ALEx Interacts and Distributes Good to Fire Victims Kids

A fire broke out in Brgy. Labangon sitio Bugnay last May 29, 2011, razing 26 houses. in the area. For the mean time, the victims of the fire are currently living in tents near the chapel.

The Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence brings 65 ‘back to school’ goodies to the children of the affected barangay.  The goodies were from the donations of the Dutch partners of ALEx, the donations from UP chapter and the materials bought using the proceeds of the ALEx Shoe Sale conducted weeks ago.  A small program was conducted before we proceed with the distribution. The program began with a prayer led by Michael.

Michael volunteered to lead the prayer.

After the prayer, Vinder Singh, one of the active members of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence conducted the ‘Bring Me’ game. Not only the children were excitedly participative, their respective parents were as well. The winners got to take home toys, courtesy of the donations of the Dutch partners of ALEx.

Vinder plays Bring Me with the kids.Here he asks the name of the girl who has given him what he asked for.

After the ‘Bring Me’ game was concluded, ALEx introduced its members.

Vinder, the host had forgotten to introduced himself, too. When he asked the kids if they knew who he was, they all said ‘yes’, and shouted, ‘Alex.’ It was a good idea after all to introduce ourselves to the kids or they’ll think that ALEx is a person in the face of Vinder Singh.

Another game was started. This game was the famous parlour game ‘The Boat is Sinking.” Five winners were selected from the game and they received toys each.

This little boy is closely paying attention to Vinder. You can see how much he wants to win from how his eyes glitter.

The ALEx members started to distribute the goodies after the last game was finished.

Razilee, ALEx Chair and Clarizza,the program's head read the names of the children 0n the list and the other members (Cheyenne in the picture above) handed the goodies to those who were called.

The happy face of this child upon receiving the goodies makes ALEx members happy and fulfilled.

Such a huge smile on his face.

At the end of the distribution, Vinder had advised the kids to benchmark the members of ALEx who dedicated a part of their time in helping and making children happy. Razilee, the president gave the final words. Then, ALEx turned over a box of clothes to donate to the victims of the fire. The distribution of these school supplies goods is just one of ALEx’s activities to bring joy to less-privileged children. ALEx hopes to be doing more than this in the future.

The kids wave the bundle of joy they received from ALEx. You can tell that they love their presents and the camera as well.

ALEx with the Brgy. Captain of Labangon, Vic Buendia

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GREENIN’ Philippines and Run2Plant

The GREENIN’ Philippines Program is an environmental thrust program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. It aims to go beyond tree planting and develop real forests.

GREENIN’ Philippines’ objectives are:

  • to raise awareness in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation across sectors
  • generate public awareness to draw participation
  • consolidate and harmonize tree planting and reforestation activities, interventions and initiatives in the province and regions
  • contribute to the national and global goal for sustainable development through environmental program initiatives and interventions.

GREENIN’ Philippines’s goal is to cover the 2,900 hectares of land with 5 million native tree seedlings in five years. Why native tree seedlings? This is because native tree seedlings promotes  the growth of plants and animals and it balances the ecosystem, whereas exotic trees disrupts it.

In order to realize the goal of reaching 5 million, and to consolidate also with the thrust of other organizations and institutions, RAFI collaborates with the Cebu Provincial Government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), with the support of Aboitiz Leader’s of Excellence (ALEx), Cebu Association of Biology Students, Cebu Bloggers Society, MCWD and CEAP to host a Cebu Wide event called Run2Plant.

Run2Plant is an event with two segments. From the program title itself that is comprised with two verbs: Run and Plant. The running segment and the planting segment. Running nowadays has become a fad and has become a lifestyle for some. There is also an emergence for reforestation. Putting these two together targets a bigger audience, both sports enthusiasts and environment advocates alike.

Run2Plant realizes the plans and objectives of not only RAFI’s GREENIN’ Philippines Program but the Cebu Provincial Government’s, DENR’s,  MCWD’s and the LGU’s as well.

Run2Plant will be held this June 25, 2011. Why June? It’s because June is the Philippine Environment Month. June 25 will also serve as our belated commemoration of the World Environment Day last June 5 as declared by the United Nations.

The Run2Plant has three run legs. There’s the 8km, 4km and 1km. Each has their designated assembly area and designated color.

8km

This is the first leg. It will be marked with Green flags to designate the specific route to take. Green symbolized the Greenness of the trees. The assembly area for the participants of this leg will be at the Talisay City Hall. This is good for those who are athletic, for those who have the resistance and endurance and for those who wish to shed off a lot of weight.

