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This education graduate brings PH heroes to students

/ 01:14 AM June 11, 2013

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Instead of excerpts from the works of foreign poets and philosophers on the walls of classrooms, why not words of wisdom from homegrown heroes Dr. Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio and other defenders of Philippine freedom?

Such a shift would provide a stronger connection between Filipino heroes and students, and would deepen their patriotism, said Ian Christopher Alfonso, 22, who has designed several posters featuring quotes from Gregoria de Jesus, Apolinario Mabini, Manuel L. Quezon, Felipe Agoncillo, Marcelo del Pilar and Mariano Ponce, among other heroes.

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Measuring 12 inches by 18 inches each and showing the images and teachings of some 30 great Filipinos, the posters are distributed to schools, with each classroom getting two sets, said Alfonso, who uses part of his salary as a researcher for the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to underwrite the posters’ reproduction cost of P30 each.

‘Very colonial’

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Our classrooms have visual aids that are “very colonial,” observed Alfonso, an education graduate from Bulacan State University.

Making visual aids more relevant to Filipino students was an idea that blossomed when he joined members of Batch 2012 of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines for a community service program at Gawad Kalinga in Barangay (village) Tibagin, Tarlac City, Alfonso said.

“That’s when I thought of highlighting our very own heroes and their teachings,” he added.

For material, Alfonso dug into his files. In 2011, to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Rizal, he compiled 150 quotes attributed to the national hero.

“To fight boredom,” he worked on the digital layout of the words and images of Filipino heroes and uploaded some of the posters on the social networking site Facebook.

Facebook

“But not all students are on Facebook so I decided to reproduce the posters and give these to schools,” he said.

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He called his crusade “Project Saysay,” a term derived from kasaysayan or history, and a word that could also mean relevant (may kwenta), valuable (may halaga) or beneficial (may pakinabang).

Alfonso said he launched the project at Gawad Kalinga’s Sibol School in Tibagin on June 2. The next day, he gave the posters to St. Nicholas Academy in his native Macabebe, Pampanga province.

“This is my commitment as a youth who loves our country and fellow Filipinos,” Alfonso wrote in Filipino on his Facebook page.

So far, he has designed 30 posters and intends to do more.

Ambitious

“It’s ambitious but this will test the power of envisioning. My wish is for Project Saysay to reach all schools in the Philippines, both public and private. This will be realized, one step at a time,” he said.

He said at least three student leaders had connected with him on Facebook to register their support for the project.

“I’m going to do Project Saysay for life. It’s my own little share [for the country],” Alfonso said.

(Alfonso can be reached through [email protected] or www.facebook.com/psaysay.)

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TAGS: Education, Heroes, Ian Christopher Alfonso, People, Philippines
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