Showing posts with label The Abba's Orchard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Abba's Orchard. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A world-renowned education personality visits, and high school students set out to impact their community

“My son told me that at The Abba’s Orchard School, they are taught to think beyond themselves.”  

That was from a conversation I had the other day with a parent in the school I work for.  She then continued: “That is what this country needs.”  I can’t help but agree wholeheartedly.

This past month was a whirlwind of activity, as a world-renowned education personality visits our Montessori school here in the Philippines, and high school students of said school set out to impact their community.  Here is a FANTASTIC video documentary that showcases both; and it is also a great showcase to what the Erdkinder adolescent program of the Abba’s Orchard School is all about.  It’s a long one (18 minutes), but you’re really, really gonna enjoy it.  A big thanks to MVP Digital Video for their masterful work.

Abba's Orchard Erdkinder from The Abba's Orchard School on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Pinoys, wanna help your country? Buy its products. Here’s a teen that had to do so for a project.

I'm a high school Literature teacher by profession (I teach at this awesome Montessori school, here), and one of the books I have my students read is called 12 Little Things Filipino Youth Can Do To Help Our Country and a few chapters of the original book, both by Alex Lacson.

The original book.  My students do the youth version as well.
It's one of the "grow books" in the curriculum, meaning that they aren't there for literature's sake, but for personal growth.  Knowing that Filipinos are seriously lacking in love for country (until a foreigner insults us, that is), I feature Alex Lacson's work, and one of the "great work" projects is that they have to replace imported stuff that they use everyday with Filipino products for at least a month and then submit a paper afterwards.

This blog site has been up since 2011, but probably my favorite article is still the one I made that describes the BUY PINOY project (it's an oldie but very much a goodie, see it here).  This article goes back to that, but instead I am posting a submission by one of the Grade 9 students, and one of my eldest daughter's dearest friends, Maria.

The moment I saw how "blog friendly" her paper was, I immediately asked her permission to publish it.  She obliged, and here it is.  Her words are in green (the school's color) while I make some comments in black (I often make comments on my students' work).

Maria Gonzalez
Mr. Carlo
Buy Filipino Products Project

Being a Grade 9 student and finishing the book "12 little things our youth can do for our country" means we were required to do the BUY FILIPINO PRODUCTS project. This project meant that we'd choose at least 10 foreign products that we use daily and replace them with Filipino products for at least a month. Here's my list:

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

One of my favorite requirements for my Literature class. You’ll enjoy watching this.

Hello everyone.  Long time no see.  Work and schooling have been brutal in these “ber” months, but now that it’s Christmas break, I can sneak in a few articles before things become hectic again.  But since work was all encompassing, this blog entry will be about, well, work.  Don’t worry, that’s a good thing, because if you’re a parent who wants your child to learn confidence, responsibility, and excellence look no further than The Abba’s Orchard School, the awesome Montessori school where I teach.  

I am a Literature teacher of the Adolescent Program of the La Granja Bukidnon farm campus, located near the old Cagayan de Oro airport (there are other campuses around the country, which I will identify later).  The current Literature program entails that the students read 8-9 novels per school year.  Usually, at the end of these books, the students do what is called a Dramatis Personae, where the students choose a character that they like, make up a script, put together a costume, and do a one-man show in front of their peers (including schoolmates from other year levels).  This is one of my favorite requirements for my Literature class.  Read on and check out the videos, and I'm sure you'll see why.

Here’s one such dramatis personae, performed by a grade 9 student, Franklin Chaves.  He played the character Mr. Jones from the book, Animal Farm by George Orwell.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My middle child, Mesoo’s graduation

A big congrats to my middle child, Monica Andrea (nicknamed Mesoo) for graduating from Elementary school.  Now, I have two children as my students!  How awesome (and awkward) is that?

(She also garnered one of the top scores in the entrance exam to boot!  Awesome job, buddy!)

I’ll just show a few pics of the festivities, as well as the video of her speech (in the school where she goes to, every graduating child makes a speech).  In case you’re wondering, my child goes to a Montessori school called The Abba’s Orchard.

 I feature this fantastic school quite often in my blog.  If you are searching for a school for your children, and you live either in Manila, Davao, Cebu, or CDO, then check out my blog entries about the school for more information (and their website, too).

