Two consecutive interfaith dialogues for peace were held last January 12 at Lecture Rooms 3 and 4, SMT Building, Miriam College,. The events were hosted and co-organized by the Miriam College-Women and Gender Institute (MC-WAGI), the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy, and the Women’s Peace Table (WPT).

The morning event was entitled: “Celebrating Mary: Muslim and Christian Perspectives.” The forum is the fourth among a series of dialogues on peace initiated by PCID. This particular forum was organized in cooperation with WAGI and with the support of Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Following the Muslim-Christian forum is an Interfaith Dialogue on Peace which was held in the afternoon. This is the third among six dialogues of the WPT as a part of their two-year project on women, peace, and security which is made possible through the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Around 324 participants were present. Students and guests from various embassies, academic institutions, religious organizations, peace and women’s groups, and other non-government organizations attended the two events which aimed at establishing foundations for unity and areas for convergence among individuals from different faiths so that the conclusion of peace in Mindanao and ultimately, in the Philippines, may be achieved.

Nursery students of the Child Study Center recently participated in various activities to learn about the different community helpers and their respective roles. 

To appreciate and make this concept more meaningful for them, they had a simple culminating activity last January 14. The children came to school wearing the uniform of their chosen community helper. They also had the opportunity to share the things they learned throughout the third quarter. The children shared a trivia about the community helper that they want to be when they grow up during the Show and Tell activity (top photos) in their respective classes.

In a separate activity on the same topic, they had a mini-fieldtrip (bottom photos) to the different establishments located in Petron Square La Vista Station last January 20 and 21.

The children met barbers and hairdressers, dentists, shoemakers, mechanics, bakers, bank managers and tellers, security guards, and a florist. They even had the chance to visit the kitchen of a popular fast-food chain and experienced buying pandesal from a convenience store. This trip highlighted the importance of different community helpers and impressed upon the children’s young minds an appreciation for them in our community.

Jhames F. Labrador, Middle School Music and PE Supervisor, was chosen as the Concertmaster for the orchestra that rendered accompaniment during the Papal Visit Masses at the Manila Cathedral and at the Quirino Grandstand.

A concertmaster attends to the technical details of the performance in coordination with the conductor, and is considered the most skilled musician in the section.

Raeka Alecxi C. Villaruel (5th from left) of the Lower School and Jassie Charisse Bibit (3rd from left) of the Department of Communication won 3rd and 1st place, respectively, in the poster making contest titled, "Young People Painting Women Making Peace". It was organized by the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders (GNWP) through the Center for Peace Education.

Villaruel won in the 10 and below category while Bibit in the 11-18 years old category. The contest collected 247 entries from students and out-of-school youth from all over the Philippines ages 7-30 years old.

The activity aimed to raise awareness for young people and the general public about the Philippine National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security, which was based on United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. It also hoped to  highlight the importance of the perspectives of women in peacebuilding and to shed light on their role as peacebuilders in conflict prevention, conflict resolution and post-conflict situations.

Judges of the contest were Rose Linda Bautista, Miriam College (MC) Vice President for Mission and Institutional Development; Pam Liban,  MC Senior Graphic Artist; Usec. Maria Cleofe "Gettie" Sandoval, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP); and Karen N. Tanada, executive director of the Gaston Z. Ortigas Peace Institute.

An awarding ceremony was held last January10 at the Sequoia Hotel in Timog attended by Deputy Head of Mission of the Royal Norwegian Embassy Kristian Netland (back), International Coordinator of the GNWP Mavic Cabrera-Balleza (2nd from left), CPE’s Dr. Jasmin Galace (6th from left), directors of the DILG and members of civil society.

Visiting Japan through the Japanese Language and Culture Program (JLCP) has given me so many exciting and new opportunities that I could never have imagined. I became friends with a group of funny, interesting and lovely ladies from Miriam College that I would not have met if I did not join the program. They were the ones who helped made the stay in Japan meaningful and memorable. In addition, our visits to each of the sights and scenery left a special mark on me. I always learned something new not only from the place itself but also within me.

