Saturday, February 28, 2015

Books on Love Part 2

This is the Valentine's Day post I promised to do a few weeks back. It's the last day of February, I know. Better late than never.

This is my counter post on all 50 Shades of Grey raves out there. For those who've read the trilogy and thoroughly enjoyed it, consider this list as recommendations. There are better written erotic romance books out there.

1. Landline by Rainbow Rowell because love is dearer if it has been lost and regained.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell because true love waits and does not barge in your apartment uninvited even if true love would mean a billionaire who owns half the city's businesses.
Love respects your own space and your own person.

3. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer because love survives in the chaos of war and destruction.

4. The Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego Garcia because despite our pride, love humbles us. Love will redeem and save us and when it is real, it finds a way.

5. Eleanor and Park  by Rainbow Rowell because intimacy is not just physical.

6. Love Story by Erich Segal because love means never having to say you are sorry. Love is a choice.  You choose to love.

7. Forever by Judy Blume because saying no and letting go are acts of love.

And the last three are authors whose books I have read lately. They write about romance and erotica and their novellas and novels did not offend me one bit. That's where I draw the line.

8. Cora Seton's Heroes of Chance Creek and Cowboys of Chance Creek Series. What I like about the series is the equal roles that Seton establishes between her female and male leads. It is a battle of the sexes, yes, but in the end, both lead characters realize how their differences can complete each and the other.

9. Tessa Bailey's Brazen Series because Tessa Bailey is very good at depicting the love-hate-love relationship and opposites attract trope. Her intimate scenes are really sizzling! She is fun and funny to read as well. Her female characters are feisty and spunky.

10. Nancy Warren's Changing Gears Series because there are other things going on apart from sex, sex and more sex. Nancy Warren shows you context and human conflict. Of the three books I have read in her series so far, it ends with love saving the day.

So, there. Take it or leave it as you wish. Just keep on reading!

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Candy May N. Schijf

Candy May N. Schijf is a graduate of Saint Louis University in Baguio City. Her work experience for over a decade now made her a well-rounded professional not only in the different areas of librarianship but also in documentation. She is currently affiliated with the De La Salle University Library where she has been entrusted with several positions, each of which she has shown commitment to and excellence. She is also a member of various professional organizations. Her research interest is in collection management, program assessment and information literacy. She endeavors to finish her masters degree the soonest and pursue further studies afterwards.

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. 

I dreamt of being an architect when I was a little girl because I used to tag along with my Tatay in construction yards. I wanted to become an architect to fulfill my Tatay’s dream of me becoming one.  In my fourth year in high school, it was then that I realized architecture won’t be happening due to my family’s financial standing. Because of these constant financial shortcomings I was deprived of books during my childhood as well. I remember how I loved reading them, but I wasn’t able to have any books myself. As a little girl, I felt sad not to be able to have any books.

 My Nanay then suggested that I should take up a bachelor’s degree in Education.  So there I was, thinking, why would I study to become a teacher when I have this eternal love story with stage fright not to mention practice teaching in an all-boys high school.  That was a dilemma I had to face and I desperately wanted to be saved.  And then Sonny Boy Manalo happened.  

It was one afternoon while I was in a long queue of students borrowing textbooks from our Library. When finally it was my turn, I gave him the list of books I needed to borrow. He started the conversation by asking, “Anong course mo?” I replied,”Education po.” Then he said, “Magmajor ka na lang ng Library Science, kaunti lang kumukuha nun makakahanap ka agad ng trabaho pagkatapos mo grumaduate.” He continued telling the advantages of taking Library Science, I listened, took my books and left. Little did I know that he was the savior, I was looking for.  

I was 16 years old then, fresh from high school and, to be honest, I really didn’t take any of what he was saying seriously because I heard the word LIBRARY.  I imagined boredom instantly. I remembered those librarians in my school who often scolded us in the library and I remembered that they never lend us the books we needed because the cabinets were locked and they didn’t have the keys. On days that they had the keys and we were able to borrow books they would say that the books are for room use only.  