Monday, January 20, 2014

A heartfelt student testimony

I'm currently enjoying one great perk of being a teacher: if there's no school, there's no work (well, reporting for work, anyway) and today, classes are suspended because of the storm.  Another joy of being a teacher is molding the next generation.  This country is a mess, but looking at the next generation always gives me hope, and I will do my part in making the Philippines' future better.  This is especially true for the particular school I work for, The Abba's Orchard.  Here, because we are so much more than teachers (we're mentors), we get to impact their young lives in a much bigger way than in a traditional school.

One of the tasks I had to do at work is to get testimonies from the alumni for the new website the school is making and also for the latest edition for the Orchard Buzz newsletter.  I enjoyed that task greatly.  Below is a heartfelt student testimony, one of the many I received, and here's the link to the Orchard Buzz to see several more.   Enjoy.

Never Less Than…
Evee Raypon, Class of 2013
Freshman, Ateneo de Manila University
AB Interdisciplinary Studies

The best thing about the Abba’s Orchard is that it is not solely a school where you get an education – it’s where you get a reality check.    It may seem ‘sheltered’ as people around me have said, but I would like to test that judgment by saying, “What is so sheltered about having to go to the wet market every Saturday to shop and then cook for the entire community that week because it’s your turn in the  kitchen? What is so sheltered about having to interact with people older than you every single day as opposed to seeing them in the halls for two minutes, where they hardly even recognize you? What is so sheltered about dealing with business where you have to face the possibility  of economic loss ? ”

Monday, December 16, 2013

One of the best high schools in developing over-all excellence in our teens.

Sorry for not writing much lately.  Been very busy with work (I am a teacher by profession, in case you didn’t know) and had absolutely no time for anything else.

Speaking of my work, I would like to show a quick video of what we do here at The Abba’s Orchard, a true Maria Montessori school (yes, there are fakes).  I work at the Erdkinder, which is the high school division of the school, and it truly is a different way of teaching high school students.  If I’m not mistaken, The Abba’s Orchard is the only school in the Asia Pacific region to have the Montessori farm school program.  Yes, farm school…and if you ask my very biased opinion, it’s one of the best schools in developing over-all excellence in our teens.

I am in charge of making the said video for the ending of every trimester.  Here is the latest one that I made.  Granted, I do not have epic video making skills, but if you’re interested, check it out and see what I do for a living…and what these lucky students are getting.  You can also see my eldest daughter in several instances, too.

Allow me to explain the video one activity at a time.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tomorrow is the day!! SUN and MOON: A Miss Saigon Adaptation

One more dawn, one more day, ONE DAY MORE!!!

Oh, wait, wrong musical.  That song was featured in The Abba’s Orchard’s first musical play done two years ago, but it sure is apt for what is waiting for Cagayan de Oro musical lovers.

Tomorrow, March 7, 2013, The Abba’s Orchard School’s Erdkinder (high school) program will have it’s first of two shows, proudly presenting SUN and MOON: A Miss Saigon Adaptation   Showtime will be at 7pm at Liceo de Cagayan’s Rodelsa Hall, tickets costing P250.00 each.

You can contact the Facebook page if ever you want tickets, or you can visit the school to get the tickets as well (call 855-8800 for the Alwana campus or 309-0487 for the La Granja campus to see if there are any left).  Tickets will also be sold at the door, of course.

To whet your appetite, I’ll give you a behind the scenes video footage of practice.  This was among the first tries at the songs, they’re way more polished now.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Abba’s Orchard School presents SUN and MOON: A Miss Saigon Adaptation

Sorry I've been gone lately.  There's a very good reason I've been very busy and unable to blog.  It is below.  Here's an article that I sent to one of our media partners.  I'm also publishing it here (with minor modifications).

The Abba’s Orchard School Erdkinder (high school) program, in cooperation with Mahoe Mahogany, Sunbee Travel and Tours, and Homechoice Planners and Construction Corp., proudly presents its second musical play, SUN and MOON: A Miss Saigon Adaptation, this coming March 7 and 9, 2013.  Both shows will be gala performances at 7pm, with tickets selling for P250 each.

Back at the director’s helm is one of Cagayan de Oro’s most beloved directors, Ms. Anita Q. Santos, who has worked with the school in all of their plays, all garnering great success.  A true master of her craft, she successfully took a bunch of inexperienced Erdkinder students and transformed them into musical stage performers worthy of a rousing standing ovation in 2011’s I Dreamed a Dream: Highlights and Images of Les Miserables, The Abba’s Orchard’s first ever musical play.

She intends to deliver the same excellence with this latest project.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I had the perfect retreat, thanks to the venue, the material, and the students themselves.

