Thursday, March 31, 2016

Book Review: Wrap Them Store Them Peddle Them: The Filipino Way

Wrap Them Store Them Peddle Them: The Filipino Way
Written by Marilen Nolasco-Espiritu
Photos by Johann Espiritu
ArtPostAsia, 2008

This book is in the cataloging pile that caught my eye!

What an interesting read. 

It has stories about the creative ways of preparing and packaging Filipino delicacies as well as the persistence and ingenuity of the people who make them. I had to pause from meeting my cataloging quota to read a few chapters. 

It is the book's cover that got me first: a stack of sundot kulangot. Kalamay. Rice cakes inside the bitaog shell. As a child, I would receive sticks of sundot kulangot as pasalubong from a favorite aunt who loved to travel in the provinces of the North. My lola cooked Kalamay, of course, but back then, cracking open the shell and scooping the kalamay from the inside with a small bamboo stick adds to the adventure of eating one.

Ah, and there are more kakanin and delicacies in the book that brought forth memories and stories of growing up. The chapter on Bagong Balayan reminds me of a neighbor who sold them per scoop or takal from a tapayan. My mother would make me buy 3-5 scoops of bagoong for seasoning in pinakbet. On a Sunday, after morning mass, my father would drop by an old house near Pateros church to buy trays of balut and itlog maalat. A tray of salted eggs would land in my Lola's sari-sari store where it was sold for 5-7 pesos a piece. Add 3-5 pesos and you get one tomato and one small onion.

Amazing how one book can channel me back to those memories of childhood.

Apart from the folkloric appeal of the narrative, the photos are art pieces complementing the book's concept of a vanishing culture put under a microscope. Thus the book is a precious title to add to a library's collection. In teaching and learning context, the book is a valuable source for developing units of study in Philippine studies, art, design and even business.

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Poem on A Cupcake: When A Book Talks


*These wonderful baked goodies were made by Ms. Everly Joan Macalalad. You can place orders and special made to order cakes and pastries. Her contact number is:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Spine Poetry Festival 2016

Book Spine  Poems for sharing.

Easter Egg Hunt at the Library 2016

Found Easter Egg Cutouts
A week before our term break, I hid Easter egg cutouts in books shelved in our fiction collection. I then sent an email to the community about the annual Easter Egg Hunt at the library. This morning, my avid readers went looking for books and found the eggs! 

They borrowed the books (which will add up to their book quota- every grade level has a required book number pegged for the batch to borrow) to read over the quarter break. These are books I selected. I am excited to hear reader feedback when they return the books to the library using the book review bookmarks. I have information to use in selecting and acquiring titles. I get to know my young readers' changing tastes in reading materials and topics. I can plan more programs that meet their reading needs.

This is a reading program I subtly introduce to teens with the hope of engaging them deeper into books and reading. The fiction books I have chosen are titles that I think would supplement and enrich their academic endeavors. Reading fiction may be light and leisurely, but it is an engagement with the book creators and the text.

What about content area reading? There is another approach for that. What about the reluctant readers? The ones who struggle below their comprehension level? That can be addressed through individualized and differentiated instruction, thus, the school library's reading program and services must follow through this strategy. And this kind of reading program is in my To Do list at work.

Happy reading everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Librarian On TV: Ang Pinaka Touching Random Acts Kindness

Once again, I am a panelist in the TV program, Ang Pinaka. The top ten this week is all about random acts of kindness. What a timely topic since tomorrow is Easter Sunday!

I myself was touched by the top ten choices that when the crew came over at home for the interview and taping, I was teary eyed. But I felt good. Really good. I hope that tomorrow's episode will inspire you or will make you think of the goodness that still resides in the hearts of people.

These acts of kindness may have been done by individuals and a selected few. It may not solve global problems and world hunger. In pastoral care, though, an act of kindness is a great deed because it uplifts the human spirit.

Ang Pinaka is telecast in GMA News TV, every Sunday at 6.30PM.

