Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SLIA 2009: In Review

In view of a blogging tradition, I'm posting 2009's monthly first post. This is not the blog's best of 2009 but I hope to do one right after New Year's day. It's more like a mirror or a glimpse to how my blogging life had been in the year that shall come to pass.

The Philippine Board On Books For Young People (PBBY) had an early Christmas party at Nina Lim-Yuson's lovely home in Makati.

The launching of the Crucible-KUTING Art Stories for Children series will be held on November 17, 2009, 3-5pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Makati Avenue, Makati City.

I would like to thank the following people for extending an arm and a leg on my call for help –

I've heard a lot of things about the Lopez Museum, its famed library and its collection cum vault of rare books and documents.

Corazon Aquino, the heart and soul of the original People Power died today at 3AM after more than a year's battle with colon cancer.

I have been terribly busy the past two weeks and to break this bit of news after a blogging hiatus in this blog is not very good at all. But news, good or bad, must be known to all. We are, still, in a democracy.

Sometime in 2006, I had a telephone conversation with Lizanne Alcazaren who runs Aklatan ni Mika, a children's library in a halfway house for children with cancer.

I've been running a series of teacher training seminars for the past weeks and I will fly to Donsol, Sorsogon for yet another teacher training seminar sponsored by CEMEX and Sa Aklat Sisikat this week.

During the celebration of National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) on July 21, 2008 in the
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), after surveying hundreds of public school children all over the country (with the significant help of Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation), unveiled the 25 Best-Loved Children’s Book Characters Exhibit by Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang InK).

This collection of posts in this blog from 2006 is long overdue.

This is juicy.

For the past two years, I have been posting the monthly first posts of the past year at the beginning of the new year.

Happy New Year! Thank you so much for the love and support for this blog!

Monday, December 28, 2009

PBBY's Fave Books for the Filipino Child Reader (3 of 3)


Rene Villanueva

Contribution to Philippine Children's Literature: He was able to write literature for kids in four formats – book, poetry, play,(theatre), TV.

Kept a journal for possible stories; Used a Pilot pen for writing because it has an easy slide on paper; Claimed that writing is the only thing he was good at, so he wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote; Was nominated for the Hans Christian Award of the IBBY.

Augie Rivera
Contribution to Philippine Children's Literature: Alamat ng Ampalaya – CLASSIC!

Augie is a disciplined writer. He works to write and his writing works!
He values research as a relevant part of the writing process. His approach towards crafting a story is always well thought of. He is a thinking writer. Alamat ng Ampalaya was a product of the 1995 UP Writer's Workshop where it earned praises and very good feedback from the panelists.

Dr. Luis Gatmaitan
Contribution to Philippine Children's Literature: Health and hygiene books for kids – Tito Dok Series. The series is a very accessible reading material for children on health and hygiene issues; Wan Dey Isang Araw – his radio program that reaches far flung areas of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The show features Filipino stories written by Filipino writers for children.

Luis may be known for his Tito Dok series, but he is an excellent essayist as well. He read Funny Komiks as a child and was greatly influenced by it. Has an uncanny talent in listening to kids and their conversations and uses them as spring board for his stories. He uses the “what if” technique in writing.


Albert Gamos
Mentored and inspired the many children's book illustrators we admire today.
No personal info, but I love his classic style of illustration. There's something very old and antiquated about his drawings, yet it looks so new and fresh!

Totet de Jesus

I like the texturing of his drawings. It's like something I can touch and uncover layer over layer.

Jomike Tejido
He knows how to have fun. He is unafraid to break conventions and visually “teases” the reader through his illustrations. His works offer new perspectives and insights.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas From Us!

My family and I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thank you to all who helped us see through the peaks and valleys of 2009!

Friday, December 18, 2009

PBBY Trio at Chocokiss, UP Diliman

Illustrator and former PBBY Chair Totet de Jesus, writer and PBBY representative Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, and myself were dinner guests of Teacher Portia Padilla's graduate class at Chocokiss, UP Diliman last Wednesday night, December 16, 2009. It was Prof. Padilla's class' Christmas get together and it was made special, according to her and her students, by our presence.

Since it's a children's literature class in the graduate level, conversations on the state of Philippine Children Literature in the country were aplenty. It could not be helped but discuss selection criteria for children's literature especially when judging entries in contests like the Palanca and the Salanga prizes. While I gave my own set of criteria as influenced by my being a librarian, teacher, storyteller, writer and parent I could only wish that the 1-2-3 selection of the "best" children's books of the year be changed. We're all living in a flat world now. "Best" is relative, besides. Hopefully, PBBY can do something about this 1-2-3 mentality.

The night was a mini-panel lecture cum dinner that showcased the uncanny humor of Totet de Jesus. He came complete with props. Just imagine the wows, the oohs and the aahs when he showed his sketches and storyboard for Tin Canon's book, Sampung Magkakaibigan by Adarna House. Luis Gatmaitan on the one hand gave valuable tips on writing, that crafting a story is up there in the totem pole, and that, writers for children should never forget their intended audience. He had books for everyone that night and the students got personalized notes and dedications from him.

You wonder now what the librarian did.

I ended the night with a story, Joseph's Overcoat, using paper and tearing parts of it as the story rolled along.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PBBY Fave Books for the Filipino Child Reader (2 of 3)

Here is the second part of Museo Pambata's survey on the favorites of PBBY. The choices are all mine so it's subjective and very personal.


Children’s Rights
Ang Pambihirang Buhok ni Raquel / Adarna House
Author: Dr. Luis Gatmaitan
Illustrator: Beth Parrocha-Doctolero

Promoting creativity and imagination
Ang Pambihirang Sombrero / Adarna House
Author and Illustrator : Jomike Tejido

Promoted peace and equality
Sundalong Patpat / Adarna House
Author: Virgilio Almario
Illustrator: Ferdinand Doctolero

Shared rich Filipino culture
Alamat Ng Ampalaya / Adarna House
Author: Augie Rivera
Illustrator: Kora Dandan-Albano

Emphasize strengthening bonds of family
Tight Times / Adarna House
Author: Jean Patindol
Title: Serge Bumatay III

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Again, the Losyang Librarian

I finally got to watch In My Life, the Vilma Santos-Luis Manzano-John Lloyd Cruz love triangle. In all places, I saw it in a bus bound to Manila. I was on my way back home from Baguio after a successful storytelling session at the public library there. Somewhere on the road between Tarlac or Pampanga, the bus conductor popped a DVD copy of the movie for the entertainment of bored passengers.

It was a good copy. Bluray. The captioning was in English. No grammar mistakes and misspellings. What's more, it was well translated. It was not a pirated copy then. As for the movie, I enjoyed it so much I wrote a review at TCG.

But what I paid close attention to was Vilma Santos' character. This movie is one where the lead happens to be a librarian. It did not revolve on Vilma's character, Shirley, being a librarian though. Her being one was used to a amplify her monotonous and routinary lifestyle. She was once a Physical Education teacher -- lively, active on the go. Then life whipped her with failures and heartbreaks one after the other. Somewhere in between, she underwent a transformation. She retreated to a life made of procedures, processes and structures. Controlled and secure, she thrived in the library as a sarcastic, uncompromising and stoic person. Yes, masungit (grumpy), old fashioned and losyang (unglamorous). Bam! There goes the formula.

Here we see now the typical librarian as a stereotype. Note that in media, stereotypes are used to label something - a brand, a product, an object. Ideas and perspectives, information included, can be labeled as well. It is made. It is constructed. In printing and publishing, a stereotype is a metal plate cast from a model or a matrix. It is constant. It does not change.

