School Learning Through a Holistic Approach

School Learning Through a Holistic Approach

The Mano Amiga community in the Philippines prides itself on the school’s holistic approach to learning. Combining the imperatives of a developmentally appropriate learning environment, solid curriculum, a strong spiritual formation program and extra-curricular activities, the school has seen great success in educating impoverished children, many from the urban slums of Manila.

Give Students Skills They Need to Succeed

Give Students Skills They Need to Succeed

Mano Amiga Philippines

Students: 100
Founded: 2008
Location: Paranaque, Philippines

Founded in 2008, Mano Amiga Paranaque can attribute its creation to the success of another one of our schools halfway across the globe. In her early twenties, Filipina native Lynn Pinugu spent time as an international youth volunteer at Mano Amiga Guanajuato in Mexico. Impressed by not only the quality of the school but also the “students’ self-confidence, good communication skills and enthusiastic participation,” Pinugu pushed for a location in the Philippines. Through the aid of Catholic World Mission, the number of enrolled students has more than tripled from its initial 60 during the school’s starter year.


  • Skill they need to succeed: gain mastery of subjects and develop the communication, leadership and critical thinking
  • Passionate and well-trained teachers: deliver lessons using innovative techniques and engaging activities
  • Catholic values: are integrated in every lesson & activity
  • Students have access to after-school support: mentoring, remediation, and counseling
  • Health and nutrition programs: help ensure each child’s optimum performance in school
  • Extra activities: Field trips, sports activities, leadership programs, clubs and student enrichment activities are run by local volunteers.


  • Classroom Resources and Facilities: Age-appropriate furniture and resources that promote experiential learning in core subjects will be purchased for the children’s 2015-16 school year.
  • Assistance for 26 Third Graders: This group of students is in need of text books, school supplies, classroom materials and uniforms which will be supplied for their upcoming year.
  • Nutrition Program: Students who are in need of nutritional support will be served additional meals at school.
  • Enrichment Activities: Students will have the benefit of participating in activities outside of school to gain real-world experiences along with their classroom education.
  • Parenting Skills and Formation: A key element to the success of the Mano Amiga schools is family and parenting support. Funds will provide parents with seminars on life skills, financial management and spiritual formation.

Mark Piolo

Mark Piolo

“I want to become a professional basket-ball player.”

Mark Piolo is a shy type and quiet before. He barely speaks to his classmates. His teachers were worried that his silence caused him to drift off the class and learn next to nothing. However, every time his written works are evaluated his teachers noted that they were satisfactory if not above average. With constant encouragements from his friends and affirmation from his teachers, Mark Piolo blossoms. Now, he is more confident in expressing himself and sharing his thoughts. He smiles more often now and is more confident about himself. He communicates better too and even leads group activities. Mark Piolo is very determined in achieving his goals. He shows enthusiasm in learning new lessons. He excels in Mathematics. He can easily remember lessons and understand it with ease. He independently works on tasks and finishes answering seat works on time. He enjoys playing basketball. He plays with his friends and classmates in the nearby basketball court on weekends. “It is fun to see him being at ease with other people again!” his mother noted. Mark Piolo is close to his sibling. They help their parents on the household chores. His father is self-employed while his mom is a housewife.

Niel Ramos

Niel Ramos

“I want to be a pilot one day because I want to bring my mom to great places not only in the Philippines but around the world.”

Neil is a very smart student. He has been a consistent honor student since kindergarten, ranking second and third in his class. He loves learning! He participates actively in class discussions, asks questions and provides examples to measure how much he understands the lesson. He is also very affectionate towards his teachers and classmates. His teachers have noted his significant improvement throughout the years. Neil used to be very passionate which sometimes resulted to high emotions and frustrations. For a time, his classmates had a hard time communicating with him because he turns to be too defensive. With his willingness to be counseled and with the help of his teachers and classmates, Neil already learned to control his emotions and communicate himself with others. Most of the volunteers and other parents are fond of Neil because he is advanced in speaking English compared to his peers. His teachers even observed that he communicates better using English than in Filipino. His mother attributes this to Neil’s interest in reading only English books and watching English cartoons when he was younger. Neil’s favorite subject is Science. He finds the subject very informative and interesting and enjoys applying it in everyday life. He loves to draw and write too. He really has a creative mind and can quickly think of a concept or idea right away during art class. Neil is an only child. His father used to be a jeepney driver but due to health condition was laid off from work. His mother is a housewife. He is very close to his mom.

Angelou Presinede

Angelou Presinede

“I want to be a teacher because I want to teach children to dream bigger.”

Angelou is a very charming girl. Her teachers share that Angelou used to be very quite in class. Her small voice did not help her in being recognized in class. Her mother shares that Angelou used to be uncomfortable being with the crowd because she thought she will only be misunderstood for her small voice. With persistent coaching from her teachers and encouragement of her parents, Angelou blossomed to be the charming girl she is right now. With her sweet smile, sincerity and noticeable different way of solving problems, Angelou started gaining new friends. She now works well in group activities and started participating in discussion and exchange of views with her classmates. She expresses herself through arts. She also loves to dance. She has been part of the schools ballet class since the first grade.

Ayessa Kirsten

Ayessa Kirsten

“I want to become a nurse; I want to help a doctor and other people.”

Ayessa is very cheerful and charming. She always greets her teachers and hugs them. She is also very kind and understanding to her class-mates. Her friends love her because of her genuine smile and gentleness towards them. She enjoys working with them! Her favorite subject is English because she wants to enhance her communication skills. Though she is having a hard time in learning the lessons right away, you can see her determination to learn. Her teachers shares that her willingness to participate in class discussion has also significantly improved. She can now share her thoughts freely and participate in class discussion. It is best to involve her in activities, let her work in a group or on a one-to-one teaching.

