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A grand salute to Teachers

Many children dream of becoming doctors, lawyers, or engineers. Some who are artistically inclined see themselves as sculptors, pianists, or painters. Still others desire to be beauty queens, racecar drivers, or even poets. The beauty of youth is such that one feels anything and everything can be achieved. But nobody ever became anybody just by wishing it. In order to become adept at any chosen field, one has to learn from good teachers.

Give, Guide, Educate

Gabay Guro, the education flagship program of PLDT Smart foundation under the directive of Manuel V. Pangilinan, has been assisting “would be teachers” and full-fledged educators for the past nine years. “Beyond the numerous scholarships that we have given out, we try to include pillars depending on the teachers’needs. Over the years, we have included trainings, livelihood programs, provided computer labs and connectivity, built educational facilities and teachers’ housing. In addition, we have furnished tribute cards and held events like the annual Gabay GuroTeacherfest,” said founder and PLDT Smart CFO Chaye Cabal-Revilla. “The movement has improved the level of learning in the country. Education is a great equalizer. Educate a man and he has a bigger chance at having a better life.”

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  • Teachers gather outside MOA before the start of Gabay Guro Teacherfest 2016. (Manila Bulletin)
  • Lea Salonga and Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach share the stage with teacher Annielee Claud-Masongsong of Labo Elementary School, Mindoro Oriental. (Manila Bulletin)
  • MJ Lastimosa, Andre Wolff and Pops Fernandez hosted the show. (Manila Bulletin)
  • Singers Regine Velasquez, Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera serenade the audience.(Manila Bulletin)
  • Gabay Guro founder Chaye Cabal-Revilla greets the 20,000 teachers who attended the event.(Manila Bulletin)

In 2016, more significant programs have been implemented to further the foundation’s cause. A digital livelihood partnership with 51Talk (a company listed in the NYSE) was recently launched. The goal of the program is to supplement the teachers’ income by teaching English to Chinese and Korean students online. The tribute card has also been upgraded. Apart from the holder enjoying discounts at various retail partners, it can now be used as a beep card for LRT/MRT, buses, and other public means of transport.

Last Sunday, an estimated 20,000 teachers from all over the country gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena to take part in the grandest Gabay Guro Teacherfest to date. Raffle prizes included a house and lot, a van, four motorcycles,  laptops, cellphones, cash, and more. The biggest names in local tinseltown performed to the delight of the audience. The event was hosted by Pops Fernandez, MJ Lastimosa, and Andrew Wolff. Singers Vina Morales, Sam Concepcion, Michael Pangilinan, and the Divas rendered numbers that were all warmly received. Maine Mendoza and the Eat Bulaga gang brought the house down with their medley of song and dance numbers. Industry giants Martin Nievera (who was still jetlagged and had just come from the airport), Jaya, Regine Velasquez, and Ogie Olcasid each gave powerful performances. Gary Valeciano (with his son Gab and the Manoeuvers), who was celebrating his birthday that same day, shared his personal experiences as a student and how his teachers inspired him to take a different direction in his life. In the middle of his number, the lights were turned off and the crowd lit up their smartphones. To cap the day’s festivities, Broadway star and The Voice coach Lea  Salonga read the Teacher’s oath together with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.

What’s next for Gabay Guro? “The goal is to bring the program to all the regions of the country. Allow me to say that I’m truly proud of the core team and the more than 700 volunteers who tirelessly work to make this vision a reality. Gabay Guro has bonded all of us with our common love and deep appreciation for teachers,” ended Chaye.

Congratulations Gabay Guro on another successful event!

Here’s to the people who have helped us achieve our dreams and are now guiding our children in attaining theirs. Mabuhay kayo mga guro!