My Observations: You should visit Matty’s along Tropical Avenue, BF International

Hey everyone! Are you looking for something new to visit within South Metro Manila, and find something so delightful you will get good value in return for your hard-earned money? Specifically there is a place along Tropical Avenue in BF International, Las Piñas that my friend and I visited and we enjoyed very good drinks and tasty food plus a nice ambience. That place is a new café called Matty’s.

This is the exterior of Matty’s along Tropical Avenue very near the corner with El Grande Avenue.

Located very close to the corner of Tropical Avenue and El Grande Avenue, Matty’s is a café that happens to be a related business to the great bread seller Mang Pandesal which is just a few steps away at the said corner.

As soon as my friend and I entered Matty’s, there was this peaceful and relaxing atmosphere inside that welcomed us. The interiors really looked nice and there was a large wooden table (good enough to accommodate some customers who sit by) plus a few smaller tables with chairs. There is also a hanging monitor where you can see some cable TV movies or news feed shown. Wifi is also available. Further inside is the counter as well as a selection of beverages and prices displayed on the nearby wall. There you can make your choices and order over the counter. Oh yes, like Mang Pandesal, 1 Corinthians 10: 31 is displayed clearly. For your reference, the scripture reads:

Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God.

1 Corinthians 10: 31 (TPT)

Tables and chairs await customers. Matty’s also has TV and wifi as well. (note: this photo is a property of Matty’s and permission was granted to use it for this article.)
A very nice looking counter and menu-on-the-wall inside Matty’s. Displayed on the counter is 1 Corinthians 10: 31.

My friend and I had a nice time talking while enjoying the really tasty drinks we ordered: a Matty’s milk tea and an iced coffee with jelly. There was also smooth music played which added more to the relaxing atmosphere. I also noticed while inside, we had a view of the road outside as well as the nearby corner of Tropical Avenue and El Grande Avenue where vehicles pass by all the time.

For those of you who love drinks, Matty’s has nice selections of milk tea (multiple variants), fruity drinks, hot coffee and iced coffee. Good food? They have it too such as their specialty Sylvanas and the Rich Leche Flan in jars to name a few. I brought home Sylvannas and the leche flan and they both really tasted good! In fact, I highly recommend them to you all! Through their website, you can even make orders in advance before visiting Matty’s to pick up. By the way, I must state that Matty’s in-store personnel are very helpful and attentive.

Two great tasting products of Matty’s that you should try: Rich Leche Flan in jar and Matty’s Sylvanas.
Matty’s Sylvanas for your viewing…
and a closer look at one of the Sylvanas. Each one tasted really good!
Matty’s Rich Leche Flan in jar is indeed rich and delicious!

Right now, I can say that Matty’s opening and commercial presence is indeed a blessing not only to the residents of BF Homes and BF International, but also to food and beverage enthusiasts from outside of the said communities who have the means to enter the subdivision and visit their café along Tropical Avenue (note: there are a few parking slots across the café). Considering how good the place is, how helpful the in-store personnel are and how good their food and drinks are, I can say that Matty’s is highly recommended. Oh yes, after leaving Matty’s, you should not forget to buy and take home great tasting bread from Mang Pandesal just a few steps away. You can’t miss it!

For more information about Matty’s, visit their website at https://www.mattys.ph/ or call them at landline 7217-6263 or mobile 09176858188. Visit and like their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mattysph

Read 1 Corinthians 10: 31 in the Holy Bible.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Mindbuilders Preschool Adapts to the New Normal of Teaching Children

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from the officials of Mindbuilders Preschool and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Mindbuilders Preschool Adapts to the New Normal of Teaching Children

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The months-long COVID-19 pandemic has deeply altered societies worldwide, causing businesses, civic organizations and academic institutions to slow down and even shut down.

I have written about this Mindbuilders Preschool for some time because of their very active role in the community here in the south.  Not only do they teach children academics through their Multiple Intelligence curriculum, but also involve them regularly in social responsibility programs. Last school year, their plastics drive was a big success to create awareness among the kids to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

It became of interest to me to know how this school is adapting during this time of COVID-19 as DEPED has announced that schools may implement distance learning this coming school year.

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Learning continues with Mindbuilders Preschool. (photo contributed by Mindbuilders Preschool)

The education system of the Philippines as a whole is struggling to adjust during the pandemic. Until vaccines and other treatments for COVID-19 are fully developed and released, going back to school the old-fashioned way is out of the question.

Online learning is the way to go for now.

How would preschools adapt, when the signature characteristic of teaching is the face-to-face and interactive learning inside a school setting, together with classmates and teachers?

Mindbuilders Preschool’s Model for Online Learning

I had a chance to talk to Mindbuilders Preschool’s Directress Teacher Marah, in relation to the preschool education’s current situation.

I asked her about the adjustments her own preschool has taken to keep operating and educating the children who need learning.

Teacher Marah mentioned that Mindbuilders Preschool’s bold move to shift to online class happened as early as April 2020, during the hard lockdown stages, when children and parents were staying at home and needed some way to continue learning.

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Here’s a sneak peek at the Learning Management System (LMS) which has proven to be user-friendly and efficient for conducting learning online. (photo contributed by Mindbuilders Preschool)

Mindbuilders Preschool was quick to adapt to an online learning program which is a product of their commitment to give quality learning programs to the students and help the parents during this time of crisis.  During the lockdown/quarantine, the preschool conducted two successful runs of their online summer program:  Summer Tales and Busy Bees.

Summer Tales was initially offered to their own students, and subsequently, Busy Bees was opened to other kids. Not only were they able to attract enrollees based in Parañaque and Las Piñas, but also those from Quezon City, Antipolo, Batangas Province and even from the United States! This shows that being online allows opportunities to transcend geographical limitation.

It is marvelous to see that Mindbuilders Preschool’s credibility is growing as it also reaches overseas via online learning, literally crossing borders and attracting new learners.

Platform is important, according to Teacher Marah.  When it comes to the design of their online learning system, Mindbuilders Preschool uses a leading, fully featured learning management system called NEO LMS by Cypher Learning. Based in San Francisco, California, Cypher Learning specializes in providing learning platforms for organizations around the world.  It is the same platform used by other local schools such as Enderun, STI, iAcademy and DLSU–D.

Mindbuilders Preschool describes their Learning Management System as user-friendly. It has an interface that helps them easily deliver the lessons to their students. It is significant to note that positive feedback from parents who enrolled their children in Mindbuilders’ summer program, confirms the success of the NEO LMS as an online learning platform.

The asynchronous learning component of the LMS was a welcome development for parents who were working from their respective homes, as they now take an active role in the learning of their child. The system was not only fully functional and efficient, it was crucial in the success of the virtual, live classes conducted via the Zoom app, wherein Mindbuilders’ teachers were able to engage with their students from a distance.

As part of the process, the parents were given the means to access the LMS where they will find new video lessons for students to learn before the live Zoom classes commence. The video includes Circle Time, Story Telling, Lessons, Art Activity, Games and other Learning activities.  The learning environment has proven to be very safe.

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Multiple intelligence learning packets prepared for the students to use. (photo contributed by Mindbuilders Preschool)

Learning packets are also being prepared to aid the children in their hands-on learning. This includes a parent’s step-by-step guide, the schedules, learning materials such as worksheets, textbooks, art materials and school supplies.

Mindbuilders Preschool’s teachers and staff have adapted well to the new system and they are already working on ways to keep improving.

It is quite reassuring that an institution like Mindbuilders Preschool is opening the new school year with the experience they have gained and the tools they have been using to ensure that they will continue to deliver high quality, Multiple Intelligence education to the children.

School officially starts on August 3, 2020 for Mindbuilders. Along the way, FREE webinars will be offered, to help parents of the enrollees transition smoothly to distance learning. The sponsored webinar,  “How to Create Learning Spaces at Home” will be held on August 1. The second webinar, “Education and Parenting in the Time of Pandemic,” is scheduled on August 8.

Also, Mindbuilders Preschool has scheduled a FREE trial class online on July 14, 2020 to give a sneak peek of how their online classes will be done. The class will be composed of two parts starting with a video lesson at 9AM using the NEO LMS, followed by the scheduled Virtual Class that will be done via Zoom at precisely 10AM.