Like it or not, the librarian stereotype exist. It will be used to present an idea of the profession as boring and it's practicing professionals far from being dynamic. What worries me more is the possibility of this stereotype to mutate as an archetype.

At the end of the day, we can all say that Vilma Santos' character as the stereotype librarian is merely a representation of an idea or a character used in a movie. But a movie is a form of storytelling. And storytelling is powerful. It does not help that In My Life is a well written and well crafted movie.

This stereotype will stick. The sad thing is, librarians, the ones who breathe and live outside the silver screen are far from the stereotype depicted in the movies and in literature. How can librarians reach their full potentials to portray roles that will help propel their institutions, offices and organizations to achieving its goals when this stereotype exist? How can this stereotype be broken when such a construct is already embeded in the minds of many an administrators and co-workers?

We, librarians, have our work cut out for us.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

PBBY's Fave Books for the Filipino Child Reader (1 of 3)

Museo Pambata sent the PBBY a questionnaire on our favorite Filipino books for Pinoy kids. This is to be used for a new area in the musem that is all about writing, illustrating and publishing books for children. I'm posting the first part today.

1.What do you look for from a good Filipino children’s book?

I look for content and deisgn. And then crafting. The book must say something relevant to the Filipino child's experience. But at the same time, it cuts across boundaries and cultures that it achieves a universal appeal. This would mean that, while the story speaks of unique Filipino experiences, content is also a significant human experience that other children from other countries can relate to. If adults are drawn to the story as well, then that's chidlren's literature magic at work!
Deisgn is crucial for visual appeal. It lends aesthetics to a book. It aids in comprehension too!

And then there's crafting. Yes. How the author creates and puts the story together is crucial. Content may be relevant and meaningful, but if crafting is poor then the story may turn out lame.

2.What should the next generation of writers and illustrators realize for the future of children’s literature?

Innovate. Never cease to create. Cover other forms of literature – TV, theatre, comics, online, etc. Always have the child reader in mind. You write and illsutrate for children in the first place, right?

3.What great things have you learned from reading, writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books?

I grew wings!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Storytelling In Baguio City Public Library

Some photos from my storytelling in Baguio City. Thanks to Mrs. Fe Requilman of the Baguio City Public Library, I had a wonderful time telling stories to their day care kids. There happened to be 120 day care centers in Baguio City. Only 80 centers participated so the 40 centers are up for schedule next year.

It was my first visit at the Baguio City Public Library, a three story edifice that houses two million print collections, thesis and dissertations from the CAR region, with WIFI connection, a cozy space for children and eight licensed librarians. Suffice it to say that the librarians have the support of the LGU - from moral to financial aspects. Kudos to the public librarians of the Baguio City Public Library!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Library Outreach Program Via the De La Salle Library System

I have been to several De La Salle schools this year. Of the many things common and consistent about them, apart from the green and white colors, is their outreach program that permeates horizontal and vertical departments of their educational system. The libraries of the De La Salle schools I was fortunate to visit include a strong outreach program for their respective adopted and supervised schools.

Once in De La Salle Zobel (DLSZ), LRC Coordinator Carol Ballesteros made mention of their mobile library program designed to help and assist public schools in Muntinlupa develop children's interest in books and reading. I remember seeing her in a PBBY sponsored workshop on Mobile Library Development and Implementation by Museo Pambata President, Nina Lim-Yuson last year. If not for Ondoy, I would have joined the DLSZ librarians in the launching last October at Tunasan Elementary School, Muntinlupa as storyteller.

This initiative is not an isolated case. De La Salle Lipa's mobile library has been touring different barangays in the district. I've heard of this before from co-writer and KUTING friend, Perpi Alipon-Tiongson way back in 2007. In the PLAI STRLC Conference I attended as speaker, Mrs. Lilian Rabino, head librarian in De La Salle Lipa candidly went about sharing the success of this project. I was even more glad to know that she's constantly involved in the improvement of their library mobile. When Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz got hold of a Singaporean book donor for PBBY's book donation project, we've agreed to send books to De La Salle Bukidnon because of its thriving library mobile. If this isn't Library 2.0, tell me what is. Access to books and information does not always have to be technology driven.

Apart from this, librarians of the De La Salle Library System are also involved in training and professional development of librarians and para-professionals of public and community libraries.

When I accredited De La Salle Green Hills last November, GS (Grade School) LRC (Learning Resource Center) Head Mrs. Ching Basagre was very proud to share about the training that she and her librarians conducted in one La Salle supervised school. Provision for books is one thing and accessibility to reading materials is another. But empowering the people who take care of the library and its readers is of primary importance. Mrs. Basagre and her library staff trained the para-professionals of the library who were recipients of their book donations.

Mrs. Sonia Gementiza, Library Director of De La Salle University (DLSU) Dasmarinas, Cavite has initiated training seminars and workshops for non-librarians of public libraries in the locality. A number of these non-BLIS (Bachelor of Library and Information Science) professionals were present during my storytelling lecture-workshop last week At DLSU Dasma. Mrs. Gementiza did not stop there. Together with her staff, they've organized another professional growth activity to help them organize and manage their libraries.

This outreach program may be unique to De La Salle, but it sure tells us a thing or two about collaboration, access to information and leadership in librarianship. There may be a dearth of reading materials and shortage of manpower in the field. Yet, the desire to build bridges and fill gaps is enormous! Kudos to the librarians of the De La Salle Library System!

The 1st Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Trailer

Watch it here!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Library Mouse

What is it with men and mice that stories about them and their uncanny relationship litter in our literature? Flowers for Algernon. Of Mice and Men. Ben. A Mouse Called Wolf. The Tale of Desperaux. Ratatouille. These are but a few books and movies that fill our fancy for these seemingly benevolent creatures. Perhaps the fondness lies at the smallness and tenacity of these gnawing mammals. Considered pests, mice and rats posses enough smarts and a good level of adversary quotient to survive this cruel world. And they seem to prosper and thrive amidst the harshness of the ages.

In Daniel Kirk’s delightful picture book, Sam, the library’s resident mouse read everything and anything he laid his hands on. His reading choices were varied and diverse. Thanks to the many books in the library! He had a wide array of choices of books to read from facts to fiction. This led him to an attempt at writing his own book.

Gathering pieces of paper from the librarian’s desk and forgotten pencils that rolled from underneath the shelves, Sam went to work on his first book, Squeak! A Mouse’s Life. It was hard work. But it all paid off in the end because children in the library were able to read his books. Thanks to the librarian who shared his books to the kids during story time! Since the kids enjoyed his books so much, the librarian invited him for an Author Visit.

Sam had other ideas though. And it was an excellent one!

You have to read the book to know what it is.

Kirk's Library Mouse scores a perfect ten in my record book. It's simply wonderful! It's empowering! It celebrates the power of the written word and the essential role that libraries and librarians play in literacy development.

I further suggest you get a copy and READ it aloud to every child you know. Sam, the Library Mouse, endears to children. Cheers to the triumph of the little one!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Fr. James Meany SJ Award

For serving ten PAASCU visits as Instructional Media accreditor since 2003, I received the James Meany Award this afternoon at the Club Filipino in Greenhills. It was conducted after the PAASCU Assembly where all accreditors gathered to discuss issues and concerns relevant to the improvement of accrediation in the country today.

Fr. Meany is one of the founders of PAASCU. It is now on it's 51st year of existence. This recognition means a lot to me because it tells me that even though I'm no longer a part of Xavier School's teaching force, I remain a Jesuit lay partner. And this I take to heart. This is an affirmation of one of the many missions I have in life, an answer to the call for universal holiness. My being a librarian is not only a profession. It is still my passion, but over the past months, it has become my vocation.