On my second semester at the university, I was accepted as a Library Working Scholar. It was just a matter of time before I would meet Kuya Sonny again because, like me, he was also working in the Library. It was around this time that I decided to take a fork in the road and study Library Science. 

Life in the university was rough; I had to juggle work and studies. Time management was essential.  Financial limitation was a constant thing.  Being a working scholar, I also needed to keep my grades afloat to prevent losing my job thus my education in turn as well.  That was also a challenge, considering that Ms. Thelma Kim, the only Library Science teacher at Saint Louis University, has a reputation to uphold (ha-ha sorry Ma’am Kim).  Kidding aside, she trained me very well. Thank you, Ma’am Kim and Kuya Sonny for being instrumental, for motivating me and inspiring me.

A huge blow during my studies happened in September 2000.  That’s when I lost my Nanay.  I wanted to stop going to school.  I was grieving.  My Nanay was my greatest inspiration in finishing my studies, without her I thought of not moving on.  My grades were at an all-time low, but luckily I still managed to pass all my subjects that semester. With a lot of encouragement from my family and friends, in 2002, after 5 years in the university, I graduated. The first place I went to after the graduation ceremonies was my Nanay’s grave where I dedicated my first success in life to her.

The year 2002 was the beginning of a new adventure. I soon realized that what started out as a half-hearted decision in taking up Library Science turned out to be one of the best choices I made as it brought me new challenges in life.  

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? 

During my first year working professionally as a librarian, I was an idealist.  Fresh innovations, new ideas and information technology up my sleeves; I was ready to be one epic librarian.  I wanted to be the contrary, to the “serious” stereotype that often dogs our profession.  

Like any other profession, librarianship is not a walk in the park.  It is also a cutthroat profession, where some librarians resort to spreading false rumors just to advance themselves and pull others down. Usually they do this out of fear for the person they debase because they feel threatened to be outperformed. It is not a “silent” profession; politics also come into play.  I was on the receiving end of this phenomenon.  It became a challenge for me to stay in the profession because of this experience.  I want to believe that I am a survivor, I am always eager to push my limits in search of new opportunities to learn, grow and face new challenges.  

After that bad experience, I decided to leave my hometown Baguio City and brave the often times chaotic life in Manila. I ventured into the nonprofit sector when I was hired by the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) in 2006. Trained in the academic setting, AFAD, a human rights non-government organization, was a whole new world as a librarian for me. It was hard to fit in. I was thrust into social and political issues that made me become more aware and sensitive to the world’s history of human rights abuses that persist to this day.  The position also broadened my skills and capacity. Moreover, the experience also brought me to see the world outside of my comfort zone.

Going back to the academy in 2011 was again another challenge for me.  I went back to the world of academic librarians which I had a break from in my 5 years of stay at the nonprofit sector. Nothing had changed, I remember one blog entry that said some librarians are really unhappy with their jobs; they attend seminars only to “catch up” on their former colleague’s life, escape the sessions to go to tourist spots and to shop. All breaks loose; they need to get their certificate just to “prove” that they attended the conference/workshop. 

I am not generalizing all librarians because that includes myself as well but this is a situation that needs to be addressed.  Getting rid of the stereotype of us just being a custodian of books in the library is already a challenge, taking an effort in advancing the profession is another story.  The institutions they are a part of are not sending them to these trainings and seminars just for the free travel and leisure time.  They are being sent to advance their knowledge in their profession and to become an even bigger essential part of the community.  As librarians there is a need to embrace improvement and take these trainings seriously.  Take the challenge!

Librarians should be at the forefront of research, innovation, education, development and information dissemination. Librarians need to take a step up in all these areas. As information providers, librarians should be indispensable partners in the community – to promote reading, writing and learning. Education is the key to a better future for all mankind, and librarians should be fighting at the forefront of that.

What is your area of expertise in LIS? 