4km

If you want a challenge but a lesser stress, go for 4km. The second leg that will be marked by blue flags (Blue to symbolize the skies and seas) will assemble at the East Visayan Academy grounds.

1km

If you are passionate for the environment, though you know your physical limits, then go for red which means passion. If you wish to participate in the 1km leg, you will assemble at Lucia-Vista Grande-Pacific Heights Junction.

After the running, there will be a short program that will be followed shortly by the planting of the seedlings. The site is already prepared for the participants; holes have already been dug; and the seedlings are already positioned beside the holes. All the participants have to do is to unwrap the seedling from the plastic, bury its roots under the pre-dug hole and cover it up with soil. That’s it!

The Run2Plant is a free event. However, a little contribution is asked of the participants.

Participants will take care of the following:

  1. their attire. The official run attire is Green T-shirt.
  2. snacks and lunch
  3. Water bottles. There will be refilling stations in designated areas.
  4. transportation to Talisay City
  5. They may also bring protection from the harsh sun: caps, visors, shades, and the like.

If you are interested, you may register online at http://rafi.org.ph/. Or Visit the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. office at 35 Lopez Jaena Street, Cebu City, or any of the partner institutions:

Talisay City Hall, University of San Jose Recoletos (USJR), Metro Cebu Water District Office (MCWD), and the Local Government Units (LGUs) of the 50 Towns and Cities of the Province.

If you’re free this Saturday, June 25, 2011, Join the Run2Plant. Help yourself by helping the environment. You don’t just burn calories here. You cool the earth with trees. It’s not just a fad; it’s a good cause!

If  you don’t act now, you never know, the fun runs fifty years from now will require runners to carry oxygen tanks on their backs.

 

GREENIN’ CIT-U

As Champions of GREENIN’ Philippines ( Generation, REdemption, and Expansion of Natural resources INitiatives in the Philippines, of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.), Cebu Association of Biology Students’ President Evanjohnn Mendoza, Cebu Blogger’s Society’s Vernon Go, and yours truly, Janelle Moran of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx) held an Information-Education Campaign in the Cebu Institute of Technology-University.

Johnn showing us his life as a Freshman Medicine Student. Very thick books! Fast-paced lessons and problem-based learning. A semester's lesson congested into one discussion. Thank goodness I shifted. Whew.

The Trio, Champions of GREENIN' Philippines: Vernon, Me and Johnn... I'm quite intimidated by the imba factors of the two. One of them is a social media specialist who urges me to go for fame and fortune and the other one is a future Doctor who makes gives me nosebleed with scientific terms. Both are Canonistas, and both frowned upon me for choosing Nikon. Both are my idols for being such influential bloggers.

The participants of the seminar are student body officers from the different organizations of CIT-U. The seminar aims to make the students aware, to educate them, to encourage them to make an action and to inspire them to persevere and commit for their actions.

AWARENESS and EDUCATION

Science101 lessons from a Genius Biologist.

Evanjohnn Mendoza, the first speaker talked about some Cebu situationers, when it comes to biodiversity. He pointed out the importance of trees in the environment and he made me really think about ‘what is a tree?’. True, I know how a tree looks like, but when asked to define it, I couldn’t give an answer.

Johnn also surveyed who among us had been to tree-planting and majority had raised their hands claiming that they had. But when he asked if we were aware of the species of trees we planted, the people were taken aback. So yep, a lot have been to tree planting activities, but they really haven’t had a grasp of the significance of tree planting. More often that not, what is planted on tree-planting activities are Mahogany seedlings because they’re easy to grow. But even so, Mahogany is an exotic kind of tree and it disrupts the environment. When it thrives, a native specie of tree may die.

Johnn ended his talk with a quote. (Not verbatim. So, sorry about that, Johnn) A million is so big, but it starts with one. A million can never be a million if ‘one’ is missing. His quote challenges us to do something about the nature’s degredation.

Vernon listening attentively to Johnn. We were really awed at Johnn's expertise on Biology, especially when he cited the scientific names of the species he discussed.

ACTION

The next speaker was Vernon Joseph Go, a social media specialist who upon his ‘imba’ biography of an introduction, shuffled with laughter in his seat. (But I think he really loved the exposure. Here’s the guy who encourages me to go for fame and fortune, even quoting Brad Pitt as Achilles via twitter: “Immortality, take it. It’s yours.)

The speaker discussed little about climate change and its causes and effect. He also presented statistics of the current forest cover in the Philippines and Cebu and the urgency to reforest. In the statistics, it was revealed that in 1999, about 18% of the total forest cover are left. That was already the number in 1999. I wonder how much is left 12 years later. It was revealed that the estimate remaining forest cover left is no more than 4%. (Shocks!)

