those were good times i still cherish anyway.

this is our first time to really work on an action film. i met mr. seng a thai fight director, and saw him in action. tikoy introduced him to me when i attended the shooting of the calesa chase in pila. he told me that they were here for the film for the past three weeks and were scheduled to fly back to thailand yesterday, july 5.

we also went back to manila as the shooting will resume on sunday… editing asiong salonga will be my pre occupation in between showing of my docu on autism, alyana and preparations for my shoot of ‘flowers of heidelberg’ in filipino sign language featuring romalito mallari as rizal.


Alyana Turns 18 as ASP Celebrates the 4th World Autism Awareness Day

April 2, 2011

I reached SM Skydome after 3 pm. I went to Autismusical direct from Alyana’s house after 18 roses were handed to her one after the other—by brother Ian, cousins, uncles, even lolos, and Gideon, Alyana’s orphaned cousin. [Gideon’s mother, Bangbang, my niece-cum-goddaughter died a few hours after the delivery of the baby. She never saw her newborn child…and Gideon never experienced the warmth of a mother’s embrace]. It was a very close family affair. Hence, at the height of Autism Society Philippines’ celebrations of the 4th World Autism Day [ pls click to read april-2-world-autism-awareness day.html+4th+World+Autism+Day&cd=1&hl=tl&ct=clnk&gl=ph&client=firefox-a&], we were also celebrating Alyana’s 18th birthday. It was in 2003 when I started producing the film Alyana; 2006 when it was finally finished and shown. Eight years had gone by! Alyana is now nearly as tall as I am…her mother said she is more responsive, and at least can say “Mama”—one of the sweetest word on earth, I believe. She must have been in Cloud 9 when she first heard that word.

Papa Boyet, the last to hand Alyana the 18th red rose about to kiss Alyana as Mama Eileen looks on

Happy Birthday Yani!!

Gideon with Papa Dick Albao

Anyway, though late at the music concert, I was just lucky to have seen Tara and the other Dream Girls of Ging Viado beautifully sang at heart and gusto. I watched also the band with Pabsky’s boy as the lead singer. And finally! TumTum Mendoza! Everybody were surprised to hear Tumtum sing..he dedicated the song to all mothers. They were all inspiring…and my going to the venue was so timely, it further confirmed an idea hatching in my mind for several months now that aims to showcase their talents. I relayed the idea to Dang Koe, emeritus chair of ASP.

This year’s ASEAN AUTISM NETWORK Theme is “ACT FOR AUTISM NOW”. It must be noted that PVI Voluenteers helped kept the atmosphere alive at Skydome up to the end of the show!!! Keep it up ‘fair hope of motherland”!!! LOL!!! Rizal’s spirit has started to haunt me from the time I started working on my current project to translate Rizal’s poems in sign language.


Changing the Way We Think About Disability_Medical? or Social View???

March 8, 2011

I came across Analou Suan’s article about the general attitude of the people in our society towards PWDs. Analou is the Director of GPRehab in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, someone I first met in Silliman University when ALYANA was shown in the city in December 2008. Three months later in March 2009, ALYANA was back there under the sponsorship of GPRehab and Silliman U. It was discussed by the two immediately after Alyana’s first showing that it would be reshown in the 1st Autism Awareness Day that they will hold in the city sparked by the interest in autism that the film generated in the viewers. I returned there with the president of Autism Society Philippines Dang Koe, OT Prof. and owner of Independent Living Learning Center Archie David and ASP E.O. Ranil Sorongon. The following year, GPRehab next sponsored the showing of SILENT ODYSSEY, my next advocacy docu after Alyana, a film on Deaf Filipinos.

Analou writes:

“A friend came to me one time and asked: Why do you expose children with disabilities in public during parades and other activities? Are you just not inviting criticisms and worse, discrimination, when you do that?

She retorted by saying that:

… They are there because they want to raise awareness about the rights of children with disabilities. They are there because they want society to know that the existence of these children cannot be ignored anymore. More importantly, they want society to understand that, although the national government itself has already, supposedly, undertaken legislative measures to ensure the inclusion of disabled children in society, there has to be moves to facilitate local implementation of these laws, with the local government and its concerned agencies working together with parents and families with mutual respect, to create an environment that will nurture the children and promote their development.

To better understand that, she explained the medical and social views that the society have towards the PWDs. To read the full article, click changing-the-way-we-think-about-disability


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.”