In my 13 years of being a librarian (I feel old haha!), I have had my fair share of working for special libraries, academic libraries and school libraries. I am a master of all and none at the same time! (Yes, that’s an honest assessment of myself haha.)

I enjoy being surrounded by kids and I love being with them.  This is just my second year in a school library setting and it has been a lot of fun so far.  The big challenge is that I need to be a teacher and a librarian at the same time. I am coming into terms with my stage fright, but it is still there, being a teacher-librarian helps me overcome my fears of being on a stage.  It is another experience for me to enjoy, a new adventure for me to conquer, another challenge to overcome as a professional.

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

One basic requirement I guess is being ready to embrace improvement.  I say improvement, not change, because by changing things you don’t necessarily improve them. Look at it like this, if you have a red door with a hole in it and you paint it blue, you have changed. If you fix the hole in that door you have improved. I believe that we, as librarians, should always strive to improve things.

Loving the profession is a close second.  You won’t be able to help advance the abilities of your patrons, to educate them and to provide them with the knowledge they are looking for if you despise being in that profession.  If you are now in the field and you’re reading this and you hate your job, do all readers a favor and quit.  That’s one less person pulling the patrons and the profession itself down. 

Also, in this time and era where most customers are technology literate, librarians need to be the guide for them to become information literate.  Librarians should have unconventional skills, skills that would help further the profession and increase the knowledge of their readers. We should start reinventing the profession and change the stereotype of being a librarian.

The ability to think outside of the box is essential to be able to do this. Outside of the box thinkers are truly one of a kind. Around the year 600 BC the Greek Pythagoras, a truly one of a kind philosopher and mathematician of his time, was the first to prove the Pythagorean theorem to be correct and the theory still stands today. As librarians, we should take it upon us to provide readers with enough knowledge to become out of the box thinkers. They might be the next Pythagoras, Aristotle, or more recently, Alan Turing or Albert Einstein.

What rewards have you reaped from being a LIS professional?

  • Warm hugs and smiles from little kids
  • To be able to increase the willingness of children to read books and become more information literate
  • Seeing kids with their noses in books
  • Loads of thank you and appreciation from patrons
  • Free books to read and be one of the first to read popular books  (hey hey, don’t judge me on this, I need to be able to explain the merits and the weaknesses of all the books to readers and be able to recommend them, right?) 
  • The opportunity to say “I’ve read that book” to people who are telling me about the movie or TV series they have seen
This profession has led me to live some of the best experiences and meet some of the most wonderful people in my life today.  Being a librarian is a wonderful, constant adventure which brings a lot of joy and challenges in my life.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

World Read Aloud Day 2015

The Writing Process by Jonathan the Blogger

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Extended Essay Journey: The Research Question and the Annotated Bibliography

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Citation Concepts for High School Students

Posting some slides from a PPT I use to teach citation to my high school students. I have used this presentation last year, in August, when we opened school. This term, I will be doing a research lesson with grade 10 students. I will use these slides as springboard. Apart from these, I will also use a graphic novel to teach research concepts.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Poetry Reading: Awit ng Pag-ibig XX

We started school today with poetry reading of selected poems by Pablo Neruda translated in English, Filipino and Mandarin. Here is a video of me with one of our English teachers, Mr. Lui Morano, reading aloud the poem Tonight I Can Write.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ronnie del Carmen and the Risk of Making Mistakes

Last Tuesday, I was fortunate to be invited to listen to Ronnie del Carmen. He is an animator and film director at Pixar Animation Studios. If you visit his Twitter account, he has a very cool description of what he does and what he is. He is a Quantum Temporal Continuity Engineer. Simply put, he is a storyteller.

For forty five minutes, he talked about his history as a creative and the back stories of the works he has done in the Pixar and Disney studios. It sounds like ordinary stuff, something that can easily be accessed, but what made his presentation meaningful was his talking points about the creative process. Here are snippets or "sound bites" I got from his talk:

* You felt it. You experienced it. That is storytelling.
* You need to hear from your storytelling brothers and sisters to know what is working and what is not.
* Creativity thrives in exploration.
* Prepare to be wrong.
* Storytelling and creativity are valued in any industry.

