Indie, Genius!

Then Quezon City Film Development Competition presented recently to members of the media the highlights of this year’s QCinema International Film Festival 2015.

The festival, which is on its 3rd year, aims to mark Quezon City as the film festival capital of the country.

Dito sa Pilipinas, pag sinabing film festival, dapat Quezon City.  Ito ay may tourism potential.  Kapag panahon na ng film festival, pupunta sila sa Quezon City. Yan ang pangarap namin para dito.” (Here in the Philippines, when you say film festival, it should be Quezon City.  This has tourism potential.  If its already film festival season, they should go to Quezon City.  That’s our dream here in the city.) says Quezon City Vice Mayor and Quezon City Film Development Competition Chairman Joy Belmonte.

The theme for this year is Indie-Genius: Next Wave of Philippine Cinema, which hints on the festival’s aim of being internationally recognized.  Indie-Genius puts the spotlight on the surge of Philippine films being made, many of which are winning a number of awards in international film festivals.

The festival will run from October 22 to 31, 2015 at the Quezon City Museum, Trinoma Mall, Gateway Mall and UP Film Institute.  It will feature, among others, the eight selected full feature film finalists of the Circle Competition; the five full-length documentary films that made it to the DoQC International Documentary Competition; and the exhibition category of foreign films under Screen International.

The Circle Competition finalists, which were also presented during the event, are “Water Lemon” by Lemuel Lorca; “Kapatiran” by Pepe Diokno; “Iisa” by Chuck Gutierrez; “Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo” by Mihk Vergara; “Stella” by Cesar Hernando; “Sleepless” by Prime Cruz; “Matangtubig” by Jet Leyco; and “Ang Huling Habagat” by Mario Cornejo.

Each film will receive a production grant of P1 million.  Organizers also stressed its distinction from other festival grants, in which the filmmakers have full ownership of their films.

circle_hulinghabagat circle_iisa circle_kapatiran circle_matangtubig circle_patintero circle_sleepless circle_stella circle_waterlemon

The DoQC International Documentary Competition films are “Of Cats, Dogs, Farm Animals, and Sashimi’ by Perry Dizon; “The Crescent Rising” by Sheron Dayoc; “Audio Perpetua” by Universe Baldoza; “Traslacion: Ang Paglakad sa Altar ng Alanganin” by Will Fredo; and “Bingat” by Choy Pangilinan, Qubry Quesada, Joolia Demigillo and Abet Umil.

doqc_audio doqc_bingat doqc_ofcats doqc_thecresent doqc_translacion

These films will receive funding of P200,000 each and will compete with five other Asian features for the Pylon Award of the DoQC International Documentary Competition.

For more information, log on to

Leave a comment

Beacons of Inspiration: 12 New Stories of Educators

Everyday, in almost every corner of the country, there is a teacher who goes the extra mile to serve. Finding new stories of inspiration is not difficult and these are 12 new stories that can move us.  

Serving the Underserved

Normita Liwag

Normita Liwag

Michelle Norico

Michelle Norico

Jinky Tecson

In service of the least of their brothers, this is where the efforts of Normita Liwag of Gapan City, Nueva Ecija, and teaching tandem Michelle Norico and Jinky Tecson of Pototan, Iloilo, go.  They perform the challenging task of teaching inmates, a lot of whom have not had the opportunity to go to school or finish their studies. What drives them is the urge to help the inmates get a new lease on life, despite the difficulties, including overcoming the stigma attached to this sector of society.

Dr. Marilyn Ngales

Dr. Marilyn Ngales

Gerum Salatan

Gerum Salatan

Similarly, Dr. Marilyn Ngales of Manila and Gerum Salatan of Claveria, Misamis Oriental have stepped forward to lift up the plight of Indigenous People or IPs through education. These teachers, who are IPs themselves, help the tribes of Mountain Province and Misamis Oriental gain skills needed to protect their culture and advocate for their rights. 

