Posted on March 14, 2022

Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria

Fe. The chemical symbol for iron, the most-used metal.
Ate Fe. The name of our version of the iron woman, one of the most diligent workers in the campus.

Meet Fe Dalit, 40, a utility worker in Pisay for more than four years now. Currently assigned at the Administration Building, she is that familiar figure who seems to have unlimited stamina – sweeping here, mopping there, gardening here, wiping there, keeping surfaces to their most spotlessly clean state. And! Lifting a water-filled 5-gallon jug is just easy and effortless for her, Hidilyn Diaz just got a new apprentice right here!

Ate Fe’s typical working day begins at 6AM, an hour-and-a-half earlier than required. Before the employees in the Administration Building arrive, her early morning routine of cleaning the offices, corridors, conference room, pantries, and restrooms is almost over. No wonder, her dedication at work is translated in her performance evaluation rating of 4.84, substantiated by numerous positive remarks, a very satisfactory performance indeed, a testament to her diligence.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are her busiest days. While most employees conclude their eight-hour workday the moment they tap their index finger on the biometrics fingerprint scanner as early as 430PM, Ate Fe is just not done yet because a family is waiting for her to help them in cleaning the house, washing clothes, and doing other domestic tasks for them. Her busiest days end at around 7PM, the time when she finally switches her role from a worker to a wife and mother – such a huge sacrifice she does three times a week to earn extra income for her family.

In January 2020, she decided to leave Pisay for an opportunity to work overseas. Just as when she began working on her application, the pandemic put all her plans to a halt. With her employment in Pisay terminated, she needed to look for other means to earn a living. Her family moved to Alicia, Isabela and initiated a buy-and-sell business of locally produced vegetables, but their startup business ended too soon when strict transportation guidelines were imposed as a result of the pandemic.

Eventually, she and her family decided to go back to Nueva Vizcaya, and she was fortunate to be employed again in an agency in the province that deploys janitorial services for Pisay. But when she thought everything was going on very well, her husband and her mother became ill. The weight of this problem was no match to that 5-gallon water lift. The emotional struggle of seeing her loved ones in such frail conditions brought out her vulnerability. During this challenging episode of her life, Ate Fe is like iron: a hard but brittle substance. No matter how strong she is seen on the outside, she is also fragile on the inside – a character that makes this iron woman more human.

Her mother’s demise less than a year ago still breaks her heart. She wished she could have bought her a rocking chair that could have at least comforted her when she was still alive, but because of her struggle to make both ends meet, she had to set that aside and prioritize their basic needs. She wished she could have given her all she needed –a more comfortable life, medical care, attention, love – but her mother’s time was up. And Ate Fe knows nothing can ever fill that void.

Fortunately, her husband has finally recovered, and he is back in doing the things he used to do: farming, planting vegetables, taking care of their children while Ate Fe is at work, helping her with the household chores and other duties that help relieve Ate Fe after a long and exhausting day. And more importantly, they are back to their bonding moments as a family – spending an afternoon at the capitol grounds once or twice a month, enjoying the place in the company of one another.

As a mother of a 12-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy, Ate Fe is thankful that both her children are doing their school tasks independently, and they help her in the household chores, most especially during the days when she cannot accomplish all these because of the multiple tasks she does at work.

When asked what makes her happy, she said – TRABAHO. If she doesn’t work, she feels weak and sickly, precisely the reason why she is seen in campus to be always on the move, doing chores one after the other. Conversely, when asked what makes her sad, she simply said the absence of work, and in a joke, she quipped, “nu awan trabaho, awan kwarta.”

She realized it must have been God’s plan to not allow her to work overseas – because she would have carried that guilt of losing her mother while she was away, and because her husband and her children need her more than what she could earn abroad.

Looking at the way she performs her duties, and how passionate she is with her work, one would wonder where in the world does she get all the strength to do such physically demanding tasks. She said it is a trait she got form her parents – their industry, their hard work, their diligence. Inside that petite frame is that incredible strength and tough character that forge her unique WOMANNESS.