To register, one must send via text message to 0927-2062506 or 0939-3527809 the following information: the child’s full name, birthdate, age, parent’s name, mobile number and email address (for class details to be sent to).

For more information, contact Mindbuilders Preschool via their Facebook page, or via mobile numbers 0917-2062506 and 0939-3527809.

For past articles about Mindbuilders Preschool on this website, click here, here and here.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Our Home Tahanan is the Definitive Book about Tahanan Village

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the Our Home Tahanan coffee table book, inquiring with Florencia Umali and doing research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Our Home Tahanan is the Definitive Book about Tahanan Village

If you want to discover and study the history of a well-established village such as Tahanan Village in Barangay BF Homes, Parañaque City, don’t rely on a pretentious, so-called independent local community print media publication. Instead, pursue such information recorded in the official documents or an official publication of the village produced by the villagers.

As many of us here in South Metro Manila are confined into our homes with the ongoing quarantine on communities (which is part of the COVID-19 Crisis), I found time to read the official Tahanan Village coffee table book titled Our Home Tahanan.

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The coffee table book itself.

Published in 2006, Our Home Tahanan is a commemorative publication that emphasizes the past, the present and the future of Tahanan Village which in 2005 celebrated what was back then its 30th Foundation Day. It has a collection of stories and testimonies from the pioneering residents and the later residents who contributed to the development of the Tahanan community in more ways than one. I myself enjoy reading it and examining the photos which clearly showed how much Tahanan Village developed through the decades.

A special project of the 2005 Board of Directors of the Tahanan Homeowners Association (THA),  Our Home Tahanan has an extensive look at the history of the village starting even before it was founded in the 1970s. It also offers readers a look at the many organizations that not only organized several in-village activities and events, but also emphasized how lively Tahanan’s community really has been.

Let’s take a look at how Our Home Tahanan was conceptualized and turned into an actual coffee table book.

From concept to a published work

The idea of developing an official coffee table book about Tahanan Village was raised in a meeting that was held on June 10, 2005. The Committee composed of Tess Arriola, Florencia Umali, Corly Vergara, Peter Olivares, Reno and Malou Araneta, Nene Sandico and then THA president Milton Lalisan had a thorough discussion about the elements and topics for a souvenir program in relation to the 30th Foundation Day of the village.

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A group photo of the yearbook committee members. 

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An article and a full page image.

The idea of a coffee table book alone was perceived to be challenging at first and there were expressions of skepticism and incredulity. The mood eventually turned into optimism and determination.

According to then THA president Milton Lalisan, the Committee came to a decision to develop the coffee table book project.

Below is an excerpt with words of Lalisan…

It was agreed that we would develop a really nice, glossy book, semi-hard cover, with lots of colored and black/white pictures. The book should appeal to different types of readers:

+ Residents who have grown with the village, who were here when Tahanan was still on its pioneering stage. 

+ Residents who have built their houses at a later stage but who quickly managed to acclimatize to the environment around them.

+ Sons and daughters of residents who had their childhood in Tahanan Village, some who may now be in their teens, young adulthood or are parents themselves.

+ and those who have personal interests in Tahanan Village, the lot owners who have not built their houses, the prospective homeowners who are considering living in the village.

Afterwards, several forms of preparation followed: writing articles, researching, organizing an in-village photo contest, financing, editing and finally, publishing it.

According to Florencia Umali (now the incumbent president of the Century Club of Tahanan, Inc. or CCTI), she and her fellow members of the Committee worked and long to realize the project.

“We coordinated with the different clubs and organizations, and the previous Tahanan Board (of Directors),” Umali recalled. “We also coordinated with the first homeowners of Tahanan Village. We also worked on collating their old pictures and memories.”

After much hard work as well as editing done by a local resident, Our Home Tahanan got published.

The history of Tahanan Village and its origin

As mentioned earlier, this coffee table book also has the official history of Tahanan Village and what happened behind the scenes that led to its foundation way back in the 1970s.

Here’s an excerpt from the article Tahanan Village: How It All Began written by Digoy Fernandez.

I guess the Tahanan story really began with the friendship of Dominador “Bandoc” Mercado with both the Rufino and the Campillo families. According to youngest Campillo son Lito, Bandoc had a special way with his father, Sostenes Sr. Bandoc even had a free place to stay in the Campillo managed Shellbourne Hotel located strategically at the Luneta. I remember my group of friends, which included Charlie Rufino, going to watch movies for free in the Rufino theaters, and then dropping by the hotel to meet up with Bandoc and middle Campillo son, Jun, on many an occasion during our high school and college years.

One day, Bandoc approached the Rufino family with a proposition to develop 60 hectares of the Campillo rice farm in Parañaque into a subdivision. At that time, the heirs of the eldest Rufino patriarch, Vicente, wanted to try their hand in horizontal development. Their past experience in real estate was mostly in vertical development. At that time, BF Homes had already started and proved that a housing development beyond the Merville area could be a success. The Rufino family agreed provided that Bandoc take the helm of the management of the project.

Youngest son Charlie and youngest daughter Pixie were assigned to the project and were mentored directly by Bandoc. The latter drew up a joint venture agreement with the Campillo family, and thus, Tahanan Development Corporation had its beginning. The eldest Rufino daughter, Ditas, thought up the name “Tahanan” Village and also the use of flowers to denominate streets.

The definitive book about Tahanan Village

Our Home Tahanan also contains articles about how the Tahanan Homeowners Association (THA) started, what were the facilities and organizations in the village, how the village’s very own tennis club began, who were the pioneers and notable residents, and more. Special attention was also paid to the THA’s relationship with contracted security agencies as well as the breakthroughs on securing the village that were realized when the association formed their Security Committee.

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A few of the many congratulatory pages.

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Another villager-written article. 

There are also many literary pieces written by village residents who shared their experiences and what living in the village truly is like. Adding depth to these articles are the many, many photographs of the times, the events, and the people involved with the village.

In my experience, Our Home Tahanan is not only a great published work to discover and research about Tahanan Village…it is the definitive published work complete with the contributions and involvement of the villagers.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Special thanks to Augusto Tejada of Tahanan Village.

 

In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Love-Love Tioseco by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

All photographs used in this article are properties of Love-Love Tioseco and were approved for publishing.

In a Time of Crisis and Quarantine, Love-Love Tioseco Gives Food to the Frontline Personnel

It’s really mind-boggling how microbes in the form of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) stopped much of the world. Not only have most economic activities stopped, people have been advised by their respective authorities to stay at home in order to avoid getting infected.

Here in Metro Manila in the Philippines, enhanced community quarantine and a 24-hour curfew (specifically in the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque) have been implemented around which severely limited people from traveling out of their homes. Checkpoints have also been set up along national roads while businesses that were allowed to operate had to use thermal scanners and set up sanitizers for people to use.

To put things in perspective, the people who work for long hours each day at the checkpoints, at the village gates, on the roads, and inside the commercial joints still operating are referred to locally as the frontliners. At the frontline, they work not only to serve and guide people but also provide security in accordance to the guidelines of the declared quarantine. Such work is undoubtedly hard and tiring, even risky since any person infected with COVID-19 could approach them any time of the day. The frontliners definitely deserve support from anyone blessed who is generous to be a blessing to them.

Very recently, I saw my very dear college buddy Love-Love Tioseco share via social media images of her generous act of giving food to the frontliners. I was very touched by it so I immediately reached out to her and publish this exclusive article for you all.

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Love-Love Tioseco with the hard-boiled eggs provided by The Rustic Kitchen.

Introduction

Again, to put things in perspective, Love-Love and I were classmates at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in the late 1990s. We both finished Communication Arts there. She was a member of the Philippine TaeKwonDo Team for 11 years and, along the way, she was a 3-time gold medalist in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), a 3-time bronze medalist in the Asian Games and a 3-time 5th placer in the World Games.

Back in college, Love-Love was a working student in the media and the entertainment industry. After graduation, she worked as a bartender at Italianni’s restaurant for 3 years but still continued working for the media and the entertainment industry.

Love-Love went on to become an advocate of safety oriented driving. She also engaged in motorcycling and competed for a time which ultimately paved the way for the acceptance of women who ride and drive motorcycles. Love-Love also appeared on TV in some entertainment programs as well as motoring-related shows.

Today, she is in the business of selling batteries of Imarflex Battery and is the current Secretary of the Luzon Motorcyclists Federation, Inc. (LMFI). To this day, she is still active in the motoring industry and continues to emphasize the essence of driving safely and following traffic rules to make local travel safer for everyone. Below is a 2017 Alisto video which involved her as a guest traffic analyst. Love-Love starts appearing at 0:20 on the timer.

Being blessed and being a blessing to others

Going back to assisting the frontliners who have worked so hard and long during the quarantine, I asked Love-Love what inspired her to make a move.

“During this time of the quarantine period, I asked God how can I show my appreciation in my own little way to heroes or frontliners who have been on duty while risking their lives being exposed to the virus,” Love-Love said. “Then one of my scooter friends Micar Briones Santana of The Rustic Kitchen sent a message that she had hard-boiled eggs from her bakery up for donation but she needed someone who can help her give away those eggs, so I told her right away that I will do it and, yes, I did it.”

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Emergency personnel were pleasantly surprised with the eggs offered by Love-Love.

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A soldier grabs something to eat.

Clearly the God answered Love-Love’s question paving the way for the opportunity to help the frontliners. After getting supply of hard-boiled eggs, she organized things first. The hard-boiled eggs with broken shells were made into egg spread sandwiches (as energy food for the garbage collectors). With the help of a fellow LMFI club member named Willy Lopez (Takaz Boyz), she received onions which became a key ingredient of her egg spread recipe.

Subsequently, Love-Love went around the metro to feed the MMDA Patrol Team on both the northbound and southbound lanes of EDSA, feed the MMDA Rescue Team under the EDSA flyovers, feed the personnel at the Mandaluyong checkpoints, feed the Makati City police officers on patrol, feed the security guards at an Army Navy branch, feed the Transportify delivery drivers, the motorized drivers of Grab Food and Food Panda, feed the attendants at a Caltex fuel station, feed the manpower staff at Bel-Air Village, and feed a truck-full of Philippine Army soldiers.

I asked Love-Love how the frontliners reacted when she first approached them with the prepared food.

“At first, they thought I was selling eggs to them but when I told them the eggs were free, some of them got more than three eggs, and I did not have time to count how many people got free eggs because my mind was focusing on giving to the deserving ones,” she recalled.

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Frontline personnel outside an Army Navy were happy to receive free eggs from Love-Love.

Love-Love’s generous move is a clear example of her being blessed by the Lord as well as being a blessing to others. To put things in perspective, read the words of Lord Jesus in the following scripture from the Holy Bible.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5: 16 (NKJV)

Unsurprisingly, the frontliners thanked her for the eggs as it provided them some much needed relief from the stress they accumulated. To Love-Love’s surprise, there were delivery personnel who took selfie shots with her for them to post on Facebook.

What is even more astonishing was that no less than Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman General Danny Lim expressed his praise and gratitude to Love-Love for her valuable assistance.

In an April 3, 2020 Facebook page post, Lim stated: Maraming salamat sa lahat ng mga sumusuporta sa serbisyo ng #MMDA, lalo na ngayong panahon ng #COVID19! Salamat kina Ms. Micar Briones Santana ng The Rustic Kitchen at Ms. Love-Love Tengsico Tioseco para sa malasakit na binibigay niyo. Kahit sa simpleng paraan man, laking tulong ito sa pag-boost ng morale ng ating mga kawani. Makakaasa kayong paiigtingin pa natin ang ating frontline at emergency services. Patuloy ang pagtutulungan natin laban sa krisis na ito.

I asked Love-Love if she will repeat her moves of generous assistance to the frontliners.

“Yes, of course. I hope there will be more generous sponsors soon for me to distribute their donations again,” she said.

CONCLUSION

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MMDA personnel worked so hard, Love-Love’s giving of eggs proved to be a major relief for them. They were very thankful to her.

Love-Love’s special message to those who could help

“Spread the love, action speaks louder than words especially with helping others, and share the simple joys of life.”

Love-Love’s special message to those who are affected by the quarantine

“Please be a prayer warrior and pray that the virus will be gone already instead of being paranoid or being a basher, which is no help at all with the crisis we are all experiencing now.”

In closing this, here is a video of the Hillsong performance of Thank You, Lord (my Christian Music Appreciation of it right here) that will remind you to be thankful to the Lord who is the source of opportunities, happiness, protection, prosperity, provision and so much more. God is the source! Enjoy!


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

New Life Community Care Feeds and Assists Taal Volcano Eruption Victims

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from New Life Community Care by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

New Life Community Care Feeds and Assists Taal Volcano Eruption Victims

For a period of nine days, the New Life Community Care Foundation International, Inc. (NLCOM) and its personnel worked hard to take special care of the many evacuees of the Taal Volcano Eruption (which happened on January 12, 2020) in the province of Batangas

It was there where the NLCOM’s very own mobile kitchen was set up. With precision, careful management of resources and dedication to help the evacuees, the team behind the mobile kitchen produced several hot meals daily during the nine days feeding a whole lot of evacuees who had no choice but to leave their respective communities behind.

According to NLCOM’s program assistant Thessa Joy Jimenez, a total of 52,000 hot meals were served to the evacuees who came from varied communities affected by the January 12 eruption. Mathematically, the mobile kitchen produced an average of more than 5,600 meals per day (breakfast and dinner specifically). This was made possible by having the sophisticated food preparation equipment and sufficient supplies of food and ingredients collected from their donors. The feeding is just one form of NLCOM’s assistance for the evacuees.

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One of the many meals being prepared with the utmost care. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

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A child watches as NLCOM’s people prepare to serve him. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

Along the way, their team coordinated closely with the local authorities and helped keep things in order. Their assistance to the evacuees was not limited to feeding as they also provided them with hygiene kits, grocery bags and medical services. They also interacted closely with the local community members with a strong focus on helping. These recent acts were in accordance to the NLCOM’s core approach of Respond-Reach Out-Rebuild.

“During calamities, we organized training for the congregants and the volunteers involved in our foundation. We reached out by doing relief operations, medical missions and the mobile kitchen operation to help those who got affected. We rebuild by means of doing livelihood assistance for them,” Jimenez said during my interview with her at their office.

 

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Relief goods like water, hygiene kits and other useful items were released to the victims by NLCOM. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

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Packages of relief goods organized carefully by the basket inside New Life Alabang. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

Behind the scenes, NLCOM responded quickly to the eruption by communicating first with the local authorities in Batangas. At their facility inside Alabang Hills Village, their team organized a huge collection of relief goods and cash from their donors (including churches within New Life’s own network), carefully arranged all the relief goods (which include the sleeping mats, blankets and water to name some) in a very orderly fashion, and piled up all the needed supplies before making the long trips to Batangas. Their team was led by their Executive Director Edwin Tugano.

“Our initial plan for the Taal Volcano eruption operation was to operate for three days which was followed by an extension of two days. This was in response to the local authorities’ request for more assistance,” Jimenez said. “Shortly after, our operation became seven days all of which were in Bauan. After that, our team rested and eventually returned to Batangas to serve other barangays in different evacuation areas for two days. Breakfast meals were provided during those two days.”

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With sharp precision, NLCOM team prepared the items for relief operations in a very orderly fashion. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

Ultimately, the volcano eruption victims were happy with all the assistance they received. Jimenez recalled that after the seventh day, the victims were very thankful to NLCOM and there were some who verbally expressed their love to them.

“They were very thankful and we could tell through their personal expressions and their hugs to us,” she said. “We really saw the positive impact we made to them. It was all a very heartwarming experience for us all. Tiring but very fulfilling.”

