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One proud women seafarers advocate


She’s Fairer as a Seafarer (#SFAS) is our worldwide campaign which started in 2013 and fosters the welfare of women serving the maritime industry, particularly in a male-dominated profession called seafaring.

Folks, these bold women have been sailing the high seas, fight boredom, homesickness, isolation and even sexism on-board but no storm has sunken their dreams to go great lengths.

Below blog posts talk about their compelling stories:
1. Jasmin Labarda: Philippine’s first Filipina Ship Captain
2. 13 Reasons Why Che Javellana is ‘Beauty and the Best’ Ship Captain
3. Nina da Silva: Philippine’s pioneering Marine Chief Engineer
4. Engr. Maike Ligan’s tips to shatter stress
5. Prey Ponceja: The seawoman who took social media by storm


Wonderful lessons Sushmita Sen, Taylor Swift and Sisa can teach women seafarers

ITF Women seafarers’ rights

10 Stunning ‘Wonderman’ seafarers

Women migrant workers

Help us promote women empowerment by sharing this post on your social media accounts! If you know one woman seafarer we can include in our list of inspiring seawomen, please feel free to comment below.

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Our ‘Blue Hearts’ can win over global human trafficking menace

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally.United Nations

For this very particular reason, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking was launched in 2010 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It aims to provide direct humanitarian, legal and financial aid to human trafficking victims.

“Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable. To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees — and particularly young people, women and children — from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer and more dignified future.” the dear UN Secretary-General cogitated, advocating the fight against human trafficking.

For my part, I took a bolder step and join the Blue Heart campaign earlier this week. I agree with Blue Heart’s statement that human trafficking is a crime that disgraces humanity. Hence, I must deeply understand its root causes and join the crusade to fight end this savage crime.


What is Blue Heart Campaign?

The Blue Heart Campaign’s goal is to inspire people and mobilize support for action against human trafficking by international organizations, governments, civil society, the private sector and ultimately by individuals.

The Blue Heart also aims to enable citizens to show their support for the cause and to increase understanding of the issue of human trafficking in order to spur coordinated actions to fight the crime. The intention is that the Blue Heart becomes the symbol for human trafficking, similar to the red ribbon, which is the symbol for HIV/AIDS.

Download printable Blue Heart’s leaflet.

Download Blue Heart’s Fact Sheet.

The world needs your blue heart!


Perhaps, you have heard the legendary King of Pop belted-out these lines many times already.

We are the world,
We are the children,
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving…

*notable lyrics of song entitled We are the World by Michael Jackson.

Becoming blue-hearted is simple!

You can be part of the Blue Heart campaign by:

  • Joining the Blue Heart Facebook Page and “wearing” the Blue Heart on your Facebook profile.
  • Downloading the Blue Heart logo and “wearing” it on your site or awareness-raising materials.
  • “Wearing” a link to the campaign on your website and “wearing” the Blue Heart in your newsletters, websites and blogs when you inform about the campaign.
  • Making and “wearing” your own Blue Hearts to raise awareness (you can download the specifications from our site).
  • Spreading the word about the campaign through your own networks and contacts.
  • “Wearing” the Blue Heart when organizing and participating in awareness-raising activities around the world to mark key anti-trafficking-related dates, for example, in Europe to mark the EU anti-trafficking day on 18 October or one of the international days related to slavery, women or children.
  • Donating funds or making in-kind contributions to the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking.
  • Following Blue Heart online. By following you can change your Facebook profile picture to a Blue Heart, stay connected through Twitter or watch videos on human trafficking on YouTube. Get involved and support the Blue Heart Campaign virtually on Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Flickr.

For more information on the Blue Heart Campaign, please contact:

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

PO Box 500, 1400 Vienna, Austria



Literally, the world needs you to wear a blue heart today.

Join me and together we make this world free from modern day slavery!



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Bacongallo is 4th APOY Awardee


Nag-iba ang aking pagtingin sa edukasyon dahil noong elementary palang ako, I think di ko pa naiisip or wala pa siguro sa isipan ko ang tinatawag na kung gaano kahalaga ang edukasyon sa atin. Elementary days were just fun lang po.Inienjoy ko lang talaga ang pagiging bata dati but when my new journey begins in high school, doon ko siguro narealize na pagbutihan ko na at seryosohin ang aking pag-aaral.

