Trust in the vaccine begins with awareness. As one community, we worked with our indigenous communities to provide means of information and education on the importance of staying safe and getting vaccinated.
The Sinulog is one of the most popular dances and festivals in the country, but beyond the lively drumbeats and colorful costumes, the annual celebration highlights a well-preserved dance with deep roots to local history, culture and tradition.
On August 27, 3 p.m. Gabii sa Kabilin will hold a webinar entitled “A Dance for All Seasons: The Sinug and its Variants” with Cebuano dance researcher Prof. Ceasar F. Nimor.
The webinar will focus on the origin, influences, and traditions of the three versions of Sinug: Votive, Combat and Contemporary. It will also cover ritual dances that may be related to the Sinug, musical accompaniments of the dance, and the beginnings of the Sinulog Festival. Video demonstrations will be included to support the lecture.
Ceasar F. Nimor is a retired assistant professor of the University of Cebu and a general member of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts National Committee on Cultural Education (NCCA-NCCED).
He has over 18 years of experience as a professional choreographer and 10 years of experience as an artistic director for musical productions. He co-authored Physical Education II Beginner’s Dance Book and Sayaw Sugbo Volume 1. He is also a recipient of the Gawad Sayaw Diamante 2019 from the Philippine Folk Dance Society.
Initiated in 2007 by RAFI, Gabii sa Kabilin aims to help preserve local culture and heritage by encouraging Cebuanos to visit museums. It launched its online activities last year at the onset of the pandemic to help make Cebuano culture and heritage more accessible to the public.
For more information and updates, like and follow www.facebook.com/gabiisakabilincebu/.
Unity in community!
Children who work at a young age to help their parents out is not an uncommon narrative here in the Philippines. In the rural areas of Sinsin, Cebu for example, children are expected to assist their parents in the farm every Friday. This means that they won’t be showing up at school for that day.
For these children, education and poverty seem to be two ends of a stick; two separate choices where one can’t happen at the same time with the other. They understand that education is important to get out of poverty, yet they are too entrenched in poverty to even have time for education. It’s a paradox that they can’t seem to get out of.
Not until Project Tambayayong. Here’s how the story of Sinsin Elementary School’s Project Tambayayong started.
The Unseen Story of Sinsin
Sinsin Elementary School is tucked right at the heart of Tabunok-Toledo Road in Cebu City. Behind the calm facade of the school, teachers had some pressing concerns that needed to be addressed. Aside from the facilities that have been worn down by time and weather, some of the children were not showing up as much as they should.
“When I first arrived here in Sinsin Elementary School, we had really experienced a big challenge. All facilities here are not functional. Even the lights are minimally functioning. Aside from that, the comfort rooms are also not functional. Our artesian well wasn’t functioning for a week.
It was a really really big challenge.
And besides that, another problem is the absenteeism of our pupils. Because every Friday, most of our pupils have to work together with their parents. Their main livelihood here is farming,” said Dr. Marivel B. Lacre.
Dr. Lacre knew that there were going to be some concerns that needed to be resolved in the school. But the rate of absenteeism and the poor rate of literacy were the ones that really surprised her. Fortunately, she wasn’t the type to give up so easily. Especially when the lives of the children she cares so much about are at stake.
So, she found some ways to bring back some life into the lackluster facilities of the school.
“I immediately coordinated with the barangay officials and with the school governing council, the PTA, alumni, and of course, the stakeholders to discuss all these problems in the school,” she recalled. She quickly became the incessant advocate of improving not only the school facilities, but of the lives of the children that go there to learn as well.
She emphasized the need for better facilities and improving the learning environment as a whole. Dr. Lacre, along with the teachers at Sinsin Elementary School, know that for learning to be effective, a conducive environment is necessary too.
But just because some strong-willed teachers advocated for change and improvement, doesn’t mean it was going to happen overnight. Some parents were skeptical. Understandably so. After all, who was going to help them out on the farm and make sure the family is fed? Some officials were concerned, too. How much is this project going to cost?
Ultimately, after weeks of campaigning on the children’s behalf, Dr. Lacre and the teachers of Sinsin finally had their first breakthrough.