This afternoon, I met old acquaintances from past PAASCU visits. Mr. Marc Hernandez was there, of course. He was awarded for his 100th visit! I bumped into former Xavier colleagues and are we all glad that outside the confines of the Greenhills Campus, we are, retired and resigned faculty of Xavier School, still letting our light shine. I also recognized former professors from college and graduate school as well as batch mates from the Philippine Normal University. It was an afternoon of appreciation and thanksgiving.

Funny how this all happened after the feast of St. Francis Xavier. God has answered a prayer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind

Tarie Sabido has a new blog!

She's giving the world a facet to Asian writers and illustrators for the world to see. Her first offering are interviews of Perpi Alipon Tionsgon and Candy Gourlay .

More power to Tarie! Here's hoping that the blogosphere would hear more voices from Asian writers and visual power from its illustrators.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Early Christmas Party

The Philippine Board On Books For Young People (PBBY) had an early Christmas party at Nina Lim-Yuson's lovely home in Makati. It was my first with the PBBY. In years past, there was always an event or a work related activity coinciding the group's Christmas party.

This year, my schedule was cleared of any event or work that I made it to Nina's. Finally. Nina's house was lovely. I love the wooden furniture. There's a touch of Nina's artistry in every corner, from bookshelf to rug. The company was wonderful. The food was good. There were enough spirits to go around and as often happens when the board gets together, it's the illustrator who earns the most "wows"!

The bookmakers in the board gave out new books. I got a copy of Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz's new book, The Teacher, a Doreen Fernandez bio. Ani Almario proudly distributed copies of Rhandee Garlitos' Ang Higante Sa Loob Ng Aming Bahay. Great gifts and tokens, really. But there is something very personal on the receipt of a hand made work of art. Totet De Jesus' prints were a knockout!

And what did the librarian give out? Bah-hambug!

Here's hoping for a better year ahead. Just one more month and it's already 2010! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: The Morning Gift

SPOLIERS! Don't say I did not warn you.

Eva Ibbotson's novels were known to me as works of the fantastic. That is why, I was pretty surprised when I discovered, in all places -- at Powerbooks, Cebu, her romance novels. All three of them were displayed alongside chiclit and YA books in the Juvenile section of the bookstore. It was The Morning Gift that intrigued me most.

Ruth, a Catholic young lady of Jewish decent had to marry thirty year old Quinton Somerville, a British professor and paleontologist, out of convenience and survival. The year was 1938. The place was Vienna, Austria. Hitler's sphere of influence and reign of terror has begun. Ruth's parents fled Vienna and as planned, she was to follow them. But something went awry so she was left behind. Here comes Quinton to rescue the plucky damsel in distress. What followed was a series of funny, heartfelt and subtle romantic escapades in London and Northernumberland.

What worked
Ibbotson stayed true to the Austen tradition. For this, I give her props!

The wistful looks and lingering stares evoke the yearning of love unrequited. The unspoken tension described and told in the setting of a place, the intimacy of a moment, the conversations and dialogues between characters were all done with restraint and subtlety. The romance is sweet and tempered, yet intense. Writing in the third person point of view, Ibbotson is able to allow her readers to understand the mind scape and emotional bearings of her characters.

For instance, I could tell early on that Ruth and her childhood sweetheart, Heini, will never end up together because, Heini's intentions and longing for Ruth were shown as a matter of functional need. Lovers in romance novels ideally should complement each other no matter how different their personalities are. There is no spark between Heini and Ruth, so to speak. On the one hand, Quinton's motivation to save Ruth from the holocaust was a clear sign of his compassionate nature, but it is his restlessness upon discovering Ruth's presence in his class and the warmth he feels when he discovered her waiting by the shore one fine morning confirmed the possibility of love growing between them.

There is enough external conflict to spice up Ruth and Quinton's love story. There's the backdrop of war, their family's culture and its differences, and the third party on Quin's side of the love angle. What makes this romance story relevant though is its explorations of human relationships beyond the lead characters. Ruth's parents were given solid ground as people who truly matter in her life as she keep her marriage to Quinton a secret. Qunton's aunt and family friends were effectively used as contrast to his indefatigable and winsome qualities.

What did not work
Ruth although endearing is the typical ingenue. She has a host of friends and followers who stood up for her during difficult times. She has a temper and if not for her friends and family, she would have been in trouble from the start. This romance novel turns out to be a fantasy after all.

It's a small thing really, but I was hoping to see more of Ruth's inner conflicts. She does not have a major flaw. If she ever make a mistake, someone is bound to save her or something will happen that will fleet her away from danger.

The ending is rushed and cropped. I am not sure if this is deliberately done to indicate the passing of the years or to build up tension on the reader. By this time, Ruth and Quinton has affirmed their love and consummated their marriage that being severed from each other is just too impossible to happen. It would have been better if Ruth's suffering and her choice of leaving Heini and her parents were given at least a single chapter. This would have given Ruth and the reader to grow and mature together in the novel.

Nevertheless, everyone is happy in the end. The whole thing worked somehow since I'm pinning to read the other two from Ibbotson's romance novels.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Araw ng Pagbasa (Reading Day) 2009

The Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) system kicked off the celebration of National Book Week with a Reading Day - Araw ng Pagbasa in its selected branches last November 23, 2009. The event was a week long celebration of books, reading, children and senior citizens regaling the young listeners with stories read aloud.

Having conducted a storytelling workshop for the QCPL and the Federation of Senior Citizens Quezon City Chapter on November 20, 2009, lolos and lolas (grandfathers and grandmothers) volunteered to share their time and talent in storytelling in selected QCPL branches the weekend after. Photos of lolos and lolas who voluntered can be viewed here.

I am pleased to see how they took storytelling like fish to water. During the workshop, the lolos and lolas were avid listeners. They enjoyed participating in the workshop activities as well. As far as library services go, this initiative by the QCPL is a stone that hit not one, nor two or three birds - but four!

One, storytelling, especially the read aloud technique, is highlighted as an effective vehicle to motivate children to read. Two, storytelling in the library promotes the books and services it offers to children. Three, the activity was a library service geared towards senior citizens of the community too. And lastly, the whole event emphasized the important role that librarians play in community building. The QCPL librarians have the funding and the support of their local government units. By organizing events and library services such as this, they have shown leadership and dynamism necessary to accomplish roles and responsibilities of the public library to its patrons.

Congratulations to the QCPL librarians and more power!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Completing Life Cycles

During the con-current session of the Petron Gurong Kaakbay Conference at the Ateneo de Manila, I was introduced by a former student, Arnold Lau. In my session on Creating Classroom Libraries with the public school teachers of the conference, Arnold was there as my room monitor-assistant. Turned out that Arnold volunteered for the task. A freshman at the Ateneo, he looked just the same as I saw him last in Xavier School.

I remember Arnold as an upfront and straightforward boy, audacious at expressing himself and confident with his actions. He is one of Xavier School's Math Wizards. I was surprised though that he is taking a course that leans toward the humanities. Nonetheless, I felt I have completed a life cycle when he introduced me as his former teacher-librarian in Xavier School.

Just recently, I was once again given the opportunity to come full circle.

Last Wednesday, November 25, 2009, I had the honor and the pleasure of meeting my former teachers at the Pateros Catholic School, Grade School Department. I gave a four-hour workshop on storytelling for the grade school's teaching staff. My grade six Math teacher, Mrs. Figuron, my grade four Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Padama and my grade five Science teacher, Ms. Hipolito were present. It had to be the my most unforgettable storytelling workshop yet.