Friday, March 25, 2016

PASLI Summer Conference 2016

PASLI in Iloilo this Summer, 2016.
The Philippine Association of School Librarians (PASLI) will be having its 38th General Assembly and National Conference in Iloilo City on April 20 - 22, 2016. Details of the conference, registration information and formal invitation can be downloaded in the association's blog. Visit the PASLI blog here for your information needs.

For this year's PASLI Conference, I am an invited resource speaker to discuss on two topics that I have been practicing and living out over the past years. These are the development of a Personal Learning Network and the "struggle" between work life balance. Both topics are culled out from my personal experiences and thus, I shall be presenting it with a discovered insight, backed up by research and theoretical concepts in psychology. This is a first for me, to talk about topics outside the library discipline, and focus more on personal care.

The Personal Learning Network topic is going to be a success story presentation and the Work Life Balance is a hands on session where I will share with the participants ways to get in touch with one's creative self; start with an easy to do workout routine; and provide tips on distressing and achieving a balance for a healthier mind, heart and soul.

I hope to see you in the PASLI Summer Conference, friends and colleagues!

MUNPARLAS Summer Conference 2016

The host of mentors that participants can choose from.
The Muntinlupa Paranaque and Las Pinas Librarians Associatio (MUNPARLAS) is once again gearing up to conduct a Summer Conference that focus on library topics that pose challenges to librarians of today.  It only goes to show how MUNPARLAS, as an organization, is attuned to the changing times. Knowing its members well, the officers this year are experimenting on the conduct of a mentoring session within the conference program.

This conference is set to follow a new format. By choosing speakers who will present topics of expertise and interest, they will be  working within small groups to discuss in depth the topic of choice.

I will be discussing customer services in libraries. Not my field of expertise, but a topic I am deeply invested in. So, we'll see. I am more excited at what the participants' will bring to the table. In conferences like these, I believe that the speaker will likewise learn from the participants.

For details of the conference go to:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Poems Received and Given on World Poetry Day

Apart from the Book Spine Poetry Fest I set up in school to celebrate World Poetry Day, I posted an old poem I composed back in 2004 in my FB Timeline. It is a poem I use as a lead banner for my personal blog, The Coffee Goddess.

i arise from the earth
the aroma of soil sweetly intoxicating
is locked in my bosom
comesmell me
taste me
and make it quick
for my spirit flies
as swift as the wind
to the heavens
where i truly belong

Before March 21, I joined a poetry meme where a favorite poem is sent to the person, either known or not, in the list. I am supposed to get twenty poems, but only got one.

--William Henley
Out of the night that covers me,   
Black as the pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be   
Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
It matters not how strait the gate,
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.

And a poetic line from a novel by Paulo Coelho

“Life takes us by surprise and orders us to move toward the unknown -even when we don't want to and when we think we don't need to.” 
― Paulo CoelhoBy the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

The poem reminds me of how strong the human spirit can become in times of struggle. The verse from the Coelho novel affirms it. Such wonderful gifts of poetry. To the strangers who sent me these powerful words, I thank thee with all my heart and wishes you well. 

Happy Poetry Day!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Research Is Over: My Journey as EE Coordinator

Imagine my relief when the hard copies of our seniors' Extended Essays (EE) were sent to the IB examiners last week. Finally, I can ease up a bit; remove myself from the entire process; and think of more library work. You know, the usual ones.

I like moments like this. Thinking of one thing while doing something else. How can that be possible? I don't know. I just find myself effective when, for example, I am cataloging a bundle of books, and my mind wanders off to a standardization of citation conventions or itemizing a set of skills on Information Literacy (IL) and research for teacher training in the summer. It is the same at home. While cooking sinigang or mongo, ideas or a format for a current writing project seeps into my consciousness. Oh, I digress.

Now back to the end of the journey.

I have been the EE Coordinator for two consecutive academic years. It is not an easy assignment. I took and accepted the task because, as a librarian, I know I can help high school students better their research skills. I know my IL. I do research. I read.

It wasn't a walk in the park.

