Friday, May 4, 2012

Miani-Arvedi Triumphs with Nine Graduates

This school year 2011-2012 is another triumphant and blessed year for Casa Miani boys who have reaped the fruit of their labors. Six boys graduated from the Elementary level, two boys from High School, and one earned a College degree.

The boys who completed elementary are  Nilo Ledesma, Kim Cadorna,  John Paul Habitan, Roque Perez, and the twin brothers Raymond and Raymark Guimarangan. The last four boys enumerated  were donned special awards in music as members of Vox Orphanorum-the Ambassadors of Goodwill and Music of the province of Negros Oriental. 

Jay-Ar Rosano and Ariel Morte also marked off their secondary years as awardees.  Jay-Ar is exulted the 1st Honorable Mention and a Gold Medal for Best in Math.  Ariel Morte received Service Awards. Both also received Vox Orphanorum awards for music.
For the first time in the history of Casa Miani-Arvedi, an occupant will graduate from college. His name is Jojo Conceso Ella. He finally concluded his education by finishing the course Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.

Vox Orphanorum Continues to Bring Music to the People

Now in their 5th Year of singing, since their official launching into the mainstream of religious and public service, Vox Orphanorum continues to enthrall their audience on stage and church performances.           

Upon invitation of Fr. Dexter Pomada, Parish Priest of Palanas, Tanjay City, Vox sang back-to-back with their parish choir during the fiesta Mass Celebrated by Bishop John F. Du of the Diocese of Dumaguete last May 3, 2011.  The people in Palanas, happy and amazed by the angelic voices of the choir, invited the group to stage a concert.
Last September 15, 2011, Vox Orphanorum came back to serenade the parishioners of Palanas for a concert as a fundraising for both the Parish and Casa Miani. The church was filled with an awed audience who clamored incessantly for more songs at the end of the repertoire. The concert started at 8:00 pm and ended at 10:00 pm with the Vox performing 3 encores.
To mark the 5th year anniversary of the choir, the music director, Jeremias Perez proposed for another concert at Silliman University’s Luce Auditorium and commissioned the symphonic band of Negros Oriental State University to provide accompaniment for this anniversary concert. Furthermore, Vox was joined center stage by another choir composed of businessmen and professionals, the BCBP-North Music Ministry.
The repertoire of the religious and inspirational songs, folk tunes, love ballads, and Christmas carols left the audience mesmerized and captivated. Show critics and reviews could only say that they find the show “too short.” Little did they know that the concert was already an hour and forty minutes long.
As the school year ends, two of the schools in Dumaguete City had invited the children to sing for their baccalaureate masses: Negros Maritime College and Dumaguete City Central Elementary School. Through singing in various events, the Vox Orphanorum find new friends and witness great and touching moments of some people.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


With nine months to prepare, for the concert entitled “Arcobaleno”, Vox Miani has more than enough time to learn new songs and polish the old signature melodies. The intensive training of a boys’ choir will be a serious demand for a choir who usually sings with alto and soprano counterparts from their sister orphanage – Casa Cittadini of the Ursulline Sisters of Somasca.

However, for Jeremias  Perez, music  director  of  Vox Orphanorum, a performance in Sophia Soler Auditorium of the De La Salle - Zobel Campus only deserves a well-disciplined start in the month of August of 2010. 

The boys know that they need to pull strings in order to make it in time. The first concern is correct breathing and vocal technique. Polishing and blending of voices were enhanced as each musical piece was learned phrase-by-phrase repeatedly. The employment of appropriate choreography came next as each choir boy has to act with organic inception of the song and its message.
 The summer of 2011 would mean daily practice for Vox until their day to fly for Alabang came. That would be the first flight to 17 of the 21 boys. Four of these boys have flown to Manila a year earlier to join the Angels Choir of  Tagaytay during Fr. Enrico Balderama’s ordination to the deaconate.

The boys arrived 23rd of May in Alabang. The rest of the days will be rehearsals at the venue with Ludy Llaneza, the concert impresario and Bing Mercado, the show director.
May 28 will be a date to remember. It will be written in history when Vox Miani conquered the stage of La Salle-Zobel. The evening was indeed inspiring as the audience generously let out cheers of affirmation and thunderous applause to every song rendered. Moreover, Vox prides in sharing the stage with an international pianist – Alberto Macri.   

