Descriptions and Speakers for the Parenting Academy 2 afternoon symposia

 Hello everyone! There are 25 more days to go before PARENTING ACADEMY 2! To help you decide which symposia you would like to attend on the afternoon of Feb.27, 2016, here are the abstracts and brief profiles of the speakers. Reserve a ticket now to make sure you get your choice since slots are limited! 

Symposia A: 1pm to 2:30pm
1) 3 STAGES OF FATHERHOOD: The Young Father, the Middle-aged Father, and the Grandfather sharing stories on Parenting

This symposium on Fatherhood is one of a kind because we have invited three fathers who represent three different generations. All three speakers believe that Fatherhood is an ongoing and ever-evolving process in which the father continuously learns from and grows with his children. 

Datu Arellano, the youngest of the three speakers, is a father of three young boys: Diego, Damian, and Delfin. He believes that every moment with his boys can be a learning opportunity. He plans to share his experience from teaching his boys practical and everyday skills to teaching them abstract values such as patience, respect, and love. He will also highlight the importance of “practicing what you preach” and how he and his wife Donna strive to be a role model to his children. Finally, he also plans to narrate how being a father has also taught him to be more patient, and that rather than demanding patience from his boys he has humbly learned that it is most effective to instead practice patience with his children. 

Our second speaker, Jonny Salvador, is a father of two young adult boys: Jesu and Eli. Jonny will open up to us about his experiences of fatherhood and how he sees fatherhood as a kind of symbolic rebirth. He understands fatherhood as a continuous process of growth, taking place parallel each milestone his two children have achieved in their young lives.

Our third speaker is Jojo Sumpaico. Jojo is a father of four adults: Lourdes, Joaquin, Jonathan Paul, and Joel Emmanuel. He is also a grandfather to 6 grandchildren, soon to be 7 by July of this year. His talk will focus on the difference between being a father and a grandfather. He plans to highlight the things that “can be done” and the things that “can’t be done” as both father and grandfather. He will also share how faith plays a very important part in his role as father and grandfather.
Speakers’ profiles 

Joaquin “Jojo” Sumpaico

Jojo Sumpaico, graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1967. He has been an HR practitioner for 38 years. He and his wife Ditsy have been helping couples prepare for marriage through Discovery Weekend Sessions since 1978. They are also both active in the Family and Life Ministry of Our Lady of Pentecost Parish in Loyola Heights, Quezon City. At the moment, Mr.Sumpaico also enjoys being a full-time farmer in his farm in Bulacan.

Mr.Sumpaico is the proud father of four very successful children – Dra. Lourdes “Tippy”, Fr. Joaquin, Jonathan Paul, and Joel Emmanuel. He has 6 grandchildren and is expecting a 7th grandchild this July 2016.

Jose “Jonny” P. Salvador, Jr. 

Jonny is a true blue Atenean, having graduated in the Ateneo grade school in 1980, the Ateneo high school in 1984, and later on achieving his bachelor of arts degree in psychology in the Ateneo de Manila University in 1984. Jonny never left Ateneo, and has been working in the Grade School for more than 25 years. He started as a teacher of Araling Panlipunan, Filipino, Reading, and Language, before he was assigned as a guidance counselor from 1990-1997. He took a brief time off after that in order to finish his Masters degree program in Educational Administration in 1998. The turn of the 21st century was a good time for him, as Jonny became the Assistant Headmaster for Student Affairs in the grade school from 2002-2010. The years after, he was reunited with his friends in the Guidance office. But his stint there was short-lived as he was again assigned to be the Assistant Headmaster this time for the transitioning Junior High school, and then afterwards becoming the very first lay headmaster of the Ateneo Grade School, a position he holds until this day. When he is not busy with his headmaster duties, Jonny uses his free time engaging in the musical and visual arts. He might be seen running in campus on late afternoons, a past time he has used to keep fit and healthy. Jonny’s wife, Alma, also works for Ateneo as a faculty member of the Political Science department. His two sons, Jesu and Eli, aged 21 and 18, are students as well in the loyola schools. 

Deodato “Datu” Arellano

Datu is a 36 year old visual artist and musician based in Manila who also works as a graphic designer and web developer at Semicolon Studios, and as an instructor and business partner at Fat Arrow Dev Space. He has enjoyed 10 years of family life with his wife Donna, and their three kids, Diego, Damian, and Delfin. Yes, all their names begin with the letter D!

2) CULTIVATING RESILIENCE AND HAPPINESS IN CHILDREN: Translating Science into Everyday Parenting Practices 

This workshop is aimed at helping parents and other caregivers utilize knowledge from scientific research to shape everyday experiences into opportunities that cultivate resilience, wellbeing, and happiness in children. The discussion will cover key findings in neuroscience that give light to how children develop the capacity to bounce back from challenges and become emotionally healthy individuals. We will take a closer look into the different elements that constitute “inner life skills” (i.e. self-regulation, mindfulness, empathy and compassion) with an emphasis on practices that parents can use to hone these skills in themselves and their children. This will include touching stories of a solo parent-child relationship, rooted in attunement and authenticity as well as how adolescents have managed to navigate and embrace failure at the same time find solutions from within their own wisdom.  

