As part of its efforts to teach basic photography skills to RAFInians, especially those who are regularly on field, the Reputation Management Team (RMT) held its first photography workshop for the year last January 25.

The workshop was supervised by RAFI Branding Officer John Cañeda.

“The main purpose of the workshop is to equip RAFInians (especially those who are doing fieldwork) with the most basic yet effective strategies in photography,” Cañeda said.

The half-day training included lessons on how to produce quality and well-composed photos. The training also involved a photo walk where participants were asked to take photos with the theme ‘work.’

“Our jobs in RAFI entail a lot of meaningful interaction with our partners and beneficiaries. Capturing these moments are critical,” said RAFI VP for Reputation Management Caroline Ballesteros.

The workshop followed the first photography training held last year, where participants were taught how to work with mobile smartphones in taking quality pictures.

This Photography series shall be followed with a Photoshop workshop training to be held in the coming months.

The Research, Program, and Organizational Development – Project Management Office (RPOD PMO) of the Metro Cebu Development Coordinating Board (MCDCB) once again convened the Mega Cebu focal teams of 12 local government units for the second phase of the planning for the Mega Cebu 3-year development goal.

This workshop, held last January 12, was the second round of participatory planning organized by the RPOD PMO. While the objective of the first workshop was to identify the three-year development goals, this time, the focal teams were joined by representatives from National Government agencies (NGA), the Focus Area Based Committees (FABCom), and MCDCB subcommittees to identify specific targets and corresponding indicators of the four development goals—Sustainable Management of Solid Waste; Integrated Public Safety, Emergency and Traffic Management; Rehabilitation of Rivers and Waterways; and Clean Water and Sanitation.

In the morning session, the goals were refined, and targets and indicators were formulated for each goal. In the afternoon, breakout sessions were done where each group identified major programs, projects, and policies for each development goal. They then made a three-year roadmap where they plotted yearly targets for the particular goal they were assigned to work on.

To ensure that every one had time to review, critique, and recommend changes or additions to the plans, a “world café” activity was done where representatives from each group presented their output while members from other groups went around and weighed in on the plans.

The MCDCB RPOD PMO, headed by Evelyn Nacario-Castro, facilitated the workshop. The formulation of the three-year development plan was an opportunity for the focal team members from different Metro Cebu local government units (LGUs) to work with the members from other LGUs and develop a plan collectively. This short-term development plan is a manifestation of one of the aims of Mega Cebu Program, which is to have an integrated development plan for common issues that affect Metro Cebu LGUs.

The output of this workshop will undergo further refinement by a technical working group composed of selected focal team members and representatives from NGAs and MCDCB RPOD FABComs and Subcommittees.

Besides the drafted development plan for Metro Cebu as a whole, the Mega Cebu Focal Teams will also create action plans for their respective LGUs. The refined outputs will then undergo a tedious process of scrutiny and approval by the MCDCB Execom and Full Board before full implementation.

What it is now is far from how it began.

“Before the arrival of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sa Sugbo on April 7, 1521, the sinug was already danced by natives as supplication to deities and nature spirits called diwata,” choreographer Ceasar Nimor explained the early practice of the dance prayer.

“We can’t really explain where—and how it started because it is a tradition.”

Along with another choreographer, Mila Catelo-Janson, Nimor commenced the first installment of the series of culture and heritage lectures called Casa Gorordo Museum Talk (CGM Talk) with the mother of Cebuano dances as subject last Tuesday, January 16. He said that it is still practiced by indigenous inhabitants in Bukidnon and Iloilo. Thus, he has compared how participants of the modern-day Sinulog have merged the original figures from “the tindera og kandila” and “Mabolo sinug” into a whole new routine.

“It is not Spanish-influenced. It is very, very indigenous. And to this day, dance as a form of worship is still being performed in cultural communities in the Philippines. There is no wonder why the pre-Hispanic Sugboanon had used the same medium to communicate with the supernatural,” Nimor, incumbent president of the Cebu Colleges and Universities Choreographers Association, continued. He and Catelo-Janson’s first volume on Cebuano Dances will be released in the middle of this year, published by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).

One distinctive identity of the version that has originated in Mabolo, is the altar of Sto. Niño. It is positioned in front of the performers to manifest the act of offering to a higher being.

For members of the Turang Dance Company—founded by the late Buenaventura “Turang” Diola who authored its proliferation—carrying the statue is sacrilegious.

