Responsive Ad Slot




Buhay Pinay



Philippine News

Join us at Facebook!

116 Filipina migrants graduate from Umela’s training courses

17 December 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap


All smiles as the graduates join their mentors and special guests

There were big smiles all around as more than 50 Filipina domestic workers joined the graduation ceremony organized by the United Migrant Entrepreneurship and Livelihood Association (Umela) and held at Bayanihan Centre on Dec 12.

For good reason: these women were among 116 workers who braved the year-long challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic to finish various livelihood training courses offered by Umela.


For their feat, they received profuse praises and well-meaning advice from guests at the event, led by Consul Bob Quintin, head of the Consulate’s cultural section.

The graduates were encouraged to use their newly acquired skills to start their own businesses when they go back home, or use them to help family and friends who need massage therapy to get over some ailment or as a form of relaxation.

According to Umela founder Ofelia Baquirin, many of the graduates who failed to join the celebration had already gone back to the Philippines for good, armed with the skills they acquired from the intensive training that took months to complete.

Baquirin said the graduates completed courses in massage therapy, cupping and ventosa, and macramé bag making. The bulk of the group, or 82, made up seven batches who completed massage therapy, 15 cupping/ventosa, and 19 macrame bag making.

Finding a place big enough for their hands-on training is a challenge amid the pandemic

Unlike in the past when each batch would finish the training sessions in a few months, including lectures and on-hand practice, the new graduates took as long as the entire year to complete the course.

Mahigpit kasi ngayon, minsan pinapaalis kami ng mga pulis mula sa puwesto namin sa High Court dahil bawal ang magtipon-tipon,” said Baquirin. (It’s more difficult nowadays, sometimes the police would ask us to leave our hangout at the High Court because of the gathering restrictions).

Pindutin para sa detalye

Getting a big enough space for their training sessions was always a challenge as practice massage and cupping/ventosa requires students to work on people lying flat-out on the floor. Bag-making also requires a space big enough for students to work on their craft together.

In the past, they made do with the hidden nooks just opposite the High Court building in Admiralty to learn the rudiments of pressure points and kneading tight joints, but pandemic restrictions prevented them from gathering there and in other public places.


That halted their training most days, and forced them to look for more private places to continue their hands-on training, if they could find them.


But the challenges only strengthened their resolve, as shown by the big number of graduates who completed the course.

Outstanding Student awardees join Umela founder Baquirin (middle) and guests

Given special mention during the end-of-year awards were those who rose above their peers, to achieve the Outstanding Student award. For batch 42 of massage therapy, the awardee was Merly Lagalagot. For batch 42, Amelia Mostoles; batch 44, Generose Dela Cruz; batch 45, Nimfa Balignasay; batch 46, Maria Estrella Javier; batch 47, Mary Joy Villalobos and batch 51, Norma Menodiado.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Umela will start accepting new applicants for their training courses this Sunday, Dec 19. 

They will also hold an outreach to give free body check and massage on the same day at Edinburgh Place in Central from 10am to 3:30 pm. For more information, send a WhatsApp message to 69790766.

Don't Miss