Posts Tagged ‘Giselle Montero’


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 Summer Camp 2014_Castillejos in Zambales

April 22, 2014

A Deaf Summer Camp will be held for the first time at the Municipality of Castillejos in Zambales in collaboration with DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] starting Thursday, April 24. The five-day Deaf camp is a follow-up activity of the whole day Orientation on Deaf seminar held last January 22, 2014 in Castillejos.


Mackie Calbay teaches some FSL signs

Giselle Montero, SDEAS Center for Partnership and Development Director led the group. Mackie Calbay, Youth Section President of the Philippine Federation of the Deaf and Leah Osido, also from the same office conducted the seminar using Filipino Sign Language [FSL].

Gi interprets

Giselle Montero interprets for Mackie


Leah Osido’s turn to orient the participants on Deafness

Me sharing FSL learning experience

Sharing my FSL learning experience to the community of Castillejos

Giselle served as their interpreter while Leah and I documented the event. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with focus on Deaf rights were discussed. The participants during the morning session consisted of hearing individuals who were mostly the staff of the different departments in the municipality, PWDs of Castillejos, and family members of Deaf persons. They all enjoyed learning some basic Deaf signs. In the afternoon, only the Deaf and their families together with the members of the PWD group were asked to attend as further discussion on Deaf rights were taken up. Questions and answers followed.

Police Learning FSL

Members of Castillejos Police Force and the other staff of the municipality learn FSL

Casti Mun Bldg

The Deaf seminar last January was held on the third floor of Castillejos Municipal Building in Zambales [Photo above]

Organizers and Families

The Organizers from SDEAS and the Municipality of Castillejos including some Deaf children and their family. Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez is seated in front. Giselle Montero and Eleanor Dominguez  [standing 1st and 6th from left respectively]

This summer, a 14-member delegation — largely consisting of Deaf students with their hearing coordinators, Bea Francisco and Agnes Canayon of SDEAS’ Center for Deaf Esteem and Formation— will facilitate the program which is still being finalized by SDEAS and the PWD group of Castillejos. Eleanor Dominguez, featured resource person and the one who initiated the production of KIDS THREE 21, a docu on Down Syndrome serves as coordinator between SDEAS and the LGU of Castillejos. She is the wife of the Mayor.

Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez [a cousin of Alyana – subject of my autism docu] will welcome the participants with his message. Expected audience consist not only of Deaf children and their families but also of barangay health workers, barangay kagawad on health, teachers — both day care and sped teachers, and all interested parties from the community.

Child enjoys carillo

Deaf children enjoy shadow play



Moments with the World Federation of the Deaf President

April 13, 2014


You should see Brother Dennis signing in FSL!!! AMAZING!

From the time I entered the world of the Deaf in 2006 by studying Filipino Sign Language [FSL] at DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS] right after finishing my docu film on autism, there has been no turning back. Studying sign language was part of my immersion and research for the feature-length documentary “Silent Odyssey” [2008], a film that focuses on Deaf Filipino life and culture. “Silent O” featured Deaf Filipino achievers and then president of the World Federation of the Deaf [WFD] Markku Jokinen who clearly explained the value and importance of sign language to the Deaf. [Click above to see the trailer]

Since then, my interaction with the Deaf continued. In fact, some of them worked with me as production crew members, consultants and participants in the films that I made to help advocate for the use of FSL. I also joined Deaf seminars and has not stopped to get involved in their activities. A couple of months back, I helped initiate, rather, mediate in the holding of a Deaf seminar in Castillejos, Zambales. SDEAS in cooperation with the PWD group and the local government of Castillejos successfully held the seminar which focused on the Rights of Persons with Disability especially the Deaf. It was well attended. A Deaf camp to be held this summer is also being arranged as a follow-up activity.

Last Friday, April 11, I went back to SDEAS again, as panel member of the group that critiqued the graduating Deaf student’s thesis presented in video format. In place of the usual word “thesis” however, the word “capstone” is now being used we were informed. The difference? What I know is that a thesis project is usually done individually and takes longer time or term to do. Those who presented their capstone project largely worked as a team. A couple of students however worked solely on their projects. But no matter how one calls it — a thesis or capstone, students are suppose to present their mastery in whatever they have studied and learned from the school. A few proved to be promising because of their diligence and talent.

