Saturday, May 5, 2018

Call for Articles

Deadline : 1 July 2018

For Pinoys residing and working abroad!

We are inviting migrants and OFWs to share your story with us! The goal is to gather inspiring stories for a book with the following subjects:

- The reason why decide to migrate or work overseas
- The challenges and changes in life since working abroad and coping up
- Relationship with the family while being away
- Your first mis-investment and how you dealt with it
- Going home for good

Number of words required: 2K - 3K words in Filipino/ Tagalog; The story should revolve around either of the said themes.

Deadline: 1 July 2018

Pls. also note the following:
- The book will be launched in Hong Kong.
- You may choose whether to use your real name or fictional name for privacy purpose.
- If your story is chosen, you'll attend the launch in Hong Kong and get a free copy of the book. For those not residing in Hong Kong, we will send a copy of the book by post.

Ms. Leila Rispens-Noel of Wimler Foundation is the Editor in Chief of the book (title will be announced soon), which will be published under 8Letters Bookstore & Publishing.

WIMLER Dubai, Philippines, partners hold outreach activity in Sitio Blaan

May 5, 2018, Nephtaly Joel B. Botor

May 2-3, 2018 - WIMLER-Dubai, in partnership with the Department of Education Cotabato province and the B/LGU, organized the annual two-day outreach activity in Sitio Blaan, a resettlement community in Kanibong, Tulunan, North Cotabato. Its adopt-a-school project has been forged with Kanibong Indigenous Peoples Elementary School, a school that caters to more than a hundred school children from kindergarten to sixth grade. It assists the school by providing scholarship and by augmenting the school’s other needs through the assistance of migrant workers from the UAE and other countries.

The two-day outreach involved WASH advocacy, storytelling, exploration for scholarship and educational support, dental and medical mission, and a series of focus group discussions with stakeholders-parents, children, leaders.

TUAN (Past)--Stories from the community revealed that almost a couple of decades ago, the people of the sitio were displaced from their original community due to armed conflict and were relocated to the bosom of Barangay Kanibong. Life has been difficult for them as they were uprooted from their homes, lost their livelihood, and struggled to access basic social services including health and education. Children were deprived of the opportunity to go to school and were instead integrated into the work force.

AMDONE (Present)--The mothers who were once children when they first came into the resettlement particularly articulated how different their life before was. Now, while there remains to be a handful of problems that community people face, they noted how the introduction of the access road and the local school have made life easier for them especially their children.

In terms of promoting children's welfare, it is remarkable to glean that there are many individuals inside the community who champion children's education and health--dedicated teachers, concerned parents, solid PTA, and involved BLGU. There are also remarkable champions from the outside--fundraisers, benefactors, and advocates for education and health. WILMER has successfully linked and united these two groups of people. It served as a bridge that connects the community to its potential partners.

FAYAH (Future)--There are certainly concerns that must be addressed at a rather communal level, say for instance the need for a reliable water system or a more sustainable livelihood, that are inextricably linked to the historical and systemic oppression of the lumads of Mindanao and of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines in general. These concerns will prevail unless larger issues--economic, sociopolitical, and cultural--are appropriately dealt with.

Notwithstanding this, the vision of the foundation is clear and its mission is resolute. This makes its initiatives, through its partnership with the school, promising in terms of providing children the opportunity to receive the education they rightfully deserve and in promoting a better quality of life for them.

This school year, six children graduated in elementary and through the auspices of benefactors will hopefully be able to pursue high school. Both parents and their children are looking forward to the next step of the journey.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

WIMLER scholars learn traditional arts appreciation

On February 17, Wimler scholars from M’lang and Bansalan, - 46 elementary pupils and 20 high school and college students - attended the “Reclaim our Cultural Heritage Workshop” to foster awareness, understanding, and appreciation for traditional arts.  The workshop was conducted by Potri Ranka Manis of Kinding Sindaw Heritage Foundation of New York City. Lanka was assisted by a combined team of T’boli from Lake Sebu, Maguindanao from Cotabato and Tausug cultural groups from Davao City.   

The workshop which was held today (February 17) opened with each ethnic group showcasing their respective traditional dances, traditional musical instruments, and their costumes. Maranao or Maguindanao women wear malong, a simple tubular cloth.  “Kappa Malong-malong is a dance depicting the many uses of malong such as cape, coat, blanket, umbrella, etc.” An interesting information is the meaning on the way malong is worn. They also demonstrated the different ways to play the large gongs and kulintang.

