Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Rochelle Salonga-Silverio

Working as a librarian for more than nine years now, the Valenzuelano blogger, mom of a bubbly kid, and miniature pinscher enthusiast describes librarianship as one exciting field. “It is very dynamic. Like a well loved adventure book, you just cannot wait to know what is on the next page. ” She says. Let us learn more about Rochelle Salonga-Silverio, our Filipino librarian this month of May. 

Rochelle Silverio graduated cum laude at the University of the Philippines Diliman and has also completed her MLIS there in 2011. At present, she is the head librarian of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela and is a lecturer at UP-SLIS. You will find her writing about life as a Valenzuelano at the One Valenzuela blog.

1. What's your lib story? Describe how you made the choice of majoring in LIS and what college life was like for you as an LIS major. You can cite challenging stories and success stories while studying the course.

A: I first entered the University of the Philippines as a student of Occupational Therapy. I believe that during that time, my Tatay’s medical condition then influenced me to sign up in the course. After two semesters and a field exposure in summer, I realized that the medical field was not for me. Among the courses open then was the Bachelor of Library and Information Science of ILIS (now SLIS). After my initial talk with Prof. Rosalie Faderon, I knew from then on that I am destined to be a librarian. 

My parents respected and supported my decision to take the course. College life went on smoothly. Mabait akong estudyante. I guess the only minor hitch that I encountered then was a missing grade in a particular non-LIS subject. I even had to go to the professor’s house because she was not in the best of health. Naabutan ko pa siya na naka-dextrose! Good thing, she still had my grade. I could have repeated the subject.

Yet not all roads run smooth. My Nanay was diagnosed with cancer a few months before I took the licensure examination. I vividly remember how I did my final review at her room in PGH during the 2 day examination. Though she is fighting her own battle then, she still made it a point to be there for me. I consider that as the biggest hurdle that I had. Learning that I got the highest score a few days after is the icing on the cake.

2. What has been the greatest challenge you've faced so far as a licensed and working librarian? Why do you say it's a challenge?

A: Many librarians might agree with me that financial limitations would make it to the upper end of their daily challenges. It is a challenge since you have to do more with less. Some might just give up and say “kulang ang budget eh”. In my point of view, this type of idea enables one to think. It makes you more ingenious on how to carry out a certain plan or activity.

As Albert Einstein once said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”. 

3. What is your area of expertise in LIS?

A: I am a forever fan of children and young adult literature! During my college days, I used to foresee myself in a school library. I worked in a private school right after I graduate. Masayang kasama ang mga bata! Yet with the idea of paying back to the city that I have been living in for almost three decades now and in consideration of proximity of my home to the workplace, I opted to become a college librarian in a local university in Valenzuela. Though I had to leave the school library scene, I still make it a point that we acquire materials on children’s literature since the university offers Elementary Education. To add, I also got a growing personal collection at home, which I share with my daughter. After I got my MLIS, UP SLIS gave me the opportunity to teach children’s literature. 

I can say that you can count on me in the areas of library management, cataloging, and children’s literature.

4. What do you think are the requirements and preparations necessary for becoming a LIS professional?

A: “I thought that the librarian profession was among the easiest.” a comment a new acquaintance told me as we were discussing our jobs. I still meet people who still do not know that librarians need to undertake board examination and those who still think that our work is just limited to guarding books. Though various campaigns and activities held in the librarianship field had helped change such views, I guess many still hold these ideas about the profession. 

Other than taking the library science course, passing the licensure examination, and having that innate characteristic of wanting to search for answers, I believe you have to have the spirit to be an LIS professional. You should have the fortitude to show that you are not “just” a librarian.

5. What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional? 

A: Just like many of our colleagues in the field, I have received a lot of blessings. I have been given commendations; met a number of authors and illustrators; taught and shared what I love; and travelled to quite a number of places.

But I guess the best rewards that I have ever received from being an LIS professional are genuine compliments from library patrons whom I have helped with their searches. Knowing that I have made their lives a bit easier by finding answers to their questions is, as the familiar photo commercial says, definitely priceless.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Echo-Workshop on the IASL 42nd Annual Conference: The School Library as Venue for Life Skills Development

Mark your calendars!

