In one of their field activities when she was in Grade 6, she met a forester who showed her the leaves of a Narra tree. With just one look, the forester was already able to identify the tree, an encounter that quickly gripped her fascination.
“Di jud ko kalimot sa dahon sa Narra, kaila jud ko ana. Then pag-abot sa college, dali ra kayo sa ako magtan-aw ug dahon (I can never forget the time I saw the leaves of Narra, I really know it. When I got to college, it was very easy for me to identify leaves),”
As a child, she witnessed how her father, a farmer-carpenter, would use numerous techniques on choosing wood suitable for the project he’s working on.
“Sauna akong tatay maghimo man ug sala set, mga cabinet. Ang fresh diay nga Narra if you put it in the water kay mu-green diay ang tubig. So, akoang mata kay anad na daan (My father used to make sala sets, cabinets and I learned that fresh Narra leaves a green tinge if you soak it in water),”
She marveled at the way these people were able to know the names of the trees, as if they were just greeting an old friend.
This fascination continued on even when she entered college, but never really entertained the idea of working with trees as she never really saw it as a profession. She traversed a somewhat practical route at that time – engineering.
From Engineering to Forestry
Growing up, Neña has always set her eyes on engineering as a career that she wanted to pursue. Until a friend told her that in engineering, “ma-losyang ra ka (you’ll age faster),” and later convinced her to try out another course.
Skeptical, she wanted to try out the classes first before shifting. She recalled that in one of the classes, she discovered that a profession such as Forestry existed and the professor at that class basically “brainwashed” her into shifting.
“I really learned to love it. Instead of transferring, gi-sturya ko sa Dean nga, “Nen, nindot man ang forestry. It’s an honorable profession, and a dying one kay gamay nalang ta. So help us (the Dean told me, “Nen, foresty is an honorable profession, and a dying one because there’s only a few of us”),”
Thus propelling her to a lifelong journey of campaigning for the preservation of nature.
Cloud? Might be the white fluffy thing we see in the sky. However, the tech industry says otherwise when they say the data is in the “cloud,” – this is where you can access your data anytime through the internet or even install hardware or software online.
For Jade, this is the future of technology. He envisions a RAFI that is operationally ready as we take a step further to embracing the 5th industrial revolution, powered by intelligent technologies. But behind the charisma and jokes, he’s ready to put our heads in the Cloud.
The sound of the busy streets and the scorching heat of the sun—these have never been a hindrance for trust staff Mico Puton, a dedicated employee who has always gone above and beyond to serve the Nanays.
Mico’s first job was as a production worker at an electronics manufacturing company, but after two and a half years there he began to feel that there was something missing—and that he had to find a better way to provide for his growing family.
Since becoming part of RAFI-MFI, Mico has experienced a huge change in his life. He has a new sense of purpose because he can help those in need, watch the Nanays’ businesses evolve, and see their families living a more comfortable life.
As a trust staff who serves as a front-liner of RAFI-MFI, he devotes himself in the field. He clocks in for work as early as 7:30 AM and then proceeds to his assigned areas until late afternoon. He covers around three center meetings from Mondays through Thursdays, with about 40 Nanays present to share updates on their businesses and money tips to help each other along the way.
Because Mico is always out on his motorcycle, danger is never far away. He reminisces about one late afternoon in March 2019 when he had an accident that put him in the hospital for two weeks: “Pag-uli nako gikan field, nadisgrasya ko. Ni counterflow ang pikas na sakyanan, na blackout ko, sige na ko ug balik-balik sakong gipangsulti. Pagmata nako 7pm naa nako sa hospital, wala jud koy nadumduman sa nahitabo. Wala ko nag expect at. Pero salamat sa Ginoo kay na ayo ra dayon ko ug nakadawat ko ug assistance gikan sa RAFI. (When I was on my way home after field work, I met an accident. The other car counter-flowed and I had a blackout and kept on repeating what I said. I woke up at a hospital and could not remember anything, but I’m thankful to God because I recovered quickly and with the assistance of RAFI.)”
Despite his injuries, Mico was still set on serving the Nanays with the utmost diligence. He became even more inspired when he saw his fellow team members winning awards and recognitions during RAFI-MFI events. From then on, he pushed himself to be the best he could be, with full commitment. His perseverance paid off when he was awarded the Most Outstanding Trust Staff 2019, having 532 clients with a retention rate of 99%; collection efficiency of 100%; and loan releases amounting to ₱17,992,000.00. It was an outstanding performance that gave honor both to Mico and to his entire branch.
“Gibuhat lang gyud nako tanan nakong dapat buhaton, mao na dako kaayo ni nga achievement. Nakakita ko sa mga nakadaog sauna so naganahan sad ko kay makit-an ko sa management, nag aim ko ug naghago para sa ako pamilya bahala’g dugay ko maka-uli. Pagdawat nako sa award, niresulta ragyud akoang pagkugi para nila ug para sad sa akong kaugalingon. (I did everything that I needed to do. I consider this my biggest achievement. I had seen the previous winners and was interested because I could be seen by the management, so I aimed and persevered to do as much as I could for my family, even though I always came home late. When I received the award, all of the hard work paid off—for my family and myself.)”
