Monday, July 30, 2007

My first GILAS training

My first GILAS training was in the division of Quezon Province. I facilitated the Internet Literacy training to 22 teachers. It was a great experience to have helped teachers learn more about Internet concepts.

Special thanks go out to Quezon National High School, Southern Luzon State University, and to my colleagues Jerome Blanco and Leo Estabillo for the successful training!

GILAS in Muntinlupa City

The DepEd Division of Muntinlupa City is one of the most progressive divisions in the country. The division boasts of their well-managed schools and very cooperative division administrators. No wonder these schools have high scores in national achievement tests!

Having all their public high schools connected to the Internet is another milestone in the division of Muntinlupa City. This was made possible through the support of Cong. Ruffy Biazon.

Tablas Island, Romblon

The province of Romblon is composed of seven islands. GILAS has conducted an orientation with the heads of the public high schools in Tablas Island, the biggest island in the province. The usual way to reach the island was by riding a ship from Manila to Odiongan. But the GILAS team took a faster, but more dangerous route. We flew from Manila to Caticlan via Asian Spirit, and rode for two and a half hours on a small boat from Caticlan to the town of Looc. This is quite dangerous because part of the sea that we traversed was shaky, we're riding a small boat, and the travel time was quite long. When typhoon Milenyo struck the country last September, we were prohibited to travel, so we extended our stay in the island for one day.

Romblon is one of the more challenging areas for GILAS primarily due to the unavailability of Internet providers in most areas. We are not too optimistic about being able to connect all the schools in Tablas Island, more so in the smaller islands. We hope that in the later months or years, telecommunications facilities will improve in this province.

Friday, July 27, 2007

GILAS in Quezon City

Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte had publicized that Quezon City is the ICT capital of the Philippines. Primarily because of the presence of call centers and business process outsourcing firms in the city.

But there is another reason to prove that Quezon City indeed is the ICT capital of the Philippines through its participation in GILAS! Mayor Belmonte is one of the first public officials that have pledged support in GILAS. Because in GILAS, we practice the 50% counterparting from both the public and the private sector. In the case of Quezon City, the total cost of connecting all of its public high schools is Php8,000,000. So GILAS and the local government of Quezon City each have to raise P4,000,000. And by March 2007, all of 46 Quezon City's public high schools are connected to the Internet!

We thank all the local government of Quezon City, the various private sector donors locally and overseas, and also to Bayan Telecommunications for providing one year free Internet connection to all the public high schools in Quezon City.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bicol Revisited

After the visit to Ligao City, we also had opportunities to conduct GILAS orientations in the Bicol region. These are Iriga City, Camarines Sur, Albay, Tabaco City, Legaspi City and Camarines Norte. I also had the opportunity to visit some schools in Naga City. I am very happy to have toured most of Bicol, feeling like this is my second home.

Here are some of the nice pictures from my visit in Bicol.
View of Mayon Volcano from Legaspi Airport

Cagsawa Ruins. Destroyed during typhoon Reming

Makeshift classroom at Comon High School in Tabaco City

Tabaco City Pier

San Miguel Island, Tabaco City

My favorite photograph of Mayon

The yummiest halo-halo I've tasted! DJC Halo-Halo at Tiwi, Albay

My First Encounter with Bicol

My first encounter with Bicol started in my visit to Ligao City, a newly declared city in the province of Albay, in the eastern part of the Philippines. Ligao is a relatively small city, maybe smaller than Cauayan, from my second blog entry.

The division of Ligao City ably welcomed us. The superintendent even joined us in the school visits. We also had a chance to meet the mayor.

In my first visit to Bicol, I got a chance to see the view of Mayon volcano from Amtic National High School. It was magnificent and majestic! From this encounter I fell in love with Bicol right away.

GILAS in Lipa City

Lipa City is one of the more progressive cities in the Philippines, about one and a half hours away from Manila. Lipa City is also a nice place to live, as they have a cooler climate compared to Manila because of its high elevation.

When GILAS started in 2005, there are already a couple of schools that are already connected to the Internet, courtesy of the Youth Tech project of Ayala Foundation. And in 2006, the Pinagtongulan National High School was connected to the Internet courtesy of private sector donation and Innove Communications for its one year free and unlimited Internet access.

For this year, GILAS has targetted to complete the connection in all the public high schools of Lipa City. Maybe next month it will already happen. Watch out!

GILAS in Puerto Princesa City

I was excited in going to Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the province of Palawan, one of the more popular tourist destinations in the Philippines. Just like the other cities in the provinces, there are also schools that are quite far from the poblacion area of the city.

To date, GILAS and its partners have connected 3 schools in Puerto Princesa City.

GILAS in Cauayan City

In GILAS, our first intervention starts by conducting orientations in the various divisions of the Department of Education. We conduct orientation to the heads of the public high schools, as well as the ICT coordinators/supervisors and even the top management of the divisions. And right after the orientation, we usually conduct school visits in order to check if a school is qualified to be recipients of GILAS.

One of the first divisions that I have visited when I started to work in GILAS in 2006 is Cauayan City. Cauayan City is one of the cities in Isabela, a province in Cagayan Valley region, in the northern part of the Philippines. Though the poblacion area, or the center of the city, is quite progressive, there are a couple of schools in the far flung areas. The farthest school that I have visited to is Linglingay National High School, about 40 kilometers of rough road away from the poblacion. We passed by several corn plantations on the way to this remote school. This is one of my first hand experience of the difficult situation of the public high schools, and I admire the officials and teachers for their hard work for their schools, especially for their students.


Hello! Welcome to my blog. Here I talk about my work in GILAS, a project that aims to provide Internet connectivity and training for public high schools in the Philippines.