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The 69th Commencement Exercises of MLQU

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The Manuel L. Quezon University, or MLQU as everyone calls it, yesterday held its 69th Commencement Exercises at the Victoria Sports Tower in EDSA, Quezon City. With its slogan, “Shaping the minds of the nation’s future change makers”, the graduating students from all academic programs were honored as the country’s future enablers and leaders, carrying MLQU’s ethos in making a positive impact to society.

The processional “Aida March” was succeeded by the entrance of colors by the MLQU’s ROTC cadets, followed by the invocation given by Rosavilla Dacquel and the national anthem by the university choir.

Dr. Isagani Germar, MLQU President, gave the opening remarks followed by the Conferment of Honorary Degree (Honoris Causa): Presentation of Honoree, Reading of the Board Resolution, Donning of the Hood, Medallion Endorsement, Reading of the Citation and Presentation of Plaque, culminating in the speech of the guest speaker.

“Your graduation is your most successful achievement as a young adult and a result of your years of hard work and dedication to your studies. As graduates, you are now part of the country’s richest resource. We are very proud to each and every one of you”, said Germar.

Former Quezon City Rep. and Speaker of the House of Congress Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte was the graduation ceremony’s guest speaker.


The Presentation of Graduates was conducted by Norman Guillermo, University Registrar. President Germar came back to award the Investiture of Academic Titles and Degrees and the diplomas. This was the actual rites wherein all graduates, from college level all the way up to doctorate degrees, were conferred their respective titles and diplomas.

MLQU chairman Dr. Jose Rizalino Acuzar delivered his message, ultimately closing the rites, with a pledge of commitment conducted for all the graduates. Atty. Pedro Principe, President of the MLQU Alumni Association, inducted the graduates to the association, followed by the singing of the MLQU Hymn. The recessional march succeeded and the ROTC cadets exited the main hall of the Victoria Sports Tower with the university colors.

Last year’s commencement exercises at MLQU saw former Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III being given an honorary degree of Doctor in Public Administration (Honoris Causa).


In 2014, 69-year-old Manuel L. Quezon University was acquired by New San Jose Builders, Inc. (NSJBI) which led to the university’s transfer from Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, Manila, to EDSA near the MRT-Kamuning station, Quezon City in Aug. 19, 2016, coinciding with the 138th birth anniversary of the Quezon City’s visionary and former Philippine Commonwealth president, Manuel Luis Quezon. The transfer was dubbed “Quezon is Home” and it featured MLQU’s symbolic move with the unveiling of the late president’s portrait done by the late National Artist Fernando Amorsolo. Present during the transfer ceremonies were Congr. Sonny Belmonte, former Senator Wigberto Tañada, former trade secretary Peter Favila, MLQU and New San Jose Builders’ chairman Jose Rizalino Acuzar, MLQU president and NSJBI co-chairman Isagani Germar, Commission on Higher Education executive director Julito Vitriolo, and Philippine Regulatory Commission chairman Eduardo Ong.


MLQU today continues to add in its roster of faculty members and deans who are known practitioners from their respective industry. Notable deans are former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, Regent & Dean Emeritus College of Law; former Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Perez, Dean School of Law; Professor Eric Soriano, Dean School of Accountancy, Business and Real Estate Management; and DPWH Undersecretary Raul Asis and former UP Dean of Architecture Danilo Silvestre, special lecturers to name a few.

Alongside the enhancement of MLQU facilities and faculty, the basic education program for kindergarten to senior high will be offered at MLQU SPACE (School for Professional Advancement and Continuing Education) this coming June.

Visit MLQU SPACE for more information and inquiries about the latest courses and certification offerings or contact 09176759184 or (02) 215-3898. Visit the website at or its Facebook page at

Sources: Onsite | Press Release |

Photos by @raffypekson


1 Million Students Use Quipper e-Learning for the K-12 Program

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The Philippines is actually the last country in Asia and one of the last three countries in the world implementing the old 10-year pre-university program. With this in mind, it is high-time the country institute the K-12 program which covers 13 years of basic education in the following key stages – Kindergarten to Grade 3, Grades 4 to 6, Grades 7 to 10 (which is called Junior High School) and Grades 11 to 12 (called Senior High School). The Kindergarten stage began in 2011 while the enhanced curriculum for Grade 1 to 7 started in 2012; officially, the K-12 program was enacted in 2013.

Today, the Philippines is on the fifth year of the implementation of the K-12 Program. The last mile is the Senior High School. All 221 divisions of the Department of Education (DepEd) have finished planning and have figures on enrolment a year in advance. The increase in the number of years for pre-university requirements means the College General Education curriculum will have fewer units. Subjects that have been taken up in the K-12 Basic Education will be removed from the College General Education curriculum.

But where does online education or e-learning come into the picture for the K-12 program? This is where helps both the teacher and his or her students.

Quipper helps teachers manage classes, send assignments to their students and get analytics on the performance of their students.

Quipper helps students build their knowledge through ‘mastery’ of topics, modules and courses, earning rewards and having fun as they go.

Quipper allows teachers to simply and painlessly publish their own educational content for their schools or classes.

In short, Quipper empowers both teachers and students by supplementing traditional methods with a platform that’s powerful and exciting, but simple too. It aims to use technology to improve the quality of education by creating the best teaching and learning experience by creating a world where everyone has easy access to quality education and is thus empowered to create a better future.

Quipper is Free

Quipper is a free e-learning platform for teachers and students with ready-made lessons and quizzes. There are also online video lessons and assessments for students to learn anytime anywhere. The online class platform for teachers and students is where lessons are interactive and real-time.

Quipper was founded in London U.K. by Masayuki Watanabe and began operations in Japan in 2013. The following year, Quipper started in the Philippines and launched its flagship product “Quipper School” mid-2014. Indonesia and Mexico were the next countries that started using Quipper. In April of 2015, Recruit Holdings bought Quipper; afterwhich, Quipper Video and Quipper Live were launched.

What is Quipper School?

Quipper School is a free e-learning platform that helps teachers manage multiple classes and assess each student’s individual performance. For the students, Quipper School allows them to go through a series of Q&A’s until they fully understand and master the topic at hand while doing it in a fun way.

There are ready-made materials for teachers created by local subject matter experts aligned with the K-12 curriculum. As mentioned, all lessons come with built-in assessments. But teachers can also create their own content, create assessments and share these with other teachers. They can create assignments and exams by selecting topics from ready-made content, including schedules and timelines for these assignments and exams.

Teachers get to see their students’ scores, strengths and weaknesses in real-time through its various analytics reports that can be downloaded as an Excel file format.

A dashboard is part of Quipper School which allows teachers to manage multiple classes and groups of students. With this, they can broadcast announcements to everyone, particular groups or individual students.

Students, on the other hand, get real-time feedback in the Quipper School quizzes and exams, knowing if their answer is correct or otherwise. They can try answering the questions, especially the incorrect ones, over and over again until they fully comprehend and master the topic at hand. But what makes Quipper School interesting is it is “gamified.” Quipper’s gamified learning system allows the students to earn points or coins to encourage them to study more and answer correctly.

Today, there are a little less than 1 million students registered and using Quipper in the Philippines, with about 200,000 actively learning using Quipper School every month. Majority of these students are enrolled in public high schools, mostly from the National Capital Region (NCR) – 95% are from public schools, 74% from high school, and 68% from NCR. There are 6,000 teachers logged into the Quipper School program with more than half of them creating assignments and exams. As of September 2015, 270 schools are already using Quipper School.

The Quipper K-12 content is fully aligned with the Department of Education (DepEd) K-12 curriculum consisting of six subjects – English, Math, Science, Filipino, Araling Panlipunan and ICT – for Grades 4 to 10. There are already 2,112 lessons in Quipper School with 28,620 questions including NAT and Assessment content. All the materials or content inside Quipper have been developed locally and are vetted by DepEd School Division subject matter experts.

For Grades 11 and 12, also known as Senior High School, content is under development that includes oral communication, reading and writing, 21st century literature from the Philippines and the world, Komunikasyon at Pananaliksik sa Wika at Kulturang Filipino, Pagbasa at Pagsusuri ng Iba’t Ibang Teksto Tungo sa Pananaliksik, general mathematics, statistics and probability, Earth and Life Science, and Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics. The educational division of Quezon City is also using Quipper to develop a “Work Ethics” content.