I had the privilege to listen to a talk given by Koko Kondo,
the youngest Hiroshima Atomic Bomb Survivor

Our visit to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum was one of the places that made me reflect on the devastating effects of war. As I slowly walked and held onto the device that explained each of the items and pictures on display, the questions that ran through my mind were, “Why did they let this happen?” and “How can people be so cruel?” I became a bit teary-eyed when I also read the description box of some of the items.

There was a part of the museum where they showed a replica of what happened to the people who were directly affected by the bomb. I cannot describe how they looked because it was such a gruesome thing to witness. Lives were lost. Families were torn apart. Mothers lost their children. Fathers lost their sons. Children were abandoned. As a result, many homes were destroyed.

My main takeaway from all of this is that war brings nothing but destruction and suffering. I do not see how war can ever be truly justified. Whether you’re Japanese, Filipino or you’re from a different nationality, I strongly believe that we should avoid having war between nations at all costs. No one actually wins at wars. Everyone loses something or someone at some point. Therefore, I’ve come to realize how crucial it is to have peace. Peace is what everyone should be focusing on maintaining and achieving.

The JLCP Program has transformed the way I think about peace especially among nations. Before, I had little interest in the news regarding the relationships of the nations in the world since it did not have any effect on me. Joining the JLCP has opened my eyes to learning that there are ways wherein a student like me can promote the culture of peace by participating in an exchange of ideas and culture between countries. This is what I actually experienced in Kobe College. In that place, we were able to share with one another our stories, interests and beliefs. Peace is not about the absence of war but the presence of unity, compassion and friendship. As a woman, I will continue to embrace and hold onto these values with the knowledge that I am an advocate for peace.

Dianne Louise Lagman Recomono

I am currently a 4th year BS-CDE minor in SPED student. I love to read historical fiction novels. I enjoy listening to jazz and indie music. I dream of having my own preschool someday.

 Would you like to contribute to MC News Features?
Email us at externalaffairs [AT] mc [DOT] edu [DOT] ph.

To learn more about the Japanese Language and Culture Program, go to the Institutional Partnerships and Programs Office web page >>

Looking Back

2014 gave me a lot of opportunities and challenges which helped me grow as a person. I encountered challenges that I thought at first glance as the end of the road but it's actually not. If it weren't for the obstacles that I encountered last year, I wouldn't be the person I am right now which I'm enthusiastic about. The different circumstances I got to experience in 2014 proved that no matter how many times you fall is not as important as on how you'll grow as a person.

How will you make 2015 an awesome year? As my professor in management says "What's the one thing that you will do that you would not expect anything? That's your passion.

Let me share with you what the past year brought me and some of my tips which I think will help anyone to make 2015 a great year.

1. Have a very clear goal

Focus and prioritize on having very clear goals on what you want to achieve in 2015. Then the next step is to ask yourself the question: What are the skills that will help me achieve my goals?

You must be very clear about the skills you must acquire that will get you to the mountaintop. Think about your skills and strengths and on how you can make the most in using them. Open yourself to learn and acquire new skills so that you can increase your learning potential.

2. Go beyond the horizon

It is funny to think that if Ferdinand Magellan did not have the tenacity to prove that the world is round, history wouldn't be the way it is now. He was laughed at because of his 'insanity' to think that there are things beyond the horizon because people at that time thought that the world was flat. They assumed that if you go beyond the horizon you will fall but Magellan proved them wrong. His curiosity changed the world and so can yours.

Look and go beyond the horizon. Leave your comfort zone and develop a positive energy and attitude in every step of your journey.

3. Strike a balance

While it is good to be ambitious and driven, don't be too much glued in studying. Spend and enjoy quality time with your friends and family. Get pleasure on the simple things that make you happy like in my case, drinking a double cocoa fudge shake after a long and tiring day. Let's not miss the little things!