On July 15, 2014, I'll be giving an echo-workshop session to school librarians on The 42nd IASL Conference held in Bali, Indonesia last August 27-31, 2013. This is in congruence to the celebration of the 31st National Chidlren's Book Day. The echo-session workshop will be at 9AM - 12 NN. Venue is in Museo Pambata.

There is a workshop fee of Php 500.00. For inquiries and registration detail, email The DepEd advisory and endorsement will follow.

Keep checking the blog or visit the PBBY website in the following weeks for updates.

The School Library as Venue for the Development of Life Skills: An Echo and Workshop Session of the 42nd IASL Conference in Bali, Indonesia held on August 27-31, 2013

The echo-workshop session will discuss life skills and well being indicators, and how librarians can use these skills and concepts in planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services for children and teenagers.  21st century trends in school library management and administration will also be presented as well as information on participation on professional learning networks, particularly in the International Association of School Libraries.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Books That Bind Us: Mythology Class

When my first born, Nico, was in sixth grade, he read Mythology Class by Arnold Arre. I have kept a copy over the years, but, honestly, I have not finished reading it until Zoe, my daughter pushed me to. With her brother's influence, she read the novel, of course. 

Last month, during my four day stay in Sagada, I willed myself to read it. And yes, like my kids, I enjoyed the book as well.

Zoe's note on the title page
What worked

Arre successfully merged the old stories of Philippine lower legends and myths within the modern day setting. He knows his myths and he can tell stories. He invites readers to take the fantasy ride using familiar experiences: family, barkada, malls and pop culture, academic life, falling in love and near death experiences. Once you're hooked, he transports you to the what-if universe. The thing is, you would give him a chance because the possibility of this fantasy world to be real is a metaphor for living a life.

I don't exactly know what my kids found enjoyable in Mythology Class, but for me, being a fantasy reader, the stories I loved from childhood propels me to keep on hoping in light of the many challenges this world has to offer. Like the hero of the novel, Nicole Lacson, one must have faith in order to live and thrive. And yes, the romantic in me believes that keeping the faith will lead me to find love even in the most difficult of times.

What's amazing about Mythology Class is that, it holds an appeal to young readers a decade and four after its publication. That happens when you put a well researched and well written story together. As for the illustrations, the black and white renditions are very accessible.

What did not work

I could not help but think of Arre's purpose for creating Mythology Class. Perhaps it is a response to the many Gaimanish graphic novels that abound in the market, that Filipino readers and comic book creators need to read something homegrown. It's no biggie, really. But, I am looking at more original stuff. Then again, I contradict myself. There is nothing new under the sun. With brilliant craftsmanship, something old can be turned into a fresh and new creation. I give props to Arre for achieving this.

Zoe's note at the end of the book.

Lastly, the binding is not that sturdy. I think this is one area where our publishers can improve on. I am looking forward to a newer edition. So, if Mr. Arre happens to read this review, I hope he would give it a thought.

Rating: 4 Bookmarks
Recommended: Gr. 5 and up

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Book Review: Alif the Unseen

Alif the UnseenAlif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved the many surprises this novel offered me: an Arab-Indian hacktivist as the main character; the simmering romance between Dina and Alif; the book lore combined with the modern trappings of technology; and the layered presentation of myth and philosophy, religion and fantasy interwoven with much care and craftsmanship. How can such contradictions exist in one novel and yet stitched so tightly into a beautiful tapestry like an embroidered story cloth of the ancient times.

I finished the novel with a thought that the fundamental beliefs we hold as truths will never change in the face of modernization or progress. Good books and well written novels illuminate and present such insights. This novel did just that to me.

View all my reviews

Positive Discipline Project

Promoting positive and nonviolent discipline of children in the Philippines

In celebration of the 20th International Day of the Families, Plan International Philippines, together with representatives from the European Union, DSWD, DepEd and the Quezon City Government, will launch a 3-year project entitled “Collective Action to Promote Non-Violent and Protective Society for Children” or the Positive Discipline Project.

The project aims to help families, teachers and barangay officials promote positive and nonviolent means to discipline children and stop abusive ways of punishing children. It covers the provinces of Ifugao, East Samar, Sarangani, and the cities of Quezon, Nagaand Cebu. It is being supported by the European Union and Plan International Germany.

The event will feature a ceremonial signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between project partners and DSWD and DepEd, It will end with a storytelling session of the book, “Mantsa”, written by Palanca-award winner Augie Rivera, about the harmful effects of corporal punishment on children.

