Monday, April 20, 2015

PGH Outreach: Bringing Hope and Joy

Last March 21, the grade five students of Mano Amiga together with their teachers, visited the pediatric ward of the Philippine General Hospital. They got to exchange stories, perform a song and dance number as well as give gifts to the patients and their family. They also gave out handmade rosaries and a prayer for the fast recovery of the young patients. Despite the pain that they are experiencing, the patients of the pediatric ward were all smiles as they welcome their visitors with open arms.  

 “One of the most celebrated moments in human life is having a healthy offspring. To watch them grow, well-nourished and loved. To be there for them while they learn about what is life as they age year after year. Also one of the most devastating and soul-crushing part of it, is to see the opposite of it all…

We recently visited the Philippine General Hospital Pediatric ward where I had the opportunity to see and reflect on the children and guardians’ situation facing each day to surpass the misery of having to wait every minute for a result and hoping to bring their sons and daughters home healthy and well.  

There is nothing more devastating than for mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles, legal guardians to watch their little ones stuck in a hospital bed. A life that’s full of promise, to go to school, to play, to graduate and to be someone someday is unlikely to happen to some kids that has crucial cases. Guardians sleep patiently on Monoblock chairs to gain strength and enough rest for the next day’s duty. Some of them sleep under the bed, and endure all the discomfort of rest rooms just to be there by their children’s side. A painful image of tiny little arms of premature angels plunged with hard needles, unaware of what might happen. Their innocence is the only thing that’s keeping them from the frightening sound of incubator machine. This, well in fact struck me deep as I was also once confined in the same apparatus. The struggle of a mother waiting for a miracle echoed in my mind when my very own story narrated subconsciously. It was not easy.

We have a lot to be thankful for; as God has chosen people to withstand the trials to test the mightiest and bravest of hearts, and purity of the spirit. These children remarkably laugh about the aches and tears, and as I have seen, they are the example of emotional and mental strength. Learning from their experiences is the blessed message from God; to be humble and to be genuinely giving while we are still walking and living here on Earth. The PGH children`s ward has taught me a great deal of how to understand why my life leads me to where I am right now. As an educator of young minds and to my fellow teachers as well, I am proud to say I was given such honorable responsibility. 

Let us all hope and pray for these children same as other children we know to have a fruitful life, to have a chance to go outside and embrace great challenges they deserve.
I am thankful for that precious moment, as God never fails to give us beautiful signs of hope and encouragement to move on. I also hope that people who have lived enough may be able to provide assistance to these little warriors. Let’s love them enough how our heart can give and take, God will provide the rest.”  – Teacher Sheryl

Visiting PGH was a blessing. I realized that I am very lucky. I can go to school, play with my friends, and do enjoyable things that other kids can’t. I saw how the children suffered through their sickness. I say their mother crying because they find it difficult to see their children suffering. I will continue to pray for them. I wish I could visit the children again so I could help make them happy again.” – Tricia Laurynne Parallag

 “We offered them prayers, we also danced, sang, and told stories to them. I saw that the children were very happy even when they are sick. I pray that God will heal them so their parents will be happy.” – Sydney ToreƱa

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mano Amiga Academy Around the World 2014

One of Mano Amiga’s biggest annual volunteer -led activities is the observance of the United Nations Day. For five straight years now, companies, individuals and organizations travel with our scholars AROUND THE WORLD! 

Around the World aims to engage volunteers in a day of fun, engaging and hands-on learning experience that will spark the students’ curiosity  and appreciation of different cultures while contextualizing the learning they acquire in the four walls of the classroom. 

Special thanks to PHINMA Hero Network,  Mission Youth missionaries, volunteers from Team Abueva of Ayala Land premier, FEU Tamarraw volunteers and Regnum Christi Youth Ministry for making this year's Around The World a success!

See you next year, volunteers!