Research skills and IL, to be effective must be integrated with content and applied within a context. Meaningful research is experiential. It is a process too, so a model of research helps the young researcher push pencils to work on meeting deadlines. This kind of thought process is not applicable to all learners though. There are those who fall through the cracks, therefore, a cooperative and collaborative approach to supervising teenagers in research is essential. Research supervisors are the initial go-to people of students, but the librarian is another teacher whom students can trust and work with.

Looking for sources is another challenge. I often wish that the Philippines has the intellectual research structure of Singapore. But. The upside of living in a third world country is that, you have no choice but to be resourceful. By this,  I mean many things. Some cuts corners. Others adhere to the process. Those who know better practice academic honesty the best they could.

Another concept I wish to emphasize with our students (for next year) is that research is a conversation. Reading and writing are the tools employed in this conversation. Teenagers today read very little. Or if they do, it is shallow and superficial. Thus, they have difficulty applying reading strategies in the content areas. Changing reading stances are something they need to learn as well. More strategies in reading must be taught. As for the writing, more models to read and writing prompts to do in between classes.

How can these techniques be done? Teachers and the librarian must work together. This is for another post!

Journeying with our seniors this year in their EE has been mentally stressful. I think with them and, yes, I worry. Am I doing too much? Am I doing too little, leaving them in the dark? The guides are there though. I bring them back always, to universal principles of knowledge creation and inquiry. Often, a good research question is tested when a student and I sit down and sort through sources and process when he or she is at a crossroad or at a road block. Struggles and all, it is a learning experience for me too.

My students teach me to listen more. To look at their perspective and their goals. I am a companion; a cheerleader; a coach; and if need be, an adult who shows them the consequences of their actions and what may happen. For after all, I have been one acquainted with the night (Frost).

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 3

My family and I are fans of Jack Black. We love kung fu movies as well. Jack Black and kung fu make us fans of Kung Fu Panda, the animated movie. We enjoyed KFP 1 and KFP 2 so imagine our excitement when we heard of a third movie. Having watched the third and final installment was like going full circle and ending a journey.

The gang is back and so is Oogway. The old master, now residing in the spirit realm, apparently earned an enemy while he was battling evil conquerors and warriors during his time on earth. This enemy, Kai, a kung fu master himself succeeded in trapping Oogway's chi into a disk made of jade. Kai got back to earth to fulfill his dreams of world domination. It is now Po's role and duty to stop Kai.

What worked

Po is the classic hero. The one who brought balance to the universe. The panda who lived. He is the dragon warrior. The Avatar. He has a host of friends and family who catapulted him into hero status. His enemy is a fitting nemesis to his endearing character. It is easy to fall in love with Po because, his journey towards becoming a hero is something he earned. He is aware of his shortcomings and flaws, and with the help of his friends and mentors, he always rises to the occasion and never lets them down. He figures things out, works hard for it and saves the day in the end.

Po's characterization has been very consistent since the first movie. In KFP 3, Po's role as the dragon warrior is sealed, signed and delivered. He is indeed the chosen one and yet, he remains to be your average guy. How can you not love a hero like that?

What didn't work

The whole tapestry of the KFP world is rich and colorful. There are still some holes and gaps I want to be filled. But, with so much going in the life of Po and his new challenges, cuts must be made. Besides, you can only do so much in 90 minutes.

What saved the entire film is the storytelling and how it was rendered in the visuals and through the narratives of key characters. The 2D manga style animation is impressive. It was like watching a graphic novel come alive.

Overall, we enjoyed it for what it is. It is a feel good family movie that I am happy to see with hubby and our two young adults.

Rating: 3.5 popcorn bags

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Spine Poetry Festival 2016

It is World Poetry Day on March 21. It is time, once again, for the Book Spine Poetry Contest. This is an annual celebration of poetry, oral tradition and books. This year, instead of having the poems pitted against each other, we will have a festival where book spine poems will be put on public display to be read by students, teachers and staff, even parents, of the Beacon Academy. Readers pick a book spine poem that they like and vote for it.

The Book Spine Poetry Festival is now on its third run.

So far, the library is getting three to five book spine poems a day. I create some myself as an added push to those who are hesitant to join in the fun. So far, we have ten book spine poems displayed in the library.