Ang time na feeling ko down talaga ako at parang di ko na kaya ay ‘yung simula pa noong Grade 7 hanggang mag Grade 9 ako dahil ni minsan di ko narinig sa pamilya ko ang salitang “Good luck sa test mo Bern.” O “Congrats Bern” dahil matataas ang mga scores ko sa exam and I made it to the top. Pero kinaya ko parin at nagpray nalang ako kay God na Siya na bahala.

Nagpray nalang ako kay God na sana, sana, sana lang PaPa God maapreciate nila mga hardworks ko sa school, patience in everything  and then all of my achievements na kahit di nila masyado inaapreciate eh still ginagawa ko best ko at pinapakita ko na kaya ko.

Kailangan lang natin ng pagsisikap sa lahat ng bagay na gusto natin para makamit ang hindi mapapantayang tagumpay. Poverty is not a hindrance to secure a better future.

My nanay mainly inspired me. Everytime I think of her, naaalala ko ang lahat ng mga paghihirap niya just to send me to school.

I was inspired by my highschool teacher Ma’am Ninebeth Cagalawan too. I find her so successful that I want to experience thesame success like hers someday.


Bernie receive the award with his proud parent, classmates and some ANHS teachers

If we pursue our dreams and be patient in all aspects of life I am sure that each and everyone will be successful someday in their chosen career. As we go along uwe must not forget to thank and treat Him as our best buddy always.

Congratulations, Bernie!

I-Pinoy Circle’s The Seaambassadors’ Republic Blog is proud of your feat.



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SUPERMARIO: A life story of Mario Velasco, Jr; APOY Awardee 2015


If I will be asked about my favorite story, it will be my Mom’s telling about the kind of love she and my dad have. She always says that she never imagined ending up with him. Aside from the fact that she’s from Manila, the gap between their life statuses had big difference. My dad served to my Mom’s non-biological parents as fisherman. My mom really wanted to became a nun but when she got to know more about my father, she fell for him big time! “Why would I not love him?”, she’ll say proudly. She always boasts my father being responsible, kind, hard-working and too handsome. I just smile for that thought. Until they decided to settle down and raised seven children. I, being the fourth, was Mario Velasco’s junior that’s why I got “Jun-Jun” as nickname. Although we have a very simple life, I’m so blessed by the kind of parents I have. They always want the best for us that’s why at early age, they taught us on how to make a living only to the extent of our capabilities. I feel so lucky!

Just so I thought I have a perfect family, I was actually wrong. Very, very wrong. As the years pass by, there was a sudden change on my dad’s attitude. Before, he never forgets to bond with us. Either he tells a joke or play with us. But he’s not like them anymore. He always come home late during the night. Terribly drunk and with so much furry. He and my mom always fight but for me it’s only a nature for married couples. Until one time, he shouted at my mom. It totally shocked the hell out of me because he never did that before. We, the children, just cry silently inside our room whenever this happens. He’s getting into his hobby more and his anger increased without any basis. He reached the point of maltreating us. He would beat us to death even though we did nothing wrong. Not only his children but also his wife. The sight of her crying so hard and hurting badly really makes my heart break into million pieces. Every tears that fall from her eyes, every swell and bruises she get, the more hatred I feel for my father.

I was in 3rd grade back then when we discovered that she’s having an affair with other woman. Well, that explains why he came home seldom. So my mom decided to leave him without telling. From San Jose, we live in my grandparent’s house at Brgy. Apgahan, Patnongon. There we continued our studies but my eldest brother Jan-Jan chose to stay in San Jose to work for us. I know it’s not a good thought, but I cannot deny the peace and joy I felt when there was no more existing presence of my dad on our new house. This is really my home for it was really…safe.

