Yay! First 10000 Visits!

Our Deaf Students at MCCID
Our Deaf Students at MCCID

Yay! Five months, 56 posts and 71 readers’ comments later, my site reached the great milestone of 10,000 visits! Hooray for me! hehehe

Thank you very very much to my worldwide readers which comprise 80% of my visitors! Of course, I am also grateful for my countrymen who read my blog. This is for you. I’m so elated that I reached these many visitors. At first, I thought that people would not come and read my site for the simple reason that the main topic that I chose does not appeal to everybody. It only caters to a unique, remarkable and truly amazing group of people, the Deaf community.

But now I realize that blogging for the deaf may appeal universally with the sole aim of telling people that , “Hey, the Deaf are human beings, too. They are not like some sick guys who need healing. They are a community that have the same rights as anybody else. They only want to be understood and accepted“. 🙂

In my WordPress blog, I have noticed some interesting statistics. For example:

  • Deaf Stress Video is my top blog post which is also a video log. This amateur video made by our deaf student centers about the struggles of a deaf person in finding a job is also our top video post in our YouTube channel. It has received almost 20,000 visitors since last year.
  • I found out that vlogs attract most deaf readers which is understandable. Deaf people are highly visual. Mere words are unappealing for them. That is why six out of my top ten posts are video logs.
  • Deafread.com is my top referrer site. 88% of my web traffic comes from Deafread although they only comprise 38% of my total visitors. The rest comes from returning viewers and of course, from Google.
  • The most searched keyword is “deaf video“. Again, this is understandable.
  • My busiest day was in Tuesday, June 17, 2008 where 302 people visited my site. That was when I posted the 3-part Drama Video on Deaf Abuse.

Although WordPress is a great free bloghosting site, it still lacks specialized information when it comes to your site’s statistics unlike say, Google Analytics. You don’t know visitor’s data according to country, number of page views, average time a person stays on the site, etc. I also have no idea about the number of people who reads my blog through RSS feeds. They don’t allow Javascripts embedded on the blogs in order to protect us against potential viruses. It’s ok. I’m not complaining so long as it’s FREE!

Next time, I’ll be congratulating myself only after 2500 posts. So to my worldwide readers, thank you, thank you, thank you very much for reading my blog. 🙂

Filipino Sign Language, anyone?

Introducing, Filipino Sign Language or FSL for short! What makes our sign language unique? What makes it similar? How is it related to other sign languages? What are other languages’ degree of influence to FSL? Let’s say, if I were an American man-about-town deaf person and I want to woo a gorgeous Filipina Deaf lady, how would I communicate with her?

Good thing for most of my worldwide readers, FSL is very much related to American Sign Language. hmmm… I might attract dissenting reactions from some of my friends here who are FSL militants. (I’m a hearing person by the way.).

Anyway, it’s true that FSL is uniquely Filipino. But no one can discount the very strong influence the Americans gave on the language. In fact, the oldest school for the deaf in the Philippines that is still existing up to now was established in 1907 by American teacher named Delight Rice. She was invited by my country to spearhead a pioneering school for the handicapped here and our Asian neighbors. I created a Wikipedia entry about this truly remarkable language in order to tell the world that FSL is here. It’s alive and it’s growing.

Watch this sample FSL idiom of the English phrase “not an important person” or “you are worth nothing.” The short video was wonderfully executed by a Deaf lady using the YouTube name LearnFSL. Notice some familiar signs? I’ve added a notation below in order for you to understand it.

Notation:
The FSL sign CODE is “SEE-WORTHLESS“. In the example, I WANT TO GO TO YOUR HOME. YOU PROMISED THAT YOU WILL INVITE ME TO YOUR HOUSE. BUT YOU GAVE AN EXCUSE OF NOT WANTING TO INVITE ME. YOU WILL SAY, SORRY. IN RESPONSE, I WILL USE THE SIGN “SEE-WORTHLESS”.

Sign Movement:
Sign “SEE” but point to yourself starting on face then goes down. Then, sign “HATE” using both hands.

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“Silent Odyssey, Journey Into the Deaf World” Trailer

To all my blog readers worldwide, may I promote to you this touching film about Filipino Deaf, their history and their current issues of discrimination and oppression? The movie was produced and directed by Mirana Medina, a famous Filipino film editor. Premiere showing will be on September 20, 2008, 4 p.m. at the UP Film Center Theater (Cine Adarna) sponsored by DLS-CSB SDEAS and UP Special Education Council.

