Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 1 of the MUNPARLAS Bibliocare Sagada Conference

There was no Internet connectivity in Sagada the three days we were there. It was impossible for me to blog and live blog events as they unfold. Good thing there's mobile technology and it has allowed me to post status updates on our trips, tours and ongoing sessions with the speakers. So, I begin Day 1 of the conference and the tours we did in between.

MUNPARLAS rented a chartered bus for the trip going to Sagada. The bus left Manila at nearly 10PM and we were in Baguio at 3AM. Another chartered bus waited for us at Dangwa Station while we got coffee and some light snacks. The route we took was the Benguet - Mt. Province side and not the Bontoc-Banaue route. The Benguet-Mt. Province is the safer route according to Eric Ramos, MUNPARLAS Officer and tour coordinator, who has experience travelling from Manila to Sagada and vice versa. We had only one stop over and it afforded us to take pictures of the mountain side and the beautiful sunrise. The air was cool, but the sun shining above the mountains warmed our bones. A promise of good things to come!

When we arrived in Sagada at 9AM, it was the same place I remembered it to be. Well, except for a few changes like the Chico River looking small and dredge out; Masferre restaurant has upgraded their deli shop and a piano is in place in one corner of the restaurant (I should really bring my family up in Sagada, one of these summers); the old bell in front of the Episcopalian Church is now fenced in; the Municipal Hall has an ATM machine; and souvenir shops increased in number in the Poblacion. Apart from these, Sagada is the Sagada I fell in love with in 2010.

Photo courtesy of Darrel Marco, 2014
After getting a room in St. Joseph's Resthouse, we had an hour of rest and from there, the adventure began!

First timers took the path to Sumaguing Cave while second timers rode the jeep top load style. It was like a roller coaster ride! When the participants emerged out of the cave, one of them, Darrel Marco of Xavier School Nuvali told us, "Now I know why you didn't go caving for the second time, Ms. Z!" While it was a life affirming experience the first time I went down to Sumaguing, I will not repeat the same experience again. To finish off the tour, we visited the Potter's Place and Lake Danum.

That night, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan arrived and we headed out to the Yougurt House for Dinner. It was my first time there. The place is quaint and comfortable. The food serving is generous and the company of friends is warm and welcoming. At 10PM, it was lights off for all of us. We were all anxious for Day 1 of the conference.

Day 1 began with a welcome message from Coun. Edward Umamin who shared his dreams of seeing a library set up in Sagada. He brushed on some problems with tourism, but emphasized that Sagada will always welcome librarians for the municipality is very much in need of community development and cultural workers. This made me think of the kind of tourism we do in the country. There should be more of the tours and trips offered by local tourism offices. A cultural experience of the place must be in the tourism program as well. And yes, libraries are needed to do this tourism service.

MUNPARLAS gave books to Coun. Umamin as donated by Marlene Aguilar. From there, input sessions started with Joseph Yap of DLSU Taft as the first speaker.

Coun. Edward Umamin was happy to receive book donations
from MUNPARALS President, Ann Grace Bansig and VP Marivic Silencio

Mr. Yap presented possibilities of developing an online developmental bibliotherapy list or bibliography. He showed samples from foreign models. Surely, we need a Philippine counterpart as this will promote not just the books, but the content of our culture, identity and heritage. He devised an online submission form of bibliographic data on books and resources applicable for developmental bibliotherapy.

Next to speak was Mr. Jay Diola, librarian of DLS Zobel. He discussed concepts and theories that justify a developmental bibliotherapy program in the 21st century environment. I like his presentation on the digital natives and the digital migrants and how libraries and librarians can reach out to them.

At my session, participants do a bibliotherapy group session

After his talk, I was next. In my session, I started with the concept on Reading as an interactive process and that readers are capable of responding to reading. I followed it with a bibliotherapy session using a poem, Pied Beauty, by Gerard Manly Hopkins as translated into Filipino by Fr. Bert Alejo SJ and ended it with Katy Perry's Fireworks. (Yes, what a combination!). I finished my session with UNESCO's Life Skills as the basis for a bibliotherapy program. So there. Bibliotherapy can be seen as a process as well as a program.

The last speaker was Dr. Luis Gatmaitan who gave a thorough explanation of the theories behind bibliotherapy by merging his practice of medicine with his exemplary writing accomplishments. He showed how his books are bibliotherapuetic in nature and how, as librarians, we can develop a collection that will heal the mind, the body and the soul.

