On April 15 and 16, 2013 I visited the Philippines and did two talks on multiple intelligences. The first talk on April 15th was for 1500 pediatricians as part of a dinner symposium sponsored by Wyeth/Nutrition at the CMX Convention Center in Manila, coinciding with the annual conference of the Philippine Pediatric Society.
I focused on how multiple intelligences can be used to stimulate cognitive growth in infancy, enrich play experiences for toddlers, and enhance the environment of developmental preschools. I was surprised to learn that 80% of pediatricians in the Philippines are women. In the United States, the figure is more like 57% (and this has grown considerably over the past few decades when pediatricians were largely male). It makes a lot of sense to have more women pediatricians, because women are generally more nurturing than men, and young children can benefit from this more empathetic relationship.
After my presentation, there were talks by pediatricians, and as a surprise event, one of the Philippines’ most celebrated popular singers, Gary Velenciano, entertained the guests with his high-powered performance (he is known in the Philippines as Mr. Pure Energy!). He also had his daughter and one of his two sons perform with him in some very moving ensemble work. All in all, it was a great evening!
On April 16, I was involved in a press launch of a new Wyeth/Nutrition product, Progress Pre-School Gold, a powdered milk drink supplement, at a hotel in the financial district of Manila. Wyeth has tied the product to multiple intelligences. I researched the company and was glad to see that they promote breastfeeding in infants, so I entered into this relationship with a clear conscience. I was not asked to endorse the product, simply to serve an expert in the field of multiple intelligences. The event was attended by 50 members of the media, including television, newspapers, bloggers, and other online services.
I contributed to the event with a twenty-minute talk on multiple intelligences, a conversation with a celebrity mom, Dawn Zueleta, who is a well-known and highly regarded actress in the Philippines, and several individual interviews with television and print media.
My trip to the Philippines has been wonderful (I also lectured here last September). The people are so friendly and helpful, and the weather has been relatively pleasant (although I’m told that this is very warm for this time of year!). I’ve been reading the novel Nolo Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) by Jose Rizal, who is the Philippines’ national hero. He was an intellectual who traveled around Europe, held humanistic ideals, and ultimately was executed by the colonial Spaniards for his strong nationalist beliefs.
The Philippines is a vibrant society, with many cultural influences including those from the Malay peninsula, Spain, China, Islam, and the United States. The American influence on the Philippine educational system in the early part of the nineteenth century made it so that virtually all educated individuals in the Philippines speak English. I had a wonderful experience here, and I look forward to coming back to the Philippines in the coming years!