THE Philippine Embassy in Brunei Darussalam successfully concluded the sixth run of its Filipino Language and Cultural Enrichment Program titled “Pilipino Po Ako: Mag-Aral Tayong Mag-Pilipino” with graduation rites held in the embassy on March 25.
The Filipino classes were made possible in cooperation with Filipino volunteer teachers from the Brunei Filipino Educators Club and parents from the Filipino community there.
A total of 33 students received their graduation certificates, with eight from the Beginners Class, 13 from the Juniors Class and 12 from the Seniors Class.
The classes were held on March 18 to 25, coinciding with the school break.
In her welcome remarks, Minister and Consul Celeste Vinzon Balatbat introduced to members of the Filipino community the new envoy, Ambassador Nestor Ochoa, and Madame Maria Tomasa Ochoa, who arrived earlier in the day.
Balatbat cited the program as an opportunity to “plant the seeds of love of country and sense of Filipino identity in the hearts and minds of Filipino youth in Brunei.”
She thanked her embassy colleagues, the resource persons and volunteer teachers, the parents and the children especially for willingly giving up their vacation to attend the program.
The Filipino Language and Cultural Enrichment Program was conducted free of charge.
The program has been offered for the sixth straight time since its inception in September 2008.
It has been seen as a vibrant partnership between the embassy and volunteer Filipino teachers mobilized through the club.
For the language classes, the children were taught everyday Filipino greetings, the names of common objects, people and places, colors, parts of the house, shapes and numbers.
They were also taught words and phrases describing people and places, identifying persons and occupations, talking about dates and events, giving and following directions, introducing family members and expressing likes and dislikes.
During the week-long Filipino program, students were treated to a cooking demonstration of traditional Philippine snacks, such as lugaw (porridge), suman (sweetened glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves), biko (rice cake), salabat (ginger tea) and calamansi juice.
These dishes were also served to the children as part of the day’s meals.
The cultural enrichment program in March 2011 focused on early Philippine history and included lessons on geography and the different ethno-linguistic groups in the country.
To enhance their appreciation of historical linkages between the Philippines and Brunei, the Philippine Embassy took the students for a “field trip” to the Brunei Museum and Malay Technology Museum.
The students and volunteer teachers also visited the tomb of Sultan Bolkiah V, one of the ancestors of Filipino Rajah (King) Lakan Dula, who had served as ruler of Tondo in the 1500s and—along with Rajah Sulaiman 2nd (also known as Rajah Matanda) and Rajah Sulai-man 3rd—helped fight and resist efforts by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi’s troops to conquer Manila.
Their activities on early Philippine history also included a lecture on the life of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal.