The RAFI Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (RAFI-DACF) held an online Grant Awarding Ceremony to Barangay Ermita’s Information and Learning Center last September 1, 2021.  

The Barangay Ermita Information and Reading Center was implemented back in the year 2010 as a means of complying with the mandatory instructions of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children. Under the mandatory RA 7743, Section 1, local government units (LGUs) have the responsibility of creating, providing, and establishing a barangay reading center in their respective communities. The national policy pushed for the promotion of moral and intellectual well-being of the people. This included elevating the literacy level of every Filipino. Thus, the barangay’s information and reading center was born.  

Over the years, it has become the hub of information and learning in the small, tight-knit community of Barangay Ermita. Many students flock to the center to learn and be exposed to lessons outside the four walls of their school. Children who have no means of going to school especially rely on the center for learning.  

However, the on-going pandemic has made it difficult for children and students to continue visiting the center. Children who are still attending early childhood education in particular, have a hard time coping with the challenges that the pandemic has ushered.  

Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Sangguniang Kabataan and concerned Barangay Officials, a small corner beside the SK Office was made with the purpose of collecting print and non-printing materials. They did the groundwork to find donations from various sectors, both private and public. Moreover, they also revised the budget allocation; making sure that the children who use the reading center are provided with the right children’s books and the right environment for learning.  

The Barangay Information and Reading center, ever since, has been taking initiatives to teach children in day care and kindergarten to read and write. The activities implemented in the center includes storytelling, film showing, summer classes for kids, arts and crafts, and free tutorial for all children living in Barangay Ermita.  

Even at the height of the pandemic, the efforts to continue this initiative never halted. They project managers and coordinators in charge of the center continue to encourage children to study and learn in spite of the current global crisis. They have also made it even easier for children by sending the learning materials to their respective homes. This is done in supplementation of the teaching materials (soft copies) sent to them by DSWD. In addition, they have collaborated with Arcanys Early Learning Foundation, Basadours and Children of Asia in supplementing the learning materials to the day care centers in the barangay.

“Despite the wide-ranging implications brought by the pandemic, we commend the profound impact brought by Brgy. Ermita to its beneficiaries. We are very grateful for the work that they do, as their efforts are needed now more than ever. We sincerely hope that they may remain resilient and healthy to continue their noble efforts for the children,” shared Micah Jane Estrada, DACF Program Officer for Grants for Early Education.  

In support of their initiative to provide quality education to young children, RAFI-DACF granted their request of a photocopier machine with an estimated price of Php40,000.00. This machine can help push their efforts in educating and elevating literacy in their community even further.  


The Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-DACF) aims to enable communities to champion for children to reach their own potentials. Its Grants Program supports initiatives promoting the welfare and development of children through Early Education and Health and Nutrition.

The RAFI Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund (RAFI-DACF) held an online Grant Awarding Ceremony for the Bata ng Calabnugan and with its partner school, Holy Cross High School last September 1, 2021.  

Bata ng Calabnugan was founded by Filipino-Italian couple Francesco Izzo and Flora Aguit with the aim to provide refuge for young children aged 0-10 years old in the remote barangay of Calabnugan in Sibulan, Negros Oriental.  

“Our main mission is to provide a comfortable family-style living environment with lots of love and individual attention to the children that we care for,” Ms. Aguit, who now acts as the Executive Director of the organization, stated during the ceremony.  

With the help of the Italian organization, L’isola dei Bambini, Francesco and Flora were able to realize their vision for Bata ng Calabnugan. The orphanage was built to serve as a home for girls who no longer have their own. They set out to find female children within Region 7 who are orphaned, neglected, abandoned, and physically disabled whose families are unable to care and provide for their basic needs. 

They started their operations in 2010 with only 5 children. Now, their center has expanded its capacity to 20 people. But at present, the orphanage has faced some hardships with the 32 children that they are currently housing in their orphanage center. Even with the expansion and added capacity, they are still running short of accommodations for the children that they want to protect.  

In 2016, RAFI-DACF awarded a 5-year grant for Bata ng Calabnugan to support the education of their beneficiaries. With the contract nearing its end and the COVID-19 pandemic on-going, the organization is finding it harder and harder to look for other funders. They especially need help in the basic education of 23 girls who are enrolled in Holy Cross High School in Dumaguete City.  