It was also an evening to share the limelight with stars in the person of Eugene Villaluz, Pat Castillo, Jacki Magno, and Bing Mercado. To top it all, the stage was never better without the dances of fellow Miani boys from San Jose and Sorsogon.
It was also an evening to share the limelight with stars in the person of Eugene Villaluz, Pat Castillo, Jacki Magno, and Bing Mercado. To top it all, the stage was never better without the dances of fellow Miani boys from San Jose, Lubao, and the Excrambles from Tarlac.
Sunday, May 29, will be church-hopping as Vox serenades the nearby chapels and St. Jerome church towards the end of every mass. It was a simple way of thanking the support of the parishioners and way to have their songs heard from those who did not make it to the concert.
An invitation to the Espiritu’s residence was inspiring and uplifting. It was a cocktail hosted to honor the efforts of the people behind “Arcobaleno”.

The Tagaytay profession of new religious brothers will be their last performance … and the most risky. Alberto Macri was requested by Fr. Cesar de Santis to accompany. But the choir and the accompanist have never rehearsed the songs together.  With barely an hour to prepare, Vox and Macri pulled a very solemn performance of an almost all-Latin mass repertoire.
But the story will not end here yet. After everyone has had their full of the sumptuous lunch, Vox performed right in the middle of the seminary gardens of Tagaytay. This time, they sang a full concert repertoire of love songs, folk music, chansons, madrigals, and foreign songs.

The succeeding days are evenly filled with lighter events as to mall tours and sports challenge between the Miani boys of San Jose and their neighbors. The Manila experience was concluded by a pool party hosted by the gracious Ludy Llaneza in her Alabang residence.

The nine-day engagement will never be forgotten. It was in this summer of 2011 that a lot of first-time events were experienced. The organizers and initiators ought to be congratulated and thanked for the wonderful time and opportunity they have lavished Vox Miani. The choir is indeed thankful for the provision of palettes, brushes, and paints. And with Fr. Frank Cabrera’s hand driving, they will surely reach their destination safe and in time. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

2011 Recognition and Graduation Day

March and April are very exciting months for the staff and boys of Casa Minai-Arvedi. Classes finish and celebrations begin as the students are praised for their hard work. This year's graduation and recognition day ceremonies were especially exciting! Casa Miani-Arvedi had 6 boys graduate from high school, 1 from elementary school, 2 high school boys included in the top 10% of their high school class, and 6 elementary boys make Top 10 of their sections!

Robert, Rolando, Paul John, Enrique, John Rey, and Stephen proudly accepted their high school diplomas from Junob National High School while Ian graduated nearby from Junob Elementary School. All seven of the boys also received awards for being members of the Vox Orphanorum Choir!

Aside from those students graduating, elementary students whose grades every grading period placed them in the top 10 positions of their sections were also honored on a seperate day as well as the high school students. Every grading period and every March, the staff of CMA is always incredibly proud each one of their boys.

Hearing their names announced and accepting a certifcate, award, and/or diploma is a very special life event for every student. For our CMA boys, these are occasions they will never forget and items they will keep forever as keepsakes of their hard work and sacrifices.


Last March 2011, the boys and staff of Casa Miani-Arvedi were honored with two visitors from the Visayan Forum and Silliman University who came to help conduct the Global Vote for the World's Children's Prize.

The boys listened long as hard as the visitors explained that all around the world, children ages 10-17 are taking part in the vote which gives recognition to special adults who have lived their lives defending children. The vote has been taking place every year and it is one important event where youth learn about their rights, children's circumstances in different parts of the world, as well as get to practice their right to participate. This year, one of the three candidates who was recognized for her "outstanding work for the rights of the child" is a Filipino woman named Cecilia Flores- Oebanda who has lived and worked to help women and children who have been trafficked as well as set up advocacy campaigns educating people about human trafficking. The other two candidates were from different parts of the world and had similar amazing stories.

After learning about the three candidates, the boys were given ballots and asked to vote for their favorite. Although only one candidate will win the prize, all three will be honored and given further support for their work.

Because the vote was only open to the boys ages 10-17, some of the younger boys and the 4th year high school boys were not eligible to vote yet they still helped out with the filling out of ballots and counting the votes.

Each and everyone of the CMA boys' votes counted in the worldwide vote. After they voted by paper anomously, the paper votes were counted and submitted online to the worlwide vote.

