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Fulfilling dreams one shoebox at a time

My Dream in a Shoebox, an educational campaign that aims to equip underprivileged youth with school supplies, launches its ninth year with a call for partners.

“Education should not be hindered by poverty. It is the most valuable inheritance that we can give to our children because it is a treasure that can never be taken away from them by anyone.”

These are the words of Mrs. Elena, the light of the Monto household—a family recognized by the Bayaning Pamilyang Pilipino Awards for their effort in giving underprivileged children in Cavite the opportunity to study. When asked to talk about his passion for education, Marvin, the youngest of three, recalls how he was inspired to be an advocate in 2009 when he was given a box full of school supplies at the time he needed it the most. This life-changing experience led Marvin and his family to pay it forward by reaching out to others the way they had once been helped.

Their story mirrors the desire of every Filipino family to overcome poverty by gaining access to education. However, providing free schooling is only the beginning. According to studies, most grade school Filipino students drop out mainly because of their inability to pay for additional expenses such as allowance, transportation, uniforms, and school supplies.

Recognizing this tremendous need, integrated marketing communications firm TeamAsia and the Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) teamed up nine years ago to organize My Dream in a Shoebox—an initiative to bring the nation together to help equip the youth with the necessary learning tools. In fact, it is through this effort that Marvin was given hope a few years ago.

Since their first campaign, My Dream in a Shoebox has provided over 180,000 shoeboxes with school supplies to children from over 80 communities throughout Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. They have also developed some beneficiary communities by granting computers and cash donations for the improvement of educational facilities, including the Payatas Orione Foundation, Inc. learning center in Lucena. 

Although headquartered in Metro Manila, My Dream in a Shoebox has become a nationwide movement of organizations and individuals who are passionate about equipping the next generation for a brighter future.Through the joint commitment of partner organizations and volunteers, the impact of My Dream in a Shoebox has grown exponentially through the years.

For its ninth year, My Dream in a Shoebox is dreaming bigger, aiming not only to equip 75,000 kids with school supplies but also to furnish more communities with facilities that are conducive for learning. With this goal in mind, TeamAsia and IBPAP are calling for partners who would help realize this vision.

My Dream in a Shoebox is off to a great start, having collected 7,236 shoebox pledges as of this month. It has also inked partnerships with organizations that want to help fulfill children’s dreams in unique ways. National Bookstore has signed its partnership with My Dream in a Shoebox for the third year, agreeing to sell packs of school supplies to donees for a discounted price. Moreover, My Dream in a Shoebox is collaborating with the Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation for the first time to deliver school supplies to more remote communities in the country.

The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation is a movement that promotes the safe transportation of children who have to swim to school. It started with the provision of yellow school boats to impoverished coastal communities and extended to the establishment of classrooms, dormitories, and bridges. Its holistic approach to youth empowerment has also led to the provision of school supplies, food, livelihood, and scholarships. The Yellow Boat of Hope Foundation and My Dream in a Shoebox are one in their mission of enabling underprivileged kids to pursue a brighter future.

PASAR thru PFI conducted a 3-day Stakeholder Engagement and Planning Workshop


PASAR thru PFI conducted a three-day Stakeholder Engagement and Planning Workshop last September 25-27, 2017 at New LIDE Clubhouse Training Room attended by the different department heads and representatives namely; Glen D. Ceballos (Supply Chain Department), Alenita M. Yuson (Human Resource), Edmundo P. Esguerra (Production Department), Fatima Rosario I. Omoso (Environment Protection Department), Jose Ben A. Habla (Community Relation Department), Pablito L. Sevenorio (Safety Department), Cristopher C. Bianes (Security Department), Ruben P. Cajigas (PASAR Foundation Inc.), and Manuel R. del Rosario (Legal and Corporate Affairs). Mr. Paul Buenconsejo, Executive Director of Philex Group Foundation, Inc., served as the resource speaker of the workshop as recommended by the CSR Institute of the League of Corporation Foundation (LCF).

