‘Servathon’ – joy in serving others


We are living in an era of fast-paced change – a time where convenience and efficiency are among the most important concerns of people; time has been, and will always be, gold. It should be spent on productive endeavors, on efforts which truly matter and are meaningful.

But sometimes, we commit the mistake of limiting our productive efforts to work in the office or at school and sometimes, as we are lost in our 8 to 5 (and even beyond) shifts, we lose grasp of other concerns in this world which will matter. No matter the era, actually being there and showing up to help with our very own hands does matter.

Last September 23, at the Philippine International Convention Center Forum, the Hands On Manila (HOM) foundation provided 23 corporate companies a chance to help out and devote time to volunteering for different causes at “Servathon 2016″ (Servathon).

14489712_10154687047214432_341477704_oServathon, now on its 11th year, has been gathering corporate volunteers to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism. This year, these companies and 250 other HOM volunteers contributed their valuable time and efforts to help out in a diverse range of causes, – from public health issues to illnesses of the elderly, – all in one morning and all in one venue.

“This is the first time that a Servathon event has gathered all its corporate volunteers under one roof to do a marathon of service oriented activities”, said Lizette Cojuangco, co-chair of Servathon 2016. In the past, Servathon had corporate groups scattered, simultaneously doing their volunteer work in different locations“.

For some years, harsh typhoon weather and traffic in the city became obstacles in the annual volunteering event. This prompted HOM to disrupt the Servathon model without sacrificing the quality of sincere, relevant, and genuine volunteerism.

It was a Saturday morning of smiles, hearty laughter, and healthy competition, and there was no sight of the “It’s a Saturday morning and I should be sleeping in” grogginess. It was an uplifting and very gratifying atmosphere.

This year’s Servathon co-headed by Lizette Cojuangco and Patrice Tan saw the mass production of seven helpful inventions and crafts, specifically: 450 solar lights, 450 mosquito traps, 420 citronella candles, 500 disaster kits, 300 fidget lap blankets, 500 pairs of slippers, and 120 newspaper eco-bags. All of these will be distributed to the various communities, foundations, and social enterprises that HOM supports.

This year also marks HOM 15th year. It has been involved in 1,000 projects and has worked with over 21,000 volunteers, including 76 non-governmental organizations.
With almost 3,000 items produced and a cumulative 8,020 volunteers hours in just one morning, Servathon is a testament to the timeless value of volunteering, despite the fast-paced lifestyles and hectic corporate schedules of today. Giving time to help out will always be of primary importance.

One could have all the time in the world and one could spend all of that time as he or she pleases, but once given the chance to help others and serve, one will enjoy helping make a positive impact to those around him or her.

After all, if there is a singular purpose in all of our divergent lives, it must be to help make every tomorrow better than yesterday. As Atty. Gianna Montinola, president of HOM said on that Saturday morning: “As volunteers, you are willing to lose yourself in the service of others to make the world a better place.”

FEU Cultural APP trailblazes at FACP 2016

Cultural app

“Because of the techie nature of students, the Far Eastern University (FEU) Cultural App was created,” shared Martin Lopez, director of the FEU- President’s Committee on Culture (PCC) with the attendees of the 34th Annual Conference of the Federation for Asian Cultural Promotion (FACP).

Lopez, one of the two Filipino speakers, demonstrated the functions and features of the FEU App in a panel discussion on Arts Marketing and Audience Building at the above conference held recently at the Eastern and Oriental Hotel, George Town, Penang, Malaysia.

Lopez explained how arts and culture organizations can increase attendance to performances using the application. He cited the case of FEU, its millennial student body and the barriers that hinder their attendance at PCC events, these range from lack of time, conflicting schedules between classes and performances, lack of or late awareness, to distractions, in general, like cell phones and social media.

The FEU Cultural App’s functionalities addresses their perceived impediments to attendance and includes a campus virtual tour, an online art exhibit, a community chat, events notifications and check-in mechanism.

Lopez claims that this is perhaps the first of its kind with an innovative approach that fosters active participation and increased attendance at cultural events. The PCC Director expressed enthusiasm to share the digital platform and app developers of arts and cultural institutions are interested to adopt the same mobile application in their organizations.