WHAT: Media Launch of the “Positive Discipline Project” – Promoting positive and nonviolent discipline of children in the Philippines

WHENThursday, 15 May 2014, 9 AM – 12 NN

WHERE: Annabels Restaurant, Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Plan International Philippines
European Union
Quezon City Government

Augie Rivera and Tonipet Gaba for “Mantsa”

Social Media: #internationaldayoffamilies #positivedisciplineproject
Twitter @PlanPhilippines

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Klasrum Adarna Workshop: All for the Love of Reading Baguio Edition

Last March, I was at the ISO in Ateneo De Manila Univeristy for the Klasrum Adarna Workshop  Developing A Genuine Love for Books and Reading. The Adarna Dream Team brought this workshop to Baguio City last Saturday, May 10 2014. There were only forty two teachers, compared to the eighty five participants in the Manila workshop, but all forty two of them went out of their way to give their one hundred and one percent in all the activities.

At the start of the workshop, I asked them to introduce to me a side of Baguio City I have not known or discovered yet. They were game! The Adarna Dream Team and I were treated to a mini-cultural show of Cordillera culture. Teachers sang songs, chanted and danced in traditional folk songs and music. This energy fueled us to finish the workshop with a bang.

Following the original design of the workshop, the Baguio teachers put forth well written book reviews; artful drawings of the folk tale of The Legend of the Cashew Nut; an artistic story theatre presentation of Father Rat Finds a Midwife; and insightful reflections from Lit Circle activities and worksheets. As my "pabaon" I shared with them activities and reading promos on digital reading. On both workshops, I observed that very few teachers engage themselves in this medium. Kids and teens are so immersed in the digital environment. I wonder what teachers are doing to reach out to them through technology.

At the end of the workshop, the Baguio teachers gave me a standing ovation.

I ate a lot of humble pie that day.

One teacher took my hand in a firm handshake and said, "You are very inspiring. Thank you for the wonderful ideas you shared and the positive attitude you displayed".

I thanked her back and replied, "It is in teaching others where in I learn so much, about one's self and about others too. Thank you for allowing me to facilitate this workshop here in your school."

This experience of teaching and learning never ends. It grows!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Social Media Perks: Followers & Gift Cards

One way to know that blogging works for you and that your blog has a good following is when you get blog exchange promos.

Grammarly did just that with this blog. I wrote a review of Fangirl and got an Amazon Gift Card. I spent it for a copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Collected Stories. I ordered the book last March 31st and received it last Monday, May 5.

Collected Stories came right in time for an in Memoriam reading from one of the great magic realists of this day and age.

Moving to another social media-file sharing platform, Slide Share, I had a pleasant surprise when I learned that Joyce Valenza started following my slides.


Joyce. Valenza. is. following. me.

I am still freaking out!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

23 Mobile Things PH SG: Things 15 ,16 & Catching Up on Things 13 & 14

I'm a returning mentor for Thing #16: Ebooks & Ebook Apps this week on 23 Mobile Things PH SG. It's a fun week since there are two things going on in 23 Mobile Things apart from mine. Thing # 15 Adobe ID is also up for reading and discussion.

It's a smart move for Joan Wee and Karryl Sagun to put these two things together in the same week as these two things are connected. Mentor Persues Rex Molina provides a thorough and practical use of Adobe ID to access Adobe Ebooks, while I lend insight and strategies on using ebook apps and setting up an ebook collection in the library. I come from the school library background, while Mr. Molina brings forth his experience in an academic library setting. It's going to be an exciting convo this coming Saturday, May 17 at 10.30AM Manila time, I predict!

To make Thing 16 more exciting and engaging (I hope), I'm giving away copies of my books for the first five librarians who will do and submit any of the three activities I designed.

As for the past Things, particularly 13 and 14, I updated the links in About Me and added apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler and Blogger in my account there. I'm relearning Tumblr all over again. I discovered I have a microblog in Tumblr: In Between Shelves. Now I'm thinking of using it to tell the back stories on my published books, or share success stories on reading, books and my library advocacy. We'll see. I've really no intent in using Tumblr for specific library work, so I suppose I'll optimize it for developing my personal and professional learning network (PLNs).

2014 Book Spine Poetry Final Winners: Judge's Review

Here is Ed Maranan's review of the winners in our 2014 Book Spine Poetry Contest. Mr. Maranan judged the final round of the contest. 