Advocating Quality Education

Dr. Jerico Bacani

Dr. Jerico Bacani

Alleli Ester Domingo

Alleli Ester Domingo

Aaron Tolentino

Aaron Tolentino

Lorelee Asignacion

Lorelee Asignacion

Dr. Christine Guinacaran

Dr. Christine Guinacaran

Dr. Jovelyn Delosa

Dr. Jovelyn Delosa

Dr. Jerico Bacani of Baguio City; Aleli Ester Domingo of Los Banos, Laguna; Aaron Tolentino of Manila; Lorelee Asignacion of Bacolod City; Dr. Christine Guinacaran of Zamboanga City; and Dr. Jovelyn Delosa of Cagayan de Oro City have undertaken the task of education as a vocation rather than as occupation.

The teachers give of themselves wholly to uplift learners, oftentimes involving personal resources lilke time and money.  

For Dr. Bacani of Baguio City, it is through research that he is able to help math education in the Philippines.  Miss Domingo does so through teacher training. Mr. Tolentino devotes a lot of time in training students to become better campus journalists. Ms. Asignacion uses technology to help students develop much-needed 21st century skills.

Dr. Guinacaran established a club that utilizes peer-to-peer education to help poor readers.  Dr. Delosa focuses on properly molding aspiring teachers so that they become beacons of light for education, especially in the public system.

Protecting our Resources

Haide Pandoy

Haide Pandoy

Dr. Aris Larroder

Dr. Aris Larroder

Haide Pandoy of Malabon City and Dr. Aris Larroder of Iloilo City champion causes that are important for the country, beyond their usual teaching tasks.  

Miss Pandoy strongly supports the preservation of the environment, while Dr. Larroder promotes IP knowledge and adapted the indigenization program in his Science teaching.

A Tribute to Teachers

Stories like this, set by the teachers, are not just for celebration but also for emulation.  

This is the reason why for 14 years now, Bato Balani Foundation Inc. has been scouring the country for these kinds of inspiration and presenting them to the public in a program called “The Many Faces of the Teacher.”

The program seeks to recognize Filipino educators and how they are transforming their communities, their students and ultimately the course of this country’s future. The nationwide search started early this year and from this pool, the honorees for 2015 will emerge.

The honorees will be presented to their peers on October 2, 2015 at an event entitled “A Tribute to Teachers,” which will be held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, Marriott Hotel Manila.  

The Many Faces of the Teacher is supported by Diwa Learning Systems.  For more information, log on to

Leave a comment

It’s Game On for this New App

10453428_898462336883037_6049322765383557972_nThis new app promises to make urban adventures easy.  Autotelic Corporation unlocks Cyburban, a platform for the creation, publication and management of adventure races.

Think treasure hunts, puzzles, trivia challenges or the combination of those. “The possibilities are limitless and the applications are endless,” says Autotelic Founder and gamemaster Ari Bancale.

Bancale, who conceptualized the app way back in 2008, is targeting groups organizing product launches, advocacy campaigns, learning programs, team building activities and other similar events.

With the app, logistics, which is the most challenging aspect of organizing events, is simplified. Players receive their challenges on their   smartphones.  Tracking, timing and scoring are also done by the app, real time.

“We can do races with fewer or no marshalls at all,” addds Bancale.

Games are created in a web-based editor and are published and deployed on mobile devices.  It uses dynamically replicated cloud-based servers, allowing organizers to broadcast to thousands of players simultaneously, all while managing and keeping track of the game on the web interface.

Games can be designed to allow multiplayers, with every game session automatically synchronized between all the team members’ devices, allowing them to split up and contribute to each other’s progress individually. These are tracked through real time leaderboards and statistics.

They can also send live announcements and occasional news by updating the module with information, real time.  It also lets organizers monitor players who need critical help by homing into activated emergency beacons through the app’s GPS component.  The app also allows instant corrections and additions, social media and internet based challenges and more.

Offline modes are also possible for areas with no or limited internet access. Games are then set to solo-designed or single device quests. An after event data synchronization is optional to update game’s statistics online.