Speakers’ profiles 

Ma. Blesila D. de Asis, MA, CSCLP, RP

Bless is part of a team of psychologists from the MLAC Institute for Psychological Services, Inc. Under the mentorship of Dra. Carandang, she has an active clinical practice, doing expressive and play therapy to both children, adolescents and adults. An alumna of the Ateneo de Manila University, MA Psychology, she has recently acquired her certification from Psychometrics, Canada and is currently taking up her online doctoral studies. A former guidance counselor from the Ateneo Grade School, she is also a part-time lecturer at Miriam College, Psychology Department. Her self-nurturing activities include cooking, travelling and spending quiet times with the family.  

Hannah Misha M. Morillo, MA

Hannah Misha M. Morillo took her BA (2005) and MA (2012) in Psychology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She is a University of the Philippines International Publication Awardee (2013) and was also an invited reviewer at the Asian Journal of Social Psychology. In 2011, she was an Asian Graduate Student Fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Currently, Hannah teaches psychology at Miriam College. On most days, she takes great delight in parenting her mindful toddler, Simone. 

Joanna Herrera, Psy.D.

Dr. Herrera is a psychologist who specializes in working with children and families. She obtained her doctorate degree in Psychology from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California and is a licensed practitioner in the Philippines and the U.S. Her training and experience has focused on community mental health, early childhood intervention, attachment and trauma, and neurodevelopmental problems in childhood. She is  presently the head of Psychological Services at MedMom Child Development Clinic.

Symposia B: 2:30pm to 4pm
NON-TRADITIONAL FAMILIES (Individual Abstracts from each speaker)

Families with Adoptive and Single Parents

There are different pathways to forming a family, and different faces of family. What makes a family a family goes beyond its structure and composition. In the Philippines, we see families that are different from the so-called traditional ones, birth parents and biological children. Two examples of the non-traditional families are the adoptive families and single-parent families. In both cases, there are different subtypes of these families. This paper presents the different types of adoptive and single parents, their issues and challenges as they raise their children and live a normal family life, different and yet the same as all other families. Empirical studies on these parenting issues in non-traditional families, ways of coping with the challenges, and factors that impact children development will likewise be presented.  


Maria Caridad H. Tarroja, PhD

Dr. Tarroja is a full-time Associate Professor at the De La Salle University and currently the Director of Social Development Research Center (SDRC). She is a Registered Psychologist, a PAP (Psychological Association of the Philippines) Certified Specialist in Assessment, Developmental, and Clinical Psychology. She finished her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University, where she also completed her MA in Counseling Psychology. As a practicing Clinical Psychologist, she has been doing psychological assessment and play therapy with children. She has been actively doing research on various topics in Assessment and Clinical Psychology, family studies, adoption issues, play therapy among others. She has published her work in local and international journals, the most recent of which are “Preadoption risks, family functioning, and adoption secrecy as predictors of the adjustment of Filipino adopted children” in Adoption Quarterly, “Advocating for play therapy: A challenge for an empirically based practice in the Philippines” in the International Journal of Play Therapy and “Providing psychological services for children of overseas Filipino workers: A Challenge for school psychologists in the Philippines” in the School Psychology International. Dr. Tarroja was the President of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) from 2010 to August 2012. Currently, she is the Chair of the Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC), Board Member of the Philippine Association of Child and Play Therapy (PhilPlay), Member of the CHED Technical Working Committee for Psychology, and President of the ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies (ARUPS).  

Families with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents

The diversity of families includes families with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) parent. Children can be raised by an LGBT parent who may be the biological or adoptive parent; by a single parent or by a couple who identify as LGBT; by blended or merged families with an LGBT parent. As such, there is also a diversity of family setups among LGBT families. LGBT families face unique concerns such as defining roles and parental expectations given the lack of role models for LGBT families. They face issues of coming out, stigma and discrimination, isolation from the LGBT community, and lack of legal recognition for relationship and parental roles. LGBT families cope by restructuring the family, redefining roles and expectations, creating a new schema of family, and building resilience to face stigma and discrimination. These issues and strategies are discussed from insights from research, theory, practice, and personal experience. 


Dr. Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo

Dr. Mira Alexis P. Ofreneo is Associate Professor and Associate Chair at the Psychology Department of the Ateneo de Manila University. She has a Ph.D. in Social Psychology and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Ateneo de Manila University and a B.S. in Economics from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. She is currently the Convenor of the Family, Youth, and Education Research Cluster of the School of Social Sciences at the Ateneo de Manila University. She is also a counseling psychologist at the Fr. Jaime C. Bulatao, SJ Center for Psychology Services in the Ateneo. She is a Registered Psychologist and a Certified Social Psychologist.
Dr. Ofreneo has been an advocate of gender equality and sexual diversity for more than 15 years. She has been teaching psychology courses on gender and sexuality in the Ateneo and has been conducting gender-sensitivity training or GST and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or LGBT-sensitivity training for different audiences for years. She does research, training, and counseling on gender and sexuality issues. She is one of the convenors of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP).

