Outstanding teachers are poets and writers, too | Inquirer News

Outstanding teachers are poets and writers, too

(First of a series)

For the first time ever, most of the awardees in Metrobank’s Search for Outstanding Teachers hold doctorate degrees.


Aside from the professors at the college level, all four high school teacher awardees —and two out of four from grade school—have doctorates.


The ten outstanding teachers will be awarded at formal ceremonies on Sept. 5 at Metrobank Plaza, Makati City.


Enerio E. Ebisa of Doña Juana Actub Lluch Memorial Central School in Pala-o, Iligan City, has been teaching grade school math for 14 years. He has a doctorate

degree, but his activities have gone beyond math.

He has developed reading materials such as “Word Wheel,” “Hide and Seek Carousel” and “Flash Me” drill devices to help students with reading difficulties.

Ebisa attends research conferences and presents papers.  He conducted a study on information and communication technology skills of teachers in Iligan, which led teachers to integrate technology in their classes.


In the last several national elections, Ebisa served as chair of the Board of Election inspectors in the locality.

Juanito A. Merle of Talipan National High School in Pagbilao, Quezon, has been teaching math for 28 years.  His book “Math Plus” has been used by Grade 7 students in school. Aside from research in numeracy, Merle has also studied the effectivity of school examinations.

Values formation is dearest to Merle’s heart. One of 11 children, he started working early to help his parents, who were fisherfolk.

Merle’s faith in God is boundless. Once, he informed parents of their children’s wrongdoing. Although he was almost killed in a revenge shooting, he was confident he did the right thing and his faith in God was reaffirmed.

Merle dedicated himself to helping the marginalized. Even pursuing a doctorate degree was part of his goal to help those in need. Several of his students are now professors, missionaries, religious, even mayors.


Jesus C. Insilada of Alcarde-Gustilo Memorial National High School in Calinog, Iloilo, has been teaching English and literature for 11 years. Hailing from the proud Panay Bukidnon tribe, Insilada strived to finish his doctorate in education. He realized “how powerful teaching is in shaping the minds of indigenous peoples.”

A writer at heart, Insilada’s collection of poems, “Ang Mamalaybay Kon Maghigugma,” won the 2013 Peter Nery Prize for Poetry. His novels “Panubok,” “Ang Gugma ni Valentina” and “Mga Alibangbang sa Handurawan” were serialized in national publications and adopted by the Department of Education Region VI as references.

Aside from doing workbooks, Insilada helped in the publication of a Hiligaynon grammar guide and a compilation of Hiligaynon writings. An English-Hiligaynon dictionary will be out soon.

Matrose P. Galarion of Angeles City National High School in Angeles City, Pampanga, has been teaching English for 15 years. With her doctorate degree, Galarion has developed modules in grammar and strategic intervention materials in literature, such as big books, accordion books and puzzles.

She has done action research to analyze factors that influence drop-out rates and student attitude toward literature.

Galarion has a cyst in her spine and suffers temporary paralysis of the whole body when she sleeps at night. But knowing that every morning her “students are waiting” for her, she is always ready to give her best.

Allan Moore S. Cabrillas of San Jose West Central School in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, has been teaching English and literature for 15 years. His materials, such as the 8 Parts of Speech Cube, patterned after the iconic game Rubik’s Cube, and a grammar workbook, have helped students learn better the mechanics of language.

A doctorate degree-holder, Cabrillas does not only teach. He does research to help improve student learning.

After studying National Achievement Test results in 2007 and 2008, Cabrillas recommended programs like Project CLEEMS (Concentrated Learning Encounter in English, Math and Science) to increase learner proficiency in these areas.

In 2012, he analyzed student reading skills, paving the way for the creation of his school’s Reading Center.

“Teaching is an effective mechanism for personal transformation,” says Cabrillas. “It [gives] learners opportunities to experience change and realize their potential.”

Anna Bella F. Abellera of Naga Central School I in Naga City, Camarines Sur, has been teaching English for 18 years. She has coauthored and edited grade school workbooks with the help of the Naga City government and Ford Foundation.

The books “address equity in instruction, ensuring that [they] cater to all levels of learners while allowing teachers to devote more time to preparing instructional materials and facilitating teaching-learning situations,” says Abellera.

Through the reading program LEAP (Love for Extensive Academic Progress through Reading), Abellera aims to help struggling readers “graduate from the frustration and instructional levels.” She has succeeded: Student English proficiency has increased by almost 10 percent.

Abellera’s achievements are all the more remarkable because she is an epileptic. This courageous and creative teacher says, “In the face of adversity, I find a great opportunity to challenge and prove myself.”

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(To be continued next week)

E-mail the author at [email protected].

TAGS: awardees, Learning

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