The T’bolis show traditional musical instruments such as ngs), Hegalong (2-string guitar), S’loli (traditional flute), Kumbing (bamboo jaw harp), and Tenonggong (deerskin drum). “The T'boli ritual dance is used to appease the gods; solicit good harvest; seek deliverance from pestilence; mark birth, weddings and death; prepare for war; celebrate victories; affirm social unity and identity.”

The Tausugs showcased Pangalay, a traditional "fingernail" dance of the Tausug people of the Sulu Archipelago usually performed by a solo female dancer imitating the movement of a bird in flight. “It is usually performed during weddings, social gatherings and other festive events. Pangalay is characterized by elaborate body postures and gestures and the graceful arm and hand movement of the dancer, amplified by the use of janggay or metal claws.”

After lunch, the participants were divided into groups and in a most entertaining way, all of them were able to dance and play with some of the traditional instruments. Around 3:30 pm, they held an outstanding performance.

The workshop which took place at Dugong Elementary School gym in M’lang, North Cotabato is a collaboration of Kinding Sindaw, Dugong Elementary School, local government unit of Dugong and WIMLER Philippines.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

WIMLER HK, LSE HK Alumni Association organize two LSE classes in 2018

LSE 53 graduates

The 8th and 9th edition of the Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (A-LSE) Training Program in Hong Kong will start on March 3 and 4, 2018, respectively. Due to popular demand the WIMLER Foundation and Ateneo LSE HK Alumni Association decided to organize two classes. The venue of the Saturday Class is at POLO conference room, Mass Mutual Tower, 33 Lockhart Road, Wanchai and Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC), 12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong for the Sunday Class.

An empowerment program, LSE is a joint initiative of the Ateneo University School of Government (ASoG) with the Overseas Filipinos Society for the Promotion of Economic Security (OFSPES), the Social Enterprises Development Partnerships Inc. (SEDPI) and Ugat Foundation in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate, the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) and with support from Philippine National Bank, Philippine Airlines, and SWIFT Asia Pacific.  

The A-LSE covers 12 sessions each, two Sundays per month over a six-month period starting on March 3, 2018 (Saturday Class) and March 4, 2018 (Sunday class). Sessions last from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The program covers three modules: financial literacy, leadership and social entrepreneurship. The LSE aims to develop the leadership skills and potentials among overseas Filipinos and their families, provide knowledge and skills in savings and investments and other financial matters and develop and/or enhance their entrepreneurial skills.

Lecturers who are invited for the two courses are: Leila Rispens-Noel (WIMLER HK), Cristina Liamzon (ASOG/OFSPES), Anna Maria Martinez (WIMLER HK), Juan Kanapi (ASOG), Aurma Manlangit (ASOG), Ma. Teresa Medrano-Ganzon (Bangko Kabayan), Vince Rapisura (SEDPI), Edgar Valenzuela (ASOG), and Katherine de Guzman (WIMNLER HK).

A certificate is awarded by the ASoG to participants who attend all the sessions at a graduation ceremony at the end of the course.  The course is open to all Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong, especially those who are seriously planning for their return and reintegration. Only a limited number of participants can be accommodated.

Eligibility for the Program

o   Computer literate
o   With working email address/Facebook
o   Current membership in OWWA (if applicable)
o   18 years and above
o   Agreement to use LSE learned skills in improving the community
o   As much as possible present work contract is until first week of November 2018

Participation fee is HK$ 1,000 for the whole course for migrant domestic workers and HK$ 2,000 for non-migrant domestic workers.

The deadline for registration and payment of $100.00 non-refundable reservation fee, deductible from the tuition fee for those who will follow the course, is on 11 February 2018.

Mode of Payment:

Course fee is payable in CASH on the following terms:

$300.00 on or before  03 MAR 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 04 MAR 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  07 April 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 08 April 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  05 May 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 06 May 2018 (Sunday Class)

$200.00 on or before  16 June 2018 (Saturday Class)
                                 17 June 2018 (Sunday Class)

Admission to the course is on “first come, first served basis” and to those who have paid full or partial payment before March 1, 2015 and have met the admission requirements.

Registration Period:

Saturday Class:
February 3, 2018 (from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm)
February 10, 2018 (from 9:00am – 1:00 pm)

Venue: Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC)
            12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road
            Central, Hong Kong

For information:
Analyn Regulacion, Mobile: +852 65009288
Becky Sta. Maria, Mobile:  Whatsapp/Viber +852 97622749

Sunday Class:

February 4, 2018 (from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm)
February 11, 2018 (from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm)

Venue: Migrant Empowerment Resource Center (MERC)
            12/F Euro Trade Centre 21-23 Des Voeux Road
            Central, Hong Kong

For information, please contact:
Sunday Class:    

Ma. Wilma Padura, Mobile: +852 9386 2514
Andi Allado Mendoza, Mobile: +852 56139395


All applicants must register personally for a brief interview.