Creative Works of Imagination at the 2017 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence

The 2017 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) Grand Awardees and Special Citation recipients for Painting and Sculpture Recognition Programs received their cash incentive and trophy from Guests of Honor Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely (7th from right) and Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero (4th from right). Leading the presentation are Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) president Aniceto Sobrepeña (rightmost), MBFI trustee Fabian Dee (leftmost), MBFI corporate secretary Anjanete Dy Buncio (2nd from right), Federal Land, Inc. president Pascual Garcia (2nd from left), and Metrobank vice chairman Francis Sebastian (3rd from left).

The tradition of celebrating Filipino artistry and creativity continues as the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MBFI) recognized another batch of promising artists for the 2017 Metrobank Art & Design Excellence (MADE) in an awarding ceremonies held last September 21, 2017 at the at the Le Pavillon, Metropolitan Park, Pasay City. Three young painters and two professional sculptors will be welcomed to the roster of MADE awardees since 1984. Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Amanda Gorely and Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero served as guests of honor. Distinguished art personalities and officials from the diplomatic community, government, academe, civil society, and business graced the event.

This year’s MADE carried the theme “IMAGINE” where Filipino painters and sculptors were challenged to root their creative works on the very seedbed of their artistic genius—the human imagination. MBFI believes that as artists, they hold the power to imagine things anew. Through MADE, they are empowered to showcase and render their creative side to become true works of art.

“The theme affirms our advocacy to empower artists across the country to create new worlds and alternative realities rooted in every seedbed of creative genius: the human imagination,” said MBFI president Aniceto Sobrepeña. “But more than that, it is a call to action. It poses a challenge to every Filipino far and wide to use the power of their artistic judgment to bring color to our nation” he continued.

Sculpture Recognition Program

Bacolod City-based sculptor Moreen Joy Austria earned the Grand Award for her sculpture entitled “Pagtaguyod.” Inspired by the closeness and warmth of Filipino families, Austria used fabricated stainless steel to form human figures of a family supporting each other as they rise.

For Austria, Pagtaguyod also embodies the sense of family and inclusion that is reflected on how Filipinos relate with their countrymen. On top of the sculptural piece is a blue “paper airplane” that symbolizes a society of progress and optimism.

A reflection of values that define Filipinos, Pagtaguyod translates to a range of meanings: Promote. Patronize. Foster.


Moreen Joy Austria

Abdulmari “Toym” Imao, Jr., on the other hand, was awarded with a Special Citation for his sculpture entitled “Monument for the Pursuit of Happiness.” Inspired by the tree of life, the sculpture features the growth and blossoming of an individual depicted by different family milestones that is shown from every side of the work.

Imao used a canopy populated by migratory birds which takes a contemporary form of a sarimanok, to depict the many narratives of happiness in the family that a person would always remember. The whole piece is supported by bamboo pillars which imitate the strength and courage of Filipinos to hurdle all challenges with the support of their family. Imao is the son of national artist Abdulmari Imao and has done many symbolic sculptural pieces in the country.

In partnership with property developer Federal Land, Inc. (FLI), this year’s Sculpture Recognition Program awardees will have the chance to be commissioned for the actual installation of their art piece along the Metro Park rotunda in Pasay City.

“Monument for the Pursuit of Happiness”

Abdulmari “Toym” Imao, Jr.

The Final Board of Judges was chaired by architect and glass sculptor Ramon Orlina, joined by multi-awarded sculptor Juan Sajid Imao; renowned art critic and author of more than 40 art books Cid Reyes; internationally-acclaimed sculptor Daniel Dela Cruz; sculptor, art teacher, and Art Informal Galleries co-founder Salvador “Joel” Alonday; and the country’s pioneer in art installation Luis “Junyee” Yee, Jr.

Painting Recognition Program

Amateur artists Paul John Cabanalan and Marvin Quizon were the Grand Awardees for the Painting Recognition Program under the categories of Oil/ Acrylic on Canvas and Watermedia on Paper, respectively.