Vernon introduced to the audience Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc.’s GREENIN Philippines Program of which our respective organizations (CBS, CABS and ALEx) are collaborating with. (For the information about GREENIN’ Philippines, I think I’ll make a separate entry for it.)

Vernon had given us the truth when he said that in taking an action for the environment, we are not actually saving the environment. Nature can heal itself and that’s no question. But what we’re actually doing is saving ourselves.

Vernon discusses the Current Philippine Forest Cover and GREENIN' Philippines

PERSEVERANCE AND COMMITMENT

The last speaker is me, Janelle Moran, who had not done seminars and talks since she set her foot out of high school. I miss the stage and the microphone, and I surely missed the experience of being able to share information and partake knowledge to other people. But I’m glad I’m given an opportunity to speak in behalf of the environment again. It’s been two years since I had my last talk about the Philippine Biodiversity back in High school Green Team.

My topic is about one of the programs of GREENIN’ Philippines which was Run2Plant. This activity fuses two events into one. There is going to be a running segment and a planting segment. Basically, it’s hitting two birds with one stone, or shall I say to be kinder to the birds, hitting two birds with one bread. This event makes use of fun runs and marathons, that has now become a vogue, to get people to involve themselves with the necessity to reforest.

Run2Plant is going to be a Cebu-wide event in commemoration of the World Environment day and in celebration of June as the Philippine month for the environment. This is hosted by RAFI’s GREENIN’ Philippines in collaboration with the Cebu Provincial Government and the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. The event will be held this June 25, 2011. The main event will reforest 5 hectares of land in Jaclupan, Talisay. Each town and municipality in the province will also participate by covering one hectare of land.

(I’ll make a separate post for GREENIN’ Phils and Run2Plant, but if you’re interested you can visit and register online for the event at RAFI’s website.)

Janelle Moran, two years of hiatus in speaking for seminars and talks, comes back with an information about GREENIN' Philippines Run2Plant.

Preparing for the audience's questions

Accepting my certificate of recognition from Ronell Padillo, president of CIT-U. I also received a token and a baller. I'm wearing the baller right now. (You can click on the picture to be directed to Ronell Padillo's blog.)

Me, Evanjohnn and Vernon with our certificates.

Credits to Glenna for some of the shots. Thanks, Glenna.

Thank you CIT-U for having us and for the hospitality. I especially loved the token, the baller, the framed certificate and the yummy snacks after. I also enjoyed the crowd. They were attentive and participative. 😀

ALEx Distributes Shoebox to Urgello Kids

Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx) assisted Communitty Christian Fellowship (CCF)  as co-facilitators in conducting their three-day Catechism Program themed, ‘God Makes Me Stronger’ that was held on April 26-29, 2011. The beneficiaries of the program were children from Urgello ages 3 or 4 years old to preteen. On the third and last day, ALEx distributed the shoeboxes that arrived from Netherlands (cared of Sandra Pronk).  About 75 children received goods from our Dutch friends, wide smiles on their innocent faces when they opened their packages.

Bringing the shoeboxes to Urgello was not an easy task because the boxes were very heavy. (Too heavy that the maximum number of boxes I could carry was only three.)  To top that, it was scorching sizzling hot (thanks to me?). With the weight plus the heat, we’d surely culminate with EXHAUSTION, maybe even DEHYDRATION. But it was worth it because the feeling of fulfillment after you know and witness for yourself that you’ve made 75 children happy can compensate for the exhaustion and of course, water or a bottle of Coke Sakto can make up for dehydration.

Who wouldn’t feel compensated upon seeing these happy faces?

Honesty!

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“Be honest, even if others are not, even if others will not and even if others cannot.”

These words are very poignant if only taken to the heart. Difficult as it is to be honest, it is more difficult to remain honest when all the others are not, will not and cannot. Not having established yet a firm principle against it, the youth are easily dissuaded by the influence of their environment. Seeing their peers and even their elders commit acts of dishonesty and get away with it makes them think that it’s okay to be dishonest as long as you don’t get caught. With this mentality in mind, dishonesty is slowly becoming part of the culture.

