GOLD and Big Bad Wolf

FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas

Thirty-three years ago, Nelia Cruz Sarcol,  a young woman who had once been a flight stewardess and gone on to work for and earn, magna cum laude, a degree in education from the University of the Philippines,  set up a school in Cebu City. She wanted to focus on international standard curricula that would be relevant and research-based, foster character building, deepen values  formation, and  inspire “generative leadership.” She decided to put up the CIE British School.

With her  tenacity, CIE British School has grown to become a very highly respected school.  Aside from the Cebu City campus, there are now campuses in Tacloban City and Makati City. By early 2000, the school in Cebu City opened its college department called the CIE School for Business and IT, for undergraduate and graduate studies, both on campus and distance learning.

Teacher Nelia’s dream of having a School for Leaders has really come true. The graduates of her school are now leaders in different sectors of society as young entrepreneurs, corporate executives, doctors, congressmen and  mayors, and the rest are running the businesses of known taipans of industry who are actually their grandparents and parents.

In CIE, high school students are required to study subjects that will earn them British qualifications and sit for the International General Certificate in Secondary Education (IGCSE) and a general certificate in education advanced levels. They take examinations whose papers are evaluated by a foreign accrediting and examinations body based in the United Kingdom. The students’ performance determines their acceptability as foreign students in universities abroad. 

Standing out from among Ms. Sarcol’s CIE programs is what she calls the Gift of GOLD. GOLD stands for Giving of Oneself to those who  have Less and are Disadvantaged. In this program, the CIE students learn various business subjects from Year 7 until Year 12, and apply what they learned to real-world problems. They identify beneficiary families engaged in home-based microbusiness, and for six years, they help apply strategies to develop better products and teach them financial management to improve the overall quality of life of the family.

A class selected as beneficiary Manang Pina, an amateur roving photographer, who made a living from taking photographs of people in churches and restaurants and along the way. The students taught her proper costing and managing logistics, and with her calling card, she expanded her clientele by taking family portraits.  She also learned videography and post production processing using free or reasonably priced software.

At the end of six years, Manang Pina, with the help of her husband and children, earns around P20,000 a month. They are now living in a concrete house. She is now the official photographer of all activities of CIE British School.

Manang Pina – and her CIE British School mentoring class – had struck GOLD.

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The Big Bad Wolf Book Sale is coming to town. That’s good news, for bookworms as this confirms that  the printed word is never going to be passe, but is alive and well.

The BBWB Sale will be held 24 hours a day from Feb. 16 until Feb. 25 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City. It offers two million books across various genres, featuring brand new English books at discounts ranging from 60 to  80 per cent. Admission is free.

Miguel Mercado, BBWBS marketing head, said at a Bulong Pulungan, “Fiction, non-fiction and specialty books will be available at affordable prices. Physical books are here to stay as they stimulate deep reading and engage the readers. Big Bad World Books wants to do its part in improving literacy by making it accessible and affordable for people to buy books.”

BBWBS is the brainchild of BookXcess founders Andrew Yap and Jacqueline Ng, and has been a trademark event in Malaysia since 2009. It has been held with outstanding success in cities in Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Why the project is called Big Bad Wolf, is like hugging and puffing and getting books at best prices. Book prices are cut down from more than a thousand pesos to just P190 or so. The books include Tintin (whose comics version my son Andres grew up on reading), Harry Potter, biographies and encyclopedia, and those on  travel, cooking,  history, literature, automobile and bikes and many more. As Miguel said it, we should get ready “for the book hunt of a lifetime.” 

In the Philippines, Lito Nadal is director and BBW Philippines head; Ja Co Chua, director; Maria Montelibano chair; JR Santiago,  president, and Luis Oquienana  (of Gawad Kalinga), director.

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To mark National Arts Month and the season of love, the Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI) will be sponsoring a group exhibit titled “Art for Heart’s Sale” February 19-21  at the North Wing of the House of Representatives along Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

The exhibit is held by members of the UP College of Fine Arts Alumni Foundation, Inc. (UPCFAAFI) and will feature 60 works of 25 artists and alumni from the UP College of Fine Arts. Proceeds will go to the scholarship program of the college. 

AWLFI President and Bulacan Representative Linabelle Ruth Villarica said that they are partnering with the UP alumni artists “to showcase the importance of arts and culture in Philippine life and also to celebrate the month of love in a unique and meaningful way.”  

AWLFI is involved in the mitigation of disasters, calamities and diseases in communities in all the regions of the country                                                                                                   

The featured artists will include Nestor Vinluan, Ambie Abano, Jeff  Dizon, Romy Carlos, Menchu Pascual, Hugo Yonzon, Neil Doloricon, Anna Vergel, Imelda C. Endaya and Paul Queaño, among many others.

“Art for Hearts’ Sake” event chair is Rep. Michaelina Antonio of AGBIAG Partylist.

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I thought someone was pulling my leg when I was told that UnliCity@Century, an eat-all-you-can restaurant, is filled to the rafters at 6 p.m. True  enough, when we got to  the resto on the third floor of Century City Mall in Makati,  we found a long queue of people waiting for their turn to be seated while mostly millennials seemed endlessly enjoying unlimited servings of Korean barbecue. Fortunately, a long table had been reserved for us by the restaurant owner, the indefatigable Robert Laurel Yupangco.

Only Robert would have thought of converting a once-empty large hall into a festive eating place with unlimited servings of pork and beef barbecue grilled right at the center of the tables. Side dishes are spicy and good. The prices vary, from P449 to P799 and P999 per head. For the P999 lunch and dinner, there are additions of sushi and yakitori, beer and wine and dessert and coffee – all unlimited. Limited are Korean dishes served a la carte.

UnliCity@Century is run by  Chefmate Food Corporation of Zoomanity Group lord(ed) over by Robert, its president/CEO.  Robert’s other  projects are a  mini zoo in Tagaytay, the Zoobic Safari at the Subic Bay Freeport,  and a 12-hectare theme park, the Paradizoo, in Mendez, Cavite. 

At Paradizoo, an eco-farm, kids enjoy visiting the Farm Frenzy, where they can cuddle and buy some animals like rabbits, hamsters and love birds, and parents can purchase Dorer sheep, Boer, Kalahri and Saanen dairy goats, Russa and turkey from Australia. In the Plant Me Home area, guests select and pick – and buy for minimal fees – vegetables and flowers from garden plots to take home. Paradizoo’s latest project is a state-of-the-art greenhouse in partnership with Netafim and Calata Group Corporation.

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