The dance narrates the coming of Christianity to the Philippines, the dispute between island natives and the Spaniards, and ultimately, the friendship between the two races, akin to the Spanish theater form moro-moro or linambay in Cebu. It is pointed to as the “combative sinug” and follows the 4/4 time signature of beating drums (except for the pakli step which is in the ¾ time). The dance begins with the alabacion (where the lead performer chants a prayer to the Santo Niño on the altar), and includes movements of prop-swords in the tukod espada (saber arch) and estocada (fencing).

Turang’s daughter, Nang Titang (Estelita Diola), was known as the keeper of the family tradition. She mastered the dance steps when she was seven years old from her father while Mariano “Iklot” Bontilao provided the beat, which she also learned and passed on to the generations after hers. Following her demise in March 2013, the legacy still lives on. She handed down the knowledge of the sinug dance to her niece, Carolina Diola, who now leads the group.

Through the sinug dancers, the Gorordo family and other Parian families interceded for

the souls of their departed loved ones in this sacred ritual until the outbreak of World War II. To preserve the religious heritage of the family, it is still observed at the Casa Gorordo Museum the Monday after the annual Sinulog grand festival. This year, it was held last January 22.

On the other hand, the second version is more popular among candle vendors at the church. This “votive sinug” involves minimal footwork but punctuated with the graceful waving of the arms (hapay) and flicking of the wrist in rotation while holding the candles for lighting later.

A third version of the sinulog is a combination of the two indigenous dances and is

popularized in the festival dance today. It borrows the kinampilan step of the combative version and the double close step of the prayer dance.

With a female lead dancer carrying the image, it commemorates the baptism of Hara Amihan or Queen Juana, the wife of Rajah Humabon. The Santo Niño was a gift from Ferdinand Magellan. At that time, 800 of her subjects were also baptized. When she received the image, it is said that the queen danced with joy and the rest of them followed. Thus, the first Sinulog.

Every third Sunday of January in Cebu, the Sinulog (from the common contraction sinug) is celebrated both as a religious and cultural festivity in honor of the Holy Child Jesus or the Santo Niño.

The Integrated Area Development (IAD) program team of the Integrated Developmen Unit (IDU) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) conducted a team building in the Municipality of Malabuyoc on January 18.

Malabuyoc is located in the southwest of the Province of Cebu and is one of eight (8) LGUs that comprise District 7. Around 35 participants of Malabuyoc’s newly formed focal team coming from the LGU’s departments, barangays, and other sectors joined the activity.

The activity aimed to strengthen the team’s dynamics and identify important characteristics of a strong focal team. This team building activity was conducted to help build the capacity of the focal team in preparation for subsequent activities of the IAD program which aims to create a development plan and vision for District 7.

“The team building activity conducted by RAFI to Malabuyoc participants was such a success. From a first-hand observation as a participant myself, I could say that the activity was able to strongly impress on the participants the human values necessary for community development.” Mayor Narciso “Lito” Creus, said.

The clamor for a Mega Cebu is gaining more ground, this time with the youth from Danao City manifesting their support for the initiative.

Some 75 members of the Danao City Youth Commission (DCYC) assured Club Mega of their support during a planning and team building workshop facilitated by Club Mega and the Department of Education (DepEd) teachers in Danao City. The workshop was help last Nov. 22, 2017.

During the event, the DCYC officers and members articulated their dreams for the youth of Danao City and completed their plans for 2018.

Divine Canon, the Club Mega Executive Chairman, encouraged the DCYC to contribute to Mega Cebu’s goals.

“The youth can do so much for the community. We have the courage and energy to promote social good and actually do concrete projects that can address the pressing problems of society,” Canon said in her message.

The DCYC, in response, said they will support Club Mega and Mega Cebu through thei future projects and activities. Club Mega is a youth group composed of young leaders who want to develop themselves as role models, promote awareness, build support, be involved, and contribute to the goals of Mega Cebu.

A Danao City Youth Summit organized by the City of Danao and the DCYC will be organized this year to inspire the entire Danao City youth to contribute to nation and community building.


The Kool Adventure Camp (KAC) has been named the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.’s (RAFI) most outstanding team for 2017.

The award is one of two categories of the most coveted RAFI Exemplary Employee Award (REEA). These awards, along with other special citations, were given out during RAFI’s first General Assembly for 2018 held last January 15, 2018 at the plenary hall of the Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center.

