Yes, an American ambassador shows up at the SPED Christmas Pageant in Guimaras, the island province in Western Visayas known for the sweetest mangoes in the world. The “ambassador,” an American expat living in the Philippines, and his charming wife, were escorted to front row choice seats by no less than Principal Daisy A. Solis, San Miguel Central School’s esteemed leader.
My asawa and I last attended a SPED, Special Education, function back in 2014. Our niece, JalAmiel, and nephew, Jorreale, are enrolled in the advanced student program of SPED, which also serves children with special needs. Advanced students and those with disabilities all fall under the Special Education program in Guimaras.
Amiel is currently ranked #2 in her class. Jorreale has slipped from #11 to a position somewhere in the Top 25. I think our nephew is spending too much time watching Adventure Time on The Cartoon Network.
The kids’ father, Joery, seen below in a classic Joery pose, was a participant in the parade which preceded the school function. Joery was taking a rare Saturday off. He’s been painting the exterior of our new home in the Philippines.
Grade 4 SPED kids are pictured below. Nephew Jorreale, a member of the Grade 4 class, is seen with a wide grin on his face in the center of the photo after next. He loves to mug for the camera.
Members of the King and Queen’s Royal Court are shown standing before their anointed leaders in the next photograph. The King and Queen and runner-up’s in the court are determined by how much money each individual can raise. This makes for a great fund raiser opportunity in the schools and is a common practice on our island province.
I was announced twice as the “American Ambassador” by one of the emcees shown on the far left, holding a microphone. I stood up the first time and acknowledged the cheering masses with my best “beauty queen” wave which I gleaned from watching numerous beauty pageants on television.
SPED QUEEN AND KING 2015
Niece JalAmiel, far right, is getting ready for her dance number in this Frozen-themed pageant which even included some falling snow. The “snow” was generated by a teacher who would smack a stick on a sack hung on the rafters and filled with Styrofoam flakes.
Notice the firm hug JalAmiel’s classmate has on her. It’s common in the Philippines for Filipinas, regardless of age, to walk hand-in-hand with each other. You’ll also see the boys putting their hands on the shoulder of a friend as they go strolling around the local malls.
These SPED kids led the audience in a prayer and worship session. Yes, Virginia, this is the Philippines, where it’s OK to mention Jesus and where prayer is encouraged even in the public schools.
Check out the cool shoes on the cute kids shown above. The school went all out for this Frozen-themed pageant. I conservatively guess that our niece, JalAmiel, has watched the movie Frozen over a million times.
And what’s a Christmas pageant without some dancing Santa girls and Santa Claus? All the kids did a tremendous job in this event.
Here’s my lovely asawa with our niece, JalAmiel. Amiel is now in the second grade and just turned eight years old a couple of months ago. When we arrived in the Philippines, she was two, but she’s growing up fast now.
My spouse with our niece and nephew. Here’s the two kids from several years ago. Amiel is no longer a chubby, or “healthy” baby, as one doctor once diplomatically put it.
And here’s The Kano, Uncle Dave, with our niece. JalAmiel, unfortunately came down with chicken pox right after the event and probably will spend the week before Christmas at home and miss school.
Joery and Mom, Alida, join JalAmiel. We all headed out to Lisa’s Talabahan for lunch. The program, which started at nine, was still going at noon when we left. This “American Ambassador” was hungry and needed some quick chow. It’s hard work being a celebrity in the Philippines.