Sunday, December 31, 2017

Monthly First Post of 2017

Keeping up with a blogging tradition, here is the list of the first monthly blog posts of 2017.

January: #KwentoRP612: Faith. Love. Hope
I joined an online fast fiction writing event over the holidays in 2016. One entry spilled over in January 2017.

February: My 2016 In Retrospect: My Life as a Storyteller (So far)
My looking-back-posts in the blog that I started in January 2017 went on until February 2017. This post is about my inclusion as one of the five storytellers in Museo Pambata's Paglaki Ko exhibit room.

March: I Love Libraries: The Quezon City Public Library
Because I love libraries and I support them heart and soul!

April: Crafting a Good Information Literacy Manual
One of the many promo materials on the workshops I conducted in 2017.

May: 2017 Book Spine Poetry Finalists
Poetry is food for the soul.

June: Convo on Makerspaces
When I set up a Makerspace in our library last academic year and blogged about it, I got a Q&A op from a blog reader.

July: National Children's Book Day 2017
Need I say more?

August: NCBD 2017 Aftershocks: The 1st PBBY Storytelling Festival
Hurrah for librarians, teachers and literacy advocates who were involved in the 1st PBBY Storytelling Festival! We pulled it through and with much success!

September: Book Review: See You In the Cosmos
Read my review of See You In the Cosmos one more time. Jack Cheng's main character is a Fil-Am kid on a road trip. An endearing story of family, identity and friendship.

October: The Lighthouse Diary Entry 4: My Life as a Teacher Librarian
Inspired by a talk from one of our professional development activities in school, the Lighthouse Diary Entry was born. Here is entry number 4 where I reflect on the many roles of a teacher librarian.

November: November is Literacy Month
Curated posters and events for Literacy Month 2017

December: IB Online Workshop: Reflections on the Extended Essay
I finished an online workshop this December on the Extended Essay. I posted my reflections on the blog. Here is the first of four posts.

And that's it, pancit!

2017 is a challenging year for Filipino bloggers given the anonymity or popularity of Mocha Uson but that doesn't mean Filipino bloggers and blogging must cease. So here's to carrying on to more blogging days in 2018! Rage against the dying of the light!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

November In Review: Art, Books and Music (3 of 3)

At the tail end of National Book Week, I visited the De La Salle Science and Technology Center (DLS - STC) Grade School Library for a Zine Making activity with a group of middle grades and junior high school students. This literacy and literary engagement was made possible through the effort of Ms. Candy May Schijf, library coordinator.

It was their first time to hear about Zines, let alone make one. That is why, I took simple steps and basic concepts in introducing this literary genre and format to them. Making the Zines along side these young readers and writers was a learning experience for me too. At the end of the session, there were two students who finished making a zine.

A high school student made this zine!

It was my hope that they continue making their own Zines. If not, creating their stories and producing their own works of art in whatever medium is the long term goal. Inspiring kids to read and write is the beginning of language and literary development. Engaging them to write and create their own stories in a medium of their choice is empowering. Apart from the classroom, it is the library where literacy development and empowerment through language use happen. Teachers teach these skills, yes, and students get assessed and evaluated on learning gained.

But, when librarians involve themselves in the process of creation, where individual differences are respected as well as varying learning modalities, then the librarian facilitates learning! Kudos to Ms. Schijf for making the classroom-library connection happen.

Helpful links: On Zines and Zines Making Workshop @ the School Library

SLIA Posts on Zines: Zines and Self Publishing
SLIA Posts on Zines: Zine Collection in the School Library

DIY: Zine Making for Kids
Zines: A Beginners Guide
Zines as Teaching Tools

Friday, December 29, 2017

Movie Review: Five Things I Love About Ang Larawan

Ang Larawan
Produced by Culturtain and Musicat
Direction by Loy Arcenas
Libretto by Rolando Tinio
Music by Ryan Cayabyab
From the original three act play of Nick Joaquin

I will try to keep this sweet and short since the movie, Ang Larawan, won Best Picture in the 2017 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Gabi ng Parangal already. What is another rave review when all that is amazing and awe inspiring things have been said about the movie? But I want to put this on record. It was the ONLY movie I intended to watch in the MMFF this season.

I have had my fill of romcoms every MMFF. Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda are on TV five days of the week and social media is littered with news and features of young stars from GMA and ABS-CBN. I decided to be good to may heart and to take extra care for my soul. It had to be Nick Joaquin, Rolando Tinio, Ryan Cayabuab and Celeste Legaspi. When can I get this once in a lifetime chance of engaging with these artists in the most accessible art form but during the MMFF?

So, here are five things I love about Ang Larawan.

1. Bagay na bagay ang mga awitin sa bawat characters ng pelikula. I don't know which came first. Selecting the cast and giving them songs that fit their range and personalities, or arranging the songs for each actor's range and style? Pinag-isipan talaga! The production team obviously love their actors and Mr. C has great respect for all of them to be given such challenging and meaningful songs to sing.