RAFI President and Chief Operating Officer Dominica B. Chua said the awards are given to recognize the teams’ contribution in helping RAFI leave a strategic impact on the communities it serves.

Specifically, Chua said the Most Outstanding Team award “is the greatest recognition bestowed by the Foundation to the team that delivered and even exceeded in its BIGS and LAGS for the year, and demonstrated their excellence in exhibiting the Foundation’s brand attributes.”


KAC Camp Director Marie Sol Gonzalvo said the award was unexpected yet well-deserved.

“It is an evidence of a well-engaged, high-performing team,” she added. Jay Alera, KAC Level 3 Challenge Course Manager and KAC Operations Support and Safety Manager, said the award is an acknowledgement of the unselfish efforts shed by all KAC staff to deliver its promise to its beneficiaries.

“This award is also for our founder, Sir Bobby (Aboitiz). Sir, thank you for the trust and confidence in us to inspire and enrich the lives of the young ones and the once young in our community. This will motivate the team to do more for the community,” he added.

Daphne Dia, assistant deputy director for Youth Development Programs, said, “It was very rewarding for the team to get an affirmation that the hard and ‘heart’ work that each member has continued to put in for our clients and our courses has been recognized.”

Sheerene Abrea, assistant deputy director for Professional Development Programs, for her part, said that the award affirms and recognizes the team’s efforts in balancing and effecting results in different performance elements, and encourages them to continuously improve and touch more lives through powerful learning experiences.

To kick off yet another year of undertaking initiatives to touch the lives of more people, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) held its first general assembly for 2018 last January 15. The activity allowed RAFInians to look back at their accomplishments in 2017 and get an overview of what lies ahead for this year.

In his opening remarks, RAFI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jon Ramon Aboitiz (JRA) said he is optimistic that RAFInians would accomplish the plans that the different teams have laid out for 2018.

JRA also reported on how the different teams did well in 2017, such as:

Reaching out to a total of 884,167 beneficiaries,
Releasing a total of p2.1 billion to 156,000 rafi micro-finance (rmf) clients,
Getting certifications from two international outdoor organizations for kool adventure camp (KAC),
Reopening of casa gorordo museum to the public, with marked increases in the number of visitors,
Building more school buildings and day care centers, recognizing model schools through the seed awards, improving the skills of teachers in using ict in classroom instruction, and establishing an ict center,
Institutionalizing rafi’s human disaster response unit to immediately assist communities affected by calamities and pursuing more environment-related programs like tree planting and native trees nursery,
Pursuing the mega cebu initiative, and
Turning over the cancer registry to the department of health to allow the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center to focus on cancer education, screening, treatment, and aftercare of cancer patients.

He also urged RAFInians to continue improving systems and processes that could improve efficiency while at the same time, promote their well-being.

“Our credibility and reputation remain strong, owing to how each one of you sustained and enhanced the reputation of RAFI,” JRA said.


Also during the general assembly, various awards were given out to recognize the performance of outstanding teams in 2017.

RAFI President & COO Dominica Chua handed out the awards to the following winners:

Mega Cebu—Newsmaker of the Year
Culture and Heritage Unit—Most Improved Performance Award
RMF—Collaborating and Branding Champion and Most Consistent Performance Awards, and
KAC—REEA Most Outstanding Team (see separate story)

Aside from cash prizes, the winner of the most outstanding team received a trophy made of a chrome metal to signify stability and durability. The plaque of the trophy is gold-plated, symbolizing excellence and prestige.

“The 3 golden pillars represent the core attributes of the Foundation and are wrapped in gold-plated brass weave to represent the arms of the Foundation. The base is made of metal with chrome finish and shaped in bugsay to symbolize solidarity and the philosophy of the founders to recognize the inherent capacities and potentials of team members to achieve their goals,” Chua said.

The Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.-Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (RAFI- EADSC) and the University of San Jose-Recoletos are partnering to improve the school’s youth training program curriculum by infusing it with modules from the Young Minds Academy (YMA).

This project is a direct result of the partnership agreement signed by the two institutions in February 2015 to explore and undertake collaborative programs and activities especially those in line with youth development.

Last December 10, 2017, 11 youth volunteer facilitators underwent an orientation and training on the module “Building the Team.” The training is the first of a series of facilitators’ trainings lined up to capacitate student facilitators for them to assist the university in delivering the course curriculum to National Service Training Program – Civic Welfare Training Services (NSTP-CWTS) enrollees come annual year 2018 to 2019.

