Friday, February 29, 2008

Books from a Teenager in the US

Article from the Visayan Daily Star (February 29)

Teenager making a difference for others

A 17-year-old student in Tucson, Arizona, has started a campaign to collect books for needy schools in Negros Occidental.

Angelo “Angeo” Tirambulo, a student at St. Gregory College Preparatory School in Tucson, who visited Negros last year said he has always believed that books are important to one’s education but discovered that many students, especially in remote areas in the province don’t have access to enough of them.

“I was happy to rediscover my roots in Negros Oriental and Occidental where my parents come from and realized that perhaps in a small way I could make a difference for others,” he said.

“So when I returned home to the States I decided to gather up the books I had to send back to Negros with educational videos,” he said.

Tirambulo said he works as a cook at an old folks home on weekends and is saving a large part of his earnings to be able to send more books home.

The beneficiary of the books he sent home recently was the St. Francis of Assisi School in Silay City that is ran by Tapulanga Foundation and the educational videos were given to the Department of Education for use in public schools.

The books were given to Carmela “Micmic” Abello Golez, Tapulanga Foundation executive director, and the videos, to Tina Orbecido of the Governor’s Office who turned them over to the DepEd.

The videos are very educational and helpful, said Orbecido, who has been tasked by Negros Occidental Gov. Joseph MaraƱon to help teachers upgrade the English proficiency of their students.

While Golez who was glad to receive the books for her school said “we need more kids like him (Tirambulo) who have compassion for those who have less or none. This is what true sharing and giving is about.”

The St Francis of Assisi School in Silay was started by Abello’s family to help children of farm workers break free from the cycle of poverty.

Teachers at Tirambulo’s school in Arizona heard of his having sent books to Negros and his campaign has caught fire among fellow students at St. Gregory now competing to gather more books, he said.

But this also means he will have to work harder on weekends to save more money to ship the collected books home, he said.

The satisfaction is in knowing other students in Negros will enjoy these books, he said.

Although he was born and raised in the States, he has spent a lot of time researching on Filipino music and in the process learned about the culture and dialects of the Philippines, he said.

Tirambulo said it is important for him not to forget his roots and he fell in love with Bacolod City and its food when he visited last year.

Tirambulo who is into golf, photography and cooking plans to major in history and anthropology in college.

He is the son of Tucson entrepreneurs Grace and Angelo Tirambulo of Negros Occidental and Oriental.