Newsflash: January 27, 2023

Admin News

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood, Superintendent

The CIS community was treated to a wonderful Chinese New Year Assembly this week – well done to all the students involved, and our Mandarin teachers Ms. Elaine Jin and Ms. Zirong Chen. Please enjoy this Newsflash featuring the Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration & Activities at CIS over the past few weeks!

We also want to recognize our student athletes who have traveled to Subic Bay this week to compete in the second ISAC Tournament for this year. Months of hard training will culminate in this tournament, and we trust our Girls’ Basketball and Boys’ Soccer teams will do their best and enjoy putting their playing skills and teamwork into practice in an intensely competitive atmosphere. What a great learning opportunity for them – we wish them all the best. Go Dragons!

As we end this week, I wanted to comment on a quote from an article titled “​The Great Delusion Behind Twitter” by Ezra Klein that highlights how our society has become so busy that we are in danger of being distracted from the things that matter most to us.

“I think there is a reason that so little has gotten better and so much has gotten worse. It is this: The cost of so much connection and information has been the deterioration of our capacity for attention and reflection. And it is the quality of our attention and reflection that matters most.”

Over the weekend, how about setting a little quiet time aside to reflect on what matters most to you and your family? Are there areas that need your attention, but are not getting the attention they deserve? As a school, we are also cognizant of the need to do this, both in the classroom to aid learning, and also as an organization. Stay tuned for more on how you can contribute to this as we seek input from various stakeholder groups to review our school’s guiding statements! Have a connected, high-quality weekend.

Upcoming events of note

  • Jan 31: Parent Coffee Meeting – “Global Citizenship” (8-9am, Annex)
  • Feb 13-20: G12 Mock Exams
  • Feb 14-17: Week Without Walls
  • Feb 23: School Holiday
  • Feb 24: Cebu City Charter Day (Public Holiday)

Please refer to the CIS Event Calendar for the complete calendar of school events.

Google Reviews

Positive reviews from our community help other families just like you to feel confident about choosing CIS as their school of choice. We appreciate if you could spare a few minutes of your time and leave a 5-star review for CIS on our Google page, and share some good experiences. Thank you in advance!

Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration & Activities

by Ms. Elaine Jin and Ms. Zi-Rong  Chen, Mandarin Teachers

Chinese Lunar New Year is the biggest traditional holiday celebrated by Chinese people all around the world. It took place on Sunday, January 22, 2023, which welcomed the year of the Rabbit. In Mandarin classes, we participated in a range of different activities to celebrate this important holiday

ES Mandarin class
In Elementary School, children have been preparing and practicing for our New Year performances. Grade 2 and 3 played the most important role during the opening of the Whole School Assembly and performed a joyful Dragon Dance 舞龙 (Wǔ lóng) and greeted the audience. Grade 4 and 5 learned “Wing Chun” 咏春, a form of Southern Chinese kung fu and close-quarters system of self-defense. Students have been practicing this kung fu to gain a deeper understanding of this traditional martial arts, and also to have the chance to exercise themselves. Click here to watch the kung fu performance.

Grade 1 and Kindergarten presented a lovely dance to the audience with wishes of good luck and fortunes for the coming Year of the Rabbit. Click here to watch the dance video.

MHS Mandarin class
More than just a modern-day celebration, the Chinese New Year is filled with rich customs and meanings. In MHS, Mandarin students have done different activities to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They have watched some videos to learn about the traditions, legends, celebrations, activities and the meaning of this festival. They have also experienced some activities by themselves. Apart from experiencing the celebration activities, the students also contributed their effort to our first whole school assembly in the second semester which took place on Tuesday.

The MHS students have presented their performance in the whole school assembly and showed their enthusiasm in celebrating traditional holidays. Grade 6/7 Mandarin class has prepared a play about 十二生肖(Shí’èr shēngxiào)-twelve zodiac animals. They have presented the reason we celebrate the New Year along with different animals. They have been working on making their face masks, prompts, and practicing their acting skills. Grade 8/9 class has presented us with fan dances. One group painted their own fan and showed us what a round fan dance looked like and the other group showed us a modern dance with traditional fans. The Grade 10 class ended our assembly by a dance “Rabbit Run Run Run” and called the whole school to dance with them. The Grade 12 Mandarin B representatives, Jia and Rhett, provided us with a lovely rendition of a traditional New Year song while some DP students played the role of MCs and guiders of the CIS Promise. 

Please click the following pictures to watch the video of the MHS performance.

Grade 8/9 fan dance
Grade 10 Rabbit Run Run Run
Grade 12 Gongxi Gongxi

Receiving the Red Envelopes 红包 (Hóngbāo)
This year the MHS Mandarin students received red envelopes from their teachers. Giving red envelopes is one of the traditions of the New Year.

Hanging New Year wishes  新年愿望 (Xīnnián yuànwàng)
The Mandarin students have written their new year wishes on red pieces of paper and hung them on the peach flower tree.

Writing 福(Fú)
The Mandarin students have tried their calligraphy skills and practiced writing 福 on red piece of papers. 福 in Chinese which offers “fortune” or “good luck”.

Making Lanterns 灯笼 (Dēnglóng)
The Mandarin students have made their lanterns and painted Rabbit and 福 on the lanterns.