“So, through our collective effort, our goals were finally realized. Now we have two fully-functioning artesian wells that are already connected with the comfort rooms and washing areas,” Dr. Lacre happily shared. But she and the other teachers of Sinsin weren’t stopping at improving the facilities alone. That’s when the Tambayayong Project came in.
The Tambayayong Project was born out of the need to continue what they started. Tambayayong seemed to be the perfect name for the project for it stands for collaboration and helping each other out. It wasn’t long before the teachers got the gears going for this project.
“We had the pre-implementation plan wherein the teachers were asked to give a list of parents who are capable of rendering free reading services to children who don’t know how to read. The barangay officials also requested a list of students who were usually absent during Fridays to help their parents.”
The teachers then set out to visit and talk to the parents. During their discussions, they asked the parents what they could do to help them. By doing so, they made sure that more children could attend school even on Fridays.
Marivic Abella, one of the parent-volunteers, said, “I volunteered for this so I can help the students. Among the impact of the project is on how the children who were not able to read can now read. We are also happy to give assistance to the children whenever needed.”
They gathered volunteers from parents and officials to alumni who were kind enough to spend their free time assisting the children. The teachers taught the volunteers on how to conduct remedials that they then coined, “Outdoor Tutorials.” The volunteers were not only taught how to conduct these tutorials, they were also provided with instructional materials that they can use for the remedial sessions.
These tutorials were instrumental in giving children who are still struggling to read, a chance to catch up with their peers. The decreasing rate of non-literates was testament to how effective this project was.
But there was still one hindrance that stood in the way of learning: the road itself.
The Road to Learning
The road that connects the school to the rest of the municipality is a small, two-foot pathway that’s riddled with rocks and grass. During the rainy season, the narrow pathway turns into a flooded pool of mud that prevents anyone from crossing it. Crossing this road every day was a struggle, more so when the children had to do it on foot. Dr. Lacre saw this road as another reason why children are discouraged to diligently attend school.
She brought this issue to the barangay officials who helped her negotiate with the landowners. The landowners were gracious enough to support the project, they even donated two meters of their own land. Together with the alumni, parents, and other volunteers, the road was renovated into a cemented paveway that’s better suited for vehicles. It is also safer to walk on now even when it rains.
The renovation of the road was more than just improving the landscape. It served as a symbol that marked Sinsin’s journey to becoming a hub of effective learning. Now, children have been going to school more consistently, resulting in zero dropouts in the past three years. Students are also better at reading and comprehension.
This just proved that through collaboration, or Tambayayong, anything is possible. What seemed to be impossible feats were realized thanks to the efforts and services of the entire community.
A Wish Granted
This inspiring story has earned them the Top 3 spot at the SEED 2019 Elementary Category. They were awarded Php500,000 worth of prize – something that they can use to take the Tambayayong Project even further. For us here at RAFI, we look forward to hearing more stories of excellence from Sinsin Elementary School.
It truly does take a village to raise a child. In Sinsin’s case, it took the entire municipality to take action and collaborate with each other to ensure that their children have a better shot at life. Brave individuals who have the willpower and the initiative to take action shaped the children’s lives forever. And for that, they deserve all the respect and appreciation in this world.
To all the teachers, parents, and volunteers, may you continue shedding light onto the children’s path towards better learning.
Learning requires more than just some dedicated teachers and committed learners. For it to be effective, a lot of factors have to be considered. For instance, integrating play into the learning process helps develop the learners’ creativity and problem-solving skills. But in the digital era that we live in nowadays, technology seems to be taking over; from the way we play to the way we learn.
This was the case for almost 60 students that are currently studying at Liburon National High School. Like so many people all over the world, playing online games became their escape from the problems they were having in real life. It gave them an avenue to feel better – to feel like they are winning at something. But this addiction almost cost them their education.
“Way back in 2016, we found out that the main reason for the students’ absenteeism problem in the school is due to the computer games addiction among students,” said Zenia M. Montesa, Principal of Liburon National High School.
The concerned principal then gathered with the school governing council to discuss this growing problem. They quickly realized this addiction has inflicted so many of their students already, fighting it tooth and nail would feel like an uphill battle. Completely shunning their behaviors might make the students cower back and seek solace to the very thing that they are trying to stop: online games.