Concerned with the daily issues happening in their local community and in the country, Ilonggo artist Cabanalan used his art piece entitled “Genesis” to portray chaos and disorder through a mix of elements like human illustrations of varying emotions and sizes, city buildings, and some component of nature.

With his observations and experiences as inspirations of his works, Cabanalan believes that his paintings serve as his journal, a record of his experiences, the people he interacts with, and the places he has visited. An Architect by profession, Cabanalan finished his degree at the Iloilo Science and Technology University.


Paul John Cabanalan

On the other hand, Marvin Quizon’s “For Those Who Lived and [are] Forgotten” uses an image of a lifeless bird with flowers and branches growing from it, a reminder of life that comes after death and a symbol for new beginnings and opportunities that may open.

In his work, Quizon also conveys the significance of life for those who have lived and departed, emphasizing their good deeds which must always be remembered by their loved ones. A native of Baliuag, Bulacan, Quizon finished Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts at the Bulacan State University-Malolos.

“For Those Who Lived and [are] Forgotten”

Marvin Quizon

Meanwhile, Caviteño artist Jett Stanley Osian received the Special Citation for his artwork entitled “Tell Lie Vision.” Entered under the Oil/ Acrylic on Canvas category, the work rendered monochromatic television sets watched with awe by onlookers whose backs are turned to the viewers. The art piece depicts questionable information being fed by the media as well as the humanity’s clamor for social truth.

A full-time artist and a member of an artist group Studio 1616, Osian hails from Dasmariñas, Cavite and is a graduate of Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts at the Technological University of the Philippines in Manila.

“Tell Lie Vision”

Jett Stanley Osian

This year’s Final Board of Judges was chaired by one of the country’s leading advertising art director and visual artist, Lydia Velasco. Members included award-winning visual artist Emmanuel “Manny” Garibay; contemporary visual artist Ferdinand Montemayor; visual artist and West Gallery owner Soler Santos; and Ateneo Art Gallery curator and Ateneo De Manila University Fine arts Department lecturer Ma. Victoria “Boots” Herrera.

Awarding Ceremony & Exhibit Opening

Grand Awardees for both Painting and Sculpture Recognition Programs received a financial incentive of P500,000 plus a “Mula” glass trophy designed by sculptor and past MADE awardee Noell El Farrol. Recipients of the Special Citation for Painting and Sculpture Recognition Programs received financial incentive of P30,000 and P50,000, respectively, and a plaque. They automatically become a part of the MADE-Network of Winners (MADE-NOW), the alumni organization of MADE awardees, leading pay-it-forward projects for the marginalized sectors.

The winning artworks, including the semi-finalists, will be exhibited from September 22 to 23 at the Le Pavillon. A two-day lecture will also be held in the same venue—September 22 “MADE Art Exploration Lecture Series” and September 23 “Cultural Heritage & Education Program Lecture Series” from 9AM to 5PM. Admission to the lectures is free. Interested individuals may call Nicole Soriano at 898-8856; e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or check the MADE Facebook page for updates.

Now on its 33rd year, MADE has set the benchmark among the country’s art competitions, raising the general public’s appreciation for the arts through exhibits and lectures and has long served as the career launch pad of the country’s most admired contemporary artists and sculptors. Among its past awardees are Elmer Borlongan, Mark Justiniani, Jan Leeroy New, Salvador “Buddy” Ching, and Andres Barrioquinto.

Heart of Gold: Finding the Real Treasure in Camarines Norte


Dense forests and craggy mountains surround the former gold town of Jose Panganiban in Camarines Norte. This is the first-time Knowledge Channel Foundation (KCFI) has reached this remote area as four of its schools have been chosen as recipients of educational television (ETV) systems under the “100 for 100: The Knowledge Channel Project”.

This Global Grant Project initiated by Rotary Philippines District 3830 and Rotary International aimed to connect 100 ETV systems to more than 80 public schools in the Philippines to provide them access to Knowledge Channel’s on-air programs and other resources like videos and games stored in portable media libraries.

