Miriam College participated in the 5th Children’s Day at Barangay Loyola Heights last Nov. 21, 2015. It carried the theme, “Batang Masaya! Batang Loyola!” The CDE students of Ms.Trixie Sison, the CDE Circle, the Sophomore Council officers, the ADSA Office and MISMO participated in and supported the event. 

Twelve CDE student teachers facilitated two activities for young children while lootbags for 1,000 children were prepared and distributed by the Sophomores. Financial support was extended by the CDE Circle. 

Pelias represented Miriam College in the said Barangay. The school is one among many stakeholders represented in the said event.

Forty-four students from Miriam College Lower and Middle Schools participated in the “Basic Formation for the Ministry of Altar Servers for Schools.” The activity, conducted by the Diocese of Cubao, was held last November 18, 2015 at the Singson Hall (Auditorium) of the Ateneo de Manila Grade School. 

The activity saw the gathering of students who actively took part in the Eucharistic celebrations as altar servers in their respective schools. Students participated in a whole day of prayer and workshop on being humble servants of our Lord. 

During registration, students excitedly had their picture taken wearing the Alb, a white vestment used by altar servers during masses. 

Topics discussed during the formation included the importance of the Liturgy, love for the Eucharist, and roles of altar servers during the Eucharistic Celebration. A demonstration of different postures, gestures, and rituals done during the Mass was done by the altar servers from the Diocese of Cubao. Bishop Honesto Ongtioco, D.D. also gave a short inspirational speech on the formation of altar servers and how they can become selfless servants of Jesus Christ. 

The activity was concluded with a celebration of the Eucharist presided by  Rev. Fr. Ronron Roberto, Director of the Liturgical Services and of the Altar Servers of the Diocese of Cubao.

ASPIRING journalists have many things to learn from the experiences and words of wisdom of Gemma Cruz-Araneta, not only as a writer but as a public servant, and a beauty queen as well.

Cruz-Araneta, who chairs the non-profit Heritage Conservation Society, regaled students of mass communications, journalism, and English from various universities with stories of the challenges she faced in covering the Vietnam War in the late ‘60s.

Although she is not a graduate of a journalism course, it was fitting to have her as a third lecturer in The Manila Times College Lecture Series on Journalism last Friday, given her fascinating experiences as a writer. Writing and the arts run in her blood, being a daughter of respected writer and historian Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil.

She used to write stories for The Sunday Times, the weekend edition of The Manila Times. She now writes a column for The Manila Bulletin.

“Journalists have to read, read and read. Know grammar rules. Be a master of one language. Know your history. Read classic literature.” She kept repeating these messages to her audience, drawing from her experiences that honed her journalistic skills and discipline.

A great grandniece of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, Cruz-Araneta chronicled her account of the Vietnam War as a 25-year old in 1968, in a book entitled Hanoi Diary. The 148-page book was digitized in 2008. On the 67th national day of Vietnam in 2012, Hanoi Diary’s second edition was printed for young Vietnamese to learn about what their parents went through during the war.

The 1964 Miss International, who still looks stunning and far younger than her 72, encouraged students to “know your history, know your current events.” Her penchant for reading history books and current events won her that beauty title in Long Beach, California, she said.

She recalled that she did not really like to join a beauty contest, but two of her friends submitted her name to the organizers and it was too late to back out when she found out about it. Her family had no choice but to support her. She was barely out of her teens when she became the first Filipina and first Asian to capture the international pageant crown.

Bringing home the crown was far from her expectations until she made her mark in the Question and Answer portion. “That year, there was this Vietnam War [which hogged the headlines until the early 1970s]. I told them that I had feared I wouldn’t be able to make it to the pageant. ‘Why?’ they asked. I told them there was this war in Vietnam. And they all nodded.” Reading current events and history served her well even at a beauty pageant, she told the students.

“How can you write about your country if you don’t know its history?” she pointed out. “Don’t read too much fiction. You need background materials. History is more exciting than fiction.”

“Don’t just read things like how to lose weight, or what to do when you lose your boyfriend. Read literature, classic literature,” she added.

Cruz-Araneta holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Foreign Service from Maryknoll College (now Miriam College). She worked as information writer and chief docent at the National Museum, later becoming its director.

To get the students to participate in the discussion, Cruz-Araneta turned the tables and asked her audience about their opinion on the much-criticized interview of Karen Davila with Alma Moreno. One of the students said Davila only did her job of asking questions, which were not even difficult to answer, but Moreno came unprepared for the interview.

“Why are you taking up journalism?” she asked. When nobody stood up to reply, she told them: “Journalists couldn’t be shy…dapat curious ka, matanong. Dapat alam mo ang grammar. Paano ka magsusulat kung hindi mo alam ang tamang grammar? [You should be curious, inquisitive. You should have a good grasp of the English grammar. How would you turn in good reports if your grammar is lousy?”]

She urged the students to make reading the news a habit. “You should be aware of what’s happening around you. You have to read, read and read. And you have to know how to write well.”

She, likewise, stressed the importance of fact-checking and verifying information to make sure that what they pass on to the readers is accurate.

Asked about her take on the statement of President Benigno Aquino 3rd that the tanim-bala issue was being sensationalized, Cruz-Araneta said that, in general, she noticed a tendency of the local media to sensationalize news to attract readers’ attention.

“There’s a degree of sensationalism and repetition,” she said. “I think President Aquino should be careful [in making such sweeping statements] because the media is sensitive. [But] maybe he was just being candid.”

She shared with her audience her observation that toward the end of a President’s term, there always seems to be a new intrigue or scandal that emerges involving the outgoing leader. “Bakit at the end of a presidential term kailangan may gulo? [Why should there be trouble abrewing round him?”]

Having been tourism secretary under the Estrada presidency, Cruz-Araneta lamented that political tirades have become “very rude, very impolite.”

When martial law was imposed in 1972, she went to Mexico where she lived for 18 years. While there, she took up Masters in International Relations at the Mexican State University, worked for a presidential think tank – the Third World Studies Center – and the United Nations Development Program.

SOURCE: Manila Times > http://www.manilatimes.net/learning-from-gemma/231877/

The HEU–Admissions Office held its 5th Scholarship Awarding Ceremony last November 23 at the ESI Conference Room. The special ceremony is an annual activity of the HEU to honor excellent and deserving students who have been granted academic and endowed scholarships by Miriam College and by kind donors or foundations.

Present at the awarding were Lara Vengua representing Carmen “Gigi” Abaya-Carlos of the Gonzalo T. Abaya Scholarship and the HEU Family Council Officers led by Ambassadress Shirley Ho-Vicario. 

The scholars were formally recognized by Miriam College (MC) President, Dr. Rosario Lapus; Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Glenda Fortez; College of Arts Dean, Dr. Rica Bolipata-Santos; College of Education Dean, Dr. Rosario Aligada; Associate Dean for Academic Support Services, Dr. Francis Evangelista; Institutional Partnerships and Programs Office Head and HEU–Admissions Officer, Ma. Luisa Villano; and the department chairpersons.  

The HEU singing group, MC Aria sang the Philippine National Anthem, the Invocation and rendered a song number for the guests.

