A Teacher and President inspires ‘Guro to Pangulo’ Awardees

To commemorate the late President Elpidio Quirino's 125th birthday this November, the first "Guro to Pangulo" Awardees of 2015 were chosen last September, shown here with some of the Quirino family members at Malacañan Palace. (Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

To commemorate the late President Elpidio Quirino's 125th birthday this November, the first "Guro to Pangulo" Awardees of 2015 were chosen last September, shown here with some of the Quirino family members at Malacañan Palace. (Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

In 1906, a teacher was needed for the Caparia-an barrio school, five kilometers north of Agoo, La Union. A 16-year-old Elpidio Quirino applied for and got the job. He combined his studies and teaching at the same time, according to the biography Elpidio Quirino The Judgment of History by Salvador P. Lopez.

Elpidio traveled on foot to his classroom in Caparia-an, formerly a part of Caoayan near Vigan, Ilocos Sur. He crossed creeks and trekked long roads. Quirino admitted it was difficult. He gave his 12 pesos monthly salary to his mother, Gregoria, who put it aside for his savings.

Over a hundred years later, President Quirino’s legacy as a teacher inspires many. Last September, 11 recipients were honored with the first “Guro to Pangulo” awards given by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation at Malacanan Palace. The awardees were chosen from 29 Quirino schools around the country. A Presidential Proclamation signed early this year launched the search for outstanding teachers as part of the President Elpidio Quirino 125th birth anniversary celebration.

President Elpidio Quirino - 6th President of the Philippines (1948 to 1953); he pushed the Minimum Wage Act and for the increase and standardization of teachers' salaries during his term. (Source: Malacañan Palace- Facebook page)

President Elpidio Quirino - 6th President of the Philippines (1948 to 1953); he pushed the Minimum Wage Act and for the increase and standardization of teachers' salaries during his term. (Source: Malacañan Palace- Facebook page)

The teachers were chosen based on outstanding qualities: education; awards; advocacy programs initiated; endorsements from superiors.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Val Gawi, mobile teacher, travels to students in 30 remote barangays, many with no easy access, in Quirino province. He teaches in the Alternative Learning System, a Department of Education mobile teaching program. Parents cited him for teaching out-of-school youth how to regain a new lease on life.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Erwin Llavore graduated BSE General Science, cum laude. A staunch advocate of Youth Literacy for Environmental Protection. Llavore teaches at the President Elpidio Quirino National High School, Agoo, La Union. He was one of the “Top 10 Most Outstanding Teachers” of the provincial government and received the “Vocational Award” given by Rotary International District 3790. Erwin is pursuing a doctorate in Education.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Vilma Quirog has assisted the principal and faculty of the President Quirino Central School in Sultan Kudarat by formulating learning strategies and skills to help teachers. Quirog’s service fulfills the school’s mission: “For the Children’s Welfare.” Her superiors see her as an effective, productive, dedicated and committed public school teacher. Quirog holds an MA in Educational Management.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Rodel Rivera tells students at Quirino High School Project 3, Quezon City to “Never ever grow tired of living your life. Never quit. Never stop running.” Rivera was a recipient of the TOYEMM (Ten Outstanding Young Employees of Metro Manila). Trustworthy and dependable, he was assigned Supreme Student Government Adviser. Rivera is a Doctor of Philosophy, major in Development Education.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Orden Cayso teaches at Quirino Elementary School, Baguio. “Teaching is fun. I can do it inside and outside the classroom, emphasizing core values, reminding students to be maka-Diyos (God-fearing), makalikasan (environmentally conscious), makatao (compassionate) at makabansa (patriotic).” Cayso is faculty president yet goes beyond the classroom to coach students in sports, arts, music and competitions.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Evangeline Dasalla teaches at the President Quirino Sultan Kudarat and is a recipient of several scholarship grants from the Notre Dame University of Marbel, Rescue in Science Education, Regional Science Testing Center and the Mindanao State University. Faculty colleagues and parents of students praised Dasalla’s hard work, passion, determination and perseverance.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Daisy Santos of the Quirino High School Project 3 Quezon City is an outstanding mathematics teacher who organized a Remedial Class Program in math for students. Her colleagues cited this initiative as proof of her commitment and helped win an award for the school: “Best IT Based Learning School in NCR (National Capital Region).” Daisy has an MA in Teaching Mathematics.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Gema Jarata has an MA in Educational Management and teaches at the President Elpidio Quirino National High School in Agoo, La Union. She puts a premium on her students’ welfare by showing dedication and readiness to help at all times. She visits parents at home and encourages them to be part of their children’s education.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Maria Concepcion Domingo, master teacher at the Quirino General High School in Cabarroguis, Quirino province, has an exceptional mantra: “Teaching is not just filling the minds of the students. It is giving one’s attention, TLC, understanding and patience so you can transform them into better, productive individuals.” Domingo rose from the ranks to become a Master Teacher and is praised by parents for providing the students with a positive outlook to attend classes.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Mary Jane Donesa teaches at the Elpidio Quirino Elementary School, Davao City. Her valuable contribution was her voluntary involvement in Ticket to Life (TTL), a special project of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM). The group encourages street children to go back to school. Mary Jane was cited for her patience, diligence, initiative and leadership. She is an inspiration to her peers and the street children she nurtured.

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

(Photo provided by the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation)

Rita Embang, a faculty member of the Quirino Elementary School in Baguio, has a master’s degree from the Benquet State University. She is an active human rights and child protection advocate. “Being a teacher is a privilege because I am allowed to spend my days with these future leaders, my students.” She spearheaded the Modern Samaritans Sponsor a Quirino Pupil program, helping low income students continue their education. Rita has the C’s of a true teacher: committed; capable; compassionate.

As a former public school teacher himself, President Quirino held educators in high regard. In the biography The Quirino Way: A Collection of Speeches and Addresses of Elpidio Quirino, the late president once said to teachers in 1951, “You are the frontline of the great national brigade. You mold the minds of our youth in the barrios and municipalities. You are the first light they see in their community. Your life is one of leadership.”


Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino

Elizabeth Ann Quirino, based in New Jersey, is a journalist, food writer and member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). She blogs about Filipino home cooking and culinary travels to the Philippines on her site AsianInAmericamag.com.


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