Now Seeking Entries to 8Th KAKE International Japanese Speech Contest

Calling all students of Nihongo Center and the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language and Culture Foundation: registration for the 8th KAKE International Japanese Speech contest is now on-going. Participants must prepare to deliver a four to five minute speech on the theme: “環境保護について〜私ができること〜 or “What I Can Do to Protect the Environment.”

The contest is open to students currently enrolled at Nihongo Center or PIJLC who are Filipino citizens and have not resided in Japan for more than 12 months in total.

The first prize winner will receive an all-expenses-paid educational trip to Japan, among other special prizes. They will also have the opportunity to represent the Philippines in the Grand Final Contest in Okayama, Japan. The winner of this grand contest will receive a 2-year scholarship at any of the three universities under the KAKE Educational Institution.

The second and third prize winners will receive a full one semester tuition waiver, and a waiver of the entrance fees at any of the three universities under the KAKE Educational Institution, plus other special prizes.

Those interested to participate may send their speech entry with their profile (CV) to or by July 28, 2018. The competition will be held on September 22, 2018 from 2:00 – 5:00 PM.

NCF-PIJLC Teachers and Staff Head to Batangas for Annual Company Outing

The Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF) and the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language and Culture (PIJLC) treated its teachers and staff to a relaxing stay at Cintai Corito’s Garden in Batangas last June 23 and 24.



Cintai is a Balinese-inspired sanctuary that features lush greenery, great architecture, and various picturesque spots that are ideal for taking memorable photos. Indeed, the teachers and staff took full advantage of these features as they took wacky photos that featured their playfulness and creativity.





Among the highlights of the trip was an evening of fun and games. While the agenda was to simply unwind and have fun, it seems that it is impossible to take the learning out of the outing. Over the course of the game night, some of the teachers were also taking note of the fun board games that they’ve tried and were thinking of how to emulate the mechanics of such games for their classroom activities.


“Maybe we can use this to make learning Kanji more fun,” and “This could be used to help students remember the vocabulary,” were some of the lines of thought that arose from playing board games. Indeed, this may result in classroom activities that students at NCF and PIJLC will enjoy.

Filipino Nurses and Care Workers Bound for Japan Finish 6-month Nihongo Training

After six months of intensive Japanese language study at NCF Manila, the 10th batch of Filipino nurses and care workers under the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) program will soon head for Japan to continue their language training for another six months, and then start work at Japanese hospitals and caregiving facilities. For this batch, a total of 109 completed the course.

Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director of The Japan Foundation, Manila, opened the afternoon ceremony by congratulating the trainees and the staff for their efforts and cooperation in the grueling six months:

“Maligayang bati sa inyong matagumpay na pagtatapos sa training na ito. Congratulations! おめでとうございます. Likewise, I deeply appreciate the efforts and teamwork of the lecturers and staff members who have been trying hard to make this program the best.  To all concerned – congratulations for a job well done. お疲れさまでした。”

Mr. Uesugi also headed the Awarding of Certificates to the nurses and care workers, who were represented by Ms. Yvanjovi Ann Evangelista Ramos. In her speech, Ms. Ramos looked back at the effort they all put in the training and the hard work of the teachers and staff as well:

“I cannot believe that it has already been 6 months. As I look back at our time in NCF, so many words can describe the events and feelings. Not knowing a single word of Nihongo, we started learning Hiragana and Katakana, which we found so difficult to memorize at that time. As the days went by, the grammar and Kanji lectures became increasingly difficult to understand, but one step at a time, we succeeded with the help of our hardworking teachers who did their best to make each lesson enjoyable and easy to understand.”

Honorable guests who also gave their congratulatory remarks included Mr. Claro A. Arellano, Undersecretary, Department of Labor and Employment; Mr. Virgilio L. Carreon, Director, OIC- Director IV, Welfare and Employment Office, POEA; and Mr. Manabu Yasukawa, First Secretary, Labour Attaché, Embassy of Japan.  Head lecturer, Josef Orillo-sensei, gave the closing remarks and encouraged students to not just take what they learned in Nihongo, but also important things outside of the language:

“Also, take with you what you have learned outside of the language. The skills of self-evaluation, planning, and carrying out your self-studying, and use them for your continued advancement and learning, so you can be well prepared in the workplace and when the time comes to take the licensure examination in Japan. This is just the first step of your journey, and when you go to Japan for further training and future work, I am sure you will all discover more about yourselves and the strength you have as learners and professionals.

The 6-month course is part of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to train Filipino healthcare workers in Japanese before they are assigned to different hospitals and caregiving facilities all over Japan. Aside from NCF Manila, two other institutions—TESDA and the Personal Ability Development Foundation, Inc. (PAD)—are conducting the preparatory language training including lectures about Japanese society, customs and manners, geography, and other topics related to general life in Japan.

Closing Ceremony Photos

Josef Orillo, Head Lecturer
Mr. Hiroaki Uesugi, Director, JFMO
Mr. Manabu Yasukawa, First Secretary, Embassy of Japan
Mr. Claro Arellano, USEC, DOLE
Mr. Virgilio Carreon, Director, POEA
Ms. Yvanjovi Ramos, Batch 10 Representative

Faculty Development Program Update:
NCF Welcomes New Nihongo Teachers

NCF teachers and staff welcomed three new Nihongo teachers during the school’s quarterly Faculty Development Program (FDP) held last April 22, 2018. After undergoing seven months of training, Mary Rose Aquino, Kevin Paul Bautista, and Paolo Miguel Cruz successfully fulfilled all the requirements of NCF’s Intensive Teacher Training Course and will start teaching their Japanese Beginner’s classes on April, 2018.

