P'lok Pinoyz Seminar/Workshop Receives 8 over 10 Rating

The officers of P'lok Pinoys and myself were overwhelmed with the positive reactions of those who placed their interest in joining the English Language Proficiency Skills Development Seminar/Workshop on November 8th at Pibulsongkram Rajabaht University.

The number of participants was way bigger that we initially predicted. From a measly 20-30 expected participants, there were 70+ people on record coming from Phitsanulok and neighboring provinces. 

Anyhow, being the Professional Development Commissioner of our local Filipino group was actually a lot more tedious than I originally thought. Di naman kasi ako sanay sa mga ganitong mga bagay bagay at di naman din ako nag-gagaling galingan. There were lots of meetings, Facebook chats, calls and all possible means of communication for the planning and preparation of the said seminar/workshop.

Not only that. Since we thought of partnering with Pibulsongkram Rajabaht University, getting their "Yes" wasn't a walk in the park. There were lots of talks to people in position when we were requesting for a venue and the use of all the facilities, as well as requesting the president of the university as one of the signatories.

But judging from the evaluation forms we distributed minutes before the program concluded, the seminar/workshop was a success. The whole event was rated 8/10 by the participants. Those challenges and shivers were all worth it indeed!

In behalf of P'lok Pinoyz, I would like to thank Dr. Sakorn Soisungwang, President of Pibulsongkram Rajabaht University and Dr. Buncha Samruayruen, Director of International Institute of Pibulsongkram Rajabaht University for granting our requests and for supporting the Filipino community in Phitsanulok. It's an honor working with you and a pleasure partnering with you.

Special thanks goes to the President of P'lok Pinoyz Mr. Lorenzo Caballes and the officers for rendering overtime in cutting, pasting and preparing all the things needed. You are the rock of this organization. To the speakers for sharing what they know (me being one of them. Naks!). And to all the participants as well as those who worked behind the scenes but contributed to the event's success, nonetheless.

Your certificates will be handed to you this week. In fact, I'll be getting them later this afternoon. Just got a call from the secretary telling me they are ready for pick up. 

And just so you know, PSRU President spoke to me just before he left after delivering the opening remarks. He told me to organize similar event but with a bigger target audience in the future. Here's what he said

"Perhaps next time you can invite primary and secondary school teachers in Phitsanulok as well as lecturers at our university who might be interested in improving their English and in learning new strategies from Filipino speakers. Filipinos can also learn new and interesting things from Thai speakers about Thailand and its culture. After all, we are ASEAN. Let me know what you think. If you need some budget, don't hesitate to contact me."

And I was like, "Khob Khun Krub!

Photo Credits: BogZee Boy HappeeIam Reg

Video: Filipinos in Phitsanulok Entertain The 1st Filipino Community Leaders' Congress in Khon Kaen

When it comes to entertainment there is no doubt that Filipinos can do the job well. Apart from singing which is becoming the first thing other people think when talking about us, Pinoys are also a force to be reckoned with in dancing.

Here's a proof of the dancing prowess of Filipino leaders in Phitsanulok during the 1st Filipino Community Leaders' Congress held at Kosa Hotel in Khon Kaen on October 15, 2015.

Not only was it entertaining, it also received the loudest applause of the night. Enjoy!

AFT Khon Kaen Holds 1st Filipino Community Leaders' Congress

Khon Kaen, Thailand  - The Association of Filipinos in Thailand Khorn Kaen chapter, hosted the "1st Filipino Community Leaders' Congress" at Kosa Hotel in Khon Kaen on October 15, 2015.

The event was attended by 55 registered participants both living and working in the Kingdom. 

From my personal perspective I would say that the congress was successfully planned and executed. It was just a one day event, but I feel it could have been a lot more productive had the organizers pushed it to be done in two days. Demanding? Nag enjoy kasi ako eh! :)

The congress was originally scheduled for two days however, due to some unavoidable circumstances, there were some changes made - sabi ng aming Plok Pinoyz President. But then again, the congress was successful nonetheless. Isang araw lang pero ang dami kong natutunan.

The morning session was filled with new and interesting stuff from Mr. Suthai Katima, a Filipino-Thai working at Khon Kaen University International College.

Mr. Katima presented "Transformational Leadership" and, being half Thai himself, gave informative finds about Thai culture and our Thai bosses in general. 