By the time he was at the Q and A part, I was already welling with pride to be a part of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), because, our current effort in promoting quality children's literature and young adult literature has been very creative. The attempt to try out new things and innovate began with the National Children's Book Awards of 2010. It is not perfect. It presents many challenges. But the process of instituting this new mechanism of raising the bar in children's book publishing in the country involves collaboration (particularly with the NBDB), a lot of mistakes and a tremendous courage to take risks. As far as my experience goes, limited as it is, we have kept our ears on the ground. True creativity begins when one listens, empathizing with people who are at the battle field.

I look inward.

There is nothing else to do but to go back to the origin of things.

My what if: research plays a big role in the creative process. Introduce and present research writing as a way of telling a story. After all, what is personal touches on the universal.

The Little Reader

Maligayang araw ng mga puso! Ang biyaya ng pagbabasa ay dulot ng pagmamahal!

Here is a short film by Inshallah Montero about a boy, a street kid, who was taught how to read by his mother. The Little Reader, the film's title, is one of the ten finalists in the Tropfest SEA in Malaysia. The Tropfest is a film festival of short films that showcase entries from film creators all over the world. Web link -

Inshallah's film is still in the running for Audience Choice Award. Voting ends on Feb 16.  Watch the film here -

I am doing this for her mother, Maricel Montero, a cultural worker, literacy advocate and a good friend of mine.

Enjoy the film!

Books on Love: 50 Shades of Grey

On the eve of Valentine's Day, I think about love, of course, and the romance books I have read over the past couple of years. I have an initial list to post in the blog and it is quite a long one. I will save it all for tomorrow, but for now, here are some thoughts I have on 50 Shades of Grey by EL James, a very controversial book, that has a movie adaptation. Apparently, the movie is opening in cinemas today in Manila.

Critics heavily bashed the book as a poorly written piece. When we hear or come across such reviews, we immediately think of the effective use of grammar and language by the author. This is true since grammar, when used properly moves the reader to a better understanding of the story or the literature being read. In the grammar and langauge department, 50 Shades of Grey fall short of many a critics standards. But grammar mistakes and lapses abound in many novels. Grammarly has created an infographic that illustrates this argument.

Grammarly: Fifty Shades of Grammar

At the end of the infographic, readers are asked to give 50 Shades of Grey a break. In this case, I will give it a break too for the reason that the book was written as an online fanfiction. In that realm, stories do not go through an editing and revision process. If readers like it, then commercial demand for it to be printed out as a book surfaces. A publishing house who is out there to cash in some earnings will capitalize on this demand. Fanfiction and the writing of online stories have changed the book publishing game.

And, there is the sex. It sells.

Now for my own humble opinion on the book. Is it poorly written? My answer is yes. The characters are underdeveloped; the plot is disjointed; the concept of love is misconstrued; there is no sound exploration of the psychological bases of one's desire for power manifested in sex and lust. There is a better way of using the Cinderella archetype as well as the naive-ingenue falling for the experienced rich and handsome guy trope.

What do I recommend as a well written romance and contemporary romance-erotic novel then? Visit the blog tomorrow for my list! For now, go back to the infographic and review, relearn and rethink a thing or two on correct use of grammar. That's what I will doing too.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

On Blogging and Getting Income From It

I am sharing another email convo between myself, Tarie Sabido and Neni Sta. Romana Cruz on blogging. The context of the conversation came from Ms. Neni's Author Visit in a school where a middle grades student asked her these questions: How does one start blogging? How does one get income from blogging?

My replies:

How does one start from blogging?

There are easy to learn blogging web apps, no fees to pay, like Blogger and Wordpress. I learned by doing :). With new stuff cropping up online every now and then, I am still learning. Along the way, I met a group of Pinoy bloggers: Dean and Nikki Alfar; Von Totanes; Connie Veneracion who became my "role models". But what makes blogging fulfilling for me is the articulation of my purpose and goal. It gives me direction as well, on thinking, of themes and concepts to blog about. From there, I can organize and set my content for writing blog entries for a week or a month.