That's Day 1 of the Bibliocare Sagada conference. Day 2 will be posted tomorrow.

Eden and Veverly, librarians from Iloilo and early registrants.
I gave them a copy of my book as early birds in the conference.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Filipino Librarians for the Month of April: The Officers of MUNPARLAS Library Association

The two day conference of MUNPARLAS on Bibliocare and Developmental Bibliotherapy in Sagada, Mt. Province last April 24-25, 2014 was a breakthrough indeed!

For the officers of MUNPARLAS, it was their first time to conduct a national conference far from the comforts of Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa. What a daring thing to do for a local librarians organization! But big dreams produce big results. More than the financial results, MUNPARLAS reaped their investments in terms of professional and personal growth as well as endearing friendships gained through the whole experience.

MUNPARLAS Officers pose with speakers and guest. Strike a pose! Pout!
(L-R) Marilen Angeles, Jovy Egalin, Sharleen Santos, Ani Vidal, Marivic Silencio, Zarah Gagatiga
Dr. Luis Gatmaitan, Ann Grace Bansig, Richard Nollen, Eric Ramos

I admire this group of young and seasoned librarians because, they may be small in number but, their dedication to grow professionally is enormous. They are building learning communities in their schools as well as in society at large. For the past three years, MUNPARLAS has been conducting literacy related topics that librarians can use to design programs for their learners in the school and the academe. By going out of the Muntinlupa, Paranaque and Las Pinas area, they have started to reach out to the bigger community. MUNPARLAS was able to get participants from Iloilo, Leyte, Tarlac, Pangasinan, Legazpi, Naga and Cavite.

Congratulations, MUNPARLAS! Congratulations Filipino Librarians! May this be a start of bigger things to come!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

23 Mobile Things PH SG: Thing #14 Curating

I have no intention of getting our school library a Pinterest or Tumblr account. Not yet.

But, Thing #14 made me go back to my Tumblr account and resurrect it by posting something new.

I use my Pinterest account as a social media tool for my blog posts so that my blog content reaches a wider audience. Since Pinterest looks great with photos, I am compelled to include good photos on every post I make. At least, I think the photos I take are good enough.

Apart from Pinterest, my blog is also linked to Scoop.it which is networked to my Twitter account.

What I plan to do is find a way to link my blog to Tumblr. I can continue using my Tumblr through blogging. But, again, this will have to wait for the time being.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sagada For the Second Time Around

I'll be up in Sagada from April 24-25, 2014 for the MUNPARLAS Bibliocare Conference. I am honored to be in the roster of respected speakers on books, reading and bibliotherapy. Preparing for the conference has been an exciting journey as I have new methods and practices to share with the participants. Part of my workshop is an echo of the 42nd IASL Conference in Bali where in I'll be talking about life skills and how school libraries can set up programs that foster it. I'll also present my insights on the workshops I attended in the Bali Conference. Hopefully, this will elicit discussions that will spark ideas among librarians present there tomorrow.

For sentimental reasons, I am thrilled to be going up Sagada again. My first time there was with Dianne de Las Casas last May 2010. It was when we started working on our book project, Tales From the 7,000 Isles. 

Look back with me by clicking these links:

Sagada Day 1 - First impressions are lasting
Sumag-ing Cave - One of the many life changing adventures I've had so far.
Fidelisan Rice Terraces and Bumod-ok Falls - This trek was like a trip to Middle Earth!

I'll be blogging from Sagada so keep visiting the blog for news and updates.

Librarian as Credible Source

This came from a student's progress report on a research based project. I am overwhelmed. And frightened too. The phrase "...a credible source because she is a librarian" has put a lot of weight on my shoulders. Being a librarian servicing the needs of young people is no joke.

Librarians provide information services and programs. Yes. But what we do is also about INTEGRITY.

So help me, God.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: Book Review of After the Quake by Haruki Murakami

When I launched the 2014 Reading Challenge last January, Ms. Ledesma, one of our staff in school was one of the more excited readers to join in. She has finished two books so far and here is her review of After the Quake by Haruki Murakami
After The Quake: Stories  
Haruki Murakami 
What's not to love about Murakami? He is such a skilled writer when it when it comes to using a clean writing style to weave elaborate tales. 'After the Quake', Murakami's collection of six short stories about six lives right after the 1995 Kobe earthquake is no exception to his other books. 
He has a way of letting his words work so that they dance in your head and make your heart burn brighter with every page-turn. I would have been happy to have seen each story go on and turn into a full-fledged novel. All, that is, except for 'Honeypie', the last story in the book which ends at just the perfect moment and leaves you satiated.  
If you're looking for a nice weekend read, I recommend grabbing this one. I'm glad a student suggested it for my reading challenge. 

