• DR. JOSETTE BIYO’S ILOILO

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    An Inspiring Story that’s Written in the Stars

    Dr. Josette Talamera-Biyo is the recipient of the 2002 Intel Excellence in Teaching Award, and has been honored by having a minor planet between Mars and Jupiter named after her by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Laboratory, USA. Although she holds a doctorate degree in biology and is a recipient of national and international awards as an educator, she continues to teach in the rural campus of the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo. Here, she shows us why, despite all the opportunities to make it big abroad, she has chosen to stay in her hometown. This is her Iloilo. This is her SM.

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    “Part of the recognition for winning the Intel Excellence in Teaching Award was the naming of a minor planet in my honor by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington USA.

    It was in October 2002 that I received a letter from Dr. Grant Stokes, Associate Head of the Lincoln Laboratory Aerospace Division informing me that Planet 13241 had been named Planet Biyo. He said that the tribute was given for facing the challenge of motivating students to engage in scientific pursuits and for my contribution as an educator. I kept Planet Biyo to myself until January 31, 2003, when I printed a copy for our Earth Science students to see.”

    Dr. Biyo’s Minor Planet Certificate from the Linear Laboratory, MIT

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    “Yes, teaching may not be a lucrative profession. It cannot guarantee financial security. It even means investing your personal time, money, and other resources.

    During the panel interview for the Intel Awards, one judged asked, “You have a PhD in Biology, why do you teach in high school and not even in the capital city?” I simply said,” And who will teach these kids? I did not get my PhD to check papers. I got it to teach children.”

    Sometimes teaching means heartaches, disappointment, and pain. But opening the minds of children and touching their hearts, give me joy and contentment which money could not buy. These are moments I teach for. These are moments I live for.”

    Dr. Biyo with her students from the Philippine Science High School in Iloilo.

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    “St. Joseph Church in Sambag, Jaro has a very beautiful modern architectural design. Its size, design, and clear acoustics add to an atmosphere of praying and meditating. But what I like most about going to St. Joseph Church is listening to the homilies of the priests. They prepare very well.”

    Dr. Biyo with her husband Nonito and son JP at St. Joseph’s Church in Sambag, Jaro.

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    “The Jaro Belfry, just across the Jaro Cathedral, serves as a reminder of the past. During the Spanish time, it served as a watch tower against invaders, and also houses the bells which call people to Mass and announce important events. It symbolizes the Catholic faith of the majority of Ilonggos.”

    Dr. Biyo in front of the Jaro Cathedral Belfry. The Baroque style Cathedral, whose history dates back to the 1860s, is one of Iloilo’s tourist attractions. It is famous for its miraculous statue of the Blessed Mother, and thousands of people from all over the country visit the Cathedral during the Feast of Our Lady of Candles every February.”

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    “ When my sons were smaller, we used to bring them to the Old Fort San Pedro. They would run around and have a great time in the playground. They also love to watch ships passing by.”

    A heritage tour of Iloilo begins at the site of Fort San Pedro along San Pedro Drive. The Fort no longer exists except for a few large stones facing the sea, which were once part of a bastion of the quadrilateral fort. Built in 1616 against the Dutch and other invaders, it is today a park with a lighthouse and image of the Christ marking the spot where the fort once stood.”

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    “SM City Iloilo has become our way of life. It has almost everything my family needs – from clothing to food, to supplies, entertainment, to travels, to bank transactions, to bills payment. Name it and you have it at SM.”

    SM City Iloilo has redefined shopping standards in the Western Visayas region.

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    “Going to the SM Department Store has become a way of life for me and my family. We do our shopping at SM regularly. We buy shoes, clothes, and other basic items at the Department store. It has almost everything we need.”

    Dr. Biyo at the shoe section of the SM Department Store.

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    “I enjoy watching movies with my family at the newly renovated SM Cinema in Iloilo.”

    Dr. Biyo, husband Nonito, and son JP at the lobby of SM Cinema in Iloilo.