Estelea's Blog

French Mum, humanitarian, restless explorer and doer on sabbatical in Cebu (Philippines): one Attila in each arm, I am exploring the “toddlers safe” corners of the region, while trying to keep some room for Me.

And you thought Pinoy were lay back?..


« They confiscated my cell phone. Some weeks, I have to wake up at 3:30AM to prepare the breakfast of the 90 students of this building. I hardly go out anymore and I haven’t seen my family for weeks.

Still, I have never been so happy and so proud of what I am doing!”

Contradictory? Not when you are a student with Passerelles Numeriques (Digital Bridges PN).Rodelyn and Carmillo, proud students at PN

We work very hard, explains Rodelyn, 17 years old. Especially the first 1.5 years, because we learn everything from scratch. Honestly, there is so much to study that even if I had a phone, I would not even have time to use it! ” she confesses with a big smile . “But when I look back at all I learnt, I am really proud; and in only a few months I’ll be interning in a big I.T. company!”.

Her classmate Carmillo shares her enthusiasm :“the training is very intense, but all the educators are very supportive. They are always encouraging and guiding us”. Both of them laugh at the memory of their early days, at some of their friends discovering a mouse and clicking on a key board for the very first time in their life.

The two students are proudly representing their other 158 classmates who have been selected by Passerelles Numeriques for a 3-year intensive training in Information Technologie (IT). For those very poor Visayan kids, the course is a golden opportunity to find a qualified job and secure a future out of poverty.

At the entrance of the main lobby, a panel announces the weekly duties of the students. Living in PN centre is also about participating in the daily tasks of the community:

setting goalsLiving at the centre means much more than studying” explains Helene Huard, PN Director. “I believe that the object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throught their life, not only with books and computers. We aim at teaching them how to be part of a team, assuming responsibilities, developing their self esteem and respecting each other.

Those teenagers are more than future IT professionals. They are future leaders, parents, responsible citizens. They have an incredible potential, I am so proud of them!” she said.Helene and some students from PN

As anywhere in the Philippines, the videokaraoke can’t stay away too long … In spite of the heavy work schedule, there is always a time to get together and have fun! “One can always find something to celebrate, a birthday, a graduation, a job. Those kids become part of my family. We even celebrated my fiancailles altogether!” shares Helene;

At Passerelles Numeriques, hard work is a two way street. Students get back what they put in:

Last month was the graduation ceremony of  86 students. 95 % already secured a job. They will earn 2-5 times the local average revenue. Last but not least, they will be able to improve the live of their families, enabling younger brothers and sisters to study as well. Pahalipay! 🙂

More about PN in the Philippines :


22 comments on “And you thought Pinoy were lay back?..

  1. Fabio
    April 15, 2015

    Well said and well done! Bravo, Estelea! Thanks so much for your last comment that I still need to answer. All the best and take care! 🙂

  2. Fabio
    April 15, 2015

    ” In spite of the heavy work schedule, there is always a time to get together and have fun! ” The people from Philippines are super nice indeed! They always have a super smile! Thanks so much! 🙂

    • estelea
      April 15, 2015

      Very true! We always feel so welcome here, smiles everywhere, Filipinos are indeed lay back people but you’d be amazed by their resilience. All the ones I met can teach us lessons of life on how to keep our spirits high under any circumstances. Still don’t know if it is because they are so religious for the largest part, having an incredible faith in God. Or if it is just the way they are?.. Any how, we are very grateful to be here for another year 🙂

      • Fabio
        April 15, 2015

        Dear Estelea, you are a GREAT observer! I agree entirely with you – they are very religious, live with and for the family (all generations together), and love a party, a get-together, etc. That’s our experience with the Filipino families that we met in the U.S. But there is a family in France, with a branch in Cebu, that follows the same path! And I am so happy to ‘know” that family! All the best, dear friend, to all of you! 🙂

      • estelea
        April 15, 2015

        Oh thanks so much ! the French fam is very happy to know you too 😉

  3. LifestyleswithLia
    April 15, 2015

    So inspiring!! Thank you for sharing

    • estelea
      April 15, 2015

      Thanks for reading 🙂 Those kiddos are so determined and perseverant, very impressive. They already gave me chills when they told me that smartphones were prohibited, and when I looked at their schedule, I knew I would have been unable to do half of it. But again they are so dedicated and grateful of the unique opportunity Passerelles Numeriques gave them.
      One of a recent graduate is coming from a very poor family of 10 kids, whose mother can’t even read. She is now working for a major IT firm in Singapore and all her siblings are studying thanks to her. Total respect!