It was an exciting day where all the boys felt involved and important as they got to choose for themselves who they wanted to win. They also learned about children from different parts of the world and many youth and adult leaders who have devoted their lives to helping children and vulnerable people who often do not know about their rights and have had their rights denied to them.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Low Ropes: New Life Skills

"Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I will remember,
Involve me and I will understand."
- Chinese proverb

The above quote is a Chinese proverb used by many experiential learning advocates. The quote describes how it is ussually not until we actually try and experience something first hand that we fully understand a new situation, concept, lesson, etc. At Casa Miani-Arvedi, one of the programs we have is based of the experiential learning cylce where first the partcipants engage in an activity together and then afterwards reflect upon what they have learned.

Since the summer of 2009, Casa Miani-Arvedi has been doing life skill and leadership activities with the help of their low ropes course. A low ropes course is a series of outdoor elements such as wooden walls and platforms where groups take part in challenging activities together. The center was able to acquire funding for the materials for the course after they wrote a grant proposal with their Peace Corps volunteer and were approved a small grant for certain materials such as nails, paint, and plywood they could not get inside of the center. The other materials such as coconut lumber, bamboo, and manpower were all supplied from Casa Miani and the surrounding community.
Once built, the CMA boys and some nearby youth helped paint and prepare the course and soon the staff was ready to start facilitating the activities with the boys in their different house groups. CMA staff and other social workers and care givers in centers nearby were trained by Dumaguete native and outdoor education specialist Jufer Villanueva as well as their Peace Corps volunteer, Elizabeth. The course has 9 different elements each with unique rules and challenges such as a wall to climb over, a small box the group must stand on together, and a trust platform amongst a few.

The CMA boys were the first to take part in the activities and soon the high school boys were trained as facilitators as more communties and organizations came to Casa Miani to use the course as well. So far, 12 of the CMA boys have facilitated low ropes whole-day and half-day activities with a variety of groups ranging from barangay chairpersons to SK leaders and most recently, an organization of hearing-imparied adults from Dumaguete as well as other groups as well. Not only do the youth facilitators explain the rules of each elements, but they also welcome the groups and lead warm-up activities as well as lead debriefing discussion after each activitiy focusing on topics different topics such as teamwork, cooperation, communication, and whatever may come up during the day.

If you want to come to Casa Miani with a group to use our course with our youth facilitators, call Casa Miani-Arvedi for more information!

Please see below for pictures of our low ropes project and our incredible youth facilitators!

here, the boys lift Angelo through a space in the spiderweb as Ate Ana watches on

debriefing in the nippa hut

unity circle before youth from Siaton (in southern Negros Oriental) depart for home

make a bridge to cross to the islands in the alligator swamp!

members of Youth Advocates Through Theatre Arts (YATTA)attempting the Team Wall

at the end of the day, many groups take part in the trust fall where all participants of a group stand below the trust platform to catch one of their members

Friday, February 11, 2011


In October 2008, 14 brand new computers, a lab top, a projector and a screen arrived at Casa Miani-Arvedi. The boys, having just returned from fall break, were ecstatic and the staff could not stop them from looking in the windows of the old seminarian bedroom (which was cleaned-out and turned in to the new computer room) to get a look at the new computers.

With the generous donation from Italy, Casa Miani-Arvedi was able to acquire computers, computer desks, a lab top, and screen and projector for the center. Since then, computer classes have been going on every saturday and during the summer, the boys have had computers at-hand to use for homework assignments, and the Vox Orphanorum Choir has been able to the screen and projector for their concerts. Computer literacy classes have been taught by university students, the CMA social worker and houseparents, volunteers and the CMA boys themselves who have taken on leadership roles and a deep interest in learning about and expanding their knowldege of computers.

During the summers, regular computer classes are held daily as well and since Summer 2009, the boys have had a lot to show for what they have learned. Each boy has an individual folder on the computers as well as a paper folder with print-outs of his essays and projects. The computer classes range from English lessons and typing to making cards and practicing using the different programs. Last November, the boys also formed a newsletter committee and created the first issue of the CMA Chronicles to be sent out electronically to friends, neighbors, sponsors, and the whole Somascan community. The articles in the CMA Chronicles are chosen and written entirely by the boys on the committee. They then work together using Microsoft Publisher to design and place their stories, artwork, and pictures on the newsletter!

The arrival of the computer and establishment of the computer literacy program has made an immeasurable difference in the help offered to the boys of Casa Miani-Arvedi. The new computers have also helped tremendously in helping CMA broadcast its news and stay in-touch with people all over the world. New developments and ideas are often occurring as well as more and more people offering their time and expertise as volunteers.

Please see
for the first online issue of the CMA Chronicles!

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