Monday, October 23, 2017

"I love You, Alona"

(The following is the speech delivered by Ms Cynthia Ho, the daughter of the employer of Alona Famatiga, domestic helper in Hong Kong during the graduation ceremony of Ateneo LSE53 held at The Chinese University of Hong Kong last October 22. 

The Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Training Program for Overseas Filipinos and their Families (Ateneo LSE) is a flagship Executive Education program of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG). Ateneo-LSE is organized by WIMLER Foundation in Hong Kong.)

Years ago, I was 11 then, when I suddenly learned that we have one new family member at home, one that is not blood related, not even sharing the same ethnicity, but our bond is much stronger than many of my blood related ones. 

I left Hong Kong for the USA when I was 16 to pursue my study.  I came back again when I was 23. I left our home when I was 30 and started living on my own until now. I am now 41 years old. Alona has been staying with my parents for 30 years, while I lived with my parents for 22 years only. Trust me, staying with my parents is not one of the easiest thing to do, especially because my mom is not an easy person to live with.  I would like to call that a generation gap.

So, seven years after I graduated, I finally moved out. All these years I keep wondering what an amazing woman Alona is being able to stay in this family for 30 years! As I grew up, I finally understand it. It is because she does not only TREAT us as family, we ARE her family.

Let us do a little bit more mathematics here.  I was 11 when Alona came.  I spent 5 years with her and I left for the USA.  I spent another seven years living with my family before I moved out.  That means I have only spent 12 years living with Alona! But what makes us so close? I would say, destiny indeed! 

Alona is like an angel sent to me from God. She took good care of me when I was young, from as simple as cooking and taking care of all housework to bringing me lunch every single day when I was in early secondary school. She protected me when my mom punished me at home (trust me those were not simple punishments), to standing up for me when I was being mistreated. Nowadays she still takes care of my parents so that I could literally be carefree, knowing that no matter what happens, my parents would always be well taken care of.

Even though it was just 12 years that we lived under the same roof, she has shared my laughter and tears.  And I am glad that this sharing is mutual  since Alona also has her tough time. As Alona said: "We have been through ups and downs together". She sees everything that happened to me, my changes, my metamorphosis. She sees all the struggles and successes I have had.  There is not a minute that she doubts on me, and she has always been very supportive to me, sometimes even more than my own mother.

I am a grown-up person now.  I wish I could do more for her, for she is not just a helper, but a close family member. I wish she could stay here forever and I could take care of her just like what she did for me, but that would be just too selfish of me, for she has her own family too in the Philippines. She has sacrificed her most beautiful years with us, and as she is gradually getting older, she should have the opportunity to retire and spend the rest of her time with her own family too and do the things she wants to do, for herself and herself alone.
When that day comes, I know I gonna miss her. 

However, being able to graduate from this Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship training program, I believe she will make the best choice for herself and continue to be the leader of her life, and seek the type of happiness she truly deserves.

I love you, Alona!

CYNTHIA HO, is Sex Therapist and Relationship Counselor in Hong Kong. She studied Sexual Health at University of Sydney and Film at Boston University. Ms Ho was 11 years old when her parents hired Alona Famatiga as household helper.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

LSE 53 BP awardees aim to help farmers, fisherfolks

Hong Kong – October 23, 2017 

The winners of the LSE 53 Best Social Enterprise Business Plans 2017 awards were announced at their graduation ceremony at The Chinese University of Hong Kong yesterday. LSE 53 class submitted a total of 14 business plans with three or four members each. Mentors were assigned to advise them in the process of writing the narrative, financial statement and designing the powerpoint presentation.

They presented the business plans during the trial presentation where they received comments and advices from the panelists on how to improve their work specially the financial forecast.  Then, they were given two weeks to finalize the business plans and finally presented them before the Board of Judges during the final presentation. It is very interesting to note that this year, most business plans are quite clear with the social component. From the 14 business plans, the Board of Judges picked the winners. For the first time since LSE was introduced in 2012, two teams received two awards each.

This year’s winners per category are:

Magsasakang Byaherang OFW garnered the Most Socially Relevant Award for their mission to economically empower the Mangyan people in San Vicente, Mindoro and tapping raw materials indigenous in the area.