Make your own Adventure

The app boasts of amazing customizability, which makes it really effective in delivering messages, engaging people or just making gathering more memorable.

Last year, the outdoor brand Berghaus used the app to take its Berghaus Urban Adventure Games to the digital age.  CouchSurfing Manila Summer Scramble and Amazing Mensa Race, both urban adventure races, also had their events app-based.

The Red Whistle also recently partnered with Cyburban for its #SAVESEXY Lifeguards Laboracay Race, which used the app to help its participants spread the word on HIV, end AIDS and #SAVESEXY.  It reached 2.1 million impressions on instagram.  The Urban Land Institute Philippines also used Cyburban in promoting disaster preparedness through a scavenger hunt with Bonifacio Global City employees.

Cyburban have also unlocked tourism related events like last year’s Geeks On A Beach Cebu tour and Lyceum of the Philippines’ tourism students’ Intramuros Ghost Tour.  It also added the game component to events like the Bloggers United 7 with Sunsilk, National Science and Technology Week, The Collaborative Carnival and the recent R.O.X. outdoor festival.  Manila Water and LoveYourself also used the app for their team buildings.

Have an Adventure

The company is gearing up for a major launch on June 28 at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City and is encouraging everyone to join.  The one-day event will take participants into a one-of-kind outdoor journey.  Using Cyburban, participants will scan codes, complete puzzles, and locate challenges inside the park, all designed to battle against indifference towards the environment and our wildlife ecosystem.

For more information, log on to

Leave a comment

Diwa innovates through blended learning

Simply enabling. This sums up what “blended learning” is all about. That is why it’s a way of teaching and learning that Diwa Learning Systems Inc (Diwa) has been committed to enhancing for the past 10 years.

The leading provider of print and digital educational resources in the Philippines, Diwa continues to help schools upgrade education strategies because it saw how adding technology in the mix would change the education landscape.

Diwa’s solutions include Genyo e-Learning, Textbooks, and Supplemental Educational Magazines (SEMs), whose combination may be customized to create blended learning.

Genyo e-Learning is the first and only fully-integrated online management system for basic education in the Philippines. It provides students and teachers with an exclusive online subscription 24/7 to a wide array of multimedia, curriculum-based teaching and learning resources.

Diwa Textbooks promote holistic learning for basic education students in all core subject areas. Available in both print and digital formats, these K-to-12 aligned textbooks are multi-disciplinary in approach and develop important skills to help students survive the challenges of the 21st century.

SEMs are K-to-12 aligned classroom magazines for Science, Math, Social Studies, English, Filipino, Music, Arts, Health, Physical Education and Computer. They augment the learning experience with their casual and practical take on the minimum learning competences.

Innovation is the Key

Although blended learning is the combination of traditional classroom instruction and online learning, Diwa stressed that “technology isn’t the driver but innovation.”

Diwa considers customization as king in blended learning, and that its array of products can help meet the needs of students in a personalized, meaningful, and relevant manner.

In fact, many teachers, students, and leaders from schools attest to Diwa’s effective customizable educational solutions that make 21st century teaching and learning possible for every Philippine school.

Miriam College President Ma. Rosario O. Lapus, PhD., and the school’s high school Principal Edizon A. Fermin, PhD, attest that Diwa’s Genyo e-Learning helps students become fully engaged and active in their learning.

“Genyo helps the teachers in enriching the delivery of their subject matter with multi-media and with what is current and real,” Lapus said. “Innovation is adding something new or different to what already exists. This difference has to be significantly related to the changes and to the current of the educational landscape.”

As for Fermin, teaching and learning must really adjust to continue to be interesting to today’s students.

“Our learners are of a different generation and they want the things that they’re learning right now to be true and relevant to their own consciousness and context,” Fermin said.

He added that Diwa helped Miriam College in the transition towards e-learning integration and that in the new learningenvironment there are now opportunities for them to demonstrate responsibility in using technologies so that they could connect better and manifest meaningful learning in ways never seen before.