How does one earn from blogging?

Yes. There is such a thing as problogging, professional+blogging. I know some bloggers who attended workshops before they plunged into the money/entrepreneurial aspect of blogging. I also know many writers, PR officers, communication arts people, academicians, even librarians  who sideline as probloggers. But they know better to understand the rules of the game before going professional. Probloggers need to monitor their blog traffic regularly.

When I did freelance work for two years, I earn through blogging via adds and link exchanges. Nothing big. Just enough to pay my internet subscription at the time. I stopped when I was offered full time work. I think I earn from blogging but not through monetary gain. I get invited to library workshops and literacy talks by different organizations and they say they "discovered" me online.

I think blogging credibility and integrity is built over time. Maybe that student can be successful in her age group or demographic. My kids subscribe to blogs of online celebrities and you tube sensations. I do not know who these people are but my horizon expands when my kids tell me about them: a young Swedish you tube comedian specializing in black comedy and satire; Mikey Bustos' Pinoy tutorials; musicians from Korea... Ang dami!

I suppose blogs, and other online media are things we need to take a closer look at since our kids are engaged in them. Their thinking are also shaped in this environment. It is a good thing that, that student asked a question from a responsible adult. I respect my kids' and students' online experiences but I also want to be part of that world.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Share Your Love of Books

Visit the website, Book Giving Day and you will find wonderful bookmarks. What activities have you planned for International Book Giving Day? My library is giving away boxes and boxes of books to our adopted public school in the locality.

How to Promote Reading in Scenarios with No Books

The title of the blog entry came from a query by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz. I few months back, as she was preparing for a teacher training workshop, she sent an email to all her contacts who are involved in literacy education. As I am one of the recipients of the email, I replied to her several times to answer the question and give some tips. A few weeks after, I found my  name in an (How To Love To Read Without Books ) article written by her in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. She wrote about her experience of facilitating the workshop among public school teachers in Marikina. It was an inspiring piece.

I am posting in the blog the specific points and tips I sent her in the hope that many more teachers and librarians find encouragement in designing environments that promote literacy.

Maybe you can start with speaking and listening activities, then transition to writing and reading activities. I do this a lot in my storytelling workshops: Ask participants about local stories of and about their province or city. I have always wondered why there is no Alamat ng Sapatos from Marikina :) Stories of local heroes, origins of places, urban legends, ghost stories, disaster stories (like floods, and the Marikina fault line) are story prompts. Have them think about these stories for 10 mins. I use background music while they think and recall stories. Then, each member of the group will simply tell the story from memory while the rest listen. No judgment on grammar or language rules. The objective is simply to recall a story, tell it and listen to others tell theirs.

A wonderful thing happens when some participants would write down their story of choice and read from their "codigo". 

I would then ask participants to write their stories. For those who wrote their stories ahead of the others, they edit and polish. Later in the workshop, they go back to the written stories, work in pairs to make books or story flashcards. Of course, the final presentation is reading aloud and storytelling :) At the end of the session, they have instructional materials produced for classroom use. 
 Here are not really foolish things you may consider putting in your workshop:
-have participants look around the workshop venue and list words that begin with letter A or any particular letter of the alphabet. 
- arrange the words in alphabetical order / put on an Alphabet Wall 
-or put the words together in dictionary/pictionary format

- if there are no books, then newspapers or old magazines perhaps are available? 
- cut out words and pictures and create mini-booklets with themes like: Mga Gamit sa Paaralan / Ang Aming Bahay / Mga Alagang Hayop / Mga Paboriti Kong Pagkain

-what about reading from mobile phones? Have a session simply on reading text messages and the contexts of these messages passed on to another. 

I think, with little books or none at all, the opportunity to create them so that reading can happen presents itself.