2. The cast gave polished performances! There was no upstaging of actor 1 and actor 2. Each had their shinning moment. Rayver Cruz was not OP. Keribels ni Paulo Avelino ang song and dance number! Nag-enjoy ako sa cameo ni Ogie Alcasid. He looked very serious as a policeman, but his presence was comic relief, at least to me, in that particular scene where Candida is about to have her epic breakdown. Finally, nakapanood rin ako ng Pinoy movie na may ensemble cast na nag-gel lahat ng energies, dynamics, talents and artistic skills.

3. Ang ganda ng libretto ni Rolando Tinio. My favorite part was Don Perico's where he sang about life, like art, is intricate. Ang ganda sa Tagalog!

Hindi simple ang buhay katulad ng sining. 
May puwersang humuhubog sa ating landasin. 
Hindi tayo’ng may hawak sa kinabukasan. 
Nagmimiron ka lamang sa ‘yong kapalaran.”

4. The close up shots of each character were all very intriguing. Looking at the portrait that was never fully shown but was described differently by the one viewing it suggest mystery, and for the audience, voyeurism!

Needless to say, one's interpretation of art differs from another.

5. The film stayed true to the original material and although Tinio's translation have lost some of Joaquin's meaning and poetry in the process, Ang Larawan moved me to look inward and discover new insights about myself and the world.

I read the play in college and identified more with Candida. I saw the play on stage in the early 90s (at the International School Manila, of all places!) and I was disturbed by the nostalgia, especially the melancholic narration of Bitoy Camacho. Twenty and three years after, Paula sings about making decisions. Emancipation. Detachment. I know what she means. I understand it too well. I feel it too!


Photo source:

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Holiday Reads: Rancher Daddy and Naughty but Nice

Rancher Daddy: A Single Dad & Nanny RomanceRancher Daddy: A Single Dad & Nanny Romance by Lexi Whitlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It has all the ingredients of the modern romance story. The more experienced and older man meets young, smart and independent woman. It was love, and lust, at first sight. Every one in the family circle is rooting for Camden and Grace to make it, of course. Both came from relationships that were meaningless and for, Camden, his was a messier one. Include a five year old girl in the story who deserves a family and a home, and you will be cheering this pair on to growing old together.

It is this baggage that Camden brings into the relationship causing conflict. When Grace’s ex-boyfriend came around, it made matters worse as she needed to decide whether to stay or leave Montana. But a force of nature changed all that!

Rancher Daddy, despite the cliche, is a well planned and thought out romance story.

View all my reviews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Not my first May-December romance story, but it took me a while to accept the plausibility of Gabriel and Penny. The rich single dad, Gabriel, was established as a good man early in the story. A match perfect for Penny who was in need of a protector. Other than this, I did not, or failed, to see anything else worth rooting for.

I had fun reading the reaction of their immediate family members though. It is a hot and steamy read and that’s all there is to it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Book Review: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe)

Scythe (Arc of a Skythe, #1)Scythe by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My review of Scythe

Definetly a series that I will watch out for till the last book. One of my best reads of 2017.

Philosophical. Funny. Utterly human!

What worked

As a first book in the series, its duty is to build a believable utopian world and characters to inhabit that universe. In this age and time where death and disease have all been eradicated, I find myself looking for grounding so I could suspend my disbelief. Shusterman succeeds to some extent by pulling up the sci-fi card.

Thanks to science and technoligy, immortality has been achieved. The fountain of youth is no longer the stuff of legend and the elixir of life can be accessed and availed in a revival center. The world is controlled, managed and sustained by the Thunderhead, an AI that supplanted the Cloud as well as corruptible man made institutions. Gone are the imperfect political systems of the world except for the Scythedom composed of Scythes, gleaners of the human race. They are the grim reapers and people who populate Shusterman’s world regard them as honorable and frightful beings licensed to take lives and to bring an end to one’s immortality.

And there lies the conflict. Scythes are humans too and they are fallible. While many of them live up to the morals of gleaning, and its agonies, many abuse this power.

It is here in this world and in this problem where teenagers Citra and Rowan found themselves in. Both became scythes at the end of Book 1. The former was ordained by the Scythedom but the later became a vigilante. It is their story arcs that had me hook, line and sinker.

What did not work

One of my favorite characters in the book faked his death and it was not explained how. There are more loop holes and gaps in the plot. I had to put them aside to join in Citra’s and Rowan’s journey.

Definitely, I am expecting an answer to my questions in Book 2!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

IB Online Workshop: The Road Goes Ever On!

