In commemorating the Philippine Deaf Awareness Week, the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS) celebrated its 28th Deaf Festival from Nov. 4 to 25. With its theme, “Defining Servant Leadership in Rebuilding,” the festival conducted various activities and exhibits, online and face-to-face, in pursuit of celebrating social inclusion of the Deaf and strengthening awareness of community building
Following the first Friday Mass Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the celebration was officially welcomed by SDEAS Dean Ms. Giselle Montero. In her opening remarks, she announced that the festival aims to redefine two words: servanthood and leadership.
“What is a servant leader? A servant leader is one who encourages the team members, the one who listens to the team, and is humble enough to work with the team. When we say servant leader, it is not always the one who directs; they are the ones who get the participation of others so everyone are able to give their decisions and opinions, just like how the Deaf festival for this year was formed,” Ms. Montero acknowledged.
Amidst all the challenges presented by the pandemic and the transition of classes to face-to-face set-up, she emphasized that it was the listening heart and overflowing patience of Deaf leaders that made this celebration very special.
Following the opening remarks, Ms. Ana Arce, a Benilde SDEAS alumnus and the youngest recipient of the Lasallian Achievement award, shared a speech about the celebration of the Deaf Festival and its brief history. She applauded the SDEAS community for sharing their skills in making the celebration possible despite the pandemic and encouraged everyone to partake in the workshops and seminars as the goal is to equip everyone with knowledge regarding the Deaf community and to strengthen the community.
“One of the goals of SDEAS is to become advocates for the Deaf, Deaf awareness, Deaf culture, identity, and language, and sharing your skills so that people recognize that the Deaf can,” she pointed out.
In honor of the celebration, the SDEAS Deaf Festival welcomed Benildeans through their bazaar and art exhibit at the Greenway Square at Taft Campus, which was also available online through the official SDEAS Deaf Festival Facebook page. Various food options were offered, commemoratory 28th Deaf Festival shirts were sold, and attendees could take pictures with friends at the photo booth. Six Crew Cafe, Han. Branding and Graphic Design, Entnine and Nice Coffee, and Happy Vibes were among the participating brands at the bazaar. This ran from Nov. 15 to 21.
On the other hand, at the BSLI (Bachelor in Sign Language Interpretation) for Interpreting Webinar held on Nov. 23, BSLI faculty and sign language interpreter, Mr. John Xandre Baliza, talked about the culture of interpreting in the Philippines and what its future would look like post-pandemic. Mr. Baliza discussed the importance of inclusivity—or the lack thereof—when it comes to the Deaf community’s access to news and how this was a prevailing issue that heightened in early 2020.
“The concept of a pandemic and its consequences might have not been fully understood by the Deaf community at the start,” one audience member shared.
Held after the webinar was a Filipino Sign Language (FSL) competition that showcased six entries of self-produced recorded OPM music videos. The panel of judges, Ms. Bernadette Infanta, Mr. Ferdinand Vizmanos, Mr. Michael Valenzuela, and Mr. Mark Adrian Jayobo, acknowledged and awarded three winners.
Ending the month-long festival was “The Face Mask,” an online cultural show written and directed by Ms. Myra Medrana, featuring both Deaf and hearing talents. The show started with another opening remark by Ms. Montero, who shared an inspirational message on empowerment, grit, and temperance and how these values played a significant role in making the festival a success despite the many hindrances and limitations of online modality.
De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde is one of the four post-secondary institutions in the Philippines that offers a tailor-fit curriculum catering to the Deaf community. SDEAS is a leading institution that prioritizes the inclusivity of all students alike. It encourages fair opportunity for all people who are able and dedicated to making meaningful contributions to their communities and the country.