Mandaue Chamber of Commerce project finalist in Italy world congress

caption: Editha Bonghanoy found P600 among trash at the Umapad dumpsite in Mandaue City. The amount enabled her to start a food business.

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Women in Need, Now Entrepreneurs and Rolemodels or WINNERS made it as a finalist to the 9th World Chambers Congress in Torino, Italy picked from 79 applications of 39 countries.

In an electronic correspondence, Alexandra Jercaianu, project officer of International Chambers of Commerce – World Chambers Federation in Paris, France congratulated the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry as WINNERS has been “selected as a finalist in the Best Non-Conventional Project category.”

A record number of 79 applications from 39 countries were received for the 2015 World Chambers Competition and that the full list of finalists in the said category are: Stavanger Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Norway), Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza (Spain), Calgary Chamber of Commerce (Canada), and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Philippines).

According to WINNERS project chairperson Ms. Carmel de Pio-Salvador, the chamber will be joining other finalists in front of WCF’s panel of international judges for a live presentation at the 9th World Chambers Congress from June 10 to 12, 2015 whereby a Q&A session will tackle the innovative nature of the project, the impact of the project on the chamber and or the business community; measurable outcomes (financial, business and job creation, participation rates, membership recruitment, people involvement); the relevance of the program in the target category, as well as potential for the project to be successfully adopted by other chambers of commerce throughout the world.

The “Search for WINNERS” was launched on July 26, 2011 at the Benedicto College Campus in Mandaue City. Now on its fifth season, the project is MCCI’s quest for model women micro-entrepreneurs from Mandaue City who are supporting their families and are struggling to rise from abject poverty through their business ventures. Their stories of perseverance and creativity, integrity and strength of character are to inspire other women to be empowered, says de Pio-Salvador.

Community development leaders validate the competence of these micro-entrepreneurs to represent barangays of Mandaue City. The finalists go through Basic Entrepreneurial Skills Training, Basic Banking, Formulation or Structuring of Business Plans, Personality Development, as well as Sponsors Tour wherein they gather more insights and perspectives in other traders’ business ventures.

“It is our goal to make the program a national advocacy. Women entrepreneurs today make up more than 50 percent of the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises, thus they should be given a place in national development,” de Pio-Salvador shared.

Editha Bonghanoy, for example, is scavenger turned entrepreneur.

Bonghanoy, a vendor from Barangay Umapad, lives near the city’s dumpsite. She used to survive on segregating trash that can be sold at junkshops, a way of life she, sort of, inherited from her mother. One day, while performing the backbreaking task of scavenging, she pulled out of the dump an envelop containing P600 (six hundred pesos) or roughly 14 US dollars (based on US$1 = P43 exchange), as of this writing.

Bonghanoy decided to leave scavenging behind by investing the money in a startup business. She started frying chicken parts like neck and feet which became a hit in the neighborhood. The crispy chicken business provided for her family decent meals, an opportunity to send her grandchildren to school, thereby nurturing hope that the blessing breaks the cycle of poverty in her family.###


Adventure educ center opens

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, newmedia specialist

Photo by

As learners put high premium on developing self-confidence, this ironically leads to more and more people talking — and talking only of themselves. This popular behavior outshines the value of trusting and relying on others to help one succeed.

Kool Adventure Camp, a flagship program of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. under its Leadership and Citizenship focus area, opens formally last August 2 to further train and retrain more learners on how their strengths, weaknesses and their personal mind maps affect others and their organizations as a whole. Activities simulate real-work scenarios and bring out the natural tendencies of individuals.

KAC is the first and only fully dedicated Adventure Education Center in the Philippines that seeks to equip organizations and individuals with the 3Cs – character, competence, and citizenship to be leaders of change, through powerful learning experiences.

Since it started in 1999, it has already conducted over 300 adventure programs to a total of 14,000 participants for both the youth development programs and professional development programs.

A classic 3-day Youth Adventure Camp, for example, offers fun learning environment that is conducive for personal growth and healthy interaction among peers. Participants learn to identify problems and plan solutions, listen respectfully to the ideas of others and offer their own, give and receive feedback constructively, practice physical and emotional safety, trust others and gain trust from others, take on new challenges outside of their comfort zone, celebrate success and learn from failure, and reflect on experience and how they apply to everyday life.

Mikeala Calamba, 16 years old, of the University of San Carlos High School, shared that her greatest feat so far is winning the 2013 World Taekwondo Championship. Through Kool Adventure Camp (KAC), she said, she learned to face the challenges and realized that anything is possible. “Training hard paid off. And that’s because I applied what I learned from KAC: becoming optimistic, more committed, more focused in what I do especially in my sports discipline. I trust that I can do something. I trust others that they may also help build our success,” she shared.

As for L-rej A. Awit, 12 years old, a Boy Scout and President of the Magis Society of the Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu, he mentioned that his unforgettable experience at KAC is that time they had to budget their money and use it to buy for provision. “We successfully did it and had more than enough left to give to the local community. It was an amazing feeling. My experience at KAC has given me self-confidence. I became more mature, more cautious in decision-making. I have now a broader picture of life.”

KAC Adventure Education Center is located at Km. 42 Transcentral Highway, Barangay Cansomoroy, Balamban, Cebu. It is about 1.5 hours drive to the west from Cebu City via the Central Cebu landscape.

It was designed and built with foremost consideration to creating a safe environment conducive to learning and interaction, on a 10-hectare property that features 28 challenge ropes course elements in four different clusters including the Challenge Hall with nine indoor CRC elements. Facilities include corporate cabins and youth bunks, a community dining hall, administrative hall, conference halls and learning rooms, as well as low initiatives area and reflection area. A medical center with standby ambulance is open 24 hours to respond to any emergencies.

It can accommodate 300 participants per day; the residential facilities can accommodate 64 participants in the corporate cabins and 156 in the youth bunks. There is also a tent area for outdoor camp programs that can hold about 50 participants.

A Challenge Ropes Course (CRC) consists of aesthetically designed series of ropes, cables and wood poles combined in such a way as to simulate challenges that might be found in a natural setting. The CRC is a tool in an experiential education program, offering groups and individuals the opportunity to participate in a series of activities involving mental, physical and emotional risk taking.

CRC programs assure of giving individuals the opportunity to increase their communication skills while becoming more resilient in overcoming self imposed limits and fears, while groups learn to be more interdependent and collaborative. Attempting and succeeding in this type of activity often gives one a feeling of accomplishment, self-worth, elation and recognition that seemingly impossible situations are in fact quite possible.

As for program cost, a three-day two-night CRC program for any public high school is up for a special subsidized training fee at Php600 per person inclusive of food and accommodation. This subsidy, according to RAFI President Roberto “Bobby” Aboitiz is a “concrete expression of RAFI’s commitment to making a significant contribution to the public school sector.”

For private schools and youth organizations, different rates apply depending on the kind of program availed. Corporate and professional course fees start at Php5,000 and depends on the program design and duration. Professional programs pay the full cost as the proceeds from these programs subsidize the youth programs.

However, the RAFI KAC Adventure Education Center does not rent out any of its facilities for special events or any corporate meetings or company parties. This is because it is an education center — not a recreation center. Administrators see to it that all activities in the center should be in line with KAC’s mission and vision.

Interested individuals and organizations may contact RAFI KAC at (032) 260-9000 local 1001 or email