I generally agree with the choices and comments of the previous judges who chose the monthly winners in this competition. What a challenge it must have been, reading the earnest entries and having to select the final monthly winners! Choosing titles of books from hundreds or thousands of possible choices and stringing them together to create a poetic composition is not as easy as it seems. There could be several ways of putting together the titles, and while each one may be able to tell a story or reveal a theme, there is always one that stands out for its logic, clarity, and even an element of surprise. Another consideration is the length of the composition. Because the titles represent disparate works and are complete unto themselves, there must be a neat way of stringing them together to make them appear integral, without using connectives. Each title represents an idea, an image, an event, an action, etc., and it would be unwieldy to be putting so many of these together to make a coherent whole. 

I think the ideal construction of the book spine poem is one that uses less number of titles, not more, brevity being the soul of poetic writ, to paraphrase an aphorism. As one of the filter judges pointed out, the book spine poem lends itself to the haiku form; indeed, in both haiku or senryu forms which have three lines (the one dealing mainly with a meditation on nature and the seasons, and the other on the human condition), or in other variations of the short poem such as the triple or tercet (three lines, like the haiku), quatrain (four lines) or the cinquain (five lines). I would stop at five lines of the book spine poem, but there’s no rule that says you cannot use a whole shelf of books to string together your poem, using your creativity and imagination! But even a couplet or a two-line poem can be effective as a book spine poem, with the downside though that it could be too convenient and predictable. For instance, these titles from Max Brook and Francis Fukuyama form an ominous pair:

World War Z
The End of History?

Having said that, I think it is only fair that the finals judge should choose the top three winners from among the first placers in the three monthly compositions, unless there is a compelling reason to make a ‘deep selection’ and put in contention in the second and third placers – or even the fourth and fifth placers – but I see that there is no need for these, although the gap separating all the monthly winners from one another is hardly a yawning one. With a little finessing of some of the finalist entries, they stood a chance of making it to the top. For instance, second placer Michael Rosenthal’s compact four-line composition in the January competition poses a strong challenge  to first placer Nicole Memphin’s ‘epic’ eight-liner (which could even be split into two book spine poems, a tercet (unrhymed 3-line poem) and a quatrain (four-line poem). In Michael’s case – well, in fact as with many book spine poems! – one could propose alternative constructions, on reasonable grounds. 

Here is Michael’s piece:

In the Country of Men
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
Atlas Shrugged
And a Hard Rain Fell
Now here is another way to string together the four titles:
Atlas Shrugged
And a Hard Rain Fell
In the Country of Men
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom

What is the basis for this? I think the ideal situation would be for the book spine composer to have read the book, or be familiar with the contents of the book whose title they are appropriating. Of course, this should not be a compulsory requirement, or you’re likely to miss the deadline! But it would be terrific if the composer at least knew the theme or premise of the book whose title is being used. (In fact, you can look up the plot summaries of even the longest books in Google or Wikipedia, but don’t make this a habit or libraries will be put out of business!) In this instance, Atlas Shrugged is Ayn Rand’s iconic manifesto on the primacy of individualism, and has had a huge impact on the amorality (some call it greed and viciousness) of capitalism. As a reviewer has put it, the book “depicts a world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes upon which our society depends.” (I got this from Wikipedia.) Atlas, of course, is the mythical Greek god always represented as carrying the world on his shoulders, thus symbolizing the burden of responsibility. The alternative construction proposed shows the logic of events when we shirk individual responsibility towards society: a hard rain falls upon (or hard times befall) people who are seeking wisdom, e.g., solutions to problems.

On the other hand, as I have mentioned, Nicole might be telling two stories instead of one in her eight-liner: 

Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
Looking Back
The First Escape
Before We Were Free
A Hero of Our Time
Shaking the Foundation

This is rather long for a spine poem, I think, although as I have mentioned, it is quite all right to string together as many titles of books you want for as long as there is thematic logic and narrative coherence (and even syntactical sense) in the composition. I would rather that these eight titles to be distributed in two spine poems, but requiring a strategic re-positioning of the line ‘The first escape’:

Last night I dreamed of peace
Looking back
Before We Were Free
A hero of our time
Shaking the foundation
The first escape

