CDO Bloggers, Event Organizing, Speaking Engagement

Hosting the Smart PayITForward Event

Smart PayITFwdI am just completely blessed this year with speaking engagements. Aside from giving talks to the Social Media Influencers Summit 2013 last March, Blogging 101 and the Social Media Day 2013 initiated by the CDO Bloggers, I have been tasked by Smart to host the PayITForward event in Northern Mindanao. Thank you Smart Communications!

Hosting this event was really exciting as I get to introduce the speakers who submitted their projects that volunteerism, cultural identity, women empowerment and community. PayITForward is a social community project of Smart Communications that aims to enable nation building by increasing access to technology.

The following individuals and groups have presented to the press and bloggers during the PayITForward presentation:

Jerome Torres of CDO Street Tutorial Advocacy, Inc.

First off we have Jerome Torres of CDO Street Tutorial Advocacy, Inc. they are a group composed of students & professionals, who hold volunteer tutorial activities twice a week at the Magsaysay Park, Divisoria, CDO. Since September 2009, volunteers have been teaching street children Basic Math and English, from 7–8PM. CDO Street Tutorial Advocacy, Inc., was founded by Jerome Torres in 2009, when one of his friends celebrated his birthday by having a feeding session for street kids. There they saw the opportunity to teach these street children basic arithmetic and reading. Since then, they have invited other volunteers to share their time and knowledge, or sponsors to help them do supplemental feeding. You may visit their website at

Rhyan Casiño of Dire Husi Invitiatives, Inc.

We also have Rhyan Casiño of Dire Husi Invitiatives, Inc. Rhyan Casiño is a passionate advocate of cultural heritage. In 2008, he established a youth organization to revive indigenous culture: Dire Husi Initiatives, Inc. He developed a mentoring program for indigenous art, from crafts to music, which became a venue that enabled troubled youth to hone their talent & creativity. Fostering self-reliance and social responsibility, Rhyan envisions this group to become empowered artists who could compete both in the local and international arts scene. Dire Husi has since won the British Council’s I am a Changemaker grant and become a finalist in the TAYO Awards in 2009. In 2010, Dire Husi was also chosen to represent the youth sector for the National Anti-Poverty Commission. To know more about Dire Husi, visit

Esmerna Gabutina of Tinabuan Arts & Crafts

Ma’am Esme or Esmerna Gabutina of Tinabuan Arts & Crafts, a sinamay-making enterprise. In the late 90s, many of the women weavers in Lagonglong lost their jobs after fishermen stopped using abaca nets and opted for plastic ones instead. Seeing their plight Ms. Gabutina organized them, and, through the support of DTI, helped improve their skills not just to weave sinamay cloth, but to make bags, placemats, and accessories out of these. Now in her 70s, Ms. Gabutina continues her efforts to promote the skills of the women of Lagonglong. Tinabuan has grown to provide a decent living for the women, and is now the One Town One Product (OTOP) project of the municipality. More than just handling a successful enterprise, Ms. Gabutina has brought about change for the women of the municipality of Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental. Tinabuan Arts and Crafts is also on Facebook, check their works now!

Kris Gebe of Kuya Fish Campaign

The bubly Kris Gebe introduced Kuya Fish Campaign to us. Kuya Fish Campaign (“KFC”) is an empowered youth community that had its roots after Tropical Storm Sendong left Cagayan de Oro in a state of calamity. Japanese student Issey Tanaka saw the opportunity to help CDO and quickly organized an international volunteer campaign. Since then KFC has gone from giving donations to educating kids & building houses. Its projects include workshops to empower children, the latest one being “Tambol sa Kaugmaon” [Tambol Para sa Kinabukasan], a Book and Bag Drive in support of the Badjao Community and St. John Elementary School. Now a more sustainable advocacy, KFC aims to become a catalyst for community building, giving hope to the marginalized sectors of society, especially children. To know more about their projects, visit –

Winners of the PayITForward will recieve a1 Smart Bro pocket WiFi, 5 tablets, Smart Bro load worth Php 3,000.00 and a cash prize of Php 50,000.00 to further their projects. It was a night full of inspiration and hope. To the individuals and groups, Good luck! High five!

The first photo above was from by my fellow CDO Blogger, Ms. Karen Chayne Sanchez. She blogs

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