One of the major projects I had to take care of in the school I teach in is the annual retreat of the senior class.  Again, it was awesome…awesome for many reasons: the retreat venue, the material, and the students themselves.

I take charge of this event each year, and I just want to express here why I enjoy this project so much.

Let me start with the venue.  Mountain Pines Place is the perfect venue to hold all kinds of retreats, family reunions, and corporate team building events, among others.

The place very quiet, as it is nestled in the mountains of Sitio Bagalangit, Manolo Fortich, just about two hours away from Cagayan de Oro and ten minutes away from the popular ZipZone Adventure Park (close enough to enjoy the action but then far enough not to get affected by the hustle of the crowd).

In fact, if you think about it, that’s one of the venue’s main strengths.  You can almost physically feel stress peel off your body as you get lost in the quietness of the place, its rustic charm, and the pristine pine forest that surrounds it.

Good bye stress, hello nature's beauty!
Then there’s the food.  Oh yes, the food!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

A very cool student-made shadow play

Below is a very cool student-made shadow play, shown in the latest Foundation Day of The Abba's Orchard School, an awesome Montessori school I work for and where my kids go to.  The Foundation Day's theme was One For Africa, and this shadow play was done by the Erdkinder (high school) group, which is where I work (and where my eldest daughter is a grade 7 student).

Note again that this beautiful project is 100% student-made.  It was conceptualized by students, choreographed by students, and executed by students.  All we teachers did was to encourage.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My kids in their Montessori school’s Foundation Day dress rehersal

One of the things that keeps me busy as of late is the Abba's Orchard School's Foundation Day, which is already coming this Saturday. 

 It's both nerve-wracking as a teacher of the Erdkinder (high school) program, and I hope and pray that my students perform well; and as a parent of 3 kids, as I hope they do awesome in their respective performances.

Please pray for me and my kids. Pray for the weather (this would be done outdoors) and pray for everything to go smoothly. We just had our dress rehearsal last night, and so allow me to post a few pics of my kids in their costumes. Again, prayers appreciated.

My eldest, Lynn, with my youngest, Happy

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Looking for a great school for your child? Here’s reasons why you should try Montessori

There are lots of schools out there: big schools, small schools, affordable schools, expensive schools.  There are lots of different teaching programs, too, and they’re mostly good in their own way.

However, please see the video below in its entirety.  It excellently explains what I think is the finest educational method out there when it comes to developing the whole child.  Please watch the video before scrolling below.

Then, if you live in the major cities of the Philippines (Manila, Cebu, Davao, CDO), allow me to tell you about a school that faithfully adheres to this method…as a lot of the schools that do carry the name of the method actually do not follow it.  Enjoy the video.

Now, the problem is that there’s no patent to the name “Montessori,” and so any school can put “Montessori” on its name and people will think that it is a Montessori school, when it is actually very far from one in practice.  

The video talked about two things that real Montessori schools do to enhance learning.  Here’s a few more, which can also help you tell the genuine Montessori schools from the fakes (the two reasons told in the video being 1. and 2. respectively):

Friday, May 4, 2012

A teacher who made a difference

One of the greatest joys of my job as a teacher is that I can make a difference in the life of a child.  This is especially true in The Abba’s Orchard Erdkinder (high school), a small yet excellent Montessori school, because it gives a chance for teachers like me to really become close to and mentor the child.

One of the most inspiring stories that I often revisit to remind me that I teach for life-change, not just my subject, is the story of the life of Teddy Stallard.  Please watch the video below in its entirety, and prepare to be inspired (and it may be wise to have tissues nearby).

This clip is from the video study series of one of my favorite books on teaching, The Seven Laws of the Learner: How to Teach Almost Anything to Practically Anyone I would strongly recommend this book to all teachers, especially to those who work in a Christian school or Christian ministry setting (that’s the direct audience of the book).  It will not only tell us that we all can be Mrs. Thompsons, but it will surely give us great tools on how to be such.  Trust me, after reading this book (and, ideally, going through the video series, if you can find it) your teaching life will never be the same again.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Teen incredibly blessed from reading a book

Sometimes God blesses me, and this blog, in mysterious ways. 

I’m a Literature teacher, and at the end of each book, students write a reflection paper/essay about how the book has impacted them. 

Many of you have read my previous post about the assignments my teen students made about romantic relationships.  When they turned in their end-of-the-book reflection papers, they were also so good that I wanted to share them on the blog as well.  However, I was so swamped with work and schedules were so tight that I didn’t get a chance to copy them here.