The very first top placer in the competition in the December edition, Javier Agnir, rightfully copped first prize for his piece that looks as if it had been deliberately and freely composed by a poet, rather than disparate themes strung together from the spines of different books:

In the Country of Men
Things Fall Apart
Funny How Things Change
As I Lay Dying

Although we sense and we understand the flow of ideas through these titles, there is that one pesky problem of tense. ‘Fall’ and ‘Change’ are in the present tense, while ‘Lay’ was in the past tense – as it should be, because this is supposed to be a line from a dead person (Addie Bundren in Faulkner’s novel, “who, after dying, expresses her thoughts from the coffin.”) But poetic license is used here, so this is possible. The beauty of this piece is that it can have several permutations (to repeat, a characteristic of book spine poetry). One might be the following: 

Funny How Things Change
In the Country of Men
Things Fall Apart
As I Lay Dying
Or reversing the order:

Things fall apart
As I lay dying
Funny how things change
In the country of men

This is not saying, however, that the two alternative constructions are superior to the winning piece. It is simply a matter of choosing which aspect of the poetic statement to focus on. You could even split this quatrain into two couplets to make separate expressions that sound like aphoristic graffiti:

Things Fall Apart
In The Country Of Men    

(which could convey the sense of being a ‘feminist statement’), or this:

Funny How Things Change
As I Lay Dying

In the case of the first prize winner for February, the tandem of Celia Diaz and Nicole Mempin, the piece is the second longest among all the monthly finalists, with seven titles used. 

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

However, the picture I saw of the books piled up to form a poem is missing the title Cycle and Hatred. Might as well, because the line seems to me superfluous or unnecessary, to ‘blood and rage’ doing enough to describe the reason for women being ‘mean’. Let’s look at the poem as a six-liner then:

In Defense of Women
It's Not Easy Being Mean
Blood and Rage
Ice Cream and Sadness
Maiden of Pain
A Woman's Life

It seems to work, except that the element of ‘Ice Cream’, generally regarded as a positive thing by women (as in the case of chocolates!) appears out of place, unless we take it to mean as a mere consolation or palliative in a woman’s life of sadness and pain. Fair enough.
So therein lies the fun of composing book spine poetry! All right, so we come now to a decision as to the final ranking of the top placers in the three-month competition, with a vigorous nod of appreciation to the earlier judges who chose the monthly winners, and much applause to the composers or constructors of all the qualifying entries.

Here they are, then, the top three in the monthly competitions, and how I thought they ranked comparatively in effectively delivering their poetic message: 

First prize:   JAVIER AGNIR

I would like to award a joint third prize to MICHAEL ROSENTHAL, second placer in the January competition, for his quatrain that uses the title In the Country of Men which we also find in the composition of Javier Agnir. And finally, I would like to award a special prize to MIKHAELA ONG who copped fourth place in the February competition, because her piece exhibits many desirable attributes of a book spine poem (those qualities already discussed by the previous judges): brevity in terms of overall length, economy of words, visual impact, and universality of the theme. In Mikhaela’s composition, there is the shock of recognition about the perceived state of the world at present (especially with global warming and climate change), and the last three words are so familiar to us, though in a different context – not the bang of the gavel in an auction, but the whimper at the end of the world, as the poet T.S. Eliot would tell us:

A world undone
Embracing defeat
Going, going

Ed Maranan is a poet, fictionist, playwright, essayist, translator, and author of four poetry books and more than 20 children's books. He has won several literary awards from the Carlos Palanca Memorial Foundation, including membership in the Palanca Hall of Fame, as well as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, and the Unyon ng mga Manunulat ng Pilipinas. He taught Political Science and Philippine Studies at the University of the Philippines, and served as Information Officer of the Philippine Embassy in London. He writes an occasional column on arts and culture for The Philippine Star, and is an active member of PEN Philippines, UMPIL, and the Baguio Writers Group.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The 2014 Book Spine Poetry Winners: Final Round

Our Book Spine Poetry Contest at school draws to a close.

Final round judge Ed Maranan picked five best poems from the fifteen finalists. Here are the poems:

Honorable Mention
"A World Undone
Embracing Defeat
Going Going

Honorable Mention
"In the Country of Men
Seeking the Heart of Wisdom
Atlas Shrugged
...and a hard rain fell"

3rd Place
"Last Night I Dreamed of Peace
Looking Back
The First Escape
Before we were free
A Hero of Our Time
Shaking the Foundation"

2nd Place
"In Defense of Women
It's Not Easy Being Mean
Cycle and Hatred
Bood and Rage
Ice Cream and Sadness
Maiden of Pain
A Woman's Life"

1st Place
"In the Country of Men
Things Fall Apart
Funny How Things Change
As I Lay Dying"

Judge's review of the poems will be posted in the blog tomorrow.