Meet Ate Fe. More than a utility worker, she is a sister, a friend, a wife, a mother.
A FeMale. An Iron Woman.

Posted on March 14, 2022
by Maria Jessica O. Villantes

Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria

Sa araw-araw at ‘di mabilang na pagsibol ng bawat umaga, isa siyang malayang wawagayway at masayang aawit anuman ang timpla ng ihip ng hangin.

Sa pagsapit ng alas siyete ng umaga ay makikita na siyang nagbabanat ng buto habang nakaupo sa harap ng Academic Building 1, tahimik na pinapakiramdaman ang paligid habang nakangiting bubungad sa mga nagsisidatingan sabay sulat sa makapal niyang kuwaderno ang oras ng pagpasok ng bawat empleyado. Kapagdaka'y maririnig na ang bawat yabag ng kanyang itim at makinis na sapatos sa tuwing nilalakad ang pasilyo o kaya naman ang kanyang pagtakbo kapag nagmamadaling iparating ang anunsyo. Ngunit, pagpatak ng alas tres ng hapon, ibang yabag na ang maririnig sa building na yaon.

Tapos na ang duty ni Lady Guard.

Ang isang butihing ina mula sa Masoc, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya na si Gng. Jemalyn B. Cabatic o mas kilala bilang “Lady Guard” o “Ate Jema” ay apat na taon nang naninilbihan sa Philippine Science High School-Cagayan Valley Campus (PSHS-CVC) bilang lady security guard. Nagsimula siya noong Nobyembre 2017 sa edad na 35.

Bunga ng panghihikayat sa kanya ng kapatid na mag-apply sa Arem Security Agency noong Oktubre 2017 at ang hangaring mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang pamilya ay pinasok nga ni Gng. Cabatic ang trabahong ito.

Matapang niyang araw-araw na itinatawid ang seguridad ng bawat isa. Mabusisi niyang sinisiyasat at inaayos ang paligid upang ligtas gamitin, handang-handa siya sa anumang banta ng panganib, at ibinabahagi niya ang magaang atmospera sa bawat pagwagayway maging sa kanyang nakangiting mga mata at labi.

”Kahit anong hirap, huwag pababayaan ang sarili. Bigyan ang sarili ng sapat na oras. Tumayo, tumindig at lumaban lang.”

Laging baon ni Gng. Cabatic ang mga payong ito na ipinunla pa ng kanyang lola noong siya ay paslit pa lamang. Kung kaya't ‘di alintana sa kanya ang pagod at hirap na dala ng trabaho o anumang bigat na dumarating sa kaniyang buhay.

Para sa kanya, hindi siya naiiba sa lahat- hindi naiiba ang lady security guard na katulad niya sa lahat sapagkat matapang niyang ginagampanan ang kanyang tungkulin, lubos na ipinapamalas ang pagmamahal sa trabaho at higit sa lahat ay may malakas na pananalig sa Diyos. Nagpapasalamat siya sa pagkakataon at pag-aarugang iginagawad ng PSHS-CVC sa kanya at sa kanyang mga kasamahan. Ayon sa kaniya, hindi siya itinuturing na iba at ipinararamdam ang pagmamahal bilang isang miyembro ng pamilya.

Hindi nasusukat sa kasarian o pisikal na kaanyuan ng isang tao ang kakayahang maglingkod at masigurado ang seguridad ng bawat isa. Isa si Gng. Cabatic sa manggagawang Juana na kayang harapin ang anumang responsibilidad, sa loob o labas man ng tahanan. Buong-tapang niyang ipinagmamalaki na isa siyang ilaw ng tahanan at haligi na proprotekta sa kaligtasan ng bawat isa sa paaralan.

Sa araw-araw na pakikibaka ni Gng. Cabatic ay patuloy siyang sumasabay sa bawat pag-ihip ng hangin katulad ng pagtugma sa bawat liriko at tono sa kanyang pag-awit. Anuman ang timpla ng panahon, gaano man kahina o kalakas ang hangin, sasayawan niya ito tulad ng isang ibong malayang naglalakbay sa himpapawid.