I will focus my reflection on two things: the process I went through towards the finish line and the products I made and my take away from the workshop.
I came in the workshop with the confidence of someone who has an experience working in a school that has been running the DP program for seven years. Attending this online workshop was not my first so this experience added to my confidence. I was excited to participate and engage with peers and colleagues to share practices that worked and challenges we face in implementing the EE. During the first module, I found common ground with seasoned IB teachers and colleagues new to the IB. 
I found myself moving a step ahead in module 1 like posting a question that is more appropriate for module 4 and identifying an action plan to help teachers supervise the EE with their students. When module 2 began, I was overwhelmed with the content and coverage that I had to pause and step back so I can find my center, gather my thoughts and strategise a manageable time and space to jump back in the learning engagements.
I appreciated John's email prompting me to participate everyday since learning engagements lead to deeper thought and distillation of content covered in module 2. Indeed, the posts of the participants lent insight and pushed me to look at my own including my pacing and time management.
Mid-way in module 3, I fell ill and was confined for three days in the hospital. Once again, I am appreciative of everyone who reached out and made an effort to reply to my posts late in the module. Catching up was a lot of work and I feel that, till the end, I am still trailing behind. A slice of humble pie never tasted this good!
Also, there goes the lesson to keep one's self healthy at all times. It is time to take seriously this concept of work-life balance and how to make it really work for me.
I have attended face to face IB workshops in the past with good results, but an online workshop has its advantages. The discussions boards and forum will be open for six months. This will give me enough time to review, look back and recall discussions, answers to my questions and back read on posts I missed.
Of the four module, I am most affirmed and validated in module 2. Reading the posts of participants saying how valuable the librarian is in the EE journey inspired me to further assert my role in the school. Not everyone in my learning community recognise the relevance of librarians in the EE and in teaching and learning in general. But, knowing I have the support of my DP Coordinator and Dean of Faculty is already a platform I can work on to spring board more ideas, services and programs to help teachers in the supervision of the EE.
Modules 3 was a lot of work, especially that there are no grade boundaries to work on in the new guide. Nonetheless, I felt and learned how a year 11 student would feel and think at the beginning of the EE. The student-supervisor relationship must be strong and the school must really set up a support system for this relationship to flourish. I look at the EE supervision not just an administrative job, but a formative and teaching job that goes beyond the expected job description.
Feedback and reflection are two of the important concepts that I will carry with me back to the Academy when I discuss my PAP with my school leaders. Plus, the learning of the WSEE. Module 4 was the most challenging! 
And so, I conclude this workshop with a revised Personal Plan of Action that includes a personal development to write a WSEE by August 2018. I resolve to actualise the plans I have in my PAP and I will start by sending a copy of it to my DP Coordinator and Dean of Faculty. They have something to think about the rest of the holidays. :-)
I thank everyone who patiently answered and replied to my posts, to John most especially for answering all my Burning Questions!
This online workshop reaches an end of a journey, but I begin another one back in the Beacon Academy.
Have a meaningful holiday everyone! A grace filled New Year to all!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Movie Review: 10 Things I Love About Coco


Direction: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina

Screenplay: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Jason Katz and Matthew Aldrich

Disney-Pixar, 2017

We were able to catch Coco in the cinema this holiday season. We laughed and cried in all the right places. I love it and here are ten reasons why.

1. The music is a focal point connecting Miguel to his past, present and future. The fambam loves music. We all use and play our respective instruments. We know where Miguel is coming from.

2. Remember Me is beautiful but I had the most fun watching Miguel and Hector sing Un Poco Loco.

3. The Mariachi! It is music I rarely hear or listen to but when I do, I love it. To my ears, it sounds so romantic.

4. The Mexican folklore, legends, customs, superstitions, myths and belief system that make up the movie’s platform for storytelling fascinated me. The Day of the Dead, for one, is a celebration of life. It is a time to remember the lives of loved ones that have moved on. In more ways than one, they still affect the lives of the ones they left behind. This is a tradition where significant human experiences abound and the film made use of it really well. The ofrenda, where the photos of the dearly departed was an important storytelling element emphasizing the role of memory. How petals of marigolds, orange and golden, can bridge the dearly departed to their living loved ones. The animal spirit guides that cross over like their departed humans on the Day of the Dead is a scene I found endearing. They too have their own stories to tell! 

5. The visual storytelling is amazing! The colors of the animal spirit guides were as lumunous as the personalities of their human counterparts. The paper cut outs that served as a prologue was effectively used. The skeleton shaped guitars suggest Miguel’s entrance to the realm of the dead. And the marigolds! I will nevet get over those orange flowers!

6. Miguel is a charming character and so is Hector. The former is looking for his niche in world. The later simply wants to be remembered. But the way they fought for their hearts’ desires make them heroes in their own right.

7. The plot twist is done pretty well!

8. Ernesto de la Cruz’s character is a tale of his own, and a cautionary one. 

9. Frida Kahlo

10. Gael Garcia Bernal

Should cinemas in your area bring back screenings of Coco after the Metro Manila Filmfest, go see it! 