Cutting papers 剪纸(Jiǎnzhǐ)
The Mandarin students have cut red pieces of paper and decorated them around the classroom.

Making Rabbit couplet 兔子对联(Tùzǐ duìlián)
The Mandarin students have made rabbit couplets and written New Year wishes on the red couplets.

Spanish Class

by Ms. Dina Melwani, PYP and DP Spanish Teacher

As we start the New Year at CIS, the Spanish primary kids were able to celebrate the day of the Three Wise Men. Some of us might not be so familiar with this festival so here is an introduction to the wonderful festival.

Every year, weeks before the arrival of Christmas, children in Spain and some Hispanic countries begin to think about the gifts they want from the Three Wise Men. It is that time to write the letter to the Three Wise Men, a moment of enormous illusion and fantasy for the little ones. In it, the children tell how they have behaved throughout the year and what gift they would like to see in their living room on January 6 when they get up.

There is no standard manner of writing these letters, but each child can choose the format that they like best; just as there are multiple ways to send their requests. Some choose to deposit them in the mailbox of supermarkets or toy stores, and others ask their parents to seal it and send it by conventional mail. The grade 12 students in Spanish were given a template in which they had to ask what they wanted to give back to the community.

It is tradition to leave something to eat and drink for the Kings and their camels. Something sweet or fruit with a little water will surely come in handy to regain strength and fulfill their mission. The Three Kings Parade is celebrated in all Spanish cities, and some Mexican ones, on the afternoon of January 5. The three wise men, accompanied by their assistants, parade in floats through the streets of the municipalities throwing sweets at all the children, representing the path they traveled in their day to Bethlehem. The primary Spanish students got some sweets on that day.

It is a magical night in which tradition is mixed with faith and hope, the illusion of children with the adoration of the Kings to the child Jesus. Every year, during the early morning of January 6, the Three Kings go to the houses of the children to leave their gifts, in the same way that they brought gold, incense and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The grades 1 to 5 were shown videos of the Three wise men and then they were given worksheets on who they were and what they brought on their visit to Jesus.

According to tradition, one of the things required by the Three Kings for children to receive their gifts is that they have behaved correctly and have been good during the year. Those who meet these demands receive gifts, but those who do not behave as they should, instead of gifts, they receive coal, a sweet coal that symbolizes the need for the child to change their attitude.

January 5th is a special day to be with the family. The children are nervous to discover what their majesties will leave them at night and, the older ones, will enjoy seeing their innocent gaze. On the morning of January 5, it’s time to get up early. You don’t have to set your alarm clock, but you don’t have to stay in bed until noon either. There are many things to do!

A fantastic idea that the Three Wise Men will surely appreciate is that the children leave them a letter hand-written, giving them encouragement for that evening of work and to thank them for coming by. If they don’t know how to write yet, they can draw a picture. And since the children know that after coming from the East, Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar will be exhausted.

It is also very important to clean shoes and leave them next to the nativity scene, so that they know the exact place to leave the presents.The children will never know what time the Kings will arrive, so it is advised that they have an early dinner and something light. This will be easy, but the most difficult thing will be for them to go to bed. So that they have sweet dreams and last the whole night without waking up, it is known for parents to show them beautiful stories about Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar.

For many children, the Three Wise Men are their great references and even their greatest heroes. Throughout the year they are not very present in their day to day, but the little ones in the house know that they are always being watched. 

College/Careers Counselor Corner

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College/Careers Counselor Corner

Question of the Week: 

Are local universities in the Philippines at par with universities abroad? What are the Big 4 in the Philippines?  Yes. In 2022, 16 universities in the Philippines made it to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University rankings

The big 4 are located in Manila namely:  University of the Philippines – Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas.

The QS WUR 2023, led also for the 11th year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) of the United States, ranked almost 1,500 universities around the world with institutions assessed across categories or indicators that capture university performance: Academic reputation, Employer reputation, Faculty/student ratio, Citations per faculty, International student ratio, and International faculty ratio.

This year’s QS ranking reveals two new indicators – International Research Network and Employment Outcomes – to gather feedback from institutions ahead of its full inclusion in next year’s edition. The two categories’ scores did not affect the overall score of the universities. (

College Events (Virtual and Face to Face)


January 29
1:00 – 5:00pm
Link to register


Study in Japan – Learn about studying in Japan and the opportunities that come with it.

February 3
9:15 – 10:00 AM
Canteen Annex

University of Essex (UK) –Face to face info session with the university rep: Learn all about the programs and application process.

February 10
9:15 – 10:00 AM
Canteen Annex

Istituto Marangoni (Italy) – Face to face info session with the university rep: Learn all about the programs and application process.

SAT Update for 2022-2023

SAT Test Date Deadline for Registration, Changes and Regular Cancellation
March 11, 2023 (Digital) February 24, 2023
May 6, 2023 (Digital) April 21, 2023
June 3, 2023 (Digital) May 19, 2023

Test dates labeled Digital means that students will bring a device to the test center and take the exam using their device.  The College Board may provide devices for test-takers who do not have access to a device.  All test-takers for Digital SATs are still required to report physically to the test center to take the test.

To register for the SAT, you may click on this link.  If you need assistance or have any questions, please feel free to email Ms. Jenny Basa at

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