Forging Connections: The Japanese Cultural Exchanges By: Andrea Rentuza, Grade 10

It is a known fact that the ongoing pandemic has put a stop to numerous plans both great and small; it has held a pause button in nearly all aspects of our lives. Unexpected and sudden as this pandemic is, the merits of Childlink’s resourcefulness and ingenuity shine as beacons in times of darkness.

We are well-acquainted with Childlink’s proximity and involvement with the community. A notable aspect would be the school’s various advocacies under the Zonta Club. In fact, in an international level, it has been a practice for Childlink high schoolers to be invited to travel abroad once every year to advocate for Zonta. With the upsurge of the pandemic, however, this practice had to be withdrawn.

Nevertheless, another opportunity had presented itself. The combined efforts of schools in Japan such as Baika Women’s University and Maryknoll University, along with Childlink, have allowed students—from their schools and ours—to participate in virtual cultural exchanges throughout the months of September 2020 to January 2021.

Baika Women’s University


The exchange took place last year, specifically on September 18. Students from this university, as well as female Linkers from the Grade 10 class, utilized the Zoom online platform to hold the meeting. This was the first virtual exchange that we Linkers had ever participated in. As uncommon and new as the experience was, it had progressed rather ideally. We were given the chance to introduce ourselves to one another and bond through games and activities—sharing topics like famous food in Japan and the Philippines, among other things. The meeting was a memorable and enjoyable experience to see through the lens of these other students and share in their culture just as we have shared ours.


Maryknoll University


The entire Grade 10 class, along with some teachers, were able to participate in this exchange via Microsoft Teams. Upon entering the meeting, students from both schools introduced themselves to one another. Needless to say, it was easy to get that warm and light-hearted feeling upon seeing one student after the other, smiling and stepping forward to say hello and do a brief introduction, with an occasional shy smile or wave of a hand.

Later on, we discussed the Friendship and Wellness Program held by our class during the previous school year. In turn, they shared their own research presentations about global warming, poverty, and the pandemic, as well as their volunteer work for their local hospital (making medical gowns). To conclude the exchange, we introduced the song “Bahay Kubo” to them, and did a short sing-along.

Along the month of December, some students of our class were assigned to exchange Christmas cards with them. The anticipation and excitement that came along would certainly be something to remember, because not only would we be creating a card, but we would be receiving one from them as well.  We were even encouraged by our teachers to become pen pals, so that we may write to each other even on spare occasions.

Our most recent cultural exchange with them happened last January 19. This time around, we were sharing about famous pieces of literature and music. It was appealing to be introduced to this aspect of one another’s culture. Themes such as love, heroism, and friendship were the common ground of what we have discussed. Art, no matter where it hails, has the ability to bring people of different backgrounds together.


The Overall Experience


Although oceans apart and scattered in different corners of the world, one could easily feel a sense of companionship and connection. True, we see their faces merely through a flat screen and hear their voices out of the computers’ speakers, but the very bond we have—however big or small—is entirely of our own making. Whatever platform is used to connect with others, online or upfront, gives one the opportunity to reach out and explore.

If there is one thing that Childlink has taught its Linkers, it is that obstacles can be turned into bridges—forging lasting connections and welcoming new possibilities.


A Virtual Exchange By: Jhirlymarie Lloyd F. Tio, Grade 10

In my memory, Japanese culture has always played such an important role. As a child, I would watch anime with my sisters or on the television. My father bought us a Nintendo DS, and we would play Japanese games on it too. I remember sitting in Japanese restaurants and loving the food very much. Whenever my parents would go travelling to other countries, they would always buy me clothes from a Japanese Clothing store called “Uniqlo”. My school supplies and pajamas always had Sanrio characters on them. My classmates would play with Pokémon cards, Beyblades, and Bakugan toys. Needless to say, I was already surrounded by so many things that came from Japan!

I have been to Japan before. I went there with my family. I always had an expectation because I watched a lot of anime. When we were in Japan, everyone was so different than in the Philippines. Everyone was very polite and minded their own business. They had a lot of trains instead of cars. Their convenience stores did not just sell chips; they sold full meals! The people were very respectful and very courteous to one another. The trains were always on time, and before the trains would arrive, there would already neat lines formed by the commuters without anyone telling them to do so.