Only a year had passed when my father approached us and asked forgiveness. Being so madly in love, my mom became considerate and let him enter in our life once again. She gave him another chance to make things right. And so he did. But it took only a few months and he became the “monster” again. Always drunk with metal hands. That’s why I came up with an idea. I did really well during my elementary days thinking that this might change him. Maybe if he sees me studying hard, he’ll be proud of me and will be ashamed when he finally realized his faults. Happily, I graduated as 3rd Honorable Mention. But then again, I was wrong. He never changes. He’s still like a demon who wants nothing but watch us suffer. My anger turned to rage. I loathed him. That it reached the point of earning so much courage to answer him back.    “It’s better if you did not comeback. I wish you’re not my father! I never wanted a father who does not know how to act as one!” I yelled out all of my thoughts that been hiding in my chest for a very long time. I thought my sudden outburst will awaken him but it turned out to be another failure. He slaps me hard whenever I do that but I don’t care. I’ll take all the pain until it hurts no more. I’m so used to this so might as well just go along with it.

But I’m tired too tired of fighting. So I decided to stop from schooling just like what my brother Jan-Jan did. What for? All of my efforts to make him change was useless. I’m so useless. So it’s better to show him how affected I am because of him. But my mom stopped me. I’ll never forget all of what she has said. She’s right. I should not let him break all my promises in reaching my dreams. If I ruin my life, it will be me who’ll be regretting in the end. If I ruin my life, she’ll endure heartache again. We have to be strong for these were only life challenges that we need to overcome. These will serve as our inspiration and motivation to succeed. I feel so stupid for not considering my mom’s feelings. And so I promised that I will strive more for her.

I continue doing really great on my secondary education. Luckily, all paid off when I was adjudged as 4th Honorable Mention during our Graduation Day. All of these achievements was only for her. I want her to be at least happy and forget the heartaches even only for the mean time.

It was July that time when a tragedy tested my father. He hardly breathes and spitted blood that’s why my mom took him to the hospital in San Jose. The medical result indicates that he have a disease on the liver. To monitor his condition, the doctor advised them to stay for a month. When they came home, I noticed how my father changed. He treated us well and drinks lesser liquor now. Maybe it was because he needs to be more careful enable to ensure good health condition.

The next month, a strange lump appeared on his left eye that caused him to be half-blinded. I witnessed how the pain made him struggle that even sleeping really hurts for him. Mom took him to the well-facilitated hospital in Manila for the operation. To prevent from leading to cancer, the doctor must remove his left eye. I know how the pain weakened my father that time and it made me so worried. But being the elder brother left that time, I strengthen my heart. I focused on sewing shoes which is our little business in the town market so that I can help giving support to my dad needs and to sustain also the needs in our house and at school.

The operation was successful and they came home last November. Because their birthdays had passed without any prior celebration, my siblings and I surprised them with a cake. As I saw them smile, I thought it’s about time to leave all of what happened in the past and start a new beginning. Anger will cause no good. Truly, forgiveness will set a heart free. So I approached him. I realized that no matter how hard I push him away, I can’t erase the fact that he’s still my father —my one and only senior. After we reconcile, I felt the overflowing joy in my heart! It like I was freed from a cage. From that very moment, love envelopes my heart.

Christmas and New Year went by and I’m so thankful that the Lord granted my wish —the safety of my family. I’m so grateful that He never leaves my side when I’m in the midst of the dark or shining in the colorful stage of my life. I promised to treasure what I have right now and no matter how hard may life seem, my family will serve as my greatest weapon to overcome obstacles. I’m only a 2nd year college student, there’s a lot more to take. But I will make sure that I’ll become a successful engineer someday. And if they ask me how I did it, I will be proud to answer: “It’s because I am Super Mario!”

Written by El Pranzia for The Seaambassadors’ Republic Blog



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The APOY Award: Recognizing human soul on fire

awardThe Award

Aureliana National High School Person of the Year (APOY) Award is basically an annual recognition – a special award given to a deserving student of Aureliana National High School (ANHS) whom literally like fire, he/she has burning passion for excellence, light show desirable attributes to overcome life’s challenges and difficulties and has able to light up other people’s perspective to strive hard and be successful in life, too.


Believe me or not, heavy water droplets inspired me to start APOY.  One afternoon, I was having a haircut in town when it rained suddenly. I looked around and saw people running for shelter but the barber kept on reminding me not to be rowdy or else he cuts my hair uneven, worst injure my ear. But there’s one inevitable sight, a flickering flame hardly moving forward under the pouring rain, which pushed my head to move and witness the drama. Though the barber has proven his threat, it was one of the most heart deep views I have had on my life, the one not shown on YouTube or smart TVs, when we talk about human tenacity to achieve great things in life.