First things first. Scholars receiving Visa before entering the countries. This year the scholars crossed not only countries but also various continents. They visited Brazil, India and Egypt in the morning and South Africa, Australia and the Netherlands in the afternoon.  

First Stop, Brazil! Ola!

What a warm welcome! Scholars 
receiving a unique welcome (face tattoo)  from Brazil!

Sight seeing and photo souvenirs! 

Scholars having a great time getting to know India. Thanks Ates and Kuyas  from PHINMA Hero Network for being our gurus for the day!

                           Fun times in Netherlands with the Regnum Christi Youth Ministry 

Aside from teaching the traditional Dutch dances, the students made windmills and toured around the most famous Dutch Attractions. 

Egyptian Volunteers in action

Volunteers brought the scholars to a fun and memorable safari experience in South Africa! 

Mission Youth Volunteers and FEU TAMVOL showed the luscious attraction in Land Down Under!

Koalas were present too!

Role Models and Mentors: A meaningful encounter with the Challenge Club Members

A child grows up to be a person of good moral character when he is constantly exposed to good role models who encourage the child to emulate the different virtues and values.

Last January 25, Mano Amiga students had the chance to learn more about the inspiring life of St. Agnes, with the help of their volunteer big sisters from the Everest Academy Challenge Club.  

Challenge Club is a club for girls ages 9-16 years old from all over Metro Manila. Headed by the Regnum Christi Movement, it aims to help members grow in virtue, friendship and Catholic faith.

“St. Agnes is the patron of young girls because she is known for the virtue of purity and unwavering faith. We celebrate her canonization every year through various meaningful activities. This year, we invited the scholars of our sister school, Mano Amiga to join us in the celebration.” Ms. Kitchie Pingol, Challenge Club coordinator.

Aside from finding wisdom from St. Agnes’ life through prayer, song and dance activities, the Challenge girls also arranged a soccer tournament for the Mano Amiga Grade 2 scholars. “The day proved to be a spiritual and educational trip for the students.  Not only were they able to play freely, run as fast as they can, and cheer their teammates and friends; the activities also enhanced their social skills by freely interacting with their Ates (big sisters). The students were shy at first but after all the challenges they did together they slowly gained confidence.” Grade 2 Homeroom Teacher Mary Anne Dela Cruz

“Ang saya saya po namin! (We truly enjoyed it!) We played soccer and other games with kids. Masaya po kami na marami kaming natutunan tungkol kay si St. Agnes (We enjoyed learning more about St. Agnes” Grade 2 scholar Angel Canossa.

The Everest big sisters for the day shared a meal and small tokens of gratitude with their new friends from Mano Amiga. “It was fun sharing food with the kids. They loved the games so much and they all look so happy when we started distributing our humble gifts.” One of Challenge Club members Amara Abiog

More than helping them, we hope we inspire them to continue to be better Christians as much as they inspired me and the other [Challenge Club] members to continue living our faith and being an agent to transform other young girls to love Christ.” One of Challenge Club members Raven Garcia. In turn, the scholars gave their personally made letters to thank Challenge for celebrating St. Agnes’ Day with Mano Amiga and for another glorious activity. 

The Family that Eats Healthy Meals Together, Stays Forever

Last August 1, Mano Amiga held the much awaited Culminating Activity for this year’s Nutrition Month.  United in fighting hunger and malnutrition, students and their parents wore their professional chef attire and exhibited a variety of budget-friendly nutritious snacks in the first ever Mano Chef Cook-off Competition.

The entire day was filled with various activities. Even with limited resources, the parents and faculty worked together as a team and was able to pull off the entire event successfully. “We can enjoy “busog-lusog” snacks at a reasonable price! I’m very excited teacher!” one of the students acclaimed. “Kuya Arnold (Mano Amiga’s school guard) lets us borrow his electric stove so we can still proceed in case we run out of gas” said Mommy Beth, Grade 5 parent.