Reniel Andrino

Reniel Andrino

“I want to be a police man. I will arrest all the bad guys and bring peace to the community.”

Reniel has three older siblings and he is very close to all of them. On weekends they play basketball and soccer. His father is a hairdresser. They have their own barber shop. While his mom, stays home to take care of them. She helps in finances by selling snacks. He is the sweetest among his siblings according to his mom. Unlike his early years in Mano Amiga, Reniel already gained friends and little by little open up his interests and talents to them, especially in sports. He used to be a loner who preferred to sit at the far corner of the room where he would not have any seatmates to talk to. Now, he is still a little shy but he actively participates in class discussion. He is very observant too. He likes volunteers to share his insights during recitation. He loves Math because he finds it fun to learn. He is good in solving equations and doing basic arithmetic. Reniel also finds Science subject as very interesting, especially when they perform experiment and research. He learns best through activities and hands-on works. He shows great de-termination in his studies.

Second Digital Youth Summit

October 2018

Student leaders, social innovators, community developers, and tech enthusiasts from all over the Philippines represented their causes in the second Digital Youth Summit, called #iamDigital. #iamDigital was a three-day workshop with the goal of promoting authenticity, critical thinking, empathy, and helping form youth leaders in effectively promoting digital responsibility and citizenship.

Participants received mentoring and guidance form content creators, social entrepreneurs, and thought leaders through various panel discussions and speaker sessions.

The Summer ended with a celebration as five groups were recognized as outstanding Digital Youth Ambassadors. It is truly inspiring to see how young leaders and community organizers are shaping the digital landscape into a more meaningful place!

Support the Autism Community

May 2018

The 8th grade class worked hard to support the Autism community in the Philippines. They led the school-wide effort to raise money for Autism Society Philippines by organizing a garage sale fundraiser. Students from all grade levels brought clothes, toys, and other goods to sell. They raised about 8,000 PHP (the currency in the Philippines is the Philippine Peso)!

Lovely and her classmates also created a video and PowerPoint presentation, which they presented to the younger students to raise awareness within the student body.

Thank you for all you give so that Mano Amiga schools can continue to educate and empower children throughout Latin America and the Philippines to be world changers!

Lovely Marie, MA Philippines 8th grader, told us: “We wanted to help the autism community and raise awareness so that other people will accept it as a difference and not as a disorder or disease. It was such an amazing, meaningful experience for all of us, especially to me because this made me realize more that children like me can have a huge influence in making this world a better place.”

Idea Carnival Allows Students to Shine!

May 2017

Students in every grade level got to showcase projects and ideas to their parents, guests, and school donors and partners. Students shared artwork, ideas (including solar panels students made themselves!), and audio visual communications skills!

Project-Based Learning Projects are in Full Swing!

January 2017

PBL activities focus on immediate application of what students learn in the classroom.

Examples include: 6th grade students turned their classroom into a TEDx event to educate guests on important topics like Role of Education in Terrorism and Changing Corruption in the Philippines; 4th grade students created a fire safety puppet show; 3rd grade students acted as tour guides for their guests as they led them on a journey through Manila with dioramas, display boards, maps, and a Manila-themed photo booth they created!

The Campus Double the Number of Students!

December 2016

This August, Mano Amiga Philippines opened their campus to double the number of students they had enrolled in the 2015 school year! This huge leap is thanks to the generosity of so many donors who have made it possible for Mano Amiga Academy to expand and move into a new building! This new building now has nine classrooms and 171 students who are eager to learn. Partners also enabled Mano Amiga Philippines’ students to swap their heavy textbooks for e-tablets, a change that is more cost-efficient long-term, and will create an engaging learning experience that fosters responsible digital citizenship among the students.

Mano Amiga Philippines was also granted a five-year Non-Government Organization certification by the Philippines Council for NGO Certification! Meaning they can better serve the community by maintaining their nonprofit certification.

Mano Amiga principal, Revelyn Tria-Siasoyco, shares, “To develop life-long learners, students need to associate learning with both fun and hard work. We take pride in giving our students an exciting and enriching learning experience.” (, 21 November 2016) The students at Mano Amiga Philippines come from extremely impoverished families. Without the generosity of donors and the Catholic World Mission family none of this would be possible.

New Permanent Campus Will Enable to Accommodate 800 – 1200 Students at Once!

May 2016

Earlier this year Mano Amiga Philippines broke ground on their new site! Their school is going from a three room house for 95 students where they currently take turns attending class between morning and afternoon shifts to a dedicated building where all the children can attend school at once! When Deacon Rick, Executive Director of Catholic World Mission, visited Mano Amiga Philippines this year he saw how happy the children are at their school!

“I’m excited for my son, John Christian, as he joins the move of Mano Amiga from FTI, Taguig to Betterliving, Paranaque. He and his friends at school will have a different and better environment where they can actively learn through their access to world-class facilities.” – Mary Jane Gorgonio, Mano Amiga Parent for 5 Years

The new permanent campus will enable Mano Amiga Philippines Academy to accommodate between 800 – 1200 students at once! The school year begins in August 2016, and Mano Amiga is in the process of acquiring tiles, piping, windows, doors, and other materials needed to finish the building. The facility is three stories high, and students are already lining up to take a seat in the new building. Mano Amiga Philippine’s long-term goal is to build a library with a technology-enabled classroom to enhance the students’ learning.

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