The flame of persistence – that’s what I saw in him as he hardly pushes himself to find shelter under the rain, like other normal people did.

Further, he’s not only persistent for he’s also passionate. I saw his schoolbag lay loosely in front of his flat stomach and as he advances himself by his one hand, the other hand secures the backpack, filled with some books and notes, underneath his uniform. I admit it was somehow heartbreaking to see a person with disability, struggling alone and drenched aboard his wheelchair, in hurry to go home after school because it’s getting dark soon.

Few months past, I saw his face again but now in Facebook after his adviser uploaded some of his photos, congratulating him of his many hard-earned achievements in school. I was so impressed of his feat and it challenged me at the same time to ponder deeply and start sharing my blessings to people like him. Eventually, Elvic Ballenas became our first APOY awardee in 2014.

The APOY award was born because I saw a wheel chaired man on fire under the pouring rain. He probably went home wet and chilled that day but he has proven us that going places requires burning passion and persistence.

Selection of awardee

Submitted nominations were screened accordingly and the committee in-charge headed by the project coordinator select the winner based on the following criteria:

50% – Inspirational quality of true-to-life story

30% – Uniqueness of talent and personality

20% – Academics and extra co-curricular activities

Total = 100%


An awardee receives cash, certificate and a medal sponsored by yours truly and/or other kind people like Mr. Ronilo Victoriano, a seafarer ANHS alumnus. Ronilo granted cash prize in 2016. Hopefully, many more benevolent people would take part on this project in the future.


Yours truly works closely with APOY project school coordinator which is no other than Mrs. Joan D. Gadiana. Even afar, I think of and ensure efficient and full implementation of the project. From preparing guidelines, posting invitations online to crafting certificates, I’m glad to spend my personal resources for APOY. Luckily, Ma’am Joan and the whole ANHS community have been very supportive since the start and that’s what I’m very thankful of.



Let me quote Ferdinand Foch’s words.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.”

Achieve great things in life by having FIRE qualities in you.

F – Faith. You must have faith in your God Almighty. He has better plans for you, more than what you usually think of. He is your ultimate shelter under the pouring rain, the wheels of your wheelchair – your sole Creator who could likely set your heart on fire if you ask Him to.

I – Improve. Regularly push yourself to improve your weaknesses. You may feel burn-out sometimes but all your efforts and time spent is worth it. When was the last time you upgraded your well-being? More or less like a machine but with a heart, keep your body regularly updated.

R – Radiate. Flicker like the stars, smile like the moon or brighten up everyone’s world like the sun. The best time to shine according to His purpose, for example, is when a close family member or friend is suffering from the harsh nature of life. And it is by only being true to yourself that you’ll shine naturally.

E – Empower. To help the community does not always mean shedding truckloads of money or other expensive material things. Remember, we help not because we’re required. We help not because we’re superstars or we help not because we’re heroes.  We help because we want to and if we just open our hearts, there’s actually a lot of ways to empower other people today. Like the APOY Award, you may draw inspiration from ‘imperfections’, be creative in expressing your kind thoughts and simply offer whatever free resources (i.e. leisure time, well-wishes, talent, etc.) you can afford to share.

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ON THE SPOTLIGHT: International Journal features world-class Filipinos

The May-June 2016 issue of the Journal of Shipping and Ocean Engineering featured a research study about a success story and effective leadership skills of Capt. Angelex Panes, a Master Mariner who hailed from Mindanao, Philippines.


The paper, entitled ‘The success story and effective leadership techniques of Capt. Angelex A. Panes on board MV SKS Tiete’, was authored by Dr. Brian Gil Sarinas and Third Officer Mark Eden Ellaga. It was notably included in the journal along with other compositions from various parts of the globe like China, India and Norway, among others.

Not your ordinary journal

For a paper to land in Journal of Shipping and Ocean Engineering, it has to be polished like a gem first.