On the list is Calogcog Elementary School located at a mountainside 30 minutes away from town. With a population of roughly 500 learners, the school caters to students who help their parents in different jobs to make ends meet. This includes doing laundry for affluent families who live at the town proper, chopping wood for selling, and even engaging in small-scale mining, locally called “pagkakabod”.


Meeting Francis

From a place called “Radar”, a known mining zone, is a student named Francis. He walks for two hours just to attend classes. Instead of riding a tricycle, he squeezes his seven-peso daily allowance for a piece of bread and ice water to get him through the school day. Unlike other students who played after class, the thin-framed boy has seemed to forget about childhood as he juggles school and working for a living.

“Minsan po ‘pag wala na akong gawa, ‘pag gusto po ako ni Tiyo patulungin sumasama po ako sa pagkakabod,” said Francis in an interview. “Si tiyo po ay pumupunta sa ilalim ng lupa, minsan naman po ako ay sa ibabaw. Nagdudukal po siya ng lupa tapos yung nakukuha po naming bato, iniaahon po namin tapos pinipitpit po namin. Tapos po nilalagay namin sa sako tsaka po pinapagiling na namin.”

(“When I have nothing to do, I join my uncle in mining for gold. He digs a hole in the ground while I stay above. He then breaks the soil apart to get rocks and we put them in sacks for grinding.”)

Pagkakabod is a common source of income for underprivileged families in Jose Panganiban. Though risky not only for the environment but for Francis’ safety, it helped his family meet their  basic needs. But a hard day’s work cannot fully suffice their finances. At times, Francis even shared he had to skip class after working a long day with his uncle.

“Kapag po nagsimula kami ng alas-sais ng hapon, minsan po naahon po kami mga alas-otso po ng gabi, minsan po hanggang alas-dose. Minsan po hindi na po ako nakakapasok dahil napupuyat po gawa po ng overtime,” Francis shared.

(“When we start our work at 6 PM, we usually finish by 8PM or sometimes even midnight. I don’t get to school sometimes because I worked overtime.”)

When Francis’ father died, his mother left him and his sister under the care of different relatives. The siblings have been separated from each other and both have lost contact from their mother ever since. The last call Francis received from his mom was from two years ago. That time, his mom promised to see him but never did.

Francis broke down in tears.

“Simula po nung namatay ang tatay ko, iniwan na niya kami. Siguro po ayaw na niya sa amin kasi ‘di na niya kami kayang buhayin. Nung tumawag po siya noon sabi nila (ng mga tiyahin ko) dapat nasusumbatan ko na ang nanay ko pero hindi ko po magawa,” he tearfully said.

(“Since our father died, she left us. Maybe she doesn’t want us anymore because she can’t help us survive. When she called, my aunties were telling me to scold my mom but I couldn’t.”)


A teacher’s response

“A quiet and reserved student” was what his adviser Mrs. Gloria Artana said about him. Francis usually enjoyed the company of friends. But it was during half of the school year that she noticed his usual absence.

“Ang gusto ko sa kanya kapag ako po ay nagtuturo nang HEKASI (Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika). Magaling siyang magpaliwanag ng mga nangyayari sa paligid,” Artana opined. “Pero nito pong mga huli napansin ko na halos tumatagal na ang kanyang paga-absent at saka nakikita ko talagang naaapektuhan ang kanyang pag-aaral.”

(“I like it that he can explain his thoughts well when I teach History. But I noticed that his absences were increasing and it’s affecting his studies.”)

Mrs. Artana became very concerned about his class standing. She then discovered that Francis needed to run errands for his family and that he, too, is one of the many kids who are entering the mining trade. In a theme paper that Francis wrote, she realized that the young boy is a big mission for her as a teacher.

“Sabi ko nga sa kanya na kahit wala ang magulang, mas marami ang dumadagdag  para punuan ang mga pagkukulang. Kaya nga po dito sa school namin kasama siya sa feeding program kasi bukod sa mababa ang kanyang timbang, malayo pa ang kanyang pinanggagalingan pati po ang kanyang uniform ay pinagtutulung-tulungan naming mga teacher.” Artana explained.