The following first year students were awarded academic scholarships: 

Claudia Louise Calmona
, 1st year AB International Studies
Alyssa Michele Gaba, 1st year AB International Studies
Vianca Lugue, 1st year AB International Studies
Cristina Maria Arrobio, 1st year BA Applied Arts Visual Design
Neve Audrey Barro, 1st year BS Psychology
Mary Gecelene Karaniwan, 1st year BS Accountancy
Maria Daniela Sanuco, 1st year BS Accountancy

The following students were granted endowed and special scholarships: 

Mutya Camba, 3rd year BS Environmental Planning Management, The Ditas R. Lichauco Chair for Scholarship in Environment Planning and Management and Communication Arts
Rhaiza Damasco, 1st year BS Child Development Education,  The Friends of Tubby Rose
Therese Joy Bayoneta, 1st year BS Child Development Education,  The Mr. and Mrs. Gonzalo T. Abaya Scholarship
Rhonna Mae Escabal, 4th year BS Business Administration major in Financial and Investments Management, Megaworld Foundation Scholarship
Clarisse Ann Dela Paz, 1st year BS Business Administration major in Financial and Investments Management, Megaworld Foundation Scholarship
Jhan Maye Vizco, 3rd year BA Communication, Megaworld Foundation Scholarship
Stephanie Velez Caparroso, 1st year BS Environment Planning Management, HEU Family Council
Mendoza, Rei Christian, 1st year BS Psychology, HEU Family Council
Selina Garcia, 1st year BS Leisure and Tourism Management, HEU Family Council

Mia Alvar, acclaimed author of In the Country: Stories was in Miriam College last Nov. 25 to talk about her first published book and share her journey as a writer and published author to budding writers from the college and high school units of Miriam College. A number of literature and creative writing students from Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines also graced the activity.

In the Country: Stories, a collection of short stories that “gives a voice to the women and men of the Filipino diaspora”, is a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and is in the list of Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2015. It is published by Alfred A. Knopf.

Alvar was born in the Philippines and raised in Bahrain and the United States. She graduated from Harvard College and the School of the Arts at Columbia University. She is currently based in New York City.

The visit was made possible when Dr. Rosario Lapus met with Alvar’s mother, Concepcion “Chit” Alvar, at Marymount School of New York where the latter is the head mistress. Ms. Chit is a Maryknoll/Miriam College alumna.

Alvar’s visit was in partnership with National Bookstore through Presy Ramos, also an alumna and a classmate of Dr. Lapus (Maryknoll High School Batch ’58). Coordinating the talk at Miriam College was the  President’s Office, the College of Arts and Sciences through its dean, Dr. Rica Bolipata –Santos, together with Miriam College High School.

At the 4th National Women’s Summit (NWS) held in Miriam College on Tuesday, November 17, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet lauded Filipino women and encouraged them to close the gender gap and break down the barriers and prejudices that hinder inclusive and sustainable development. President Bachelet was also in the country to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting held last week in Manila.

Chile’s first female president visited the oldest women’s college in the Philippines to share her colorful personal experiences as an advocate of gender equality and women empowerment in various areas of her work and life. Her dialogue, Filipino Women and the Youth, is part of the two-day summit that started Monday, November 16.

Being the first economic leader of the APEC Summit to arrive in Manila on Sunday, Bachelet chose to address students, faculty members of the Miriam College community, guests from public and private sectors, and participants of the 4th NWS. Acclaimed broadcast journalist Cheche Lazaro moderated the dialogue with Bachelet.

Other distinguished guests during the forum were former senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon “Dinky” J. Soliman, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) chairwoman and former Miriam College president Patricia B. Licuanan, and elections commissioner Rowena Amelia V. Guanzon.

Bachelet acknowledged the Philippine progress and efforts to recognize women’s roles in the creation of a just, peaceful, and prosperous society despite them being silenced and overshadowed by men.

“There is no doubt about the role played by the women of the Katipunan in 1896, and the contribution of the Katipuneras of Miriam College in the fight against the Marcos dictatorship,” said Bachelet, who is the first Chilean president to be elected twice since 1932.

The Chilean leader commended the Philippines for ranking 9th position in the World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2014. She said, “I want to socially acknowledge the progress of the Philippines. At this moment, the Philippines is the only Asian country that has been able to completely close the gender gap in education and health, and is the only one placed in the top 10 of the said report. This data is truly remarkable. I congratulate you.”