For this, I have to thank my former Filipino teacher in grade six, Mrs. Flery Natividad-Guevara, who is now the school's librarian for the invitation to do what I love doing. My gratitude goes out to my former grade three Reading teacher, Ms. Lolit Evangelista, currently the principal of the Grade School for welcoming me back to PCS, my alma mater. It is my hope to go back and give back in as much as I am capable of doing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Lola Basyang Tradition Lives On

In the Philippines, Lola Basyang is already a metaphor for storytelling. Popularized by Severino Reyes in the 50's as a syndicated radio program and a series of story books that carry a variety of stories from local tales and borrowed lore, it lives on in modern retellings and TV shows.

The Quezon City Public Library (QCPL) joins in the bandwagon as it pushes the campaign for library use through storytelling via the help of its senior citizens. Coordinating with the Federation of Senior Citizen Association of the Philippines QC chapter, QCPL, will be running storytelling sessions by resident lolos and lolas (grandparents) in all its branches.

On November 20, 2009, I will be joining them, sixty volunteers all for a whole day workshop on the art and therapeutic claims of storytelling. I've trained children, college students, parents, teachers and librarians on storytelling but facilitating a workshop for senior citizens as storytellers is a first.

I will definitely post a follow up entry!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Filipino Librarian: Lilian Liberty Elenzano-Ventura

Most of the library science books I used back in college were written by librarians. These were textbooks I read and worked on from one LIS subject to the next. It makes sense, isn't it? Librarians write about the subject they specialize on or the courses they teach in the academe.

Just recently, I chanced upon a book written by a librarian. Lilian Liberty Elenzano-Ventura authored the book, Mga Filipinong Siyentipiko at Imbentor (Filipino Scientists and Inventors) a directory of Filipino scientist and inventors.

I remember Ms. Ventura from the Information Literacy (IL) project that Dir. Lou David spearheaded way back in 2004. She was then, a school librarian in the Quezon City public school system. If my memory serves me right, Ms. Ventura was one of the participants in the IL project that ran modules for its implementation in the school and its library. At that time, she has shown great promise in leading the project to reality.

I sometimes wonder what has happened to her and how she has been. Her stories about the programs she conduct in the school library piqued my interest since such activities were unheard of in the public school library system at that time. The library promotions and library periods could only have happened because, as the librarian, Ms. Ventura knows her library science and possesses the leadership qualities necessary to the do the job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: The Legend of the Wandering King

Laura Gallego-Garcia’s The Legend of the Wandering King was standing among the newly processed books in the technical room of the library when it called for me, asking to be read. I did not heed the call until two weeks later when it was officially out for circulation.

The book blew me away. I felt the need to share it with the grade seven Reading teachers in school who perennially search for interesting titles of books. They were drawn to the book too that they included it in the list of book reports for grade seven. It turned out that the students and their parents enjoyed the book as well.

This is one of the perks of the job – to discover wonderful reads, share them with others and in the process, experience the delight and enjoyment that the printed word can offer.

What worked
The romance. Yes, I'm a romantic fool. But I'm not talking of the love story between Walid, the lead character, and Zahra, the Bedouin. The journey towards redemption; the search for life's meaning; the quest for one's dreams and its fulfillment; and the fairy tale ending -- everybody lives happily ever after -- all these appealed to me immensely.

The writing. Gallego-Garcia's language must have been brilliantly beautiful in Spanish that it is equally flavorful in English.

The setting, historical background and local flavor.The exotic land of Arabia during the pre-Muslim epoch evokes great curiosity. This is the stuff I devour -- the past and how it could never be brought back, except in stories.

The characters. Prince Walid is a darling. But as always, the underdog has my vote. The carpet weaver is my hero. Besides, he was a very intelligent librarian and archivist. He's a poet too and he successfully trumped down the prince's talent three times.

What did not work
The old man in the red turban. Then again, it's forgivable since the novel is a story of enchantment. Good thing that Gallego-Garcia made Walid suffer. The presence of the djinn was made credible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Too busy to blog, but then again...

I'm squeezing this in between break as I am still in Santiago, Isabela at the Grade School unit of the University of La Sallete. It's the second day of accreditation and in ten minuutes, we will begin our wrap-up reporting. These news are too important to miss because it shows how things are coming along in Philippine Children's Literature.

Firts in the list --

On its 18th year, Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang I.N.K.) presents its annual exhibit for 2009, entitled “ForeveRENEver,” a tribute to the late children’s writer Rene O. Villanueva, whose literature has showcased I.N.K. illustrators’ works for several decades now.

Ang I.N.K. pays tribute to one of the most celebrated figures in the landscape of Filipino children’s books with a showcase of more than 30 works that bring to life Rene’s never-been-illustrated literature!

Join Ang I.N.K. in honoring the memory of Rene O. Villanueva, and in ensuring that his legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of future generations of Filipino readers.

It's a personal invite I got from Ang INK's Joel Chua. I hope I can make it on November 19, 2009 being the current president of PBBY.

Next in the list --

KUTING & Crucible Gallery's Launch of Growing Up With Philippine Art

And then, this big news for Cacho Publishing and Filipina writer Candy Quimpo-Gourlay --

Former Philippine Daily Inquirer journalist Candy Quimpo Gourlay this week sold her novel TALL STORY to David Fickling Books (DFB), joining a prestigious list that includes John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) and Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass). DFB praises the book as an outstanding and highly original novel.

Candy, who lives in London, however reserved Philippine publication rights for publisher Ramon Sunico in the Philippines. Sunico is the manager of Cacho Publishing House, which has pioneered in bringing teen fiction to the Philippine publishing scene.

Philippine Children's Litertaure is busy and buzzing!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick Post

The week began with back to back storytelling gigs. I'm on the road now to Santiago, Isabela (North of Luzon) for PAASCU accreditation in La Salette College's Grade School Department.

Will resume regular postings of scheduled entries, storytelling adventures and two book reviews as soon as possible. And I hope the resumption of posting means tonight.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Lara Saguisag At Rutgers University

Lara Saguisag poet, children's book writer and of course, Filipina, is featured in Rutgers University's website. Hers is a story of dreams fulfilled.

Lara is the author of There's a Dewende in My Brother's Soup(Lampara Books), a book about a girl coping with the pressures of having an autistic sibling. Her book of poetry, Children of Two Seasons (Anvil Publishing) is a well received collection of poetry for kids by critics here and abroad.

She is currently working on several book projects. We hope to read more of her poetry and books for children.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa

This video will definitely strengthen Noynoy Aquino's presidential bid.

Composed by: Ogie Alcasid
Sung by: Regine Velasquez

Sasamahan ka namin
Kahit paligid ay madilim
Iilawan ang daan tungo sa magandang kinabukasan.
Ika’y mamuno,kami ay susunod
pagkakaisa’y ating itaguyod
ang Pilipinas ay naghihintay
handa kaming kumilos,handang umalalay.

Hindi ka nag-iisa
sa paggising ng bayan
kami ay kasama,hindi ka mag-iisa.
Isasapuso ang dangal ng ating bayan
Sa tulong at biyaya ng maykapal

Magkakapit bisig,tayo…
ituloy natin laban ni Ninoy at Cory,
Nang bawa’t mamamayan
pagmamahal natin sa bayan
‘wag na nating itago, ‘di tayo susuko

Hindi ka nag-iisa
Sa paggising ng bayan
kami ay kasama,hindi ka mag-iisa
isasa puso ang dangal ng ating bayan

Sa tulong at biyaya ng maykapal
Magkakapit bisig,tayo…
Sama-sama bawat Filipino
Mula noon,ngayon at kailan pa man
hindi ka nag iisa……

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Albert Gamos 1951-2009

Albert Gamos, Filipino illustrator par excellence passed away yesterday, 3 November 2009 at 10:00 in the morning. His remains lie at the Holy Mary Memorial Chapel, Rizal St., Barangay Cutcut, Angeles City Philippines.

