The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

01 September 2010

ASP-Diliman’s Fieldtrip to Laguna Autism Resource Center

By: Aileen Valera, ASP Diliman Chapter Treasurer

ASP Diliman Chapter’s Parent Support Group (PSG) hosted a fieldtrip to ASP Laguna Chapter’s Autism Resource Center (ARC) last August 19, 2010. The fieldtrip served as part of the chapter’s research on community organization.

ASP chapters nationwide do community organization by mobilizing support and disseminating information to concerned parents, local government units and like-minded citizens. Through this, it is our hope that communities will be more knowledgeable on autism, accept and understand our children with autism.

Our Chapter President, Jo Palomares, organized the fieldtrip to ARC and filled the day with activities by the hour. As the skies slowly brightened up, our van crawled slowly along the traffic bound for SLEX. After a short prayer given by Alice Foronda, ASP Diliman Member, we ate breakfast inside the van.

To maximize our travel time, Telay Echano, our Chapter Vice President External, prepared a presentation on Community Organizing. With her previous experience, she shared how a small community in Eastern Samar was able to mobilize support, through another NGO, for the poorest disabled children there. After listening to her talk, we formulated some hard questions for Riza Cansanay, ASP Laguna Chapter President.

We almost got lost navigating the streets of Los Baños and looked for landmarks in our map. A small marker up on a high post was spotted through the eagle eyes of PWA Budong Gaban. We finally found our destination.

Autism Resource Center, Laguna
Riza warmly welcomed us to the Autism Resource Center or ARC. The ARC has 4 Work Stations. Before giving us our rotations, Riza gave us a 20 minute orientation on what to expect from the tour experience.

Two ASP Chapter President: Riza Cansanay (from Laguna, 5th from left)
and Josephine Palomares (from Diliman, 6th from left)
and other participants on the said fieldtrip

My team partner, Resy Benoza (ASP Diliman Chapter Secretary) and I, started with Station 2 - the Rice Repacking Station. The PWA intern assigned here repacks sacks of rice (about 50kg.) into small one-kilo packs. A volunteer teacher coaches and double check his work.

Station 4 is the Office and Messengerial Services Station. A map of Los Banos made by a PWA intern studying at UPLB (University of the Philippines, Los Baños) is prominently displayed in the office. To help facilitate the daily demands, the office is also complete with equipments -photo copying machine, fax, telephones, computer, scanner, and ring binders. PWA interns are also taught to operate the equipments.

Ian Lopez showed the map of Los Baños

To help aid PWA interns, step-by-step photo illustrations on “How to Wear Your Uniform” or “How to Prepare for Deliveries” are displayed in Station 4. Here, messengers record the day’s log – incoming and outgoing messengers, what they delivered, and feedback from customers.

PWA messengers are required to wear their light blue shirtjack uniform with matching cap. Deliveries range from food or ice orders, bank deposits, utility payments, to plain errands requested from the community homeowners or customers in the neighborhood. Messengers use mountain bikes for their deliveries.

the mountain bikes use for their deliveries

Next stop, Station 3 Beading Station houses ornaments used as tokens or décor. The ornaments come in different sizes and colors and can be pre-ordered by bulk. Items range from cellphone charms, door charms, Christmas tree ornaments, wedding or christening give-aways. Some can also be worn as necklaces!

sample decor made by PWAs

cellphone charms, door charms, Christmas tree ornaments,
wedding or christening give-aways and necklaces made by PWAs

One of the female interns exhibited “self-stimming” behavior, but a volunteer quickly intervened and prompted her to focus on her given task. Two interns were making Angel Ornaments requested by a customer for her upcoming wedding. I couldn’t resist the handy work of one of the Angel Ornament, and bought one as a souvenir.

Through the patience of one parent from the Laguna Chapter, who mentored them and polished their skills, I am truly mesmerized by the PWA’s craftsmanship. Truly, nothing is impossible when we have faith and determination.

In Briquette Making, interns are also taught to manufacture briquettes from old newspapers. This aids in addressing the PWA’s proprioception needs through tearing of the newspaper into pieces, pounding and mixing.

As it neared lunchtime, we felt hunger pangs from the heavy aroma of shelled peanuts fried in garlic. A closer look took us to the Kitchen and ARC Diner in Station 1. A parent was stirring the almost-done batch. These fried peanuts will be packed and sold.

Interns here learn basic kitchen skills like dishwashing, cutting/peeling vegetables, food preparation, cooking rice, cleaning the ref, keeping the kitchen spic and span.

I quickly inspected the covered aluminum food keepers as an intern was wiping the kitchen counter. Hmm…native dishes like kare-kare, adobong kangkong with tofu, fried dulong patties in beaten eggs, I couldn’t wait to get to the diner.

There was a choice between fried or plain rice in combination with the viands. Resy and I smiled to each other as the food prices are fantastically affordable for students and “cheapskate moms” like us!

The intern cashier was charming and courteous. Nothing escaped his memory, including extra rice we ordered. He was assisted by parent Vay Chavez, ASP Laguna’s Treasurer. The lunch was delicious!

participants from ASP Diliman during their lunch

After lunch, we visited the Hope Intervention and Day Care Center in Calamba. What was once a bahay-kubo is now a two-room structure in cement. Students here are divided into functional skills group or academic groups. When we came, they were all busy making papier-mâché globes and decorative recycled paper. Able volunteers were assisting them. It was a heartwarming sight. We also toured TRACE College, where ARC students have their weekly swimming lessons.

making papier-mâché globes and decorative recycled paper

ASP Diliman Chapter President Josephine Palomares (3rd from left)
with other participants including PWA Budong (2nd from right)

Miracles Do Happen
During their first years, the moms of children with autism in ASP Laguna, didn’t know what to do as they lacked funds, support and man-power. So they started very humbly, but they never lost sight of their goals.

“The most important thing is to NEVER GIVE UP, even if one were the last man standing,” said Riza. Hers soft demeanor, belies her guts of steel. She shared with us ASP Laguna’s bumpy experience in establishing the ARC. Through perseverance and a desire to build a future for their children, she and other iron-willed moms now serve as inspirations to other ASP Chapters nationwide.

Devine providence truly helped them through grants. As our contribution to their cause, we also gave Riza a modest sum and tokens to show our support for the ARC and their projects.

At last, it was time for home. Our minds were buzzing and our hearts were filled with hope at what we have just seen, heard and experienced. If God can work miracles, then these people are God’s miracle workers on this side of earth.


ASP Diliman Chapter will be having a Basketball Clinic on September 4, from at Napocor, Agham Rd. QC. For more information on the basketball clinic last summer, click here.

This is part of their Chapter's thrust on Play Therapy in a group setting. They will have Basketball for the first three saturdays of the month and Swimming on the 4th and last Saturday, same time. ASP Diliman Chapter have Sped coaches for Basketball and Swimming. All are invited to enroll, especially children of ASP members. The Basketball program is open to boys from seven years old and above. Swimming program is open to boys and girls of all ages. Fees are very reasonable. Enrollment at the sports programs are ongoing. Please call Baby at 0922-855-8279 or 374-2342; Resy at 0926-713-5863 or 332-9381; and/or Aileen at 0926-437-0215 or 453-3618.


There are 46 Chapters around the Philippines who need your support. Be pro-active. Be an Angel for Autism. Help ASP Chapters thrive in their programs and services. Donate generously to ASP. Email us at or call us at 7-903-5496 for more information.


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