As early as their adolescent years, teens practice little acts of corruption. They might not be fooling a government but they are cheating on someone to their advantage. Teens do this at home by crafting simple stories to get extra cash from their parents. What the parents thought was money for their child’s books, projects and other miscellaneous fees was actually spent for other things: for gimmicks, shopping, etc.   In school, cheating isn’t a crime to students; it is now rechristened to a more euphemistic term: ‘teamwork’. In a biennial survey of high school students in 2004, it is found out that 35% had copied an internet document for a classroom assignment, 62%  had cheated during an examination at school and 83% had copied someone else’s homework at least once. An act which might be just a little embezzlement of money from parents or a little cheating of a test or assignment is still an act of dishonesty and does not make a difference. Remember the saying that “Big things come from small beginnings”? That saying applies not only to small businesses expanding large; it also applies to this. What you thought was just a petty act of dishonesty—too petty that it’s negligible, will actually proliferate and turn into a corruption that will plague a country. In the future, it might not just be a hundred pesos being misappropriated from mother or father’s pocket; it might be millions of pesos or dollars already. It might not just be your parents or your school you’ve cheated; it might be a whole country.

The youth cannot just simply ignore these ‘little acts of dishonesty’. They cannot simply say, “it’s no biggie”, because in the long run, it will be. Dishonesty thrives like a weed that grows faster than you can imagine. When it is constantly practiced, it does not just proliferate; its roots also grow deeper and soon it will be impossible to weed it out from our system.
If dishonesty is the weed that should be uprooted, its opposite, honesty is the seed that should be planted and cultivated. Honesty, as they say, is the best policy. It does not only gain you respect, it also gains you trust which is a rare gem nowadays. For example in business, a man who is relied upon not to cheat his customers will establish a good reputation. People will willingly buy his products or invest in them. In politics, an honest and transparent politician is well-loved by the people. Some people disagree with the saying that honesty is the best policy. These are the people who have found success by cheating and corrupting others. However, in the truest sense, they did not achieve anything at all. What good will success, wealth and other worldly pleasures be if the price is a man’s soul? Most of the time, honesty is obscured by fear and greed, but if we put those aside, we will see that honesty will always lead to the best outcome. That is why it is the best policy. Be it in games, business, relationships and politics.


The seed of honesty is what each one, especially the youth, should plant in their hearts. It is honesty that should be cultivated well whereas the weeds of dishonesty should be uprooted before it proliferates and invades the heart. This means that what we think as little acts of dishonesty should never be tolerated; that these anomalies should not be given a blind eye, and that immediately, they should be corrected. To further cultivate the seed of honesty in our hearts, we also need to fertilize it with important values such as courage, wisdom and love for righteousness. It is important to have the courage to fight for the truth and to stand up for what you believe in, the wisdom to know the difference of good and bad and to make right decisions and the love for righteousness to correct what is needed to be corrected and to seek always the truth. With these ‘nutrients’, honesty will grow and bear its fruits: respect and trust.
The seed of honesty is what each one,
especially the youth, plant in their hearts.
The Philippines is like an untilled soil. The soil is rich and good, but what only breed in it are weeds. Likewise, the Philippines is rich with natural and human resources but these assets are misappropriated, exploited and corrupted. If only our nation is weeded out of these dishonesties, we would have a clear field to plant seeds of honesty and develop a rich and productive field from a fallow land. With honesty planted in the business sectors, foreign investors will be attracted to invest in the country and the economy will largely improve. With honesty planted in the government, poverty will decline and the standard of living of the many will improve. You can see the development of the country, if instead of breeding dishonesty, we grow honesty instead.
Honesty is the best policy. Let us plant it in our hearts. Let us be honest, even if others are not, even if others will not and even if others cannot.


Note: This was the article I made for “12 Little Things” Book. (The one I was so busy doing that I failed to write the 11th letter of the 30-day challenge) This book is a compilation of essays and testimonies about people’s experience and views on the each of the 12 Little Things.  They are giving a slot for RAFI, particularly on the topic Honoring your commitment, be on time’. However, the guide questions given to me were about honesty…. It turned out that the questions were just not revised to fit my topic. Basically, the questions are the same, but it isn’t about honesty, but about Honoring commitment and being on time.

Here were the guide questions:
  • What do you think is the biggest challenge most young people nowadays confront with regard to honesty and their response to the many forms of dishonesty they see around them?
  • What does honesty mean to you? How do you remain honest despite the presence of so many opportunities to be dishonest?
  • How should young people cultivate   that value of honesty?
  • How will honesty benefit the nation?

I feel very happy and honored to be given this opportunity.

Cebu road project to cut old trees

Remarkable and graceful century-old trees lining around the southern roads bounding Carcar and Naga are threatened of being cut to pave the way for a road widening construction project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).


Carcar Mayor Nicepuro Apura told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that while he didn’t want the trees to be cut, he would not also stand in the way of the project since the roads would help in Carcar’s development.
He said at least 33 trees would be subjected for removal. One of these is a century-old narra tree and the rest are acacia trees. 