(“I told him that even if your parents are not with you, there will be people who can and will fill in for them. Here in our school, we do our best to provide him food since he lives so far and is underweight. We also help him with his uniform.”)

Golden Boy: Despite challenges, Francis does his best to go to school everyday

A dream for the future

Despite the challenges, Francis strives to go to school to keep learning. He believes this is his way to live a better life in the future. He was also one of those kids whose eyes lit up when he saw the large flat screen television delivered by KCFI and the alumni of Jose Panganiban National High School.

Even his teacher, Mrs. Artana, couldn’t hide her excitement knowing that this will help her and other teachers make class discussions more interesting. Serving for more than 20 years, she proved that multimedia learning is a big help to students like Francis.

“Sa experience ko po sa pagtuturo, mas nagiging active ang mga bata at mas nagiging madali para sa teacher kasi nga may naririnig at may nakikita sa TV,” Artana said.

(“In my teaching experience, students are more participative and it’s easier for the teacher because they can learn through television.”)

This year, Francis finally graduated from elementary and is now studying in Daet through through a scholarship given by the generous hearts of Ms. Beth Alvero and the Jose Panganiban Alumni Association. Regardless of his struggles, he was able to march with pride and continues to reach for his dreams believing that family is still his biggest inspiration.

“Yung ate ko po, sabi niya po kapag nakapagtapos po kami, tutulungan po namin lahat ng nagpalaki sa amin at hahanapin po namin yung mama namin. Tuparin daw po namin yung mga pangarap namin,” he confidently said.

(“My sister told me that when we finish school, we’ll help all of those who helped us and then we will find our mother. We will fulfill our dreams.”)

Up to this day, Mrs. Artana and the community of Calogcog Elementary School continue to use Knowledge Channel as a way to keep students engaged and more importantly, inspired to keep learning.

Public School Children of Muntinlupa Receive Six Years of Educational Help From Insular Life Employees

A new batch of 140 indigent Grade 1 pupils from Muntinlupa Itaas Elementary School (MIES) will receive annual educational support for six years from the Insular Life employees through the Adopt-A-Scholar Program of the Insular Foundation.

It was during the turn-over ceremonies of school materials held recently at MIES, New Bilibid Compound in Muntinlupa, that the first year of educational assistance was fulfilled by Insular Life employees. Each pack of school materials contains school shoes, school uniform, and assorted school things and will be given to the selected scholars every year starting Grade 1, until they finish the Grade 6 level.

The adopted scholars and their parents came to receive the pack of school materials from Insular Life Executives, President and COO Mrs. Mona B. Lisa dela Cruz, Senior Executive Vice President Mr. Jesus Alfonso G. Hofilena and Senior Assistant Vice President Ms. Ana Maria R. Soriano, with the Insular Foundation staff, Ms. Teresita Melad and Ms. Mitzie Casibang. The MIES School Principal, Mr. Raul T. Felix, MIES Coordinator, Mrs. Rebecca V. Kondo and other Grade 1 Teacher Advisers were also present during the event.

Mrs. Mona Lisa B. dela Cruz, in her message during the event, said that “Isa sa pangunahing layunin ng programa ay makatulong sa ating pamahalaan upang mapataas ang bilang ng mga nagsisipagtapos sa mababang paaralan. At upang makamit ito, inaasahan ng mga Sponsors na pagbubutihin ng mga Scholars ang pag-aaral sa pamamagitan ng pagpasok sa paaralan araw-araw na laging handa, nag-aral ng leksiyon, nakikilahok sa talakayan at may mataas na marka sa mga pagsusulit.”

Since the program started in Muntinlupa Itaas Elementary School in 2001, 242 scholars have already benefitted from the educational assistance given by more than 100 Insular Life employees.

Adopt-A-Scholar Program is one of the many educational programs of Insular Foundation that seeks to improve the quality of education of the country and be able to help fellow Filipinos make their lives better.



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