Bachelet also recognized the former Philippine senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, also the secretary general of the Third World Conference in 1985 and an outstanding officer at the United Nations. She thanked the former senator, who introduced her during the program, for the contributions she made to the struggles for equity and justice that contributed at the global record.

“We must lead, not only follow. We must be the doctor who can heal and cure, and not just be the patient. We must be catalysts and initiators of change, and not just be seekers of the status quo,” Bachelet quoted Shahani’s speech during the Fourth World Conference of Women in Beijing, 1995.

In addition to this progress in the recognition of women’s role in history, Bachelet is also looking forward to the understanding of the daily efforts and contributions of women around the world. She also noted that women’s participation is still insufficient in parliaments.

“I can imagine that it’s not a paradise for women. In my country, having a female Senate President, female president of the federation of the unions, two female presidents of the biggest federation of students, but we still have a lot of issues. We still have obstructions, difficulties to get credits, differences from the male and female access. We still have violence against women,” she said.

Bachelet mentioned that closing the gender gap, unfinished tasks in salary gaps, access to job markets, female participation in management positions in public and private enterprises, and political participation, among others, are the issues she values most.

Chile approved a law that requires 40% of candidates to be female. It means that no single gender can hold more than 60% of the presented candidates. It’s a must for the political parties to observe this law.

“We all know that laws can be fooled, isn’t it? You can put female candidates in places where they will never be elected. We don’t want only candidates, we want women elected. I said, ‘Parties who elect more women will have a financial contribution or incentive,’” she added.

Bachelet is also concerned with the smallest details as far as equality is concerned. She exemplified it when she cited another development, the “zebra system” where alternation of names between men and women are implemented so as to avoid the separation of women’s names at the end of the electoral list.

In response to the students’ questions, Bachelet stressed the importance of having women in the military forces and the police. “Defense is not only a matter of men but also of society, and women are part of it. I push hard to ensure that women will be part of the whole picture. Women as we all know are very committed and hard-working,” she said.

When asked about her advice on leadership, relationship, and love, the Chilean president sighed and said, “I’m not sure I’m the best model because I’m a single mother now.”

‘Don’t work alone’

“My first advice is in any field, not only in politics, in economics, etc., you have to understand that there’s no such thing as a superwoman. There are always costs. You can’t be the best professional or the best mother. Second: prepare, study, and develop relationships with others. Be assertive and listen to what others have to say.”

She added: “There should be solidarity among women. It is important to serve others, not just yourself. This is a collective action, so don’t work alone. Have empathy, and of course, have a sense of humor. It will help you survive.”

President Bachelet also underscored the importance of equality in women’s participation in politics and government: “If we want the people to be more prosperous, our societies fairer, and our democracies more robust and legitimate, we have to back them up with equity and the political participation of women. If we want to accelerate the pace of the prosperous society that we aspire to, we must double our efforts today.”

SOURCE: Interaksyon.com > http://www.interaksyon.com/lifestyle/chiles-president-michelle-bachelet-to-filipino-women-women-can

The MCHS Glee Club won the championship at the Musikapella Choral Competitions held last November 21, 2015 at the AFP Theatre. They bested  11 participating schools.

Apart from the top prize, the MCHS Glee Club also won two special prizes: Best Interpretation of the Contest Piece, “Binhi” a Visayan folk song arranged by Miggi Angangco; and Best Interpretation of a Choice Piece, “Papanok a Lakitan,” a folk song from Mindanao arranged by Nilo B. Alcala II.

This annual choral competition was organized and sponsored by the UP Economics Society. This year’s theme paid homage to the Filipino folk song.

"It's not enough for women to sit at the table. I want to decide the size and shape of the table I'm sitting at." So quipped President Michelle Bachelet of Chile at Miriam College last November 17. In an instant, I was charmed.

