INIIPONG BIYAYA

ni Fort Nicolas

Kuwento ng BPI, Espana

 

“Hanga ako sa mga estudyante ng massage therapy ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI),” ayon kay Ms Melani Villanueva. “Talagang dumadalo sila sa mga klase upang matuto.

Si Ms Villanueva ay ang manager of Retiro-Mayon branch, isa sa 16 na kasaping sangay ng Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) na may katawagang “Espana Group.”

Abot ang pagpuri niya kay Ms Lorelei Joy Amarillo, manager ng UST Branch ng BPI dahil umano sa husay niyang pumili benepisyaryo ng Espana Group sa taong 2017.

Nakapanayam ng Kapatiran Newsletter si Ms Villanueva dahil nagkataon na dumalaw ito sa KKFI Compound isang araw upang mag-obserba sa isang klase ng massage therapy, kung saan ang nagtuturo ay si Ate Lilia Bejer.

Ipinaliwanag niya na taun-taon ay pumipili ang Espana Group ng isang institusyon upang tulungan bilang “corporate social responsibility” ng Ayala Group of Companies, kung saan kabilang ang BPI.

Ipinagsasama-sama umano ng mga empleyado ng 16 na sangay ng BPI sa Espana Area ang kanilang mga personal na kontribusyon at ang kabuuan nito ay itinutulong sa napiling institusyon ng kawang-gawa. Isang pagpapala mula sa Panginoon na mapili ang KKFI bilang benepisyaryo nila.

“Natutuwa ako na mga estudyante ng massage therapy ang tinutulungan namin dahil malaki ang maitutulong nga mga graduate ng training sa sitwasyong pangkalusugan ng mga komunidad nila,” banggit ni Ms Villanueva. “If there’s no doctor around, they are there who are willing and able to help.”

Ikalawang batch na ng trainees ang naobserbahan niya. Sa unang training, na ginanap sa pagitan ng Abril 1 at Hunyo 3, 2017, ay nakapagpatapos ng 25 bagong massage therapist. Naging possible ang ikalawang pagsasanay nang mapili ng BPI bilang natatanging proyekto ang ginawa ng Espana Area.

Bilang awardee ng Bayanihan Para sa Inang Bayan (BPI Bayan), binigyan ng P50,000 ang Espana Area bilang premyo. Ang halaga ay bukas-palad ng inihandog ng Espana Area upang magkaroon ng ikalawang training, na 20 trainees naman ang nabibiyayaan.

Ang mga kasapi ng ikalawang batch ay makakaasang may dulot na benepisyo ang kanilang ginagawang pagsisikap. Tingnan na lamang nila ang mga pagbabago sa buhay ni Allan Eugenio, 21, na kabilang sa unang batch.

“Napapakinabangan ko na po ang natutunan ko,” ani Allan. Nagho-home service na po ako at kumikita ng mula sa P300 hanggang P400 isang araw.”

Siyempre pa, masayang-masaya ang mga magulang ni Allan. Ang pangaral nila sa anak ay pagbutihin ang trabaho upang umasenso at di masayang ang di-inaasahang oportunidad.

Ito nga mismo ang intensyon ni Allan sapagkat matayog ang pangarap niya. Dahil sa kumikita na, plano niyang magtapos ng Computer Engineering course.

Si Allan ang ehemplo ng mga taong nais tulungan ng BPI. Sana nga ay marami pang matulungan ang proyekto nitong BPI Bayan.

Nang itanong ng Kapatiran kay Ms Villanueva kung maaaring manalo muli, sa ibang taon naman, ang KKFI, ganito ang sagot niya: “So far, walang repeat winner, pero dahil maraming programa ang KKFI na maraming magagawa, hindi ko rin masasabing hindi magkakaroon ng repeat winner.”

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TUNGO SA MALIGAYANG PAMAYANAN

ni Fort Nicolas

Kuwento ng Manila North Cemetery

Namimili ng mga bote ng Emperador, Ginebra San Miguel at iba pang alak si Aling Dolores “Dory” Cruz, 58, upang kumita. Ipinagbibili niya ang mga ito sa mismong mga pabrikang gumagawa ng mga ito.

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Aling Dolores “Dory” Cruz, (kanan) kasama si Ma’am Nancy Nicolas (KKFI Executive Director), Rev. Oly Marcoas at Henry Kibambe.