Quipper Video and Quipper Live are premium services. The former is scheduled to be launched in April this year that will initially be available to Senior High School students for math, English, science and Filipino subjects. Quipper Video will allow unlimited access to hundreds of hours of video lectures by the best teachers in the country.

Quipper Live, on the other hand, is conducting trials today for Grades 6 to 10 in math and science subjects. Live is a channel where real-time, online lectures are conducted by trained teachers.

Quipper was researched and studied through the leadership of Dr. Ferdinand Pitagan of the University of the Philippines, comparing traditional teaching methods (no Quipper School), multiple regression or intermittent use of Quipper School, and an experimental group where constant exposure to Quipper School was implemented. With the criteria of quizzes, submission of assignments, exams and attendance rates used, classes exposed to Quipper School showed better results in all four criteria.

Dr. Ferdinand Pitagan summarized, “Both the pilot and NCR findings suggest that students with constant or intermittent exposure to Quipper School are more likely to foster higher mean-score scores and higher passing rate in tests, and higher attendance rate.

“Although there is lack of facilities and access to technology, students, teachers and principals involved were all convinced that Quipper School is a very helpful tool for teaching and learning. They are also very satisfied of the features of the Quipper School platform.”

The office of Quipper in the Philippines is located at the 23rd floor of GT Tower, Ayala Avenue and H.V. dela Costa Street, Makati City. Visit their website via or e-mail them at

Sources: Quipper Presentation Deck | |

Photos and images provided by Quipper Philippines


Mia Alvar’s Stories of the Filipino Diaspora

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“I wouldn’t have written a short story collection about Filipino immigrants or migrant workers if I felt like there was a surplus of these types of narratives and characters and voices across literary fiction.” –Mia Alvar

Mia Alvar lives in New York City. Her first book, In the Country, a collection of short stories of what it means to live under martial law, in poverty, away from your family. Her Filipino characters travel to Bahrain, New York, to the prison thirty minutes down the road. Their lives change with finer houses, nicer cars, medical degrees. But home is ever present, ingrained in every action they take; for, “how ‘distant’ could the blood running through your veins be?”

In the opening story of In the Country, a young pharmacist returns home to care for his ailing father, smuggling drugs to help ease the pain and discovers an alarming secret about his mother. In ‘Shadow Families’ wealthy Filipina housewives in Bahrain throw parties for the working-class Filipinos because “helping these helpers, who’d traveled even farther, felt like home.” Alvar’s ‘Esmeralda’ explores the immigrant experience during 9/11 and it is exquisite, a story so real and pure that it could break your heart.

In the Country is a joy to read. Mia Alvar’s writing is attentive, compassionate and filled with powerful sense of belonging – a splendid debut. –Al Woodworth

Mia Alvar is a former Writer-in-Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, she has received support from the Corporation of Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts and the Sarah Lawrence Seminar for Writers. Mia’s work has been cited for distinction in The Best American Short Stories, twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in One StoryThe Missouri Review, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere.

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.

Read more at The Boston Globe | The New York Times | |

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Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas Outstanding Filipino Writers

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Unyon ng mga Manunulat sa Pilipinas (UMPIL) recently awarded Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas to outstanding Filipino writers who have contributed significantly to the development of Philippine literature in any language.

The ceremony was held on Aug. 30 at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication Auditorium (UP CMC). The awards was the culminating event of the 2014 UMPIL Pambansang Kumperensiya, which was conducted from Aug. 28 to 30 at the same venue.

The awardees were:

Lamberto G. Ceballos
Querubin D. Fernandez, Jr.
Steven Patrick Fernandez
Luis Francia
Eulalio R. Guieb III
Nilo P. Pamonag
Jose Victor Peñaranda
Lorenzo G. Tabin
Regina Garcia Groyon

Read more at Manila Standard Today.

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BBC Travel Show Features The Philippines

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Episode 14 of The Travel Show was aired on BBC News just last May 25, 2014.

Rajan Datar heads to the Philippines, a country recently in the eye of one of the worst storms ever, to see how locals are turning unparalleled disasters into an opportunity.

He heads to the busy metropolis of Manila to explore its cutting-edge music scene, learns how to direct traffic with a dancing policeman, and gets up close and personal with the world’s oldest living primate, the tarsier.

Rajan Datar has been host of fast:track, and now its successor The Travel Show, for six years, travelling to over 50 countries on five continents. Currently he is the presenter and writer of Country Direct – half-hour special travelogue documentaries.