As Genyo e-Learning breaks down the walls of the classroom to allow teaching and learning to happen anytime, anywhere, Diwa’s printed and digital textbooks and magazines continue to make traditional instruction relevant by creating more opportunities for discovery and exploration.

“Despite the emergence of technology innovation, textbooks still play a vital purpose in education. Textbooks provide organized unit of work. We use textbooks for quick formative assessments like drills and exercises. Sometimes, I take some story selections as a springboard for my lesson”, says Jobelle Villacorta, grade school English teacher from St. Paul College Pasig.

Ninna Rivera, a grade V student of St. Paul College Pasig, says that “the use of textbook encourages me to ask more questions as when I read on paper, it creates a tactile experience and I can navigate long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way.”

Ninna’s mother, Mary Bernadette V. Rivera, fully supports the blended learning approach. “With the concept of blended learning, Ninna makes use of digital resources and her textbooks. Diwa textbooks continue to be an integral part of her pursuit for academic excellence.”

Diwa’s SEMs make the implementation of blended learning more interesting. Available in all the core subject areas, SEMs also follow the minimum learning competencies for basic education.

Mr. Laurence Baltazar, vice principal of Integrated Montessori Center, says, “SEMs are integrated in lessons and implementations of programs.  SEMs provide content and projects that require to be carried outside the classroom inspiring them to go and observe, investigate, and gather data.”

“These (SEMs) help in forming the practice and value of critical thinking in our young learners. Infusing SEMs has proven to be dynamic, responsive, and relevant to the needs of students,” adds Marianne Cadungog Rivera, assistant school director of Integrated Montessori Center.

With Diwa’s formidable line-up of textbooks, magazines, and learning management system, they continue to lead the way for blended learning in the Philippines.  They change the way teachers teach and students learn. Teachers become more relevant and attune with the times, while students are given a wide range of learning opportunities that prepare them for the 21st century.

For more information about diwa, log on to

Leave a comment

Lima Park Hotel hosts Bisikleta Iglesia 2015

Lima Park Hotel invites the faithful to do the pious Roman Catholic Lenten tradition of visiting seven churches or religious sites on two wheels.

The 2nd Bisikleta Iglesia will be held in Batangas on March 28, 2015, which is the Saturday before Palm Sunday.

The mass ride will take the pilgrims to the Philippine National Shrine of Padre Pio in Sto. Tomas, Batangas; St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Lipa; the Redemptorist Church of Lipa, where Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotees gather; Mary, Mediatrix of All Grace in the Archdiocese of Lipa, Batangas, a Carmelite Monastery and the the site of pilgrimages by Marian devotees coming from different parts of the Philippines; the convent of the contemplative order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel where the reported mysterious shower of rose petals happened decades ago; the Cathedral of St. Sebastian in Lipa City; and finally the Sto Nino Parish of Lipa City.

Assembly time is 5:00 AM and ride out at 6:00 AM. Meet-up will be at Lima Park Hotel, located at LIMA Technology Center in Malvar, Batangas.

Registration fee is P 250.00, which is inclusive of light breakfast and lunch at Lima Park Hotel. First 100 registrants will also be given an events shirt. Total ride distance is 55 kms.

The event is also presented by First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities. For more information, call Andress Alisuag III or Joseph Baclagan at (0923) 946.2297 / (0921) 727.4000 / (0908) 867.9971.

Leave a comment

Batangas Earth and Water Festival Champs

Multi-awarded athlete Mary Pauline Fornea from Mindanao dominated the female category of the Batangas Earth and Water Festival, held on February 7, 2015 at Pusod Taal Lake Conservation Center in Mataasnakahoy, Batangas.

Fornea won the race after completing a five-kilometer run, twenty-kilometer bike and three-kilometer run in the challenging and rigorous trail of the municipalities of Mataasnakahoy and Balete.

Fornea was trailed behind by Remecar Santure and Joanna Lui in this duathlon organized by Lima Park Hotel and First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities.