As much I would like to give a detailed explanation about what I learned regarding our bosses though, I'll be keeping my mouth shut since the president of my university sometimes read my entries. Seriously, people at Rajabaht know about this blog and they read it sometimes. Anything I put here might be used against me and I don't want to jeopardize my work. LoL.

Moving on, since I drove at 12 midnight from Phitsanulok to Khon Kaern, my first ever long distance road trip, I failed to attend the afternoon session with Vice Consul Jim Gabrillo Minglana of the Philippine Embassy who covered "Bayanihan Spirit." I was just wasted for roughly 5 hours of driving and cannot keep my eyes open.

When I woke up a little past four in the afternoon, I went back to the congress to get my certificate and to see whether I could get some more infos. I didn't expect that I'll be feeling a bit of a celebrity when Sir Boi Et and his friends recognized me as the man behind Khon Philippine when my name was called to get the certificate. We exchanged pleasantries and shared some stories. Then, a few minutes later, the room was filled with the flickering lights from all direction. Di talaga mawawala yan. Mahilig tayong mga Pinoy sa picture-an.

But the fun didn't end there. After an hour rest, we headed on the 16th floor for the "Somtam and Adobo, a night with the Filipinos." We had a sumptuous dinner and enjoyed the performances of our Kababayans who showcased their talents in singing and dancing. Grabe ka talented talaga ang mga Pinoy :)

Pinoys in Khon Kaen, maraming salamat po sa inyong mainit na pagtanggap sa amin. Napasaya nyo po kami ng sobra!

Special thanks goes to AFT Khon Kaen President Marlon Sipe and all the Filipinos who contributed in making the 1st Filipino Community Leaders' Congress a success. Mabuhay tayong mga Pilipino!

PS: The 2nd Filipino Community Leaders' Congress next year will be in Phitsanulok. Join kayo, okay?

Thai Politician Defends Filipino Teachers

We cover different topics in our English class every Sunday. From personal stuff, world problems, politics, TV shows - you name it. There is no lesson planning. No power point presentation. Dr. Warong doesn't like the idea of using a book either. The flow of the conversation and the transition from one topic to another happens naturally. He wants everything to be natural. And we're doing it for over three years now.

With so many topics we covered for the last three years, his liking for Filipino teachers will always be my favorite. In one of our sessions last year, he said he wanted Filipino teachers to teach at kindergarten schools in Thailand. 


"Apart from the fact that Filipinos and Thai are both Asean member states John, both countries do have a lot of similarities in culture which can be a big help for both parties to easily understand each other. Filipinos and Thai look the same as well. These are some of the reasons I am more comfortable talking to you in English than with native speakers. Others may disapprove of my beliefs but this is what I feel. I feel like I'm using English to communicate to another Thai, and I find it easier, he said. 


Former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva promoting Dr. Warong's book

Earlier today, Dr. Warong mentioned to me for the first time the discussion he had with some staff working at the Democrat Party house in Bangkok who were educated in English speaking countries. 

"When we were at the stage of recruiting teachers, I told them I wanted Filipino teachers in the project. Many reacted and advised me to choose American or British teachers. They said to choose native speakers because when native speakers talk, they talk naturally. And their accent is lot better than Filipinos too," Dr. Warong said.

"True. I don't have anything against native speakers, but I believe that accent didn't play well on that belief. Singaporeans have this strong accent, but their country and their citizens are one of the most globally competitive people. Everyone has accent. As long as other people can understand you, then there's no problem in getting the message across," Dr. Warong added.


Note: This post is not intended to create a rift between native and non native English teachers. This is a personal account of the conversation I had with former MP for Phitsanulok Dr. Warong. 

There are native speakers who are really great teachers. I met and worked with some of them. There are also non natives who are really good with their craft. Let's leave it like that.

Photo: Bangkok Post

Beware: Modus About Fake Facebook Account Targeting OFWs!

If you're an OFW or a family member of an OFW, this post is for you.

A new modus of people who don't want to stretch their lazy bones is out. These bad people will create an account on Facebook with your own profile picture as their profile, and the name is exactly the same as yours. Gagayahin talaga nila ang account mo.

Once they're done creating one and copying pictures from your account, they will start their evil plan. They will send messages to your family members asking for money. 

To avoid and to not fall for this kind of modus, Facebook user Lee CaƱete has some pointers.

