28th SDEAS Deaf Festival: Defining Servant Leadership in Rebuilding


With the ease in restrictions from the onslaught of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the School of Deaf Education and Applied Sciences (SDEAS) is happy to celebrate their 28th Deaf Festival with a hybrid set-up this time. 

For the past 2 years, this month-long festivity was only held virtually. But now, with the COVID-19 protocols loosening up in the country, the institution, its students, along with the Filipino Deaf Community are looking forward to celebrating it.

The Deaf Festival is the first and the biggest annual celebration of Deaf culture and identity in the Philippines. Started in November of 1995 by students of SDEAS, the Deaf Festival is an event that is truly made by the deaf, for the deaf. Hundreds of deaf and hearing Filipinos from different walks of life are welcomed and encouraged to participate in it every year. 

The overall theme of this year’s Deaf Festival is “Defining Servant Leadership in Rebuilding.” According to Caryn Camille Llanes, the appointed Chairperson for this year’s festival, the theme was chosen by the students in order for them to showcase the  servant leadership capabilities young deaf people have acquired as they rebuild the community after the pandemic. Caryn also looks forward to being a better leader as she takes on the role of Deaf Festival Chairperson. “It inspired and made me eager to join the Deaf Festival’s opportunities to learn skills [in order] to help me improve and be responsible to help others advocate for the Deaf and hearing community,” she shared. 

The festival commenced with an Opening Mass last November 4 which was presided over by Rev. Father Joseph Don Zaldivar at the Chapel of the Resurrection in Taft Campus. The Mass was also live-streamed through the Center for Lasallian Ministry’s Facebook page. The celebration continued with an opening program that featured remarks from SDEAS Dean Ma. Giselle Montero, SDEAS alumna Ana Kristina Arce, and also a short speech from Caryn Llanes. 

The events began on November 7 with the activity entitled “Working Together: Deaf and Hearing People.” Led by Raymond Manding, SDEAS Deaf Advocacy Program Coordinator, the Zoom live seminar aimed to orient individuals on how to help improve and grow our knowledge of the relationship between Deaf and Hearing interaction and the needed communication skills in the workplace.

Next is the “Industry Outlook” seminar on November 11, which is to be led by Philam Life representatives. The seminar’s main objective is to orient Deaf Benildeans regarding available opportunities for them in the finance and insurance industry. 

Also on November 7 is the “Deaf Awareness” seminar led by Raymond Manding and SDEAS Faculty Ferdie Vizmanos. This activity aims to raise awareness about the Deaf community’s identity, history, culture, and language as well as encourage and enhance the skill of deaf people. 

The Deaf Festival’s “FSL Storytelling” will be on November 14. This will feature upcoming Deaf storytellers and be on a hybrid set-up. 

The“Deaf Famous Motivational Athletes” will take place on November 18. This activity aims to celebrate  Deaf athletes who have made a name for themselves in the sports industry as they share what their journey was like. The Zoom live event will feature Patrick Padao, who represented the Philippines in badminton at the Asia Pacific Deaf Games, and also Abbie Nuevo from the table tennis of Deaflympics. 

On the same day, Deaf animators and artists are expected to take the spotlight during the  “Digital Arts of Deaf Animator” activity, a webinar aiming to showcase  the creation of Deaf animation and artists in the hope of inspiring  future participants interested in the field. 

The 28th Deaf Festival will come to a close with two of its most awaited events: the FSL Singing Competition and the Face Mask (Cultural Show).

The FSL Singing Competition, which is scheduled on the 23rd of November, aims to have the Benildean Deaf and Hearing communities come together in one event. The FSL Singing Competition is an annual Deaf Festival tradition that has become a crowd-pleaser through the years. In this competition, a hearing signer works with a Deaf artist in interpreting and performing their chosen song in Filipino Sign Language. 

The next main event happening on November 25 is the cultural show titled the “Face Mask.” This event is a variety show featuring performances of Deaf dancers, poets, comedians, and actors. This year’s show will feature a storyline of the experiences a Deaf student, played by John Riven Canilang, faced during the two years when all of us were stuck at home due to the pandemic. Additionally, the cultural show aims to be a symbol of society, the experiences we had during the pandemic, the struggles, the social inequalities, the sickness, the problems.  

Ultimately, this year’s Deaf Festival shall be a testament to the Filipino Deaf community’s strength and perseverance  in its efforts to serve and rebuild the nation after the onslaught of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

For updates about the #DeafFestival2022 and access to the events they are holding online, check out their Facebook page DLS-CSB SDEAS Deaf Festival