Bukod sa pamimili at pagbebenta ng bote ay may sari-sari store si Aling Dory. Kung anu-anong produktong de-lata, softdrinks, kape, tinapay, shampoo, alak at marami pang iba ang ibinibenta niya rito.

Ang dalawang negosyong ito, na parehong nakabase sa Manila North Cemetery, ang ipinambubuhay niya sa kanilang mag-asawa. Bagama’t may tatlo siyang anak sa kanyang unang asawa ay malalaki na ito at may kanya-kanya nang pamilya.

“Ipinaiikot-ikot ko lang ang kinikita ko sa dalawa kong negosyo,” ani Aling Dory. “Sapat lang, ngunit kung sakaling may kaunting sobra ay iniipon ko ito.”

Sari-sari store din ang negosyo ni Aling Adenita “Nita” Benevidez. Kumikita siya sa pagbebenta ng kandila at softdrinks higit sa ibang produkto. Tulad ni Aling Dory ay mag-asawa na lang nabubuhay sina Aling Nita. Pero, hindi tulad ng kaso ni Aling Dory, may kasama pang iba si Aling Nita, ang tatlong pinakamamahal niyang aso.

“Magastos ang mag-alaga ng mga aso,” pabirong pagrereklamo ni Aling Nita. “Aba’y singkwento pesos ang gastos ko tuwing kainan.”

Parehong benepisyaryo sina Aling Dory at Aling Nita ng bagong programa ng Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) na may katawagang, “Happy Wives, Happy Community.” Layon ng programang ito na matulungan sa paraang pinansyal ang kababaihan sa Manila North Cemetery na nagnanais na mag-negosyo o nais palawakin ang kanilang existing na negosyo.

Nang makapanayam ng manunulat na ito ang dalawa ay kababayad lamang nila ng balance ng una nilang ikot ng utang upang makautang silang muli sa pangalawang pagkakataon. Noong nakaraang Abril sila unang nakapangutang sa KKFI.

“Minabuti na naming kumpletuhin ang bayad sa unang ikot para tamang-tama ay mas malaki ang kapital namin ngayong malapit na ang Undas,” paliwanag ni Aling Dory. “Malaki ang kita ng mga negosyo sa Manila North tuwing Undas!”

Natutuwa umano sila sa bagong programa ng KKFI sapagkat di-hamak na maluwag silang nakapagbabayad sa pagkakautang.

“Dati-rati,” ani Aling Nita, “ay mabigat dahil ang inuutang namin na P1,000 ay kailangang ibalik namin ang halagang P1,500 sa loob ng tatlong buwan. Kaya’t kung P5,000 ang inutang namin, P7,500 ang ibabalik.”

Malayo umano ang nangyayari sa “Happy Wives, Happy Community” ng KKFI. Sa hiniram na P5,000, ibabalik lamang nila ang halagang P5,500 sa loob ng anim na buwan.

“Ang kainaman nito ay naniningil lamang sila tuwing weekend at hindi araw-araw tulad ng iba,” ani Aling Nita. “Napapaikot namin sa buong linggo ang kinikita namin.”

Ngunit inamin nilang hindi madali ang pumaloob sa programang ito ng KKFI. Kailangang mag-seminar muna ng apat na buwan upang matutunan ang pagtitipid at wastong pagpapalakad ng negosyo.

Kaya’t abot-abot ang kanilang pasasalamat kay Vicente “Vince” Eliver, ang social worker ng KKFI nan aka-assign bilang project coordinator ng “Happy Wife, Happy Community” Program.

Aniya, wala pang isang taon ang itinatakbo ng proyekto, na naimplementa dahil sa ibinigay na pondo ng United Methodist Women na kabase sa New York City sa Estados Unidos.

Napagtanto ni Vince na “challenging” pala ang pagsisimula ng lending business. Bago masimulan ay maraming dapat ihanda, tulad ng iba’t ibang dokumento, ang listahan ng criteria ng maaaring humiram at ang iskima (scheme) ng kabuuang programa.

Pangunahin umanong nais tulungan ng programa ang mga miyembro ng Samahan ng mga Manggagawa at Tagapangalaga sa Norte (Samantaganor), isang organisadong samahan ng mga manggagawa. Pangalawa ay ang mga magulang ng mga estudyante ng Alternative Learning System (ALS), day-care school at Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) na iniimplementa ng KKFI at mga iskolar nito.

