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Diwa’t Kabayan Benlife celebrates 23rd year with banquet

21 January 2024

DKB's officers and graduates with some of their guests

One of the migrant community organizations dedicated to helping Filipino domestic workers acquire new skills in Hong Kong that could help them build better lives when they return home just celebrated its 23rd founding anniversary with pre-pandemic pomp.

The celebration was held on Jan. 7 at Fortune Harbour Restaurant in Quarry Bay, with guests led by Vice Consul Jose Angelo Manuel and Metrobank Remittance General Manager Mark Dexter Yabut. 

Diwa’t Kabayan Benlife Society, which is headed by Naty Manalo, also used the occasion to stage its 10th graduation ceremony for FDWs who successfully completed their various livelihood training courses.



Manalo said she was happy that her group could again hold a fitting tribute to its trainors and trainees who worked for months to ensure that the courses could be completed as scheduled, and together come up with products that they could be proud of.

She also advised the trainees to think twice about investing all their savings in businesses, saying not a few workers have returned to Hong Kong because they had run out of funds. 

"Mahirap ang buhay ngayon sa Pilipinas," she said. (Life is hard in the Philippines nowadays).

Like most migrant organizations that cannot afford to hire a covered venue for their activities, Diwa’t Kabayan has been conducting its training sessions outdoors, whatever the weather.

Often, for activities like macramé bag making, beadscraft and wire-twisting sculpture, the venue is a footbridge near Admiralty Centre. For food processing, baking and cake decoration the group would relocate to a flat in the New Territories so they could have easy access to fresh ingredients they need for their training.


The only respite they got from working mostly on the floor was their end-of-year grand anniversary celebration and graduation when they could dress up to the nines and dine in a nice restaurant, but the pandemic put a halt to this for the past four years.

VC Manuel receives plaque of appreciation from Diwa't Kabayan founder Manuel (back to camera)

Given special recognition during the event were the graduates who completed their respective courses with flying colors.

For the plastic-canvas bag making, Myra S. Doguiles was named Outstanding and Most Creative graduate, while Ma. Richelda T. Buno, Lilebeth P. Poral and Alfreda A. Cosicol were all first honors. Eighteen graduates were given various citations for their performances.

In the macramé bag making class, Analyn Mara Loyoda won as Outstanding and Most Creative graduate.


In beadscraft, named Outstanding graduate was Alicia P. Monchalog. Thirteen other students were also given recognition for finishing the course.

For the bonsai beads and twisted wire sculpture course, Mamerta M. Belmonte was cited as Most Outstanding and Most Creative graduate, while Lirio L. Miano copped the First Honor  and Most Artistic award.

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