Over the years, the organization and its stakeholders have been diligent in providing the support and care that the young children need for them to be able to realize their full potential, regain their dignity and experience a normal home environment where they can play, eat, rest, do simple chores and be educated.  

With the utmost care, love and healing that they give to the children, RAFI-DACF saw them as the right organization to capacitate through a grant. DACF, therefore, pledged to support 50% of the total school fees (tuition and miscellaneous fees); which amounted to Php 214,762.00. 

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with Bata ng Calabnugan. We hope for a better future for the children through the quality education provided for them. We, in RAFI-DACF, continue to fulfill our mission of enabling ‘communities to champion for children’. Definitely, Bata ng Calabnugan is one of our champions!” said Jenny Lea Menchavez, RAFI-DACF Junior Executive Director. 

During the ceremony, Ms. Aguit emphasized their belief, “that education is the key to overcoming poverty – because of the support given by the grant of RAFI DACF, our children will have the opportunity to grow intellectually and broaden and expand their capabilities and skills.”  

The quality of their service, regard and respect for each child can be seen in all the things they do and provide. Because of that, they deserve the help and support not only from DACF, but also from the community as a whole.  


The Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-DACF) aims to enable communities to champion for children to reach their own potentials. Its Grants Program supports initiatives promoting the welfare and development of children through Early Education and Health and Nutrition.

Gabii sa Kabilin will hold a webinar on September 24, 3 p.m. entitled “Ubiquity, Uniqueness, and the Theatricality of Nineteenth-century Philippine Clothing” with Philippine clothing culture expert and award-winning author, Dr. Stephanie Marie Coo.

The lecture will trace the binary evolution of Philippine clothing in the 19th century. In asking what factors influenced the growing homogeneity of clothing in the country, it will provide glimpses of the Cebuano or Bisaya in historical sources. It will also look into the meanings behind collective and individual clothing through travel guides and writings, paintings, photographs, and periodicals.

The lecture can be viewed on Gabii sa Kabilin’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. It will also be streamed on the National Quincentennial Committee Facebook page.

Ubiquity, Uniqueness, and the Theatricality of Nineteenth-century Philippine Clothing

Join us on September 24, 3 p.m.

Register for Free

Dr. Stephanie Marie Coo is the award-winning author of “Clothing the Colony: Nineteenth-century Philippine Sartorial Culture, 1820-1896,” which recently received the IIAS-ICAS International Book Prize 2021 as the Best Book in Humanities- English Language Edition.

She is a Marie Curie Postdoctoral fellow at Universidad de Granada in Spain and NOVA School of Law-Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal. She obtained her PhD in History from Université Nice Sophia Antipolis in France, Master of Arts in History and Bachelor of Science in Management from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Dr. Coo is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History of the Ateneo de Manila University, where she served as Chair of the Internationalization Committee and Coordinator for Internationalization between 2018 and 2019.

For more information and updates about this lecture, visit the Gabii sa Kabilin Facebook page.

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.

Nurses, doctors, healthcare workers, and first responders. These people are tirelessly working on the frontlines in the middle of a COVID-19 outbreak. Their vital roles ensure our community receives the necessary care during this unprecedented time to the point of pulling extra shifts without even stopping to eat 
Through Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI’s) COVID-19 initiatives, we show our appreciation for their extraordinary efforts in keeping our community safe. We recently distributed several packed meals for our healthcare workers in 13 different hospitals in the city as a way of saying thank you for their selfless service to the community. To name a few, these are Cebu Doctor’s Hospital, St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, Perpetual Soccour Hospital, and SWU Medical Center. 
This recent initiative started last August 15, 2021. As of today, we have given out a total of 30,390 meals to our healthcare workers. Part of food packs includes packed meals and bottled waters/juice aimed at bringing energy and smiles to get through their day!

Without our health care workers’ sacrifices and hard work, we wouldn’t have made it through as a nation. Let’s feed our warriors on the frontlines by donating a meal. Each purchase gives three meals to one healthcare worker. Shop on our Lazada page.

Shop on our Lazada page

Donate to Healthcare Workers
by John Nicko M. Coyoca

Dream big. Start small. Scale-up.  