Naglalayon ang programa na mabigyan ang mga magulang ng mga aktibidad na makadaragdag ng kinikita ng pamilya upang masuportahan nila ang pag-aaral ng kanilang mga anak.

Sinabi ni Vince na talagang mahirap ang simula ngunit sa unang batch na 13 nakapasang benepisyaryo ay may limang fully paid na, apat na kaunti na lang ang balance at apat na 30 porsyento pa lamang ang naihuhulog.

“Kapag may pera naman ay kusa silang nagpupunta sa kanilang ang ingat-yaman na si Aling Nita,” ani Vince.

Sa hinaharap ay nais ng KKFI na maging isang kooperatiba ang mga benepisyaryo at sila na mismo ang nagsisinop at namamahala ng nasabing pondo.

“Kailangan silang i-empower,” ani Vince.

Hindi lamang “economic empowerment” ang nararanasan nina Aling Dory, Aling Nita at mga kasamahan nila.

Mayroon din silang Bible study na sinimulan ng United Methodist Church (UMC) na nagpabago sa pananaw nila sa buhay. Halimbawa, aminado si Aling Dory na sugarol siya dati kaya parati silang nag-aaway ng kanyang asawa. Nagbago na umano siya. Nagbago rin ang relasyon nilang mag-asawa na naging matiwasay na.

Kaya’t ngayon, si Aling Dory at iba pa niyang kasamahan ay tunay na “happy wives.”

THIS CEMETERY IS FOR THE DEAD … AND THE LIVING

By Bellarme Milosi Lumbwe

 

Cemeteries are supposed to be where the dead are placed to rest in peace. That is the common and widely accepted knowledge among many of us, including myself… That is, until lately. When I came to the Philippines, I discovered that there can be life in a cemetery. If ever you visit this country, you might come across Manila North Cemetery (MNC).

I have been to Congo, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and even the US of A and witnessed how people struggle with life, but not to the extent of spending it in a cemetery.

Manila North Cemetery sounds like a place for the dead. Well, that’s true, but with a slight difference to the common notion. Amid the daily burial ceremonies and practices there, people were also going about their own lives—working, eating together, celebrating special family occasions, courting a person you are attracted and all the rest of normal human activities.

I was told the relatives of the dead have to pay people to watch over and maintain the family grave, or else the grave might be transformed into somebody’s house.

There are many sorts of reasons why the poor people of Manila prefer to live there. The lot is free and there is available water, albeit unsafe. One can also avail of free electricity; all it takes is the gut and some climbing and electrical skills to tap illegally in an actual electrical post.

What I’m telling you is true and I have seen it with my own eyes. People choose to stay in MNC for a reason—they have raised their families there and to look for another place to stay is tantamount to uprooting their children from their natural habitat.

It is true that children did not choose to be born there. In fact, it is not a very safe place to raise children and families. And the dangers are very real.

Is there anything which can be done? For sure, yes! Throughout the Bible, God encourages His children to serve others. I purposely avoid to use the term “helping others” but I choose “serving others” because as Jesus Christ said in Matthew 25: 40: “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

Since it is unthinkable for us to help Jesus, we should instead serve others with our talents, resources, and energies.

You can choose to serve others on your own; that’s will still be fine with God, I think. But sometimes, you might choose to join other people or organizations to serve others, especially when you have seen them at work, sustaining lives of people in such areas.

You can join hands with us at Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) to serve others through various programs that the organization implement in this community. Here are some active programs which KKFI runs in MNC to bring hope to the hopeless one, the Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP), Child Development Center (CDC), Alternative Learning System and the newly implemented program “Happy Wives, Happy Community.”

You are always welcome to join our service to God by serving others.

 

RISING FROM THE DEAD

by Glenda B. Gutierrez

 

“We now live outside of the cemetery,” says Anna B. Villegas, 32, apparently with proud air about her.

Anna is referring to the Manila North Cemetery (MNC), where her family used to live. To her and thousands of others who reside there, the life-goal has been to be able to own a house or at least rent a place outside of the MNC.

Anna’s dream came true because of the $4,000 livelihood grant that the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) received recently from the United Methodist Women (UMW).

On March 8, 2017, the grant was distributed to 13 recipients and Anna was one of them. She immediately bought a pedicab for her husband, Joselito, who now uses it to collect recyclable materials like plastic and glass bottles in Manila North Cemetery and neighboring communities.