Book Project Update: Big Sister

Been working with Totet de Jesus for nearly a year now on Big Sister, our new book, which will see publication this year. Hopefully. 

Here's a preview. 

I love the strong colors Totet used. And the texture! It's like 3D!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Future of Publishing

Here is a video on The Future of Publishing by Dorling Kindersley and Penguin Group. It was very popular back in 2010 when ebooks were having a resurrection.

I'm posting this on the blog to prompt readers, and myself, to think about the ebook boom of this age and time.

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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Janus Silang Blog Tour Author Interview: Edgar Samar

Super thanks to MJ Tumamac for translating the Filipino version of this interview to English!

Edgar Calabia Samar Interview
Janus Silang Blog Tour
English Translation

Why did you venture on writing for teens?
My first published work is actually a picture book entitled Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna! (Adarna House, 2002), with illustrations by Russell Molina. On one hand, creating Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon is my return to writing for younger readers because after [Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si] Darna, I started publishing novels and poetry for older readers. The idea for Janus Sílang had been incubating in my mind for a long time but I did not have the opportunity to work on it until I got a RCW (Research & Creative Work) Faculty status in Ateneo [de Manila University], which coincided with last year’s invitation by Adarna House that I write a YA novel. 

What is the biggest challenge you came across as a writer for teens?

I had a lot of things to consider, from the language register that I was going to employ up to the novels’ content. For a lot of times, I had to weigh between making a truthful voice for my characters as well as a realistic story flow, and its would-be impression to my teen readers. Should Janus be cursing or not? Would that be genuine for his character? How would the readers accept that? I think that teen readers of my novel would be able to relate to Janus’s character. The problem would arise maybe from some parents and teachers as they see literature as something young readers should imitate or something that directly influences them. I admire those teachers and parents who look at their students or children’s reading materials as an opportunity to discuss the issues that children are really experiencing. In the face of these challenges, I hope that parents and teachers would see in Janus Sílang the things that children can positively gain.   

Who and what is your inspiration in creating Janus Silang?

I was also asked with this question in my previous interviews. The truth is I have long wanted to write a novel that I think the people I value would read and like, especially by my childhood friends I spent time with growing up in San Pablo. My personal challenge here was valuing simple storytelling. In my previous novels, like Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog, the project of essaying is more dominant than narrating. For this book, I wanted to create a novel that would make my readers excited and ecstatic. I also wanted to be understood even by a regular teenager. If he reads my novel instead of playing DOTA even just for a few hours, I know that my time in writing this book is not wasted. After he reads the book, and while he waits for Book 2, he may play DOTA again. 

What novel or poem you wish you had written?

A lot! For one, I envy David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten for it is one of the best debut novels I have read. On the other hand, I inherited from Kundera my fondness of essaying in my novels, and his The Unbearable Lightness of Being is I think the book I have read repeatedly the most. Among Filipino works, I am still amazed by Tony Perez’s Cubao Pagkagat ng Dilim. But I also know that every writer has his own world that cannot be penetrated by anyone except when being read. I cannot write like any one of the writers I admire. My own writing is actually recognition and exploration of a world I hope that is not similar with other writers. 

What is next after Janus Sílang?

Wait for the next books in the Janus Sílang series. The second installment hopefully will come out this November and it is entitled Si Janus Sílang at ang Digmaang Manananggal-Mambabarang. I am also finishing for Adarna the book 101 Nilalang na Kagila-gilalas, an encyclopedia of creatures and characters of our own folklore. It might also come out this year, so wait for it! For now, I hope that a lot of teens would read Janus Sílang. It is now available this May in bookstores and it has a series of book launches also this month. Thanks a lot!

Blog Tour of Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon: Author Interview

Kuwento ni Edgar Calabia Samar
Inilimbag ng Adarna House, Inc. (2014)

Tungkol sa Aklat/Blurb
Sa tournament ng TALA Online sa bayan ng Balanga, namatay ang lahat ng manlalaro maliban kay Janus. Sunod-sunod pa ang naging kaso ng pagkamatay ng mga kabataan sa computer shops sai ba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Kinontak si Janus ng nagpakilalang Joey, isa rin umano sa mga nakaligtas sa paglalaro ng TALA na gaya niya. Hindi inasahan ni Janus ang mga matutuklasan niya mula rito na mag-uugnay sa kanya sa misteryo ng kinahuhumalingan niyang RPG—at sa alamat ng Tiyanak mula sa Tábon!

Tungkol sa Manunulat
Si Edgar Calabia Samar ay ipinanganak sa Lungsod San Pablo at nakapagsulat na ng dalawang nobela, ang Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog (2009) at Sa Kasunod ng 909 (2012). Itong Janus Sílang series ang una niyang kathang YA. Nagtuturo siya ngayon ng Panitikan at Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Ateneo de Manila University. Mahigit sampung taon na ang nakararaan nang una siyang makakilala ng isang Púsong.

a. Bakit ka nangahas magsulat para sa mga bagets?

Aklat-pambata po ang kauna-unahan kong aklat, ang Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna! (Adarna House, 2002) na may mga guhit n Russell Molina. Sa isang banda, isang pagbabalik sa akin sa mga mas nakababatang mambabasa ang pagsusulat ko ng Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon. Pagkatapos kasi ng Darna, mga nobela’t aklat ng tula ang inilathala ko na mas pang-mature na mambabasa. Matagal nang nililimliman sa isip ko ang idea para sa Janus Sílang pero hindi nagkaroon ng pagkakataong upuan hanggang sa magkaroon nga ako ng RCW (Research & Creative Work) Faculty status sa Ateneo, na nakasabay pa ng paanyaya ng Adarna House na magsulat ng isang YA novel noong isang taon.

b. Ano ang pinakamalaking pagsubok na hinarap mo bilang manununlat ng mga bagets?

Marami akong kinailangang isaalang-alang dito, mula sa rehistro ng wika hanggang sa nilalaman. Sa maraming pagkakataon, kailangan kong manimbang sa pagitan ng pagiging makatotohanan sa tinig ng mga tauhan at daloy ng kuwento sa isang banda, at sa maaaring maging datíng nito sa mga kabataang mambabasa. Nagmumura ba si Janus o hindi? Makatotohanan ba iyon sa karakter niya? Paano iyon tatanggapin ng mga mambabasa? Alam ninyo, sa loob ko, sa tingin ko’y mas masasakyan ang karakter ni Janus ng mga kabataang magbabasa sa nobela. Mas magkakaproblema siguro sa ilang magulang at guro na ang tingin sa relasyon ng panitikan at batang mambabasa ay basta gagayahin ng bata o makaiimpluwensiya sa bata ang anumang babasahin nito. Humahanga ako sa mga guro at magulang na tinitingnan ang babasahin ng kanilang estudyante o mga anak bilang pagkakataon upang mapag-usapan sa paaralan o sa bahay ang ilang usapin na sa palagay ko’y totoong pinagdadaanan ng mga bata. Sa harap ng mga pagsubok na hinarap ko rito, sana’y makita rin ng mga magulang at guro ang mapahahalagahan ng mga kabataan sa Janus Sílang.

c. Sino at ano ang inspirasyon mo  para mabuo si Janus Silang?

Naitanong din ito sa akin sa mga naunang panayam. Ang totoo, matagal ko nang gustong makapagsulat ng nobelang sa palagay ko’y mababasa’t magugustuhan ng mga taong mahalaga sa akin, lalo pa ang mga kababata’t kaibigan sa paglaki ko sa San Pablo. Hamon sa akin dito ang pagpapahalaga sa simpleng pagkukuwento. Sa mga una kong nobela, tulad ng Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog, higit na nangingibabaw ang proyekto ng pagsasanaysay kaysa pagsasalaysay. Ngayon, gusto ko lang lumikha ng nobelang pananabikan ng mambabasa. Ngayon, gusto kong maunawaan kahit ng isang karaniwang teenager. Kapag binasa niya ang nobela ko sa halip na mag-DOTA sa loob ng kung ilang oras, alam kong hindi nasayang ang panahon ko sa pagsusulat nito. Pagkatapos niyang magbasa at habang hinihintay ang Book 2, puwede na ulit siyang mag-DOTA muna. 

d. Ano ang nobela o tula na sana ay ikaw ang nakapagsulat at hindi ang manunulat o makata ng tula o nobelang iyon?

Napakarami! Kinaiinggitan ko ang Ghostwritten ni David Mitchell; isa sa pinakamahusay na unang nobela ng isang manunulat na nabasa ko. Kay Kundera ko naman minana ang pagkahumaling sa pagsasanaysay sa nobela, at ang kaniyang The Unbearable Lightness of Being siguro ang nobelang nabasa ko nang pinakamaraming beses. Sa mga Filipino, nanghihina pa rin ako sa harap ng Cubao Pagkagat ng Dilim ni Tony Perez. Pero alam ko rin na bawat manunulat ay may daigdig na kaniya lang, na halos imposibleng mapasok ng iba maliban sa pagbabasa. Hindi ako makapagsusulat na tulad ng sino man sa kanila. Ang mismong pagsusulat ko’y pagkilala’t paggalugad sa mundong umaasa akong hindi basta-basta kamukha ng sa ibang manunulat.

e. Ano na ang susunod pagtapos ang Janus Silang? 

Abangan ninyo ang mga kasunod na libro sa serye ng Janus Sílang. Sa Nobyembre ngayong taon umano lalabas ang ikalawang aklat ng serye, na may pamagat na Si Janus Sílang at ang Digmaang Manananggal-Mambabarang.Tinatapos ko rin para sa Adarna ang isang encyclopedia ng mga nilalang at tauhan ng ating panitikang-bayan, ang101 Nilalang na Kagila-gilalas. Maaaring lumabas din ito ngayong taon. Abangan ninyo! Sa ngayon, sana’y maraming kabataan ang makapagbasa ng unang aklat ng Janus Sílang. Lalabas na ito sa book stores ngayong Mayo, at magkakaroon ng serye ng book launches ngayon ding buwan na ito. Maraming salamat! 

Bookstore Tour Dates
- May 10 - Powerbooks (Greenbelt or Trinoma)
- May 17 - Powerbooks (Greenbelt or Trinoma)
- May 24 - Fully Booked SM North EDSA

Blog Tour Schedule:;

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 2 of the MUNPARLAS Bibliocare Sagada Conference

If Day 1 was pretty exciting, Day 2 was even more because of two things: Jaime Bautista and Bomodok Falls.

Darrel Marco was host for the day and he kicked off day 2 with an "endearing" activity for everyone. As it was the second day of the conference, almost everyone knows each other by name and affiliation. So, Darrel used this situation to deepen the experience and develop stronger friendship among participants, speakers and MUNPARLAS Officers. Each of us had a paper taped on our backs. We wrote positive impressions on the paper round robin style. It was affirming to read the wonderful words of appreciation, gratitude and affirmation. What a great way to start the conference!

Apparently, MUNPARLAS President Ann Grace Bansig opened the conference on Day 2 with the topic on Endearing Library Services to the Public. As an example of an endearing library service, she presented the Book Mobile Project of De La Salle Zobel. Now on its 5th year, the project has been a success because of collaborative planning with DLSZ's Outreach Department. By partnering with The Fernando Zobel Foundation, DLSZ librarians and its social action staff, are able to deliver books and literacy services to public school students in Cavite and Batangas provinces.

After her session, Jaime Bautista, comic book writer and publisher came next. HE. IS. AMAZING! He opened his session with a read aloud of book 1 of Private Iris, complete with voice projection and facial expressions. This Xaverian loves his work indeed that it no longer seems to look like work for him! He explained how comics and its creation can lend to Bibliotherapy. As an art form, comic touches on the feelings and the senses of young readers and this experience provide for an avenue of mirroring and self expression. When Mr. Bautista started drawing and telling at the same time, I was floored! I asked for his drawing, his autograph and a note for my daughter from him as she is a fan of Private Iris.

How lucky were the participants to meet him! He is now booked for school visits till 2015!

I was next after the comic book session. I continued what I started out in Day 1 and presented a variety of strategies and programs on Developmental Bibliotherapy for kids and teens. After lunch, Dr. Luis Gatmaitan presented bibliotherapy activities for adults and older readers. Being the last speaker, he gave out certificates to the participants along side the MUNPARLAS President and Vice President.

We did end early on the second day. Bomodok Falls was waiting for us!
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