Japan Grants One-Year Extension for Filipino Nurses and Caregivers


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)
5 March 2015

The Japanese government has decided to extend work visas with an additional year to Filipino and Indonesian nurses and caregivers.  The additional year will enable them to further their training and retake their qualification exams to work in Japan.  This decision is aimed at giving potential nurses and caregivers a better chance of passing their exams and securing permission to work in the profession.  

This third extension will affect 93 nurses and caregivers from Indonesia who arrived in Japan in 2012 and 300 Filipino and Indonesian candidate nurses and caregivers who arrived in 2013.  This move will benefit those who failed the exams but were able to meet certain conditions such as having a relatively good scores in the last qualifying exams they took. The low passing rates has been due to the language barrier.   

New candidates arriving will take language lessons for six months as well as on-the-job training. Candidate nurses are given three chances to take the exams, but caregivers are given only one  This extension will make it possible for prospective nurses to sit the text four times and caregivers twice.

Japanese Consul General Maria Teresa Taguiang has advised Filipinos to learn how to speak and read Nihonggo in order to look for employment in Japan as the demand for English teachers and caregivers are high.


Filipina Women's Network (FWN)
5 March 2015


Winners of Overseas Filipinos Essay Contest Honored


25 March 2015

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Dr. Celia Lamkin with Justin Keith Baquisal of UP Diliman, grand winner of Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos during the awards ceremony on February 26, at Manila Hotel. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS

MANILA – Winners of the Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos were feted during an awards ceremony February 26 at the Manila Hotel during the gala dinner of the Third Global Summit of Filipinos in the Diaspora held in Manila.

The essay contest with the theme “The Overseas Filipinos and their impact on the Philippines” was launched by the US Pinoys for Good Governance Marianas chapter (CNMI and Guam) Chairperson Dr. Celia Lamkin in collaboration with the Commission on Overseas and its chairperson, Secretary Imelda Nicolas.

There were 257 essay entries received by the USP4GG Ad Hoc Committee from both College and High School Categories from nine different countries: Philippines, USA, Greece, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, China, Bahrain, Qatar.

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(From left) Mrs. Jeremias, mother of Hazel Ivy Jeremias, 2nd prize winner (High School category) of The Lewis College in Sorsogon City, Dr. Celia Lamkin, Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, Hazel Ivy Jeremias, 2nd prize winner, Justin Keith Baquisal, grand winner (College category), CFO Secretary Imelda Nicolas, Atty. Lolita Farmer, Mr. Jefferson Baquisal, father of Justin Keith Baquisal, and Jeremy Mosquito, 3rd prize winner (College category) of St. Mary’s University at Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya.

Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III sent congratulations to the winners: “Our countrymen have sacrificed much so that we can build upon the foundations they toiled for us. Let your perspectives and insights motivate our kababayans to intensify their support for our fellows in distant shores.”
The winners are the following:

College Category
Justin Keith Baquisal – First Prize of the University of the Philippines, Diliman
Dia Marmi Bazar – Second Prize of Misamis University at Misamis Occidental
Jeremy Mosquito- Third Prize of St. Mary’s University at Bayombong, Nueva Viscaya

High School
Patrick Duane Noche – First Prize of Calayan Educational Foundation,Inc at Lucena city
Eugenie Marie Pranada – First Prize of Philippine School of Bahrain
Hazel Ivy Jeremias – Second Prize of The Lewis College at Sorsogon city
Yvonne Dayne Luis -Third Prize of Durat Al Sharq International School at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Grand winner Justin Keith Baquisal said, “As mass out-migration has become a trend since the 1970’s, the task for today’s generation is to critically examine the phenomenon and its effects on our private lives and public issues. I think we should continue to locate the overseas Filipino community in the narrative of our nationhood. They may be geographically far from us, often becoming citizens of other states either by economic necessity or free will, but I think their experiences should vitalize rather than be relegated from talks about national development.”

Eugenie Marie Pranada said, “The topic of the essay contest is timely, challenging, and relevant. The contest provided channels from the youth around the globe to come to one destination -the hearts of the OFWs. Also, this aided the realization and the discovery of the reader on what views the author has to offer to the world. Lastly, like any other writing competitions, all the contenders let their hearts speak. That’s how we won…the experience.”

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(From left) Dr. Celia Lamkin, USP4GG Marianas chapter chair; Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis, USP4GG national chair; Aurora Aguinaldo, USP4GG member from New York; Treenee Lopez, Chairperson of Global Pinoys Diaspora in Canada.

The judges of the essay contest were:

Dr. Josefina G. Tayag,DPA, retired vice-chancellor of UP Manila; Zaldy Dandan, editor of Marianas Variety, Atty.Lolita Farmer,OAM, an immigration lawyer in Australia; George Chua, President and CEO of Bayan Automative Industries Corporation and President of Philippine Industries ( FPI) ; Mithi Aquino-Thomas, an experienced instructor and trainer in the customer service industry and wife of former US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas, Jr.