The movie will probably have its international release. If you’re interested, you may contact Ms. Noemi Jara at Tel. No. (632)526-7441 local 239, Mobile 63927-2246584 or email her at silentodyssey@gmail.com.

SILENT ODYSSEY—a journey into the Deaf world—brings out the Filipino Deaf’s sentiments towards the hearing society, chronicles the significant and pioneering efforts of different institutions and personages in Philippine Deaf history and touches on important and current issues on Deaf education. It introduces the word “audism” (Deaf oppression)—a not-yet-so-popularly used term in the Filipino Deaf community; takes a glimpse at the 15th World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Spain with the theme “Human Rights Through Sign Language” and the celebration of the entry into force in the Philippines of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The film also focuses on some of Deaf achievers who are worthy of emulation by the Filipino Deaf youth and presents the World Federation of Deaf President Markku Jokinen’s views on oralism, use of hearing aids and importance of sign language to the Deaf. Most importantly, the film takes a close look at the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) — its probable origin, uniqueness, present status vis-Ă -vis other sign systems and its importance as index to the cultural identity of the Filipino Deaf as a cultural-linguistic minority group.

The journey leads to a realization that the Deaf are disabled and impaired by society’s failure to understand and accept their language and culture as an ethnic group, disregarding their cultural needs as Deaf persons by not providing the bridge of communication which aggravates their linguistic isolation. That “Deaf can” is no illusion but a reality which can shame those who think of themselves as superior just because they can hear.

To know more about the film, visit their blog site. Here is the trailer:

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More Deaf people are given chance for work

My Deaf Student Renato Moran In Action
My Deaf Student Renato Moran In Action

After using my green passport only for three trips since I first applied for it in 2003, it’s time for me to renew it. All of my trips were officially paid for by the government since I can’t afford to travel. I’m proud to say that all my trips had to do with my devotion for the deaf. I went to India and Japan as a sign language interpreter and an expert/coach for our Deaf national champions who were qualified to join in an international skills competition called Abilympics.

We were blessed to win many medals during the 6th Abilympics International Skills Competition last 2003 in New Delhi, India. My Deaf “brother” Ervin received the bronze medal in web page design category. However, in our next stint in Japan last 2007, we were not able to bring home anything. (sigh)

Enough lingering in misery. Let’s go back to my topic. Since Ervin and I applied for our passport on the same year, so both of them will expire this September. We planned to visit the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) during a local holiday so that we won’t miss our classes. We took the opportunity to go last Tuesday (August 19) since it was a red-letter day for Quezon City and not in Pasay City. I also used it as a chance to meet our deaf graduates in action.

First, I texted one of my favorite deaf student, Renato Moran requesting him to assist us. Sure enough, he responded. Clad in formal black pants and decent upper shirt with plastic-laminated ID proudly hanging on his neck, he greeted us with his very warm and handsome smile. After a few “how are you’s” and “how is your work” exchanges in sign language, we proceeded to the real battle, the battle of falling in line.

Now, this is interesting. When we entered the basketball court where the filing of application starts, I was overwhelmed by the long snakey line up of human bodies waiting for their turn to be served. I believe around 500 people were there. I heard from some reports that DFA serves more than 3,000 people at any given day. Most are Overseas Filipino Workers, our modern heroes.

What is more interesting is that he just swooped his way out of the line and handed over our documents to the lady personnel! I felt so embarrassed especially when piercing glances stared upon us as we walk passed through them. But Renato was adamant. He just gave his killer smile to the lady and bang! She took our documents, checked the contents, placed a stamp pad and stapled the paper of our scheduled return, all within two minutes. Now that was fast! I know I should feel guilty. But come to think of it, I shouldn’t. Disabled people and senior citizens are provided special courtesy lane. Ervin is disabled. But I’m not. Well, who would know? That’s the perk of having an insider. hehehe

Rona May (2nd from left) assists passport applicants.
Rona May (2nd from left) assists passport applicants.

Afterwards, Renato toured us to his work place. We went pass through countless guards. Due to the huge applicants’ turnout, the spacious auditorium hall was used for the processing of passport. Their tables are lined up on three corners of a square while all the people are in the middle seated comfortably again in snake-like fashion. He introduced me to the office assigned interpreter, Ms. Connie Remetio. She was cordial and, as I was told, very helpful to the deaf group.