Regarding NLCOM’s volunteers, Jimenez said that they consistently orient them with disaster preparedness methods, group assistance and working closely with the victims and local authorities. Then on February 19, NLCOM completed another distribution of relief goods for Taal Volcano eruption victims (four hundred families) in Barangay Barigon, Agoncillo, Batangas. They assessed the homes that were damaged (partially or totally) from the disaster.

To date, New Life Community Care continues to engage with its partners, its own network of churches and outreach units, and the varied local authorities around the nation. For the future, Jimenez confirmed to me that NLCOM is continuing its preparation of provisions for further emergency operations as well as maintaining contact with varied authorities and planning what could be the next step to take for future assistance.

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Personal interactions with members of the local community is another thing that NLCOM does well. (photo source – New Life Community Care)

Truly New Life Community Care lives up to its name and has an undeniable record of assistance for those who badly need it.

What is New Life Community Care?

New Life Community Care is a foundation, operating exclusively for charitable and social welfare purposes. While associated with New Life Alabang, it is separate and has an independent board.

New Life Community Care is a non-stock, non-profit organization registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with registration number CN200323699. It is also registered with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) with registration number DSWD-SB-RL-001582015. Their website is at www.nlcom.org.ph

How Did It Start?

It began in 2003 when their Senior Pastor Paul Chase was led to respond to the needs of street children who were abandoned and neglected. The NLCOM eventually partnered with the City Government of Muntinlupa to take care of the said children.

Ten years later, super typhoon Yolanda (internationally referred to as Haiyan) overwhelmed the Philippines very hard, especially the regions south of Luzon. Tacloban City in the province of Leyte got hit so hard, people lost their homes and belongings, their lives got terribly disrupted and there were several casualties. The damage was so immense, Tacloban caught the attention of the whole world.

In response to the disaster, Senior Pastor Paul Chase and some volunteers of the church came to Tacloban to provide much needed help. This resulted the creation of a makeshift kitchen at the said city and went on to produce six thousand hot meals daily for school children there.

You must be wondering: how was New Life’s team able to create such a high number of meals every day back then? The answer is this: New Life Alabang partnered with Rev. Kim Beam Kon of Truly Good Friends Foundation from South Korea. The joint effort resulted a feeding program that lasted for a year and led to the establishment of the New Life Community Care Foundation.

Along the way, Senior Pastor Paul Chase envisioned the local church to stand in the gap, step up to meet the need and demonstrate God’s love by responding, reaching out and rebuilding the lives of families and communities in the event of disasters. In times of disaster, New Life church provides manpower to NLCOM to enable it to assist victims.

The Foundation’s program is structured this way: Respond to the immediate needs of disaster victims by providing food, relief goods, medical services and executing rescue operations. Reach out with their pro-active volunteers who engage in raising awareness and increasing the knowledge and skills of families, churches and communities on preparing them for disasters and teaching them how to respond during those times. Rebuild by helping the victims by means of clearing the debris, providing shelter kit materials and assisting families and the local communities in the repair and reconstruction of the properties that got damaged from the disaster.

Conclusion

Let me end this post with these three scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6: 2 (NKJV)

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Hebrews 6: 10 (NKJV)

We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.

Romans 15: 1-2 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from John Chicano by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

A Chat with 2019 SEA Games Gold Medalist and Southeast Asia’s Triathlon King – John Chicano

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Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete John Leerams Chicano.

Since he first participated in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in 2017, John Leerams Chicano raked in notable honors for the Philippines and took his career in the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) even higher.

Today, Chicano is one of the highest-ranking members of the National Team of triathlon and this past December, he won the gold medal in the men’s triathlon event of the 2019 SEA Games that was held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (so close to his native Olongapo City). With that big victory, he established himself as Southeast Asia’s newest triathlon king replacing Nikko Huelgas (2015 and 2017 SEA Games gold medalist). It was also the big reward for the long road (about a decade) he literally took engaging in multisport events like triathlon and duathlon.

The glory continued the day after when Chicano, along with teammates Kim Mangrobang, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares collaborated to win another SEA Games gold for the Philippines in the Triathlon Team Mixed Relay event there at Subic Bay. That was another gold medal for Chicano making him a 3-time SEA Games medalist (two gold medals and one silver medal).

Recently I met Chicano and had a nice chat with him.

For you, my readers, here is a look at 3-time SEA Games medalist John Chicano.

A quick look at his background

John Chicano has been engaging in triathlon for many years now and has been a member of the Philippine team along the way. He represented the country in many events of the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), most notably the annual Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). He also raced in other triathlon events organized by Bike King Philippines and other race organizers. On livelihood, he previously worked as a bike mechanic as well as a janitor. He now has his own family to support.

When it comes to triathlon at the SEA Games, he made his debut in the 2017 edition of the games held in Malaysia and won the silver medal in the individual men’s triathlon event next to teammate Nikko Huelgas who won the gold medal back then (note: Huelgas first won the SEA Games gold in 2015). His achievement was recognized by the media and the national government which in turn rewarded him (along with all other medalists) with cash incentives in accordance to Republic Act Number 10699.

Winning the SEA Games gold medal at Subic Bay

On the early morning of December 1, 2019, the SEA Games men’s triathlon event started with Chicano and Cebu-based teammate Andrew Kim Remolino representing the nation. After going through the pressure and enduring the pain of the 1.5 kilometer swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run event, Chicano won the gold medal in 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds. Remolino followed with 1:55:03 to win the silver medal, completing the 1-2 punch for the Philippines.

“We were confident in the sense that we prepared well for the SEA Games which includes three months of training at Clark,” Chicano said. “While I was confident to win, there were a few moments of uncertainty since the big competition (men’s triathlon) could turn out to be unpredictable.”

During the December 1 event, Chicano and Remolino raced together during the 40-kilometer bike leg and on the spot they came up with a new strategy to win gold and silver. At that particular stage, another foreign competitor biked near them. Earlier in the swim leg, Remolino was the first to emerge from the sea while Chicano was 4th (an Indonesian and a Singaporean were slightly ahead of him). During the 10-kilometer run leg, Chicano and Remolino built up their lead as a country and, ultimately, he gave it his all to win the gold, literally upgrading from silver (2017 SEA Games). The victory was witnessed by the top sports officials, the coaches, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP), the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority officials, the spectators, corporate sponsors and, of course, Chicano’s family.

“It was a very happy moment for me to cross the finish line for the gold medal. I even felt like crying for happiness back then,” Chicano recalled the very moment he won the gold and became Southeast Asia’s best. “This was the big payback for almost ten years of effort racing in triathlon and growing to be stronger and more competitive. My triathlon effort and build-up started in 2010, preceded by biking in 2009. The feeling was so tremendous and happy.”

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Chicano and teammate Andrew Kim Remolino on the sports section of the December 2, 2019 edition of Business Mirror.

During the medal awarding ceremony, Chicano thought deeply about his SEA Games achievement and that he could bring further honors to the nation (plus his locality) in the years to come. The day after that, Chicano and teammates Remolino, Kim Mangrobang and Kim Kilgroe got tremendous spotlight together in the national newspapers which was expected considering their victorious achievements.

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Chicano (3rd from right) with his teammates who won medals in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games – (from L to R) Claire Adorna, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Mangrobang, Andrew Kim Remolino and Fer Casares. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page) 

His SEA Games gold medal achievement not only raked in praise from many, financial rewards also came in from the national government (RA 10699), the City Government of Olongapo, corporate sponsors and other generous parties. Chicano even got to visit the Philippine Senate and met with Senator Richard Gordon.

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Chicano and Kim Mangrobang on the front page of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Manila Times.

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Chicano with coach Melvin Fausto and Senator Richard Gordon. (photo source – Subic Bay Community Center Facebook page)

As of this writing, Chicano is strongly focused on triathlon and he believes that what he achieved so far as a triathlete, and also as Southeast Asia’s best male triathlete, will be remembered for a long time and perhaps inspire the next generation of Filipinos to excel in sports.

When it comes to the near future, Chicano will go to Australia very soon to attend the Annual General Meeting and Awards Night of the FilOz Triathlon Club as their Guest Speaker. After that, he will undergo triathlon training for a few more weeks there in Australia.