1. Siguruhing ang inyong mga picture sa FB ay naka-friends only para maiwasang makuha ng ibang tao.
2. Iwasang gumamit ng picture nyo sa inyong Cover Photo, dahil ito ay hindi naise-setting at laging naka-public lang.
3. Gawing "only me" ang setting ng inyong Friends List. Dahil nandito rin nakalagay ang lahat ng kamaganak nyo. Hindi naman kailangan malaman pa ng publiko kung sino ang mga Friends at Families nyo dito sa FB. Ito ay para maiwasang malaman ng mga masasamang tao kung sino ang pamilya nyo na nasa Pinas.
4. Iwasang ilagay ang inyong CP# sa info nyo sa FB.
5. Paalalahanan ang inyong pamilya na kapag may mga ganitong pangyayari na hihingan sila ng pera thru FB o anumang Social Media, siguruhin muna sa pamamagitan ng pagtawag sa inyo.

Happy World Teachers' Day, Kru; Ajarn; Teacher!

World Teachers' Day commemorates teachers all over the world by providing quality education from all levels. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

According to UNESCO, World Teachers' Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development. 

Photo: www.aworldatschool.org

The first World Teachers' Day was held on October 5, 1994. This global observance has been organized on the same date each year since then.

To all the teachers in Thailand, the Philippines and the world, Happy World Teachers' Day! Thank you so much for imparting your knowledge and for making us who we are today. 

Source: Wikipedia

Thai Politician to visit the Philippines in December, twice this year now

Last summer I suggested former MP for Phitsanulok Dr. Warong to visit Palawan, my hometown dubbed as the "Last Frontier of the Philippines." He said he'd been to the Philippines quite a few times and even met former Philippine Ambassador to Thailand Linglingay Lacanlale in one of his trips. However, he'd never been outside Manila. If ever he visits the Philippines again, Palawan would be his first destination.

Dr. Warong and his wife 
I never thought he'll take my suggestion seriously. Few weeks after our conversation, he asked me to create an itinerary for six people and invited me to be part of the trip. But due to busy schedule at the university and some workshops lined up, I ended up asking my friend's help who used to work as a teacher here in Thailand to be their tour guide.

My friend Johanna and her then-boyfriend now her husband Poulo, took them to the Underground River and to some not so popular yet interesting spots in Puerto Princesa City. I saw photos of their adventures shared by Dr. Warong on his Facebook account. They were all smiles. They even sent some of their photos as if to make me jealous in our Line group. LoL.

The Underground River as the backdrop
When they arrived back in Thailand, even at Suvarnabhumi, I found myself at the receiving end of their never-ending stories. It was overwhelming seeing them as they narrated the similarities and the differences of Thailand and the Philippines and the places they've been to. Glad they really enjoyed their trip!

It didn't occur to me that they were actually planning to visit the Philippines again. "Come December, it will be our second visit this year to your country, John," Dr. Warong said.

As usual, Dr. Warong planned to have it done in December so I could join the trip. This time it will be in Vigan. It was suggested by Goodwill, the new teacher at Sapanteesam School where we initiated our pilot project called "English for all." But because I have a plan to visit the Philippines in summer next year with my family, I am not sure if I still have the budget for this December visit. Fingers crossed!

On a serious note, I am really happy to hear that they really like to explore the Philippines once more. Despite the negative things happening in our country including the modus and the stealing of airport officials at NAIA, news about international tourists enjoying the Pearl of the Orient's beauty and hospitality is a breath of fresh air. 

In a way, I still cling to the hope that it's more fun in the Philippines!

[Viral Video] Filipino Teacher Slaps Student

A video of a teacher at a public school in Caloocan slapping one of the students and using profanity, has gone viral.

Mike (not his real name) narrated that they were playing some music inside the classroom using loud speakers when their teacher walked in. She got upset, closed the door and confiscated the speakers.

The 15-year-old student and his classmate apologized to their teacher and requested if they can have their speakers back. But the teacher in question went ballistic and slapped Mike. She also told everyone that she can easily tell a different story about what happened.

Initially, Mike's mother didn't want to pursue or file a complaint against the teacher. However, when the teacher told a different story of what really happened saying that Mike was the one who instigated the heated encounter, Mike's mother decided to let the truth prevail.

She approached the Department of Education to formally file a complaint against the teacher. DepEd tried calling and texting the now infamous teacher but all were ignored.

Watch the video below.