The Mariners System today and beyond

The latest infra-structure build-up in the three campuses of the Mariners schools in Bicol as Mariners System celebrates its 40th Foundation Anniversary this 2014. (Left picture) A wing of the main building at MPCF-Camarines Sur with the additional 4th Floor having been completed. (Center picture) The façade of the five-storey MPC-Naga’s state-of-the-art laboratory Mariners Training and Hotel Institue (MTHI). (Right picture) The newly completed Training Swimming Pool at the school annex campus of MPCF-Legazpi. Note the new orange-colored fully-enclosed lifeboat attached to the Landship used in the training of maritime cadets.

It has been a long but colorful journey for the Mariners System since its inception in 1974 by its Founder - Commodore Jaime C. Jimenez. What it is now did not come in a flick of a finger; it consists of a story worthy to be reminisced. What Mariners is today is a product of the labor of love through the years of the men and women behind the Institution.

It started out as a maritime school with makeshift classrooms but with a Founder full of vision despite the local community’s expression of apprehension on the future of a school for seafarers situated in a place far from the sea. Looking back at what transpired and seeing what the Institution is now, indeed we say it has gone a long, long way and the rest is history.

As of today, Mariners System has established three campuses in the Bicol Region – one in Naga City, another in Canaman, Camarines Sur and in Rawis, Legazpi City. With the start of the second semester of Academic Year 2013-2014, the educational establishments now serve more than seven thousand students for its sea and land-based course offerings combined, with enrollment noted to have been climbing as it increases every semester.

It has its allied member-establishments complementing the schools, namely - the Mariners Polytechnic Training Center in Manila and Cavite, Unlad Ship Manning & Management Corporation and Globalmanpower & Development , Inc. based in Metro Manila. The past forty years have brought marvelous transformation to Mariners System as it continues to be of service to Bicolanos and other adventurous would-be seafarers coming from the neighboring regions.

With the banner course offerings in the fields of Maritime Studies, Business, Hotel and Tourism-Related education, the Institutions have made a mark and secured prominence in rank in the local academic community especially in the fields of producing quality seafarers, business professionals and workers in the hospitality industry.

It has delivered an impact to the local economy, seeing graduates becoming maritime officers in various inter-island and international shipping companies. Notable among the impacts is the improved standard of living of families once a member is able to work abroad. As a result, we now see concrete houses being built, new micro and small businesses started, siblings being sent to schools where before, these were never imagined by an alumnus to be happening in his very-own family.

Thus, the slogan SARONG MARINERO SA CADA PAMILYANG BICOLANO or ‘One Seafarer in Every Bicolano Family’ has been adopted and has become more meaningful to struggling broods as it speaks of HOPE and a dream which is attainable for anyone via the Mariners brand of education.

This phenomenon is true not only to graduates of maritime courses but to those who finished Hospitality and Tourism-related courses. The academic program has been uniquely crafted to enable them to have a chance to work not only in domestic firms but abroad which gives them the choice to earn better compensation. The schools see to it that links are created and maintained with establishments here and abroad so graduates can be guided where to work after graduation.

More infra-structures at the Mariners System’s institutions cropped up in 2013. (Left picture) The new additional 3rd Floor of the Engr. Jaime Jimenez Engineering Building at the annex campus of MPCF-Legazpi. (Center picture) Inside the restaurant of the MTHI laboratory hotel of MPC-Naga. (Right picture) The newly renovated Training Swimming Pool at MPCF-Camarines Sur with maritime cadets during survival training.

(Left picture) The newly acquired fully-enclosed lifeboat now installed at the Training and Survival Swimming Pool at Mariners Camarines Sur. (Right picture) The state-of-the-art Bridge Simulator as one of the modern facilities at the maritime laboratories of the schools in Camarines Sur and Legazpi City.

(Left picture) The newly constructed 3rd Floor of the Engr. Jaime L. Jimenez Bldg. and (right picture), the newly installed enclosed lifeboat at the Landship beside the Survival Training Swimming Pool of Mariners Legazpi.

Meantime, a massive infra-structure build-up, procurement of state-of-the-art equipment especially for the maritime and tourism-related studies, the coming up with improved curriculum and the hiring of qualified instructors conforming to the requirements asked by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the global standards set by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - among others, have become common sights in the Institution.

Foremost among the new edifices are the freshly-constructed solid structures in 2013 which include the Mariners Training and Hotel Institute (MTHI) - a five-storey state-of-the-art training hotel of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges (MPC) in Naga City and the newly- built Training Swimming Pool at Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF) Legazpi - equipped with the latest model of an enclosed lifeboat used in the training of future seafarers.

At Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation (MPCF) in Canaman, Camarines Sur, an additional floor on what used to be a three-storey ‘left and right wings’ of the main building has been completed and is being used now by the ever-increasing school population. In another milestone, the Training Swimming Pool with the newly-acquired enclosed lifeboat at the Camarines Sur campus has been renovated as itas been transformed into a resort-type attraction, aside from its being a training facility for maritime cadets.

Mariners System also boasts of modern equipment in its maritime studies laboratories such as the latest models of ‘simulators’ installed at MPCF Camarines Sur and Legazpi. The Mariners Training and Hotel Institute of MPC-Naga has a modern laboratory kitchen and ambience of a hotel with international standard equipped with elevator and other amenities.

From the vision of simply being a prime mover of quality education and training for students through a working quality management system to produce a Total Mariner or a Professional who is technically and globally competent, Mariners System now envisions to be the Center of Development not only in maritime but also in business and tourism-related education in the region. In achieving this, the System has adopted a strategic direction that promotes outcomes-based instruction, research, community service and resource generation under an enhanced Quality Management System as the solid framework.