Yesterday, a junior, who is new to the mechanics of the activity, asked me. "How do you start making a book spine poem, Miss?"

"How do you feel today?" I asked back.

"I'm pretty upset."

I replied, "Well. Start from there. Your feelings, your emotions can fuel you to write a poem."

And so, a poem came to be.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

School Leader In Focus: Imelda Caravaca Ferrer 2 of 2

In this second interview, Madame Imelda Caravaca Ferrer, shares seven tips for school leaders who are starting out new as educational administrators. Experienced school leaders may find her tips as helpful reminders as well. In admin work, school leaders often lean to the work that needs to be accomplished. But true leaders know what matters: people.

1. First, develop good people skills. As John Maxwell, my dear friend says (Hah!), people don’t care how much you know but how much you care. A head full of knowledge is important, but one must also have a heart.

2. Second, Listen to your people. “The ears of the leader should ring with the voices of the people”. I read that in the book “If you don’t feed your teachers, they’ll eat the students.” To get to know your people, spend time listening to them. At Maximo Estrella Elem. School, I made it a point to have a meal with them, one teacher at a time. I got to know their dreams, the things that they live for, the things that make them laugh, cry, sing about.

3. Third, I told my teachers that I’m not a mind reader. I told them to be open to me, that if I ruffle their feathers, they are to tell me but albeit in a nice way. Two came to me and said their piece, in the end, they realized that I meant nothing by it. A great leader knows how to apologize when she/or he inadvertently commits a mistake. It takes great humility to be able to own up to one’s mistakes.

4. Make your people realize that their input is valued. At the end of every meeting, I often say this “Is there anything you would like to suggest to make the running of the school better?” And these are not empty words. I really value the inputs of my people.

5. Inspire your people. My teachers tell me that what they like best about me is that I don’t dwell on academics alone. They like the fact, that I give them new experiences, that I see to it that they have fun. I exposed them to dream/vision boards, happiness jars, the healing runes, gratitude journals and even fortune cookies. Imagine my surprise when some  told me that it was their first time to see a fortune cookie! My teachers in PIO I valued the fact that I gave them a two sessions on discovering their inner selves together with my friends. I also selected several teachers to talk about the different emotions. I asked the shy one to talk about shyness and how to deal with it. They realized the value of bringing emotions out into the open then allowing them to fester on the back burners of their minds.

Leading by example, Ma'am Imelda
followed through my activities during the
DepEd Library Hub workshop I conducted in Feb. 2016
6. Read, read, read. Get to read about the best minds of our generation. Be inspired. Get inspired and inspire other people. Be upbeat and stay positive. Breathe and live inspiration for in that way, you’ll bless other people.

7. This can be a cruel world. Be an oasis of grace and compassion.  You cannot do everything, but with God all things are possible. Try to make a difference in the lives of your people.You cannot do this if you have not touched base with yourself, if you have not communed with God  and still continue to do so. Connect to a higher being and as you do so, you will change yourself and others as well for the better, Bo Sanchez once said that other people do not read the Bible, but how you live your life is their only Bible. It is always awesome to choose to try to be our best self not tomorrow but today.

Madame Imelda Caravaca Ferrer is M.A. Reading graduate of the University of the Philippines Diliman. She has an AB Sociology degree from the Bicol University and a Certificate in Campus Journalism and Bilingual Advising from the Philippine Normal University, She has been conferred numerous awards in the public school system. She is a big fan of The Moring Rush, a radio program of the RX Monster Radio. She likes cosplaying and is a fun-loving person who is into books, music, movies, theater, art, doodling, journalism and LIFE.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

School Leader in Focus: Imelda Caravaca Ferrer 1 of 2

Ma'am Imelda: A lifelong reader is a lifelong learner
This blog has featured Filipino librarians, authors, illustrators, storytellers, literacy advocates and teachers. What it has yet to have is to write about school leaders who mentor and assist teachers to grow as professionals in the discipline. So, for the first time, here is an interview with DepEd LRMDS Supervisor, Madame Imelda Caravaca Ferrer of the Makati City public school system.