Japan was just as beautiful as I imagined it to be. Until now, I am always wanting to learn more about Japanese culture. When the pandemic began, I thought that it was so sad that I couldn’t travel anymore. I thought that the only Japanese immersion I would get was by watching anime and watching Japan vlogs. I was proven wrong when the school announced that we would be meeting other Japanese students!

Even if the Japanese Cultural Exchanges are done virtually, I learn a lot from the students we’ve met with. I learned a lot about the Japanese foods. I used to only know of a few famous ones, but then I learned more about the food they like to eat during New Years’ Day, Christmas, Birthdays, and Weddings!

In the second session, me and my classmates were able to share to them our advocacies for “Anti-Teenage Pregnancy”, and they showed us how they are also lending a hand to hospitals during the pandemic. The students in the class would make PPE attire and donate it to the hospitals.

During our sessions, we also end up talking about anime, which I really enjoy! It’s nice to meet other people my age, but in a different country!Me and my classmates love watching anime. When we talk with each other about it, it always makes us excited, so when we are able to talk about it with Japanese students, we are even more excited!

I was able to make a friend. We message each other through emails! It is amazing how technology brings two people from different cultures together. I always look forward to meeting students from the Japanese exchanges.

The Piano by: Ken Fukuda, Grade 6

There was once a boy who really loves music. He would go to the church every single day to see the pastor play the piano. He was really in love with the piano and wishes to learn how to play it. One day, the church pastor was looking for kids who have a great interest in music for an upcoming event. The churchgoers would love to see the children perform different musical instruments during this event.  This encouraged the boy to tell the pastor that he was interested to perform during the event.

The boy started to learn playing the piano. After a couple of practices, he found out that the piano is difficult to play. There were many keys and he didnot have any idea about chords. So, he asks the pastor to teach him how to play the piano. Days passed but he still cannot play his piece well. He almost gave up, but the pastor told him“ You must not give up because even Jesus didnot give up on us for the sins we committed.“ With this encouragement from the pastor, the boydiligently practiced at home. After many days of practice, he learns to play the piano very well. On the day of the presentation, the pastor and all the people in the church were very impressed with the boy’s performance.  The performance earned him a standing ovation from the audience.

Mandarin Chinese taught at Childlink

Childlink says learning Chinese an advantage for students
Cebu City – Learning another language is a good investment in your child’s future. Studies have shown that this makes the brain stronger. In fact, multilingualism has been linked to faster executive functioning and an increased ability to focus.
While English is used as the medium of instruction for higher grade levels in the Philippines, learning another language could also help learners become competitive in the future.
Based on World Economic Forum’s Power Language Index, Chinese is second only to English among the 10 most useful language in terms of competitiveness.
The Childlink Learning Center and Childlink High School Inc., which offers pre-school up to senior high education, are among Cebu-based schools offering Mandarin Chinese subject.
Globally Competitive
Maria Theresa Tio, Childlink founder and school directress, explained that the school teaches Mandarin Chinese to prepare the students to become part of the global community.
“We know that the Chinese language is one of the most used language in the world. This is very helpful in the business. This is very helpful in whatever kind of profession you will have, especially in our own local community,” she pointed out.
Ms. Ilyn Chua, president of the Childlink Parent and Teachers Association for school year 2020-2021, agrees with Ms. Tio’s outlook on the Chinese language.
Ms. Chua considers the Chinese language as an essential tool for people to be globally competitive.
Chinese speaking people are growing worldwide, so learning how to speak the language will be an advantage, Ms. Chua said.
Chinese Culture
Aside from teaching Mandarin Chinese, Childlink also tackles the culture and tradition using art as a medium so students could grasp and understand the language better.
Two of the school alumni, Ronnell John Binueza and Daniel Hans Tan, admitted that learning Mandarin Chinese helped them appreciate the Chinese culture and tradition.
“Learning Chinese does not only help you know the language, but it also helps you understand Chinese culture and tradition. It widens your view of the world, as it is not just mere alphabets, but a way of life,” Binueza explains.
“Well, Chinese language has helped me reconnect with heritage,” said Tan. He added that it helped him really appreciate traditional Chinese writing.
Because he knew how to speak Chinese, Binueza was able to assist a Chinese customer who found it difficult to place his order at a fast food chain or help companies communicate with Chinese clients and shareholders.
For her part, Grade 10 student Andrea Eloise Rentuza said ‘learning this language provides a new perspective on aspects of communication and connection to other people.’
On the other hand, Grade 8 student Jamela Aranduque said being able to speak Chinese allowed her to make new friends and satisfy her curiosity for the language.
Learning At An Early Age
According to Ms. Tio, Mandarin Chinese is a required subject at Childlink since it is classified as a Chinese school. The language is taught starting at the preschool level up to senior high school. She added that school’s teachers for the Chinese language subject include native speakers who are based in Cebu or those come from Taiwan.
She also cited the advantage of students learning Chinese at an early age since they could easily assimilate the language.
Research finds that children who are proficient in other language show signs of enhanced creativity and mental flexibility. Also, learning another language helps develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving and listening skills. This will also help improve memory, concentration and the ability to multitask.
Childlink also ensures that they maintain the quality education the school is known for even if classes are conducted online because of the pandemic.
Aside from conducting group classes, Childlink teachers also have one-on-one sessions with students for Chinese and other subjects.
Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Childlink continues to provide quality education as well as character development to its students. As a school of character, Childlink has nurtured its students to develop that sense of responsibility so they become productive and caring members of the community.

