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.

29 June 2011

Tall Vista Hotel, towards a PWD-friendly environment

By Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

Rain and fog didn’t hamper the travelling plans of ASP National representatives to Tagaytay City, home to the famous Taal Volcano on 20 June 2011. We rushed to have pictures taken before the sunset and enjoyed the cool breeze at the viewing deck of Taal Vista Hotel, which were trimming with urban tourists in jackets and hoodies. Then, a quick stop to the Kultura Shop for some malunggay polvoron and kamote chips, before heading to Ballroom Number 3.
The ASP Group

“Medyo na-excite kami nung natanggap naming yung invitation ng Taal Vista Hotel, kaya marami kami ngayon. Kasama ko ang mga officers ng ASP National Office, pati ang mga anak nila, pinsan, at asawa,” announced Dang Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus.

ASP received an invitation for a speaking engagement, through SM Cares Program, SM’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Part of SM’s Hotel and Conventions Group, Taal Vista Hotel, gave the very first Autism Orientation to 101 for hotel managers and front liners (staff from the reception, general services, waitering service and security guards).
ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe (inset) with the participants during the Autism Orientation

Gio, Dang’s teen-age son seats quietly at the back of the convention room enjoying the free merienda of chocolate chip cookies. “Isn’t he handsome? And look at his Korean Style Hair!” quipped Dang as she began her opening salvo. Dang is one of the most sought after speakers on autism, gave a very comprehensive overview on the signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which now affects an estimated 1 million Filipinos.

Joining Gio were other PWAs: Adrian, (8), grade one student in New Era University and son of Grace Adviento, ASP National President; Patrick (20), Math Wizard, Life Science Sophomore in Ateneo de Manila and his brother, Angelo(14), sons of ASP National Vice President, Peng So; and JR Tan (20), 4th year Accounting Student and PWA Self-Advocate.

Some of Gio’s milestones were shown in the Power Point Presentation, personally made by Dang, contained many of other family’s experiences around SM Supermalls. Through the many testimonials gathered, and lessons learned, Dang believes that soon, Taal Vista Hotel will also extend the same understanding and compassion for clients with autism.

Mr. Elmer Lapeña, President of Down Syndrome Association Philippines (DSAPI) and his teen son, Jeremy and Architect Jaime Silva, the blind architect, Chairperson on the Committee on Accessibility of the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), were also among the invited speakers.

“Look at the child as a child first, and his disability second,” Mr. Lapeña, quoted Jérôme Jean Louis Marie Lejeune, a French geneticist who devoted most of his career in the treatment of children with Down Syndrome. Jeremy was busy taking photos and shaking hands with some participants of the event.

Before the seminar proper, Architect Jimmy was busy auditing the facilities of the hotel, and was giving comments to one of the managers on the standard sizes for PWD comfort rooms. The architect preferred to travel alone and uses his white cane to move about the hotel. He gave some practical tips to hotel personnel during his speech on how to best assist a visually impaired client and making his hotel stay comfortable.
ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe with the Hotel Managers and guest speakers

The seminar-orientation ended by 6:30pm with the Hotel Managers and guest speakers exchanging calling cards, pleasantries and picture taking. ASP looks forward to a PWD Friendly Tall Vista Hotel.

Special thanks to Engineer Bien Mateo, Director of SMPDA, Engineer Dennis Martel, Vice-Chair of SMPDA and SM Marikina Mall Manager, Taal Vista Hotel Manager Bernie Corpuz.


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