However, there was this one student who has a habit for turning in his assignments late…as in REALLY late.  Among the submitted backlogs was a reflection paper of Boy Meets Girl which I feature below, as it was submitted when the frantic schedule was dying down and I was able to have some time to post this here. 

It serves as not only a great testimony of what reading some of the “grow books” of The Abba’s Orchard Erdkinder high school program has done for him, but what makes this so beautiful is it serves as a testimony of what kind of a young man he has become, compared to the type of person he was when he first stepped into our halls.

So, here’s his reflection paper on Boy Meets Girl, entitled…

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The juniors…I love them and I miss them already

The Juniors of The Abba’s Orchard Erdkinder…of which I was their homeroom adviser for this school year.

It’s approaching midnight of the last day of school (still doing last minute stuff) and yet I already miss you.  Thanks for making my job a bit easier.  You guys are an awesome group!

For my past posts that feature some of their work, see:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Teens talk about finding Mr. and Ms. Right, based on two great relationship books

One thing about February, other than being one of the most stressful months of the year for this teacher, is that for my Literature classes, I bring my junior and senior students towards books that focus on wisdom when it comes to romantic relationships (in keeping up with February being the love month). 

The juniors read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, while the seniors read Boy Meets Girl, both books written by Joshua Harris.  It is my goal that my students not only become excellent in academics, but excellent in life in general…and part of that means making wise decisions at love.  That’s the reason why I have added some non-literature books in the Literature curriculum, complete with exams, assignments, etc.

In case you’re wondering, the school I teach in is The Abba’s Orchard (the main campus is here in Cagayan de Oro, but there are campuses in Manila, Cebu, and Davao), and I am a Literature and Humanities teacher in the Erdkinder (high school) program of the main farm campus. 

A large number of my students are also very involved in various Christian youth ministries in Cagayan de Oro City (InsideOut, Lifebox, and JZone, mostly).  This background info would explain the quotes that I would feature below.

Anyway, one of the assignments that the juniors have to make (remember, the Philippines only goes up to grade 10, so the juniors are grade 9 and are around 15 years old) is a seatwork titled, What Matters at 50, based on one of the latter chapters in I Kissed Dating Goodbye

In that chapter, Joshua Harris says that we often focus too much on physical appearance often at the cost of what really matters, and he counters this in his own life by imagining the lovely lady at age 50…would he still be in love with her?  This exercise would make character evaluation more important than physical attraction.

For the What Matters At 50 assignment, the juniors are asked about what they think is important in looking for a potential romantic partner.  I asked permission to quote a few of my students here, as these entries blessed me tremendously.

One student said:

“By 50, I want to still see how handsome my husband is.  Not physically in a sense that he still looks like he’s 17, but handsome in a way that God’s glory can be seen in him.

“Boys usually misunderstand girls and think that we’re looking for some ‘hunk’ with 10 pack abs and a body that can lift 100 kgs.  But all we’re looking for, really, is someone who’ll still love us and tell us we’re beautiful when we reach the age of 50.

“What matters most at 50 is that his character pleases God and he still treats me nicely.  One of the important traits that matters is that God is in the center of his life, in my life, and our marriage.  When it’s like that, everything else will follow.”

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Do you want some organic lettuce? We’ve got lots of em.

We’re swimming in organic lettuce, and I’m only half-exaggerating.  The high school I work for (it’s in uptown Cagayan de Oro) is a farm school, the only Montessori farm school in Asia, and the students organically planted lots and lots of lettuce.  They planted so much that they don’t know what to do with all these greens. 

So I’m gonna help them out by posting bringing the word out here on my blog.  If you live in Cagayan de Oro, and you want some yummy organic lettuce, feel free to email me at  In your email please indicate how many kilos you want and your contact number (I don’t want to give my students’ or my co-workers’ numbers out on the web).

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Check out the Open House of one of the best schools around, The Abba’s Orchard

Elem kids doing cubing…using actual cubes!
Other than the re-launching of PARENTING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE, this Saturday will also have a huge event.  It is the Open House of The Abba’s Orchard, one of the best schools around (my very biased opinion, since I work there). 

Well, here’s an invitation from yours truly to attend the Open House.  If you’re school hunting, try Abba’s Orchard, the truest Montessori school in Cagayan de Oro (sure, others can put “Montessori” on their title, but it’s all in the training and use of material).  If you ask me, no other school does a better job in molding not only academically excellent kids, but also ones that are vibrant, have social skills, and, well, possess all around excellence. 

