Monthly Archives: March 2021

Learning From India’s Innovation

Resource speakers at the Confluence 2017 – 7th International Conference themed on “Cloud Computing, Data Science & Engineering” on January 12 to 13, 2017

My first visit to Incredible has been a journey filled with wonders. In 2017, I had the opportunity to be invited to speak at an international event hosted by a prestigious university in collaboration with major technology corporations. The Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Amity School of Engineering and Technology (ASET), Amity University organized Confluence 2017 – 7th  International Conference themed on “Cloud Computing, Data Science & Engineering”  on January 12 and 13, 2017 in association with EMC Corporation, University of Florida, Cloud Labs, University of Melbourne, Australia, and Western Sydney University, Australia, The conference looked at the industry trends with focus on collaboration and social media as the emerging themes. The conference featured some of the best talent of the industry and academic circles who presented thought provoking sessions.

I had the privilege to meet some of the most distinguished academic speakers from various parts of the world and was truly amazed and impressed by the degree of knowledge and engagement that the Amity University community have shown.

In particular, the extent of global and technical knoweldge of Amity students even at a young age is noteworthy. In my conversations with many students, they appear as heavily exposed to the global corporate world, very aggressive, articulate in their vision when they graduate. For the last 5 days, it was the student volunteers who attended to all the international guests – taking care of all our schedules, our needs. Impressive. They are never shy to assist the guests, or even discuss their plans of getting scholarships and internship in other countries.

My assigned student volunteer, a senior computer engineering student, emailed me his resume on the last day and asked if there are available opportunities or projects that may be available in the Philippines. The rest of the guests I am sure will go home working out internships and opportunities for the students. For a college student, our volunteers were very outspoken and passionate about their course and how they would want to be part of global corporations. The freshman volunteer who picked me from the airport gave a really good glimpse of Indian history. He was only around 17. The student volunteer who sent us off yesterday said he has been to the US and has many relatives there and said his contemporaries in the US do not know even know some concepts in computer engineering, data science and analytics that he knows.

I am inspired by the outlook of these young people. Their teachers give them academic credits for being exposed to conferences and international opportunities. To learn soft skills. All of the volunteers when asked what they get from assisting us day and night – said “the privilege and the knowledge we learn from conversing with you, Sir/Mam.”

In the Philippines – we have a tendency to focus on text book or hard skills. All content. No soft skills. In the Philippines, at times, students will even be scolded for spending time in conferences. And I would often hear students say “kapoy, talaka” when asked to attend to the needs of speakers. In Amity, the volunteers, try to compete with one another in getting the attention of the speakers for a chance to converse with them. Our host director of Science of Engineering told me on the last day — “Madame, if you have projects you want our volunteers to do for you when you go back to the Philippines just email me and I will arrange academic credits for their time spent.” Incredible! I hope this sharing – change the mindset of our schools.

Amity University, a research and innovation driven Foundation University in India, is leading education group having grade “A” Accreditation by the National Accreditation body of government of India. As of today, Amity education group of India has over 1,500,000 students studying across 1000 acres of hi-tech campus and 250 educational programs. Amity Education Group has 17 International & Global K-12 Pre-Schools across India. In order to be a truly Global University, Amity University has set up over 12 International campuses located in USA,UK, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Mauritius, Romania, South Africa, Hong Kong, Mainland China and many more to come. Around 607 patents are filed by the faculty and about 300 government funded research projects are being worked upon. The library of Amity University in Noida India, books and computers, cubicles, discussion rooms, offline and online materials. Inspiring.

The organizers highlights cloud computing systems as being an emerging area in computing technology, which supports processing of large volume of data as per on-demand service. It shares resources to work rather than having local servers doing the job. The demand for professionals with knowledge of cloud computing is rising exponentially because more and more companies are implementing this technology. The main aim of the summit is to bridge the gap between Industries & Academics and in the past we have not only succeeded but we have created a big family combining all the top companies and Academia. The last summit associated sponsor includes EMC, ICMR, DRDO, INSA and many more with panellist and speakers from EMC, Microsoft, HCL, IIT, NIT, AIIMS, Airtel, Ministry of External Affairs, IOCL, NHAI, NIC, Nokia Siemens, Sun Microsystems, Jubilant and many more.

As one of the keynote speakers in one of the session, I received these complementary benefits:

1. Complimentary entry into various educational sessions and networking events as being automatically registered for the two-day conference.
2. Abundant networking opportunities  with speakers from countries all over the globe, who are specialists and industry leaders invited to share their knowledge. 
3. Waiver of registration fees (500 USD) and free accommodation at Amity University Guest House.
5. Local sightseeing including Taj Mahal, Agra which is amongst the Seven Wonders of the World.
6. A volunteer team will be dedicated, in and outside of the main conference room, to support and guide with any logistic requirements.
7. In order to help facilitate networking, the conference organizers have scheduled regular coffee breaks and lunches.
8. Transport with a volunteer was provided to and from the Guest House for arrival and departure

As ide from the opportunities as part of Confluence 2017, I also had the chance to visiting the Innovation Incubator of Amity University in Noida, India. A very successful example of a university offering startup companies support, space, resources and mentorship for them to scale up into successful businesses, carrying national branding. My dream always for the Philippines is to see universities as birthplace of great products and solutions carrying the Filipino brand accross the world. Lord send us leaders who have a different DNA for innovation.

The library of Amity University in Noida India, books and computers, cubicles, discussion rooms, offline and online materials. Inspiring.

