Most beauty pageants simply showcase extraordinary features and qualities of women. But, for Dr. Irene Floro, the charming and energetic founder of Skills Mastery Institute of Livelihood and Entrepreneurship Success (SMILES), she wants to encourage young girls to make the most of their physical attributes and pursue their advocacies not just in beauty.
For her, what makes it fulfilling and challenging is when she is able to train young and adults alike and make them productive citizens connect them to jobs or a livelihood
She tells them to have hope and to believe in themselves and use the training we taught them.
Does she have any plan of organizing pageants with international counterparts like Miss Universe? She said when she hosted Bb. Pilipinas International USA when they were in the country recently, “ Maybe in the future we can have one.”
And when asked about joining the movies, she simply smiled and said, “Why not? Let’s explore the world.”
But, her passion really now is her outreach program. “I have seen the poverty level of people living in far-flung communities. They have limited access to skills training and education. It is my moral responsibility to help them. Just paying forward because God has blessed me good things in life,” she said.
She added that she and her SMILES are training internally displaced persons (IDPs) of Marawi outside the relocation camps, especially those who are not on the radar of the government. “We teach them organic farming,” she related. “It has diverted their minds from wallowing in misery after the siege of Marawi. We give them psycho-social support.”
He dreams for the SMILES Foundation is to put up training centers. Her passion for promoting technical and vocational education and training (TVET) as a means to provide meaningful livelihood opportunities for Filipinos to fuel her stewardship of the SMILES Foundation
“I feel so proud when I look at (IDPs) of Marawi growing, consuming, and selling vegetables a few months after we trained them in organic crops production”, she shares. As the Vice President for Mindanao, for the Technical Vocational Schools Associations of the Philippines, she trailblazed TVET in Mindanao.
Dr. Floro hails from Cagayan de Oro, where she grew up with businessmen parents whose work she and her siblings sought to continue. Having academic backgrounds in Biology and Nursing, she has a masters in teaching and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Management, all of which provided for her the aptitude towards the work she does now.
However, her passion for community-based skills training is something she developed all in her own, seeing the need for it in her hometown in Mindanao.
Her work does not stop in training—SMILES particularly ensures delivery of post-training services either through work placement or enterprise development, completing the circle and fighting unemployment and poverty at its wake.
She sees an ideal world where opportunities abound for all Filipinos to live a better life.
“The choices are plenty for everyone; we just have to know which is the best one.” Through SMILES, she is confident that these opportunities are made available to those most vulnerable, such as the IDPs of Marawi.
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Dingdong’s ‘Amazing Earth’
I’ve caught episodes of Dingdong Dantes’ Amazing Earth footage culled from the award-winning series, BBCs Planet Earth II.
It appears that Dantes, apart from being one of the more competent actors on TV and in the movies these days, has become more at ease before the cameras as a host/narrator of documentary material, such as the environment-focused show he is hosting on GMA every Sunday.
Apart from the breathtaking visuals, the team that adapted the series for the local audience seems to understand that for something like this to be understood or embraced by audiences across the archipelago, they must be able to connect each segment to the Filipinos. Hence, you see Dantes talking to local environmental scientists about certain phenomena that average people normally take for granted or don’t understand at all.
I find it clever that the writer/producer/director of the show divides the episode into five-story segments and give each a showbiz-type subtitle to catch the attention of the audience.
I’d like to commend the team for making an environment-themed show accessible to the audience of free TV.
Amazing Earth airs Sundays on GMA7 after 24 Oras Weekend. I am not just sure how many more episodes are left after its pilot on June 17.
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Czech comedy in Manila
The Czechs are well-known for their ability to make fun of virtually everything – as can be seen in the witty storytelling of the Czech comedy film Cosy Dens (Pelíšky), which will be the ninth film in the Czech Movie Gems festival to be screened. To remember this good ol’ fun nature of the Czechs, Czech Embassy Manila brings another cinematic masterpiece to Manila Cinematheque.
Based on novel Hovno Hoří(Shit Can Burn) by Petr Šabach, Cosy Dens directed by one of the most prolific Czech filmmakers of recent times, Jan Hřebejk and released in 1999. The plot is set during one of the most tragic days of the 20th century when the emerging democracy in Czechoslovakia was being crushed by the Soviet army invasion in August 1968.
Catch the Czech cinematic masterpiece at Cinematheque Manila on Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Seating is on a first-come, first served basis, subject to capacity.
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