All participating mommies and daddies were working on their respective dishes while the kids narrated the procedures and nutritional content of their parent’s recipes enjoyably. It was nothing but fun and excitement as everyone was learning during every minute of the event.
While waiting for the parents to put the final touches on their dishes, nutrition trivia was  presented by Teacher Dayleen Manalo. These helped develop the students’ awareness of the importance of eating a diet that follows balance, variety, and moderation.  She also challenged the students with several questions about nutrition along with the benefits of healthy eating and how it affects our mental and physical growth. Selected fourth and fifth graders also entertained us with their lovely intermission number.

They sang the Nutrition Jingle that they composed during their Home Economics Class.  Kids from both the morning and afternoon batch were absolutely engrossed with the activities. The parents were excited to present the healthy dishes they whipped up for all of us to feast. With limited ingredients and cooking utensils, they were able to produce mouth-watering and delectable snacks.

The educational event ended with the panel of judges’ announcement of winners. The Mano Chef 2014 title was awarded to Daddy Ronald Macavinta and Gabriel Macey Macavinta of Grade 3 for their exceptional recipe: Vegetable Burritos. Certificates and cookbooks were also given as tokens of appreciation to those who participated in this contest. “Thank you to everyone who supported the contest by sharing your scrumptious budget-friendly healthy recipes. I was amazed and delighted to witness our dear parents’ invariable exhibition of creativity and active participation in school activities like this,” said Teacher Sheryll Maquiran, event chairperson.

When asked on her greatest learning from the activities, Grade 5 mom Rich Valencia shared, “Parents like me will be more responsible of our children’s health by applying the creative ways to prepare budget-friendly nutritious foods that we’ve learned in our homes. 

 “The day was made momentous not only because of the showcase of the pairs’ cooking techniques and their delicious products but most especially for the inspiration it brought to the students and their parents that eating healthy food does not always have to be expensive. You just have to be creative!” School Principal Rev Siasoyco shared.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Filipino: Language of Unity

“In Mano Amiga, the use of English as our medium of instruction is held in high regard but equally is the use of the Filipino language which we strongly believe is one of the more admirable traits of the Filipino people. As a Filipino Teacher, I encourage my students to continuously use the language and discover its richness. The Buwan ng Wika (National Language Month) is the most opportune time when we remind our students of the uniqueness of the Filipino language and its power to bridge thousands of islands together and further unite our nation.” – Homeroom Teacher Ms. Hilda Bayotlang

This year, Mano Amiga Academy celebrated Buwan ng Wika with the theme “FILIPINO: WIKA NG PAGKAKAISA. (Filipino: Language of Unity)”. The faculty and staff prepared various activities that aimed to promote unity and nationalism among students and enhance their leadership skills, self-confidence and creativity. Some of the activities held for the month were poetry writing, Balagtasan, speech choir, slogan designing and essay writing. The celebration was culminated with “Boses Pinoy”, a singing competition that showcased the talent of students in singing and performing.

“I enjoyed all activities but my favorite was the speech choir competition where I got the chance to collaborate with my classmates in preparing for the actions and movements. We built stronger friendship through the competition.” Grade 5 student Vohnmark Cantuba shared.

When asked about the month-long celebration, Grade 2 student Ruelyn Olive shared “I did not join most of the activities for the month because I was very shy. I did not believe it when my mom said I can sing but she encouraged me to join the contest. I was very happy when the teachers announced my name. I won the Little Division of the Boses Pinoy. After that, I promised my mom I will join the school choir and never be ashamed to show my talent to the world.”

During the culmination, parents brought an array of Filipino delicacies, like suman, bibingka, kakanin, and saging which were served to all the guests and participants. “I am very happy with how the activities went. It makes me so proud to see how the parents collaborated with the teachers in preparing not only the collateral for the event but also in coaching the students. Everyone involved deemed this year’s Buwan ng Wika celebration a success. I could not agree any less.” Teacher Hilda proudly shared.