The Intense Pressure that Helped Bloom a Thousand Flowers

By Anna Cecilia Alejo

Have you ever wondered why food items cooked in a pressure cooker cook faster than when they were placed in sauce pans?  For instance, when you boil potatoes in a pan, they take 20-30 minutes to cook. But boil them in a pressure cooker, and they will be ready in 4 to 5 minutes. Why?

In a saucepan, water boils at 212°F (100°C).  No matter how much you heat the water, the temperature can never go any higher.  It just turns into steam.  

But a pressure cooker has a sealed lid, so steam produced when the water boils builds up inside.  As the pressure rises, so does the boiling point of the water. The cooking temperature is therefore increased, which reduces the time needed to cook the food.

I would venture to use this same analogy when referring to what the recent graduates of Manila Institute for Culinary Arts and Residential Services  had undergone.  There were 35  candidates that were presented at the 20th Commencement Exercises at the Celestino Dizon Auditorium of the University of Asia and the Pacific at Ortigas Center, Pasig City on April 23, 2016.

The beaming graduates spent only two brief but intense two years of Culinary Arts and Institutional Services where they went through the different departments of cold and hot kitchens, baking and cookery, housekeeping, laundry and dining service.  As they look back to those weeks of combining demanding schedules of school and on-the-job training, they can be compared to the process that goes on inside the pressure cooker.  The challenge of acquiring knowledge, skills and attitudes in a short space of time had enabled them to come out of the two years ripe and seasoned.   Ready for the world.

Their glowing faces, all beautifully made up at this time, are a striking contrast to the usual demeanor at MICARS on their typical day of work and study.  Far too often, we’ve seen them don their red and black checkered uniforms when they cleaned the bedrooms and floors of the residence, or their white uniforms that faced the hot ovens and stainless steel kitchens, or when they quickly changed into their black skirt and white top enhanced by a scarf as their serving uniform in the dining areas.

One can imagine that just with the change of uniforms for different assignments may be stressful enough. Let alone combining the demanding requirements of  the four TESDA Qualifications namely Cookery NCII, Bread and Pastry Production NCII, Housekeeping NCII, Food and Beverage Services NCII.  These build the case on why their graduation becomes a truly remarkable occasion worth the celebration.

Llurish Candaza, one of the academic excellence awardees, gave a heartfelt address highlighting the profound hardships that she overcame just to get into the program.   She shared how her journey out of poverty  started with bumps, detours, and super long walks.  But these only made her strive harder and endure everything with the end in mind of realizing her dream.

Fellow graduates, God willed us all to reach this far, from this day, let us now look forward with faith and hope, compassion and convictions, determination and perseverance, and travel always through the path we mapped out for ourselves while in school.

Commencement speaker Ms. Pauline Lagdameo says “success comes with a lot of sacrifice”.

Ms. Pauline Lagdameo is the owner of Corstalina Patisseria and Café and Senior Advisory Chef of Fonterra Brands Philippines. She is also one of the first trainers of MICARS and a Chef-instructor of several culinary schools in the Philippines.

Ms. Lagdameo’s life story reinforced to each of the graduates the value of fortitude and in forming a vision and a sense of mission that will guide them.   She left them with this advice:  Success comes with a lot of sacrifice.

Another encouraging message came from the President of the MICARS Patrons Association, Ms. Rosa Marina Antonino, who affirmed a continuing support for  the deserving young women, many of  whom came from the country’s different regions.  She highlighted the privilege they now have in realizing their dreams and in becoming an active contributor to the success of the food and beverage services in metro Manila and beyond.


Academic Excellence Award:
Krisha Lhynne D. Baldovino, Llurish G. Candaza, Queen Era S. Felipe

Skills Excellence Award:
Laarnie Z. Misajon

Excellent on-the-job Trainee:
Charmaine L. Abiad, Rhevey Joy L. Rodriguez

Director’s List Recognition:
Marie Emmanuelle C. Maranan

Benefactors, donors and patrons also graced the occasion and shared these moments with their scholars. Their presence reminded them that through their generosity, these women now face a brighter future with jobs waiting for them in the hospitality industry as food attendants, laundry/housekeeping attendants, assistant cooks, bakers, receptionists and future chefs and outlet managers!

The ceremony ended with a song dedicated to all the people who have supported them in their journey, that’s full of hope, confidence, faith in their hearts and fire in their belly. They look and sound so sure of victory as long as they carry the love of Christ wherever they go. Congratulations to the graduates of Manila Institute for Culinary Arts and Residential Services Year 2016!


Marie Emmanuelle Maranan, Director’s List awardee, with her father and MICARS’ officials


Laarnie Z. Misajon, Excellence Skills Awardee beside her mother


From 2020, FPTI-MICARS will no longer be offering its educational programs as a result of the reorganization of its Foundation-owner FPTI’s projects. Please be directed as follows:
Admissions and Courses: FPTI-Punlaan School
MICARS’ Alumni:
Industry Partners/Support/Short Courses/Other Inquiries: