June 17, 2024

NEW DSWD-CAR DIRECTOR — Mountain Province daughter, Maria Aplaten, Ph.D., took her oath as new regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-CAR before DSWD Sec. Rex Gatchalian at the Batasan Complex Quezon City on April 12. — Contributed photo

Driven by her passion to help the underprivileged, the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera’s newest director, Maria Atitiw Catbagan-Aplaten, has dedicated her entire life to community service while teaching at the same time.
Aplaten took her oath before DSWD Secretary Rex Gatchalian on April 12 at the DSWD central office in Batasan, Quezon City.
Aplaten, who was born and reared in Baguio City, was born to a mother who was blind and who begged around Baguio’s central business area to earn money.
At six years old, she earned her own money by selling sweepstakes tickets for her education. In high school, she served as a domestic helper and nanny in exchange for board and lodging.
In college, she sold beauty products and offered laundry services in order to afford her tuition and other fees.
To keep her college scholarship, she performed well scholastically and was even an active student leader.
During her graduation, she received a leadership award and was chosen as one of the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines-Cordillera.
A Doctor of Philosophy holder, Aplaten has more than 20 years of teaching experience in all levels, from preschool to post-graduate.
She founded youth organizations; most notable is the multi-awarded cultural group, Hapiyoh Mi Culture and Arts Center at the University of the Cordilleras, where she is credited as the founder-director while serving as a college professor.
She authored several books including: “Moments with God”; “Nan NataguanTako: Cordillera History, Attires, Music, Dances and Festivals”; “Philippine History”; “Rizal: The Greatest Filipino Hero”; and “Effective Business Communication for Beginners”.
She also wrote and presented research projects to both local and international audiences. She has delivered speeches and training in local and international fora, built, established and continues to manage international schools in Cambodia from 2004 to 2008 and from 2016 to March 2023.
Aplaten served as a professor and consultant in Cambodia from 2004 to 2016, as acknowledged by the Embassy of the Philippines in Cambodia.
Her awards include: the Outstanding Woman Leader of Baguio City, Outstanding Alumni of Baguio City National High School, and the Asian Excellence Award for Culture and Arts. This year, she was awarded as the sole Outstanding Volunteer for CAR 2023 in the adult category.
Aplaten is married to Ar. Wendell Aplaten and is a mother to lawyer Danielle Faith, Patrielle Mariecon, and Angelo Gabriel, the latter who died at 19 years old.
Her experiences in life have greatly shaped her for who she is today and she knows that all the things she has gone through prepared her to lead the DSWD – CAR with passion, compassion, and integrity. – Jobelle Anselmo Batanes