The school system that propelled them to executive positions
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - December 15, 2016 - 12:00am

(Part III of ‘The Golden Harvest of OB Montessori Education for Sustainable Development’)

Out of our 50-year existence, 30 years were simultaneously dedicated to underprivileged children in laborers’ districts under the auspices of Operation Brotherhood Montessori Child and Community Foundation. Partnering with local mayors or governors, once with former DepEd Secretary Lapus, 156 Montessori preschools were set up all over Luzon including others in Valencia, Negros and three laboratory schools of State Teacher Training Universities of Cadiz, Tacloban and Mati, Davao. Identified as Pagsasarili Preschool for disadvantaged children, the students normally acquire third grade competence and also speak English before entering any formal primary school. Thus most of them have reached college and obtain enviable managerial positions.

The Pagsasarili achievers

KATRINA P. TARAPE (OB PAGSASARILI 1998) is the Associate Supervisor of Rockwell Land Corporation. Katrina is with the Legal Team Documentation office who prepares and explains legal contracts to her clients and provides alternative options to solve any property dilemmas. Her habit of organized work and “getting things done” was acquired in preschool. She graduated magna cum laude from Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Political Science majoring in International Relations on May 2011. Katrina beams with pride recalling how she together with her sister Audrey readily acquired ”self esteem tempered with humility” due to her OB Pagsasarili experiences.

MARK DANIELLE M. ARCIGAL (OB PAGSASARILI 1996) became an Inspection Coordinator in SGC Gulf Ltd. ROHQ after earning an Associate Degree in Computer Software Technology, major in Programming at College of St. Adeline-DATAMEX Institute of Computer Technology. SGS Gulf Ltd. ROHQ is a global company with 80,000 employees operating a network of 1,650 offices and laboratories in the world. He thrives quite well being confident and efficient in his field enabling him to be flexible in dealing with a variety people of the world. He states ”I attribute enthusiasm and persistence in work, to my early education at OB Pagsasarili Preschool. I hope it continues to spread and hope that someday I can send my own children there.”

GENER DE LEON (OB PAGSASARILI 1988) is a software quality assurance engineer in Towers Watson. He graduated from San Sebastian College-Recoletos de Manila with a degree in BS Commerce major in Business Management. “This I say with great pride – what I am today, I owe to my Pagsasarili preschool training. It gave me the proper foundation that I needed to succeed in Life.”

ALBERT JOHN OLANO (OB PAGSASARILI 1999) is a systems analyst at Computer Professional Inc. He graduated Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Santo Tomas in May 2007 and passed the CPA Licensure Examinations later that year. “My job focuses on data gathering, analysis and design of the system, and preparation of specifications and documents necessary in order to meet the needs of our clients. Last March 2016, I was appointed as one of the team leaders for the product development of GENiiSYS, the leading integrated software solution in the general insurance industry. I believe I was chosen as a team leader not just because of my prior experience, but also because of my communication skills.”

The restaurateurs

VICKY-ROSE PACHECO (OBMC GS 1976) is the scion of Aristocrat grand founder Lola Asiang (Doña Engracia Cruz-Reyes), wife of Justice Alex Reyes. Chef Vicky Rose is also the COO of Sentro 1771 Restaurants. “Pinoy flavor, but the look is different,” has always been her goal whenever showcasing food at Sentro 1771. She brought Filipino cuisine to the next level by presenting local dishes in a chic and elegant setting, combining Swiss and French techniques with familiar Filipino flavors. Chef Vicky-Rose started her ‘accidental’ career as a chef in her late twenties. Her culinary training ground in Switzerland, includes Les Roches Hotel & Tourism School and École Hôtéliere de Lausanne. She became a partner at the 1771 Group in 1995 and now has three branches in Greenbelt 3, Serendra and Capitol Commons.

MICHAEL ASPIRAS (OBMC HS 2004) is the Culinary Innovator of Maxim’s Hotel and Resorts World Manila. “When I stepped into high school, I got to experience “real” kitchen work during our Technology and Livelihood Education classes. It was probably the only class where I was really able to show my potential and express my creativity. O.B. Montessori allowed me to experience that at an early stage in my life. In 2010, I joined the first Philippine Culinary cup where I received the highest honor in the Plated Desserts Category. The organizer of the Philippine Culinary Cup, the Pastry Alliance of the Philippines invited me to join their team headed for the 2011 Hong Kong Food Exposition. I took home one of the five gold medals. It is through personal experience that a person grows; that is why, I will never stop living the O.B. Montessori motto Seipsum facit persona – Man makes himself.”

BARBIE FAIRCHILD TAN (OBMC HS 2004), was readily attracted to the culinary arts introduced with Filipino dishes from fourth grade to Asian Cuisine, Food Tech, Banquet Service, Bar Tendering at the OB Professional High School at the same time creating unique recipes which delighted family and friends. Although she became a licensed Physical Therapist, her attachment to cooking being the granddaughter of the founder of the legendary Manosa Chinese restaurant in Ongpin could not be denied. She decided to put up her own business the WHISK ASEAN BISTRO CAFÉ. Every bite of her Teriyaki Chicken Pasta, Double Kekiam Burger (using grandpa’s original Chinese recipe), Shitake Walnut Salad, Magical Fried Rice w/ Grilled Salmon, etc. is a delight.

IOANNIS C. JOAQUIN, (OB PAGSASARILI 1996, OB HS 2007, OB CULINARY COLLEGE 2011) is OBMC’s Grassroot Leadership Scholar who completed his basic education free of charge at the OB Montessori Grade School and High School, Greenhills where he graduated salutatorian. Eventually he obtained a degree in Food Management with honors at the O.B. Istituto Culinario. “Throughout my varied work in Discovery Suites, Sulu Riviera Hotel, Holiday Inn I have applied the Montessori values of love for work, obedience, concentration and friendliness while maintaining an orderly and functional work environment. At the same time, I frequented and won competitions as a professional pastry chef until I acquired Commis I Chef at Hilton Grand Abu Dhabi.”

The theater and television actors

SHEILA VALEDERAMA-MARTINEZ (OBMC HS 1994) is a seasoned theater performer and singer with over 30 productions under her belt. She just concluded reprising her role of Kapitana Mary Jane in the Filipino hit musical RAK of Aegis where she was nominated Best Actress in a Featured Role in the 2016 Gawad Awards. Recent Notable performances include Into the Woods as Baker’s Wife, Shrek the Musical as Princess Fiona, Dani Girl as Catherine Lyons, Resort World Manila’s 9-month run of The King and I, playing the lead role Anna Leonowens (garnering Best Actress Nominations in Broadway World Philippines and Aliw Awards). Sheila’s international theater credits include Broadway Asia’s Asian Tour production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Original Opening Team member and the upcoming 2016-2017 Asian tour of 50 Shades The Musical Parody as Pam.

CARLA ABELLANA (OB HS LOYALTY AWARDEE 2004) is a much in-demand product endorser and actress, specially noted in her tele-serye “My Husband’s Lover.” She graduated within the top 10% of her class in high school. She took up Bachelor of Arts Major in Psychology in De La Salle University and graduated cum laude in 2007. Carla and sister Erika used to be accompanied by their grandmother Delia Razon, a well-known Philippine actress, to all theater events of OB Montessori, Greenhills where they frequently performed.

(Erratum: Last week’s column should have mentioned that Dr. Czarina Acelajado, MD is active in the Vascular Biology and Hypertension Program at the University of Alabama in Birmingham)

(For feedback email to precious.soliven@yahoo.com)

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