Communicating Beyond the Syntax of Language By: Samantha Gomez, Grade 10

On January 23, 2021, Childlink Learning Center had a webinar called “Communicating Beyond the Syntax of Language: Thriving in the Midst of the Pandemic” with Dr. Henry Tenedero as the speaker. This seminar was attended by the parents, High school students, and the faculty.  During the seminar, Dr. Henry spoke about the meaning of communication. He stated that communication is the key to creating inspirational, motivational, uplifting, and engaging positive environments. It also brings out better understanding in each individual.As the speaker said, “Do not assume that what you say is completely understood right away. Communication breaks down because we look at it as we are, not as what it is and that is why we should always ask, ask, and ask,” he said. Communication goes beyond just talking. A person can talk as much as they want, but if others cannot understand, then there is no communication.

As a student and as child, I have realized that it takes time to communicate properly with others. Therefore, I have to be patient, understanding, and open-minded. Since I communicate with different people who do things differently, I must do my best to adjust and understand their methods and try different things in order for them to understand my point of view and for me to understand their point of view. If I ever come across someone who I try to explain things to but they don’t understand, then it just means that I have to try a different approach. I now know that communication can’t be rushed. It has to be carefully considered and thought of as words are powerful, what you say can’t be erased.

Marriage is a Choice, Not Culture By Jhirlymarie Lloyd F. Tio, Grade 10

The long train of a beautiful bride sweeps the middle aisle covered in rose petals as she walks down the aisle in the arms of her father. Smiling, nodding her head to her guests, and finally meeting the eyes of the person who loves her the most. It was finally the day she had been preparing for; she would exchange vows and rings as a symbol of true love and connection. She would end the day knowing she had her partner, her supporter, and her true love for the rest of her days.

This was how I always used to imagine weddings. Such a simple and nurturing union of two people who loved each other. As I grew up and got the opportunity to learn so much more, I learned that weddings are not always this sparkling, happy, love-based events I had always imagined.

In so many Asian countries, weddings seem to be some sort of trade, some deal, or some sort of bargain for the life of young girls. Girls were born into a community where they learn that their fate is to be married to continue to survive, not only for themselves, but also to help their family. They learn that without a husband, they cannot do anything. With those words and thoughts being pounded into them every day, they cannot help themselves when they are married off to someone they have barely met and do not love at all. Girls without a choice, and some without the knowledge that they ever had a choice, lose their childhood to become brides and mothers.

Their marriage is not the fairytale we always see, yet it is the reality that is always happening. Day after day, a young girl is married to a man, not for love, but for money, for a home, or to be a vessel to produce offspring.

Culture plays a role in these marriages, but it is not culture that decides marriage, it is love, joy, and companionship. Yes, these girls will have money, but will they have it freely? They have a home, but are they safe? They have children, but is it truly theirs? They have found a way to survive, but are they truly living?

Would you have survived being a mother as early as thirteen? Could you imagine being married at the age of twelve? Could you care for a child as a child? These questions run through my mind as I think of these young mothers and wives. It pounds on my heart thinking about the things they could have done, the people they could have loved, the experiences they could have had.

Brides may be girls, but girls are not just brides. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, designers, soldiers, students, and trailblazers. How could you ever expect girls to build their life up to only one role? Marriage is a choice not culture. A girl’s childhood is not preparation to be a mother and wife, instead it is for education to be the person she dreams to be.