Before acquiring the pedicab, the Villegas couple were caretakers of tombs in MNC.

“It was difficult living in the cemetery, especially when it rains and floods,” narrates Anna. “It is not safe there and there are a lot of drug addicts around.”

She says she and her family are now “happy to live in Caloocan City” albeit, still making both ends meet.

“Our monthly room rental is P2,000 plus P1,000 for electricity and water. My husband earns an average of P300-P400 a day, enough to meet the daily expenses,” she discloses, adding that Joselito works six days a week.

The Villegas family is blessed to receive a scholarship grant from a Korean national that benefits three of her four children, thereby augmenting the family income. She proudly says that her children are honor students: Krishen Keith Althea (Top 3), Kyle Dustin (Top 6) and Kristel Keith (Top 9). The youngest is yet to go to school.

Anna has her church, San Pancratio Parish in Caloocan City, for linking her to the generous Korean benefactor.

Anna wants the best for her family. Though she is a graduate of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Housekeeping Course, she wants to prioritize taking care of her family instead of working abroad.

She keeps on learning and has attended workshops on candle-making, fabric conditioner-making and dishwashing soap-making.

She is also a parent-leader of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) City Link since 2012.

Indeed, Anna is worth emulating. She and her husband continues to strive to improve their lives, and the first step came when they brought their family out of the cemetery.

 

HONORING GENERATIONS OF DORMITORY RESIDENTS

by Rev. Dr. Fe M. Torio

Text: Exodus 3:10, Deuteronomy 8:7-10, John 17:9-11,

I Corinthians 12:8-10, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11

 

 

The celebration of anniversaries enable us to remember the times in the past, the accomplishments of the present, and the dreams of the future. It is then a privilege and honor to have been a part of the past here at KKFI from 1978-1982, in hoping to be of help for its goals at present, and to p articipate as long as I am able for its dreams in the future, with God’s help.

For our message in this 67th anniversary, I would like to invite you to be blessed and grasp the challenge of being honoured. When I asked about the theme or main topic, the first would strike the most, “Honoring.” I said to myself: I don’t deserve to be honoured.

However, the situation in the Roman state in the time of Paul reminded me about something” Menenius Agrippa convinced the lower class in earlier Rome that although they are less noticeable members (like the stomach), they were necessary; the upper and lower classes had different roles but equal importance; also, the Stoics said that the universe was like a body; and that, Paul referred to the unity of the body not to keep one group down but to tell all the Christians in Corinth to respect and appreciate one another.

Just a solitary eye or foot is useless, so is any member of a foundation or church apart from other Christians.

First, each member has a measure of faith. (Romans 12:6-8)

Second, each members is commissioned to carry out a mission (Ephesians 4:11)

Third, each member is sent to go. (Exodus 3:10)

Fourth, each member is to receive honor and be blessed (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)

Let us consider the points one after the other before you are invited by sleep. This hour is an holy hour. Just wake up when time comes for us to bond together for our favourite activity in our dorm events: Eating time. Yes, I remember fully that there is no activity without it. We always contribute for it.

 

First, each member has a measure of faith (Romans 12:6-8)

Each of us here has a measure of faith. Whatever then is our profession or has become of ourselves after we came from this institution, returning here to celebrate together again, is a measure of faith. We did what we can in proportions to our faith. What is faith? Faith gives us the important rules for life: to know ourselves, accept ourselves, to accept the gift that God gave us, and to use that gift as it is his or her bounded duty and his/her God-given privilege to make his/her own contribution to the common good.

We do not get very far in this world until we know what we can do and what we cannot do. An honest assessment of one’s own capabilities, without conceit and without false modesty, is one of the first essentials of a useful life.

We trusted this institution to help us fulfil our dreams. We have faith that we can make it, and we did! We have learned from our ups and downs in our studies, in our relationships with others – our fellow dorm residents, the staff and business office, our visitors, our school environment and all around us – how to handle them in connection to our daily needs, and in our growth towards maturity especially in stretching our time, cash allowances, as well as brains so that, we will succeed in our endeavour to  finish requirements on time and if late, prevent ourselves away from failure, the least that we would like to happen to us in our stay in the dorm.