The publisher of the said magazine is David Publishing Company (DPC) and has an office address at 616 Corporate Way, Suite 2-4879 Valley Cottage, NY 10989 USA. As written on its website, DPC is a professional English-language academic journal and books publisher both in print and online versions, which serves the world’s research and scholarly communities. It unremittingly screens, publishes and enhances reputations of the journals submitted by scholars around the world who work on the fields of Account & Accounting, Administration, Agriculture, Aviation Science, Business, Chemistry, Civil, Computer, Earth, Education, Energy, Environment, Economics, Electrics, Electronics, Food, Future Science, Geology, Health, History, Journalism, Law, Language, Life-Sciences, Literature & Art, Management, Materials, Mechanics, Medicine, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology, Pharmacy and Pathology, Philosophy, Shipping & Ocean, Sociology, Sports Sciences, Traffic and Transportation, Tourism and Restaurants, etc.

Thanks God, we’re able to reach this kind of milestone!

Outstanding Filipino Researchers

The research paper was authored by:

1.) Dr. Brian Gil Sarinas

  • Multi-awarded researcher, currently working as OIC of JBLFMU-Arevalo’s research office. His distinguished achievements in academics and research, among others, are the following:
  • Scholar and Outstanding Student of the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (Excellence in Teaching Program) published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (8 July 2004)
  • Outstanding Filipino Researcher 2012 given by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE), an AJA UKAS certified with ISO 9001: 2008 during the Global Conference on Education, Business, Engineering and Sciences (GCEBES) 2012, Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center, Singapore (24-26 Oct 2012)
  • Outstanding Filipino Research Leader 2013 given by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) during the World Research Festival 2013, Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines (1-3 May 2013)
  • Excellence in World Publication Award 2013 for publishing research in Thomson and Reuters (ISI) and Scopus Elsevier given during the World Research Festival 2013, Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (1-3 May 2013)
  • IAMURE World Publication Award (Pearl Award) 2013 for publishing research in Thomson and Reuters (ISI) and Scopus Elsevier given during the World Research Festival 2013, Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (1-3 May 2013)
  • Outstanding World Research Leader 2014 given during the 2nd Asian Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Higher Education (ACMRHE), Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (26-28 Nov 2014)
  • Excellence in World Publication Award 2014 for publishing research in Thomson and Reuters (ISI) and Scopus Elsevier given during the 2nd Asian Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Higher Education (ACMRHE), Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (26-28 Nov 2014)
  • IAMURE World Publication Award (Pearl Award) 2014 for publishing research in Thomson and Reuters (ISI) and Scopus Elsevier given during the 2nd Asian Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Higher Education (ACMRHE), Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (26-28 Nov 2014)
  • World Citation Award 2014 given during the 2nd Asian Conference on Multidisciplinary Research in Higher Education (ACMRHE), Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, Philippines organized by the International Association of Multidisciplinary Research (IAMURE) (26-28 Nov 2014) and
  • One of the Marquis Who’s Who in the World 2015, Published in the 32nd Edition, New Jersey, USA (June 2015)

2.) Third Officer Mark Eden Ellaga

  • A licensed marine deck officer (OIC-NW) currently sailing with Norwegian flagged vessels of tankers and cement types. His passion for community service and love for learning has gained him national awards like Bank of the Philippine Island’s “Outstanding Expat-Pinoy Child” and Ex-link Events’ “Outstanding Filipino Blogger”.

Learn from the master

The success story of Capt. Angelex Panes is an inspiring story for all seafarers and seafarer aspirants. We can learn many valuable lessons from him.

His faith, courage, hard work, determination, openness, and love for learning lead him to his success or to where he is now.

His secret?

“There is no secret. Just be yourself and do your responsibility considering always the safety of all crew, vessel, cargo and environment. Don’t rush to climb the ladder of success or get easily disappointed by your failures. The best has yet to come. I just did my part, persevered and became patient.” Capt. Panes said.



Categories: Inspiring, Overseas Filipino Woker, projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The APOY Award: Primer

Aureliana National High School Person of the Year (APOY) Award aims to recognize well-rounded individuals who have burning passion for excellence and community service.

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This year,


Do you want to nominate a potential APOY Awardee? Go to


Send a message to i-Pinoy Circle Facebook Page

Or download the official  APOY 2017 application form today.

Help us determine the next APOY awardee.

Be sociable. Please share this blog post.


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