In their efforts to spread this important message, the Zonta Club of Cebu 2 have shared this message in a webinar entitled Girls not Brides held last January 9, 2021. This webinar was attended by women and men of all ages. It just shows how in these times, there are ways to lift one another up and bring awareness to situations like child marriage.

Girls Not Brides By Katrina Isabelle Chua, Grade 10

The Zonta Club of Cebu 2 and their guest speakers discussed their commitments to end child marriage with the topic “Girls Not Brides” last January 9.Child marriage is when someone below the age of eighteen gets married. Child marriage affects both girls and boys, but it mostly affects girls. It can be caused by tradition and culture, poverty, religion, and even perceived inability of women to work for money. Italso violates the children’s rights, and it puts them at a high risk of violence, exploitation, and abuse. For girls, it can cause mental health issues and a lack of access to education and career opportunities because they married at a very young age. They can also suffer many health issues as a result of teen pregnancy and early childbirth.  Teenage pregnancy also has higher rates of maternal and child mortality than normal. The Philippines has already committed to eliminate child and forced marriage by 2030 in line with target 5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals. The Senate of the Philippines also recently passed a bill that abolishes child marriage in the country. They approved Senate Bill No. 1373 which is also called the “Girls not Brides Act”. These are only some of the actions taken against child marriage today. Child marriage has lasting consequences and strips the children of their freedom and future. Therefore, it is important to work towards ending child marriage and defending the rights and the future of these young people.

Childlink Goes Broadway: SpongeBob Movie Watching By Andrea Eloise Rentuza, Grade 10

One of Childlink’s enduring qualities exists in the bond it fosterswith its Linkers. From webinars to virtual presentations, the school’s connection to its members remains persistent even in the face of arising hindrances.

A recent and most remarkable endeavorhad been hosted last January 20: Childlink, in partnership with Guang Ming Institute, had hosted its first-ever virtual movie watching—SpongeBob SquarePants:  The Broadway Musical.

The beloved and iconic characters of Bikini Bottom—SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and many more—have made their appearance as they struggle to prevent the eruption of Mt. Humongous,which threatens to destroy all they hold dear.

The story was originally written as a book by Kyle Jarrow, and brought to the stage by off-Broadway director Tina Landau;the musical had received a Tony award last 2018 for best scenic design.

It is a musical that has made the original cartoon characters appear human, without over-the-top makeup or masks, relying instead on creative resemblances with hairstyles and eccentric outfits.Moreover, it lightly treads on mature political themes such as abuse of power, racism, and even fear of science.

Overall, the uniqueness and charm of the show prevails with its lessons of positivity, bravery, perseverance, and friendship—qualities that are familiar even in the original cartoon.

In addition to this, we cannot help but see how parallel we find ourselves in the pandemic to the situation of the characters in the musical. They too are facing a problem concerning the livelihood and safety of their community.

It would be an opportune moment to quote SpongeBob’s line in the song, “Best Day Ever,”with the additional lyrics by Jonathan Coulton and Tom Kitt:

We’ve done all we could do

And whatever happens next

I’m glad I’m here with you


It is a stark reminder of making the most of what we have to deal with. Most importantly, the presence of our beloved families and Childlink community must serve as our long-standing motivation to handle our difficulties with no less vigor and enthusiasm with each passing day.



The pandemic has affected the education system not only in the Philippines but worldwide as well.  But Childlink Learning Center and Childlink High School, Inc. has coped well with the challenges brought about by this worldwide health crisis.

Before the pandemic, Childlink has prided itself on high quality education through face to face classes and close supervision by teachers and teachers’ aide.

Love, Unity, and Respect are the core values of the school

It has been designated by Character Education Partnership with headquarters in Washington, USA  as the first School of Character in the Visayas and Mindanao, with an accredited character education program. Established in 1993, the Character organization aims to foster character development in schools and communities.

To maintain the high standards it is always known for, Childlink Learning Center and High School Inc. has to make some adjustments on how they handle the classes, which they now conduct online or through home schooling due to the pandemic.

Childlink Online Classroom

Childlink’s Online Classroom provides a safer and more accessible learning environment. It focuses on the students as individuals, respecting their identities and focusing on their current knowledge and skills. By knowing their students’ capability, the school is able to maximize the potential of each student. 