Visiting the Amity University Innovation Incubator. I was drooling with envy. I was crying inside and beyond words. I can only wish this for our own Incubator at the CyberCentre or in the Philippines. Dolly, the facility manager gave us a tour. The incubator is hosted by the university with funding from the government and in partnership with a capital venture entity which is a private entity spin-off of the incubator. This is my dream – the rough concept is called SugarValley. I am trying to encourage universities in Bacolod to help this dream like Amity University here who really took on the cudgels to offer their students practical learning. It will take a miracle for many of my concepts to happen. I am practically not in the position to make things happen now. But I do not know why God is constantly exposing me to actual models that I am imagining only in my mind. Maybe I need to pray these ideas happen. But nobody seem to be listening. Sometimes, it is so painful to be looking from the lenses I have without anyone seeing it. And eventually seeing the concepts in other countries.

We also had the opportunity to pay a courtesy call to the Philippine Embassy in India and had the privilege to brief Philippine Ambassador to India Teresita Daza and Commercial Counselor Michael Ignacio about the vision and thrusts of the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines (NICP) to generate jobs and drive innovation in the countryside. From out of the conversation, several major areas for collaboration will be explored among others – the support of the embassy towards academic partnerships, such as faculty and student exchanges and joint researches between PH and Indian universities in the field of IT, Computer Science and Engineering, a potential trade mission of ICT councils to India to attract business or offer the countryside locations as expansion sites. The embassy was very happy to know that unlike other countries were IT jobs are concentrated only in the urban capitals, the Philippines have more than a dozen other tier 2 and tier 3 cities which are considered as strong locations for IT companies. And embassy officials lauded the efforts of ICT councils for all the work that we do to bring these jobs to the countryside.

We also spent a day at the CyberHub at the CyberCity of Gurgaon. Teeming with all the global corporate named headquartered in Delhi.

We also had time to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan, the official residence of the President of India at the western end of Rajpath in New Delhi, India.

A trip to New Delhi, India will not be complete without a tour of its historical sites. We found ourselves at the Red Fort, established during Mughal Empire in the 1600s. India already has “malls”, “parks” “meeting halls” – stone buildings of elegant and elaborate designs. 1600s!!!! And they’re well preserved to this day. I wish we can emulate the cultural preservation initiatives of India.

The Red Fort is a historic fort in the city of Delhi (in Old Delhi) in India that served as the main residence of the Mughal Emperors. Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned construction of the Red Fort on 12 May 1638, when he decided to shift his capital from Agra to Delhi. Originally red and white, its painting is credited to architect Ustad Ahmad Lahori, who also constructed the Taj Mahal. It was renovated between May 1639 and April 1648 based on an earlier fort. (Wikipedia)

We went to the Kingdom of Dreams, New Delhi’s newest theme park. Kingdom of Dreams is India’s first live entertainment, theatre and leisure destination. It is located in Sector 29, Gurgaon, Haryana in NCR Delhi, near the Leisure Valley Park. 

We also spend a day at Hauz Khas, New Delhi, India. Hauz Khas is a neighborhood in South Delhi, its heart being the historic Hauz Khas Complex. Well known in medieval times, the Hauz Khas village has amazing buildings built around the reservoir. There are remnants of Islamic architecture roughly colored by splotches of urban culture.

The most memorable time for us was our visit to the famous Taj Majal. The Taj Majal is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the southern bank of the river Yamuna in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal; it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. Wikipedia

With my husband, lawyer Arnel Sigue in front of the Taj Majal.

Dancing Coleus: An Inspirational Art

Growing coleus has become an enjoyable hobby for most stay-at-home Filipino women (and men) these days because of the ease of growing these species of perrenial or annual herbs or shrubs (sometimes succulents) found in tropical countries. It is an indoor plant that likes to have some sunshine during the day, but not too much; and needs to be watered constantly. It also needs a watchful eye for pests that attack its colorful leaves from time to time; and from overgrowth that deforms its potential beauty.

Coleus can also be easily propagated by cuttings, which could be placed either in water until it grow roots or directly replanted into the soil. Overall, the time spent for taking care of the plant is so little compared to the joy that it brings once fully grown with different bright and distinct colors.

I only started to plant coleus during the last week of December 2020 despite the fact that many have already become “plantitas” beginning May of 2020, when bartering became very popular. As founder of the Bacolod Barter Community last May 8, 2020, and the new site which started in September 2020: (https://www.facebook.com/groups/newbacolodbartercommunity/) – I personally saw the rise in bartering plants in exchange for plants and food items. But I never had the chance to tinker with plants and grow them in our garden. Until I made my first buy along the roadside of Don Salvador Benedicto of several coleus plants last December. The pots of coleus seem to call me everyday to figure out how to let them grow. Eventually, I started to buy more pots from other towns.

After almost three months, I have around fiften different types of coleus. They are small ones at the moment since I grew them mostly from cuttings (which I didn’t expect to grow because I have always believed that I have no “green thumb”). For the past weeks, I have been taking pictures of my plants and posting on social media to share their beauty but lately, I started to post for potential swapping of other types. There are more than 200 varieties they say. Today, I found inspiration together with my son Emmanuel to create “mixed form of art” combining the shaved leaves from the coleus I received from barter (which we just usually throw away). We shave or cut these leaves to give way to roots or purposes of replanting in soil.

Combining pictures from Canva, and using Canva for effects, I created these images to show the beauty of coleus and the amazing contrasts. I call these ten pieces of pictures – Dancing Coleus. I hope you find inspiration and enjoy the images. Sharing these also as a tribute to all women on the occasion of National Women’s Month this march. Let me know which one of these do you like most.

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