  4. ItalianHurricane
    April 15, 2015

    Wow! Inspiring and motivating!!!

    • estelea
      April 16, 2015

      Those kiddos are really inspiring; Plus what the story did not say is that some of them hardly spoke English when they joined the training, only their local language. All the challenges they had to face! Thumbs up indeed 🙂

  5. Amy
    April 15, 2015

    Congrats to these bright students! 🙂

  6. luciledegodoy
    April 16, 2015

    Bravo! Is that something you are involved with?

    • estelea
      April 16, 2015

      Not even, but when I heard about this training I immediately wanted to know more. There are lots of NGOs in Cebu but many are simply “giving the fish” instead of teaching the kids how to fish. I don’t like this approach (unless of course it’s a situation of emergency), because the kids are “encouraged” to be passive. As if we were telling them “no worries, you don’t have to do anything, someone will provide!”

      But Passerelles Numeriques is asking a lot in return, they are really pushing their students. They want to get the best out of them, and it works.The results are amazing, not only technically but also in terms of self confidence.

      Another anecdote I really liked: some of the girls have created a religious group (all normal when you re living in the Philippines). But the aim is not only to go to Church, it is to support each other to stay focused on their studies and only their studies, so they can graduate with the best marks and get their siblings to live and study with them. Talk about dedication and sense of responsibility!

  7. Yuilhan
    May 7, 2015

    Hello Maam 🙂 Thank you for visiting and I”m so glad to meet you even just for a short period of time 🙂 Hope we the PN scholars could see you again sooner.

    • estelea
      May 7, 2015

      Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂 I really loved visiting the center and most of all having a chance to meet with you guys!
      Thanks again for the very warm welcome, all the very very best welcome, hope to come back sometimes 🙂 Have a sweet day!

  8. dunelight
    May 11, 2015

    Awesome post and congratulations to those students (and teachers) on another year of fine work!

    • estelea
      May 11, 2015

      Thanks 🙂 those kids are so hard workers, there is no way I could spend a single week like theirs. Felt so empowering to get a chance to meet with them and their super dedicated teachers. They are doing an awesome job, not only paving their future but also the one of their siblings.

  9. abg121
    May 11, 2015

    I just wanted to say that I enjoyed reading your comments on the students. I have met Filipinos and everyone I have met has always been wonderful. Yes, they are religious and have a great faith and I truly believe this is what makes them so special. My hat off to all the graduating students who have worked so hard. It is wonderful to see so many with great futures ahead of them…..

    • estelea
      May 13, 2015

      Thanks so much for your kind comments!
      You are so right, I believe that their faith is what makes them so resilient. And always so smiley and welcoming, no matter what. It is quite a shock for a Parisian who has grumpiness in her DNA, I am definitely learning every day 😉

      • abg121
        May 15, 2015

        Oh I’m sure you are doing just fine…Just have a café and a delicious French pastry and that grumpiness will all be forgotten.

      • estelea
        May 16, 2015

        How do you know this is my secret antidote to grumpiness??? make it a pain au chocolat and I am happy as a clam at high tides !

  10. walangiba
    September 3, 2015

    I am really thankful to be part of the PN Family. I have my internship in a big IT company here in Cebu and I believe it’s just one fruit of our sour gripping experiences and a blood letting sacrifices at school. !Thumbs Up!

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This entry was posted on April 15, 2015 by in Cebu, meet the neighbors and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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