The Commission on Higher Education – Caraga Regional Office (CHED Caraga), held a Spoken Word contest with students of various Caraga Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) on the morning of August 20, 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.

CHED Caraga Regional Director Dr. Leonida Calagui welcomed all participants, judges, and CHED Caraga personnel with a warm opening message for the ASEAN-themed activity.

“This initiative aims to showcase the brilliant minds and talents of our students, facilitate the sharing of insights and be a platform for higher education stakeholders to highlight ideas on how ASEAN’s efforts as a unified regional bloc help its member states address opportunities and challenges globally and regionally, with special focus on the pandemic’s socio-cultural impacts,“ remarked Director Calagui.

Sixteen (16) student poets representing various HEIs joined the contest. Working with the theme, “Padyak! Moving forward, claiming victory for the Philippine Higher Education (PHE) in the ASEAN Community,” participants were tasked with pre-recording themselves performing their pieces, with their choice of artistic additions such as musical accompaniment or sound effects. The HEIs represented during the contest were: Agusan Colleges Inc. (ACI), Agusan del Sur College (ADSCO), Agusan del Sur State College of Agriculture and Technology (ASSCAT), Andres Soriano College of Bislig (ASCB), Caraga State University – Cabadbaran (CSUCC), Don Jose Ecleo memorial Foundation College of Science and Technology (DJEMFCST), Merchant Marine Academy of Caraga Inc. (MMACI), Mt. Carmel College of San Francisco, Inc. (MCC), Philippine Normal University – Mindanao (PNU Mindanao), Saint Joseph Institute of Technology (SJIT), Saint Michael College Cantilan (SMC), Surigao del Sur State University – Lianga (SDSSU Lianga), Surigao State College of Technology – City Campus (SSCT).

The pre-recorded performances of the participating student poets were presented during the ZOOM activity where the panel of judges viewed the video pieces for the first time. Tasked with the challenge of choosing the winners out of the sixteen entries to be judged were: Ms. Carolina Curtina, Master Teacher II and Program Head of the Special Program for the Arts at the Agusan National High School; Mr. Kenneth Jeason B. Garcia, Special Science Teacher III (English) at the Philippine Science High School Caraga Region Campus; and Dr. Rolyna S. Trugillo, Education Supervisor II at CHED Caraga.

The winners for the competition were announced later in the month during the Culmination Program on August 27, 2021. The resulting winners were as follows: 1st Place with a cash prize of Php 3,000 – Kerstan Isaic Requiza of PNU Mindanao; 2nd Place with a cash prize of Php 2,000 – Rhoann Rieza of DJEMFCST, and 3rd Place with a cash prize of Php 1,000 – Ian Christopher Cervantes of SDSSU Lianga.

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,