Source: YouTube | BBC | BBC

Image from BBC.


Chasing Ice at the Science Film Festival

with one comment was lucky to get the last invite from new media colleague Azrael for the premier film showing of “Chasing Ice,” a film that showed the tricky assignment of acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog on the melting glaciers of the Arctic region. This National Geographic project was to capture images that help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. But instead of showing graphs, charts and statistics, Bolog’s time-lapse photographs clearly proved what the scientists and environmentalists have been saying all along — that mountains of ice have been disappearing at a breathtaking and alarming rate. For the first time, you can watch “Global Warming” on film rather than read it. Chasing Ice has won several awards, including from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and SXSW (South by Southwest) Film Festival.

The film showing was done yesterday evening at the Alliance Française de Manille in Makati City, organized by the Goethe Institut and the Embassy of the United States of America, with the participation of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). A crowd of new media bloggers representing Azrael’s Merryland, Juan Manila Express, Work@Home Pinas and RogueWriter, to name a few, and teachers and other guests were treated to wine, juices and a variety of food before everyone was ushered to the auditorium of the French cultural center. The director of the Goethe Institut, Dr. Petra Raymond, spoke about the film and the entire Science Film Festival (click this link for more information) that will take place between yesterday, November 4, until November 29, 2013. Films will be shown at the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, Manila Ocean Park, Museo Pambata, Philippine Science Centrum, Quezon City Science Interactive Center, Ablan Foundation, the U.S. Embassy Manila, SM City Baguio, SM City Clark, SM City Lanang in Davao, NIDO FORTIFIED Science Discovery Center and inside the Department Of Science Technology’s Science Explorer Bus that will be toured in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Desiree Gestiada of Manila Ocean Park and Ivan Roblas from the Department of Science and Technology both hosted the evening’s preliminaries of introductions and speeches from the representatives of three organizations sponsoring the film showing.

Thirty films from 18 countries were selected by a Film Selection Jury composed of luminaries in the field of science and technology, culture, biodiversity and media. The films are divided in categories such as Family Edutainment, Ecology and Environment, Natural Science, Life Science & Technology, and Culture and History. The festival has grown considerably since its first edition in 2005, meanwhile becoming the largest event of its kind worldwide in terms of audience reach with 130,000 visitors in 2010, 240,000 in 2011 and 370,000 visitors in 2012.

The theme of the festival this year 2013 is “Energy and Sustainability.” It looks at what solutions science and technology can offer in safeguarding the resources and benefits of the present for future generations and why civilization might be facing its greatest collective challenge in history this century.

The Science Film Festival 2013, being held internationally from October 7 – December 15, 2013, takes place in Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Palestine, the Philippines, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

For more information, you can visit the Science Film Festival 2013 website of the Goethe Institut. You may also “Like” their Facebook Page and view the photos and posts about the festival, or message the organization for more information.

Photos by @raffypekson via


Introducing Soiree Beaujolais 2013 in Manila

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The French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines—Le Club recently held a different kind of press conference in the Roma Salon of The Manila Hotel yesterday evening, Thursday, October 24, 2013. For one, it was more of an upscale social club party with lots of white and red wine and lots of French-inspired food. But the other thing that made it different was the presence of Filipino bloggers representing well-known online resources like Juan Manila Express, Work@Home Pinas, Digital Spidey, RogueWriter, Enjoying Wonderful World, WazUpPhilippines and (yours truly) MiniPhilippines. Other broadsheets were also present including What’s On Expat Philippines. Arabelle Jimenez, Managing Director of e-Crit Com and long-time media publicist of the chamber, was responsible for inviting the online and social media writers to the affair.

Click to zoomCyril Rocke, the current President of the chamber, hosted the evening together with Champagne Morales (daughter of known singer Dinah Dominguez). Monsieur Rocke began by announcing the upcoming event on November 21, 2013, at the Tent City of The Manila Hotel – Soiree Beaujolais 2013. The chamber has been celebrating the Soiree Beaujolais for the past 22 years in conjunction with a simultaneous gala in most countries of the world where there is a sizable French community including France, of course.