Male category champ, meantime, is Joey delos Reyes, followed by Gabrielle Allen Santiago and Christophen Lobaton.

Category winners were Roberto Bacani Jr for 40 above; Norman Mendoza for 30-39 category; Ralp Gonzaga for 20-29; and 15-year-old Paolo Van Ongkiatco for the 19 and below category.

Other participants who showed prowess were 40 and above category 2nd placer Rogelio Sotto and 3rd placer Von Ricardo Ongkiatco; 30-39 Category 2nd placer Noel Parco and 3rd placer Jon Dimaculangan; and 20-29 Category 2nd placer Carlo Atienza.

In the relay category, the tandem of Darwin Españo and Michael Climaco took home the gold medal.  They were followed by Alvin Lat and Manuel Reynante at 2nd place; Julie Somoso and Sumner Ninobla at 3rd place; and Bogs Custodio and Alex Semondoc at 4th place.

Like its predecessor, the Batangas Earth and Wind Festival, the activities of the recent Batangas Earth and Water Festival is based on the two different elements that the festival celebrates, namely earth and water. The water component is the kayak clinic and non-competitive kayaking activity at the picturesque Taal Lake.

The Batangas Earth and Water Festival is a Bisita Batangas 2015 event, supported by the local government units of Mataasnakahoy and Balete.

Leave a comment

Karipasan 2015

10k Male Category (from left) Ms. Lalaine Manalo Tertiary School Director, FAITH, Dean college of Business and accountancy, 3rd placer Rosal Sacil, 1st placer Arjay Calatong, 2nd placer Archie De Guzman and Mr. Juan P. Lozano Executive Director, FAITH.

10k Male Category (from left) Ms. Lalaine Manalo Tertiary School Director, FAITH, Dean college of Business and accountancy, 3rd placer Rosal Sacil, 1st placer Arjay Calatong, 2nd placer Archie De Guzman and Mr. Juan P. Lozano Executive Director, FAITH.

10k Female Category (from left) Ms. Lalaine Manalo Tertiary School Director, FAITH, Dean college of Business and accountancy, 3rd placer Julie Somoso, 1st placer Arlene Torres, 2nd placer Christina Tecson and Mr. Juan P. Lozano Executive Director, FAITH.

10k Female Category (from left) Ms. Lalaine Manalo Tertiary School Director, FAITH, Dean college of Business and accountancy, 3rd placer Julie Somoso, 1st placer Arlene Torres, 2nd placer Christina Tecson and Mr. Juan P. Lozano Executive Director, FAITH.

Thousands made a mad dash for the benefit educational communities in the Visayas that were devastated by typhoon Yolanda.

Held at the Lima Technology Center, the 7th annual run for wellness of the First Asia Institute of Technology and Humanities and the Lima Park Hotel had more than three thousand runners gathered before dawn for the teacher training, school and library assistance, scholarships and other special involvement programs of the Bato Balani Foundation Inc.

Arjay Calatong won the 10K male category with a finish of 41 minutes and 50 seconds.  He was followed by Archie De Guzman and Rosal Sacil.  In the female category, Arlene Torres crossed the finish line with a time of 54 minutes and 30 seconds, earning for her the gold medal.  Christina Tecson and Julie Somoso placed second and third respectively.

In the 5K category, Christian Ticzon placed first, followed by Jhonsam Baccoya and Asaytono John Jeffrey.  Ticzon finished with a time of 15 minutes and 7 seconds. Jennylynn Palma, meantime, dominated the female category with a finish of 33 minutes.  In second place was Marilou Endaya and Evangeline Matanguihan was on third place.

In the 3K category, Sumner Ninobla brought home the gold, followed by Angelito Felipe and Baural Angelbert.  Cheryl Golangco was the female category champion, with Paulyne Salazar and Maricris Catinguel as second and third placers respectively.

Aside from the fun run, organizers also held a Zumba Marathon and a waiters’ race.

Leave a comment