Monika Dušková (Czech Republic): While tourguiding a group of Filipino travellers in her hometown of Český Krumlov, Monika was intrigued by the prospect of traveling to such an exotic-sounding place as the Philippines. When given the chance, Monika volunteered to teach at the HLC, sharing her knowledge of European and Czech history and culture through the HLC's Cultural Enhancement Program. Both Monika and the students enjoyed learning about Czech and Philippine history and appreciating the differences and the similarities of both cultures. She continued on with her travels after staying in the Philippines for almost a year, finally settling in Costa Rica while teaching English and working on a nature preserve.
Rozanno "Butch" Rufino (Philippines): From 2008-2010, Butch contributed significantly to the development of the HLC faculty, bringing with him his passion and expertise in education and professional development. At the time, he was working at the World Bank. He now works for AusAid Philippines and the Department of Education.
Gerry Parco (Philippines): Gerry shared his expertise and knowledge on global warming as a guest lecturer at the HLC in 2010. He contributed much to the understanding of such a critical and, at times, controversial issue such as global warming and shared some ideas for possible mitigation and adaptation activities. Gerry continues to work at the World Bank, Philippine office.
Harry Kawanda (Indonesia): "Been traveling for the past one and a half year and during my travel, as much as I can, I try to do something with the community. And working with HLC was one of the best moment in my life!" While with the Hotchkiss Foundation, Harry helped run some of the first Ecoscouting camps, as well as lead skill building workshops for some of the teachers at the HLC. And now, Harry is continuing his hard work by teaching English in Chile!
Lois Yasay (Philippines): Lois Yasay first came to the Hotchkiss Foundation in 2011. She gave inspirational talks on eco-tourism, travel, and environmental stewardship to the Ecoscouts of HLC. While there, she also conducted a leadership workshop for HLC's teachers. Lois now is a full-time travel blogger, who is constantly in search of the new adventure.
Tatit Quiblat (Philippines): At the November 2011 Eco-scouting camp, Tatit shared her knowledge about the Philippine's national bird - the Philippine Eagle (pithecophaga jefferyi) - and the state of the nation's rainforests. Through her in-depth lecture, the Eco-scouts also learned more about how they can directly help preserve our environment. Tatit was the Philippine Eagle Foundation's Communication Officer for 10 years. At present, she is focused on humanitarian efforts through her engagement with the International Red Cross.
RV Escatron (Philippines): Arvin C. Escatron has a combined 8-year experience in teaching and teacher training. He previously taught Primary School Reading and Language Arts at PAREF Springdale Private School for Boys. At present, he is the Coordinator for Program Development and Administration at Kalikasan Education Centre-Gandhi School of Korea. He earned his degree in Broadcast Media from the University of San Jose-Recoletos and Certificate in Teaching SPed from the University of San Carlos. He is currently enrolled in MA English (TESOL) at Silliman University. RV's first volunteer stint at HLC was in 2011 and, since then, he has continued to volunteer to host annual seminars for faculty development.
Chris A. Johns, Ph.D. (USA): Between undergraduate and graduate studies, Chris conducted environmental assessments for the Foundation's island biodiversity conservation program and helped design the management framework for a privately managed Marine Protected Area. Chris also worked on a number of video and media-related projects for the Hotchkiss Foundation. Chris currently has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Florida.
Khorie Cavile (Philippines): After receiving her Masters from Silliman University, Khorie worked with kids at the Hotchkiss Learning Center to prepare for university entrance exams and develop their creative writing skills through a number of activity-driven workshops. She is now based in Bacolod, where she continues to use her talent for teaching English at the college level.
Roxcy Wagner (USA): Roxcy came to the Hotchkiss Learning Center while on vacation in the Philippines. Her primary focus was to help kids prepare for university entrance exams, but she also helped to teach kids about career opportunities for young professionals. She is now based in the United States, where she is training to become a Doctor of Chiropractic.
James Betia (Philippines): James spent his time at the Hotchkiss Learning Center giving inspirational and informative talks to students about travel and culture in the Philippines. He keeps a successful website logging his journey as a travel writer.
Shannon M. Stanton, Ph.D. (USA): While visiting Cantilan on a personal trip in July 2012, she accepted an invitation from the HLC to observe the activities prepared by the students in celebration of Nutrition Month as well as to share her insight and professional expertise in the field of Child Development. Dr. Stanton received her Master's in Education from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently an Associate Professor in Education and Child Development at Whittier College in California, specializing in multicultural education. Her official biography states: "Teaching is her passion; as such her goal is to prepare teachers to service all children successfully. Her research agenda involves successful pedagogical practices with minority students, collaboration with the community, and how expectations impact student motivations."