Ms. Carmencita K.C. Biscarra, FDP program manager, together with Dr. Edwin P. Mojica, Ms. Charisma P. Coloma, Mr. Josef O. Orillo and Ms. Leah H. Tuazon handled the training for the new teachers. Among the requirements of the training were to create lesson plans and do demo lessons, besides attending lectures on Nihongo and pedagogy.

The quarterly meeting also served as a welcome for returning teachers, Ms. Anne Marie P. Badilla and Ms. Durabel A. Durain, and a new staff member, Ms. Diana Freishanne Tan, who is working as Admin Assistant for NCF.

Other matters that were discussed during the meeting were plans to update teaching materials, revisions on the school’s Intermediate Japanese exams, and plans for the upcoming Kake Speech contest and NCF Open House.


If you are interested in joining NCF as a Nihongo teacher, please read more about the Faculty Development Program.




Photo Album


NCF President Philip B. Sanvictores, Conferred Imperial Decoration “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette”

The Government of Japan conferred upon NCF President, Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores, the Imperial Decoration, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in fitting ceremonies held last February 9, 2018 at the official residence of H.E. Koji Haneda, Ambassador of Japan in the Philippines. The prestigious decoration recognizes Mr. Sanvictores’ decades-long efforts in furthering good relations between Japan and the Philippines through his work for the Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF), the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture (PIJLC) and the Philippine Federation of Japan Alumni (PHILFEJA).

Following the footsteps of his father – Ambassador Benjamin F. Sanvictores who was also conferred The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon in 1985 – Mr. Sanvictores dedicated his decoration to the faculty and staff of NCF and
PIJLC and to the members of PHILFEJA.

“This Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette, truly belongs to the loyal and hardworking Nihongo sensei of PIJLC and the Nihongo Center. It also belongs to many fellow-former Filipino ryugakusei who actively support and participate in the activities of PHILFEJA, established 41 years ago to help promote Philippines-Japan and ASEAN-Japan relations,” said Mr. Sanvictores in his acceptance speech.

He also honored people who helped and guided him throughout his days as a ryugakusei in Japan and expressed his gratitude to those who continue to support him in his endeavors as a businessman and leader of various associations affiliated with the Philippines-Japan Society.

At the close of his message, Mr. Sanvictores spoke about his wish for the future of Philippines-Japan relations:

“Today, I invoke the same prayer – that generations after us would catch the fire that drives this advocacy for close, friendly, mutually beneficial Philippines-Japan relations, and to keep that fire burning well into and beyond their times. I hope that we in the various organizations of the Philippines-Japan Society will live up and be equal to the honor your Government has conferred upon us. And most importantly, may our shared advocacy of closer, friendlier, more mutually beneficial relations between our two peoples always bring honor and glory to God.”

To read the full acceptance speech of Mr. Sanvictores, please refer to “Resources” below.

Promoting Japanese Language & Culture in the Philippines

Mr. Sanvictores went to Japan in 1981 to study Nihongo under the 10-month Intensive Japanese Language course of Kokusai Gakuyu Kai, now known as the Tokyo Japanese Language Education Center.

In 1990, upon the instructions of Ambassador Jose S. Laurel III, Mr. Sanvictores submitted an application with the Japan Foundation for a grant to dispatch a Japanese Language Teacher, who then sent Prof. Kenjiro Ogata. Even after the expiry of the said grant, Prof. Ogata remained in the Philippines and continue his work as Academic Advisor to both NCF and PIJLC, inspired by the noble and lofty ideals of Amb. Laurel for better understanding and closer friendship between Filipinos and Japanese through Nihongo.

The Japan Foundation grant underpinned the establishment of the Philippine Institute of Japanese Language & Culture (PIJLC) in 1991 under the patronage of the Philippines-Japan Friendship Foundation (PJFF). In 1997, in response to an appeal by the Government of Japan, PJFF founded the Nihongo Center Foundation (NCF) to continue the work and practice of the erstwhile “Nihongo Gakko” of the Japan Information & Cultural Center.

In 2014-2016, Mr. Sanvictores served as President of PHILFEJA, the umbrella organization of the different groups of former Filipino students in Japan. In 2015, under his leadership, PHILFEJA hosted the 21st Conference of the ASEAN Council of Japan Alumni (ASCOJA).  In January 2016, during the state visit to the Philippines of Their Majesties, the Emperor and Empress of Japan, Mr. Sanvictores played a key role in organizing the meeting of Filipino former students and Japanese government scholars with Their Majesties, which was an integral part of the visit.

To read about Mr. Sanvictores’ personal account of Their Majesties State Visit, click here: An Imperial Encounter


About The Order of the Rising Sun

Established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji, The Order of the Rising Sun is the third highest order bestowed by the Japanese Government to people who have made distinguished achievements in the fields of International Relations, Promotion of Japanese Culture, advancement in their field, development in welfare, and preservation of the environment.




Speech of Ambassador Koji Haneda
Acceptance Speech by Mr. Philip B. Sanvictores
Conferment Ceremony Photos

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