Filipino netizens, in the meantime, have been swooning over two “APEC hotties”—President Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. The latter has a degree in Literature from McGill, while the former has a PhD in Economics from Princeton University. Nieto has been criticized for corruption, narcopolitics and violence in Mexico’s Guerrero state, while Trudeau has been attacked because of Canadian trash that has hit Philippine shores—so it’s a toss-up.

There have, of course, been other leaders worthy of our attention. Obama’s skills at moderation—and recent pronouncements on the West Philippine Sea—were certainly an APEC highlight. But Bachelet, one of two women leaders (along with President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea) visiting the Philippine capital during the APEC talks, was a breath of fresh air.

Last Tuesday, she visited Miriam College—the second oldest women’s college in the Philippines—for a “Dialogue with Women and Youth.” The National Women’s Summit—a welcome respite from the stiffness of APEC—gathered mostly female guests from the Senate and the House, national government, civil society, local governments, the Muslim community, and students to discuss the empowerment of women, especially in economic and political spheres.

The fact that she had officially requested to meet with women and the youth in this country—and not only business leaders who might have been beneficial to Chile—made Bachelet an instant media darling. Only Akie Abe, wife of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, came close by visiting street children in Payatas.

A physician, Bachelet was elected as the first female President of Chile in 2006 and re-elected in 2014. Before this, she served as Chile's health minister in 2000 and defense minister in 2002—the first woman in Latin America to hold such a position.

During the summit, the Latin American leader commended the Philippines for empowering women since the Katipunan of 1896 and throughout the Marcos dictatorship. She further congratulated us for ranking 9th in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2014, noting that we are the only Asian country to have closed the gap in education and health. On women in government, she noted the 26% participation rate in Philippine politics—higher than the Asian average of 18.4%—and the Chilean rate of 16%.

As the first head of UN Women—the agency in charge of promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment at the United Nations—she noted that there are still many challenges for women hoping to break the proverbial glass ceiling globally.

“In my country, we had a female Senate President and female presidents of trade unions, but we still have many issues. Women have difficulty accessing credit. We still have violence against women. The face of poverty is still that of women and children….”

As former defense minister, Bachelet also stressed the importance of having women in the military and police. “Defense is not just a matter of men but of society, and women are a part of that. In countries where we send peace-keepers, women have low self-esteem because they are treated like second-class citizens. They find it hard to talk about rape, gang-rape and torture. But women peacekeepers gain their confidence and trust in conflict-torn areas,” she said.

These words are all the more poignant when one considers Bachelet’s own personal history. Her father was an air force general and staunch supporter of President Salvador Allende, who put him in charge of food distribution. He was later accused of treason and detained by General Augusto Pinochet, following the US-backed 1973 coup that ousted Allende. General Bachelet had an enormous influence over his daughter: when he died, in 1974—at the hands of his torturers—she was already an active member of the Young Socialist Party.

“Because I was a victim of hate,” she told an interviewer, “I’ve dedicated my life to turning hate into understanding, tolerance—and why not say it?—love.”

She herself, along with her mother (an archeologist), was detained and tortured in early 1975, forcing her to flee Chile for Australia and Germany, where she continued her medical studies. When allowed to return to her homeland in 1979—less than a third of the way through Pinochet’s 17-year rule—she discovered Chile refused to recognize her medical studies from the Herder Institute—now Leipzig Institute--forcing her to take up her medical education from where it had been before she had fled the country.

Armed with her MD, she worked with an NGO that helped the children of tortured and missing people in Santiago and Chilán. With the restoration of democracy in 1990, she returned to public service. From 1994 to 1997, she was Senior Assistant to the Deputy Health Minister. In 1998, she also worked for the Defense Ministry as Senior Assistant to the Defense Minister and subsequently graduated from the Chilean Army's War Academy with a Master's in Military Science.

Her interest in civil-military relations went far beyond the academic, however. Though unknown outside her field, she was appointed Minister of Health in 2000, and given 100 days to reduce the horrendous waiting lists at public hospitals—gaining fame by offering then-president Lagos her resignation because she had only been able to achieve a 90% reduction. (The resignation was naturally rejected.) She also gained notoriety by ordering government hospitals to provide “morning after” contraceptives to victims of sexual abuse.