The book was recommended to her by a senior student. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Book List for the 2014 Reading Challenge

As for my 2014 Reading Challenge updateI have not started with Bag of Bones yet for I am still reading Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson. Then there's Attachment by Rainbow Rowell. Ah, so many books so little time to read! 

But, here's my reading list for the remaining months of the year. Thank you to students who recommended these titles. I am bent to read the books in the library's collection.

1. Bag of Bones 
2. Code Name Verity 
3. Allegiant 
4. Divergent Trilogy
5. Tikim 
6. The Elegance of the Hedgehog 
7. The Lazy Intellectual 
8. Kafka on the Shore 
9. When You Reach Me 
10. Born On a Blue Day 
11. Gourmet Rhapsody 
12. Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist 

Will publish my reviews as I finish one book at a time. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

23 Mobile Things # 11 and # 12: Augmented Reality & Games

If you missed my post on Thing # 11, here is the link to the Book Love activity I did using ThingLink. It's my second favorite as Flashissue happens to be the first. Overall, what I am having fun with in 23 Mobile Things is the process of creating stuff using things. Ooops. That sounds vague.

I mean, I enjoy learning about the apps introduced every week and I enjoy it even more that I'm capable of creating content using the apps for personal and professional purposes. I have been using Flashissue as the library's e-newsletter for over a month now and teachers reply back to me on resources I recommend and apps I feature in the newsletter.

Last week, I had a ball exploring ThingLink. I discovered it as a cool tool to feature books I've read and recommend these to library readers. I like these two the best, so far, since I found the apps so easy to use. I learned making the e-newsletter in an hour with all the basic bells and whistles. The same with ThingLink. But, content really matters big time. While these apps allowed me to blend technology, content matters.

Now that Thing 12 has been up since last week, I'm trying to figure out how to use games in the library. One thing I know for sure, this is one Thing in the 23 Mobile Things that I need to put aside for now and go back to during the summer. The apps recommended for Thing 12: Games look easy to learn. No coding needed. But, a certain degree of logic and a knowledge of basic design, plus a clever story is needed to put one end with the other.

My list of to dos for 23 Mobile Things is getting longer. Just saying. Time management is the key here. I have learned in the past that technology use and integration must be well thought out. Never jump into the tech bandwagon immediately. Study. Strategize. Experiment. Assess. Evaluate. And yes, I'll bog to document my learning experiences in 23 Mobile Things.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Annotating Videos Using Videonot.es

Since my participation in 23 Mobile Things PH SG, I've been having fun using apps and websites for my personal and professional work. One of these apps and websites is Videonot.es. It was a recommended website during Thing #6: Photos.

Videonot.es allows you to annotate videos. You can pause and annotate or go back to scenes and segments for review. All you need is the URL of the video, your Gmail address and you're good to go. Annotating is one skill that allows you to see or visualize thinking. By writing or taking down notes as you watch and listen to a video, you document learning.

Here is a sample annotation I did for a grade 10 class. The film is Blade Runner and Steven Benedict did the analysis. This is for the Philosophy class and the teacher allowed me to show the class how to use the website.

Monday, April 7, 2014

NBDB Booklatan in Malabon and Then Some

A week long Booklatan was held in the last week of March by the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in Malabon National High School. I was there last weekend as an invited speaker on library marketing. The event had several surprises for me.

Surprise number 1: Ken Spillman

Who would have thought Ken Spillman, author and literacy advocate, would be there? He flew to Manila to award a grant of PHP 10,000.00 to a Filipino author as additional funds for him/her to attend the Asian Festival of Chidlren's Content in Singapore this May 2014. That lucky author happened to be Genaro Gojo Cruz. When he learned that NBDB set up a Booklatan, he volunteered to tell stories to the kids there.

When we met, we had a book swap. I gave him copies of my book since the last time we saw each other, he gave me copies of his books. And yes, Ken, I still owe you a neat write up and a book review. Before he left Malabon, he handed to me his book donations to Sambat Trust UK's next school library project. I hope the next time we meet, I'll be able to take Ken to the schools that Sambat Trust UK has adopted.