Kuntaw Mindanao (Philippines): Upon special invitation by the Trustees of the Foundation, this group of local musicians specializing in Philippine indigenous music and dance conducted a workshop in August 2012. They shared their knowledge of different types of musical instruments including drums, the kubing, bamboo flutes, and the kulintang. They also conducted a session on an indigenous dance based on a Filipino martial art. The two-day workshop culminated in a musical and dance ensemble composed of the band and the HLC students. The band is based in Tagum, Davao del Norte.
Amihan sa Dahican, Pedro and Peter Plaza (Philippines): The Amihan boys provided a unique perspective to environmental conservation when they spoke to the HLC Eco-scouts about how completely dependent their group of surfing and skimboarding professionals was on the environment. Protecting the dugong, pawikan, and dolphins in Dahican, Mati, Davao Oriental was imperative as these creatures are so rare and contribute significantly to their province's eco-tourism agenda. Pedro and Peter conducted a lecture on environmental conservation, hosted a film showing, and a skimboarding workshop during their stay in Cantilan in September of 2012.
Mercedes Duran-Sindreu (Spain): Mercè contributed to the HLC's Cultural Enhancement Program by conducting lectures on Spanish and Mexican history, culture, food, and dance. She also shared her talents and skills in dance by holding beginners' classes for flamenco, salsa, and bellydancing. Until recently, Mercè was an advertising executive in Barcelona. At the moment, she and David are continuing their travels throughout the Philippines and the rest of Southeast Asia while documenting their experiences in their travel blog. She also keeps a cooking blog filled with recipes of international dishes.
David Douek (Switzerland): While traveling in the Philippines, David and Mercè found a way to do some volunteer work. While volunteering at the HLC through its Cultural Enhancement Program, he shared his love of history with the students. He conducted quick lectures on Spanish and Swiss history, culture, food, and music. As a self-confessed IT geek and business development and social media marketing professional, he also shared his expertise in those fields with the local community bank, Cantilan Bank.
Lia del Castillo and Janeca Racho (Philippines) of Diksyonaryo Atbp.: In 2012, Lia and Janeca visited HLC while traveling through Cantilan. Through their great initiative and the generosity of their NGO's donors, the school library received six balikbayan boxes worth of books. All the books are being put to great use especially during the read-along sessions for elementary students. Diksyonaryo Atbp. was started as a project in 2009 by broadcast journalist Lia Mañalac-Del Castillo with the aim of raising literacy levels in the Philippines, one child at a time. This year, Diksyonaryo Atbp. celebrates its fifth anniversary.
Larissa Gutsch (Germany) earned her degree in Art History from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. She is the Director for Cultural Affairs at Gandhi School-Kalikasan Education Centre. Concurrently, she teaches EFL, Humanities and Creativity classes at Kalikasan. While at HLC, Larissa conducted a "fun"shop on German culture where the kids learned basic German expressions, traditional songs, some history and geography, and even some dances.
Carl Rey Cabetingan (Philippines) was a member of the Philippine National Football Team between 2004-2006. He earned his license as FIFA football Coach from the University of St. La Salle-Bacolod. He is the Sports Coordinator and concurrently teaches Baking, Bartending, and coaches the Football Club at Gandhi School-Kalikasan Education Centre. He volunteered at HLC together with Larissa and RV in August 2013 where he taught futsal (indoor football) and frisbee to all HLC students from ages 7 to 16.
Benoit Ribeiro (France and Portugal) is a fixed wing UAV (drone) instructor for Lehmann Aviation and spends his life traveling anywhere in the world to train new pilots and achieve critical image acquisition missions. While at HLC, he discussed the basics about drones - how they fly, their purpose, and their advantages over regular manned aerial vehicles for specific purposes. The highlight of his visit at the school was an actual demo flight of one of his UAVs along the beach. The UAV was equipped with a high resolution camera and Ben took several pictures of the coastal area of Baybay Dos/Balwarte. What a unique experience it was for the students and faculty of HLC!
"I am always amazed to realize that I am staying in the Philippines since two years already. My lifestyle adjusted to the local culture, became somehow “normal” and is at the same time as exciting as it was when I arrived here. But one thing that I am realizing and appreciating every day is how enriching it is to experience and learn from and about another culture." - Larissa
"When the opportunity to volunteer at Hotchkiss Learning Center (HLC) presented itself, I was more than glad to take it. I shared a seminar-workshop in Effective Classroom Management with the nice mix of teachers at HLC before the start of the school year. The seminar which I facilitated was conducted at HLC's lovely campus by the river. Cantilan's long stretch of secluded and deserted beaches, beautiful islands, stunning surf, fresh seafood and wonderful people were enough rewards already. Thank you Gen. William and Tanya! More power!" - RV
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