Anyhow, friend Giselle Montero, SDEAS Partnership and Development Director invites me to join SDEAS activities from time to time, — the latest being the “silent reception” given to the World Federation of the Deaf President Colin Allen when he came to Manila as speaker in the Deaf Leadership summit held last month. When I arrived at the venue, I wasn’t aware that no one was suppose to speak during the reception. But gestures did tell me that hearing individuals should zip their mouth. Little knowledge of FSL and VGC helped. It was in fact, just like my first day in FSL class at SDEAS, maybe better. During our first day in the sign language class, we were not allowed to speak the whole day, or for 8 hours!!! Panis talaga ang laway!

WFD Prez takes foto

World Federation of the Deaf President COLIN ALLEN takes photo of the Welcome Banner prepared for him by SDEAS

I was so happy for my Deaf friends as I witnessed how inspired they were being with the WFD President, who in turn was so impressed by our empowered Deaf leaders, and the preparations made by SDEAS for him and his group. For a few hours, I shared the joy they felt being with an esteemed and very important guest.


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On the second day of the summit, I managed to catch the last part of the program; everybody “sang,” danced and cheered; WFD President Allen himself led the group.  Very memorable and uplifting moments indeed for ALL the participants — whether Deaf or hearing.

Finale 2 Finale 5 The event held last month on March 21-22 “featured a lecture on inclusive education and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities delivered by World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) president Colin Allen on the first day. The second day was the Summit proper, with presentations on Deaf achievers, and the state of education, leadership, and employment for Deaf people, as well as the situation of Deaf women, children, and LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders)… Allen says that this can be accomplished by fulfilling the five concepts needed in inclusive education. These five concepts are: Accessibility, Universal Design, Non-discriminatory, Meeting Students’ Needs, and Reasonable Accommodation” [For the complete report of Ronald Lim on the event, please click to read his article:  “HEAR THEM OUT”.


Screening of A mi Patria / To my Motherland Fixed on Feb 2013 – UP Film Center

December 15, 2012

Yesterday, we met at SDEAS to discuss about the showing of my film – Rizal’s Selected Poems in Filipino Sign Language. Present were Giselle Montero of SDEAS OPD, Weng Rivera, President, Filipino Deaf Health and Crisis Center and Rey Lee, Philippine Federation of the Deaf President. Since the President of SEADC [Support and Empower Deaf Abused Children] wasn’t able to attend, I just contacted its founder Liw Caldito and asked her if she would accept our proposal to join our activity.

It was decided as per suggestion by our UP partner, the Dean of the Department of Arts and Letters of the University of the Philippines, Dr. Elena Mirano to have the showing before the full blast activity during the UP Diliman Month in February 2013. The date has been set on February 2, Saturday from 3 – 6 pm at the UP Film Center. We hope to have again with us as guests some of the members of the Rizal clan who are here in the country; also known supporters and sympathizers of House Bills for the Deaf some of which are still currently under debate. Dr. Jose Rizal is the Philippines’ National Hero — a Renaissance Man, poet, novelist, writer, teacher, scientist, sculptor, painter, traveler and a historian as well.

Produced by Miryad Visyon in collaboration with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and DLS-CSB School of Deaf and Applied Studies, versions in Filipino, English, Spanish and the first-ever interpretation in FSL more than 100 years after they were written will be shown. The films were made in connection with the Sesquicentennial Celebration of Dr. Rizal’s birth anniversary in 2011. The initiative is part of the continuing effort to advocate for the use and recognition of the Filipino Sign Language as national sign language of Deaf Filipinos so that the Department of Education would be exposed more on what FSL really is and its significance to our Deaf brothers as index to their cultural identity. Currently, DepEd authorities recognize more the importance of American Sign Language. [To see the photos during the FSL Rally, click deaf-voices-raised-using-talking-hands-and-whistles_long-live-fsl]


Support HB6079 Declaring FSL as the National Sign Language of Deaf Filipinos!!