As in most stories that matter, it all began with a dream. The dream is to create a lasting change in the community and to change the world, one child at a time. The dream is big, but for this group of people who believed that the children are the future, no dream is too big if they start small and then scale up. As they dream, they further believe that the only way to do it is to do it together.  

Children are said to be like seeds to be planted and that when cultivated well will bear fruits. Cultivating them goes beyond telling that they’re the future’s hope. They need to be equipped with the necessary skills for their potentials to be maximized, thus, putting a premium on their education as the ultimate key to development. Children of Asia believed that the best way to build the future is to invest in our children. With this, they pool their energies, resources, and skills together to bring about a better future for the underprivileged and disadvantaged children by providing them the support they need. By expressing their love to the children especially to those who have less, they witnessed a cycle of love going full circle over and over again. 

Dreaming Big  

It was in 1991 that Children of Asia, a French, non-governmental, humanitarian organization was established. Its primary aim is to give support to those children who have less. This paved the way for several children from poor families to have access to education, which eventually becomes their springboard towards professional integration. Seven years later, the Children of Asia – Philippines was created by French actress Charlotte de Turckheim. Turckheim was said to have worked with approximately 100 street children from the Cebu City Task Force on Street Children while shooting a film in Cebu years ago. It was at that moment that she realized that she had to do something and set up a program with Children of Asia to provide support for these underprivileged children in Cebu. The organization hopes that by providing the disadvantaged populations with sustainable access to quality education and involving the family and community in each child’s education, they’re allowing these children to build themselves a better future and to escape poverty in the long term.  

With Children of Asia’s goals that include supporting disadvantaged children towards a better future, the Drop-in Center Ermita (DICE) has been established in Barangay Zapatera, a barangay known for having one of the highest poverty rates in Cebu City. With DICE and Children of Asia’s long-term partnership, they’re able to bring about a number of children being supported with education, professional integration, psychosocial needs, and child protection. Over the years, this humanitarian organization has proven that strength comes from individuals working together towards a common vision. It has come a long way, from fighting malnutrition and providing educational sponsorships to underprivileged children on Cebu Island to serving as a mechanism for addressing priority needs with an integrated approach on Non-formal Education, Health and Nutrition, and Psychosocial Welfare and Development for children 3-8 years old. They indeed champion Quality Education.

Starting Small  

Children of Asia – Philippines provides crucial educational opportunities and vital services to vulnerable children from the poorest families in the slums of Cebu city. This support allows them to escape from poverty, empowering them to build safer, brighter futures for both themselves and their families. Driven by the motivation and enthusiasm of the team, the ambition is to support more and more children in Cebu. The commitment is to carry out this dream following its current values, vision, and missions. Drop-in Center Ermita (DICE) maintains the children at the heart of its actions. With engagement, respect, and responsibility as its guiding principles and driving forces to move forward, the organization’s projects and services revolve around strengthening the social support provided to its beneficiaries and their families, consolidating the close ties between the association and its members and donors, and making each child a responsible actor in his or her community. 

In very stressful environments, such as the slum of Ermita and even in other municipalities and cities outside Cebu, children need the psychosocial support gained through participation in an engaging and supportive environment. This paves the way for the Drop-in Center of Ermita to continue its mission of being a child-friendly space. For years, they have been steadfast in providing comprehensive educational sponsorship for over 700+ children. With education as the organization’s heart-print of service, they have provided elementary and high school supplies and uniforms, school fees, projects, and tutorials to the organization’s beneficiaries.  Furthermore, to equip them with the skills they need to enter the job market in the future, the beneficiaries were given numerous training such as IT, soft skills, career orientation, and professional mentoring programs.  

Scaling Up  

With COVID-19 affecting almost all walks of life, Children of Asia’s goals and commitment remained steadfast, even getting stronger with the demand for more hearts and hands to help the vulnerable children. The pandemic, though it challenged them had stimulated innovations in the organization. One of these innovations is the implementation of the Project DICE against COVId-19 that aims to provide emergency response, enabling the community to protect and support the children especially those greatly affected by disheartening circumstances because of the pandemic. The project started last September 2020 that helped around 150 children. Children and their families participated in an online art poster-making competition, with themes relating to positive parenting, health and hygiene, and COVId-19 protocols. These were presented as a Digital Exposition in collaboration with various cultural networks. Children of Asia – DICE is a grantee of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. – Dolores Aboitiz Children’s Fund for their project that addresses issues on early childhood care and development focusing on health, nutrition, and psycho-social needs.

