Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Erwin and Matti Borres visit to St. Francis School of Silay City

Tapulanga Foundation donors Erwin and Matti Borres with their two boys, visited St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City last July 16 and met their scholar, Rain, and his mother and younger brother. They have been TF donors since 2012 when they sponsored Rain in kindergarten.  Rain is now in 2nd grade ... thanks to the Borres family!

Meeting our scholar Rain was a very moving experience for our family. To see the face of an innocent eager child, thankful for the gift of education, is a joy that can never be described, Matti Borres shared.

They also met TF donor Fiona Borres-de Luca's scholar, Christine, with her parents.  Fiona joined in building the Akubo Prayer Mudhouse in summer 2010 at SFAS.  She has sponsored Christine's schooling since she entered in pre-kindergarten. Christine is now in 4th grade ... thanks to Fiona!

Monday, July 27, 2015

TF Scholar Kyle Barnuevo Embraces College Life

Tapulanga Foundation scholar Kyle Barnuevo has embraced the biggest challenge of his academic life: college. He is an incoming 2nd year student of BS Fisheries at the University of the Philippines – Visayas. 

We had the chance to talk to him about his experiences and struggles on his freshmen year.

How was your first day in college?

It was a great culture shock to be at UP Visayas. Where I came from (St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City), I was used to the discipline. But in college, you are free to do everything you want. So it’s up to me on what attitude to take, how I will dress up and how I will deal with my professors. It’s really different from where I came from so I needed to adjust and adapt the new school environment.

Where do you live?

My boarding house is situated outside UP. I eat my daily meals in a nearby “karinderya.” The house is exclusive for UP students and they share experiences and helpful knowledge to me often. 

How is UP life so far?

UP life is a lot more different than how my life went on during my high school years. I am now far away from my parents and I have to do all things all by myself but with their guidance. There are a lot of things happening in the campus: academics, sports, organizations, student government, and social life.

Do you have any affiliations with any club organizations?

I am a member of the University of The Philippines Icthyophilic Society, an organization that aims to help members achieve the excellence of their mind, body, and spirit and uplift the fisheries profession. They are my family here in UP. It is been in existence for 50 years. We have a hundred members composed of students and research assistants. Some of the members are already outside the country and some of them are teachers here. I joined this organization because I know I can hone myself here, my character, leadership, and my social life.

What are the challenges that you have encountered so far?

Academics. I admit that it’s really hard and a bit challenging. I really make sure that every vacant time is spent in studying because this is the only way that I can show that I am deserving of the help that Tapulanga Foundation is giving me. 

Do you have any message for your donors?

To all my donors, what you gave is the biggest blessing for me. You have helped me and my family more than you know. 

Kyle's ambition and courage to pursue his dreams is something to be admired. As he embraces the challenges of being a college student, Tapulanga Foundation continues to support him all the way together with the help of his generous donors.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Thankful for the Opportunity to Help

Tapulanga Foundation donors Cecille Ledesma and Gina Severino-Regalado met their scholars for the first time in St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City last July 10.

I consider myself blessed to be able to give Kimberly the opportunity to better herself through education. She is a sweet girl. Kudos to Tapulanga Foundation for giving me this opportunity.

Cecille has been a TF donor since 2010, starting with sponsoring a child to join the yearly Silay Summer Workshop of the foundation. In 2013, she decided to sponsor a child, Kimberly, to start Pre-Kindergarten. Today Kimberly continues to study in SFAS and is now in 1st grade.

This is Leanne. Her timid smile and whispered thank you created the sunshine for another grey and gloomy day :) My note for her today: "Fairy tales can come true. You gotta make them happen, it all depends on you." - Tiana (Princess and the Frog)

Gina started to support TF thru the Babes of Bacolod in Los Angeles when she attended their first yard sale fundraiser in 2004. In 2013, she sponsored her first lunch meal scholar.  She has been sponsoring Leanne’s lunch meal since last year. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

American Composer visits St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City

American composer and conductor, Joseph "Joe" Curiale, and his friend Erel Bucayan visited St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City on July 2 and shared cute purses to 1st to 3rd grade scholars and met Tapulanga Foundation board officer, Joey Benin, at the 
P U N O N G.

"My recent visit to St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City was an inspiration. The loving atmosphere, and warmth of the students and faculty made it clear that this is a school where real education can be found. Having the good fortune of Executive Director Ma Carmela Abello Golez serving as my tour guide, it was easy to understand how this was achieved. It requires strong and intelligent vision, backed by love, compassion, and unbending dedication to reach and maintain such a high and noble goal. I look forward to visiting again as soon as possible," Dr. Curiale shared.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


TF scholar, Gina Jamora, celebrated her birthday for the very first time when her donor sent her birthday cake, noodles (for long life), ensaimada, meat pie and juice. 
She blew 13 candles and expressed how grateful she is to celebrate her special day with her friends/classmates and family.  Her mother tearfully expressed her gratitude as well on the support of the donor for Gina’s schooling. 

To Gina’s donor, who wants to remain anonymous, we express a heartfelt thank you to you and your family! 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Maria Martinez-Concepcion's visit to St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City

Maria Martinez-Concepcion, together with her son, Joseph, and her siblings, in laws, nephews and nieces visted St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City last July 3, 2015 and met 4th- grader scholar, Eughene.

