Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Teacher on Center Stage: Ana Maria Acevedo Bacudio (Part 1 of 2)

In my trip to Mindoro Oriental last month for a teacher training workshop there, I had the pleasure of meeting many interesting people in the teaching profession and in the advocacy for books and reading. One of them is Mrs. Ana Maria Acevedo Bacudio. She is a medical technologist, teacher, researcher, storyteller, poet, translator, proclaimer of God’s word, mother, wife and Project Leader-Storyteller of Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Poblacion, Baco, Oriental Mindoro.

This is her story.

What led you to the teaching profession and the advocacy for books and reading?

I am A Medical Technologist by profession, having worked at the Manila Health Department Public Health Laboratory for 27 years, I have reached the peak of my career. I rose from the rank and was awarded as Model Medical Technologist in 1995, I have done various researches on Tuberculosis and have presented them in different countries like Japan, Singapore, Berlin, Paris, Italy and USA. The turning point in my life is when God called  me to teach the street children of our community in Singalong Manila.

That was in 2006, when I was still working as Medical Technologist from Monday to Friday and my Saturdays and Sundays were intended for the street children. We started our Read along and storytelling activities in Oct 2006 at the garage of our house in Singalong Manila. When I saw the children’s faces yearning for stories, I realised that I must teach them how to read and that was the start of the Dagdag Dunong Project. We have only a few books, preloved by my daughter and I bought some storybooks. I did not only teach the children how to read but also how to pray. I feel like children too when I am with the street children. I laugh like they did, play, pray  and read with them too. When I retired from government service in 2014, I shifted to teaching as my secondary profession. I handle and teach all major board based subjects of BS Medical Technology at Centro Escolar University in Mendiola, College of the Holy Spirit Manila and Family Clinic Inc.

Ana Bacudio with Mangyan chidlren in Baco, Oriental Mindoro
In teaching college students, I have shared the knowledge, skills and experiences that I have gained as Medical Technologist and  it is rewarding and joyful experience when I see them pass the board examination and practice their profession. I am paid for teaching them.

Whenever I  teach  the street children who are all smelly and lice infested, I feel so happy and fulfilled  when I see them smile and hug me after reading them stories, much more when I teach them  the rosary, grace before meals and prayer to their guardian angel. Everything that the children asked in prayers, the Lord provides. Teaching the street children how to read, pray and become God fearing earned me several awards like Outstanding Women Leader in Manila in 2008, Talk and Text Tipid Sulit Idol in Education 2010, Humanitarian and Apostolic Service, Outstanding Alumni of the College of the Holy Spirit Manila 2013. But even without these awards I will still continue to teach because it is  my calling and my way of worshipping God.

How did you start building the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in San Andres, Manila?

Together with my husband, we founded and established the Dagdag Dunong Reading Center a non-profit, non-government purely voluntary organization with  permanent address at 1191 Arellano Street, Singalong, Malate, Manila 

Our Vision: A community with children who are knowledgeable,  loves to read, with excellent reading comprehension, verbal  and listening skills and who have access to a Reading Center equipped with good quality reading materials.

Our Mission: To promote literacy through reading advocacy and other relevant educational activities and to establish a Reading Center which will cater to poor children of Manila.

Teacher Ana Bacudio, reading aloud to children

Here are the milestones of our humble beginnings:

  • October 2006 - a poet friend conducted the first storytelling in our garage
  • More children have come so conduct storytelling every Saturday afternoons in the garage of our house 
  • November 2006 - my daughter Aina joined the Alitaptap Storytelling competition at the National Library
  • Applied the Read First and Say Techniques in all our storytelling sessions 
  • February 2007 - our 1st Matuto sa Lakwatsa (Educational Field Trip) was conducted at Marikina City and continued annually up to the present 
  • June 2007 - 30 children attended the PDI Read Along with Michaela Fudolig as the Storyteller  and continued up to 2011
  • January 21, 2012 - Dagdag Dunong was featured on ABS-CBN 2, Ako ang Simula, Happy Libro
  • January 2012 - formal opening of the Reading Center at Arellano St Singalong Manila 
  • May 2012 - 1st  Reading Camp was conducted at Hangin Garden,Tagaytay 
  • May  2012 - launched PROJECT RAM  Read Along with the Mangyans of Sitio Paraiso, Dulangan 2, Baco Oriental Mindoro
  • May 2015 - started as volunteer trainor facilitator of Pinoy Reading Buddies Workshop on how to engage young readers, have conducted workshops to around 1500 teachers in NCR, Palawan, Iloilo, Bukidnon, Negros Occidental, Sorsogon, Batangas, Puerto Galera,Baco, San Teodoro and Mansalay all in Oriental Mindoro
  • December 2015 - typhoon Nona damaged the books and flooded the  Dagdag Dunong Reading Center 
  • May 2016 - Rolling of the Mobile Library Jeepney of Hope to reach remote barangays of Mindoro where the Mangyan children live
  • At present we have started the construction of the flood proof and typhoon proof Dagdag Dunong Reading Center in Baco, Oriental Mindoro 
In part two of the blog interview, Ana Bacudio shares with us her dreams for the future of the children in Baco, Oriental Mindoro and the current Dagdag Dunong Center being built in the area.

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