Review: 4.5 / 5

Photo source: 

Pasko 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

November In Review: Art, Books and Music (2 of 3)

November was also my author and literary month.

Picture Book Month 2017

I carried on with Picture Book Month through the help of Heidi Hafner, web designer, and the founders of Picture Book Month (PBM) Katie Davis, Marcie Colleen, Wendy Martin, Elizabeth Dulemba and Joyce Wan. PBM had an impressive list of Champions this year. Each essay carries weight as to the importance of Picture books, however, here are links to my favorite posts.

Letters From the Founders - a loving and fitting tribute to Dianne de Las Casas who left us so suddenly in August 21, 2017. John CouretEliana de Las Casas gave endearing essays about Dianne and how her love and passion for picture books made them embrace life more freely and joyfully.

Edna Cabcabin-Moran is a surprising discovery for me. While this year's list of PBM Champions' essays oozed with diversity and messages of empathy and inclusion, to me, it was Ms. Cabcabin-Moran's voice that amplified these themes.

Greg Pizzoli's essay is a wonderful read as he stumbled into the industry with a burst of imagination and creativity. In the end, his purpose to create picture books is simply to recognise and mirror emotions that make us all humans.

Arthur Levine talked about the technicalities of producing picture books. Of course. Coming from a publisher's point of view, Mr. Levine emphasised the relevance of picture books as making meaning and that the reader has the power to make it so.

Peter McCleery discovered picture books through Mo Willems and this led him to the library where he learned of the magic weavers in the industry. There was no turning back for Mr. McCleery. How many of us, authors and creatives, fell in love with picture books through authors who showed us how? I definitely know this experience as I had been touched by fairy godparents of the industry that I wanted to make one, and two and many more?!

Eric Ode gave importance to picture books and the adults who make them for children to grow up as keepers of this tradition.

Elizabeth O. Dulemba drummed up the many literacies that picture books develop in a learning child.

If you haven't been there, visit the Picture Book Month website now. And if you're feeling bleak these days, the essays of the Champions will restore you and your faith in humanity.

Bulilit Books at the Rizal Library International Conference

In case you missed it, I presented our paper in the 7th Rizal Library International Conference about the book history of the Bulillit Books of the 70s and the revised editions which we called PROJECT LEARN. Here are the links from last month's posts.

The 7th Rizal Library International Conference
PPT: PROJECT LEARN Revisiting History and Creating New Narratives for Young Filipino Readers

Interview via SKYPE
Calapan Press Conference

The hardworking couple, Michael and Bernadette Wolf, managed to set up a SKYPE video conference with me and the Mindoro Press Corps. I was interviewed about the things I love: books, reading, storytelling and libraries!

In addition, I explained how picture books and children's literature can represent diversity. We need more books and stories with characters from our Indigenous Peoples. Mindoro is home to the Mangyans. This part of the interview raised awareness of its importance among the media people present in the conference.

Bernadette and I were also able to promote our books, The Start Right Reading Series and A Tale of Two Dreams, both are published by Lampara Books. The local DepEd Officials were also present that day and they received this news of our books with great interest.

Joe Leuterio, the leader of the pack, was amazed at how technology can work for us. The SKYPE interview was the first video conferencing the Press Corps had with a guest resource speaker.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Announcement: The 2018 PBBY Salanga Prize Winner

Award-Winning Children’s Author Bags 2018 PBBY-Salanga Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) declared Becky Bravo as the Grand Prize winner for the 2018 PBBY-Salanga Prize. Bravo won with her work, May Alaga Akong Bakulaw, a story on how a little girl helps her neighbor battling depression. 

Honorable Mention was given to the following: The War Between Fireflies and Christmas Lights by Raymond Falgui; May Mahaba Kaming Listahan sa Tindahan by Genaro Gojo Cruz; and, Si Lola-Nanay at Si Dandandandan by Danie Rose Sedilla-Cruz.

This is Bravo’s first PBBY-Salanga grand prize. Her other works have won her the National Book Award, the National Children’s Book Award, and the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature. 

Winners will be awarded during the celebration of the National Children’s Book Day on July 17, 2018.

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

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

IB Online Workshop: Reflections on Module 4 - The World Studies EE and Approaches to Learning

I am sharing once more my reflections on the learning engagements I do in the IB Online Workshop.

This module is the most challenging for me because of the newness that the World Studies EE posses. Coming up with a topic and RQ for a WSSEE requires macro-micro levels of thinking, and vice-versa, apart from a good grasp of global issues. As a librarian, I am challenged very much to review the information and intellectual systems and structures that will support the student who is working on a WSEE. Sourcing of data, records and information sources is one of the important factors that spells the success of a WSEE.

What resources can you suggest to your students who may be interested in a world studies extended essay?

I will first recommend titles of books in assessing and developing one's thinking skills, especially critical and creative thinking skills. I will make available in the library the resources, print and online, that tackle global issues. The Day, New York Times are two media and news source outlets that come to mind. For specific global themes and issues, I will collect a directory of experts, scholars and researches that specialise on subject specific topics. Government agencies, foundations, non-government organisations can also be of help when searching for resources.

One of the trends in library services today is the staging of the Human Library. It is an event where experts and stories of resource persons are discussed to break down the walls of prejudice and to take in new perspectives of the world. There was one academic library in Manila that had a Human Library session about Martial Law. Human rights victims told their stories about abuses of power during Martial Law in the Philippines during the rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Another Human Library session was about the Lumads of Mindanao, an indigenous group, who experienced abuse from authorities and were driven away from their ancestral lands. The Ifugaos of Northern Philippines have a similar experience back in the 80s over a dam to be built in the mountains. How these things happen in the 21st century was a good discussion in the Human Library session. 

This is something I can consider doing in our school through the library's programs and services.

What else can be added to your personal action plan?

I have added teaching strategies on reflective teaching and learning, as well as Thinking skills as important components of the EE and research writing in general.

Can ATL (Approaches to Learning) in your classroom be extended to the extended essay? How?

This remains a challenge in our school. While teachers identify ATL in their unit plans to be taught and facilitated to students in the MYP, skills need to be strengthened in the DP still. This goes to show that the EE is a learning experience that is connected to the Personal Project, thus, a continuing development of ATL must be recognised. Not all learners come to the DP with fully developed ATL.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Movie Review: Smaller and Smaller Circles

I am writing this from memory as I have seen Smaller and Smaller Circles in a special preview last February 25, 2017 in Cinema 76. The movie is still showing in selected theatres in the metro and in one movie house in Albay. Visit the movie's Facebook Page where you will find bonus scenes, previews, trivia and more reviews by film critics and experts. Copy-paste this link and you are on your way -

As a school librarian, a member of the education sector, here are my three thoughts on the movie, plus one - a personal comment which I hope to see happening sooner or later.

Thought #1 - Sid Lucero and Nonie Buencamino deliver compelling performances as Jesuits battling forces bigger than themselves. Buencamino is very convincing as a Jesuit. Smart. Sarcastic. Unafraid. Lucero essays the role with an intrinsic wonder and curiosity. There are moments in the film where he appears to be simply an observer but his presence as friend and ally to Buencamino's character never fades.

I am still hoping he gets to play a lead role in a romcom. He is too good looking to wear that clerical collar.

Thought #2 - This movie is based on a book by FH Batacan. There is a short story version, correct me if I am wrong. I remember, vaguely though, having discussed this story in one of the reading and critiquing group I used to attend a long, long time ago. Then there came the novella published by UP Press. And then, the novel was published. And now, the movie.

This goes to show how good the story is. So, please. Go watch it while it is still being screened in select movie houses!

Thouught #3 - The movie is set in the 90s so it offers the viewer the socio-cultural and political milieu of the decade. Not so much has changed. The same questions on faith, justice and God's presence permeate and remain unanswered. Well, at least to me, since I often grapple with these universal truths. In the midst of all these questions, the movie shows the woundedness of humanity and how much in need we all are of kindness and love.

Which brings me to my plus one. There are a lot of things and themes to unpack in the movie. It is intelligently made and the production value is of quality. I hope the producers could find ways to arrange a screening of the movie to high schools both in the public and private sectors. I hope parishes and communities are able to see the movie with Filipino subtitling. I hope school libraries can acquire DVDs of the film. Why not partner with public libraries like the newly built Quezon City Public Library, or the Ortigas Foundation Library and the Ayala Museum for public screenings? Today's libraries and museums have engaging and interactive programs for the community.

Perhaps it is time to involve the library and museum sectors in the distribution of relevant Filipino movies.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

November In Review: Art, Books and Music (1 of 3)

Catching up on blog worthy activities and experiences I had last November. Here goes!

Ang INK Workshop at ARTS ABOVE 

Ang Illustrador ng Kabataan kicked off November by conducting the annual INKFest Capsule Workshop, a series of art workshops for free. I signed up Zoe for basic sketching and we ended up in a quaint and avant garde venue in Arts Above, West Avenue, Quezon City.

Zoe enjoyed the workshop and she went home with sketches to show her art teacher in school. It was her first time to attend an art workshop. What made the experience enjoyable was the actual drawing session sans lecture. It was a learn by doing exercise where the facilitator, Kevin Roque, advised, gave comments and feedback to workshop participants. Besides, it was participated by artists and art enthusiasts of all ages. In this learning environment, participants, young and old, learn from each other.

Another interesting thing was that the workshop was held at Arts Above. Owned by Roeder Camanag, Arts Above is home to his theatre group, Artists Playground. Located at the Penthouse of the building, it has a theatre that can accommodate 150-200 people, a workshop and performance area and a cafe where crafters and artists have a corner to sell their art and crafts.

