19 students from Tiger City Phil benchmark in Kaohsiung, Taiwan

by Claire P. Tibar, Master Teacher, Andres Bonifacio Integrated School

The 19 student-Mandaleños sponsored by Edu-Connect Southeast Asia Association in cooperation with the Office of the Mayor visited various elementary, high school, and university in Kaohsiung, Taiwan as part of their Learning Trip from May 17-21.

“I was really amazed and gone speechless as I saw the school facilities. It was my first time to see in person the e-sports arena. The learning facilities are incomparable with what we have so far,” Fred Leian Robles of Andres Bonifacio Integrated School (ABIS) said.

Robles aired hopes too that the public schools in the Philippines would have the same facilities or even better than what he saw in Kaohsiung.

This learning travel is an educational collaboration to promote international university social responsibility (USR) program to implement UNSDGs and ADB Vision for Inclusive Education (IE) according to Dr. Yuan-Hsiang Chu, president of Edu-Connect.

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Further, the benchmark aims to promote educational partnership and brotherhood between Edu-Connect and the Mandaleños according to Dr. Chu.

The National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology (NKUST) has been working with the soon to operate Mandaluyong College of Science and Technology (MCST) for (IE) benefiting the underprivileged students in Barangay Addition Hills.

“The endeavor is in connection with the partnership of Kaohsiung and Mandaluyong to offer the selected students from nearby MCST means of exploring senior high school and university campuses in Taiwan,” Henry A. Sabidong, principal-delegate from ABIS.

Sabidong also emphasized the vision of Edu-Connect that education is a great equalizer to eradicate poverty and promote equality.

Meanwhile, the lead person who organized and ensured success of the educational travel Dr. Eing Ming Wu, chair professor of Shu-Te University of Kaohsiung, Taiwan shared his vision to the delegates.

“We will turn 19 seeds into 19 trees and build a small forest,” Dr. Wu stated during the delegates’ visit at National University of Kaohsiung (NUK).

Moreover, he encouraged the president of NUK Dr. Leon Shyne-Liang Wang to help him fulfill the vision.

Dr. Wang agreed and said that he will help turn the 19 needs not only as a small forest but as a big jungle.

The NUK and the other schools of Kaohsiung offered scholarships to well-performing students and motivated the student-delegates to grab opportunities to study internationally with all expense free.

Mandaluyong delegates also visited libraries such as Kaohsiung Main Public Library that amazed them and made them realized how Taiwanese students still value reading.

The public library is the largest in southern Taiwan built like a bookstore that attracted multitude of visitors as soon as it was opened in 2014.

“I am so overwhelmed with the collection of books their libraries have. I may not understand the texts as I skimmed some of the books but I believe that there is so much to learn from every piece of it,” Jericho Llarenas of Addition Hills Integrated School (AHIS) expressed.

“This is something I also pray we could have in the Philippines. A place to remind every learner that reading books is like travelling the world where you could get so much valuable experiences to make you better,” Edita C. Septimo, AHIS principal, affirmed.

More than anything else, the learning trip made the delegates learned the essence of English language to connect to people across countries according to Clarissa P. Tibar, teacher-delegate from ABIS.

“I have realized that English is truly a universal language that everyone must know. I thank God that we Filipinos can use the language a lot better than the others,” Julia Joy Manzano, student-delegate of Jose Fabella Memorial School (JFMS), said.

Our students have socialized with the Taiwanese students and felt the need to share with them how they learned English in school and even beyond the school premises explained Rosie A. Casono, assistant principal of JFMS.

Another memorable experience all the delegates felt dazzled with according to ABIS principal Sabidong was the demonstration of Taiwanese’s faith when attended a worship service.

“I will always remind myself that I am important, honored, beloved and blessed and I will share that idea to everyone when I return back home,” Sabidong stated after the Follow in God’s Heart and Truth.Kaohsiung (FIGHT.K) Christian fellowship they attended.

The learning trip truly provided the selected delegates new hopes, new friends, and new learning experiences that each will forever treasure and greatly remembered according to the principal of ABIS.

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