Storms Brewing in Mamburao

Continuous rain accompanied by strong winds showered the entire landscape of Mamburao during the week of their Grade One Teachers’ Training, which was on July 27-28, 2012. Typhoon Gener was just about to enter the Philippine’s area of responsibility on Sunday but was already making his presence felt even before the training started. The perfect bed-weather, however, had no effect on the teachers’ resolve to attend the training. Teachers from 22 schools participated.

The excitement of the 60 participants was easily felt right from the start of the training. English was the first of the two subjects tackled with Dr. Guevara, the president and CEO of Synergeia Foundation, Inc., as the resource person. Dr. Guevara advocated the significance of making the lesson plans fun and relevant to the children to keep them engaged and interested in the lessons. She demonstrated how a class should be conducted by treating the training like a real grade one English class, even calling the teachers children. Dr. Guevara also provided an abundance of teaching strategies and tips whenever she could such as teaching the importance of
proper pronunciation, revealing the fun and usefulness of incorporating songs, jazz chants and other forms of art in the lesson plan, and promoting the value of persistence in correcting the various mistakes of their students while actually correcting some of the participants’ mistakes as well.

The rest of the training was handled by Dr. Antonio Jose N. Torralba, who is Vice Chairman of Synergeia. Using his vast arsenal of touching videos, Dr. Torralba inspired the participants to be better teachers and to focus on the students’ development instead of on their lesson plans. He mentioned that the DEPED curriculum should be used as a guide and not as cast in stone. Constant assessment of the students’ capabilities and needs should the basis for the pace and teaching strategies of teachers. In the afternoon session, Dr. Torralba gave time for five teachers to conduct a demonstration on how to teach mathematics to grade one students. Everyone was given time to share their thoughts and comments regarding the demonstration classes.

Before the training concluded, the participants thanked the relentless support that Synergeia has been providing. They were also grateful for the unparalleled passion and kindness of Mayor Voltaire Anthony C. Villarosa, who was present throughout the entire training even though he was sick and not feeling well. In the end, the teachers of Mamburao felt so fulfilled with the many insights they learned. The training also became a venue for teachers to become students once again, from actively participating and reciting to giving their all during activities and games. The participants vowed to be better teachers so that their students may also be showered with more knowledge and skills for a better future.


Governor Miguel Dominguez congratulated the Department of Education (DepEd) supervisors, principals and teachers “for achieving something that we never believed we could achieve” – Region 12’s No. 1 in the combined average performance of elementary and secondary schools in this year’s National Achievement Test (NAT).

education champion governor


The governor attended the Management Committee meeting of DepEd supervisors and principals Friday, on July 27, 2012 in San Roque National High School. DepEd officials said the 2012 NAT results are “more than enough to provide credibility in declaring you (Gov. Dominguez) as education champion governor.”


It was a wonderful surprise to hear high school students from Bongao, Tawi Tawi speak English with fluency. One-year of enhancement classes in Literature and grammar has boosted their confidence and skill in English communication. They can express their thoughts easily in English and are highly participatory in discussions.

Dr. Guevara and Mr. Oscar Atendido conducted an assessment of their competencies in English and noted a 20 percent increase in their test scores.  While their ability to communicate orally has increased significantly, the students needed more exercises to expand their vocabulary and deepen their comprehension. The “access scholarship” that is sponsored by the US Embassy will use stories, poems and drama in order to sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Mr. Atendido worked with the students to develop their personality.  The students were visibly enthused by tips on maintaining good posture, sitting and walking properly, including where to place their hands while conversing with others.

Mr. Rommel Carpio joined the team in orienting teachers with science process skills.  He emphasized that teaching science is not about memorizing facts but developing the skills of observation, comparing and contrasting, hypothesizing, experimenting and making generalizations.

The Synergeia team noted the significant improvements that have been introduced by the new Mayor, Jasper Que.  A new municipal building has been constructed.  The old municipal building now serves as a venue for workshops and training programs.  The Mayor has also selected pilot schools where programs to improve teaching, learning, and community support of schools have been introduced.  The Mayor proudly said, “These are no longer Synergeia’s programs but they are initiatives of the Local School Board. “ The ultimate test of sustainability is when the municipality is able to introduce programs of its own.  The Mayor and Bongao’s LSB passed the test with flying colors.