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Counseling Services

Guidance Counseling

We welcome you to CISM’s Guidance Counseling Services website! Our PreK – Grade 12 Guidance Program is anchored on the belief that each child is unique and is capable of actualizing their potential.  Our counselors are facilitators in helping each student with discovering oneself and in making intelligent and well informed decisions toward academic success and self-development. Being sensitive to the needs of students, one-on-one interviews are conducted to identify and address specific needs. 

Class guidance lessons at different grade levels from PreK – Grade 12 are led by the Guidance Counselor in collaboration with the classroom teacher and are responsive to the current personal, social and academic needs of students, which may include the following topics: self-awareness, goal setting, managing emotions, conflict resolution, overcoming obstacles, positive social skills, etc.

At CISM, we aim to help each student become a well-rounded person, independent and able to thrive in their chosen field of endeavors. The school Guidance Counselor works in collaboration with students, teachers and parents, and offers both individual counseling and group counseling through class guidance lessons.

We encourage students to visit the Guidance and Counseling office, get to know your counselor and allow your counselor to get to know you. Your counselor is glad to know each one of you. You and your counselor can work together effectively with frequent drop-in visits during breaks in the school day, before and after school, and by appointment.

University Counseling

Our University Counseling program seeks to empower and encourage our students to develop the confidence and skills to make important choices for their future.  This process of university and career counseling is an important part of the counseling and advising support offered to our Upper School students in Grades 9 -12. The University Counselor will work with students both individually and in small groups to assist them in finding the best possible post-secondary options for the each individual student.

Beginning in Grades 9 and 10, students will have the opportunity to meet with the University Counselor to participate in activities including interest inventories, values surveys, and career and personality assessments to help them find and follow their academic and extracurricular passions from the earlier high school years. Grade 9 and 10 students will also frequently be invited to attend visiting university and college information sessions to begin the journey of considering both where and what they might want to study – for their IB courses in Grades 11 and 12 and after graduating from CISM.  

In Grades 11 and 12, students will work more closely with the University Counselor in developing an individualized plan to help them research, consider, and empower them to select the 8-10 colleges or universities around the world to which they will apply.  Students will continue to be encouraged and supported in balancing their personal academic expectations while pursuing their extracurricular passions and leadership opportunities both in and out of school. The University Counselor will assist Grade 12 students with the application process including offering tips on college essay writing and interview preparation as needed. The Grade 9-12 University Counseling approach is to nurture our students’ social and emotional well-being while helping them explore their diverse options to discover their “fit” in terms high school courses and activities as well as in their post-secondary opportunities. 

Meet the Counselors

We have two counselors at CISM: one full-time preK-Grade 12 Counselor, Ms. Joanna Florento, and one University Counselor, Ms. Gabrielle Trinidad, to offer academic advising and university preparation assistance to Grade 9-12 students.

Joanna Florento

Joanna (Joey) Florento is currently working with grades K-12. Prior to CISM, she worked with the Middle School Counseling department at International School Manila. She obtained her Master’s degree from Harvard University, where she received a scholarship from the Graduate School of Education and a scholarship from the Ayala Foundation.  Ms. Florento is keenly interested in developmental psychology research and studied infant cognition and attachment behavior as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance. She received her Bachelor’s degrees in English and Psychology from Wesleyan University, where she graduated on the Dean’s List.  Outside of counseling work, Ms. Florento has worked with after-school programs for children in Boston, MA and various locations around the Philippines, including an educational advancement project in Cebu funded by a grant from the National Youth Council of Singapore. Ms. Florento also enjoys singing in acapella and choral music groups and dancing ballet. You can reach her at

Students are welcome to drop in to visit Ms. Florento at school, and parents are encouraged to contact her via email or by calling the office at +632 798-0011 to set an appointment.

Gabrielle Trinidad

Gabrielle Trinidad is CISM’s University Counselor working primarily with Grades 9-12 by guiding them as they navigate the college application and career planning process. From academic advising to university planning and preparation, she works closely with individual students to help them develop personal learning goals, as well as a keen awareness of strengths and interests, to enhance their educational and personal experience at CISM and successful post-secondary transition.  Ms. Trinidad is a member of the International Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC) and Manila International Schools Counseling Association (MISCA). She earned her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University (Massachusetts, USA) and College Counseling Certification from UCLA.  She has completed Mindfulness Fundamentals at Mindful Schools.

Students are always welcome to drop in to visit Ms. Trinidad at school, and parents are encouraged to contact her via email at or by calling the Main Office at +632 798-0011 to set an appointment. 

Information for University Representatives

CEEB Code: 705621

Visiting Manila and CISM

Metro Manila is an unique community home to strong students with diverse backgrounds attending international and local schools in the area. A visit to Manila would give university and college representatives the opportunity to reach out to many potential students. As a member of MISCA (Manila International Schools Counselors Association), CISM is very interested in bringing representatives from universities and colleges from all over the world as well as locally to visit our school and meet with our students.  Beginning in 2011 with our first batch of Grade 11 students, we have welcomed university and college representatives from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines.  Whether giving a presentation to our students or simply meeting with our University Counselor to share information about your school and learn more about CISM, we would love to meet with you during your visit to Manila.  

We are conveniently located in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, near Makati City, and in close driving proximity to nearby International School Manila (ISM) and British School Manila (BSM). Any college or university that would like to schedule a school visit or simply to share information about their academic programs with our University Counselor is encouraged to email Ms. Gabrielle Trinidad at  We look forward to meeting you!

About CISM

CHINESE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL MANILA (CISM) is a private, non-sectarian, co-educational PreK –12 international school devoted to deliver to our students the highest standard of education.  Our curriculum strives to instill a global outlook in its students and thus follows an international framework integrating American Common Core Standards for PreK – Grade 10 classes taught in English with the opportunity for all students to experience and learn the Chinese language and culture through immersion in their Mandarin classes.  CISM is officially authorized as an IB World School and offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and Certificate option to our Grade 11 and 12 students to prepare them for colleges and universities around the world.

We are accredited by the Republic of the Philippines Department of Education (DepED) and are in the process of applying for international accreditation through Council of International Schools (CIS). 

GPA and Ranking

Due to our small class sizes, CISM does not provide the specific class rank of our students.  The cumulative GPAs of our students reflect their courses taken at CISM only; however, we will attach previous schools’ transcripts to our own transcripts for your consideration.


We are located in McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. We are readily accessible from other area schools, local hotels, and the international airport by local taxi or private car, and our security officers can help you hire a taxi after your visit if needed.  For specific directions from your location of origin in Metro Manila to CISM, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

For more information about Chinese International School Manila, please email Gabrielle Trinidad, University Counselor at

Family Connection

CISM High School students in Grades 9-12 and their parents  have access to a powerful web-based tool for not only managing the college search but also for career exploration and research in the earlier high school years.  Family Connection utilizes WorkspaceK12 from Naviance (, the premier Web-based planning and advising system for schools, with integrated resources for counselors, students and parents. 

Complementing regular face-to-face contact between students and the University Counselor, the system enables students, parents, and the counselors to collaboratively manage the college search and application process in a secure and easy-to-use online environment.  In addition to facilitating the on-line college search that includes discovering general information about colleges and universities around the world for CISM students, a variety of interactive services, such as online request of transcripts (primarily to North American universities and colleges); automated e-mail event reminders; career and personality assessment surveys; and interest inventories for Grades 9-12 to help guide the course selection and future university research will be introduced.  High School students and parents receive their own login information to Family Connection.