RAFI-EADSC Program Officer Jenny Lea Tan-Menchavez was the main facilitator and trainer for the session. She was assisted by fellow Program Officer Christian Anuta during the half-day training.

The YMA-NSTP CWTS Integration Program is a strategy of RAFI’s Governance and Linkages unit to upscale its YMA program by enriching the CWTS course with valuable and relevant information that ultimately would lead to community development interventions initiated by the students.

It also ensures that the purpose of YMA, which is to develop the leadership skills of the youth through building up their character, competence and citizenship, continues on a much larger scale.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), led by its vice president Evelyn Nacario-Castro, paid a courtesy call to Mayor Tomas Osmeña at the Cebu City Hall last January 12, 2018

During the visit, Nacario-Castro gave a caricature drawing as a token to the Cebu City mayor.

Mayor Osmeña, in turn, mentioned how much he misses former RAFI president, Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz.

After the courtesy call, a coordination meeting with the Cebu City Sisters City Office head Alvin Dizon was held.

The City of Cebu, through Mayor Osmeña, has been partners for change with the Youth Exchange programs for 11 years now.

Other mayors from Metro Cebu were also given their own caricature drawings during the Mega Cebu Purok Summit last October 4, 2017.

The Governance and Linkages Unit of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI- G&L) seeks to foster responsive institutions and an engaged citizenry through awards and recognition, good governance and leadership development programs, and active linkages and platforms of engagement and collaboration.

As their way of expressing gratitude and solidarity, the management, staff and children beneficiaries of Bacolod City-based Kalipay Negrense Foundation Inc. sent holiday wishes to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.-Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (RAFI-DACF) last December 2017.

Kalipay Negrense is a child-centered institution that is being assisted by RAFI-DACF. It operates various homes for more than 200 abandoned, neglected, and abused children from Negros and other parts of Visayas. Kalipay provides services such as health and sanitation, education, spiritual and values formation, family/home care, and case management. Unlike regular orphanages, Kalipay centers are operated like homes so that children are given the best and quality care that can help in their healing and recovery.

RAFI-DACF started supporting Kalipay’s basic education program for the children in Recovered Treasures Home in 2015, providing assistance to 64 for their tuition, school supplies, books, and snacks.

The children are also given other healing and recovery interventions by the house parents, medical personnel, psychologists, and social workers who help each children realize their individual development plan. Children who are not reintegrated to their families are either placed under adoption, foster care, or stay in the center until college and can enroll in their Independent Living Program.

Youth leaders in the Municipality of Cordova are supporting Mega Cebu of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) and are committing themselves to help achieve the mission and vision of the movement.

As a manifestation of this commitment, the Batan-on Alang sa Kalambuan sa Cordova (BAKA-C) held a symbolic commitment ceremony during a youth leadership seminar and team building last Oct. 28, 2017 at the Cordova town hall.

The team building session was facilitated by the Mega Cebu Constituency Building team led by Menandro Daclan, Mega Cebu Constituency Building Officer (South Cluster); Rosendo Bonghanoy, Mega Cebu Constituency Building Officer (North Cluster); and Edward Peterkim Yu, Mega Cebu Project Assistant for Planning and Technical Support.

A former SK Leader, Yu talked about youth leadership and the role of the youth in the community. He focused on young people’s roles in bringing about change in their communities. This was followed by an inspirational talk and overview of Mega Cebu by Bonghanoy.

The team building activity aimed to improve BAKA-C members’ leadership skills and strengthen their interest in contributing positively to the community and supporting Mega Cebu.

The Cebu Provincial Government through the PAD-Human Resource Management Office (HRMO), in partnership with the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. – Eduardo Aboitiz Development Studies Center (RAFI-EADSC), recently launched the Capitol Citizenship and Leadership Academy.

The program, also called the CCLA, is a learning and development program consisting of modules focused on character-building, competence and skill enhancement, as well as fundamentals to leadership and citizenry development.

This year, CCLA is currently training 30 job order employees from the different departments in the Capitol.

“Ultimately, the goal of CCLA is to ignite the burning passion of the participants in their accountability and shared obligation to partake in the nation-building process not only in the Capitol but to the whole society,” Bonifer Nacorda. HRMO chief, said.

All 10 modules have been implemented and the CCLA leaders are now set to present their projects during a Conference in November.

The CCLA is under the Program on Rewards and Incentives for Service Excellence, which aims to promote leadership among its public servants and employees.