So, rather than fight fire with fire, they thought about other means of coping with this problem. The teachers of Liburon National High School thought that instead of suppressing their love for computer games, why not foster their interest in this area instead?
Turning the Enemy Into a Friend
The school, headed by Principal Montesa, created a research team that would identify the root causes of the problem. From this study, they created their Garden of Learning Program, a set of strategic interventions that aim to assist students at risk of dropping out.
This progressive move then turned into the LNHS Cafe (Liburon National High School Cafe), a sanctuary for the students at risk of dropping out due to computer games addiction. To fully implement the project, however, they needed the support and acknowledgment of the parents. So, they set out to talk to the parents about this innovative project.
“LNHS Cafe is the program that we created, together with the School Governing Council, that would allow our students to combine learning with their interest,” said Principal Montesa.
LNHS Cafe, unlike your typical internet cafe, was facilitated by the teachers themselves. They allowed the students to play games that combined the element of play with the lessons that they have to learn.
The said intervention takes place twice a week that is every Wednesday during recess time, from 3:40 to 4:10 in the afternoon. During these afternoons, the students are given free reign to utilize and practice the games on the computer. And the second session is scheduled every Friday during their Independent Cooperative Learning Time from 4:00 to 5:00 in the afternoon.
During these sessions, the students entered into online learning competitions where the winners were awarded some incentives. The incentives, although modest, were enough to encourage the students to do more and try better. This seemed to affect their overall performance at school as well.
“Quarterly, we conduct an evaluation to identify the graduates of the said program. We found out that they no longer have attendance problems. Thus, this qualifies them already as recipients of the program,” Principal Montesa happily reported.
She then added that, “All in all, the LNHS Cafe, did not only hone every Liburonian, it also gave the students the chance to aim for an intrinsic reward.”
Adapting to the New Normal
For Liburon National High School the new normal was not only about adapting to the abrupt changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new normal for them came a little earlier – in the form of innovative learning solutions.
“The change in the learning delivery has pushed the school to make innovations to the program. We are using the tablets and these tablets are being brought by our teachers to the Purok Centers or to our Community Learning Centers,” said Myrah Lou Redoblado, Head Teacher III.
The best news is perhaps seen in the attendance records of the students who were once tagged as SARDOs (Students at Risk of Dropping Out). The implementation of the LNHS Program has led to the decrease in absenteeism in the school. Through the LNHS Cafe, the students who were once at risk now found their place at school. The integration of computer learning motivated them to attend school every single day, leading to the zero dropout rate of Liburon National High.
“I am so grateful to the school because they made a way for us to continue and to not be left behind in our studies. Through our LNHS Cafe we get entertained and at the same time, it diverts our attention into playing educational games rather than playing those games in the computer shop,” said Nice Robbie Navarro, recipient of the LNHS Cafe Program.
“There was one time when we played “Text Twist” where the words were integrated into our English vocabulary lessons. We even have this Math problem which was related to a game we played as well. It was very challenging. Here, we are not only having fun, but we are also learning while having fun,” he added.
The LNHS Cafe was made possible not only through the ceaseless efforts of the teachers and parents alone. Barangay officials also chimed in a portion of their time and energy into making sure that the project remains sustainable and safe.
“Our barangay was known to be a shabu hub and a killing field back in the day. Young people were scared to study because there was no community high school here,” Hon. Teogenes Bontia, Brgy. Councilor in Liburon, recalled.
“When RAFI built a school building here, we saw a decrease in the number of out of school youth. Drug-related cases went down and the killings also stopped. This school is a testament of the unity and teamwork of the community led by our barangay captain and officials.”
The Domino Effect of Change
But perhaps their biggest breakthrough in terms of mitigating the growing plague (that is, computer addiction) is through adapting a new city ordinance. This city ordinance regulated the operation of nearby computer shops during class hours. Now, the students have less reasons to skip school and have become more focused in their studies.
Play is an extremely effective learning tool. So, too, does technology. Combining the two could provide a tremendous learning opportunity for a generation whose second nature is to manipulate and produce them.