From this point on, I recommend you all to take a close look at Chicano in triathlon events both local and overseas. He is, after all, Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon king.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Ben’s Halo-Halo in BF Homes

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Laguna’s creamiest halo-halo is now in BF Homes!

For the newcomers reading this, Aguirre Avenue, the major road inside BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City, is well known for being a major commercial stretch where people can find lots of restaurants, stores, coffee shops and the like.

Recently along the same road, the BF Homes branch of Ben’s Halo-Halo Ice Cream opened within the area of Phase 3 in the subdivision. It is located between Shakey’s and Starbucks Coffee at the same side. Just steps away from it, also from the same side, is Mini-Stop convenience store.

Already, Ben’s Halo-Halo has been attracting a lot of customers and their best-selling product is, unsurprisingly, their signature halo-halo. In recent times, actor Mark Anthony Fernandez (Miracle in Cell No. 7), had been visiting the BF Homes branch to take home halo-halo not once but many times already. Out of curiosity, I decided to pay a visit and find out how good or tasty their top dessert is.

For P90, I was served with their signature Ben’s Halo-Halo in a tall glass. It came with a mix of corn, ube (purple yam), macapuno, saba, white beans, milk and leche flan.

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This is the Ben’s Halo-Halo.

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At the top of Ben’s Halo-Halo.

After carefully mixing the ingredients, I took my first serving of it. The result? It tasted really good! Then I mixed it more and took another serving to find out if the resulting taste would be better or not. It still tasted good.

The halo-halo was so good and creamy, for me, there was no need to add sweetener or milk. A dessert served like this with such a good taste is a winner already for me. Of course, anyone else who wants to have their halo-halo be added with more sugar or milk will have to ask the people behind the counter. I don’t know yet if they would charge extra.

After enjoying my dessert, I decided to look further on their menu. Apart from the Ben’s Halo-Halo, they also serve Spicy Winter Halo-Halo and Salty Summer Halo-Halo. Other classic desserts include Mais Con Yelo and Macapuno Con Yelo.

They also serve rice meals (which I will try some day) like adobo, tocino, longganisa, braised beef and chicken barbeque to name some. They also have pasta and sandwiches.

As I learned during my time there, Ben’s Halo-Halo Ice Cream originally started in the city of San Pablo in the province of Laguna. It was founded by Ben Pasco who worked as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Italy for over a decade. During his years there, he got to work as a cook in a restaurant. After making some careful observations, becoming an entrepreneur entered his mind and he decided to go home to start a new business of his own.

More on their BF Homes branch, more people have been dining there. To say the least, it is a blessing for the BF Homes community that Ben’s Halo-Halo opened within the Phase 3 area.

I highly recommend the Ben’s Halo-Halo for those who crave for something cool and sweet (don’t forget to watch your blood sugar level).

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Visit their BF Homes branch now along 287 Aguirre Avenue and don’t forget to visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bensbfhomes/


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from Kim Mangrobang by means of an interview and research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Meet Southeast Asia’s Reigning Triathlon Queen – Kim Mangrobang!

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4-time Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) medalist and reigning triathlon queen of Southeast Asia Kim Mangrobang. (photo taken at Akrotiri, Commercenter, Muntinlupa City)

When triathlon (swim-bike-run) made its debut in the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in late 2005 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone here in the Philippines, Marion Kim Mangrobang was still a teenager who witnessed the event as a spectator. Already a junior-level member of the Philippine triathlon team, she naturally cheered for her older teammates Ani De Leon and Sandra Araullo who represented the nation in the first-ever SEA Games triathlon event for women.

Fast forward to December 1, 2019, Mangrobang represented the Philippines in the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event (her 3rd SEA Games since 2015) which was also held at Subic Bay and, more notably, won the gold medal in front of a large cheering crowd (with coach Ani De Leon – Brown, the other Philippine team coaches, officials of the Philippine Sports Commission, PHISGOC and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority plus other important personalities watching near the finish line) followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe who copped the silver.

The winning streak concluded a day later when Mangrobang, 2015 SEA Games gold medalist Claire Adorna, 2019 SEA Games gold medalist John Chicano and Fer Casares combined their efforts to win the gold medal in the Triathlon Team Mixed Relay event which was held also there in Subic Bay. For the country, she won two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (note: the Philippines as a whole won 149 gold medals in the SEA Games it hosted) and got rewarded for it in return by the national government and by corporate sponsors.

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The entire Philippines got delighted on the morning of December 1, 2019 at Subic Bay when Kim Mangrobang successfully defended her title as Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete by winning the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon gold medal. In previous SEA Games, she won the silver medal in 2015 and her first gold medal in 2017. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)

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Mangrobang with her 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon gold medal and the mascot. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)

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Mangrobang with teammate John Chicano and other Philippine team athletes on the cover of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

As far as the SEA Games records go, Mangrobang won a total of four medals since her debut in 2015, specifically 3 gold medals (the first gold won in 2017) and 1 silver medal (won in 2015). In retrospect, her gold medal victory at Subic Bay was a successful defense of her gold medal achievement in the 2017 SEA Games which essentially established her as Southeast Asia’s reigning triathlon queen.

That being said, I am very happy to present to you my feature interview of Kim Mangrobang which starts right now.

Kim Mangrobang’s background

Mangrobang was born in Sta. Mesa, Manila, in 1991 to parents Richard (an engineer) and Dine (a manpower firm executive). Since the age of four, her family has been living in Santa Rosa, Laguna which is now a progressing city south of Metro Manila.

Mangrobang got into the sport of swimming as a result of her parents’ encouragement for her when she was little. She found sports to be an enjoyable pastime.

“As with most other parents, my mom and dad encouraged me to get into sports during the summer season when I was young. So I joined a swim team and along the way I felt I was playing given the aquatic aspect of swimming,” she recalled. “My teammates and I had fun with swimming and later I realized that swimming would be a serious form of competition.”

At the age of nine, she started swimming and eventually it became a daily part of her life similar with her teammates. As an elementary student, she continued swimming and eventually she became a varsity swimmer in her high school days (with the goal of making it in the Palarong Pambansa) and participated in many swimming competitions (between local sports clubs).

Being a member of her school’s swim team and of a separate swim club, Mangrobang learned a lot about competitive swimming related to national sports and inter-club competition. Along the way, she had to deal with a certain disadvantage of hers – her height.

“I really was a short girl back then. When I was twelve, my swimming coach noticed my height disadvantage and he figured out that it would be more helpful if I would try out with the Philippine team of triathlon,” she said.

That coach turned out to be none other than Abelardo “Abet” Alon-Alon who was a former national champion in triathlon as well as a former national team coach in the said sport. Historically, Alon-Alon was a standout in Philippine triathlon’s early years back in the 1990s His suggestion to Mangrobang to get into triathlon and into Philippine multisport turned out to be a blessing for her and the nation.

She immediately took part in a tryout (for the Philippine triathlon team) which was composed of a 1.5 kilometer swim and 3-kilometer run. Her swim time was 27 minutes and 36 seconds while she timed around 12 minutes in the run. She qualified and her membership with the Philippine triathlon team started on the junior (youth) level.

“That was the start of my new journey in sports and I realized that there were better opportunities in triathlon,” she recalled.

Triathlon career and rise in prominence

Gradually Kim Mangrobang redeveloped herself athletically under the guidance of triathlon coaches like Raul Cuevas (now heading race organizer Bike King Philippines), Peter Gonzales and Abet Alon-Alon to name a few. As she maintained her swimming, she learned to bike and run gaining valuable skills and experience. Before participating in triathlon, she engaged in aquathlon (swim-run) events.

At age thirteen, she took part in a Fit-and-Tri event for youth finishing 6th overall in a short distance aquathlon race held in Ayala Alabang Village. She finished 2nd to the last back then as she was still getting oriented. She went on to join a lot more aquathlon events later.

Her first-ever triathlon performance happened in another Fit-and-Tri event some time later. In that race, she finished 6th place. In further triathlon events, she gradually made her way up until reaching 1st place.