Then, as the first woman to become Minister of National Defense in Latin America, she continued an unorthodox healing and conciliatory program between the military and the dictatorship’s victims that led to the historic 2003 vow by the head of the army, that "never again" would Chile’s democracy be subverted by the military. Her popularity was so great that eventually no one else in her party contested her nomination for president in 2005 and, after a run-off election against the center-right’s candidate, was sworn in as President in 2006.

As with all presidential terms, Bachelet’s popularity rose and fell, though many of her toughest challenges eventually came to acceptable—in some cases, very good--outcomes. Unusually, by the time she left office in 2010, her job approval rating was—according to a conservative polling agency—at a record 84%, higher even than during the “honeymoon” days that generally follow elections.

During her first year out of office—the Chilean Constitution forbids presidents to succeed themselves—she started her own think-tank and, a few months later, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed her head of the newly created United Nations body, UN Women, which was formed to combine the UN’s diverse women’s programs. Assuming that office in September 2010, she served until her resignation in March 2013, when she returned to Chile to seek a second term.

After winning another run-off election—this time against former senator and Minister of Labor Evelyn Matthei—she was sworn into office for the second time in March of 2014.

Critics have been quick to point out that Bachelet’s approval rating now stands at a mere 24%. Chileans' support for her has dropped sharply since the revelations of corruption scandals such as the Caval scandal, which involved her son and daughter-in-law allegedly accepting millions of dollars in the form of a loan—what we would call here a “behest loan”—from the Vice-Chairman of the Banco de Chile. Caval, the couple's company, allegedly used the money to purchase land and resell it at a $5 million profit after repaying the loan. Bachelet maintains that she was unaware of her family's actions and discovered the relationship between the Bank Vice-Chairman and her daughter-in-law only through the media.

About her personal life, Bachelet has been refreshing throughout: she makes no effort to hide the fact that she is an agnostic, a divorcée and a single mother. After divorcing her husband—a fellow Chilean she met in Germany who fathered her first two children—she also famously had two affairs. One was with the leader of an armed group dedicated to the assassination of Pinochet—which caused her to have to disavow that group’s political agenda during her first run for the presidency, while the second—which led to the birth of her third child—was with a pro-Pinochet doctor.

At the summit, asked by a student about love and relationships, Bachelet—invoking Anne-Marie Slaughter’s famous essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”—laughed: "Don't try to be a superwoman, because it will only bring frustrations. Instead, seek the help of your partner. Be assertive but also learn the art of dialogue, learn to communicate and negotiate… In any field, not only in politics, if you are a leader, you should stop thinking that you are superwoman. You should acknowledge that you need help... Go to the field and talk to people, listen to your advisers, especially on things that are not working well.”

Asked what made her happy, she let out a long, deep sigh. “I love simple things… I love to sing, dance and cook. To walk by the beach at sunset… Seeing my children and grandchildren also makes me happy.” Above all, she smiled: “You should have a sense of humor. It will help you survive.”

My mother (former Senator Leticia Ramos Shahani and former Secretary-General of the UN Conference on the Decade for Women held in Nairobi in 1985—a decade before the famous Beijing conference), who introduced her during the “Dialogue with Women and Youth” at Miriam, is even more expansive: “Michelle Bachelet has the humility and self-mastery of the great women revolutionaries of our time, who fought macho dictatorships and restored democracy and human rights in their respective countries—in the grand tradition of Cory Aquino and Aung San Suu Kyi. May her tribe increase.”

The APEC milestone


And how the Philippines put its best foot forward at the Economic Leaders Summit


“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”
– St. Mother Theresa

The APEC is over, but the commitments and cooperation continue.  The Philippines hosted a year-long APEC talks and finally a conference of leaders for  bilateral talks and formal meetings after a top-class CEO summit.

President Benigno S. Aquino III, take a bow! Congratulations on the successful APEC hosting! We might have been inconvenienced, but it was worth it!

The “star” of the cocktails was Jack Ma, the multi-billion dollar e-commerce giant.  Even at the welcome dinner at the MOA Arena last Tuesday. Ma was sought out by guests for photo-ops, from VP Jojo Binay and his wife Elenita, Manila Bulletin’s vice chairman Emil Yap III, SMC’s genial Ramon S. Ang, and SM’s Hans Sy to cabinet spouses Nanete Coloma, Corrie Purisima, and Tet Naguiat with hubby Bong Naguiat, the PAGCOR chairman.

We found him to be a friendly tycoon, who readily obliged when we made our photo requests. For a moment, we had this frightful thought that  if anyone thought of doing anything evil at the Arena that night, government, business, investors, leaders would be wiped out. Everyone who was in our “Who’s Who” list was there, all anxious to see the leaders but enjoying each other’s company.

Pre-dinner cocktails were held on the second floor of the Arena with Gaita Fores serving delicious finger foods like scallops in lemon butter sauce and grilled ‘diwal’ in their shells. Cocktails stretched for a while and then we were asked to go down to the main Arena floor.

Even Tessie Sy did not recognize her Arena. Only the floor area was left to tables decorated with elegant but simple floral centerpieces. All the seating areas were covered with grey walls, which served as screens for the cultural and musical presentation after dinner.

To be truthful, I was anticipating the usual cultural dances and songs. Was I given a surprise and so, I suspect, were the leaders headed by US President Barack Obama who looked good in Paul Cabral’s personalized piña barong Tagalog.

The #APECHOTTIES as netizens tagged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto were ogled at by the ladies but it was the young PM Trudeau who drew the most photo op requests. I went up to him as he was being mobbed and told him, “Mr. Prime Minister, I have a son living in Vancouver and I have two grandsons there and all my friends campaigned for you. Can I have a photo with you?”

He grinned and said, “Let’s have a selfie!”

“But,” I stammered, “I don’t know how to take a selfie with my cellphone.” He reached for my phone and said, “Here, it’s like this.” And that was how I got a selfie with PM Justin!

Later, on my way out, I held out my hand to Obama and asked, “Mr. President (you are my idol) may I shake your hand?” and he said with an engaging smile, “Sure!” So I shook his hand! Unfortunately I was so dazzled, I forgot to ask for a selfie!

The leaders all looked handsome, the ladies beautiful in their formals by designer Cabral. The men wore their barongs open at the neck during dinner, the better to relax.  Each barong was individually designed and embroidered according to each country’s symbols and culture!

The performance was a feast musically and visually. The stars, Charice, Jessica Sanchez, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Arnel Pineda, The Madrigals, El Gamma Penumbra, Ramon Obusan, Folkloric Group, Douglas Nierras Dance Troupe, Makiling Ensemble, Ati-Atihan dancers, and pianist Cecile Licad were fantastic. Kudos to Louie Ocampo, musical director, and Paolo Valenciano for that 360-degree “sensurround” kaleidoscope for the guests!

Plated dinner was a collaboration of Fores of Cibo and culinary icon Glenda Baretto of Via Mare. The ‘bistek’ was a hit as well as the seafood ‘tinola’ served in intricately carved young buko shells.


The night before, a state reception was held at Malacañan Palace in honor of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

Now…What makes a formal state luncheon (or dinner) at the palace enjoyable?

The food, decorations at the Ceremonial Hall, the profusion of flowers, the entertainment? It was all of the above, but it was the variety of attendees that made the event memorable. The head of state being honored was, of course, a plus, though we only wish, given the number of attendees, that we had more interaction with her. And, yes, dressing up in Filipiniana was fun.