When I was a little girl, we used to travel South a lot to visit my grandparents who were still both alive that time. I had always admired the splendor of the antique acacia trees that form a graceful umbrella-shaped shade. I used to find travelling south very tedious and tiring, but those trees made travel less agonizing . At seventeen, those trees were one of my prospects for my future photograph masterpiece when I get a DSLR. When I turn eighteen, I ask for a DSLR as a gift. I might get them, but I might never get that photograph.

Now they’re cutting those trees? They’re cutting, too those precious memories of my childhood, of me watching with glee the canopy of acacias. They’re also cutting my dream of getting a  perfect photograph of those trees with my DSLR.  


You know what I see in this?

I see a fine example of our country’s negligence towards our culture and environment, a country so desperate for modernization and industrialization that they’d be willing to throw away a hundred-years of heritage. 


I learned before that development is not measured by the GDP, or the height of the buildings or the width of the roads. Development is an integral growth of all the aspects whether political, social, spiritual, economical, environmental or cultural. The government should bear in mind that when they aspire for development, they shouldn’t compromise the other aspects to enhance only one.

>KAHON PAHALIPAY SA SUGBO: It’s better to give than to receive

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December 22, 2010-– The Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence celebrates Christmas by distributing boxes containing Christmas presents for kids in the South. This even was participated by the members of the Aboitiz Leaders of Excellence (ALEx), representatives from those who supported our shoe box project which was launched a few weeks before the distribution day. There were participants from Cebu Doctor’s University, NSTP class of Sir Aldwin (USC), JPIA and UP.

The beneficiaries of the Shoe box Project are children living South with ages 0-12, we were going joyriding to South. The Shoe Box Project was intended to be a caravan. Hehehe, however, it turned something like a race and our jeepney was always left behind. Anyway, even if it is so, what’s important is not how the convoy or caravan went, it’s making kids happy on Christmas day.

FIRST STOP: Talisay City…

It was so difficult getting this shot. The harsh sunlight did not cooperate with our cameras. We, the photographers, took a long time finding for a good angle. This was an amateur shot. I think Kuya Arnold and Vernon got better shots with their Cannon E05.
Second STOP: Naga…


We actually had trouble with the boxes in this area. I think it has something to do with the labeling or numbering of boxes. The team was starting to get stressed and I’ve heard comments from participants saying that they were beginning to get tired and stressed out already; nevertheless, they are happy.

Third STOP: San Fernando

I successfully connected my C3 to San Fernando’s Wi Fi

The third stop is the municipality of San Fernando. Ricci Reluya, one of the members of ALEx and a participant of the Kahon Pahalipay sa Sugbo Project belongs to a political family. Up to now, there are still unresolved political issues in San Fernando. When we visited to distribute shoe boxes to children, some people misconstrue our good intentions to be political. I didn’t witness it with my own eyes, but members of the opposite political party to which Ricci belongs, harassed some members of ALEx. They thought that the Shoe box project was a political plot.

The event saddened me, but in a way it opened my eyes to the reality. You really can’t please everybody. An act of kindness may be misinterpreted and be given malice. I remember the story of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, “You can’t make a million friends without making a few enemies.” 

Obviously, Clarizza is beginning to stress herself out. Still lookin’ good, though.
Fourth STOP: Sibunga

This was the place that conducted a small program among all the others we visited. Because we were entitled to the sound system, we played tunes from our phones and magnifying the voice by microphone. We did this while distributing the gifts to the children.

The wife of the municipality Mayor of Sibunga assisted us in distributing the boxes.

Before proceeding to the Last Stop, we had a processing session and a sharing of insights and learnings. We huddled together by the shore and probably attracted attention from the residents.
Unfortunately, before my appointed photographer Ricci could take dozens of photos this time with me in it, my camera ran out of batteries. Thankfully, he was able to take this good pic of our huddle. We actually played the Boat is Sinking and ‘Bahay, bata, bagyo, baha’ after coming as one. I could feel the sand getting inside my shoes. It’s weird and uncomfortable, but I didn’t mind. I had fun. After having the last set of Bahay, bata, bagyo, baha, we merged with another group to form a group of six. We six would discuss our learnings, insights, feelings and suggestions.


Last STOP: Carcar


We only dropped by to leave the boxes. There was no interaction with the children. Unfortunately, I don’t have much picture of the place, since my batteries died. I was able to take a few shots, but at one point, I couldn’t do something with the freakin’ batteries anymore. It’s freakin’ dead.. total flat line. It was very unfortunate that my batteries had to die; Carcar was such a nice place. The architecture of the Spanish era was clearly demonstrated by the preserved ancestral houses there.

This is the Museum. I would’ve camwhored some more if it weren’t for the fact that my camera’s batteries were dead.

This is where my good friend Regie goes to High School.