“To the best of my memory, I finished at around 4th place overall during the first year of competing in the Fit-and-Tri series. In the following year, I reached 1st place overall. Emerging 1st became normal for me in the years that followed, until I reached the age of fifteen or sixteen,” she recalled.

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Kim Mangrobang as a teenager way back in 2005. (photo contributed by Mangrobang)

In 2006, Mangrobang joined the Junior Elite race of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT) held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and finished 2nd. That event was her first time to compete with foreign triathletes her age and instead of feeling intimidated, she performed well and still enjoyed the experience. Her value as a member of the Philippine team grew more. That same year, she raced in the Asian Duathlon Championships held in Clark finishing 4th in the Junior Women contest.

At age seventeen, Mangrobang tested herself in a Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) event during the 2008 Subic Bay ASTC Long Distance Triathlon event and won the bronze. Ahead of her were LC Langit (gold) and Monica Torres (silver).

In May 2009, Mangrobang finished 10th in the Elite Women contest of that year’s SUBIT clocking 2 hours, 32 minutes and 45 seconds (2:32:45). In the years that followed, she kept on representing the Philippines in the Elite Women contests of not only SUBIT but also in other triathlon events of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) that were held around the world. No matter how tough the field of competition was, the Santa Rosa triathlete kept focusing and persevering on doing her best and improving herself.

In the 2016 edition of SUBIT (2016 Subic Bay NTT ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup) held at Subic Bay, Mangrobang emerged as the Elite Women champion followed by her teammate Kim Kilgroe and Hong Kong’s Kate Rutherford. She timed 2:10:40 and won several ITU qualifying points in return. For the Philippines, it was a rare gold medal victory in the history of SUBIT which has often been dominated by foreign triathletes. The said victory was also proof that Mangrobang’s overseas training (under the guidance of Portugal-based coach Sergio Santos) paid off nicely. To this day, her training in Portugal continues.

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Mangrobang (rightmost) with (from L to R) then Triathlon Association of the Philippines Secretary General Tom Carrasco, Chinese Taipei’s Chang Ting Ting and her teammate Kim Kilgroe during the awarding ceremony of the 2016 edition of the Subic Bay International Triathlon (SUBIT). Mangrobang emerged as the event’s Elite Women’s champion. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

Mangrobang also achieved great honor for the nation in non-triathlon events. She emerged as the women’s champion in the Lisbon Meia-Maratona Dos Descombrimentos Half Marathon that was held on December 6, 2015 in Portugal. Her victorious performance saw her timing 1:22:40 outclassing 2nd placer Ceu Nunes (1:26:55) and 3rd placer Sofia Mateiro (1:27:34). That particular sports event was noted to be a programmed race to test the fitness of triathletes. It was also a rarity that Filipinos get to race in the said event, which made Mangrobang’s victory even more outstanding.

Triathlon at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games)

As mentioned earlier, in the history of the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), triathlon made its debut in the 2005 edition of the games specifically in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (already well established as the nation’s triathlon hot spot and favorite destination of local triathletes). Back then, Kim Mangrobang was 14-years-old and a junior member of the Philippine team. How she witnessed triathlon’s SEA Games debut was indeed interesting.

“I was still in high school back then. Me and my family left Santa Rosa at dawn to go to Subic Bay to watch the SEA Games triathlon. I had to take a leave of absence from school since that was a school day and I had to go back to school the very next day,” Mangrobang recalled. “When we arrived, there was already a huge crowd of spectators around the venue. The excitement was really high even before the race started.”

Mangrobang recalled that as a spectator, she felt nervous for the nation and what was at stake just as the individual participants were formally introduced during the pre-race ceremony. Like many others, she could only stand and watch the race unfold from behind the barricades (used for crowd control) and experience bouts of anxiety and nervousness. She cheered for her older teammates Sandra Araullo and Ani de Leon. Araullo went on to win the silver medal while De Leon (now a coach) finished 4th.

“I was really nervous back then as a spectator. Then I said to myself, ‘how much more nervous I would be if I was the one racing for the Philippines in the SEA Games,’” she stated. She added that she noticed the added pressure of participating and literally carrying the nation and the local people’s hope that victory would be achieved. She imagined herself in the future being in such a high-stakes situation.

After almost ten years later, Kim Mangrobang made her debut in the SEA Games (2015) in Singapore as a triathlete. Her teammate back then was Claire Adorna.

“Coaches of TRAP selected who were the best to represent our country in the SEA Games with results required,” Mangrobang recalled. “Based on the results of the time, they saw that me and Claire were the best and we were selected for the games. There were no qualifying races back then, which is different compared to today.”

In the 2015 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event, Claire Adorna and Mangrobang worked together with a strategy to help the former gain a lead early in the event. Adorna raced with a foot injury back then and the team’s focus was to help her (and the nation) build up a good lead in both the swim and bike legs of the race, and ensure victory even if her injury would slow her down in the 10-kilometer run leg. The strategy was a success for the Philippines as the injured Adorna won the gold medal and Mangrobang captured the silver medal. Their respective times were 2:13:08 and 2:14:26. The bronze medal went to Thailand’s Arunsiri Sanruthai who was more than seven minutes behind Mangrobang.

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Mangrobang and Claire Adorna on the front page of the June 7, 2015 edition of the Philippine Star. She captured the silver medal while Adorna got the gold medal. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

Two years later, the SEA Games triathlon events were held in Malaysia. In the individual women’s triathlon contest, Mangrobang won the SEA Games gold medal timing 2:11:14 while her teammate Adorna won the silver medal in 2:18:58. Literally speaking, the two ladies switched places and ultimately helped the Philippines which finished the games with 24 gold medals grand total. That was also the start of Mangrobang’s reign as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen.

“During the build-up heading to the SEA Games of 2017, there was anxiety and pressure among us teammates mainly because expectations for us to repeat success were so high as a result of what we achieved in the previous SEA Games,” she stated.

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Mangrobang and her teammate Nikko Huelgas on the front page of the August 22, 2017 edition of the Manila Bulletin. This marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

To put things in perspective, the Philippines not only repeated its success in the 2015 SEA Games, they exceeded it by having twin gold-and-silver medal victories in both the individual men’s and individual women’s triathlon events in the 2017 edition of the games. On the men’s race, Nikko Huelgas won his 2nd consecutive gold medal while John Chicano added more punch to the victory by grabbing the silver medal. For Mangrobang, that particular event marked her first time to win the SEA Games gold medal.

“It was a very happy moment for me personally because all the efforts and training invested paid off in the best way possible,” Mangrobang recalled her feeling of winning her first gold medal. “A lot of relief followed as all the pressure and nervousness accumulated just vanished and got replaced with the thrill of victory. Naturally, I became very thankful.”

With regards to the 2019 SEA Games, Mangrobang spent a great deal of her time overseas. As she kept training in Portugal (plus a month of training in Mexico), she represented the country in many sports events that were held in other parts of the world for the first eleven months of 2019. As such, she did not spend much time in the Philippines.

Regardless, she won the gold medal of the individual women’s triathlon once more in the latest SEA Games marking her successful defense of her standing as Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen. Her time was 2:02:00. The December 1, 2019 victory at Subic Bay also marked the full turn of life for Mangrobang who went from spectator in the 2005 SEA Games triathlon into Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete fourteen years later at the same freeport.

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The Sta. Rosa, Laguna-based triathlete making a U-turn during the 40-kilometer bike leg of the 2019 SEA Games individual women’s triathlon event at Subic Bay. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page)

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Mangrobang and Chicano on the front page of the December 2, 2019 edition of the Manila Bulletin. (photo source – Triathlon Association of the Philippines Facebook page)

After winning the two 2019 SEA Games gold medals (individual women and mixed team relay), Mangrobang and her medalist teammates were greeted by lots of local spectators who also expressed their gratitude to them.

“Getting praised and being thanked a lot in return for the victory is normal. It is also a very humbling feeling to see so many spectators rooting for us national athletes to win. Through that experience, I realized there is truth to the 2019 SEA Games tagline of ‘We Win As One,’” she stated.