Mr. Gamos is a multi-awarded illustrator and an esteemed honorary member of Ang INK (Illustrador Ng Kabataan). He is known for his classical and intricate style of illustrating for children. This is evident in his recent work on Pandakotyong, one of the many books comprising the Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang series of Anvil Publishing.

Filipiniana Rare Books & Ephemera

I have been immersed in the development of a collection on Filipiniana, rare books and the ephemera since August. It is an interesting branch of Library and Information Science. I consider the experience as a re-education. I thought I had it all - an education in the traditional library school that provided for the basic rudiments of the job and the liberal and progressive graduate studies after. As far as learning is concerned, it is never too late to expand one's horizons.

Last week, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mario Feir and his collection of Filipiniana rare book and ephemera collection. Mr. Feir, collector and bibliophile invites librarians and scholars, even the curious to peruse and browse through his esteemed collection. He has a war books collection and a host of titles on Philippine folk tales. Blair and Robertson's encyclopedia on everything Filipiniana is in his roster of prized possessions.

I leaned towards the children's book collection. Of course. And dear me! Mr. Feir has a copy of Urbana & Felisa, c. 1896.

I've been to modern libraries here and abroad, but the sensual appeal of old books has its own charm and spirit that could easily win me over. I love technology, but there is something about paper that is so naturally endearing. Perhaps, when I set foot in the British Library or the Library of Congress in Washington DC, then my horizon and perspective on books, reading and the library will likewise change.

Mr. Feir can be reached via 02-856-0957. His place is in One McKinley Place, 11A, 26 St., Crescent Park West. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. The posh condominium across Crescent Park is Pacific Plaza. There lives another Filipiniana and rare book collector. His story is yet another tale to blog about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Launching of Crucible-KUTING Art Stories for Children

The launching of the Crucible-KUTING Art Stories for Children series will be held on November 17, 2009, 3-5pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Makati Avenue, Makati City. Yas Ortiga's "Tito Arturo Makes Robot Monsters", Gigi Yia's "Laughter on the Wall" and Bong Oris' "Looking Out For Heroes" are the first three books of the series.

See you ate the launch!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Extended: PBBY-Salanga Prize 2010

PBBY is still accepting entries for the 2010 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat c/o Adarna House, Inc., 2nd Floor, FSS Building, 20 Scout Tuason Street, Quezon City no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 26, 2009. The contest is co-sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and The National Library.

There will be two winners, one for Poetry in English and another for Poetry in Filipino. Each winner will receive P20,000 in cash, a gold medal, as well as an opportunity to be published.

For more details, interested parties may contact the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, through telefax (372-3548) or e-mail (pbby@adarna.com.ph). Visit www.pbby.org.ph for more details.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Kenneth Yu's Flash Fiction

Kenneth Yu, writer and editor of The Digest of Philippine Genre Stories has a story in Fantasy Magazine. His story, Lost for Words is a finalist in the Top Three 2009 Halloween Flash Fiction.

Vote now! I just did!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Book Review: Catching Fire

This is long.

If you have the patience, read on.

If you're a fan, you will enjoy this.

If you have not read the book yet, forego reading this review unless you really want to know where the smoke comes from.

There are SPOILERS so don't say I did not warn you.

Catching Fire immediately started where The Hunger Games ended. In this second installment, Katniss and Peeta struggle to survive the post Hunger Games trauma. Both continue to promote their on screen romance although, for Peeta, it has always been as real as bread. Their dark, haunting dreams are aplenty, but facing the districts of the dead tributes when they do the rounds of the victory tour is a living nightmare. A grave threat looms over Katniss's loved ones, including her pretend cousin Gale, because, her performance and victory in the Games reek off rebellion. For Katniss, the fake suicide was was many things but it was primarily an attempt to save her life and Peeta's. For Panem's terrorized majority, it was a sign that the Capitol can be challenged. Soon, sparks of insurgency erupted in different districts prompting President Snow to bring back Katniss and Peeta, and a host of past victors to the third Quarter Quell, an upsized Hunger Games in remembrance of Panem's Dark Days. Katniss and Peeta once again face their adversaries only to find out that they were merely a part of a conspiracy plan to overthrow President Snow and the Capitol's ruling elite.

What worked
Changes. Challenges. Choices. These are themes that surround Catching Fire and its predecessor, The Hunger Games that readers can flesh out, put back and break down again and again. This is the beauty of HG and CF. It lends new insights, perspectives and possibilities to readers of all ages. Best of all, it opens readers to the complicated nature of the human spirit. Collins may have not consciously intended the books to be an avenue where one can profoundly examine the complexities of the human heart and mind, but I, at least, could not help but delve into the motivations of the book's characters and the reasons for their decisions. I even came to a point when I had to imagine myself in the shoes of her characters, some are flat, predictable and stereotypical. There are, however, characters in the round who transform and grow as the novel unfolds.

Collins has created flawed and conflicted characters you could not easily forget. There's Haymitch who is more than a drunkard. Cinna, Katniss's stylist during the games, who can create fantabulous costumes but expressed his own brand of rebellion half way through the book. I imagine him to be a young Michael Caine in the movie Ms. Congeniality. If I cried over Rue in HG it is Cinna whom I shed tears for in CF. My heart goes out to Finnick Odair, a popular victor of the Games who is in love with a deranged woman. Gale Hawthorne who I predict will be a Che Guevarra in the making is beginning to grow on me. But I remain in the Team Peeta flagship. Yes, I'm all the way for the boy with the bread.

Apart from Rue, Johanna Mason and Mags, Finnick's eighty year old mentor, are the female characters I admire. Mrs. Everdeen and Prim are accessories to highlight Katniss's strengths and weaknesses. They also contribute to the plausibility of Katniss' reason for being. She became a hunter to feed them. She learned mistrust when her mother withdrew from the reality of her father's death. Her relationship with Prim tethers her to the concept of family. And it is this connection that she holds on so dearly or else, she will lose her sense of self. Finally, I came to understand the girl on fire.

This vulnerability could only lead me to cheer and root for a Peeta-Katniss tandem in book three. But I doubt. In the end, I have a sinking feeling that Gale will win her over from this trilogy's resident nerd. It's unfair. The nerd deserves the girl. Gale's response to the rebellion is more aggressive. Peetah is the active non-violent kind who will exhaust all efforts for negotiations and dialogues. As for the rebellion, this is something Katniss continues to evade unsuccessfully.

Looking at the romance angle, it is an allegory on choices and self-identity. Katniss is in the middle of two different ideologies and identities for which she is too confused to decide on. Peetah and Gale are representations of two sides of the rebellion. Katniss kissed Gale in the woods. Peeta in the arena. What else can I say but, Go girl! By the end of CF, she loses Peeta and District 12. She may have woken up with Gale looking down upon her offering nothing but the truth, but (as I'm keeping my fingers crossed), it is Peeta whom she will be motivated to save from the crutches of the Capitol.

2010 seems too far off.

What did not work
The Point of View. I would have wanted to know the mind scape of the other characters.

I'm on my third reading of HG and CF. Call me a fan, but it's the psychological unfolding of each character and their responses to the external environment that keeps me going back to the books. In general, CF, like HG is being enjoyed by readers of all ages. This only goes to show that Collins has written a well crafted novel that does not use sex or the sensual appeal of the undead.

Source for image:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Live Blogging: The 2009 Petron Gurong Kaakbay

Today is the last day of the Petron Gurong Kaakbay (GK) Conference. It's a yearly teacher training conference for public school teachers run by Sa Aklat Sisikat. It boasts of an array of experts in the field of education.