Mico dedicates his achievement to his family, who are very understanding about his job. Even though it takes a lot of his time, they support him every step of the way. He also expresses his gratitude to his branch manager and team members, whom he credits with giving him the fire to strive harder and helping him achieve the coveted award.
He describes himself and other RAFInians as “Heroes of the Nanays,” saying, “Kita nga naa sa RAFI, matawag ta na hero kay naa ta diri para mutabang sa kaayuhan sa mga nanay nga pareha ra sad nato. We give light, we build, we touch and elevate the lives of our nanays. Dako kayo ang epekto nato sa katawhan mao na makaingon jud ko na heroes ta. (Here in RAFI, I could say we are all heroes. We are here to help our Nanays, who are just like us. We give light, we build, we touch and elevate their lives. We have such a big effect in their lives; that is why I can say we are heroes in our own ways.)”
Mico loves his job because it allows him to realize a purpose greater than self, grounded with RAFI’s social mission of elevating lives—and he believes that if you love your job and you continue doing it for people, it will always come back to you in ways you never expected. It is a continuous learning process every day, but all you have to do is trust the process.
The pandemic has brought the world to a standstill especially the healthcare systems. Nonetheless, this should not delay patients, mainly the immunocompromised like cancer patients from seeking medical care. In celebration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI EJACC) continues to center its programs on promoting improved levels of well-being through cancer advocacy and education amidst COVID-19.
As the country continues to deal with the COVID-19 global outbreak, frontliners continue to work around the clock to carry on with their duties as our first line of defense, all in the fight against COVID-19.
They continue to bare challenges on the limited transportation available hence the need for a nearby place for them to stay, and isolate themselves from their families away from the risk of the infection.
The story of Crisanto Baquero, 66, a street dweller in Cebu City
Street dwellers around the world is one of the most vulnerable group in light of the global pandemic. Strict advisories by the government authorities were implemented, mandating its citizens to stay safe in their own homes. But what about those with no roof over their heads, how can they protect themselves from the virus?
Tatay Crisanto, 66, is one of the many street dwellers who were brought to the sports complex of Brgy. San Roque when the city implemented the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) guidelines last March 2020.
“Naa mi balay sa una, pero biktima pud mi ug sunog. Pero sukad 2006, ako nalang usa. Didto ko mag-adtuan sa Plaza Independencia. Karun, makisilong nalang ko sa mga building diri duol. Magbutang ug tabon, labi nang mag-ulan.” he shares.
As he goes about his day-to-day activities, Tatay Crisanto cannot leave his post without this item he considers a lifeline – his wheelchair. Back in 2010, he developed polio, disabling him to walk. He recalls having to move from one homeless shelter to another, he added that there were many occasions that he would sleep on the pavement with other homeless people because he could not find an open building or a welcoming guard.
“11 na kabuok ka wheelchair akong nagamit sukad. Permi man gud ko magub-an sa sige nakog lakaw-lakaw. Kung huna-hunaon, delikado kaayo para nako, na senior citizen ug naka wheelchair ang magsigeg lakaw-lakaw sa dalan – mag-amping nalang gyud akong buhaton.”
His wheelchair served as his feet that took him to places, served as his comfort, converting it into a bed at night. Over time, his wheelchair started to wear out.
Niceforo Iroy, one of the barangay councilors of San Roque, noticed Tatay Crisanto struggling to move around on his defective wheelchair when he stayed in the gym over the quarantine.
RAFI, together with the Augustinian Relief Services (ARS) of Sto. Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation Inc. activated the intervention to extend assistance by providing food, hygiene kits, and sleeping mats to the street dwellers situated in the Brgy. San Roque Gymnasium, where Niceforo met Tatay Crisanto.
He reached out to RAFI, in the hopes that Tatay Crisanto’s wheelchair will be replaced. “I have known RAFI for a few years now and knowing its vision to help the community and those in need, I was confident that they won’t hesitate to help Tatay Crisanto.”
Through Avila Foundation, a long-time partner of RAFI, Tatay Crisanto was provided with a new and sturdy wheelchair that gave him the best comfort. The Avila Foundation continues to help relieve the suffering individuals especially the PWD; street dwellers who were not able to stay in temporary shelters are linked with other foundations for additional support.
“Providing Tatay Crisanto with his wheelchair is just one of the many programs we have. We are grateful for our partnership with RAFI – for helping us maintain our programs that continuously support persons with disability (PWD), pertaining to their mobility, and dignity. Thank you RAFI for supporting the causes and advocacies of our foundation.” shares Adela Kono.