Mangrobang and her winning teammates (John Chicano, Kim Kilgroe, Kim Remolino, Claire Adorna and Fer Casares) plus members of the coaching staff were nicely rewarded by the national government through Republic Act Number 10699. They formally received their cash incentives in a special ceremony held at Malacanang Palace in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The President jokingly said I resembled a certain past classmate of his from his days as a Grade 5 student,” Mangrobang said recalling her short chat with Duterte as she had her photo session with him at Malacanang. It was her 2nd time to be with the President.

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Mangrobang with her teammates and fellow 2019 SEA Games medalists (from L to R) Claire Adorna, Kim Kilgroe, John Chicano, Andrew Kim Remolino and Fer Casares. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page) 

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Southeast Asia’s triathlon queen with President Rodrigo Duterte. (photo source – Kim Mangrobang Facebook page, photo care of Presidential Communications)

The post-SEA Games buzz did not stop with Duterte. Apart from meeting corporate sponsors and having sessions with some members of the press, Mangrobang was acknowledged by the respective local government units (LGUs) of Santa Rosa in Laguna and Bauan in Batangas through social media.

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Mangrobang right in the middle of the Santa Rosa-based 2019 SEA Games medalists. (photo source – City Government of Santa Rosa, Laguna Facebook page)

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A congratulatory message from the authorities in Bauan, Batangas. (photo source – Bauan MIO Facebook page)

Bauan claimed Mangrobang as their own since her mother is a native there. After accepting their invitation, she attended the flag raising ceremony at Bauan and was presented by the LGU officials to the locals. They gave her a certificate of recognition. Mangrobang also attended another flag raising ceremony with the Provincial Government of Batangas (headed by Governor DoDo Mandanas) held in Batangas City.

Aiming High for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

As of now, Kim Mangrobang is aiming to get qualified to represent the Philippines in the individual women’s triathlon event of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. With the support of San Miguel Corporation, Nike, Specialized, Oakley, Garmin and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) and the guidance of coach Sergio Santos, she is now in full training in Portugal and eventually she will be joining several triathlon events (recognized by the ITU) that serve as qualifying races for the Olympics.

According to Mangrobang, there will only be 55 slots for the Tokyo Olympic Games individual women’s triathlon event. The qualifying period will end this coming May and subsequently the final lineup of triathletes racing in the Olympics will be announced.

“I’m very focused now on getting into the Olympics and I’m using whatever energy I have for it,” Mangrobang declared.

Message to the Readers

“When I race, I realize that it is a big responsibility because I become an inspiration to other people and I hope that what I achieved will inspire others to engage in the active lifestyle as that is important. I also hope that once they get into triathlon, they will learn to work hard and train smart.”

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Mangrobang and myself at Akrotiri, Commercenter, Alabang.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Note: My special thanks to Akrotiri restaurant located at Commercenter, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City. Akrotiri really has a nice place (which was great for this feature interview) as well as a fine selection of food and beverages. Those of you who are reading this, I highly recommend Akrotiri.

 

 

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced by means of interviewing Ditas Antenor. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Spotlight on BF HomeSarap, The Village Home-Cooked Food Directory

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Do you love home-cooked food? Do you love BF Homes, the very large residential-commercial community that occupies portions of Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas? Do you love grouping together on Facebook forming a very lively online community?

If you love all three, then you cannot go wrong with the BF HomeSarap Facebook group!

BF HomeSarap is not just any food-oriented, regional group on the social network. It is one of the fastest growing FB groups that highlights home cooking, good tastes, small enterprise and the BF Homes community members (plus friends).

BF HomeSarap’s growth in terms of membership is truly amazing. The FB group only started on April 2019 and from zero members it attracted to more than eight thousand (8,000+) members as of this writing! By comparison, there are other BF Homes-related (plus Barangay BF Homes-related) FB groups that lasted for years and still their respective memberships were exceeded by BF HomeSarap.

The FB group has described itself to be the resource for delicious home-cooked food (and drinks) right inside the village. As big businesses are prohibited, BF HomeSarap allows foodie sellers to post their specialties by showing pictures of the products, the name of the food or drink, prices and how they are being sold. What is notable about the group is that the people who make food at home are granted valuable opportunities to reach out to other members who might be interested to buy from them. In a business sense, the small food enterprises are able to make themselves known and gain chances to grow not only with selling products but also attracting new customers and establishing new business relationships.

And then something significant happened on December 7 and 8, 2019 – selected BF HomeSarap members came out in full force as sellers in the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair and Bazaar which was held at the open-air basketball court and at the nearby covered stretch  inside BF NorthWest, Parañaque City. That community event, which was organized by village governor-at-large Lorea Miren in cooperation with the BF NorthWest Homeowners Association and supported by PARA APP, was a big success as it attracted between 250 to 300 visitors (including Parañaque City Councilors Jackie Bustamante-Mendoza and Wahoo Sotto) and almost all the vendors sold out! Apart from that, a strong spirit of community interaction, business and socializing took place.

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A look at just one section where the first-ever BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair was held inside BF NorthWest. This one was taken at a covered facility near the open-air basketball court (where the other vendors were present and selling too).

With all of these mentioned, you must be wondering: Who started BF HomeSarap in the first place? Why was it established? How did it happen? Where will BF HomeSarap head to now that its presence online and within the real environment inside BF Homes has been felt?

For all of you, my readers and food enthusiasts, I am happy to present to you my interview with BF HomeSarap founder and food stylist Ditas Antenor.

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To begin with, Ditas Antenor worked in the corporate world as an advertising executive and worked with her employer’s big-time clients. After more than a decade managing multinational accounts in various multinational ad agencies, she moved on to the production side and there she became a food stylist. She even spent time in the United States to learn about food styling (for print and broadcast).

“I decided back then to take up food styling because I made plans regarding my career ahead of time,” Antenor recalled. “I really planned ahead. I could quit my nine-to-five job and engage in freelancing. So what would be a good, lucrative freelance job that I know I could be good at? That was food styling which is rare (in the Philippines.)”

Back then, food stylists in the Philippines were rare. Antenor became the fifth among the already established food stylists at the time. She eventually got hired by some clients and established herself nicely. Raised as an Alabang Girl, she and her children currently live in the Las Pinas City part of BF Homes subdivision.

BF HomeSarap’s origin and tremendous growth within Facebook

So how did BF HomeSarap start as a group within Facebook? It all started with a trigger on the part of its founder Ditas Antenor.

“There was a trigger. It was related to me and my kids moving into BF Homes subdivision coming from Alabang. Our house here in BF has been around for a very long time,” Antenor said. “My kids grew up with my cooking. Although they enjoy commercial foods like pizza or burgers that can be ordered, they can only eat those sometimes and ultimately they still love home-cooked food.”

Being the highly focused planner she has always been, Antenor had prepared menus for their family up to a few months ahead. She does the home cooking and, from time to time, her children cook adding variety. The love for home cooking, good food and relationships all connected with the beginning of BF HomeSarap.

“Then one day, I said to myself ‘maybe I should form a group’. I’m not an original member of the BF Homes community but still this is our home, even if I still maintain and occasionally stay in our Alabang house” Antenor recalled. “After doing an initial search for food-related FB groups that were related to BF Homes, I formed an FB group for BF by BF focused on home-cooked food.”

Along the way, the founder recalled her efforts on forming a name for the FB group that is unique and would strongly resonate with food enthusiasts and BF Homes residents and stakeholders. The result, clearly, was BF HomeSarap which was a clever combination of the name of the subdivision as well as the Tagalog word “Sarap” (English: Delicious).

“The name BF HomeSarap was formed out of my intention to include the local community’s name while reflecting people’s enjoyment of good home-cooked food. It had to be catchy and relevant at the same time. After searching for possible combinations of words, I came up with ‘sarap’ to partner with BF Homes,” she stated.

BF HomeSarap was created on April 2019 by Antenor reflecting her interest of good, home-cooked food her children would enjoy while establishing ties with the many members of the BF Homes community who share her interest.