4. Give back

This just doesn't apply on material things but also on relationships as well. Express your gratitude and love to the people you value most. Help without asking anything in return and learn to exhibit heroic acts of generosity by being aware and understanding of other people's situation.

Share your ideas and don't keep your gifts to yourself. There's a reason you have those gifts so you might as well use them wisely because the one who gave them might take it back from you.

Franchesca Pauline Cantos

Franchesca Pauline Cantos finished her secondary education at Miriam College High School in 2014. She is currently taking up a degree on Financial and Investments Management at Miriam College. Her interests include writing and reading for self-improvement.

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  • Tracy, B., & Linked in. (2015, January 6). 4 easy steps to reach your new year’s goals & perform better in 2015 | Brian Tracy | LinkedIn [Web log post]. Retrieved from
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  • Bilkley, R., & Fiction et al. (2012, September 11). Self publishing part 8: the wisdom of fonts – 10 book typefaces that can’t go wrong | fiction et al [Web log post]. Retrieved from
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Middle School English teacher and currently Grade 7 Level Coordinator Ma. Pia F. Luque placed third in the Christmas essay writing competition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer Lifestyle Section last December 28, 2014. The competition’s theme was Christmas in My Memory. Luque’s winning piece, Warm in Winter, is an essay based on her experience as an exchange teacher in Soongin Elementary School in Seoul, South Korea in 2012.

This is the seventh time that Luque’s essay has been published in the Inquirer, and her fourth to receive a writing award. Read her essay:

Going to Japan was a whirlwind of excitement and marvel that left me falling in a torrent of wonderful sensations and experiences. The feeling of it was similar to falling in a rabbit hole; I was unprepared for its impact and found myself in a strange yet fascinating world that spoke in a different language, had different practices, and was surrounded by unique people. Nevertheless, I immersed myself in the experience and did my best to abide to their customs. As the famous saying goes, “In Rome, do as the Romans do” or in this case, do as the Japanese do.  Although my stay there was short-lived, I was able to pick up on some important values that the Japanese revered and that I wish to share to others.

1. Kirei

The first value, and one which the Japanese particularly hold in high regard, is the importance of beauty and of being clean.  In Japan, the word “Kirei” is used very often and means beautiful or clean. For the Japanese, being clean in itself is considered beautiful.  Being organized, keeping your area tidy, and even being pure of heart are traits that are widely upheld in the country. Although I tend to be a laidback sort of person, I learned to put more effort in keeping myself neat including my surroundings.  It actually helped me a lot because compared to before when I would just scatter my things in a room, I learned to arrange my stuff in a particular order and had an easier time remembering where I placed certain items.

2. Shizuka

The second value that I picked up on was the value of being quiet. During my stay, I observed that many people in Japan were soft-spoken and quiet. Seldom did they speak and most of them would use non-verbal cues like nodding or waving a hand. Personally, it was calming to be in a quiet and peaceful environment. It gave me time to hear myself think, to ponder on even the littlest of things and it helped me reflect. I was also reminded that it is not the length or the weight of our words that ultimately define us but rather our actions.

3. Kenkyona

Despite learning the value of being clean and of being quiet, I felt that it was the value of being humble or “kenkyona” that became the highlight of the JLCP. In Japan, I learned the importance of giving respect to other people especially to those who were older than you or had a higher status. Most importantly though, I was able to experience the feeling of being completely and utterly clueless when I first arrived. I had a hard time understanding the language and I was a stranger to the Japanese customs. Regardless, it made me reach the epiphany that there is still a lot of things I don’t know and that’s why I shouldn’t stop learning.

All in all, my experience in the JLCP was no less than amazing. I was able to venture to a new world and embrace the unknown. Although I’m back home right now, the values that I have learned and the moments that I have experienced in Japan will never be forgotten.

Japan Language and Culture Program or JLCP is a program under the Institutional Partnerships and Programs Office (IPPO). To know more about JCLP, go

Gianina Concha R. Limbo

Gianina is a BS Psychology student who enjoys traveling and reading books.

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