Magsasakang Byaherang OFW is a social enterprise which is engaged in buying, producing and selling products of Mangyans, the indigenous people of Tinis-an in Barangay San Vicente, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro.

The proposed business aims to organize the Mangyans, provide training in self-development such as proper hygiene, organic farming, basic financial literacy training, and enhance their skills in chips production.

The Mangyans are the first to inhabitants of the island of Mindoro compromising 10% of the Mindoro population. There 12 known Mangyan tribes, each with their own language, culture, and a way of life. They hardly could meet their basic needs due to insufficient income. Farming root crops and growing fruit trees are their only means for livelihood. As of now their main products are banana, taro, and sweet potato. The business plan proposes to process these raw materials into chips. They will install solar power supply and renovate an abandoned building to serve as a working station for the chips production.

Magsasakang Byaherang OFWS serves as their marketing arm. 

The team members are: Elizabeth L.  Lingan, Rhodora U. Camba, Alona F. Famatiga, and Lowie L. Cuenca and mentored by Randolph Flauta who works as Senior Engineer at NXP Semiconductors Hong Kong (Now Nexperia).

Mega Ampalaya Jam team garnered two awards: Most Comprehensive and 
Most Innovative Awards

Mega Ampalaya Jam is a social enterprise that aims to help Ilonggo Ampalaya growers and jam makers by using ampalaya as the main ingredient of the jam. Ampalaya jam is non-existent in the Ilonggo market but based on the market survey the team conducted, there is a demand for ampalaya jam. Ten farmers who are local residents of Pototan, Iloilo will supply raw ampalaya so they can increase their income.

The business addresses the unhealthy lifestyle of the people due to busy lives which caused lesser time in meal preparation. They tend to consume junk and unhealthy foods because they are easy to prepare and tasty. It also addresses the insufficient income of ampalaya growers which hinders their economic development.

Mega Ampalaya Jam is innovative because although ampalaya is full of nutrients and easy to grow, it has never been considered as a main ingredient by jam makers in Iloilo due to its known bitter taste. The proposed business plan hopes to change this stereotype on ampalaya. They will process it into healthy and delicious jam.

The team also garnered the Most Comprehensive Award because before writing their business plan, they conducted market survey in Iloilo involving 400 respondents. This extensive study of the market, comparative prices, existing competitions coupled with ampalaya jam tasting enabled them to prepare a well-thought and convincing business plan.

If implemented, the company provides opportunity to four overseas Filipino workers who are presently working in Hong Kong by producing a local product that has potentials to capture local and national markets.

The members of the team are: Marycris T. Catubay, Nannette M. Pasol, Cheryl L. Precia, and Aien A. Salay with Leila Rispens-Noel, social entrepreneur, founder and director of WIMLER Hong Kong as their mentor.

JARC Seafood Company team won Most Viable and Well-Presented Awards

JARC Seafood Company received the Most Viable and Well-Presented Award.
JARC Seafood Company Ltd. is a social enterprise that aims to transform the mindset and practices of small fisher folks in Atimonan, Quezon province who are presently engaged in illegal and destructive fishing into a sustainable sea farming of high value fish species like grouper. This fish species is highly valued because of its excellent body texture and flavor. The export market for the groupers is rapidly increasing especially in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan. The team plans to provide proper training and financial assistance to start grouper fish farming.
The team easily convinced the Board of Panelists about the viability and benefits of sea farming. The business plan could stimulate grouper farming, increase production, scale up markets, and eventually improves fisher men's livelihood and financial situation. Moreover, it addresses poverty of fisher folks, illegal and destructive fishing.

The team members are: Janice G. Villanueva, Ancherell M. Manjares, Ronaliened R. Ros, and Carla Theresa P. Ramos and mentored by Jared King, social entrepreneur and co-founder of E3, a company which helps transform businesses by rethinking the way they view and treat their workforce.

About LSE

The Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (A-LSE) aims to develop the leadership skills and potentials among overseas Filipinos and their families, provide them with knowledge and skills in savings and investments and other financial matters, and develop and enhance their entrepreneurial skills. The LSE Program is a joint initiative of the Ateneo School of Government (ASoG) together with OFSPES, SEDPI,  Ugat Foundation, the Philippine Consulate HK, the Philippine Overseas Labor  Office (POLO HK) , and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA HK) .  LSE53 in Hong Kong is organized by WIMLER Foundation HK with support from Prime Credit, Philippine National Bank and SWIFT APAC.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Launch Invitation: O Susana: Untold Stories of Martial in Davao

You are most warmly invited to the book launch of

Date: February 19, 2016, from 3-5 pm

Venue:  F213 (2nd floor), Finster Bldg., Ateneo de Davao University.