This morning, I facilitated a workshop on Creating Classroom Resource Centers. I had a mixed batch this year so the result was both enriching and empowering. Responses from those who have not created a classroom library were very positive. They were inspired to adapt and adopt the tips and techniques discussed in the workshop. For teachers who have existing classroom libraries, they were glad to be affirmed that what they were doing was the right thing.

I could only thank them for making my work, as a librarian, more meaningful.

At 1PM, Dr. Ricardo Abad gave valuable techniques to be more engaging and animated in class. According to Dr. Abad, the best visual aid in the classroom is still the teacher. Technology is a support for the teacher. He left us all with CAMEL - Build a COMMUNITY of learners; Involve learners in ACTIVE learning; Use MULTIPLE learning strategies; Be EXPRESSIVE in voice and body movement; and LOVE teaching!

Right now, Aris Lim, HR manager and trainor continues to animate and infuse teachers with coaching and mentoring activities.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Enverga Library Blog

In my talk cum workshop on blogging at the PLAI STRLC conference last October 8, 2009, Madame Rose Villamater of the Manuel Enverga University Foundation proudly informed me of their library blog which was created using Wordpress.

I visited their new and spankingly clean blog a few weeks after. I could not help but admire the professional look of Wordpress templates. The Enverga Library Blog has all the basic information about their library. It is only a matter of time for the staff to beef up the content of the blog and offer something unique for readers of the blogosphere.

What I like most about the blog is its link to the Library Staff. Notice the big smile on everyone's face? Seems that they're a happy lot! One is never fully dressed without a smile, so they say. Now that's painting a positive image of librarians. To the staff of the Enverga Library of Lucena Quezon, I wish you success in your blogging endeavors! More happy blogging days to come your way!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bagyo! Baha! Kwentong Pambata!

Creative Writing and Storytelling Workshop for child workers, teachers and parents. * Nov. 21, 8 AM-5 PM at the Museo Pambata.

Join and learn to write and tell stories for children. Discover how stories help children emotionally cope and heal from difficult circumstances and events. Workshop facilitators include Zarah Gagatiga and Dr. Luis Gatmaitan MD.

Zarah Gagatiga is a teacher, writer, librarian and storyteller. She explores the therapeutic claims of storytelling through experience and personal stories. Techniques and strategies to tell stories are also included in the workshop. Zarah is the president of the Philippine Board On Books for Young People. She is currently writing a book on Filipino Folk Tales in collaboration with international storyteller, Dianne delas Casas.

Luis Gatmaitan, M.D. will discuss the healing qualities of story writing and its effects on children. He has traveled to Mindanao and experienced first hand the healing process that children of war and conflict go through. Tips to improve one's writing skills are included in his talk cum workshop. Dr. Luis Gatmaitan is a Palanca Hall of Famer and TOYM awardee. For further details and reservation contact 09209602884 or 523-1797-98. Registration fee is at P800.00.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

PLAI Reaches In

I was at the The National Library (TNL) the other day for some book week concerns and PBBY business. What made the visit extra special though was the effort of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) to "reach in" members who were affected by Ondoy (Ketsana) and Pepeng (Parma). A couple of days before, Madame Susan Pador of the Ateneo Rizal Library sent me an email about a gift which PLAI has prepared for me. Who would not feel special with such an email? Apparently, Ms. Pador heads the Outreach Committee of of the PLAI.

There were around twenty people in the PLAI Office. The officers of PLAI even prepared snacks for us, Ondoy and Pepeng survivors and sure enough, stories of the great floods filled the room. One TNL staff could not help but mention how, in this time of loss I could still manage to smile. I'm alive and so are my loved ones. Friends have been very supportive with their prayers, donations of cash and kind, and all the help they can give our way. The communities we belong to were selfless in hearing us out and asking how we can be assisted in the recovery and rebuilding process. Our Ondoy ordeal made me see the best in people and the Filipino in particular. There are so many reasons to keep a smile. I'd like to think that the TNL staff meant it as a compliment.

In behalf of my husband and two kids, we thank the PLAI for their donation and financial assistance. The joy of giving was very palpable in the faces of the PLAI Officers that day. I could only accept this act of generosity with gratitude and humility.

Mabuhay ang PLAI!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Teen Read Week 2009

In my own little way, I am celebrating Teen Read Week by reading a host of young adult novels and short stories for teens.

I've just finished Collins' The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I will give my reading eyes and mind a day's rest and will reread Laura Gallego-Garcia's The Legend of The Wandering King. I need something to inspire me in spite of my bubbly and perky disposition.

Then there's Eva Ibbotson's The Morning Gift. I've been meaning to have a copy of one of her books. Finally, I have one! Ibbotson writes the fantastic. The Morning Gift happens to be a romance novel. The book would make for an interesting read coming from a writer who shifted into writing another genre. Reviews will follow next, of course!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Review: The Hunger Games

Be warned! There are SPOILERS in this review!

By some stroke of luck, I was able to acquire a copy of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games for free. Thank you Scholastic Philippines! Let's just say that I was at the right time at the right place.

It's been a while since I last read a young adult novel and yes, I was craving to devour one. Did the novel satisfy my hunger? Here's a rundown of what I thought worked and what did not.

What worked

The Hunger Games is set in post apocalyptic North America known as Panem. Advancement in science and technology is so profound that it has created a great divide between the Capitol, the seat of a tyrant government, and its twelve districts. The Capitol is the land of the privileged. The districts are impoverished places populated by groups of people who each work on a specific industry that keeps the Capitol alive and bustling. Peacekeepers are a plenty in each district and they do more than merely keep the peace. They instill fear and terror to prevent rebellion and uprising. In Collins' created dystopia, the past offers a rich history of destruction, war and violence.

It is in this background where I find Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, two teenagers who played in the Hunger Games and triumphed in the merciless arena set by the Capitol's Game makers. The Games is a Capitol run reality TV show that pits twenty four teenagers, age 12-18 against each other to the death. You read that right. DEATH. In Collins' Panem, death is a game and life is a candlelight that can easily be snuffed out. In this fictional world, the Hunger Games is the Capitol's way to control people and to stay in power. Sounds familiar, right?

There really is nothing new under the sun but a writer who can creatively render such themes and elements into something new produces magic.

This is where Collins succeeded. Her plot structures are well crafted that her lead characters make decisions that affect external and internal conflicts in the novel. For example, the external environment such as the killings that happened in the arena has a greater pull on Katniss' decision to save Peeta's life. The effect of her decision to fake a suicide bubbles up the conflict that has been simmering underneath every district (save for District 1 and 2). For Katniss and Peeta, dying together is better than killing each other off. To the Capitol, it spells rebellion. To the people of Panem who watched the Games, it elicited a host of impressions and ideas in varying degrees of intensity. A romance between Katniss and Peeta. An expression of rebellion. A stand to be true to one's self. A fight against a bigger structure and system manipulate and control individual and collective identities. These rising conflicts are further explored in the second book, Catching Fire, as well as the two teenagers' motivation in the fake suicide act. Was it done out of love or rebellion? Or both?

Collins advantageously made use of her knowledge of TV and broadcast media, its power and influence on televiewers. The Games is so convincingly real. Think Survivor or Pinoy Big Brother. She also brought back the classics through this book. JK Rowling has done that with the Harry Potter series, but Collins spins the basic thread of her story in the spindles of the science fiction genre. The Hunger Games reminds of three things: Greek. Grimm. Golding. Bravo!

What did not work

Katniss Everdeen. Her reluctant hero act is not as well established as Harry Potter's. She's the book's Cinderella, but I am apathetic to her. I'd rather drop a parachute of bread to Peeta in the arena to keep him alive so he can continue to charm the rest of Panem and the reading world.