If you did not pursue a career in education, what would you be today?

My top three jobs are to be a writer, lawyer and a sexy dancer. But it’s too late in the day to be a dancer, so I’d opt to be a writer  aside from my day job. (I’m a published textbook writer of SIBS Publishing House). If I weren’t a teacher,  I would have been an office worker in the jungles of Makati.

Describe your journey from teacher to supervisor. What has been the most challenging experience so far?

Every part of the journey has its reason and meaning. I value my being a teacher for the better part, then segueing into being a principal and then supervisor. The biggest challenge, so far, was when a teacher and I in my second assignment as principal had a difference of opinion. We never settled anything, although I tried talking to her. In life, we get to meet difficult people. No matter, what we do, if they are set in their ways, there is nothing we can do to make them think otherwise.

What made you stay in the public school system?

I love giving talks/trainings. That’s where I could make a big difference in the lives of our teachers in Makati.

Why is K-12 going to work?

K-12 is going to work because people are working on it together. Personally, I feel that it was hastily started, but those are the givens. Proactive people work on the givens. Change is inevitable. If we don’t do it now, when will we do it? If not us, who will?

Part 2 of this interview are tips for school leaders from Madame Imelda Caravaca Ferrer. Visit the blog for her tips to educational administrators like her.

Book Review: After You

This review contains spoilers.

After You
By Jojo Moyes
Viking, 2015

In this sequel to Me Before You, Louisa recounts her surge towards a new life right after Will's death. Heading out in Paris to "live boldly", she found herself in a downward spiral after the initial high of receiving Will's legacy. The old folks back in England are in a bad state of mind and heart like Louisa except for Nathan, who seems to be the only one who has his act together.

At the end of Me Before You, Louisa received a letter from Will that explained what he wants her to do with her life. It took her more than a year to figure things out and the reader is taken to witness the ups and down of Louisa's grieving process.

What worked

Will is now an invisible character in the novel, but his presence is strongly felt by those who love him dearly. His father, though starting a family of his own, is in a state of melancholy. His mother has turned into a hermit whose only way of coping is through gardening. Louisa struggles the most with the guilt, the loss and the pressure of living boldly. How can you really live with great abandon and positivity after death. Enter the weekly counseling and therapy session, which Louisa attended after her fall from her apartment's rooftop. In the company of people who experienced a loss, Louisa found common ground in a process that is not as easy as it looks especially for the reader, like myself, who has been invested in the Will and Louisa love team.

New characters emerge and were introduced in funny and surprising events. There is Will's long lost daughter, Lily. Sam the paramedic and a host of new friends Louisa was able to make along the way that helped her overcome the mourning process. How conjoined death and living are. Even Louisa's family felt the effect of Will's death through her. Take for example, her mother's sudden turn to feminism and her sister's aggressive attempts to wake her up from a zombie-like existence.

In the end, Louisa made the choice to just live and to live life well. This second book stays true to its message that free will, our capacity to make our own choices enables us to live boldly and to love fully. And this was amplified once more from Sam's choice to let Louisa take that job in New York. After You is indeed a romance story that broke the typical happily ever after mould.

What did not work

Lily's arrival in Louisa's life after Will's death is, really, ah, surprising. But, Will was introduced as a playboy early on, so why am I surprised to find Lily at Louisa's rooftop? Because the only lasting relationship Will had before his accident was with Lissa. Lily was a blast from the past. It could have worked better if in the first novel, there was a mention or an indication of a tryst that may have resulted in an unexpected pregnancy of one of Will's girls.

Overall, Afyer You is a sequel that fits the closure (or is it - because it is interesting to figure out how Sam and Lou plan to work out a long distance relationship) to a beautiful and unforgettable love story.

Rating: 3.5 Bookmarks

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Trailer: Big Sister

Lampard Books made this book trailer for Big Sister (2015). Illustrated by Ruben "Totet" de Jesus, the book is available in local bookstores especially in all Precious Pages bookstores in SM malls. Online orders can be made over at Lampara Books website.

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