Gene Alcantara, chair of the European Network of Filipino Diaspora ( ENFiD) and immigration consultant in London; Juanita Nimfa Gamez, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipinas in the US in 2007 and CEO and president of a home care business in California; Romy Cayabyab, founder and publisher of the award-winning Internet publishing and media company in Sydney, Australia.

Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay, grand winner of USP4GG Essay Contest on West Philippine Sea and a community journalist/reporter for the Sun Star Publishing,Inc; and Dr. Celia B. Lamkin, chairperson of the Ad Hoc Committee for USP4GG Essay Contest on Overseas Filipinos, founding chairperson of Global Filipino Diaspora Marianas and founding member, Board Member and Secretary of Global Filipino Diaspora Council.


25 March 2015


‘In the Country,’ by Mia Alvar



The New York Times

june22 1

Mia Alvar Credit Deborah Lopez

In Tagalog movies, the bida, or hero, battles the kontrabida, or villain, for the affections of a beautiful woman. As his family cheers at the bida’s victory in the opening story of “In the Country,” Steve, a Filipino expat on a visit home, reflects: “The script had succumbed, in the end, to our demands.

”As in a good Tagalog movie, twists abound in Mia Alvar’s debut collection. But Alvar’s finely wrought shocks, delivered in exacting prose, reverberate without easy resolution. In “The Kontrabida,” she denies Steve the demanded conclusion. While the drugs he smuggled from New York for his dying father provide a relief of sorts, Steve is forced into reconsidering who’s who in his family’s own melodrama.

Worlds continue to be upended as Alvar’s characters move among the Philippines, the Persian Gulf and the United States. The Manila-born, New York-based author offers deft portraits of transnational wanderers, blessed and cursed with mobility. When connection is sought or arrives unbidden, the bonds turn out to be brief and terribly disruptive. In “Shadow Families,” the wives of engineers, doctors and diplomats stationed in Bahrain offer food, hand-me-downs and matchmaking services to fellow Filipinos who work as katulong, or helpers. Their smug noblesse oblige, hilariously conveyed by Alvar through the royal “we,” cracks with the arrival of the temptress Baby, who accepts their generosity but refuses to be cowed by it.

In “The Virgin of Monte Ramon,” the bullied Danny, who uses a wheelchair, finds solace in the appearance of Annelise, the indio daughter of a laundress, only to have the shaky ground of his identity collapse. At least Danny and Annelise enjoy a fleeting respite. Most of Alvar’s characters have to contend with more troubled fates.

In the “Manilachusetts” setting of “Old Girl,” an exiled Filipino senator, “Dad,” decides to run the Boston Marathon. He’s utterly unprepared, so his wife, “Mommy,” steps in to help, as she always has. Soon, Mommy reveals that Dad has a different significance in Manila: “Hero. Freedom Fighter. Prisoner of conscience.” In real life, Dad is Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and Mommy is a self-declared plain housewife who’ll end up as president, Corazon, or “Cory". 

Alvar’s incursion into Filipino politics recalls Jessica Hagedorn’s novel “Dogeaters,” and Miguel Syjuco’s “Ilustrado.” But stylistically, Alvar’s elegant examination of the political wife is reminiscent of the long-suffering spouses and familial enablers of political men in Nadine Gordimer’s fiction. When Dad begins training, Mommy is saddled with ferrying their youngest child to school: “That’s been his one job, in the mushroom-­colored Chevrolet Caprice he has all to himself. (She and the children share a blue Dodge Diplomat.)” The parentheses almost tell the whole story.

After the earlier stories’ gripping tension, the muted pace of the novella “In the Country,” told through date-stamped vignettes, is initially jarring, then thoroughly heartbreaking. In 1971, Milagros Sandoval, a nurse, meets the reporter Jaime (Jim) Reyes at a strike she has organized to protest unfair wages. Jim asks her if she’s considered migration for better prospects. Milagros replies, “Your mother gets sick, you don’t leave her for a healthier mother.

”Their bond is sealed, but mommy Philippines is unwell. President Ferdinand Marcos clings to power, and dissent lands Jim in prison. Through elaborate signals during visits, Milagros takes dictation from Jim so that he may continue publishing articles. Alvar zigzags from Jim’s imprisonment to his release to the return of Marcos’s challenger, Ninoy Aquino. As tragedy interrupts Aquino’s comeback and seeps into the Reyes home, Milagros makes a displacing choice, echoing the decisions that set the collection’s other characters in motion. Clearly a writer with enchanting powers, Alvar wills us to crisscross the globe with them all over again. 


By Mia Alvar
347 pp. Alfred A. Knopf. $26.95.


The New York Times



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