September 2016

Thousands Gather at National Seafarer’s Day at SM


Hans T. Sy, President of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (middle, front) and Glenn D. Ang, Program Director of SM Global Pinoy join Fr. Bruno Ciceri, Chairman of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) and Vatican Representative of the Apostleship of the Sea International, Fr. Paulo Prigol, Chaplain of the Apostleship of the Sea Manila, international delegates and an estimated 4,000 maritime students and seafarers in the celebration of the 21st National Seafarer’s Day with the theme: “Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan”. The event was held at the SMX Convention Center last Sept. 25, 2016, and was organized by the Apostleship of the Sea, Philippine Ports Authority, in partnership with SM Global Pinoy, SM’s program for Overseas Filipino Workers and their families.

Some 4,000 Filipino seafarers, maritime students and their families gathered Sunday for the 21st National Seafarer’s Day organized as a fitting tribute to the country’s maritime community.

Dubbed “Marinong Pilipino: Tatak ng Kahusayan, the event was organized by the Vatican-led Apostleship of the Sea, the Committee on the National Seafarer’s Day, Philippine Ports Authority and SM Global Pinoy to give importance to the invaluable contribution the Filipino seafaring community gives to the country.

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“The aim of this occasion is to give due recognition to the vital role played by the thousands of Filipino seafarers towards the development of the Philippines as a maritime country,” Glenn D. Ang, Senior Vice President of SM Supermalls and Program Director of the SM Global Pinoy said.


The Philippines is the world’s capital source of seafarers with some 367,000 Filipino seafarers deployed all over the world. Filipino seafarers are the top choice in the international maritime industry because of their industry, compassion, resilience and good grasp of the English language.

The National Seafarer’s Day is an annual event that is celebrated every last Sunday of September under the Presidential Proclamation No. 828. This celebration started in 1997 and it has always been part of the National Maritime Week, which is done during the last week of September.

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Also gracing the event were the sixty (60) foreign delegates of the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), who had arrived in the country to enable them to know the culture in order for them to assist Filipino seafarers wherever they are in the globe.

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Fr. Bruno Ciceri, representative of the Apostleship of the Sea International at the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People in Vatican City, said he is deeply grateful that they have been given the chance to lead the National Seafarer’s Day celebration in the Philippines.

He said members of the ICMA, an ecumenical association that assists sea workers, look forward to meeting the Filipino seafarers, maritime officials and students for them to be able to assist them when they are in other countries. “Many of the delegates are here in the Philippines for the first time and it a learning experience for them,” he said.


Ang said SM’s hosting of the event is their way of paying tribute to Filipino seafarers who are regarded as the top-ranked seafarers in the world. “We should all be proud because the Filipino seafarers are still preferred over others. You, our Filipino seafarers, our global pinoys, are hardworking, have a good grasp of the English language, responsible, competent and easy to work with. You, our global pinoys, are a cut above the rest,” he said.

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The SM Global Pinoy program was created to give importance to Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) by giving them a place where they can stay connected with their families and spend quality time together.

Part of the program is the establishment of SM Global Pinoy Centers in select SM Supermalls.  To date, there are 39 Global Pinoy centers in different SM malls all over the country.

Aside from the Center, SM Global Pinoy also conduct free educational seminars and activities that are relevant to its OFW members. Members are also entitled to exclusive perks & privileges from SM’s partner establishments nationwide.


Experiencing the Wonders of Cinema in Silence and Darkness


(L-R) Starting with 4th from Left: Atty. Noel Del Prado, Board Member, MTRCB; Mr. Edgardo “Bong” Garcia, President, Deaf-Blind Support Philippines; Atty. Ann Nemenzo, Executive Director, MTRCB; Ms. Bibeth Orteza, Board Member, MTRCB; Engr. Bien C. Mateo, VP Operations and Director, SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities; Atty. Eugenio H. Villareal, Chairman, MTRCB; Ms. Annie S. Garcia, President, SM Supermalls; Mr. Edwin Nava, VP for Operations, SMLEI; Ms. Koleen Davila-Palaganas, VP of SM Investments Corp.

Every morning, we wake up to the chirping of the birds or the bustling sound of the busy city. Our eyes squint as the brightness of the sun shines through our window. As we go about our day, we enjoy the magnificent play of light and sound surrounding us everywhere.

But not all mornings are the same for everyone. Some wake up with silence that continuously isolates them from those around them. While others wake up to mornings that are as dark as midnight, with not even stars nor the flickers of the light of the moon to cast a faint shadow.

Every day, this is the kind of morning that greets visually and hearing impaired persons, living each day with a little less than a full experience of the world that surrounds us.

But even for just a little while, this is about to change.

SM Cares re-launched its project of offering free movie screening specially edited for the deaf and blind last September 20 with simultaneous special screening of Frozen at the SM Mall of Asia, Maleficent at SM City Bacoor and Pan at SM City Clark. This project is in partnership with SM Cinema, Deaf Blind Support Philippines, Inc., CALL Foundation for the Blind, Inc. and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

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You may be wondering, ‘how can the deaf enjoy the surround sound in a cinema or how can the blind actually even watch a movie?’

This is possible because the movies have closed captions with the subtitles of the dialogues and the detailed description of the sound effects, like ‘bang, a loud, low sound from the forest surprised the boy.’ This brings the hearing-impaired feel the range of emotions incited by the sound effects of the movie.


Another marvel is how the blind is able to imagine the scenes in detail through an audio narration of what is almost a frame by frame description inserted during dialogue pauses like ‘a boy carries an ice cube and trips as he tries to walk toward the mountain covered with snow.’


Among the hundreds who came to join the special screening were Joshua and Jerome Nelmida, 16 year-olds twins, who were both blind since birth. They were very excited as they took their seats waiting for the Disney movie, Frozen to begin.  This was their first time to experience going to a movie specially edited to meet their unique needs.

“Naiintindihan na namin dahil sa explanation na sinasabi sa movie!” exclaimed Joshua.


Jerome shared that he enjoyed the movie with the descriptive narration because he was able to relate to what was happening in the scenes. “Sana po mas marami pang ganito, lalo na sa Tagalog movies, dahil mas nakaka-relate kami na may audio explanation,” he appealed.

Among the guests were Atty. Eugenio H. Villareal, Chairman of MTRCB and Ms. Bibeth Orteza, Board Member of MTRCB to witness how specially edited films help visually and hearing impaired persons enjoy the wonders of cinema.


“Malaking tulong talaga na well explained yung scene. Yung experience na ito… parang as in, talagang napanuood nila yung pelikula talaga, gaya natin,” shared Mommy Anette, the mother of the twins. “Sana mas marami pang pelikula na tulad nito.”

The twins make every effort to live their lives to the fullest. They are currently on their 9th grade at the Philippine National School for the Blind. They also won 1st and 2nd places, Para-Aquathlon Division at the Philippine Aquathlon Championship held last September 11, 2016.


Mommy Anette shared that the twins could not stop talking about their experience to their father, a construction worker and their siblings upon reaching home. “Sobra akong thankful sa experience na ito. Sana mas lumawak pa ang awareness para sa mga visually and hearing impaired para makahalubilo sila at huwag silang katakutan,” she said.

“SM Supermalls is a mall for all, including the PWDs” declared Engr. Bien Mateo, VP for Mall Operations and Director for SM Cares Program on Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Through this project, the deaf and the blind are able to experience the wonders of cinema.

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