Ms. Barbie Romero-Guardiario, Deputy Country Director of Children of Asia – Drop-In Center Ermita when asked about her favorite experience working with DICE shared that it was seeing a cycle of care and love through the older Children of Asia students from the Ermita Educational Program getting involved by volunteering themselves in their projects or by simply helping set up their venue, host the program, and being good role models that inspire the DICE children to value education and community service.       

“What keeps me working with DICE is my aspiration for the children to have the best childhood possible by meeting the DICE program’s goals and objectives. DICE provides a safe space to play, learn, and express themselves and implements lessons especially about resiliency, valuing themselves (health, hygiene, and protection), their education, and positively contributing to their families and their community,” Ms. Barbie added.  

For Children of Asia, the dream may be that big but with their collective efforts, no matter how small but done consistently, it greatly amounted to significant results. It is with this that they were able to transmit this notion of responsibility to their beneficiaries so that they feel fully involved in their lives despite the daily difficulties they face. The dream, which is to change the world, one child at a time, is now becoming a reality.

RAFI Micro-finance, Inc. (RAFI MFI) collaborated with Uratex Group of Companiesto further support small and micro businesses all over the country. The partnership officially commenced on September 2, 2021. 

The microfinancing focus area of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc (RAFI) has always been keen on addressing the livelihood needs of low-income families in the Visayas and other parts of the country. 

Members of RAFI MFI’s entrepreneurship programs are self-employed individuals belonging to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) who make a living through selling their own products or reselling various items. Based on need assessment, the access to raw materials like scrap fabrics was crucial to their daily production flow. This is the gap that the fruitful partnership with Uratex has filled. Client-beneficiaries who are in the sewing business can especially benefit from having access to said raw materials. 

Uratex has agreed to donate scrap fabrics to RAFI MFI’s client-beneficiaries. The company wanted to extend their support in the upcycling efforts of the business-oriented clients of RAFI MFI.

Mr. Jonar Dorado, RAFI MFI’s Chief Operating Officer even expressed that, “Collaborations like this are very important to push our mission of elevating lives further. That is why I have nothing but the deepest thanks to Uratex for giving us the assistance that we needed during these times.” 

“One of our goals is to contribute to the overall well-being of the communities we serve, through this project we will be able to help people generate additional, and often vital streams of income. We are very grateful to have this kind of partnership with RAFI Microfinance, expressed by RGC/Uratex Group Business Head for Visayas and Mindanao Ms. Marvey E. Alcantara. 

With the help of conscientious companies like Uratex, it won’t be long until RAFI MFI truly reaches its goal of capacitating all the business-minded nanays and tatays all over the Philippines.

The Microfinance Program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI-MFI) provides financial and non-financial services to micro-entrepreneurs with a mission of elevating lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged communities through stable and rewarding livelihood.

On September 2, 2021, RAFI MFI joined the “Career Talk Series: Beginning the Entrepreneurial Journey” under the USAID Opportunity 2.0’s TESDA Online Program. Partner agencies provided insights on entrepreneurship and starting one’s entrepreneurship journey. Participants were 30+ OSYs program beneficiaries from Cebu City, Tacloban, Quezon City, Bicol, and Mindanao, as well as private sector representatives from the USAID O2 program.  

RAFI Microfinance, Inc. Client Training and Development Specialist Christine Ango delivered an excellent presentation on kickstarting one’s entrepreneurship journey through membership with microfinancing institutions, particularly through RAFI MFI. She provided insights on what it takes to be an entrepreneur and walked youth participants through financial and non-financial services opportunities to kickstart their business, and the growth journey of clients in RAFI MFI.  

The session was an excellent platform of sharing the power of microfinance and RAFI MFI to youth in the different USAID O2 project areas, and encouraging them and their families to become members of RAFI MFI.

Catch the session on USAID O2’s Facebook page.