Posted on March 10, 2022
by Christine V. Ordinario

Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria

After almost two years of conducting remote and online classes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Philippine Science High School – Cagayan Valley Campus (PSHC-CVC) has re-opened for limited in-person classes.

The first batch of participants is composed of 70 out of the 120 Grade 8 students who will participate in the limited in-person classes from February 28, 2022 to March 15, 2022.

The 70 students were divided into four sections and each section was assigned to a room larger than the usual classroom in compliance with health standards and protocols.

“I believed that with in-person classes, there will be more interaction with the teachers and my classmates and help me focus more on class.” Said Grade 8 scholar Ethan Bautista from Diffun, Quirino.

“With this pilot in-person class, I got to meet my online friends for the first time and got to make great memories with them,” he added.

The approval to hold in-person classes was a result of the careful preparation of the campus and strict compliance with health standards and protocols imposed by health authorities.

Mr. Erick John H. Marmol, the Campus Director, said one of the goals of PSHS-CVC was to transition to the new normal, hence the implementation of the in-person classes.

“Through the leadership of the PSHS Board of Trustees (BOT), the clear direction set by Executive Director Lilia T. Habacon, steadfast and prompt actions of the Executive Committee (EXECOM), PSHS was able to craft the guidelines for Limited In-person Classes. It was approved by the National IATF,” explained Mr. Marmol.

The PSHSS Board of Trustees (BOT) has approved the framework of implementation which will guide the 16 campus in the pilot tests and eventually endorsed to and approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The said guidelines included a comprehensive nine-layer prevention strategies to ensure the safe conduct of in-person instruction. These are curriculum and instruction, health and safety, occupancy management, crowd management, communication and coordination, scenario plans, surveillance and referral, logistics and procurement, and monitoring and evaluation.

Approval from the national, regional and Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases was also secured with the final physical evaluation of the school by the Department of Health (DOH) Region 2, Local Government Unit (LGU) and Municipal Health Office (MHO) – Bayombong.

Series of meetings and consultations were also conducted involving parents, faculty and staff, students and LGU.

“The preparation was tedious, but we were able to pull this off through collaboration and engagement of the school and the stakeholders. We are expecting for challenges during the implementation, but they will be part of our learning for us to transition to the new normal,” said Dr. Harold Gallo, SSD Chief.

Mr. Garry Jun Mayawin, the chief of the Curriculum and Instruction Division (CID), expressed his delight to this academic move. “This limited in-person classes filled the pedagogical void that the two years of pandemic has created. While online classes are considered flexible, face-to-face mode captures a more raw and authentic learning experience,” he said.

Believing that physical classes are indispensable and irreplaceable, Mr. Alvin Claine Viernes, one of the teachers of the Grade 8 students and handles Integrated Science 2 said, “two important benefits of in-person classes are conducive learning environments away from distractions and technical challenges and collaborative works with teachers, classmates, and friends.”

Ms. Roana Lee Caban-Gurat, Integrated Science 2 teacher, finds in-person class important in teaching essential laboratory skills and scientific attitudes since the teacher can guide them in actual class and give immediate feedback to the students.

She also added that another advantage of the in-person class is the teacher’s and students’ strong association of learning to the physical learning space, making teaching and learning more conducive.

The first batch of students for the in-person classes will be in the campus until March 18, 2022. The next batch will be the Grade 11 and Grade 12 students.

”I am requesting for the usual collaboration and support from our stakeholders as we transition towards the new normal in STEM Education. We have already surpassed the challenges brought by the pandemic and I am confident that we will be able to successfully re-open our doors for our scholars. The best thing for us to do is to be optimistic about the possibilities. Our systematic way of thinking will enable us to formulate the best strategies, but our dedication and love for PSHS-CVC Community will keep us going," expressed Mr. Marmol.

Posted on March 10, 2022

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