October 31, 2012

We are actively campaigning for the passage of HB6079 (Declaring Filipino Sign Language as the National Sign Language of Deaf Filipinos). We ask you to actively participate in the campaign by way of:

1. Signature Campaign. Once again lets roll the support via a signature campaign.
a. Sign via internet: Support Filipino Sign Language Act of 2012 – House Bill 6079
b. We are also gathering paper signatures.  There is a signature form by the door of PEN MLC, 1st floor Taft campus.
c. Please forward to your friends and network the link. This is much appreciated.

2. Follow us in Facebook by clicking LIKE the DLS-CSB School for Deaf Education and Applied Studies page.  Here you will be able to get updates on the FSL campaign.

3.  To aid the discussion on FSL: We will be reshowing SILENT ODYSSEY of Mirana Medina.
Schedule of Shows:    November 10 (Sat) 9:30 am and 1:00 pm PEN MLC
              November  12( Mon) and 14 (Wed) 12:00 nn PEN MLC
Tickets are at P50 – Proceeds to go to PFD.
We can also arrange for a special viewing for your organization or company. Just inform me of the schedule.  

“SILENT ODYSSEY”—a journey into the Deaf world—brings out the Filipino Deaf’s sentiments towards the hearing society, chronicles the significant and pioneering efforts of different institutions and personages in Philippine Deaf history and touches on important and current issues on Deaf education. It introduces the word “audism” (Deaf oppression)—a not-yet-so-popularly used term in the Filipino Deaf community; takes a glimpse at the 15th World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Spain with the theme “Human Rights Through Sign Language” and the celebration of the entry into force in the Philippines of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The film also focuses on some of Deaf achievers who are worthy of emulation by the Filipino Deaf youth and presents the World Federation of Deaf President Markku Jokinen’s views on the use of hearing aids and importance of sign language to the Deaf. Most importantly, the film takes a close look at the Filipino Sign Language (FSL)—its probable origin, uniqueness, present status vis-à-vis other sign systems and its importance as index to the cultural identity of the Filipino Deaf as a cultural-linguistic minority group.

The journey leads to a realization that the Deaf are disabled and impaired by society’s failure to understand and accept their language and culture as an ethnic group, disregarding their cultural needs as Deaf persons by not providing the bridge of communication which aggravates their linguistic isolation. That “Deaf can” is no illusion but a reality which can shame those who think of themselves as superior just because they can hear.

Thank you so much. Looking forward to your participation.
Open Invitation from:
Ma. Giselle M. Montero, Director. Center for Partnership and Development. De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies

“Solace…by the Shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Banos”

September 6, 2012

Going to the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal where he found “solace… by the shore of Laguna de Bay in Los Baños” a day after the screening of A mi Patria [Rizal’s Poems in Filipino Sign Language] at UPLB wasn’t really planned. Nagkayayaan lang! It isn’t a usual shrine. There’s no sign announcing the visiting hours. Oh well! That’s how I remember it. [Meron ba?] We just knocked at the closed gate which bears the distinguished name of Dr. Jose Rizal’s beloved brother Paciano whom Rizal described as “The noblest Filipino of them all” [See the marker/last photo below].

From the gate, I saw the house which for me appeared like any provincial old house common in Laguna. It must have been built after the Spanish period. There’s nothing imposing in the look of the house. It reflects the simplicity and solitariness of the owner the way I know Gen. Paciano Rizal from my readings about him up close from the book of Agustin Coates which I find to be one of the best books written about Rizal. When Rizal was studying in Manila, it was Paciano who took care of his needs. When he studied abroad, again it was Paciano who provided what he needed most probably “assigned” by his parents out of obligation and being the eldest son in the family. Until now, I only remember seeing a photo of Gen. Paciano – and blurred at that. He clearly shied away from the camera which was quite in contrast with Rizal who loved to be photographed as attested by the existence of his many photos from the time he was small – and most especially, when he was abroad. Pero buti na lang din! Rizal’s fully documented life – in photos and writings – has given us concrete pictures as to how he looked like and lived.

