Saturday, April 30, 2016

Urban Yogi 2016 for the benefit of the Mano Amiga library

Hundreds of yogis gathered as early as 6:30am at Ayala Triangle Gardens for Urban Yoga 2016, organized by Urban Ashram Yoga. 

The event featured a whole morning of yoga classes taught by local and international teachers, for the benefit of Mano Amiga Academy. This was Urban Ashram's way of raising funds for the shelves and chairs at the new Mano Amiga library, while promoting over-all wellness among urbanites. 
Urban Ashram scholar Jazailah Cababat performed ballet for the Yogis as a way of giving thanks 
Urban Ashram founder and Mano Amiga Ambassador Maricar Holopainen cheerfully welcomed the crowd.
Classes were well-attended- with yogis not minding the scorching heat.
International teacher Joan Hyman has been firm supporter of Mano Amiga, consistently choosing the school as a beneficiary of her community classes.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Volunteer Spotlight: Good Code with the Mano Amiga Kids

Mano Amiga volunteer Steph Rosalia spent an afternoon teaching our students how to Code. She shared her experience and learnings with us.

I came across Mano Amiga Academy last year through a post on Instagram and got inspired to volunteer. I don't have any artsy or crafty skills to save my life so teaching arts and crafts (the staple volunteer activities) was out of the question. 

What could I contribute? I know! I could volunteer to teach kids to code. I have been doing that for years. Teaching kids, on the other hand, 0 years. But that's alright, I'll figure it out along the way, I said to myself. So with the passion for volunteerism ignited plus a whole lot of naivete and caffeine thrown in the mix, I sent an email expressing my interest to do a weekend of coding classes for the school using the free curriculum from

The Good Code team with their students for the day.
Things were, more or less, going according to our plans that Saturday afternoon. We had just introduced two computer science words – “algorithm” and “programming” and were getting the kids ready for the first group activity, graph paper programming. All of a sudden, things went teetering on the brink of disaster. Everyone started teasing and squabbling with each other. We urged the kids to behave and fall in line but we were essentially ignored. I looked over to Gen to signal for help as I felt panic starting to creep in.

Thanks to Carl's quick thinking and Gen's experience of handling unruly kids, the kids settled down. We were able to continue on with the activity and finished the coding lessons without any problems. Our energies were spent but we were pleased with what we saw from smart and eager students– specially with how they worked together to solve the puzzles. We've barely scratched the surface on teaching the kids how to code, and we're excited for more adventures with them.

Here's what I'll be keeping in mind for the next time:
  1. There's no such thing as perfect timing. Or is there? 
    It took me awhile from seeing that Instagram post about Mano Amiga Academy to actually taking action and volunteering. It's okay.  Just take that first step eventually.
  2. Things seldom go the way one imagines. 
    One has to plan it out and then learn to improvise. Enough said.
  3. Even if you've got all the passion in the world, you definitely need your friends to help you. I'm grateful for my awesome co-volunteers – Gen, Anna, Ash and Carl and Claud. They did most of the hard work and I have much to learn from them.
  4. This is not about you. 
    Sure, sharing and volunteering makes us feel we're good people. But the bottom line is – this is not about us feeling good about ourselves, this is for the kids.
Benz, Grade 5, showing off his Good Code stickers
We look forward to continuing the rest of the lessons with them and the other students. And we're excited to see what awesome things the kids will think of creating or coding along the way. 

To learn more about the Good Code, visit

Monday, February 29, 2016

We Thank You for a Bright Future

On February 17, Mano Amiga held a Thanksgiving Brunch for all the people who had supported Mano Amiga along the way. 

The event was attended by our long-time donors including Metro Pacific Investments Corporation, Urban Ashram and Children’s Hour, as well as by our newest partners like Vitamin B, Manta Equities, Globe Telecom and Unilever Philippines. It was an intimate affair that placed their efforts on centerstage as they received countless messages of gratitude from the students, parents and our team.  It also provided us with the opportunity to update our partners on the challenges and updates about the school as we build and transfer to our permanent campus.

Everest Academy Mommy Amiga team represent the Moms who have shown constant support for the school.
The Mano Amiga scholars practicing their speech
The Mano Amiga Team
Tile Painting activity at the event. The painted tiles will be combined into a mural at the new Mano Amiga school
Tiles painted by our donors, based on their interpretation of a bright future for Mano Amiga
Yanpi Oliveros and Nina Abellada represent Unilever Philippines- the latest branch of Bistro 3846
Model, Host. Curator & Mano Amiga Ambassador Teresa Herrera
Our seven-year journey since we first opened has not always been an easy road.  We are grateful to the 100 families who had placed their trust in us to educate and form their children. We are also grateful to the donors and volunteer who share our vision and have generously helped us create a school program that looks after the entire well-being of our students. As we prepare for our big move this coming school year, we thank our students, families and  partners once more for their full trust and support.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

At Mano Amiga, “We Heart Art!”

They say you know what genuine love is really like if you know how to love like a child. We at Mano Amiga believe that #EveryChildCan and that children are also the ones who can express love in the best and most creative ways.

Last January 30, 2016, Saturday, Mano Amiga's 5th grade students enjoyed a Valentine-themed art workshop wherein they got to make Valentine’s Day cards for their friends and loved ones. Helping them out were the volunteers who generously shared their time and creativity to the Mano Amiga kids. Some of them included, Filipino print medium artist, Lenore Lim. 

The afternoon was filled with bliss as the kids and the volunteers spent their time cutting paper hearts and sticking them onto their handmade cards. Written on the cards were their heartfelt notes to their loved ones and friends. Aside from this, the kids also got to enjoy learning how to do paper mosaic.

One of the 5th graders, Carlos, made a card especially for his friends who were also part of the same art workshop. Immediately after making the card, he asked, "Can I give it to them already?" And he approached them with much excitement and joy.

(L-R) Gr. 5 students Carlos, Benz and Arzel posing with their
Valentine's card from Carlos

This is the sort of love you know is genuine and unconditional. One that longs to be expressed. One that does not expect anything in return.
It is this same kind of love, we believe, that has propelled our volunteers to take time and be with the kids that day, albeit for just a short while.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was when the kids were given the chance to draw their dream school and dream playground. It was inspiring to see these little ones dream extraordinary dreams for their future school. These dreams continue to inspire Mano Amiga to work harder so that when it’s finally time to transfer in the new Mano Amiga campus, these dreams will beautifully come to life.


We love having volunteers join the kids during various activities in Mano Amiga. Join us in our upcoming volunteer Activity - TEACHERS' DAY OFF!