Newsflash: September 20, 2019

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​Admin News​

by Dr. Gwyn Underwood (Superintendent)

​CIS is building a dormitory!​

​I am delighted to officially announce that ​CIS has purchased the large white building next to the staff parking lot, and renovations commenced this week to create a boarding​ facility​. The new CIS dorm will cater to domestic and international​ high school students who are attracted to Cebu as a desirable location that has a ​​​low cost of living, and CIS as a premium international IB school with very reasonable fees (CIS fees are high compared to local alternatives, but actually quite low compared to other internationals schools of our quality).

We plan to open the dorm next school year, so please spread the word, and if you or a friend are interested, feel free to express your interest via (but note we do not have many specific details ready to share yet).

​The current building (left) and a design sketch of the new dorm (right)!

Haze concerns

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources​ (DENR) recently​ issued a warning that ​Metro Cebu is currently experiencing ​haze​y weather conditions caused by forest fire​s​ in Indonesia​ (​refer to this article for more info​ ​and the advisory:​). This has led to Cebu’s Air Quality Index (AQI) ​to rise over what is considered generally safe levels at times, to a level considered “​unhealthy for sensitive groups”​.​​ ​I would like to share the actions we are taking now, and in preparation for possible future spikes in AQI levels:

  • We are monitoring the Air Quality Index (AQI) for Cebu and will take ​all appropriate measures​ within our power to keep our students safe​ if levels rise, following official recommendations.
  • PE/sports/activities teachers and coaches were informed over the past few days to a) reduce levels of activity when the AQI was over 100, and b) ensure students​ with asthma or ​other ​breathing problem​s were aware of the situation and not exercise if necessary. (Note, the AQI dropped below 100 again today so we are fine for now. It is predicted to go back up over 100 tomorrow, however, then back below 100 on Sunday).
  • We will continue to monitor the AQI constantly and adapt our responses according​ to the AQI levels. In general, as the AQI level rises, the intensity of activity will be decreased, students would be kept indoors as much as possible (although this has a limited effect), and if necessary, students with medical conditions will be encouraged to stay at home. Masks can help and may be recommended, but only masks made for PM2.5 particles will be effective (regular cotton cold/flu/dust masks are not adequate!). ​The problem with masks is students find it difficult to wear for long periods of times, especially younger ones, and they are pretty much useless if they do not fit well.
  • The Health and Safety Committee met and​ ​have also set up a sub-committee to develop a more comprehensive action matrix that will help us consider what to do at various risk levels if they rise higher than they have been in future, and what we can consider to do to develop our capabilities if their is a risk of future high levels of pollution.

​Thankfully the AQI levels have not reached unhealthy levels for long periods of time thus far, so we can just hope this continues. On a personal note, one reason I came to Cebu was to get fresh air and escape a heavily polluted city where the AQI levels we have experienced would not have caused much attention at all. I hope Cebu can keep (relatively) fresh and this current haze will dissipate soon!

​Parent Coffee Morning next Wednesday (25th Sept)

Please be advised next week the Parent Coffee Morning will focus on aspect of all three of the IB ​p​rograms​ (the PYP, MYP and DP). Parents from all grade levels are invited to join us at 7:30am in the annex to get a good overview of the programs and the opportunity to learn how the programs work together to provide your child with the best education we know how to provide. Please come if you are able to – these sessions are designed to help you understand what is happening at school! ​For example, elementary​ school parents found it very interesting to learn how we use Makey Makey invention ​kit​s in the ES ​to ​enable students to ​connect everyday objects to computer programs​!​

It has been great to see the various parent groups preparing food from their region for our international day (on Oct 19)​​. If you have yet joined a group, please let the PTA know and they can hook you up with a group!

Have a safe weekend!

Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

by Ms. Elaine Jin, Mandarin Teacher

On September 12, 2019, the Mandarin AB Initio and B classes celebrated the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival during their 4th block class. The Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of harvest. The moon is an important symbol in this festival, which is why many people celebrate it with moon cakes.

To shed more light on the history of the festival, the students in the Mandarin B class told the stories of Hou Yi and Chang E, the deities behind the festivities. Hou Yi was an archer who shot down nine suns, and Chang E was his faithful wife. They also sang “月亮代表我的心” or “The Moon Represents My Heart” in Chinese, Korean, and English. After the performance by the Mandarin B students, everybody gathered together to play games. Everyone enjoyed a fun archery contest and an exciting dice game. During the dice game, all of the students managed to win prizes like bookmarks, pens, and Oreos. At the end of the class, everyone got the chance to taste the mooncake. Yummy!