In all, around 13 deaf persons are working at DFA. Most of them came from MCCID with the rest coming from other schools. Hiring more personnel was necessary due to the requirement of DFA for additional manpower in their consular services particularly their passport division. Starting last year, all passports to be issued by DFA will be machine readable which will bear the data about its holder.

Nova Foundation for the Differently Abled is the one in charge of providing personnel to DFA or for any government offices that needed manpower. MCCID has been their faithful partner since 1996. After our student graduates, they are given further training in corporate setting by Nova Foundation. Once they pass their standards, they provide them with job placements both in the foundation and in other companies. Some noted MCCID and Nova trained deaf employees include Marlene Pio (Head Proofreader), Lezzer Gonzales (PC technician) and Gimar Aguillon (web designer).

To Nonito Visagar, Rona May Delos Reyes (my Goddaughter), Ma. Teresa Vicente, Rumijae Bubon, Emmanuel Cruz and of course to Renato Moran, I pray that you would be more faithful to your work. Love your work. It’s hard to find jobs especially for the deaf. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for you. Do your best!

To Nova Foundation and Department of Foreign Affairs, thank you very much for the wonderful chance you gave to our Filipino Deaf. God bless you and Mabuhay po kayo!

To know more about Nova Foundation, visit their site at www.novafoundation.ph. Their website is proudly made by our deaf student, Gimar. 🙂

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10 Things Filipinos Abroad Can Do To Help Our Country

I received this forwarded email from my other Yahoogroup which comprises Filipino Persons with Disabilities called This_Able_Phils. The message is very relevant and appropriate so I eagerly posted it in my blog. This one is written by Atty. Alex Lacson suggesting of ways in order for our 8 million great Overseas Filipino Workers (the nurses, doctors, seamen, caregivers, construction workers, engineers, IT operators) to bring back something for their country.

1. Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies, in our Philippines.

It is understandable for our OFW’s, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But please spend some of your vacation time and some of your dollars in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the peso. And ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.

2. Encourage and teach your relatives back home to be good citizens & good Filipinos.

Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They look up to you as a role model. They listen to every word you say. Please teach them to become good Filipinos, to become good citizens. They can start with my book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask them to help me spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them to “Buy local. Buy Pilipino.” A recent article in TIME Magazine said that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic nationalism – i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products.

3. All OFW’s, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats should do more during elections in RP.

In the next and all future elections, OFW’s, Balikbayans and Pinoy expats should do more by helping your relatives back home in choosing the right leaders – the national ones especially – for our country. Your relatives at home will listen to you. This means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the Internet and read the news so you’ll know which candidates should be elected to offices. There are organizations and websites which can help you decide.

If it is true that there are at least 8 million OFW’s all over the world now and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4 relatives, then the 8 million OFW’s have at least 32 million relatives back home in the Philippines. This means that the OFW’s and their families alone can determine the political leadership in the Philippines, our government, and eventually our nation as a whole.

4. Buy Pilipino, wherever you are in the world.

If you look at the Japanese and the (South) Koreans, wherever they are in the world, they buy and patronize their own products. They are like that too in the Philippines. That’s why there are so many Korean stores sprouting all over the country now. The Chinese, Thais and Malaysians are almost like them too, but in a less passionate manner.

We Filipinos have a preference for imported products – the so-called “colonial mentality” – believing that Spanish and American products, ideas and ways were better and superior and that ours were inferior.

But that’s history. Our Philippines is different now. There are many good Filipino companies with equally good Filipino products or brands. Look at Bayo, Kamiseta, Bench, Penshoppe, Jollibee, among others. In fact, some of the best branded products you see in New York, London and Italy are made in our Philippines.

Please be an ambassador of the Filipino, by wearing Pilipino. Show to your foreign spouses and officemates and to the world, the elegance of our culture and beauty of our people. All these things begin with each one of us.

5. Adopt a poor child as a scholar back home.

According to government sources, around 40% of our people are poor. But according to our bishops from CBCP, the figure is much higher than that, possibly at 53%. Since we have a population of almost 86 million now, imagine how many of that is 53%. Most of the poor are children, a great many of whom are out there in the streets, because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. My proposal is this – let’s adopt scholars among our poor street children.

