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Jun 8, 2011

Posted by in Teacher's Corner | 0 Comments

Read to Help Others Read

A few years back I joined in on the call to say no to the Philippine Book Blockade because I believed very much in the value of reading, whether this be in the classroom setting or in the comforts of our own rooms, curled up with a good book on cold rainy days. It’s sad, however, that books so often are not accessible to many of our fellow countrymen, especially those who cannot afford it. It isn’t surprising that majority of public schools (and students) do not meet a 1:1 ratio of students to books.

Recently I came across this book sale/fund raiser via Facebook for the benefit of the AGAPP Foundation. Proceeds of the sale will be used to purchase new children’s books to be placed in the different schools that AGAPP has built all over the Philippines.

Check out their Facebook Page to see how you can help :)

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Oct 3, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies | 11 Comments

Show Your Real Love!

I think it is no secret, especially to those who read my blogs a lot, that my Lolo is my hero. It has been 14 years since we lost him, and though the pain and sadness of not having him around has faded, it never really goes away. Although he was diagnosed initially with emphysema, he eventually succumbed to cancer in 1996. Our family has had a long history of battling this deadly disease, which claims so many lives yearly. Even my mom had her own uterine cancer scare a few years back after she had given birth to my youngest brother and in all honesty, this is also why my personal PCOS related woes kinda scare me to the highest heavens all the time things don’t go well health wise. In my head I do know prevention is better than cure, which is actually why I opted to get myself vaccinated against HPV, which is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer, but right now, I’m butting heads with my doctor because of it hehe.

I realized that one thing that helped my family a lot get through all those cancer scares and difficulties was the fact that we had a good support system to lean on. However, not everyone has that. This is why when I was invited by Ms. Janette Toral to support the Real Love Campaign for the benefit of Kythe Foundation, an organization that provides support and psychosocial services for children with cancer, I did not hesitate to include it as one of my personal advocacies.

The Real Love Campaign is led by Unilever Foodsolutions. You too are invited to support the cause by simply “liking” their official Facebook Page. By just clicking on that “like” button, you help make a difference. How? For every 1,000 “Like” entries until it reaches 10,000 fans, Unilever Foodsolutions will donate 1,000 sandwiches to the different Kythe partner hospitals.  Not bad, right? (SO CLICK NOW!!! hehe)

You can also support the cause by buying a special Team Manila Shirt (especially designed for this campaign) for only Php 550. The shirt comes in both mens and womens sizes.

You can also WIN one of these limited edition shirts by simply supporting my little contest here in The Accidental Teacher :-) The mechanics are simple. Just complete the statement:  “I will share my love to the kids of Kythe by____________”. Post your answer in the comment section below and on October 10, 2010,  one lucky winner will take home the special Team Manila shirt :-) Winners, however, must be Philippine residents only.

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May 13, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies | 1 Comment

Justin Bieber and Charice sign No Texting Zone Pacts

When Charice and Justin Bieber guested in a recent Oprah episode, they ended the show with the two youngsters signing a pact promising to stay text-free while driving. This is an encouraging move that hopefully inspires other young people out there (okay, even myself) to not text while driving. Admittedly it is hard to be consistent with this, especially given the way Philippine traffic is where we spend a lot of  time sitting in a non-moving vehicle. Nonetheless, texting and driving should not be the case. I am reminded of the post I wrote some time ago, after the death of the young Ateneo student Amiel Alcantara. While it has not been proven, there was talk that a cellphone may have played a role in the accident.

Now that my younger brother is beginning to drive, I try to be more careful with my behavior because if he sees me texting while driving, he may be more inclined to do it too. As such, I promise to lessen if not stop completely checking my phone while stuck in traffic. Also, in my PERSEF classes this term, I will use this topic as an advocacy project (last term was elections!). It’s just kinda hard to break this bad habit!!!

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Mar 19, 2010

Posted by in Featured, Teacher's Corner | 2 Comments

Teacher Ria’s SHOE Story

Before I begin, let me say it’s been a while since I stopped and tried to see the positives in my day-to-day life. Earlier this year, I had attempted to start a photo Project 365 that focused on finding the silver lining to everyday but since I’ve gotten so busy, I haven’t really had time to do so. Thankfully, as an added bonus for her contest, Earth encouraged her readers to take a look at their SHOEs for the day. What are SHOEs? These are your Seven Heaven on Earth, or seven things, events, places or whatever that you appreciate. No matter how small or big, it’s important to be grateful and to honor them, right?

So thanks Earth for reminding me to do this! And so, here are my SHOES:

1. I am grateful for the successful school year that had just finished. I enjoyed my days with the kids a lot, and despite some difficulties along the way, they all showed good progress and for those who are of age already, they made it to the big schools!
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2. My third article for www.thepoc.net came out today :-) It was an article on addiction and I enjoyed trying to capture the shot that was used for the article. Oh….those are all vitamins, fyi! Well, except for the blue one, which is a night time over-the-counter sleep aid.
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3. I am grateful for the summer. I love how I don’t have to wake up so early everyday and I am looking forward to the rest and relaxation summer brings. I was lucky to have some early summer getaways but hopefully soon, I can take a longer and more relaxing trip soon!
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4. I am especially happy that both my brother and my Bubba are okay. Last week was a truly tumultuous week as Tuesday saw Bubba with a sprained paw and JJ, my brother, figured in a tricycle accident on Thursday.They’re both doing great now and thankfully, there’s no major problems or concerns with them both.

5. A good night’s sleep! If there is one thing I miss a lot, it’s sleeping in and not having to wake up with the blaring alarm clock. I am so grateful for that today!

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6. My WIFI router! This was purchased from winnings in a contest I won a few months back and since I got it, it has definitely made me very happy. That and Cerise, my Nokia E63 :-)

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7. My 7th SHOE is blog contests :-) Though I don’t win all the contests I join, it’s a fun and entertaining past time. And when I do win, the thrill is just….awesome! Just yesterday I received the great news that I won a Starbucks 2010 Clean and Green Tumbler! Woot!

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what about you, what are your SHOEs?

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Jan 7, 2010

Posted by in Advocacies, Autism, Featured | 10 Comments

Apparently, not every Juan can fly with Cebu Pacific after all

Apparently, not every Juan can fly after all.

Contrary to Cebu Pacific‘s tag line that it’s time everyone flies (or every Juan as they so creatively coined), there are exemptions to who they are willing to fly. This is the message they gave to the public when they so insensitively tried to coerce a mother and her son to disembark from the plane they were taking because the son had special needs. The incident took place last December 23, 2009. According to news reports, Mrs. Mylene Alcantara was told by the flight crew that they cannot go on with their flight after finding out that her son was a special child. More specifically, she was informed that the company policy was that no two special needs passengers can be on the same flight. Apparently, there was another child with Down’s Syndrome already aboard the aircraft. They reportedly were insisting that her son was mentally ill, thus they could not travel. I applaud this mother’s strength and courage as she not only refused to be coerced and intimidated by these crew members but also for continuing the fight against the airline. Mrs. Alcantara is now filing a multi-million lawsuit against the carrier.

This is not the first time Cebu Pacific has displayed obvious descirmination towards PWD’s or Persons with Disabilities. In a previous incident (which if not for a blogger’s Plurk I would not have known about), Cebu Pacific refused to board a group of  deaf passengers because of a policy against having two unescorted passengers that require special handling. They explained further that “special handling” pertained to passengers who were pregnant, had disabilities,  medical cases, minors travelling alone and individuals whose physical, medical or mental conditions need special or individual attention (read the entire response via Filipino Deaf from the Eyes of a Hearing Person here and here).

Granted that having unassisted and unaccompanied individuals who need special attention may tax the resources of the cabin crew in case of emergency and increase the carrier’s liability, this seems to not be the case in the situations of both the group of hearing impaired tourists and Mrs. Alcantara’s son. For one, the child was accompanied by his mother who clearly is able to care for her son and attend to his needs. Secondly, as heard over the radio this morning, the lawyer of the family pointed out that special children are not considered mentally ill.

What ignorance on the part of a company! Just because someone has special needs does not make them less of an individual nor does it mean they do not deserve opportunities granted to everyone else. So long as they have their support system on hand, there should be no problems or issues at all. Conrtary to the belief that children with autism or mental retardation cannot behave and act inappropriately, they can be just like other kids in many, many ways. In fact, a lot of times it is the so-called “normal” population that acts inappropriately in-flight. The Cebu Pacific crew‘s behavior takes us back to a time when children with autism, Down’s Syndrome and other physical, mental or other handicaps were institutionalized and hidden from the rest of the world. I, for one, am not willing to go back to that kind of a mind-set. I enjoin a fellow autism advocate and another brave mom of a child with autism as she calls for the airline industry to accommodate individuals with special needs. If I may add, this accommodations should be done with no questions asked!

In the last year alone, I have read so many gripes and rants about the airline, from faulty online bookings to poor customer service, and now this. It is time that the airline started making changes about their policies and procedures. Further, their training of their staff should be revamped. I remember on my Davao trip last year, I had taken another carrier but my friends had taken Cebu Pacific and they had a major rant about one of the crew. I don’t remember what it was exactly anymore, but the point is Cebu Pacific should work on better customer service. While the airline has made apologies to the family, it is not enough. The damage is done.

Cebu Pacific does offer low fares. But their claim on great value? This is something we now have to think about.

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