Tatay Crisanto despite living on the streets remain to instill a hopeful perspective in life, thanks to the people who have continuously been helping street dwellers like him. He shares, “Malipayon gihapon ko. Ang Ginoo, makahibaw gyod sya sakong kalisod, mao na dili ko mahadlok. Hatagan ko niyag blessing pinaagi sa mga taw ug organisasyon na mutabang gyud sa mga street dwellers pareha nako.”
Now with his new wheelchair, Tatay Crisanto extends his gratitude to the organizations who have helped him: “Nakahatag gyud ni ug dakong tabang kanako kay sumpay ni sa akong kinabuhi ang akong wheelchair. Sa inyong pagpakabana na matabangan ang mga pareha nako daghang salamat RAFI ug Avila Foundation and more power!”
As we continue to battle through this deadly virus, RAFI continues to remain steadfast and committed to its response to helping the most vulnerable populations especially the ultra-poor and the homeless through the interventions activated by its Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response (HDPR) team, and the COVID-19 Donation Hub.
THE school year is back officially in full swing and nothing is stopping the Department of Education Bohol Province from taking care of their learners.
“With the safety and protection of the students and teachers in mind, we re-directed our efforts to conduct our activities online and decided to initiate activities that are more suited these times,” shared Marina Bernasor, PDO – Youth Focal Coordinator, DepEd Bohol Province.
Days leading towards the opening of the school year meant wearing face shields, face masks, and keeping a safe social distance from officemates and other colleagues. Their schools in the province worked hard in making sure that everyone would be ready to welcome back learners.
Among the strategies rolled out by DepEd Bohol Province included the “Saying YES to YES-O at Home!” learning session for teacher-advisers of the Youth for Environment in Schools Organizations (YES-O). Partners from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Agricultural Training Institute – Central Visayas shared their expertise during this session.
“We crafted contextualized programs in response to the COVID crisis and discussed [strategies] for implementation,” shared Bernasor.
As an output from the session, some of the programs crafted included TANUM (Tanum Amomahon Naglaum Ugma Molambo), a backyard gardening activity for all learners in their homes, and Digi-Agri Serye, a series of short video clips on the basics of urban gardening.
“[TANUM] can support the food needs of the family without the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 when going to the market,” said Bernasor. These distance learning initiatives would pave the way for learners and their families to produce their own food in their backyards.
Other initiatives to look forward to this school year include the Tree Tag, encouraging learners to plant native trees at home, and the JuanEffect, challenging learners to address the plastic problem in their homes.
DepEd Bohol Province invested a lot of time and effort in training their teachers and learners in preparation for the opening of the school year. Students participated in the the RAFI Center for Leaders’ YOUth in Action Virtual Learning Series and teachers actively took part in the Teacher-Adviser Training program.
“[One] challenge that we have encountered is having minimal know-how on how to conduct things online. The availability of stable internet connection and laptops [are also a challenge],” explained Bernasor.
Quick to address these challenges, DepEd Province ensured that their teachers participated on various webinars to equip them with the necessary skills to conduct their online learning activities. They were also able to find active partners from whom they have found support in helping roll out their different initiatives.
DepEd Bohol Province has been an active partner of the RAFI Center for Leaders (CFL). Their experience with RAFI CFL has helped them thrive through these challenging times.
“Our KAC experienced helped us much specially in overcoming our dragons. Fear is number one. At first, we are very hesitant to conduct those activities above mentioned because we are afraid that we might be infected of this unseen enemy. Lastly, we learned to be compassionate with our colleagues to have a strong bond of communication then will able to collaborate with each other,” said Bernasor. She along with Angelette Romolador and Aian B. Dolauta have been youth focal coordinators with whom CFL has been closely coordinating with.
The RAFI Center for Leaders honors our teachers in celebration of National Teachers’ Month and the start of the new school year. We recognize the dedication they put into their work in taking care of and teaching our young learners.
The RAFI Center for Leaders provides learning and development programs that equip leaders and enable communities through world-class, safe, powerful learning experiences. The RAFI CFL headquarters are located in the scenic mountains of Balamban, Cebu at the Kool Adventure Camp, the country’s first and fully-dedicated adventure education facility.
The fourth Gabii sa Kabilin webinar on “Fujian Ceramics Traded in Precolonial Philippines” was held last September 26, highlighting the different trade ceramics found and excavated in the country.
Deliza Ridoloso, former vice president of the Oriental Ceramic Society of the Philippines (OCSP), was the resource speaker of the webinar. She noted that much of these oriental pieces came from the Southern Fujian Province and were traded by precolonial Filipinos with gold, pearls and dye.
The Philippine Revolution (1896-1898) is often regarded as the foundational event of the nation’s history. It popularized Enlightenment-influenced ideals that ultimately weakened the influence of Catholic friars over colonial society.
There is little understanding in the role of objects such as anting-anting (amulets) in these events, due to an evolutionary view of Philippine history, which regards them as objects of superstition, and the political and socio-economic focus of past historians.