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Share what you learned, Congen tells livelihood grads

26 November 2019

By Daisy CL Mandap
Image may contain: 6 people, including Manalo Naty, people smiling, people standing
CG Tejada congratulates one of the graduates as ALA Villafuerte (left) and Manalo (right) look on

Pay it forward. This was the message of Consul General Raly Tejada at the graduation rites for the  livelihood trainees of Diwa’t Kabayan Benlife Society Club, which also celebrated its 20th founding anniversary on Nov 24 at Fu Lum Palace in North Point.

Congen Tejada praised the graduates for spending their day off wisely by acquiring new skills instead of going shopping or just hanging out with friends, and said they had the group’s officers led by Naty Manalo to thank for.

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“Bilang pasasalamat, nawa’y inyo ring ibahagi sa iba ang inyong mga natutunan at hikayatin pa ang iba na pagbutihin ang kanilang sarili sa pamamagitan ng patuloy na pagpapalawak ng kanilang kaalaman,” said Tejada.

He congratulated the officers and members of the group, saying that without their effort, there would be no gathering in celebration of their achievements.

Tejada also assured the group of the Consulate’s support of their worthwhile activities.
Image may contain: 36 people, including Manalo Naty, Weng LA, Jcpremiere Bco Hongkong, Leo A. Deocadiz and Cadion Ena, people smiling, people standing
Some of the graduates with their guests
Another special guest at the event was Acting Labor Attache Antonio Villafuerte, who congratulated Diwa’t Kabayan on its 20th year, and said it must continue the good work it has done for so long.

Villafuerte noted that the group has persevered in its mission of providing Filipino migrant workers with livelihood skills, even if most of its training is conducted only on a footbridge.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
A trainee with her product display on the footbridge to Hutchison House in Admiralty

“Saludo kami sa inyo,” Villafuerte said. “Sa inyo kami huhugot ng inspirasyon nang sa ganoon ay mapagsilbihan din namin kayo nang ayon sa ipinapakita ninyo sa amin.” 

He also urged the graduates to put their newly acquired skills to good use, especially amid the uncertainties in Hong Kong.

“Gamitin ninyo ang inyong natutunan dahil hindi natin alam ang hinaharap, lalo na sa nangyayari ngayon sa Hong Kong,” he said, before eliciting laughs with his quip that “walang forever” about their work.
Diwa’t Kabayan was founded two decades ago by Naty Manalo, who was inspired by the livelihood training she herself received from one of the oldest Filipino community organizations in Hong Kong.

From providing training in bag making, beads craft, ribbon folding and other decorative skills on the Hutchison footbridge in Admiralty, Diwa’t Kabayan has branched out to food processing, which is mostly done in a member’s house in Tai Po.

Many of its graduates in longanisa, tocino, tinapa and sardines making have reportedly started their own businesses back home.

The group’s most recent and popular lesson is cake decorating, which culminates in a competition for the best cake design among its students. This year's contest winners were acknowledged during the graduation, and their finished products displayed and shared among guests.

Image may contain: 7 people, including Rosabelle Leonor-Woolf, people smiling, people standing
The winner of best cake decoration design with guests 

The graduation was followed with the awarding of medals to outstanding students, trainors and members.

Also among the guests were Bheng Woolf of AFreight, Babes Mercado of Metrobank, and Katherine de Guzman of PNB.
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