How lucky we were that day because we met Roeder Camanag! Back in the 90s, Roeder broke out into the local music industry as an OPM (Original Pilipino Music) artist. I like one of his songs, Sana Naman, where one longs for love to be reciprocated. At present, Arts Above welcomes artists, students and seasoned ones, to use their exhibit space, theatre and performance space for all artistic pursuits.

Visit their Facebook Page for inquires if you are looking for a space to use for events and artistic activities:

The Settlement by Mark Justiniani, presented by the Ateneo Art Gallery and CANVAS (Center for Art, New Ventures and Sustainable Development)

Zoe and I were in Ateneo De Manila University thrice last month and while there, we capitalised in enjoying the campus where traffic is well designed and there are paths to walk on. Since the Arete is the new home of the Ateneo Art Gallery, we made sure to pass by.

It was the installation art of Mark Justiniani that captivated us. I have no words to describe it and I recommend you go see it. Sadly, this blog post about Justiniani's public installation art ends today. Do check the website and blog of CANVAS, as well as the Facebook Page ( for news and information on the next public venue of The Settlement.

Here are two photos we took inside it.

The dinning table that mimics the one in the Aguinaldo Mansion in Kawit, Cavite
is one of the mesmerising art pieces inside The Settlement. 

Inside The Settlement are windows and mirrors that illuminate or confuse the viewer
into thinking and perceiving truths and lies of past and present events in Philippine history.

The Guy Simondac Studio's Homeward Bound

Mid-November, the fambam watched a benefit concert of the Guy Simondac Music Studio (GSMS). Master Edgardo "Sir Guy" Simondac is father, uncle, teacher, mentor and friend to many musically gifted and talented students. He was my son Nico's piano teacher after Teacher Cess Galicia taught him the basics for a year.

From Sir Guy, Nico learned not just playing the piano, but life skills and lessons to bring with him through life. Sir Guy and Teacher Cess were both instrumental to Nico's acceptance in UP Diliman and St. Scholastica's College. Choosing the former, Nico is now a third year student at the College of Music majoring in Music Education. He joined the concert as a guest beatboxer of the studio's resident acapella group.

Sir Guy Simondac at his best and in his element
Zoe, on the one hand, attended violin classes in Sir Guy's Music Studio under the tutelage of Teacher Dean Giron. Zoe has taken a break from violin lessons but her interest in music remains. From Teacher Dean, she has learned to be patient not only in learning new patterns of notes, but also in ways of thinking.

Back in 2014, I attended voice lessons under Sir Guy's coaching. I had a wonderful time knowing myself and facing my fears. Sir Guy helped me gain my confidence in reaching the high notes, placing my voice and breathing exercises that help me calm down and strengthen my vocal stamina. I will never forget my first performance in the summer presentation of the GSMS in St. Scholastica's College. On days when I need to sing again, I go back to him and we rekindle old times, old lessons and make new discoveries together.

The Guy Simondac Music Studio is currently raising funds to fully establish itself as the leading music studio and talent centre in these parts of Southern Tagalog.

Nico and Zoe with Sir Guy, teacher and mentor in music and life.
More power to, you Sir Guy! We keep you in our prayers! Visit the Facebook Page of the Guy Simondac Music Studio through this link:

Thursday, December 14, 2017

IB Online Workshop: Pedagogical Support for the EE

The two concepts that stood out to me after reading the Pedagogical support for the extended essay were the Reflection and the EE and the Student-Supervisor Relationship.

The Reflection and the EE

This concept stood out to me because this is new in the EE. To devote a criterion for reflection only goes to show how important this is. Besides, Reflective is one of the ten qualities in the list of the Learner Profile.

Previous to working in the Beacon Academy, I was a school librarian in a Jesuit school. As a lay partner of the Jesuits in educating and forming men and women for others, it was there, among Jesuits and their lay partners where I first encountered the relevance of reflection in a person's life. I learned from them the cycle of Experience-Reflection-Action. This permeates the teaching and learning practices of the learning community.

Back to Beacon. In my first year, I attended the IB Workshop and Training required of newly hired faculty and there I met the words Reflection, Action and Inquiry. Somehow, I did not feel entirely foreign to the IB as I have prior knowledge and experience to latch on new things that I will learn from peers and colleague who were IB trained. Over the years, my colleagues have been supportive of this continuous process of learning and some of them have become good friends. Oh boy! It has been unexciting ride as there are new things being incorporated in the IB within two or three years time.

In this journey of learning continuously in the IB, reflection remains at its core. The PYP is grounded on inquiry based learning and statements of inquiry are essential parts of unit plans. To reflect on process in the EE journey in the DP, as I take it, manifest as the capstone skill in year 12.