The gala intends to celebrate the launch of Beaujolais Nouveau – the new wine from the rich, fertile grape fields and wineries of Beaujolais region. It is the most popular vin de primeur or nouveau, fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November every year. Hence, this special day will also be celebrated by the French community in the Philippines together with guests from the diplomatic, corporate and social registers of the country.

According to Monsieur Jean Caillard, Managing Director of the chamber, the whole event will attempt to recreate the moments of Parisian street scenes with couture, music, food and, of course, wine. His Excellency French Ambassador Gilles Garachon will do the honors of uncorking the wine. Performers, couture and jewelry will parade the event, thereafter.

All the wine, cheese and delicatessen are being flown in from France while The Manila Hotel will prepare the other hors d’ oeuvres, charcuterie, oysters, salads, hot French cuisine, pastries and desserts.

Many of the major and minor sponsors include French companies operating in the Philippines like LaFarge Cement, Le Cellier (who provides many of the French wine available in the country), DataOne Asia (owned and managed by Monsieur Rocke), and French oil and gas company Total, to name a few.

For those who would like to enjoy this rare opportunity to savor the Beaujolais Nouveau, including all the French culture and gastronomic experiences this event has to offer, the chamber is selling limited tickets priced at 3,000 Pesos per person. For reservations and ticket sales, please contact the French Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines—Le Club at telephone number 813-9005 or e-mail

Sponsored in part by the following organizations:

Title photo from | Other photos by @raffypekson for


Ayala Museum Offers Family Membership Deal

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The Ayala Museum

Membership card entitles you to unlimited free admission for you, your spouse and kids below 18 years old to all exhibitions, invitations to members-only sale held every June and October, invitation to two museum exhibit openings, 10 percent cash discount at the Museum Shop, 20 to 50 percent on all programs, lectures, workshops, symposia and other activities, and 10 percent cash discount or 5 percent credit card discount at the M Cafe.

Ayala Museum is the art and history museum located at the corner of Makati Avenue and De la Rosa Street in Makati City, Metro Manila, the Philippines. It is considered one of the most important private institutions of Philippine art and culture.

Envisioned in the 1950s by Filipino abstract painter Fernando Zobel, the Ayala Museum was established in 1967 under the auspices of Ayala Foundation, Inc. It began as a museum of Philippine history and iconography, and transformed itself into a museum of fine arts and history as the 20th century drew to a close.

It also has the M Café, a gathering spot for souls passionate about art and culture, as well as sophisticated fusion food that features modern interpretations of traditional Asian food.

Buy the Family Membership voucher through

Sources: | Wikipedia

Photo by treetop_apple_juice at


Malacañang Palace Goes Tumblr

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Whoa! Actually, it’s a nice, simple browse along memory lane as the microblogging site depicts the history of Malacañang Palace and the Philippine Presidents that came and went.


Image from


Written by Raffy Pekson II

July 1, 2012 at 2:00 am

TESDA to Launch 7 New Programs This 2012

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TESDA classroom

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) recently announced its plan to launch seven new programs this year intended to increase employability, provide more livelihood and spark the entrepreneurial skills of Filipinos. Dubbed REAL DEAL TESD (Reach the grassroots, Empower the reached. Assure quality training and Lifelong education Development. Enable, and Actively-engage Labor force members in job opportunities thru employability and livelihood skills), this initiative is a response to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s call for “Landas na Matuwid.”

The seven programs are:

  1. IT-BPO Talent Investment Program that will train 65,000 scholars to qualify for jobs in the business process outsourcing industry;
  2. TESDA-SEIPI (Semi-conductor and Electronics Industry of the Philippines) Partnership for the Semi-Conductor Electronics Industry that will train more than 9,000 new and existing workers to keep them geared up for the demands of the semi-conductor and electronics industry;
  3. Partnership with PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.) for the training of 1,300 technicians;
  4. TESDA-Holcim Partnership to train some 2,200 out-of-school-youths in construction trades such as masonry, carpentry and blueprint reading certification;
  5. Partnership with LTRFB (Land Transportation Regulation and Franchising Bureau) in PUV (Public Utility Vehicle) driver’s certification;
  6. TESDA Specialista Technopreneurship Programs that brings together stakeholders to serve the multifarious service requirements of households and small communities; and
  7. Updates on TESDA-Coke National Convergence Program on Empowering Women Retailers.

Source: News Desk,

Photo by netstreamph at