A Letter of Invitation

Dear friends,

On January 13, a group of us met in a room near the Tambara office of the Ateneo de Davao University to discuss the details of the launching of our book     O SUSANA! THE UNTOLD STORIES OF MARTIAL LAW IN DAVAO.

There are more than 30 of us writers who were part of this network of human rights activists during the Marcos regime’s martial rule who congregated in a building known as Susana Building. The offices in this building included: the Mindanao-Sulu Pastoral Conference Secretariat (where I was Executive Secretary), the Mindanao-Sulu Secretariat of Social Action, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the Foundation of the Banana Planters, Inc., the Mindanao-Sulu Conference for Justice and Development, the Citizens' Council for Justice and Peace and AFRIM.

The building was constantly under the surveillance of the agents of Marcos' authoritarian rule and in fact there were a few raids that took place in that location.  A few of us eventually got arrested, or spent time in prison. A portion of this building, i.e. the MISSSA-MSPCS offices, was burned or caught fire, a mystery to us until now. However, we continued to sustain our commitment long after martial rule ended.

In the years that followed, reunions among those in this network of friends continued to take place as we continued to interact given our sustained commitment to justice, peace and the integrity of creation.  Most remained actively engaged in various social and ecological advocacies based in Davao City.

Two years ago, during this reunion, the idea arose that we should come up with an ANTHOLOGY recalling those years so that the present and future generations have an idea how oppressive martial rule was, and to share our reflections on how those times have greatly influenced what we have become.  This has taken on a greater importance with the current attempt to deodorize the Marcos dictatorship, as you very well know.

In the last two years, the articles got written and compiled.  And eventually we were able to get Dr. Macario Tiu into this project not only for him to serve as main editor; he even graciously offered to ask AdDU to be the book's publisher.

We are hoping you are free on this date and time as we would like to invite you to attend our book launch.

Your presence would be a source of inspiration for all specially those who share our perspective on human rights and civil liberties.

We are hoping that Fr. Joel Tabora, President of AdDU and Archbishop Romulo Valles DD will also be present to do the Closing Prayer and Final Blessing.

We highly anticipate your presence to help us celebrate the birth of this much-awaited book.

Very sincerely,

Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSsR

The authors

A Man with a Big Heart
Remy Arquiza
A Middle Way
Gene Stoltzfus
A Night  In Jolo
Elvira Ang Sinco
A Taste of Faith, A Taste of Fear
Cesar Ledesma
Afternoons at Susana
Lillian Abella
Joey Ayala
Jackie Schramm
Carabaos and Spider Webs
Gene Stoltzfus
Davao On My Mind
Leila “Lalay” Rispens-Noel
Rebecca Jolito
Dialogue at the Grassroots, My Malabang Experience
Mary Lou Birondo-Caharian
Dreams and Desires in Creative Drama
Malou Tiangco
Jackie Schramm
Fr. Ben Montecastro
Jeanette Birondo-Goddard
His Metallic Specs
Teresa Naraval
His Name was Buyog
Jeanette Birondo-Goddard
If the Land could Speak
Antonio Ferrer
Ikatulo nga nadakpan
Leon Bolcan
Journeying with the BCCs
Florante Villas
Life at the MDC
Daz Lamparas
Love and Laughter
Marilen Abesamis
Martial Law
Orlando Carvajal
My Radical Journey
Emy LaviƱa
My Travelling Companion
Avelina Engen
Of What Use Our Work for Liberation
Jackie Schramm
Relief and Rehabilitation Work
Dodong Cadorna
Salamat Kaayo
Dorothy Friesen
Shepherding a Stalked, Stressed but Struggling Flock
Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR
So That Others May Know
Melot Balisalisa
Something Special
Remy Arquiza Guillena
Tatay Bido
Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR
The Beginnings of MISSSA
Fr. Tom Marti
The Drama of Our Lives
Jehovenn A. Honculada
The Living Waters of Dumoy
Agnes Miclat Cacayan
The Tenants of Susana Building
Flora Ninfa Leocadio
Theater’s Tragic Tale
Karl M. Gaspar, CSsR
Wala Nang Tao sa Santa Filomena
Joey  Ayala
When Local is Global
Marilen Abesamis
When MSPC Calls
Earl Martin
Yanong Katawhan, Sa Kadasig Ug Inspirasyon Tuburan
Nonoy Rodriguez
Year 33 of the Cassandra
Illuminada Lucia S. Ramoso