Oh, not only is it the truest Montessori school in Cagayan de Oro, it is the only school in Asia-Pacific who offers the whole Montessori curriculum.

The Open House will feature the children presenting various Montessori materials to the parents.  I’ve already made blog articles about last year’s Open House, so I won’t re-invent the wheel.  I’ll just provide links and pics below.
Hate geography?  Not with puzzle maps!
What you’re gonna see:

The Casa program:  Which is the per-elementary program of the Abba’s Orchard.  Montessori is fantastic in pre-elementary.  In fact, just about all my students who have started with Abba’s since the Casa years are awesome…a credit to the awesome Casa program of the school.

The Elementary program:  My two girls are in that program.  What’s amazing is the great love for work these kids possess.  The Montessori method doesn’t make school a chore.  It makes school a joy.

The Erdkinder (high school) program:  This is where I come in.  It’s one of only a handful of Montessori Farm schools on this planet.  As you can see, the teens do more than just hit the books.  They hit the farm.  You’ll appreciate why they do that when you click on the link. 
Real academics!  Science? Check. Math? Check. Business skills?  Check.
So, consider this an invitation to attend the Open House of one of the best schools around, The Abba’s Orchard.  It’s located in Pualas, Baungon, Bukidnon…but it’s only about 10 minutes away from Xavier Estates.  From there, it’s right after the Taguanao bridge, the 2nd right after said bridge (first right goes to the Alvarez place). 

See you there.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Here’s another video of the Abba’s Orchard’s very cool high school program

As I said in a previous post, I am in charge of making a little video every trimester of the high school I work for, The Abba’s Orchard, a video that shows the parents the highlights of what their adolescent child has done in the past three months.

Below is that vid, and for those of you living in Cagayan de Oro, you might want to check the very cool high school program there. Maybe you’d be interested in having your teen give it a try.  We’d be happy to have him or her.

If you have any questions or inquiries, just comment.  Or email me at

(For more blog articles about what goes on during my teaching adventures, click here.  This blog is mostly about parenting, with a bit of Christian living and ministry, marriage, Pinoy patriotism, and others topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  If you would like some good, helpful articles on these topics, I would consider it an honor if you follow or subscribe to Lessons Of A Dad.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Which We Didn’t Start The Fire video project is better? Vote now!!

If you grew up in the 80’s, I’m sure you’ve heard Billy Joel’s iconic tune, We Didn’t Start The Fire, where the singer rapidly alluded to major events from the year of his birth to when the song was released in 1989. 

I decided to use this song for my Humanities 4 class; where the students grouped together to make their own version of We Didn’t Start The Fire, but this time chronicling what is going on in their current world.  There’s a nearly equal number of girls and boys in the class, and so they decided in teaming up with the same gender, resulting in two videos.  They’re not professional singers like Billy Joel, but they did the best they could.

As a blogging noob, one of the things I want to learn how to do is to create an online poll or survey.  Well, what better way to take that first step than to make a competition between these two student projects?

So, friends, vote in the poll below by answering this question:  Which We Didn’t Start The Fire video project is better?  Vote Now!!!!  Think about both the content (events covered) and the entertainment value when you decide. 

Oh, in case you’re wondering why my senior students look so young, The Philippines has two less years of schooling compared to the US and other parts of the world.  Therefore, the high school seniors here would be the same age as sophomores in America.

Here are the two videos, ladies first:

Now here’s the guys’ entry:

Cast your vote.  Please note that the results of the voting will not affect their grades whatsoever.  In fact, their grades for this project have already been decided, based mainly on their peer group evaluation of each other’s efforts (freeloaders will not be rewarded).

The students begged me to reward the winner of this online gig, and so I will.  Usually, if I give ice cream or other treats, they’re good.  Again, their grades will not be affected…but your vote is still important nonetheless.

Billy Joel’s hit, I hope, is represented well by their efforts.  So, which We Didn’t Start The Fire video project is better?  Cast your vote!  The kids want their ice cream.

(For more blog articles about what goes on during my teaching adventures, click here.  This blog is mostly about parenting, with a bit of Christian living and ministry, marriage, Pinoy patriotism, and others topics aimed to develop the reader’s mind, body, and soul.  If you would like some good, helpful articles on these topics, I would consider it an honor if you follow or subscribe to Lessons Of A Dad.  You can also go to my Facebook page here, and I’m also on Twitter at @lessonsofadad)

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