We had too many extra-curricular activities for the Summer Camp on Culture-Based Citizenship Building and Good Governance for Teachers, Youth, and Students.
Right on the day we arrived last Tuesday, June 1, at the Buenos Aires Resort in Bago City, Negros Occidental – our gracious hosts tendered a welcome dinner wherein we, with everybody were all in Hawaiian getups with the young ones (and the young once too) who did not even know where in the world the 50th state in the U.S. of A. is or why did they have to spend just to like Lito Atienza or Nora Aunor when she was still allowed to sing by her doctors and devotees including Tirso Cruz III and their “daughter” Maria Leonora Theresa.
After we already got into groove of sharing, our facilitators had to sweetly ask us cut short our lecture on fiction since they had to rehearse their pieces for an intermission number or to re-construct the image of their kid contestants for the very first Gabi ng Reyna at Diosa ng Sining.
However, we could not turn them down, since our Creative Writing class had produced poems about themselves and children's stories about others, we easily melted to their “Sir, please...”and promises to eventually finish their collaboration the Visual Arts group in charge of illustrating their works.
And to our surprise, with Ma-ao Sugar Central Elementary School's Angel Dee Corpez as the Reyna ng Sining -- it was our student, Ramon Torres Taloc National High School's Phoebe Lynne de Jesus, who was proclaimed the Diosa ng Sining 2010. Phoebe, who was still in Cloud 9 until 1 a.m., was able to finish her business ahead of everyone who crammed to do the same.
Out of the estimated 200-plus participants – we had 100 students and 100 teachers, both stay-in and live-out – who survived all the brownouts.
Aside from us – who were invited by National Commission for Culture and the Arts Commissioner Elmar Ingles – we had other resource persons: Novy Bereber for Dance, Salvador Ching for Visual Arts, and Director Alice Panares for Creative Arts and Crafts.
The Choral Music class gathered the poems we produced and picked – Merilyn Gonzaga's Heart In Flight, Vivian Feratero's Rosas, Fritz Gulmatico's I Am A Coconut Tree, and Lalaine Tanaman's Ang Buhay -- to turn them into songs.
It was under the watchful eye and ear of Jed Balsamo who was recently inducted by Cultural Center of the Philippines Vice-President/Artistic Director as Public Relations Officer with Anthony Say (President); Mary Anne Espina (1st Vice-President); Evelyn Ronquillo (2nd Vice-President); Melissa Taqueban (Secretary); Eloise Gonzalo (Assistant Secretary); Aristotle Molina (Treasurer); Dr. Meriam Macalisang (Assistant Treasurer); Albert Bactong (Assistant PRO); and board members Lourdes Guillen, Nerilyn Beratio, Mylen Macasado, and Arit Silvestre of the Piano Teachers’ Guild of the Philippines.
During the closing ceremonies called Bagonhon Gems In Motion last Friday at the 3,000-seater Manuel Y. Torres Memorial Coliseum and Cultural Center, we could say that we succeeded based on poems performed such as Joy Grace Jara's I Am A Cactus, Roger Raymundo's Kapara ng Niyog, Kenny Jane Damaso's Taste The Ampalaya and Cherry Anne Emilia's Ang Makahiya.
Or on stories told such as Eva Gareza's Blanca The Brush that tickled our funnybone or Sahara Macarampat's Ang Magkaibigang Shirty The Shirt at Painny The Pants that made her mom Eden, her classmate in our Creative Writing class, cry a river.
Bago City Mayor Ramon Torres did not make it to their graduation like Dr. Milagros Gonzales, Dr. Portia Mallorca, but it was compensated by the wide grin of our Project Director, Mrs. Charisse Asencio, putting a special meaning on our short stay in Ilijan.
Even the kind words of Boy George Benavente who gave their impressions on behalf of all the students including our facilitator -- Tessie Villanueva -- who could niot help but wax poetic with her praise:
Samo't saring pangamba ang aming naramdaman,/
Lalong-lalo na sa iba't ibang disiplinang pinasukan./
Ang mga tagapagsalita'y may angking kagalingan /
Na hindi mapapantayan ninuman magpakailanman.
From there, we stayed overnight in Bacolod City, the capital city of smiles where our team parted ways after having a dinner-cum-concert courtesy of Jed who jammed with the Blind Diva, Annie Rose Britania, in Dr. Marichi Ramos' RestoGrill sa Baybay.
Then, we were fetched at Kundutel to go to Talisay City for Camp Blog 1C.
The venue is called Nature.
But, we were there to deal with Culture.
Literally, we were in the thick of things.
Under the Office of the President, Commission on Information and Communications Technology's flagship project – iSchools -- headed by Antonette Tirona-Torres who run its Camp Blog last year at Mimosa Leisure Estate in Clark Field in Pampanga: 1A was held in May while 1B in November.
1C started since May 31 when the walking the walk took off after the talking the talk: Alex Sta. on Social Networking; Christian Placido Calma on Online Research; Jimmy Domingo on Basic Photography; Ramon Hofileňa on Negros Heritage; Rodel Sinapilo on Blogging, Modesto Saunoy on Negros History, Arts, and Culture; and the Torres couple, Joe and Toni, on Online Writing as well as Site and Resource Planning respectively -- before nine students and 10 teachers who were there to produce culturally sensitive blogs!
In the past, the covered subjects were limited to English, Mathematics, Science, and Technology Livelihood Education (TLE).
This time, Filipino is the focus.
Our job was to help improve the participants' blog entries by commenting on their
work after they consulted us before their final presentation on June 8.
Dr. Rosella “Bambi” Torrecampo, the CICT iSchools consultant, explained to us everything: “The iSchool's camp blog training program is about integrating Information and Communication Technology (ICTS) in education by teaching high school students and teachers from public schools all over the Philippines to learn to blog about topics that can be used as lesson/material supplements in their classes.”
Carlos Hilado Memorial State College -- the only state college in the province of Negros Occidental with 19 towns and 13 cities -- was tapped to host this event since it has been providing advanced technological, professional and vocational instruction and training in science, agriculture, and industrial fields.
Parallel with Camp Blog 1c (1 because basic, c because the third) was Camp Blog 2A, the first advanced-level course offered by Project in its Camp Blog series wherein teachers, who were particpants of Camp Blog 1A and 1B, get to develop learning objects.
More so, there was Framework Planning Workshop on Capability Building for Teachers (ICT4BE), too, in which the participants, who are mainly school adminstrators, drafted a framework that integrates ICT in the overall improvement of teachers in their various capacities be it teaching, classroom administration, development of education materials and even their own personal development.
No wonder why iSchools Project – now on its fourth year in helping 1,000 public high school students nationwide with annual budget of P350 million -- won in the Digital Inclusion Category at the 3rd Government Technology Awards in Bali, Indonesia in 2009!
Learn from it and then let it go.
If people cannot accept you at your worst.
Then they don't deserve you at your best.