Gen. Paciano Rizal’s Family Tree Located at the House Entrance

The caretaker allowed us in… after telling her that I did speak with Ms. Ester Azurin but that was to invite her for the A mi Patria showing. Oh by the way, Mr. Lopez [I suppose the patriarch of the clan] replied on the screening day that they couldn’t attend much as they want to. I was actually expecting the negative response because we unfortunately came to know their contact numbers a day or two before the screening. It was honestly embarrassing for me to call Ms. Azurin [her contact number was provided by Zarah Escueta, former Rizal Shrine curator] and texted Mr. Lopez at too late a time …pero nagbakasakali lang talaga. I really hoped and wanted some members of the Paciano Rizal clan to be there. We thought of it when the idea of showing it in Laguna was forming. Afterall, the film is a tribute to their great Lolo. But we didn’t know how to get the message to them. We forgot that Zarah is from Laguna and she was the Rizal Shrine Curator in Fort Santiago. Anyway, should another screening be held in Laguna, I’ll surely tell them much ahead of time.

Here’s more of our journey’s record in the house of Gen. Paciano Rizal:

[L-R]: Giselle Montero, Lynn Cappal, Myra Medrana and me. Foto by Dennis Balan

View from Inside the House of Paciano Rizal, Laguna de Bay waters still flooding the area. I’m sure Gen. Paciano would be upset to see this.

Another View of Laguna de Bay from the Back of Paciano Rizal’s House with Floodings Caused by Habagat 2012

On the way out we posed for a foto with Gen. Paciano Rizal [Precious Leaño in blue blouse and Dennis Balan


Samahang Layb_A mi Fotos in UPLB

September 1, 2012

Foto with Samahang Layb, Organizer of A mi Patria Screening. Giselle Montero [4th fr R, 3rd row; Myra Medrana and Lynn Cappal [6th and 5th from R, 2nd row], Dennis Balan and Aldrin Gabriel [1st row].  Salamat sa nyo!!

Lynn Cappal [Deaf] one of A mi Patria performers led the National Anthem. Aldrin Gabriel [Deaf] – Interpreter of A Filipinas and Ultimo Adios – FSL, Filipino and English versions, together with Mackie Calbay, PFD youth leader and Febe Sevilla [interpreter] came late. Umabot ba naman ng Calauan!!!

My personal invitees: Zarah Escueta, then Curator of Rizal Shrine, now of Malvar Historical Institute in Sto. Tomas, Batangas; her friend; my niece Angel Medina, UPLB Comm Arts student and Dr. Joseph Masangkay, UPLB Vet Med Prof. all attended.

The Audience. Ano kaya naramdaman nila sa panonood ng interpretasyon ng mga tula ni Rizal sa FSL?

Magandang Gabi sa inyong lahat! Giselle interpreted for me. Try hard naman ako mag FSL kahit papaano

Alin, alin ang naiba? Day after the Show in front of Umali Hall —


JOIN The 1st PWD Employers Conference on May 2!

April 30, 2012

De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (DLS-CSB SDEAS) invites you to “Building Bridges, Creating Opportunities 2012: The 1st PWD Employers Conference” on May 2, 2012 Wednesday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Angelo King International Center Hotel, corner Arellano and Estrada Sts, Manila.

The conference will among others:
1) Discuss the Philippine government’s mandate, incentives and benefits given to companies employing Persons With Disability (PWD);
2) Examine government’s initiatives in creating an inclusive working environment;
3) Review on the significance and merits of having PWD in a company’s workforce;
4) Share on best practices in creating a diverse workforce, accessible and barrier-free working environment; the challenges they have encountered; how they addressed it and the essential elements in creating diverse yet united work force.

You may contact The Center for Partnership and Development team through Mr. Sherlo Reyes and Ms. Giselle Montero for more information:

Tel Number: (02) 526.7441 loc 239 / Fax Number: (02) 400.5406
Mobile Number: 0917.869.8231
Email Addresses: