The first international leadership summit aims for inclusive education

From February 22-24, 2017, the First International Leadership Summit and Seminar in Inclusive Education will happen at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia (MOA), Pasay City.


International Leadership Summit in Inclusive Education

This international leadership summit, organized by the social enterprise, The Teacher’s Gallery, is spearheading a movement advocating the right of the individual with a disability to be educated in a regular classroom. Their call? #YesToInclusion

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Pinoys, let’s promise to #ChangefortheBetter as a nation

In a few weeks, it will be 2015. Another year, another chance to change for the better.

As a citizen advocate, I strongly believe that before we can change a nation, we must start from within ourselves. When each one of us does our part, before we know it, those wonderful values emanate out and manifest within our families, then within barangays, within cities and eventually within the country. This is what theĀ Change for the Better campaign is all about.

Actually, I was curious and googled this campaign to learn more about it and found out that the Change for the Better campaign actually launched way back in 2012. Back then, the campaign was a call to personal change. This time, the campaign is a call to be a nation of citizens changing for the better. From a personal, individualistic focus, the spotlight of the Change for the Better campaign is now on the entire nation and what the true Filipino spirit is.

The Change for the Better campaign is one that believes that small changes put together can create a huge impact on a community (I am reminded of the analogy of the strength of a bundle of sticks that no one can break versus a single stick that can easily be snapped in half). We may not realize it but as a nation, we exhibit some values that oftentimes we may not be aware of because it comes naturally to us, but foreigners notice them and appreciate them. Hopefully, when we become aware that these Filipino values indeed set us apart from the rest of the world, and we practice them regularly, it becomes an integral part of us as a nation.

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The Sandwich Heroes Project of the World Food Programme and Unilever

I was one of several who gathered at the Cilantro Kitchen of Unilever last October 24 for a blogger event for a cause.

The United Nations’ World Food Programme and Unilever people were there to present to us their project that will involve feeding about 40,000 children in Mindanao via the Sandwich Heroes project. This project would also involve several food establishments which would contribute to the project with every sandwich bought at their establishments.

As a mother, I know how important it is for good nutrition for babies (even the unborn). During my pregnancies, I stopped taking coffee, watched what I ate, and regularly took in the vitamin supplements prescribed by my OB-Gyne. I knew that poor development and growth even in the womb would be irreversible.

Malnutrition in children can lead to permanent damage. Some of these are: impaired brain development, skinnier children, stunted growth and weaker immune systems. If you regularly watch episodes on TV Patrol, Bantay Bata 163, and other public service shows, you will notice that the poor people more often have children with medical conditions not seen in those who are wealthier.

World Food Day was just recently celebrated globally (Oct. 16 every year) so it was appropriate that this event was also the launch of a project that addressed food security.

We learned more about hunger, in the Philippines and worldwide during this gathering. Did you know that –

  • Worldwide, it is estimated that 925 million people will suffer chronic hunger in 2011 (according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). About 12 million of these people live in the Philippines.
  • One-third of children who die annually die of malnutrition.
  • One in 7 people worldwide go to bed hungry every night. One out of every 9 children in the Philippines go hungry.
  • About 1 in 4 children under 5 years of age in the developing world is underweight.
  • Hunger kills more people than TB, HIV and malaria PUT TOGETHER!

Two slides shown us prove the devastating effects of malnutrition in children.

Watch this video from the World Bank for more statistics.

The partnership between Unilever and the World Food Programme aims to bring Unilever’s reach beyond the chef’s kitchen and bring hope to hungry children in Mindanao via Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan.

Every sandwich purchased from participating food outlets serves to make a contribution from you towards the Sandwich Heroes project. The establishments participating in these are:

Biggs’ Diner
The Coffee Experience
JD Bakeshop
The Flying Pig
Holy Cow!
The Sandwich Guy
Wham! Burgers

At the event, Unilever laid out a wide array of sandwich ingredients from different kinds of breads to vegetables, dressings, cheeses, meats, spices, sauces and so much more. As I made my own personal sandwich which I called “Sinfully Healthy” (made of whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumber, blue cheese dressing, cheese square, chicken strips personally cooked by me), I kept thinking how luck I was to have this option of making my own sandwich tailor-fitted to my preferences. So many children did not even have the option to eat any kind of sandwich.

My “Sinfully Healthy” sandwich

WFP has also launched a Facebook page to keep us updated on their food program efforts. To join, please click HERE.

When Sandwich Heroes launches, please bring your family and friends to any of the establishments above, knowing that while you are eating, you are also helping towards feeding the children of Mindanao. Be a hero. A SANDWICH HERO!


The Tour of Hope 2011 – 500: Going the Xtra Mile Against Cervical Cancer

As a woman with 2 daughters, I am well aware of the dangers of cervical cancer, a silent killer and now the number 2 killer of women worldwide.
So I enjoin you, if you are an avid biker or just own a bike which you use for leisurely exercise around your village, to come and support The Tour of Hope 2011 which aims to save 500 women from cervical cancer.
Organized by Bravehearts in partnership with Team David’s Salon and GlaxoSmithKline, this year’s tour aims to provide cervical cancer vaccinations for 500 women during its 5-day tour.
The tour will cover approximately 500 kilometers with stopovers in 5 major towns where, at each stop, 100 women (identified by their local officials) will get their first cervical vaccination. Beyond just giving women the vaccines, at each stopover there are going to be lectures to the local community about how to take care of their health.
This year’s Tour of Hope will kick off from TriNoMa Mall in Quezon City on May 28, 2011. From there, the tour will take bikers to Tarlac City, Tarlac on its first stopover, then to San Fernando, La Union where the renowned La Union Botanical Gardens is located. The third stop will be Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, home to historical churches and ancestral homes. The fourth stop is Laoag City, Ilocos Norte where tourists often go to visit the Juan Luna Shrine and get a glimpse of the Spolarium painting. Finally, the tour ends up in Paoay where bikers get to see the unique blend of Spanish and Chinese architecture at Paoay Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To add glitz and excitement to the tour, several celebrities have pledged to join in as bikers including known names such as Matteo Guidicelli, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Marvin Kiefer, Rovilson Fernandez, Troy Montero, Aubrey Miles, Will Devaughn, Richie Hardin, Richard Herrera, Janna Victoria, Jeena Lopez, Gem Padilla-Thomas, Anthony Pangilinan and David Charlton. Tessa Prieto-Valdes is also currently working on a special project that will help raise funds for cervical cancer prevention.
Team David’s Salon with Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Some of the bikers who will join the Tour of Hope 2011 at its launch
Do you need to bike the entire 500 kms? NO. Since this is open to anyone who loves biking, you choose how far you want to go and at what pace you wish to go.
To join the Tour of Hope 2011 on May 28, 2011, please email Joyette Jopson at or contact her at 0917-8827352.

Be a Changemaker and Win

Changemakers are agents of change in a society who seize opportunities that others may miss in order to improve systems, invent new approaches and create solutions to improve society and uplift the conditions of the citizens of a nation.

The British Council, UK’s international organization for educational opportunities and cultural relations, in partnership with Starbucks and in collaboration with Social Enterprise Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) and the Ateneo de Manila University, has launched the I am a Changemaker competition which is now running on its 2nd year.

The I am a Changemaker is a business competition that aims to look for young entrepreneurs who can make an impact in their communities by spotting social problems and issues and finding innovative ways to address them.

Filipino citizens, aged 16-28can form teams to join.Teams will be asked to submit an enterprise proposal that addresses a social problem. It must have demonstrable financial viability, whether it is for profit or non-profit. Finalists will travel to Manila to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges. The competition will have a total of four (4) winners (1 winner each from NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao). Each winning team will receive PhP 100,000. Another PhP 100,000 is also at stake for finalists who meet the special criteria set by Starbucks.

Details of the mechanics can be found HERE.

One of the winners last year of the British Council grant was Cheenee Otarra whose idea has now bloomed into a product called Sumilao Corn Coffee. I just found out that corn can be made into coffee!

Sumilao Corn Coffee is organically grown because the corn is the native variety. It is also caffeine-free and roasted in San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon. The farmers have been roasting corn coffee for some time now but it is only now that it is being packaged and marketed in a more professional manner to get their coffee out into a wider market. At least the Sumilao farmers are getting help from some people!

If you or anyone you know (aged 16-28) has a bright idea to make life better for our fellow Pinoys, join this competition. Who knows, your proposal may just make it and help change lives.



Earth Hour 2010

Earth Hour 2010 happens on March 27, 2010.

On this day, people all over the world will turn off their appliances and lights for one hour starting at 8:30 PM.

We can no longer ignore the effects of climate change. Just see the frequency and intensity of earthquakes happening around the world. In my own country, the Philippines, we are now experiencing a very harsh El Nino with very little rain and drought in many agricultural places. Last year, we were hit by Typhoon Ondoy which brought floods to Metro Manila in places that have never experienced floods. Many other countries are experiencing freak weather activities as well.

Rather than leave it up to the different governments around the world to do something about it, we should act as individuals, living on this one and only home planet of ours, to make changes and adapt greener and more eco-friendly lifestyles.

You can support Earth Hour by:

1. Turning off your lights at 8.30PM on March 27
2. Showing your support and adding yourself to the Earth Hour world map
3. Adding Earth Hour widgets, logos and banners to your blog or website to help us spread the word
4. Talking about Earth Hour in your social network by updating your Facebook status, grabbing a Twibbon, tweeting about your support, and more
5. Get together with your friends and family, by hosting an Earth Hour party or holding your own candlelit affair
6. Rally your local council or community group to run an Earth Hour event for your community
7. Encourage your employer and workmates to take part in Earth Hour and make energy savings every day
8. Make an Earth Hour Lantern as a symbol of hope for the future
9. Be creative! Find a new way to mark Earth Hour and let Earth Hour know all about it!

This will be the third year that my family will be joining this endeavor. Here are my 2008 and 2009 posts on it.


Join “Tulak ng Kariton” with Efren Penaflorida (Dec. 11, 2009)

I received this invitation in the email from a friend. If you’re in the vicinity or even if you’re not but you believe in Efren’s cause, come join.


All Filipinos of all colors are invited to gather in a tribute for CNN
Hero Efren Penaflorida on Dec 11, 2009. 3:30PM. Assembly at the Ninoy
Aquino Statue at the corner of Ayala and Paseo De Roxas. Efren,
followed by the people, will push his Kariton on Ayala Ave and will
lead us to the concert venue on Makati Ave between Landmark and
Greenbelt 4. This event will also be the venue for our outrage over
the Maguindanao Massacre, GMA’s candidacy, and Martial Law in Maguindao.

4-5PM Tulak ng Kariton
5-8PM Konsyerto ng Pagbabago

We will start the march at the Ninoy Aquino Statue at Ayala corner
Paseo at 4PM on Friday, Dec 11 and we’ll have the concert at Makati
Avenue between Landmark and Greeenbelt 4 fro 5PM to 8PM.

Thanks and best regards,


Bearhugs for Baguio: A Project for Typhoon Pepeng’s Smallest Victims

Bearhugs for Baguio
In the aftermath of Typhoon Pepeng which devastated Northern Luzon, much of the relief efforts were concentrated on providing food, clothing and shelter for the displaced families. Recovery and rescue efforts filled most of the efforts in the hours right after Typhoon Pepeng passed over the area.

While all these are indeed needed for the basic survival of families, what has been largely forgotten or neglected was the state of mind of the youngest victims of this natural calamity — the children of Baguio, Benguet, Pangasinan and surrounding areas.

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