So, how does the community school fit into all of this? Schools serve as the sanctuary for learning, the safe and guided zones where students can navigate knowledge without fear of the unknown. This safe zone, provided by the Liburon National High School to their students, earned them the Top 3 spot at the SEED 2019 Secondary Category. They were awarded Php 500,000 worth of grant price that will catapult their innovative learning projects even further.
Technology has taken a hold of the world we live in nowadays. But even though it has taken some students into a spiral of addiction, this does not mean that it is the enemy. Through progressive actions and innovative thinking, the teachers of Liburon National High were able to turn the tables and integrate what once was the antagonist into their trusted learning assistants.
Students have now the opportunity to turn their interests into their passions. And we have this amazing community to thank for it.
Big Wins because of you!
We had big wins for the first half of 2021 and we could not have accomplished these without your help. Here’s a quick round up of what we’ve accomplished in the first half of the year.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the RAFI Humanitarian Disaster Preparedness and Response (RAFI HDPR) program has been hard at work providing extensive assistance and support to local government units and organizations. For the first half of 2021, it has provided over 8,000+ PPEs to frontline workers and supported 450 COVID-19 patients.
RAFI HDPR continues to promote COVID-19 vaccination and supports the massive vaccination rollout in Metro Cebu. It has provided Php. 1.4M in medical equipment, supplies, and IT equipment to the NOAH Mega Vaccination Center. It has released several vaccination campaigns, including the Badjao Vaccination Jingle, 14 Bakuna Series Videos with doctors, post-vaccination videos, and a special vaccination music video.
The team also worked closely with local government units in its massive information and education campaign with barangay health workers, having trained 1,256 BHWs and other frontliners for the first half of 2021.
Under its preparedness initiatives, it was provided Capacity Building through Basic Life Support and First Aid Accreditation to 48 DRRM responders from the LGUs of Ginatilan, Samboan, Oslob, Boljoon, and Alcoy.
To encourage more people to become biodiversity champions, RAFI One to Tree (RAFI OTT) has partnered with GCash to allow more people to plant trees virtually. It has also opened more B2C channels like GavaGives, BSM, Shopee, Econvert, Evergrocer, and Frankie and Friends. For the first half of 2021, RAFI OTT has booked 626,720 seedlings.
The program has engaged 518 farmers in Cebu and Davao for plantation maintenance and the production of 509,290 seedlings. For the first half of 2021, it has achieved a 93% survival rate for seedlings planted in the past 2 years. It has also partnered with 11 people’s organization and 7 local government units.
The RAFI Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (DACF) continues to enable communities to champion for children to reach their full potential. Through its Grants for Health and Nutrition program, 2,297 have benefited from its grants program and 1,709 children have increased nutritional status. Earlier in the year, RAFI DACF, together with the Cebu City Nutrition Council, led the establishment of the Cebu City Nutrition Network (CCNN). The CCNN aims to reduce the number of malnourished children aged 0-59 months in Cebu City by 30% by 2023.
Through its grants for early education program, RAFI DACF has worked with local government units and organizations in promoting early childhood education. For the first half of the year, it has reached 562 children in 3 communities through its grants program.
The RAFI Eduardo J. Cancer Center (RAFI EJACC) was hard at work coordinating with local government units in the promotion of cancer advocacy and building the capacity of rural health units’ ability to carry out cancer screening.
For the first half of 2021, RAFI EJACC has screened 4,585 beneficiaries, working closely with 20 local government units and 22 private clinics. It has provided extensive treatment assistance to 33 patients.
Local Government Units and their rural health units play a key role in promoting cancer awareness and providing access to cancer screening and treatment procedures. RAFI EJACC has assisted 14 LGUs in the drafting and release of their local cancer ordinance.
The RAFI Education Development Unit (RAFI EDU) continues to build hope throughout the pandemic. Classrooms under the School Rebuild Program are at close to 50% completion with 36 classrooms slated to be turned over this year and 42 classroom on the first half of 2022.