I believe in reflective teaching and learning. I enjoy reflection even though it is difficult to do at first and it is not akin to the Filipino psyche and culture. Reflection is something we need to consciously learn and teach. Despite the challenge, there are techniques to use and apply to help students (and teachers) become reflective learners. Once reflection becomes a habit, it is a life skill that can help a person push farther and further on in life.

This is where I find the TSM helpful, especially the section on Pedagogical support for the extended essay, because it has a slew of activities and strategies that prompts, helps and aids supervisors and students reflect in the EE. There are many things to unpack and set in place. In my plan of action, I included a Research Writing (RW) workshop for EE supervisors. I will add activities and points for reflection in the RW workshop that I will design with the help of my DP Coordinator and Dean of Faculty. I will definitely select and use the recommended activities in the TSM’s Pedagogical support for the extended essay.

The Student-Supervisor Relationship

Working with students in the EE for the past two years made me realise that I am building a relationship with them that is grounded on trust and mutual respect. Below is the description of what makes for a good student-supervisor relationship and the primary role of the EE supervisor. 

Taken from the Pedagogical support for the extended essay, I will keep these statements to heart:
A good student–topic–supervisor fit is likely when the supervisor:
  • knows the student well
  • shares the student’s excitement and curiosity about the topic
  • is comfortable establishing a clear work plan with the student
  • follows up with timely feedback.

The supervisor should:

Implementing policies and procedures of the EE may appear as highly administrative. But, beyond these administrative layers, a school community needs to work together and each member has a role to play. School leaders create the learning environment and systems, supervisors teach, administer and form students as knowledgable, inquiring, principled and reflective learners within the EE journey, and parents are needed for support at home.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Neriza Delos Santos-Oraba (2 of 2)

Here is part 2 of the interview of Ms. Neriza Delos Santos-Oraba on the INELI-ASEAN Children's Literature Database Project.

What support does it need from Filipino librarians and allied professionals?

For the resources and contents to continuously grow, we need contributors such as authors, aspiring authors, institutions and publishers to supply the contents (published or unpublished children's literature) and content managers such as public librarians to manage/update existing content, collect & create new contents, and promote the use of the database to their library patrons and other stakeholders.

What has been the project’s notable accomplishment so far?

The project was able to compile children's literature e-resources. Contents are supplied with bibliographic information of the e-book, others have links to free download or online access, and location (address or Googlemaps location) of the nearest public library where the printed books are available and can be borrowed.

With the project, the team was awarded Best in Collaboration because it involved libraries and institutions in the region to resolve a common problem and to optimize results.


Although a new team leader was chosen, Kolap never really left the team because she's always there to offer her help and guidance. Because of her and her brother Bora, the ACL database was born. She promised she will continue the project with the team. Aside from the team's mentor Ms. Rashidah, Kolap was there to guide on how to lead the team. She supported Libranovators  throughout the project.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Filipino Librarian of the Month: Neriza Delos Santos-Oraba (1 of 2)

The blog's Filipino Librarian of the Month is Mrs. Neriza Delos Santos-Oraba of the National Library. She is the project leader of the INELI-ASEAN Children's Literature Database. In this interview, she narrates the challenges she faces in the conduct of the project.

Briefly describe the objectives of INELI-ASEAN and the Children’s Literature Database and your role in the project.

International Network of Emerging Library Innovators-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (INELI-ASEAN) is a three (3)-year project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries (GL) initiative and implemented by the National Library of the Philippines (NLP) that involves ASEAN member countries to leverage appropriate solutions that will enable public library leaders who share a common vision for economic, political and socio-cultural development and integration particularly focusing and strengthening capacities of public libraries in the region.

The Collaborative Project’s general objective is to provide one gateway access to children's literature in ASEAN.  This is not only to bring the visibility of free online children and young adult literature from ASEAN to wider audiences and a way of meeting their needs, but also to promote better understanding between people of ASEAN through literature. Moreover, these resources can help instill multicultural understanding and appreciate the diversity of the ASEAN people. It also

I am the Team project leader.

How did you prepare for the project?

All of us are required to access the INELI-ASEAN online learning portal where we need to answer and complete the 10 modules that will help us to prepare and work towards the completion our project,  and be able to collaborate and communicate with the team members from different Asian countries.

The modules taught us on how to work on teams, develop innovation skills, manage team projects, develop communication skills, conflict management, time management, risk management, develop leadership skills, improve service quality and project completion.

What are the challenges you encounter and how do you overcome them?

The team encountered so many challenges that almost made the project unsuccessful. Pointing out  the major challenges below:

a. Copyright Issue
 - This is a major risk that challenged our team. Due to the Copyright Law, the team was not able to collect enough resources to be uploaded onto the database.

This resulted in the  shift, to create a resource list as part of the major content of the database.

b. Lack of concentration and focus towards the project - Submissions, targets, online meeting, and timelines were often neglected due to their full responsibility for the primary jobs that needs to prioritize and other concerns.

