Southville 5-A National High School, a public secondary school in Biñan City bagged second place in the international SEA and ME Cultural Lecture, Presentation and Competition of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), besting 20 other participating teams on February 3.

Meanwhile Quezon National High School, also from Region IV-A CALABARZON was declared champion while Dato Jaafar Secondary School of Malaysia placed third.

The Biñan team was headed by Jerico F. Balmes, senior high school Master Teacher II, and composed of Grade 12 students John Cedrick Ellazo, John Dave Mabanta, Joanna Marie Bermas, Ednalyn Baldomino, Camille Cala-or, Jessel De la Cruz, Evelyn Banzuelo, Jenny Rose Katienza, Jon Marvin Zinampan, Philippee Alex Guzm,an and Samuel Bonita. They underwent a five-phase online meeting via Webex Teleconference System.

The contest centered on discussing cultural diversity and awareness with presentations and comparisons that started on December 1, 2017 to January 15 of this year.

Winning USD 200 and certificates, the group shared the Filipinos’ unique values, practices, cultural games and native delicacies in the final presentation.

Biñan City Schools Division Superintendent Hereberto Jose D. Miranda lauded the achievement of the students and teacher-participants. He highlighted the essence of experiencing borderless education as a 21st century approach to a far better teaching-learning process.

On the other hand, Balmes recounted the joys and even the struggles they had to go through while in the program but his passion to give his students other opportunities aside from teaching them lessons in the classroom prevailed.

“Upon learning about the program from Dr. Ophelia Veniegas, immediate past president of KaGuro Philippines. I took the effort of encouraging my students to join as I believed it was going to enrich my students’ learning,” he explained.

He added, “We also had tough times due to difficulties collaborating with partner schools in accomplishing some tasks but we still gave our best.”

One of the students, Mabanta expressed how worthwhile the activity was as he was able to meet students like him from across Southeast Asia and exchange ideas with them.

The SEA and ME program was conducted as a means to start the foundation of a multicultural worldview among students while highlighting the many similarities of cultures despite the seeming difference. (Jaypee E.  Lopo, SEPS-HRD, SDO Biñan City)