Katniss is a hunter. She can fend for herself and take care of her family. Why would she find herself unsubstantial or ordinary?Claim it, girl! The denial act is so lame.

It's just me, I suppose. In a way, Collins once again struck the gongs of success by putting opposite characters to hate and love and love and hate at the same time. Peeta is witty and pleasant. Katniss is emotional and defensive. Peeta, despite having a nagger of a mother, is mature enough to make sacrifices. Katniss, in spite of her protective nature for her younger sister Prim, is clueless on Peeta's motives and the emotions that surges through her during and after the Games.

Over all, it's a GOOD read. So many characters have begun to grow on me that I'm excited to read about them in book 2, Catching Fire. My special favorite is Peeta Mellark, of course, but Gale Hawthorne and Haymicth Abernathy are interesting characters to watch for in the next book. Of course, I'll write a review.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Storyteller, Story Teacher!

I had another successful storytelling workshop for teachers last Saturday, October 17, 2009 at Phoenix Educational Systems, Inc. Most of them were preschool teachers who found the use of puppets in storytelling very useful. Apart from simple puppetry, we also had hands on activities in making Story Kamishibai and Readers' Theatre.

Teacher participants are huddled together as they worked on a kamisibai. They brought home their output of the day.

It's a joy to watch them work and blend easily with each other. They practically didn't know each other at the start, but halfway through the workshop we were all friends bound by the power of stories and storytelling.

Practice makes perfect, so they say! A group of teachers whipped up chants, songs and interactive actions to the fable, The Turtle Who Could Not Stop Talking, a readers' theatre piece taken from Dianne de Las Casas' Handmade Tales.

At the end of the day, there were plenty of smiles and laughs that went around. Plus, the confidence to tell interactive stories in the classroom.

Friday, October 16, 2009

PaperTigers Zooms On Philippine Chidlren's Literature

PaperTigers is currently featuring Philippine Children's Literature in their website. Reviews and views by Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz and Tarie Subido are great reads! Carla Pacis, Panch Alcaraz and Serge Bumatay are featured as well.

While this news is something all Filipino librarians specializing in children's and young adult library services must read, PaperTigers provides a comprehensive interview with Nancy Harrington. Ms. Harrington and her husband Dan are the proponents of a book donation and library development project in Mindanao and other parts of the southern islands in the country. Book for the Barrios has set up floating libraries in Agusan.

Thanks to PaperTigers! It could not have come at a better time but now.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rehabilitation Process

Rico Blanco has a new song, BANGON, for all of us who went through Ondoy.

So he says --
Countless Filipinos have heroically gone out of their way to help our brothers and sisters in this time of need. This is just my humble contribution as a singer and musician. I hope, in my own little way, I can help raise additional funds for our countrymen affected by the typhoons, and perhaps give a little boost to their morale to help them get back on their feet again.

Now, the rehabilitation process begins. Bangon, Pilipinas Kong Mahal!

Philippine Blog Awards: One Blogging Nation

Winners of the Philippine Blog Awards (PBA) were announced last October 9, 2009 at the PETA Theater in Quezon City. This goes for Luzon blogs and bloggers only. There is a scheduled announcement of winners for the Visayas and Mindanao regions. With the theme, One Blogging Nation, the PBA aimed to cover and unify the Filipino Blogging Community.

Going through the list of winners this year, I was pleasantly surprised to find Jim Paredes' Writing On Air come out as the winner for Best Personal Blog. I love his writing and his reflections on life, parenting, music, art and culture. Since redesigning my personal blog early this year, I have not gotten back to putting the old blogroll. As for the Best Filipiniana Blog, Dennis Villegas beat out my personal favorite for the award. But no matter, there's still next year.

As an added info, Juned Sunido, true blue blogger and Filipino blog mover is part of the board and organizing committee of the PBA 2009. He is also a licensed librarian.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Workshops! Wheeee!

A week before Ondoy, I was in Baguio with the Philippine Public Librarians League, Inc. (PPLLI). There I gave a seminar-workshop on Children's and Young Adult Library Services. Our public librarians are carrying on despite limitations in funding and resources. It was inevitable to talk about the limitations but thanks to public librarians who've shown tenacity and leadership in the face of adversaries. They were able to inspire others with projects that they were able to implement.

What struck me from their sharing was their focused and practical approach to planning and implementing programs and services for children. It's a one-day-at-a-time technique for them. Coming from the big school set up, this was all something new to me. In the big school we plan in years --three years to five years planning with in between assessment and evaluation.

Yesterday, I was with the PLAI-STRLC for a seminar-workshop on bloggig. They are a social and congenial bunch of librarians, I tell you. Plus, I find the council's networking skills effective and efficient. From stories shared in the long table, the officers boasted of a well represented council. They only need to search and spot for a librarian from Romblon to fully complete the roster.

Their output on blog evaluation, they reviewed Von's blog and their council's, was inspiring since they're positive to explore blogging to render an improved reader's services in their own libraries.

And now, here I am at Phoenix Educational Systems, Inc. wrapping up a workshop entitled, I'm A Librarian. Hear me ROAR! Will blog about it next!

Who are these men?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Collaboration with Dianne de Las Casas

Last week, as my family and I take comfort in the support and security offered by our immediate family and friends in the midst of our Ondoy ordeal, Dianne de Las Casas sent me very good news!

The book proposal we sent to Libraries Unlimited was given the green light!

This means that for the next three months until May of 2010, Dianne and I will write, research, collect and travel together for our book, Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories.

Here's a sample of the folk tale series that Libraries Unlimited publish. This one is a book on Indonesian folk tales. It turns out that an array of folk lore from different countries of the world has been published by Libraries Unlimited save for Filipino folk stories. I'm delightfully excited at the progress of our book proposal. The Philippines boasts of fantastic stories from its folk tradition. Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, American and Arabian influences flavor our Filipino folk tales. These influences lend spice, humor, mysticism and wonder to our rich cultural and literary heritage.

Dianne is going back to the proposal as I prepare for the initial research that the project entails. Wish us luck!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Storytelling Workshop On November 7, 2009

Telling Family and Personal Stories : For Healing and Learning

The workshop explores family and personal stories for reading skills development and the fostering of cultural and family literacy. Different storytelling ways to collect and cull out these personal stories will be discussed. Telling techniques like read aloud, participative telling, and use of props and puppets are included in the workshop.

Saturday November 7, 2009
The Learning Library, San Juan
16 Gen. Vicente Lim St.
Little Baguio, San Juan

Workshop Fee: 500 Php (Professionals) 250 Php (for college students) per session
1st session - 8.30 AM-11.30 AM
2nd session - 1.30 PM - 4.30 PM

Proceeds of the workshop will be donated for the house repair fund for the family of an Ondoy survivor.

*Registration is on a first come first serve basis. Limited seats so advance payment of at least 60% can be made. Call or send text messages via 09209602884 for details.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

When it rains it pours!

My family and I would like to continuously thank all the people who sent donations in cash and kind to lift our spirits and help us rebuild and recover. The prayers and encouraging text messages of friends from KUTING, MAGIS DEO, Vibal Foundation and my friends in the library profession are greatly appreciated. The moral support is enormous!

Right now, I'm praying for strength and wisdom as my family and I work out plans and ways to rise from our Ondoy ordeal. We are still pleasantly displaced at my in-laws. We have not gone back to Pasig since water has not subsided yet. We have accepted what has happened and with the rain coming in every week (God forbid!) we have decided to completely let go of the house. We will go back and clean up when water dries up. Whatever state the house shall be in when we see it weeks from now is something we have to brace ourselves for.

For now, life goes on.