FEU celebrates month long “My teacher, My hero”

“It is essential for the University, especially the students, that the administration provides quality education for lifelong learning. That is why teachers are our modern heroes. They touch our hearts, they make us grow, they give us a clear understanding of what life is all about and they prepare us for the future,” said Joshua Valencia, vice president of the Far Eastern University Central Student Organization (FEUCSO).

FEU launched the National Teachers’ Month (NTM) celebration with the theme “My Teacher, My Hero” in recognition of all the educators and their role and contribution to nation building.

Dr. Elise Mañalac, dean of the Institute of Education and NTM chairman invited everyone to take part in the line-up of activities headlined with lectures on “Happiness in Teaching,” and “Best Teaching Practices”, Social Media Ethics Advocacy, and the World Teacher’s celebration.

Dr. Maria Teresa Trinidad P. Tinio, FEU senior vice president for academic affairs, encouraged the faculty members to continue practicing the FEU core values. She says, “As educators, we want to fortify our graduates to be able to deliver quality results. We want our graduates to be able to think critically and solve problems excellently. We want to our graduates to uprightly promote fairness and equality. But even when we go home, our mission is far from over.”

In support of the University’s Aspiration 2020, Dr. Tinio also presented the academic affair’s initiatives and programs on Digital Literacy, Effective Communication, and Critical Thinking.

FEU Psychology senior is PH’s first Woman GrandMaster

DSC_0035 (2)IT CAME a month later, but Janelle Mae Frayna finally fulfilled her dream of becoming the Philippines’ first Woman Grandmaster. Frayna drew with International Master Davaademberel Nomin-Erdene on board one Sunday night to clinch her third and last WGM result even as the Filipino women bowed to the Mongolians, 1.5-2.5, in the ninth round of the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The 20-year-old Frayna, a senior psychology candidate for cum laude honors at Far Eastern University, amassed the required 6.0 points on four wins, four draws and one loss according to GM Jayson Gonzales, the women’s team captain.

The Filipino women have 11 points that already matched their output in Tromso, Norway, with two rounds to go. The distaff side is being led by the Chinese with 16 points. The Filipinos clash with the Italians in Monday’s penultimate 10th round.

Read more in Inquirer

Related stories:

Janelle Frayna becomes country’s first WGM
Janelle Mae Frayna makes history as Philippines’ first woman chess grandmaster
Frayna becomes PH’s 1st Woman Grandmaster

ASEAN-Korea Centre trains FEU student leader


After passing a rigorous paper and interview screening, the ASEAN-Korea Centre selected Hazel Baek, a student leader of the Institute of Education, as its youth ambassador especially in marine conservation. Baek completed a 10-day workshop August 1 to 4 in Busan University of Foreign Studies, Korea and on August 6 to 10 in Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She underwent training on the value of marine life and the partnership of Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states and Korea.

The ASEAN-Korea Centre is an intergovernmental organization mandated to enrich cultural and people-to-people exchanges, increase trade volume, accelerate investment flows, and envigorate tourism.

“As a future educator, my competency training should include an advocacy; that’s why I applied for this international workshop. I’d like to give more to my students and nurture them to be productive and concerned citizens of our community and our environment,” Baek said.

Hazel explains that her greatest learning experience is marine life preservation can be achieved through small acts like not throwing trash in bodies of water and reducing consumption. She also learned that friendship is more important than partnership. Though partnership can make collaboration easier, friendship attains communication and understanding despite diversity, which are crucial to a more lasting relationship.

“I believe that Hazel Baek’s international out-of-the-classroom stint aligns with Far Eastern University’s vision to be a university of choice in Asia. Her selection as a youth ambassador confirms the relevance and competitiveness of her multifaceted training as a student as a student leader,” said Joeven R. Castro, director of Student Development.

FEU High School ceremonial blessing


(Speech of FEU President Michael M. Alba delivered last August 26, 2016)

Good morning. I am exhilarated at seeing the bright faces of our high school teachers and heady with the infectious energy of our students and their leader, our executive director of the FEU High School, Ms Reg Sibal.

Thank you, everyone, for your presence at this blessing of the newly renovated and totally overhauled Nursing Building, which we are rededicating as the home of the resurrected FEU High School.