"Seeing Eugene, a recipient of a good deed was a wonderful experience for all of us. One good deed may not seem much but can you imagine if everyone did something nice for someone else, the cycle of generosity and kindness can help make us all better people." shared by Mrs. Concepcion.

Maria's husband, Jerome, has supported Eughene since her pre-kindergarten days. He first visited the school in 2007, where he met his first Tapulanga scholar, Ryan, who has now already graduated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lunch Meal Program 2015: Make a Kid Healthy and Happy!

Tapulanga Foundation’s Lunch Meal Program continues to provide free lunch meals for scholars, teachers and staff every school day in a year. The program started June 2008 that provides free daily lunch to scholars from 1st to 10th grade. Mothers volunteer in preparing and cooking different nutritious meal each day. A meal consists of a cup of rice and a soup viand (with some meat or fish and vegetables). For only Php2,000 or $50, you can fill a student’s empty stomach with a nutritious meal for the whole year!

The Lunch Meal Program helped me stay healthy and gain energy and focus on class activities.” by Nicole Joy Varela Grade 10 student

I really don’t have time to cook early in the morning and bring food to school, so I’m thankful that there will be always food here.” by Rico Arevalo Grade 7 student

I can finally eat right and healthy because of the vegetables that they serve every day.” by Christine Joy Navigar Grade 4 student

For this school year, we prepare 285 meals a day. We still have 30 students who need sponsors. Help us fill the stomach of these kids as they go to school every day. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Mary Anne Ledesma-Deduque's visit to St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City

Our family joined my brother Andy in a visit to St. Francis Assisi School of Silay City today where he met Jericho, an incoming Grade 1 student, whom he has been supporting as a scholar this school year.

Jericho is one of three sons of a barber working in Silay City. His picture and profile were uploaded in the Tapulanga Foundation (the fund-raising arm of the school) website last year when they launched their search for sponsors for SY 2014-2015.

Carmela "Micmic" Abello-Golez, the school administrator, her husband Raymond, and their three-year old son met us at the entrance of the school and showed us around the campus.

In one classroom, a few students were strumming guitars under the tutelage of a teacher. A few other students were cleaning the classrooms. Others were repainting desks. The basketball court was alive with teenage boys engaged in a friendly competition of sorts.

Since it is summer and the students were gone, the school was quiet amid a beautiful stretch of green lined with trees on the periphery. The classrooms showed signs of just having survived a happy schoolyear, with artwork on many walls and chalk marks just starting to fade on the blackboards.

As we walked past the row of classrooms leading to an open field, a white structure caught our attention. We were told that this was their chapel, made purely of mud -- no nails, no steel foundation, no other material. Its windows and furniture used bamboo and its roofing, grass. The students themselves built this quaint place of worship, where religious activities and/or some Religion classes were held throughout the year.

Beside the daycare center was a playground with colorful swings, monkey bars, and painted tires where small children could crawl. We sat around here for much of the afternoon while the children played. Micmic & Raymund, meanwhile, filled us in on the work that the school has been doing.

Micmic shared how they have been employing the Dynamic Learning Program (DLP), a brainchild of physicists Dr. Christopher and Ma. Victoria Carpio-Bermido of the Central Visayan Institute Foundation, with considerable success and significant gains. For this, she and other key people in the school went to the Bermidos' school in Bohol for training. Subsequently, other teachers in the school followed suit.

The Bermidos were recipients of an honorary degree at the Ateneo de Naga University in 2014 in recognition of this precise educational innovation. They had, during their brief stay in Naga to receive their award, also introduced this program to academic institutions in Naga as well.

St. Francis of Assisi School of Silay City Foundation, Inc. is a private Catholic institution in my hometown. Last year, it celebrated its 50th year of existence since its establishment in 1964. Located on a five-hectare campus in the outskirts of the city, its vision is "to provide quality Christian education particularly to the children of farm workers in the area and the neighboring communities who cannot afford the regular private schools." It is supervised by the La Salle Christian Brothers.

The school has 600 students from kindergarten to high school. Of these, 400 are scholars supported by donors here and abroad.

The Tapulanga Foundation, which takes charge of ensuring that support for these students continues, has recently launched its "60 Scholars in 30 days" challenge again for SY 2015-2016.

Sixty (60) new students have passed the entrance exams to this school and need sponsors to support their schooling this school year and beyond. Their pictures and profiles have all been uploaded in their website:

Some, we were told, choose a scholar that is of the same age as their children. Others choose a scholar at random. Still others choose a scholar who captures their hearts.

This chosen scholar then becomes part of their lives. He or she communicates with them through letters. When opportunity arises, as it did for my brother Andy today, both scholar and benefactor meet face-to-face. Such an encounter is as moving as it is inspiring.

Indeed, my family was moved by watching Jericho shyly shake my brother Andy's hand and my brother, after exchanging stories with Jericho's father, patting Jericho on the back and saying, "Matuon ka guid mayo, ha? (Study well, okay?). Watching this inspired us to also rise to the challenge of helping one child's education in this school this school year.

In the midst of so much despair and grief in our midst, this is one place where hope shines through clearly and fiercely in so many ways.

If you find it in your hearts to do your share, too, please check out the Tapulanga Foundation website and sponsor a child.

I do not know a better way to make a difference in this world -- or, at least, to start doing so.

Written by Mary Anne Ledesma-Deduque
April 15, 2015