Our call for help is still on going. Donations are very much welcome. If you can lead me to sponsors and donors for my storytelling workshops, email me at zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com or send SMS via 09209602884 / 09182293587. Thank you so much!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Many Thanks!

I would like to thank the following people for extending an arm and a leg on my call for help --

Igor Cabbab, Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz, Luis Gatmaitan, Maricel Montero, Noreen Parafina, Chris Pangilinan, BCGG Mt. Olivet, Eli Prieto, Sally and Anchit Chuachiaco, Liwa Malabed, Kate Osias, Carlo Go, Carlo Chong, Mona Dy, Elyss Punsalan, Gwen Galvez, Dianne De Las Casas, Augie and Mike Rivera, Vanessa De Guzman-Natividad, Von Totanes, Louren Dacanay, Evelyn Nabus, Sally Labanda, Enoy Feriol, Vhina Dimanalata, Faye dela Cruz, Kenneth Yu and the many FB friends who made a repost of my profile for donations.

The help and concern that you have given me and my family came in various forms and in different kinds. Your sincerity is greatly appreciated. It definitely lifted my spirits and my family's too especially in this time of loss.

As of writing, I am busy planning and organizing a series of storytelling workshops to raise funds for our house repair project. My hands are full and I'm still confused and bit disorganized. There is a need to move on and continue with life. But greater is the pressure on our shoulders to rebuild and recover. Just thinking of the overwhelming response of people to reach out and help sees me through.

I know thank you is not enough. In the near future, my family and I will be able to pass this act of kindness and generosity. May God bless you and all of us who are going through this trying moment in our lives!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Call for Help

Dear Friends, Readers of this blog and concerned Citizens,

My family and I survived the disaster that was Ondoy. We are currently staying at my father in-law's house in San Pedro, Laguna. I am thankful to God for keeping my family together. It is the aftermath of this tragedy where we need the help and support of people and the community.

Our house in #56 Dahlia St. Garden Royale Villas, U. Velasco Ave., Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City was damaged by the flood. Its front door and bedroom window was broken. Water leaked from the roof and its electrical wiring got wet. When we left last Sunday for dry ground, we have no idea on the extent of the damage. It will take a few weeks for water to subside then we will know what needs to be repaired.

It is in this regard that I am seeking help from generous and philanthropic people. We could not afford another bank loan or PAGIBIG loan to finance the repair and rebuilding of our house. Your donations will be put to good use. I will issue a financial report and receipts as proof that donated cash was spent for this purpose.

Donations can be coursed via my BPI account no. 0219032579, Savings Account name Zarah C. Gagatiga. My contact numbers are 09209602884 or 09182293587. Email address is zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com. Thank you very much!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Facebook and the Great FLood

I am stranded in Quezon City while I write this. I am dry, warm and well fed. Where I am, there is electricity and wifi connection. I should not complain given my current predicament in the midst of this epic flood. But my mind wanders off to Pasig City where my husband, two kids and yaya (nanny) are. The last SMS I got from them was that the water has reached the dinning table and that they are all staying in the second floor of our house. Electricity has been cut as well as the water supply. It is going to be a long night for me.

I am worried and very miserable despite the comfort afforded by friends who are stuck in the clinic too. I am kept abreast with news via online and Facebook. And if these are consolations, then I thank God for the contact to the outside world.

It's interesting to read the posts and profile of friends and contacts. Facebook has now become a support group, a prayer request room, an emergency hotline, a news room, and a venue where you can get updates from friends and family.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Public Library Blogs

I'm squeezing this in before packing my stuff for the Philippine Public Librarians League, Inc. (PPLLI) Baguio conference. This is an exciting discovery that must be blogged about.

I was impressed by the Quezon City Public Library's (QCPL) blog and website. I just found out this morning in my last attempt to source out websites for my talk tomorrow. Their blog presents a good image of their library. It even has a working OPAC running via OpenBiblio. What's more, their library blog covers a good range of reader's services for children and teens. Plus, there are several branches with WiFi connection! What a perfect example for my talk tomorrow on the use of web technology for the delivery of reader's services!

I hope to meet a librarian from QCPL to know more about their automation process and other projects. I am continuously on the look out for such initiatives so I can feature them in this blog. Will blog about Baguio and the PPLI conference soon!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Good PR for Filipino Librarians

Ronald Lim, writer and journalist has written once again about us, Filipino Librarians and the online presence that we have been making of late. In his article about Prof. Igor Cabbab's seminar at the Manila International Book Fair yesterday, Lim featured Prof. Cabbab's initiatives on using online and internet technology to an improved library service.

Kudos to Prof. Cabbab who has been getting good press lately. What's more, my blog and Von Totanes' blog, and the "popular" blogging that we do about what we do and who are were briefly mentioned too. Along with it is the breaking of Filipino librarian stereotypes. It could not have come at a better time since Vilma Santos is recently starring in a commercial movie as the typical "losyang" (unglamorous) librarian.

Just a note when you read up the link. My blog's name is SCHOOL LIBRARIAN IN ACTION and not Filipino Librarian In Action. Nonetheless, thanks to Ronald Lim for this write up. He wrote about my blogging adventures a few years back. Sadly, the online article could no longer be found in Manila Bulletin's web page. It seems that we have some good connections and friends in print and online media.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Live Blogging: Reader's Theatre Contest @ The MIBF 2009

I'm here now at the Manila International Book Fair in SMX as judge in the Reader's Theatre contest sponsored by Rex Bookstore and Teacher Created Materials. The hall is bustling with children. They do not seem nervous, but the adults, their teachers and parents, seem to be.

There are three categories in the contest -- Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. There are six schools competing in the Beginners category while five schools will vie for the Reader's Theatre Fluency Award in the Intermediate and the Advanced categories. Apart from myself, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan and Teacher Gabby of Toddler's Unlimited, are judges too.

The organizers sent a package two months ago containing the guide and information tools for the contest. Along with these are sample books from the Reader's Theatre catalog, company brochure and a pamphlet on Reader's Theatre. Very helpful materials. The awards criteria include the following: Meaningful interpretation of chosen topics (50%); Diction and Articulation (25%); Performance Level/Showmanship (15%) and Creativity and Originality (10%). I remember last year, I judged the Salaysayan Contest of the PBBY and it was a delight. There were illuminating revelations. This time, I expect to be blown away with children performing and displaying their talents.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Live Blogging: Literacy Night at CLP

My mini-workshop with the parents ended thirty minutes ago. I'm now watching the presentations of the kids. The primary graders had chamber telling of Thunder Cake and Big Brother Mike. The intermediate grades are performing Lon Popo.

I'm so proud of the kids! They were bursting with energy during the workshop (which is expected with kids, of course!) Now, they are organized and more restrained. Their costumes are fantastic. The props, ingenuous! It's obvious that they made it themselves. Oh, now I face the difficult task of judging!

Live Blogging: At Teacher Tin's CLP

Five more minutes and it's show time!

I'm here at CLP (Create and Learning Path), Teacher Tin's school in Merville, Paranaque for a talk cum workshop for parents on Storytelling. Afterwards, we'll be watching the kids' performance. Each class will present a chamber theatre of their chosen stories. These kids were my students in the storytelling workshop I conducted last week. It was fun!

But later I face the difficult task of judging them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ako ay Librarian ( I am a Librarian).

At hindi ako Losyang! (And I am not unglamorous!)

At may nagbibigay pa ng flowers sa akin, ha! (I still receive flowers from admirers, ha!)

Carry mo magsuot ng ganyang earrings? (Can you wear such big, dangling earrings?)

Mukha bang losyang? (Do I look unglamorous?)

Kasama ang aking kabiyak. (With my beloved Papadoms).
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