“You write well.”
Hearing that simple phrase from my elementary teacher somehow sealed my fate as a writer. Something bloomed in my young heart, even though my young mind couldn’t even fathom what entails good writing.
I couldn’t really remember what I had written or if I really did well on my writing exercise back then. It could have been a lip service to a young student, but I had never forgotten those encouraging words.
Through the years, I met mentors who have had profound impacts on my life beyond the four walls of the classroom.
There were high school teachers who trained me in photojournalism and supported me as I competed in campus journalism contests.
Back in college, our professor would check our seat works in a Journalism class and correct our grammar and syntax using red pen. “Namumulaklak,” as to how we described it back then. But that’s how we learned to write news.
What educators do and say have ripple effects. They can change lives and make a big difference. They can create an environment where critical thinking is developed, nationalism is strengthened, and being humane is celebrated.
In a time when so many are criticizing teachers and tearing down this noble profession, it pays to show appreciation to people who dedicate themselves to teaching and guiding children as they grow and learn.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), initiated by its Cultural Exchange Department (CED), paid tribute to 100 teachers from different parts of Mindanao through the Art in the Workplace (AIWP) program.
The program has three legs – the Mindanao leg held in Tagum City on May 15. It also launched its Visayas and Luzon legs to honor our fishermen in Roxas City, Capiz on May 22, and farmers in Munoz City, Nueva Ecija on May 27, respectively.
The program highlighted the valuable contributions of these sectors in alleviating the living conditions in the local communities, especially during the pandemic.
“We are all here celebrating the nobility of Filipino workers. Lahat tayo ay may mga gawaing kailangang tuparin para sa ating kabuhayan, pamilya, at pamayanan. All of us are workers who spend our time and efforts to fullfill a good mission,” said CED head Chinggay Bernardo.
“There is beauty, creativity, and goodness in every human being. And these are the very reasons why we are able to work, survive, and succeed in life. We use our creativity in all aspects of life. We are all artists and cultural workers in so many different ways,” she added.
Through the participation and collaboration of local artists and support from various local organizations, Art in the Workplace (AIWP) or Sining sa Tanggapan brings to various government institutions and public workplaces the country’s most prominent performing groups and individuals for a special cultural experience and creative presentations.
For its Mindanao leg, performers included QACS Choir, Sumpaw Mansaka Ensemble/ Tagum City National Comprehensive High School Rondalla, Teatro Ambahanon, singer Ayegee Paredes, with virtual performances from the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, and Silliman University Dance Troupe.
Fishermen enjoyed a cultural show featuring Panay Rondalla, Capiz University Main Campus Chorale, Kanta Capiz Cultural Ensemble, Filamer Christian University Silak Dance Company, and a virtual poetry reading by Nonie Buencamino performing excerpts of Amado Hernandez’s poem Bayani.
Since it was first launched in 2012, AIWP has already reached over 5,000 audiences in 20 public offices and workplaces nationwide and featured 343 local artists.
In 2020, the program had to be deferred due to the pandemic. It was revived in 2021 with an online edition that paid tribute to our frontliners. For 2022, the CED plans to organize and mount a hybrid edition. It is mobilizing the Kaisa Sa Sining network to engage wider participation and reach.
“As vital as arts and culture are, [the contribution of our teachers, farmers, and fishermen] to our nation’s development is equally important as well. Your dedication and passion for your work make us proud to be Filipinos. Our individual efforts have a cumulative effect on the success of our country,” said Alma Uy, Tagum City Women Council, and Musikahan sa Tagum Foundation, Inc. chairperson/president.
Truly, sometimes one just needs to hear some encouraging words to dream big, and most of the time, words of appreciation can go a long way and can brighten someone’s day.
So, dear readers, you did well today!