Surprise number 2: Mayor Lenlen Oreta, the storytelling mayor of Malabon

I saw how Mayor Lenlen Oreta read aloud an Adarna Big Book for kids aged 4-7. Seated on straw mats, they eagerly listened to the mayor read aloud the story of two puppies, siblings who have opposite personalities. Mayor Oreta is a pro. He has questions prepared for pre, during and post reading. I learned later on that he visits schools once a week to do storytelling sessions. Now that's a literacy initiative worth emulating.

Surprise number 3: Malabon Teachers don't know who Augie Rivera and Christine Bellen are.

Two authors born in Malabon and Malabon teachers must know who they are and the contributions these two talented authors have given to Philippine Children's Literature.

Surprise number 4: Audience were all teachers

I expected to speak to Malabon librarians, but I was the only librarian in the room. So I had to adjust my stance to cater teachers' needs and interests. It's a good thing that reading and literacy are two concepts that teachers share with librarians. It was not at all difficult for me to make adjustments. However, the absence of librarians in a workshop meant for them is a cause of alarm. While the local LGU and the DepEd division they're sent out memos, librarians were excluded from attending. I learned about this from one of the participants.

Thinking about this, I feel that advocacy initiatives of librarianship in the political, educational and cultural aspects of Philippine society must be in place. What do I mean by this? I'll reserve a separate post on library advocacy. For now, it is good to talk about the relevance of libraries and the important roles librarians do. Those who are given this opportunity should do more than talk about topics, trends and issues that concern librarians  and the profession. It is essential to emphasize integration and collaboration with allied professionals. Teachers can set up reading and literacy centers. True. Librarians are there to sustain these reading centers and transform them into learning hubs where readers can critically think on their own, make well informed decisions and be useful citizens who can contribute to the growth of the community.

Filipino librarians, our work is cut out for us.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Spine Poetry Contest February 2014: Judge's Review

For the February run of our Book Spine Poetry Contest in school, I asked MJ Tumamac, Salanga Prize Winning Author to judge the month's entries. Here is MJ's review.

Ano ang hinahanap ko sa isang tula? Marami at madalas ay nag-iiba. Isa rito ay ang “kalinawan” ng pahayag (bagaman ang laging persepsiyon ng mga tao sa tula ay “hindi dapat ito naiintindihan”), ngunit hindi ibig sabihin nito na kung ano ang gustong sabihin ng tula ay mismong sinasabi na sa tula. 

Gusto ko lamang ipahayag na isang pahayag ang tula at hindi lamang binubuo ng mga “matatalinghagang” o “malalalim” na salita at parirala (ngunit hindi ako nanlalahat dahil may mga paraan ng pagtula na binabali ang mga “kumbensiyon”). At huwag ninyo akong isisipi na ikinakahon ko ang kakanyahan ng tula.

Kaya, nagustuhan ko ang tula sa ibaba. Maaari na sigurong alisin ang pangatlong linya dahil maaari na itong lumabas sa pang-apat na linya. May ganoon ding katangian ang huling dalawang linya. Ngunit nagustuhan ko ang matalinong paggamit ng mga pamagat at ang “kalinawan” ng pahayag.

The next 100 years
When everything changed
Split in two
A conflict of vision
The end of nature

Ganito din ang makikita sa iba pang nagustuhan kong tula pero malaki siyempre ang impluwensiya na hindi sila ang nag-ayos ng bawat linya dahil mga pamagat ito ng mga aklat.

A world undone
Embracing defeat
Going, going

The language of passion
All we know of love
In the shadow of the rising sun

Naaliw naman ako sa tulang ito, kahit na nawiwirduhan ako sa pangalawang linya dahil kabaligtaran ang ginagawa nito sa sinasabi nito.

Dear bully
Without further adieu
Run fast
Someday this pain will be useful to you

At ang pinakanagustuhan kong tula ay ito dahil na rin sa mga pag-isa-isa ng mga bagay-bagay na nagkakaroon ng maraming kahulugan dahil sa piniling paksain.

In defense of women
It's not easy being mean
Cycle and hatred
Blood and rage
Ice cream and sadness
Maiden of pain
A woman's life

MJ Tumamac, aka Xi Zuq, is a poet and writer for children from General Santos City. Visit him at www.xizuqsnook.com.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Love: An Interactive Book Talk on Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I made an interactive book talk feature on a recently read novel, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I used the app ThingLink. View my page here.

Thank you, 23 Mobile Things PH SG! You make me look so good.

I think I'll be doing lots of interactive book talks like this. I've called it BOOK LOVE.

Quick Book Reviews: Senioritis and Going Off to College

Has senioritis set in among your students bound for college this fall? Maybe it's a good time to pull in your advisory group together and talk about this life changing event. Seniors in your group can share in their college application journey or the decision process they went through on what to do after high school. Take this as an opportunity for learning engagement.

The school calendar tells us that there is enough time for our seniors to study for exams and to complete requirements. In between days, encourage your senior advisees to talk about their anxieties, fears and excitement about college or the gap year some would take after graduation. An old chapter of their lives is about to close and they will begin a new one. Share success stories of your freshman year. Failure and mistakes committed during freshman year may prove to be a turning point towards becoming a better person so, this has worth in storytelling sessions with your advisees. But of course, you must select the good stories where they can mirror themselves in the experience.

Not inclined to share personal stories at all? OK. Lead them to the library for these books:

Another Sort of Learning is a collection of very philosophical essays by James V. Schall. Students headed out of high school to embrace serious academic work in university may find the readings in this book meaningful to their adjustment in college life. Countdown to College: 21 To Do Lists for High School is straight to the point and organizes information in graphic representations. It has tips and "step by step strategies" for high school students from grade 9 - 12 thus, emphasizing the idea that college life or life after high school does not begin in the first month of senior year in high school. Lastly, College Essays That Made a Difference can help sophomores and juniors approach their college essay applications with a clearer mind. Good to prepare for this kind of writing early on. Included in the book are essays of seniors who made it in their college or university of choice.

You may wish to read one or two of the books yourself. I have flipped through essays in College Essays That Made a Difference. I am affirmed of my choice to stay in this profession.

Book Spine Poetry Contest February 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Spine Poetry January 2014 Judge's Review

  • Last month, I posted Bebang Siy's choices of winners in our Book Spine Poetry Contest. Here is Ronald "Poy" Verzo's choice poems from the January batch of entries.
  • The Hours
  • After the Storm
  • And the Mountains Echoed
  • Someday this Pain Will Be Useful To You

  • I like this. Why? In only four book spines it was able to dramatize a catastrophe and how we learn from it. Let’s say, the Yolanda aftermath and how the pain it caused can help people become better. It can also say something about how people cope with problems, and how pain can be put into good use.  The imagery is concrete--the aftermath of a storm echoed by an image equally large and adamant as a mountain, giving strength and truth to a didactic closing line.
  • In the Country of Men
  • Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
  • Atlas Shrugged
  • …and a hard rain fell

  • Atlas, a man carrying the world on his shoulders, shrugging, as a reaction to man’s search for wisdom and greed for power, leads to hard times. A really powerful imagery to a very good commentary.
  • snow falling on cedars
  • unclean
  • unholy 
  • undead
  • in between the sheets
  • Of the Dawn of Freedom

  • It paints a dreary picture-- the snow falling on cedars described as unclean, unholy, and undead. And then it paints of something hidden between the sheets, which the words unclean, unholy, and undead could also refer to, something probably asleep, a freedom about to wake up from a dream.
  • Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
  • Looking Back
  • The First Escape
  • Before We Were Free
  • A Hero of Our Time
  • Jump
  • Fences
  • Shaking the Foundation

  • What I like is how the poem could speak of memory as a place of peace, how it could speak about history and the lessons from the struggles for freedom, and how it reflects and tries to define what a hero of today should be--and that is someone who overcomes barriers (jump fences) to shake the very foundation of things that are valued now, and probably help bring to mind what was the very foundation of our freedom.
  • Dear Bully
  • You say more than you think
  • Solitude
  • When No One Understands
  • The idea of evil
  • On Truth and Untruth
  • This I believe

  • It is refreshing to read something address something parochial, something which is not far from the concerns of an adolescent, and still make it matter.

  • Radiance
  • Piercing the Darkness
  • Savor the Word
  • Shiver
  • Before Ever After

  • I love the oxymoron—why that radiance, which is piercing the darkness, is described as wicked.

Blogging Benefit: Amazon Gift Card

I have claimed my gift card and bought myself a collection of stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. YAY!

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