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A Salute to Ilongga Educators this Teachers’ Day

Submitted by on October 5, 2011 – 9:58 pmNo Comment

Happy Teachers’ Day to our educators! We usually underestimate our teachers’ effort and sacrifices to provide us quality education which enable us to become competitive and productive citizens of our country. Today’s post is my salute to known Ilongga educators who have placed indelible mark on our education and on our society.


Dr Josette BiyoDr. Josette Biyo of the Philippine Science High School has earned an honor that no Filipino has ever attained before – a planetoid named after her. Dr. Biyo is known for her unconventional but very effective style in teaching science to young and curious minds. Instead of basing on the textbooks, she uses nature and environment to expose students on the principles of science. Her methodology trains students to become independent and at the same time enjoy learning – features of education amiss on a growing digitized form of education where almost everything are delivered at the click of mouse or touch of a screen.

Dr. Biyo’s innovative and novel methods of teaching have earned her accolades from various institutions here and abroad. She was hailed as one of the outstanding teachers of the country by the Metrobank Foundation in 1997, one of The Outstanding Young Filipinos (now known as The Outstanding Young Men or TOYM) by the Philippine Jaycees in 1998, a Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee by the Civil Service Commission in 2007, and one of the 50 Great Men and Women of Science by the Department of Science and Technology in 2008.

Though working on a government institution, the lack of equipment or even the low salary did not deter her. Instead she used them as inspiration to become an effective educator. “Teaching has a lot of challenges – lack of equipment, lack of materials and infrastructure support, working longer hours than what is credited for pay,” she says. “But for me, these challenges are just part of the job. They have never overwhelmed me.”

Dr Biyo’s most popular feat yet is conquering the Intel Excellence in Teaching Competition held in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. She was the first Asian teacher to bag such award – and from a Third World country at that – besting 4,000 other science and math teachers from different parts of the globe.  As part of the recognition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory gave the name  “Planet Biyo” to a minor planet found in the asteroid belt, somewhere between Mars and Jupiter.

(Source: http://excell.csc.gov.ph/heroes/biyo.pdf)


Sofia Reyes De VeyraA product of Arevalo Iloilo City, this famous Ilongga have been known for being an educator, a civil rights leader, and a social worker. Sofia’s path to being a teacher was incidental; she took the advantage of the presence of an American teacher boarding in her house. She asked the teacher to instruct her on arithmetic and English, which she learned well. She later mastered phonetics, grammar, subtraction and addition under the supervision of the American educator. She was soon appointed as a teacher in Saravia, Negros Occidental and later as a matron of a girl’s dormitory affiliated with the Bacolod High School.

One of her contributions is that she co-founded with Mary E. Coleman, the one of the early school for nurses in the country in 1907 under auspices of the Bureau of Education.

Because of her achievements in education, SDV was appointed as Vice President of the Centro Escolar University (Centro Escolar de Señoritas) in 1934. Sofia De Veyra was author of the books, Character and Conduct, and Home Economics which was widely used at her time.

A building at the CEU Manila Campus is named in her honor, the Sofia De Veyra (SDV) Hall which houses the university’s Graduate School.


Eufemia OctavianoA nurse and educator by heart, Dr. Eufemia Octaviano of Bacolod City is an exemplary Ilongga. She was a nursing luminary (she was a former chairman of the Philippine Board of Nursing) and at the same time honing young minds in becoming caring and competent nurses. She has served her profession for fifty years, inspiring and mentoring countless nursing students who have become pioneers and leaders in nursing. Femy, as her close friends and family call her, is a mother of three by blood relations and millions by profession; a faithful wife and a friend to all. She is an advocate of quality nursing education and service, and most of all a compassionate Filipina nurse of her countrymen.


Let’s thank all our teachers and remember them for invaluable lessons, loving care, and also as being our second parents at school. To all teachers, I salute you!

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