Families with OFW female spouses: effects of feminized migration on family dynamics and resiliency factors

Research shows that the Philippines has one of the largest contingents of overseas workers so much so that the Overseas Filipino Workers have been described to be the bedrocks of the Philippine economy that have been driving the growth of many sectors in the country. Of these OFWs, 50-60% are now women or the so-called “Ilaw ng Tahanan” in traditional Filipino homes. With the women leaving the family, the men have necessarily and oftentimes un-preparedly assumed the role traditionally played by women. Intake data taken from left-behind husbands from Mabalacat City, Pampanga have shown serious emotional costs that include diminished self-esteem and conflictual parent-child relationship as well as domestic problems related to childcare and household management. A series of psychosocial sessions that involved parenting workshops, basic psychological needs, mindful group therapy and discussions on family financial literacy have led to tremendous positive changes. These sessions fostered an atmosphere of openness, regularity & predictability, non-judgmental and unconditional acceptance which led to clarification and reframing that have enabled them to see the value of the household work they have been doing for the family, thus gaining a deep sense of pride and joy about their redefined, non-traditional role that has substantively improved their parenting and household management which ultimately has led to a now satisfying parent-child relationship. Initial data from the children, on the other hand, showed they were extremely sad over the absence of the mother, a sadness and anger at the same time which could not be expressed and faulty communication with fathers who initially had wrong concept and exercise of disciplining children. Child-directed play therapy helped children become more resilient as their suppressed emotions were expressed and carefully processed and they connected with other similarly-situated children.


Tessibeth Cordova, PhD Candidate

MARIE – TESSIBETH T. CORDOVA is a Registered Psychologist. She obtained her Masters in Psychology major in Counseling Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila University and now a PhD Candidate in the Clinical Psychology Program also of the Ateneo. From the time that she received her MA in 1995 following a baccalaureate degree in Psychology from the University of the Philippines (cum laude) and with the compassionate mentoring of Dr. Honey Carandang, she has been immensely involved in doing play/expressive therapy for children and adolescents with social and emotional needs as well as psychotherapy sessions for individual adults and families in difficult circumstances; administering assessment; facilitating in workshops and seminars for both government and private organizations, schools, and specific groups; and designing, implementing and evaluating psychological programs for different groups and communities. At present, she is the Manager for Community Relations as well as the Technical Working Group Head of the Gender and Development Focal Point System of the Clark International Airport Corporation who has been doing holistic and intensive Psychosocial -Community Organizing (Psycho-CO)-based programs designed to mitigate the socio-emotional costs of feminization of migration on the fathers and children left behind. Above all, Tessibeth is an aspiring mindful psychologist, deriving energy from being aware and awake to the present, touching life deeply in every moment … a conscious practice that is imbibed not only as a matter of psychotherapy technique but as a way of life. 

2) “It’s OK to not be OK”: Tuning in to our children’s emotions 

Children’s feelings vary as they respond to daily challenges.  As parents, we can’t expect them to be with an upbeat “I can get on with life” attitude all the time. Truly tuning in and validating their experiences, feelings, thoughts are powerful and essential tools that we can equip our children with so they can build on their self-worth and competence. 

In this workshop, the speakers will share the importance of mindfully connecting with your children’s experiences and emotions as well as your own. We will discuss ways in which empathetic listening can lead to better parenting and more importantly, nurture healthy relationships with our children.



Tess is a licensed psychologist and practicing play therapist who received extensive clinical training under Dr. Honey Carandang’s mentorship. She belongs to a team of psychologists from the MLAC Psychological Services for Well-Being. The MLAC team conducts research, training, workshops and trauma counseling in aid of children and families. 

Tess is also a full-time guidance counselor and college lecturer at Saint Pedro Poveda College. She is a member of the Philippine Association for Child and Play Therapy and is a Certified Specialist in Clinical Psychology of the Psychological Association of the Philippines. Tess graduated Cum laude from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science and obtained her MA in Counseling Psychology at the Ateneo De Manila University. Her foremost passion is learning from children. Second to this is her love for writing, poetry and the arts.


Riza is a licensed psychologist, a lecturer at the Ateneo de Manila University teaching counseling psychology, developmental psychology; and sees clients for counseling as well. She is married to Rufino Ng and they have 3 children aged 13, 11, and 9. Having trained with Dr. Carandang has truly helped her achieve healthy relationships with her family.


Dindi is the Executive Planning Director of DDB. A returning psychotherapist after getting into market research and strategic planning, she joined MLAC to serve and give back through play therapy, parenting talks and trauma intervention for disaster survivors. She is the mother of 9-year-old Justi and 5-year-old Rojo.

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