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In the business of transforming lives

/ 12:06 AM December 11, 2012

MENDOZA-REMITILLA (middle) is dining supervisor at the Peninsula.

Punlaan School, a pioneer in Dual Training, firmly believes in holistic training, a comprehensive program for developing a person through education.

A key factor in achieving this goal is personal mentoring by experienced life coaches.

Equal weight is given to education in the faith and in spiritual life, a task entrusted to the Prelature of Opus Dei, an institution of the Catholic Church providing ordinary people the means to live their Christianity to the full in their daily lives.


Upon admission, a student receives lessons on how to appreciate the core values of life. This is the inspiration received from the founder of Opus Dei, St. Josemaria Escriva.

Established in 1975, Punlaan puts into practice the social doctrine of the Church—particularly the preferential option for the poor. Members of Opus Dei, with other women of goodwill, aim to provide women from the underprivileged sector the skills necessary to pursue a productive and meaningful work life in the food and beverage industry.

Each graduate is required to work two full years after graduation in the local industry, as an exercise in personal social responsibility, a way of giving back to the people who made it possible for them to pursue a career in the service industry.

BALTAZAR-LOCHER with her students

Graduates have not only given back to their benefactors but have also brought honor to their alma mater.

Mae Agnes Rusia-Mesina, 33, married and mother of one, won the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Most Outstanding Filipino Worker Award.

Jacqueline Noda, 31, single, has been part of the support team operating the Lismullin Hospitality Services Centre in County Meath, Ireland, since 2002.  The center won the Gold Award for Excellence in Accommodation Standards from the Irish Accommodation Services Institute.

To give back to her school, Elvira Mangaran-Silla, 35, married, spent two years as a culinary instructor at Punlaan while pursuing higher studies. Now a resident of Vancouver, Canada, where she works as a supervisor, she took up  Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Kristine Lou Baltazar-Locher, 28, is a part-time Culinary instructor at Holy Angel University in Angeles City. She and her husband, Italian-Swiss chef Chris Locher, put up the popular C Italian Restaurant in Clarkfield, Pampanga.


MANGARAN-SILLA is now a supervisor in Vancouver, Canada.

Diana Jacobo, 30 and single, is a waitress at Australian M.V. Pacific Dawn Cruises. She spent for her younger sister Danica’s education at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Danica, who  graduated cum laude, currently teaches history at Paref Rosehill School in Antipolo City.

Widow Liza Lasalita, mother of one, is now a pastry chef in a food establishment in Dubai while Lady Anne Peñalosa is now a flight stewardess for Emirates.

Theresa Mendoza-Remitilla, 32, is a dining supervisor of The Peninsula Manila.

Since it opened, Punlaan has graduated over 800 and saw their lives take a 180-degree turn through the education they received.

E-mail or go to 173 M. Paterno St., San Juan City, tel. 7270581 to 82.

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