The first half of 2021 was filled with hope and inspiration as the RAFI EDU held its first Seal of Excellence in Education Development (SEED) Grants Expo to showcase the impact of the SEED Grants among the various top schools in Cebu. Best practices of the top 10 elementary and secondary schools were presented, sharing stories of hope and inspiration. A total of Php. 6.8M worth of grant prizes have also been released to the SEED 2019 top schools.
The RAFI Center for Leaders (RAFI CFL) provides learning and development programs that equip leaders and enable communities through safe, world-class, powerful learning experiences.
As of June 2021, the RAFI CFL has equipped 4,292 leaders, engaged 126 clients, and conducted 123 virtual learning sessions. For the first half of 2021, RAFI CFL achieved an overall course effectiveness score of 94.1%, proving its outstanding course quality.
For the first half of 2021, the RAFI Culture and Heritage Unit (RAFI CHU) has released a video series featuring the different towns of Cebu through its Sugbu-bitful Series. Get a glimpse of the beautiful stories and history of the different towns in Cebu. It also released Handurawan: Cebuano Folklore for Children which highlights myths, legends and folk tales from Cebu and the Visayas region, and aims to educate kids aged four to seven years old about local folk literature.
The Casa Gorordo Museum continues to promote Cebuano culture and heritage virtually by offering the first virtual museum tour in Cebu. If you miss visiting your favorite museum, check out our Virtual Casa Gorordo Museum and explore the different house traditions and practices. The Maria Cacao Online Exhibit, has also been launched this year. The exhibit is based on the book “Maria Cacao sa Siglo 21” with the text written by Haidee Palapar and art by Josua Cabrera.
The Gabii sa Kabilin One Night Only was a big hit earlier this year, offering a special from dusk ‘til midnight virtual tour featuring presentations from 16 museums and heritage sites.
It conducts monthly Gabii sa Kabiliin webinars. Check out our most recent Gabii sa Kabilin 2021 Webinar with National Artist for Literature Dr. Resil B. Mojares.
For the first half of the year, the RAFI Micro-Finance (RAFI MFI) was able to serve over 500,000 clients with 362,000 borrowers. Through its services, it was able to touch more than 2.5M lives. RAFI MFI remains committed to serve more clients as it opened 36 new branches and 3 new extension offices in the first half of the year, bringing its total branch count to 255 across the Philippines.
Through its Tindahan ni Nanay (TNN), RAFI MFI continues to support micro-entrepreneurs. For the first half of the year, the group has 4,219 TNN members and was able to generate Php. 3.4M in sales, supporting 160 merchants.
With the mission to elevate the lives of micro-entrepreneurs, RAFI MFI opened an opportunity for their members to market their products through an online platform. Since the pandemic has greatly affected the sales of the micro-entrepreneurs, RAFI MFI created the Tindahan ni Nanay (TNN) Facebook group as an avenue to promote and sell their products. As of today, the Tindahan ni Nanay Facebook group already has 4,319 members with 175 merchants and has reached a total of Php 3.6 M in sales since it started last May 20, 2021.
To further support the micro-entrepreneurs of RAFI MFI, RAFI MFI’s Tindahan ni Nanay (TNN) partnered with Let’s Eat Bai (LEB) to provide access to a wider online market and to promote business transformation through online platforms. The partnership of RAFI-MFI with Let’s Eat Bai was officially launched on July 29, 2021, at Cebu Parklane International Hotel.
With LEB’s broad market influence, TNN’s food and services entrepreneurs will be able to expand their client reach and transform their business as they join the community of online sellers. Through LEB’s access to riders and delivery services, they will be able to assist TNN’s delivery of goods which were challenged by transportation limitations.
“Through the partnership with Let’s Eat Bai, RAFI MFI aims to elevate more lives by helping our nanays and tatays with their livelihood through LEB’s network.” said Jonar Dorado, COO, RAFI Microfinance. “Aside from the marketing and promotional support that we will be providing, we will be endorsing pre- screened riders to Let’s Eat Bai through our rider program. There will also be opportunities for training and development for RAFI MFI clients, riders and LEB merchants.”
Through this partnership, RAFI MFI and LEB hopes to further serve the needs of the micro-entrepreneurs through their online market and help them continue the success of their business, online and offline.