What made the Chilean president, Madam Michelle Bachelet, special was her background as a politically-oppressed personality who rose from jail, on account of her father opposing the dictatorship, to political star as defense minister and health minister and then all the way to the highest position in Chile. Not only that, this medical doctor was the first woman president of Chile! No wonder Bachelet and Pnoy had a special bonding! President Bachelet attended the Women’s International Summit at Miriam College the next day. There she urged equality for women and even more opportunities.

At the dinner reception, guests enjoyed almost an hour of free-flowing cocktails at the guest house while Pnoy and Bachalet concluded bilateral talks. This interlude afforded us the chance to greet old friends, meet new ones, and conduct our own “bilateral” mini-conferences. We found out that Tet Perez Naguiat, pretty and brainy wife of PAGCOR chair Bong Naguiat, was running for councilor in her hometown, Urdaneta, in Pangasinan. Tet comes from a political family, so she has her father Amadeo Perez, Jr.’s blessings on this race. Her brothers are also behind her.

Another political aspirant  is vivacious Maria Rosario or “Maritz” Montejo, wife of Sec. Mario Montejo, the hardworking DOST secretary. She is running for the mayoralty of Pulilan, Bulacan, where her father, Paquito Ochoa, Sr. was once mayor. We also traded political talk with Rep. Pidi Barzaga and his wife, Jenny, pretty mayor of Dasmariñas, Cavite. Pidi is running for mayor next year and Jenny will be gunning for her husband’s congressional seat.

We talked with Sec. Rogelio “Babes” Singson and assured him he was doing a good “daang matuwid” governance at the DPWH. Guests around us agreed. There was also Senator Sonny Angara, as well as GSIS president and general manager Bernie Vergara, NAIA general manager Angel Honrado and his wife Odet, Senate president Frank Drilon and wife Mila, Speaker Sonny Belmonte, singer political-activist Leah Navarro, American Ambassador Richard Goldberg, and Canadian Ambassador Neil Reeder and his wife Irene. Odet Honado and I talked about handling stress and agreed that ignoring brickbats as well as prayers helped a lot.

Entertainment saw a mix of cultural numbers and a medley of Beatles songs by Bo Cerrudo, Noel Cabangon, and Lorenz Martinez. A big hit with the President Bachelet was the song, “Michelle.”

The food was mostly seafood and catered by Manila Diamond Hotel, prettily presented with impeccable service.

SOURCE: Manila Bulletin > http://www.mb.com.ph/the-apec-milestone/#BKVBp8WJuyMRMcXa.99

Last November 16 to 17, 2015, Miriam College-Women and Gender Institute hosted the 4th National Women’s Summit with the theme “Strengthening Women’s Political Leadership for Inclusive and Democratic Governance Towards Equitable and Sustainable Development”. 

The event gathered around 400 civil society organizations from women NGOs, national and local government agencies, the academe, and international development organizations.  The participants came from various provinces, municipalities and cities all over the country including  Isabela, Basilan, Zamboanga, Tawi-Tawi, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Quezon Province, among others.  They have gathered to analyze the short- and long-term impacts of recent global, regional and national developments on the realization of gender equality, economic empowerment of women, and women’s political leadership.  

Plenary speakers include the honorable Secretary Ging Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon,. Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, and international gender consultants Dr. Amaryllis Torres and Prof. Lucy Lazo. Simultaneous sessions were also conducted to discuss four key areas: (1) strategies for an inclusive and democratic peace and governance processes, (2) economic opportunities for women, (3) young women transformative and sustainable leadership, and (4) the social development goals.

At the end of the 2nd-day conference, the participants came out with a Summit Declaration that affirms the remarkable progress that the Philippines achieved towards the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in various aspects: in the economy and work, political participation, education, addressing gender based violence, among others. 

They likewise continue to call for the renewed efforts to uphold women’s human rights in all its dimensions – political, social, economic, cultural and spiritual – with special emphasis on rural women, indigenous and Muslim women, young women and the elderly, and PWD.

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