Online classes open a whole world of possibilities as students learn how to access reliable sources of information with the guidance of their teachers.

Ms. Maria Theresa F. Tio, Managing Director of Childlink Learning Center and Childlink Highschool, Inc.

“So far, after the first quarter, most of our students have good grades even though that classes are done online,” says Childlink founder and school directress Maria Theresa Tio. “Because here in Childlink, it has always been inculcated in students the value of being responsible.” 

The Childlink Online Classes further developed this sense of responsibility among the students. 

Aside from teaching their students to become responsible, Childlink students have also acquired good values, such as sharing and helping each other.

This strategy has paid off for Childlink as their students continue to do well in their studies and help each other in their studies.

Close Monitoring 

 Because classes are done online, the school had set up group chats and break out rooms to allow students to socialize with each other and work on the tasks given to students. The group chats and break out rooms also help foster long distance relationships among the students. 

To ensure that the students are on track with their studies, the school uses a learning management system to monitor group chats and breakout rooms, which enable teachers to guide the students on their studies.

Early results on the online classes showed that it could also be as effective as traditional, face-to-face classes.

With the advent of so many Internet resources, students can learn to be independent and be self-reliant. However, there is a need for closer collaboration among teachers and classmates as well as with parents.

 Childlink Home School Program

Aside from online classes, Childlink offers another option to parents, especially those living in areas where the Internet connection is hounded by slow speed.

Technology is just a tool. To get the kids to work together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important. (Bill Gates)

“The school also has home schooling, when parents are given the topics to be studied every week. But we also give the home school students the opportunity to join the online classes,” Ms. Tio explains.

The Childlink Home School Program provides a great opportunity to integrate the child’s social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and character development in a natural and nurturing setting. Childlink learning modules are appropriate for each student.

The program offers academic flexibility. It enables parents to choose the pace and approach for their children’s lesson modules. This means that they could make some adjustments, depending on various situations at  home.

Watching educational videos on You Tube, Tiktok and on TV keeps the child’s interest in the  Home School Program.

To monitor the home school students’ performance and to ensure that they learn their lessons, the school conducts weekly assessment for each student.


Whatever program the students are under, Ms. Tio emphasizes the importance of the school’s collaboration with the parents of their students.

“We need the support of and collaboration with the parents, (especially) at this time (of the pandemic),” says Ms. Tio.

Childlink does have good relationship with the parents of their students even before the global health crisis. 

Press Conference at Childlink Learning Center and High School, Inc.

The school had been conducting parenting seminars on various topics. It had also emphasized the importance of parents having communication with their children.

The global health crisis underscores the importance of the parents’ participation in their children’s education. 


The school also offers After School Care Program, daily tutorial classes for English and Chinese  and Music Instrumentation Class.

Since online classes are recorded, parents and students who want to review these videos can access these from the school’s database.

 Childlink’s strategy ensures that the quality of education the school offers will not be affected when it transitioned from the traditional classes to e-learning.

Meanwhile, Ms. Tio believes that online classes is here to stay, citing other countries like Singapore had been using hybrid learning, a mix of face-to-face and online classes. 

In fact, the World Economic Forum cites a recent research that indicates that e-learning or online classes been shown to increase retention of information, and takes less time. This means that the changes in the education caused by coronavirus might be here to stay.

Eventually, education will slowly become technology-based, and automation will become the norm, she added. (PR) 

About Childlink Learning Center and High School, Inc.

Childlink Learning Center and High School, Inc. is a private international school in Cebu, Philippine offering both English and Chinese curriculum for the playgroup, nursery, grade school and high school levels. The school has highly qualified staff and has a strong commitment to offer quality education

Childlink and the Z club of Childlink High School supports the Safe Spaces Act RA 11313 or the Bawal Bastos Law

“To expand the information regarding the Safe Spaces Act, Zonta Club of Cebu II embarked on a creative advocacy project to bring the Safe Spaces Act and its effects to greater public notice the club produced and distributed Advocacy Tote bags with infographics about RA 11313. A contest, open to all UP Fine Arts students, called for entries to illustrate salient information about the law and the 4 designs that were used for the bags are the winning entries. The 4 most informative art works chosen were created by UP Fine Arts students Anil Yap, Christopher Neive Hisanan, Nathaniel Sheene Niño and Josh Kolleen Collado. The bags were distributed to various women’s groups, Gender and Development front liners and barangay health workers in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.”