Admittedly, we have all been anxious about the implementation of the senior high school program and its impact on college enrollments during the five-year transition period. But we at Far Eastern University have considered it as a challenge to be faced head on and an opportunity to improve who we are and what we do.

Indeed, in the case of the FEU High School, the last two years since its incorporation in April 2014 have been characterized by intensive preparations to deliver on the High School’s institutional mission to provide quality education that prepares its graduates for the world of work, for college, and for life.1-31


And in today’s dedication of this hall, we here are affirming this mission. This building, repurposed, is the the new face and look of the FEU High School – modern in function but still grounded on and reflecting the traditions of Far Eastern University, the mother institution from which it springs.

The architectural character of this hall may not share the art deco theme of the other buildings like the Nicanor Reyes Hall, the Administration Building, and the Science Building. Nonetheless, the structure has long been regarded with considerable sentiment, occupying as it does a prominent location along Nicanor Reyes Street. This site both embodies and enhances the university’s traditions and history.

In the renovations that began in May last year and were completed in April this year, the challenge was not just how to pull off the construction project, but to consider cost efficiency and aesthetics. The refurbished infrastructure comes with sophisticated facilities that are more dependable and equipped with highly energy-efficient centralized air conditioning and fire alarm detection systems and modern laboratories.


The 1st to the 6th floors have a total of 32 classrooms, three science laboratories, and one computer laboratory with three reading areas. The 7th and 8th floors are allocated for the Institute of Nursing.

In addition, many of the core facilities, such as the Multipurpose Room, Cafeteria, Copier Center, and Riso Printing are conveniently located at the Ground Floor. The 6,276 total square-foot area is now the second home to some 2,000 number of Senior High School students.

As much as we are excited about our state-of-the-art facilities, we are equally proud of our student-centered, values-oriented, and competency-laden curriculum. Our dynamic teaching methods and educational practices make full use of learning spaces that facilitate collaborative work among our students, encourage interdisciplinary learning, and, most importantly, foster a love of learning and the pursuit of wisdom.

With our technology-enabled and project-based learning activities, we envision FEU High School as a nurturing athenaeum that molds our students to become critical thinkers, good communicators, digitally literate lifelong learners, morally upright persons, and socially responsible citizens.


The high-minded goal is to bring into being a Tamaraw primed to thrive in the 21st century and capable of charting and creating his or her own future (the emergent skill most needed by millennials).

And so to close, let all these purposes and dreams then be included in our intentions as we bless this building. Thank you.

FEU Alumnus-Professor Prevails at National Art Award

Philippine Art Awards 2015-2016 Awardees (Photo by Abi Dionisio)

Philippine Art Awards 2015-2016 Awardees
(Photo by Abi Dionisio)

by Genevieve Bianca T. Miano

Dexter Sy, a Far Eastern University of Manila Fine Arts alumnus and special lecturer, won for the first time the Grand Prize Title at the recent 2015-2016 Philippine Art Awards (PAA) last August 25 at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati.

A perennial PAA finalist since 2005, the painter finally obtained the National Winner’s trophy crafted by National Artist Napoleon Abueva. Aside from the trophy, Mr. Sy bagged the Php 350,000 cash prize, a 50” Samsung Curved UHD TV, and an all-expenses paid trip alongside the other four National Winners to an art fair in Hong Kong next year.

Mr. Sy’s winning piece, Paradise Lost, inspired by and named after John Milton’s poem represented the artist’s personal “sign of change” which was the PAA’s theme itself for this season.

Paradise Lost, depicted in mixed media, reflected the current societal and global evils people face today with Mr. Sy’s character right in the middle of it all. The painting was exhibited for three weeks in the Yuchengco museum with the other twenty winning works for Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila.

image (1)

Mr. Sy has stated in an interview with Business World that his previous PAA pieces were made to be “safe” for competition. The notable difference between his past pieces and his latest one is the “fearlessness” with which he risked as an artist to exhibit his work regardless of whether or not he won the said contest.

The Philippine Art Awards 2015-2016 was organized by the Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp., Inc. (PMFTC, Inc.) and supported by Samsung Electronics Philippines.