And most of us, we have faith in God who guides and gives everything we need during our stay her through its ministry to each and every one of us, remember?

When somebody celebrates his/her birthday, we pray and sing for them; when one is sick, a dorm resident officer will offer a visit or prayer; when one’s allowance is delayed, the staff shared a hand to lift one’s predicament. The faith of each one is measured by meeting each one’s needs, and to God be the glory. You have been a part of these activities, you deserve the honor today.

Second, each member is commissioned to carry out a mission (Ephesians 4:11)

There is a spark of God in every living creature. Thus, you are commissioned to carry out a mission, as God has mission to love the world. Paul is saying here that a man must accept himself; but even if he finds that the contribution he has to offer will be unseen and unknown, without praise and without prominence, he must make that contribution, certain that it is essential, and that without it, life and the world can never be what they were meant to be. Our families, our workplace, our churches, name it and you have it, without YOU and I WHO SUBMITTED TO A MEASURE OF FAITH IN GOD, each one of us, LIFE AND THE WORLRD will never be WHAT THEY WERE MEANTH TO BE.

Sometime, I marvel why people had charisma. It is because God gave the gift to you, and thus, you are called to be an instrument to use such gift for those whom He loves and cares. Don’t you like that? We are commissioned to carry out a mission. Such mission is for you to discover and uncover. Maybe, some of us had been nearing the end of the fulfilment of such mission. Others maybe are still starting while still others, they are on the process of the full blast of accomplishing what had been entrusted to them. Whichever we belong, we are to be faithful in carrying them out.

Brothers and sisters, we share a common focus and basis of authority as bearer’s of Christ’s message, out mission. We are therefore sent to go.

Third, each member is sent to go (Exodus 3:10)

Paul is really saying that whatever gift a man has, that gift comes from God. He calls the gift charismata. In the New Testament, a charisma is something given to a man by God which the man himself could not have acquired or attained. It is a personal, individual gift given to him by God. In point of fact, life is like that. For example, a man might practice for a lifetime and yet never play the piano like Kentner or Pouishnoff. These men has more than practice; they have the something plus, the charisma which is the gift of God. Do you have that something plus? If you have, what would you do? We are sent to go! Our skills was not so much achieved as given. We owe it to God, and we need to use it. The motive to use such something plus should not be by our own personal prestige but the conviction to go and share to others in need, our neighbors.

Daily, we can share Christ to others so that they can know Him in their hearts. Daily, we can be bringers of service to our fellowmen in whatever way we can. Daily, we can spur others on to the joy of life in Christ by our encouragement. Daily, we can be simple and generous, delights in the sheer pleasure of giving for giving’s sake, without desire of gold or promise of self-satisfaction.  Daily, we can have sense of responsibility and zeal in their hearts. Daily, we can give grace through forgiveness, based on love and kindness.

Yes, daily, we go about our life as usual, but with a measure of faith, we are commissioned to carry out a mission to go. Ultimately, we are motivated and developed to go and be responsible daily.,

Fourth, each member is to receive honor and be blessed (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)

Were you able to watch MISSION POSSIBLE from 12 midnight to 12:30 last July 18? Yes, after sharing her experience of being widowed twice at the age of 19 and left with four children, and moved on with the help of ABS-CBN. What about that? What have we done this past 67 years or so? We do receive honor and be blessed by God.

Let us review the promise of God to the Israelites:

  1. A land of wheat and barley, vines and pomegranates and fig trees, olive trees, and honey
  2. A land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper
  3. You shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land He has given you.

These promises will be ours also as we continue to obey the voice of the LORD our God. What is the voice of God? Therefore, Go:

You and I should have a feeling of indebtedness to God. The more we recognize our indebtedness, that we are blessed and received honor, the deeper should we desire to share for that service, even if it meant death. In Philippines 1:21 Paul said: For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

My dear friends, fellow former dorm residents, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are endowed with the privilege to stay and be a part of this institution. We left successful with the courses we took and the life to chose. Now, we returned not only to reminisce and celebrate, but we are commissioned to carry on, keep on going, doing faithfully whatever had been entrusted to us to do by God.

With high technologies at present, still I believe we have a role to play in pursuing our dream for a better world. Let us have a share and participate for this goal. Our prayers, talents, resources, time and gifts – let us use to honor God above all.