The result? The membership of BF HomeSarap on Facebook went from zero to over eight thousand as of this writing. The members were a big mix of food enthusiasts as well as home-based cooks who are quietly selling food or drinks through their respective small-sized businesses. Already several small-time food sellers posted food or beverages for sale complete with contact numbers, prices, ways on how to avail of ordered items and the like. BF HomeSarap excludes the bigger, commercial food sellers giving more space and priority to the small ones. Along the way, there were a lot of buyers who had been searching for tasty home-cooked food. The result is BF HomeSarap establishing itself as a very lively online community whose members are united by home-cooked food and delicacies.

Of course, not just anyone could join the BF HomeSarap FB group. With the help of a few friends (who lived in BF Homes for a long time) and her daughter, Antenor and her co-administrators carefully review the many pending applications of FB users who wanted to join in as well as the many private messages sent.

“The membership of BF HomeSarap just kept on growing fast. Along the way, we made sure it would not become just another buy-and-sell type of Facebook group. I really wanted it to be an online community about good, home-cooked food and BF Homes which will be engaged with good quality content from time to time. I really want community engagement,” she said.

To engage the BF HomeSarap group members, Antenor researched online about the latest food trends, what kind of food people like lately, cooking tips, recipes and the like. The result was her releasing unique content in the form of articles, short videos, special greetings and customized images that get posted in the group occasionally. This approach of hers helped keep BF HomeSarap interesting and engaging, and prevented it from becoming stale or getting too flooded with sales-related posts.

For the future, Antenor stated that she is still striving to come up with ideas to make life better for the sellers and buyers of the group. She is exploring how to establish a dedicated delivery system that will carry BF HomeSarap’s name and cater to the clients’ needs. She and her team are also looking for other enclaves around BF Homes that could possibly host the next edition of the BF HomeSarap Community Food Fair this year.

With almost 9,000 members counted (and growing) and continued daily engagement, BF HomeSarap is undoubtedly the premier FB group focused on home-cooked food with the people of BF Homes in mind. Even FB users from the rest of South Metro Manila noticed the group.

“BF Homes is very unique,” Antenor said in relation to the group’s phenomenal growth and influence.

The group is not even a year old, and already it achieved a lot of milestones even spawning three related groups: Merville HomeSarap, Antipolo HomeSarap and MetroEast HomeSarap.

Ditas Antenor’s Message to the Readers

“When I cook, I continue to engage the community. There is, indeed, a wealth of home-cooked food in this community. You just need to look for it. You just need to know who cooked it. Also, level up your food in terms of nutrition and quality. If you want good food for your family, aim for home-cooked. It can be cheaper and yet it can be prepared with the same love and care for the family.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Note: Article cover photo contains images from the book “SULÓ: Where Taste Was Style”, written by author/founder Erlinda Panlilio, published in 2015 by Anvil Publishing.

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Irene Juanico

A few years ago, Irene Juanico represented Barangay BF Homes during a beauty pageant that was part of what was back then Parañaque’s 19th cityhood anniversary. She did not make it to the final round but that did not stop progress in her life. Then on May 2018, she ran in the Barangay and SK elections, and ultimately got elected as a kagawad of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK).

Recently I got to interview the incumbent SK Kagawad at barangay hall. This is the special feature of Irene Juanico.

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Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Irene Juanico.

Background

Irene Juanico was born in the Dela Rama community inside BF Homes subdivision. She is the only child in the family. Her mother is currently a government employee and her father is a customer associate for a courier. The SK kagawad is currently studying at San Beda Alabang taking Marketing Management.

Since she was young, Juanico got into modeling. She learned the way on not just looking pretty but also how to pose, what to wear, when to move and the like. Along the way, she participated in several pageants, modeling events and appeared as a muse in academic and sports events.

In 2017, she found a major opportunity to compete with other beauties from around the City of Parañaque by joining the Binibining Parañaque representing Barangay BF Homes.

“During my younger days, I noticed similar pageants that got organized by the SK and wondered, ‘what would it be like if I joined such events?’”, Juanico recalled. “My handlers, who paid attention to the 2017 Parañaque pageant, asked me to try out and compete since I was already into modeling. I was hesitant back then since I was just seventeen years-old but eventually I agreed to represent the barangay and compete.”

As Ms. Barangay BF Homes of 2017, Juanico joined the other candidates from different barangays practicing for the pageant, participating in showcase events (including the Sunduan-related event at SM City BF Parañaque) and more. Along the way, she had to adjust her schedule with school and family.

“The Sunduan showcase alone was challenging because I had to decide how to present myself in front of the judges, the special guests and many people watching. The pressure is real.” she said.

When asked about the evening of the Bb. Parañaque, Juanico confirmed that there was a lot of pressure not only on her to do her best but also on the other candidates as well. This was because there were so many guests watching including City Government officials, barangay officials, barangay fan groups, members of the media, family members of the candidates and the like.

Even though the pressure was high, Juanico simply focused on her future.

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Irene Juanico as Barangay BF Homes’ candidate in the 2017 edition of the Bb. Parañaque. (contributed by Irene Juanico, photo credit to Kevin Rebollo)

“I said to myself ‘win or lose, I at least represented my barangay well’. My experience also me motivate myself on participating future events representing the community,” Juanico said.

As it turned out in the 2017 pageant, Juanico’s name was not called when the organizers announced the five finalists. She and Barangay BF Homes did not go empty handed however as she won the Boardwalk Model sponsor award. That award was fitting considering the fact that Juanico had been modeling since she was little.

After the pageant, Juanico gained not only improved self-confidence but also respect and recognition from the residents of the barangay. A lot more people noticed her and remembered her participation in the city pageant.

Getting elected into the SK

A year later, Irene Juanico joined the Sangguniang Kabataan team of candidates under the umbrella of Paolo Marquez who ran for Barangay Captain (succeeding his brother Jeremy Marquez).

How did Juanico become candidate for the SK in the first place? It started with curiosity in a rather funny way.

“It all started with a joke with my friends, wondering if I should run for a seat in the youth council (Sangguniang Kabataan). They said I should do it but I reacted I was just joking. Eventually Zeny Pascual contacted me and asked me if I was willing to run. I replied that I would do it,” she recalled.

For Juanico, her candidacy was to inspire other youth of the barangay to aim higher in their lives. It was also her way of showing that a pretty face like her can climb up higher and become a public servant under the reformed Sangguniang Kabataan system. She really went against the local community’s conventional thinking that pretty faces or models have no place in public service which itself is ironic because charm (which comes in very different forms) is a factor on getting elected. She formally met with Paolo Marquez finalizing her candidacy.

During the summer of 2018, she and her teammates struggled to convince voters to trust them and vote for them. They went around from one house to another both in the mission areas (depressed communities) and also inside gated subdivisions. Shook hands and met with people of different walks of life (even former classmates of hers). They also took part in caucuses to reach out to the voters.

“When the campaign ended at last, I recovered by treating myself to a fast food meal. Then I went home to finally get some rest. I prayed to God. I had a very restful sleep and I really felt rejuvenated. Shortly after, my mother told me I won,” Juanico said.

Juanico’s victory in the 2018 Barangay and SK Elections for Barangay BF Homes was, indeed, a major milestone in her life. She and her friends celebrated and she cried out of happiness.

SK Kagawad Juanico and the SK Committee on Health

As an SK Kagawad, Juanico served with her colleagues under chairwoman Mariel Tumang. She is handling the SK Committee on Health. In recent times, the BFSK organized seminars about AIDS, mental health, teenage pregnancy, reproductive health and PWD (persons with disabilities) all of which were projects of her committee.

As of this writing, SK Kagawad Juanico is striving to get not only youth but also pre-teens and children involved with health projects and activities. There are also PWD children (as young as 1-year-old) that she wants to assist. The BFSK is also looking for private organizations as key partners to serve the youth and those with special needs. Team-ups with the health activities of Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Cielo Lazatin have been made.

Juanico confirmed that her committee has several more projects coming in 2020.

Message to the Readers

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BFSK Kagawad Irene Juanico (3rd from right) with the other members of the SK (chairwoman Mariel Tumang is 3rd from left) with guests who took part in a seminar about HIV, STDs and AIDS awareness.

“Service is something that can be given to others without position and without expecting anything in return. It is better to give than to receive. Public service requires not only action but a whole lot of heart.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com