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.

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