True to its name, the Mariners System now implements uniform programs, policies and standards as far as applicable for its three campuses. These are designed to ensure that they will similarly reap successes and enjoy benefits resulting from their respective operation.

Another trademark that Mariners System has become widely known is in its Corporate Social Responsibility. Be it in Legazpi, Naga or Camarines Sur, the Institution is awake to the realities affecting the community. It pushes timely advocacies to give Bicolanos optimum benefits of the region’s resources thru the Bicol Autonomy Movement (BAM); the condemnation of heinous crimes and the fight against rampant corruption in identified government agencies as they are being addressed thru the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC). The opposition to the abuses committed by officials in the power sector is ventilated thru its involvement in the various advocacy moves of the electricity consumers groups.

The Mariners System doing its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) thru Mission Tabang’s relief and medical operation led by MPCF President and Mission Tabang Director Dante La. Jimenez. The group conducted the operation in Supertyphoon Yolanda’s devastated areas in Eastern Samar and Tacloban City in November 2013.

These developments have shown Mariners System’s dynamic drive to push for societal development in the region. Visualized in a dream and planted to bear fruit, the MARINERS' SYSTEM was founded by Commodore Jaime C. Jimenez, Sr. in 1974 as Mariners' Polytechnic Colleges. The school was his humble contribution in educating the Bicolano youth and opening to them within reach the opportunities in maritime profession and industry.

Awarded ISO 9001: 2008 certificate by the Societe Generale de Surveillance (SGS).

All courses offered are duly accredited by the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the Maritime Training Council (MTC).

The theme for the Ruby Foundation Anniversary ‘Mariners for Bicolanos: 40 Years and Beyond’ is a fitting tribute to Mariners System, the men and women behind the organization and to its Founder whose vision does not end with the celebration. This Institution gazes onward to giving HOPE to Bicolano families and to the community it wants to continue serving in the years to come.

Organiko Bicolano meets at Mariners Hotel; pushes for healthy food and lifestyle

(Right picture) Mariners System’s Board of Trustees Member Ms. Evita L. Jimenez presides in a meeting of Organiko Bicolano, an aggrupation of Farm Owners, Restaurant Operators, the Academe, Agriculturists, Medical and Media practitioners – all supportive of the concept of organically-produced food as a factor in healthy living. (left picture) Attendees in the meeting include UP Professor Bobby Tuazon (6th from Left), MPCF-Cam Sur VP for Administration Napoleon Mangente (8th from left) and other participants.

Naga City – Organiko Bicolano, a group of enthusiasts pushing for organically-produced food and healthy living converged at the Mariners Training and Hotel Institute (MTHI) of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges (MPC) this city on October 30, 2014.

On top in the agenda of the meeting and brainstorming session was the appreciation of organic food as a means towards healthy living. It also bannered the group’s effort to create awareness in the local community of the advantages as it promotes longevity in the lives of people.

Led by Ms. Evita L. Jimenez of Mariners System and as Adviser of the Library for Safe Seafaring (L4SS), the globally connected electronics library promoting safety at sea and good health for Marineros and the people in the community, Organiko Bikolano aims to propagate this advocacy via the production and consumption of organic food.

It can be recalled that the Mariners System has been a recipient of the modern library L4SS, a grant by the U.S.A. and Amsterdam-based Elsevier Foundation, now being utilized by the Mariners schools.

For Mariners and Elsevier, safety is not only promoted and observed in the high seas but it starts with healthy living of students who are the future seafarers, the faculty members and staff. This advocacy is extended to the local community.

“It is for this reason that local organic food producers, restaurant owners serving organic foodstuffs, the academe and the media were invited to take active part in this advocacy. The group will continue its effort to inculcate in the minds not only among the members of the academic community but to the public, in general”, declared Ms. Jimenez.

(Right picture) Members of the local media - Oscar Esmenda of DWLV Radio (in brown jacket) and Danny Aureus of DZGE and Bicol Mail Newspaper (in green striped-shirt), participate in the Organiko Bikolano event as Ms. Jimenez (far right) acts as moderator. (Right picture) Mariners System’s Chairman Emeritus Eliza Lazaro Jimenez and Sister Corazon Belardo of the Daughters of Mary Congregation react and listen to the on-going discussion.

Samples of the food and drinks served during the ‘Organiko Bicolano’ meeting. (Left to right) Laing Pizza, MTHI’s Organic Drink concoction, and the Nap’s Linubak, with plain cassava as the main ingredient. Healthy food with indigenous raw materials in abundance in the locality was the order of the day during the conference.

More products are on display at the Organiko Bikolano forum. (Left to right) Don Ramon Organic Red Wine (with local fruits as raw materials), Carmela’s Flavored Fresh Cow’s Milk, and MPCF Camarines Sur’s Culinary Arts products – Banana Nuts and Organic Bread.

Other attendees in the gathering were Sister Paz Albao of the Daughters of Mary, Jose Arnel Obias of Green Earth Restaurant, Alfredo Karlo Ampuan of MHTI and MPC-Naga, Agriculturist Ramon Abalayan, and Organic Farmers - Santy Cervantes, Howard Tate and Carlito Aquino.

Meanwhile, all sectors invited in the forum pledged their all-out support to the advocacy to promote healthy living via the production and consumption of organic food which can be grown in abundance even in the backyards of homes.