The Commission on Higher Education – Caraga Regional Office (CHED Caraga) held essay writing contests with students of various Caraga Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on the morning of August 12, 2021 via ZOOM Teleconferencing and Facebook Live as part of the activities for the month-long celebration of the 54th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Founding Anniversary.

HEIs had the choice of sending representatives to either one or both categories of the essay writing contest, which were English and Filipino. Working with the theme, “Padyak! Moving forward, claiming victory for the Philippine Higher Education (PHE) in the ASEAN Community,” student participants representing their HEIs were tasked to hand-write their essays composing of no less than 250 words within just two (2) hours in the language category they were competing in. The contest proper was conducted live via ZOOM with watchers present to ensure students followed the rules accordingly and no misconduct occurred.

Fifteen (15) HEIs sent representatives to participate in the English category of the contest: Agusan Colleges Inc. (ACI), Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT), Caraga School of Business (CSB), Caraga State University – Cabadbaran (CSUCC), Don Jose Ecleo Memorial Foundation College of Science and Technology (DJEMFCST), Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU), Mt. Carmel College of San Francisco, Inc. (MCC), Merchant Marine Academy of Caraga, Inc. (MMACI), Philippine Normal University – Mindanao (PNU Mindanao), Surigao del Sur State University (SDSSU), Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT), Saint Michael College of Caraga (SMCC), St. Paul University Surigao (SPUS), Surigao State College of Technology (SSCT), and Saint Vincent de Paul Diocesan College (SVDPDC). For the Filipino category, nine (9) HEIs sent representatives to compete: ACI, Agusan del Sur College Inc. (ADSCO), ASSCAT, CSUCC, DJEMFCST, FSUU, PNU Mindanao, SMCC, and SVDPDC.

The finished essays were then digitally sent in by participants for judging. The panel of judges composed of the following: Mr. Fryan E. Abkilan, Assistant Regional Director at the Philippine Information Agency Caraga; Dr. Jeanie L. Mativo, CESO IV, Schools Division Superintendent at the Department of Education Cabadbaran City Campus; and Mr. Jan Grenechaux V. Bohol, Special Science Teacher at the Philippine Science High School Caraga Region Campus.

The participants were welcomed back after a two-week wait to hear the announcement of winners during the Culmination Program on August 27, 2021. For the English category, the following proudly took the prizes home: 1st Place with a cash prize of Php 3,000 – Cyrus-Ian Balatero of SDSSU; 2nd Place with a cash prize of Php 2,000 – Hannah Franchesca Tabal of FSUU; and 3rd Place with a cash prize of Php 1,000 – Justin John Diegor of PNU Mindanao. For the Filipino category, the following emerged victorious: 1st Place with a cash prize of Php 3,000 – Gretchen Jane Jimenez of ADSCO; 2nd Place with a cash prize of Php 2,000 – Janrose Evangelio of PNU Mindanao; and 3rd Place with a cash prize of Php 1,000 – Miljane Mae Alulod of SVDPDC.

The month-long activities for the 54th ASEAN Founding Anniversary ran from August 9 to 27, 2021. See the recorded virtual events at our official website,, or at our official Facebook Page,