It was a short, entertaining, and sweet celebration of the annual Chinese Festival, and it further enriched the students’ appreciation for the Chinese language and culture.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone!
– Venise Taboada

在9月12日,中文AB Inito和B班一起庆祝中国的中秋节。中秋节是对收获的庆祝。月亮是一个重要的象征,所以许多人会吃月饼庆祝。

中文B班有讲后羿和嫦娥的故事,他们是庆祝活动背后的神灵。后羿是一名 击落九个太阳的弓箭手,嫦娥是他的忠实的妻子。中文B班还用汉语,韩语,和英语唱「月亮代表我的心」。讲故事和唱歌后,大家聚集在一起玩游戏。每个人玩了有趣的射日游戏和令人兴奋的骰子游戏。在玩骰子游戏的时候,每个学生们成功赢得书签,钢笔,和奥利奥的奖品。在快下课的时候,每个人都有机会品尝月饼。月饼非常好吃。


祝大家中秋节快乐 – Dana Chloe

Grade 8 Music Class

by Ms. Natasha Arnsby, MHS Music & Band Teacher

CIS Learns “The Blues”

On Thursday, September 12th, The Grade 8 students had a surprise guest in music class. Mr. Wood shared his musical talents with the students and performed a number of blues songs for them. Mr. Wood’s visit tied in nicely with their current unit, which is about the 12-bar blues. The students learned about the history and context of blues music, blues music theory, and even got a chance to “jam” with Mr. Wood, as they improvised a number of choruses over a blues chord progression. Here is what a few Grade 8 students had to say about this entertaining and educational visit:

Mr. Wood played his guitar, and he was really amazing. Afterwards, we learned the basics and others as we played the Blues together. We learned a lot from Mr. Wood and we as a class are really thankful that Mr.Wood has taken some of his time to teach us. – Zhandy

In this class we started with a presentation by Mr. Wood who helped us understand more about the blues, a musical genre. From his lesson we learned a lot and really enjoyed listening to him play the guitar and singing. After that Mr.Swank gave all sections a piece to practice a little before everyone would come together and try to play it. We got to play as a whole band with Mr. Wood and his guitar and got to use our creativity to improvise some parts of the blues piece we were given. In the end we took pictures together and learned more about the rich and interesting history of the blues genre. – Jandra

CIS Security Team Building

by SG Carlos Flores

The CIS security force team came together to celebrate friendship and camaraderie last month as we geared ourselves to the upcoming new school year. The team went offshore and made an educational tour in the fishing shore off Catarman Cordova, Cebu.

This trip gave me the opportunity to know more about my colleagues and most especially enabled me to spend quality time together with them. This experience made me realize how working together in harmony can make a positive impact on our daily tasks. We were also given the opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature. We also experienced the value of friendship and camaraderie that we should foster as we work together for a common goal.

This trip became even more meaningful as both of our CIS security supervisors joined us and prepared activities for us. Indeed, it was an experience that I will treasure and keep.

Sports News

Dragon’s Print

The first House Activities Day (HAD) of the school year is a week away! Students and staff were assigned to one of the four houses (Narra, Molave, Acacia, and Mahogany) at the start of the year, but is this truly the house to which you belong? Are you a true-blue Narra…or secretly an Acacia at heart? Do you pledge your allegiance to Mahogany…or does a part of you cheer for Molave? Take our fun quiz to find out which house you really should be in and learn about the awesome characteristics of each house along the way!

Bonus feature: we’re also publishing a recipe for winning HAD, so be sure to click on that to ensure victory next week!

To take the quiz and read the recipe, visit

Alumni News

by Ms. Jenny Basa, College & Careers Counselor / Alumni Liaison

CIS congratulates Agustin Dominic (Ado) E. Laplana (Class of 2015) for leading his team from UP Diliman to win 3rd place during the 4th Metal Cup contest in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Their team also won Best in Presentation among all the countries who joined the contest.

Check this page for more details: and

College Counseling News

PTA News

Hi Parents,

Do you ever feel like you are not getting enough news and information about what we, the Parent Teacher Association, are doing during the school year? Well, aside from reading the Newsflash that is posted on the CIS website and sent to your email every Friday afternoon, we also have two Facebook pages that we really want you to go visit!

On the Cebu International School Facebook page, there is a PTA group that you can join. You can see upcoming events and also chat with other parents about questions and ideas you may have.

We have also created a new Facebook page for this year’s Christmas Bazaar! You can search for CIS Christmas Bazaar 2019 and refer the page to friends and family who have businesses and may want to register as vendors. Or book a booth of your own!

See you on Facebook!

PTA Board

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