World Vision is an international foundation which offers scholarship for poor children. It has been operating in the Philippines for years. It looks for 2 groups of persons – the first are those poor children who really want to study hard, and the second are those who have extra funds and are willing to sponsor 1 scholar for only P450 per month.

Yes, for only P450 a month, you can sponsor 1 scholar under World Vision. World Vision can give you the name, age, address and personal profile of your scholar so you can even mentor, visit, talk, or write to your scholar.

If there are 5 million Filipinos and OFW’s today who are all wiling to sponsor 1 child each under World Vision, that would mean 5 million poor children can be adopted as scholars. These scholars will have a better future and will someday become our partners in building our nation.

This could be one of the fastest paths to progress and social transformation in our country. And this is a very Christian way. Even Jesus Christ, who was born very poor in a manger, had to be adopted by Joseph.

6. Support a charitable organization.

There are many good charitable organizations that truly help build our Philippines to become a better place for all of us. Gawad Kalinga, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas Manila and World Vision, among others. These groups are beyond the dirt and mirth of politics.

Like most of us, you too are busy. Often, you will have not the time to help others. Charitable organizations are there to allow us to help others while we are busy. Every little help that you send will help one poor Filipino, often one poor child, in our country.

7. Teach your children about the Philippines, and to love it and its people.

Teach your children and your foreign spouses, wherever you are in the world, about our Philippines – the home of the Filipino people, and the birthplace of our race. Let your children and your foreign spouses hear it from you – that you appreciate and love our Philippines. Because if they hear and see it from you, their beloved, they too will appreciate and love our Philippines. Or they will find a way, sooner or later, to appreciate and love it, because of you. I see that all the time, everywhere, in practically all the fathers and mothers in this world. Their sons and daughters often carry and continue their parents’ loves, causes and advocacies.

If you make your children see and hear that you love our Philippines, believe me, someday your children will grow up with love and admiration for the Philippines in their hearts and minds.

8. Speak positively about our Philippines and our people.

Sure, there are things that will disappoint and dishearten you in the Philippines, especially if you look at our government and the politicians who run it and those businessmen whose companies earn so much but who pay very little to their employees.

But there are also many good things in our Philippines. We are a race capable of greatness and excellence, and you see this in the likes of Lea Salonga, Dr Josette Biyo, Diosdado Banatao, Efren Reyes, Ninoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, among many others. We are essentially a breed of honest people, and you see this in the likes of Nestor Sulpico, the Filipino driver in New York who, on 17 July 2004, drove 43 miles from New York to Connecticut, USA to return the US$80,000 worth of rare black pearls to his passenger who forgot it at the rear back seat of his taxi. We are a people of truly good hospitality even to strangers.

We are a very caring and forgiving people. There is so much humanity and Christianity in us as a people. I really believe that, someday, we can be one of the most beautiful peoples on earth.

Let us focus on our beauty and strengths, and build from there. You and all the Pinoy expats and OFW’s should be, and could be, the best ambassadors for our home country and people. Rafael Salas, the founder of the United Nations Population Fund, said that every Filipino is an ambassador of our country.

9. If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, teach them to save 15% or 20% of the funds.

If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, please teach them to save at least 15% or 20% of the funds. Please teach your relatives the importance of savings. These savings seem small at the start, but even only after 2 years of savings, they will see the growth of their savings and how fast these are growing.

Also teach them to take their savings away from reach and put them in high- yielding investments like mutual funds or treasury bonds. There are many good financial advisers in this area. Teach your relatives to consult one on a regular basis. The book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is good start. The book Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo by Filipino author Francisco Colayco is also very good.

These savings, if handled and invested wisely, could mean the financial independence of your relatives from you in the future, or even from themselves. Teach your relatives to live simply and not to spend so much on unnecessary consumer items. There is so much beauty in simplicity. There is so much elegance in modesty.

10. Invest in the Philippines.

Finally, if you have extra funds and are looking for ways to invest them, please invest in our Philippines. There are good investment advisers who can help. The Philippines is a growing market – an emerging market, in the language of international banks and financial institutions. If you have investment ideas that can cater to the basic needs and desires of these 86 million Filipinos, you will make it big in our Philippines.

But more than that, every cent or dime that you invest in the Philippines will help our people and our country. And when you do it, you become our partner in building our nation. You become a good Filipino. You become a hero of our country.

Globalpinoy Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises – Creating entrepreneurs from ordinary people

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