Extended Essay Journey: Progress Chart

Since the start of the Extended Essay Journey two weeks ago, I have set up a tracking mechanism for students. Our initial conversations about the topics they wish to investigate on had been purposeful and interesting. For one, many of the juniors see the EE as a ticket to college. A good and well written EE is proof that the student is ready for academic writing and in scholarly work, in general.  To some, the EE is a requirement to graduate from high school. Either way, the students writing the EE must have a purpose in doing it and that his or her perspective of it is clear. Writing a research paper is not an easy task, especially for students who are being introduced into the experience for the first time.

The EE Progress Chart is meant to help me, as EE Coordinator, guide the students through the process of choosing a topic, crafting a research question, preliminary research, outlining a structure for writing and initial writing of the Introduction and the Methodology. The chart is also a means to remind students where they are in the process. I keep reminding myself that the whole exercise demands competence, stamina and skill from students. A lot of thinking is put into this first stage of the process. Some students do well. Some falter.

In times when students express a difficulty at this stage, I look at the learning support structures in place in school. I recognize the individuality of each student; that there is no one way of learning; that there are varied ways to solve problems; and that, as a teacher of research, I too have my own limitations. In times like this, collaboration is essential.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

KUTING Induction of New Members

Don't we all look solemn in the photo?

I had the honor of inducting seven KUTINGs last Saturday, January 31, 2015 at the residence of the organization's current President, Dang Bagas. I have had the pleasure of "mentoring" them by conducting a talk and workshop on Young Adult Literature and Reading Choices of Teens last November 2013. In 2014, I was one of the four readers in the workshop.

I couldn't help but recall my own journey in the probationary membership process. How I wanted to write! A lot of things have happened to me since my membership in KUTING began in 2004. All I can say is this, that I have found true friends, writing companions and champions of Philippine Children's Literature in just a decade.

Cheers to children's books! To writing! To coffee and to more meaningful years of advocating Philippine Children's Literature!

Call for Entries for the 2015 PBBY-Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2015 PBBY-Alcala Prize.

The winner shall be given a cash prize of P25,000.00, a gold medal, and an opportunity to be published. Prizes will be awarded in an appropriate ceremony to be held during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day on July 21, 2015.

Contest Rules:

The contest is open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity.

Entries must be based on the 2015 PBBY-Salanga Prize honorable mention winning story, The Missing Blanket by Cheeno Marlo Sayuno.

Copies of these stories may be requested from the PBBY Secretariat or downloaded from the PBBY website ( All entries must be original unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size and medium. Entries do not have to be based on consecutive spreads/parts of the text. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

Each entry must be signed by a pen name only, preferably on a small piece of paper pasted on the back of each artwork.  Entries with a signature or any identifying marks are automatically disqualified. Together with each entry, contestants must submit a separate envelope, on the face of which only the pen name of the contestant shall appear.  The envelope must contain the contestant’s full name, address, contact numbers, short description of background, and notarized certification vouching for the originality of the entry and for the freedom of the organizers from any liability arising from the infringement of copyright in case of publication.

All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Quezon City by April 10, 2015.

Winners will be announced no later than May 12, 2015.  Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than June 13, 2014, after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.

For more details, interested parties may contact PBBY by calling 3526765 local 203 or emailing  HYPERLINK ""

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

UPLB Instructor wins Honorable Mention at 2015 Salanga

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People declared Cheeno Marlo Del Mundo Sayuno  as the lone honorable mention winner of the 2015 PBBY-Salanga.  No one was declared as grand prize winner for the PBBY-Salanga this year. Sayuno’s winning story is entitled, “The Missing Blanket.”

Sayuno is an instructor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos where he is also taking masteral studies in Communication Arts. He has a mass communications degree from Cavite State University where he also became editor-in-chief of The Gazette.

Sayuno will be awarded during the celebration of National Children’s Book Day in July 2015.

For inquiries about the contest, contact the PBBY Secretariat at telephone number 352-6765 loc. 203 or e-mail

Extended Essay Journey: Choosing a Topic

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