Congratulations to one and all! May God continually bless us all, dorm residents and KKFI Family without them, we are helpless. Thank you again for giving yourselves unselfishly for us whom our parents entrusted to your care. May God empower you more, now and in the years to come.

Happy 6th anniversary.

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

NURTURING DORMITORY RESIDENTS THROUGH THE DECADES

by Goody Mercado
Chairperson, KKFI Board of Trustees

(This message was shared as the Welcome Remarks to the 67th Founding Anniversary of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. yesterday, July 20, 2017 where the management honored the dormitory residents from 1950 to 2005.)

 

KKFI anniversary celebrations have become an annual event that the members of the Board of Trustees and the staff look forward to. Every year, the management could think of twists that surprise everyone. I remember anniversary celebrations that recognized the past Executive Directors, Board members, loyal staff members, institutional and individual partners, and, last years, ALS passers.

This year, we are honouring an unsung hero in the whole scheme of things of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. I’m referring to the Kapatiran Dormitory. We honour, too, its staff, past and present. Together with them, of course, are the dormitory residents who, through their patronage of the Kapatiran dormitory, wittingly or unwittingly financed the social development programs of Kapatiran.

You see, 100 percent of the income of the Kapatiran dormitory goes to the budget for programs, which help various marginalized and underprivileged groups in Manila, Bulacan and other places. This is the day we recognize and honour them. Congratulations!

Our theme is, “Nurturing Dorm Residents through the Decades.” I wonder how many students and reviewers the Kapatiran dorm have housed through its 50 or 60 years of existence. And I wonder where they are now. They must be successful and rich by now. Wherever they are and whatever economic state they are in, I guess this anniversary celebration is for them.

This may also serve as a prayer that they will continue to enjoy health and life abundant wherever they may be. Now, to those who are presently here, I heard we are in for a big surprise. I believe the staff prepared something special for us. I heard this is not just a simple celebration but a feast! Not necessarily a feast of foods (although they have prepared delightful array of them), but of period songs and dances made to satisfy our ears and eyes. I guess they are determined to make this day truly unforgettable. We will see by the end of the day.

I do hope they won’t disappoint us. Am I jumping the gun on you, my dear staff members? I’m sorry.

Kidding aside, I welcome you all to the 67th founding anniversary of KKFI, otherwise known as our beloved Kapatiran. Under the leadership of Nancy, we expect more success, more abundance and more fun for many, many years to come!

Thank you and enjoy!

CELEBRATING LIFE

by Glenda B. Gutierrez

Mommy Elena Godito, who has been with the Day Center for Older Persons or “Day C” since 1989, always looks forward to anniversary celebrations of Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) for a special reason. “Day C members always present a special number during these celebrations,” Mommy Elena reveals. This year, however, she will not be able to join the group’s dance presentation “due to my age.”

But as in the past, she is still excited to witness this Thursday’s special event because “this time, it’s different.” The forthcoming 67th founding celebration of KKFI, to be held in the KKFI Compound on P. Paredes Street, Sampaloc, Manila, honours the “alumni” of KKFI dormitory who made the KKFI dorm their “home away from home” from 1950 to 2005.

To spice up celebration, the staff and program beneficiaries will perform popular dances from the 50s to the 90s. The Day C members, in particular, will do the 60s.

“I am both excited and nervous,” expresses Mommy Geneal “Jean” Santiago. “It is my first time to dance and I am not really good at it.”

But she and the group has been practicing religiously every Monday and Friday since the last week of May and she hopes their hard work will pay off come performance time. They are 16 in their group with Mommy Marietta “Mayette” Asedillo, 80, being the oldest and Ate Zenaida “Baby” Ordiz, 56, the youngest.

All of them say they are excited and will do their best. They say they are enjoying the practices because they discovered the real meaning of “teamwork.”

“We all help each other,” Mommy Mayette says in the vernacular. “Nobody reprimands anyone who commits a mistake.”

“There is unity here,” say Ate Baby. “I feel that I am safe with the Day C group. I feel I belong,” she added.

They are one in saying that the dance instructor/choreographer, Pio Llenado, is “the best.” They say he is patient, a good teacher and very supportive.

When told that those who saw them in practice have this opinion that they have more than a fair chance of winning the much-coveted first place, they could not believe it. They say they are just enjoying the camaraderie. Indeed, the Day C ladies are just having fun. They are celebrating life, meaning they are already winners this early. ####