In spite of the problem with limited communication due to busy schedule, different time zones and unavailability of members, the team used and maximized communication tools available to communicate with available members, sending their concerns and queries at their most convenient time, responding with inputs or feedback as soon as matters/ideas/feedback were received/read.

c. Another challenge faced by the team was when Kolap, who was leading the team in the early stage, pulled out due to work commitments.

Through online discussions, the team  identified and selected a new leader. This was one of the tests of group dynamics amongst LIBRANOVATORS.

d. Inadequate skills for the project - A majority of the team lacked the knowledge and skills in information technology such as development, maintenance and troubleshooting of a database.

Creation of the ACL Database/Website was made possible with the assistance of professional IT personnel from Cambodia (Kolap's brother and colleague) who developed the ACL database/website for the team  free of charge. They also helped the team with the troubleshooting of any technical problems encountered during the test run.

e. Funding/Budgetary concerns
While the team was very lucky to get a temporary sponsor for the hosting of the database/website, however, the limited capacity/space available proved to be another challenge for LIBRANOVATORS.  Members were not able to upload all collected e-resources due to the limited capacity/space of the database.

The Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia (PUC) (Cambodia) temporarily hosts the database /website for the implementation and presentation of the project. We are hopeful that this challenge could be resolved if/when there is an institution that could fully host the database and provide sufficient space for the growing collection in the future. Currently, we are working out on a possible sponsorship for the hosting of the website/database

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

IB Online Workshop: Reflections on the Extended Essay

Sharing with you, dear readers, the reflections I have on the IB online workshop I am participating in for the past two weeks. This workshop is about the Role of the Supervisor in the Extended Essay (EE). I am not supervising a student's EE, but in Beacon Academy, I am part of the coordinating team helping and supporting teachers in the EE journey. 

 Something new that I learned about the extended essay: 
 * I am not the only one concerned with students' imbibing the values and codes of conduct that are essential in writing the EE. This gives me comfort. :-) To be in the company peers, colleagues and professionals in the IB and interacting with them is a big support for a learner like myself. There is more reason to teach and learn collaboratively.  
 * The EE is a process oriented task and therefore, reflecting on the process leads to learning beyond the subject and the topic of choice for investigation.  
 * Reflection happens or occurs in all phases of the EE, from the initial check-in sessions to the interim and final stage of the EE. That is why, reflection skills and strategies in teaching need to be planned and implemented in the context of the learner at the forefront of instruction.  
 * Formative assessments are the built-in structures that can firm up reflection and metacogntion. Some of the things I need to think about again are the current library services and programs we offer to our teachers and students that contribute to the development and strengthening of ATLs, also known as life skills. The value of reflection is for the development of skills in lifelong learning.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Review: Issued to the Bride : One Marine (ARC)

Issued to the Bride One Marine (Brides of Chance Creek Book 4)Issued to the Bride One Marine by Cora Seton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back at Chance Creek. Back to familiar grounds.

Seton is consistently good at keeping the romantic tropes in line with the theme of the series. It has become a predictable read. Nothing else surprised me but for the General’s imminent return to Two Willows.

Logan is the funniest of the four men, so far. That he built a reading room up in the attic for Lena earned him points in my book. As for Lena, she is the most interesting of the sisters, so far. So let’s see what Alice ad Jack has to offer!

View all my reviews

Monday, November 27, 2017

Days 2-3 of the 7th Rizal Library International Conference: Connecting Libraries, Information & Community Knowledge

Congratulations to the Rizal Library, to Dr. Vernon R. Totanes and his competent and dependable staff for a successful celebration of its 50th year! The celebration was indeed, golden!

They launched a time train exhibit highlighting innovations and innovators that set the Rizal Library as a modern academic portal with an efficient and professional staff that continuously relate to its learning community with a love and loyalty akin to Rizal's relationship with the Philippines. I thought I have seen a good looking library mascot in its arch rival school, but Rizal Library's "Pepe" has to be the better looking one. Sorry, Jolibee, I know you have cool dance moves, but a young Jose Rizal mascot is my choice at the end of the day.

They conducted the 7th Rizal Library International Conference with paper presenters from the US, Singapore, Indonesia, Barbados, Australia and of course, the Philippines. The cadre of keynote speakers, the majority of them are non-librarians, are true lovers of books, libraries and the written word.

Dr. Reina Reyes, Ph.D. dazzled! She glowed as she spoke about the stories that lie beneath big data and how librarians can mine them to its potential. She bubbled with joy and I wondered about the books she read as a child. Dr. Nikki Carsi Cruz, Ph.D. is a historian and she knew the power of stories and when to appropriately use them. A friend from the book industry, Christine Bellen, took participants, visitors and guests to Calamba and back to Manila in her musical, Batang Rizal. Respect to Jerry Respeto for the accessible music that delighted everyone in the room. My favorite, so far, is the Kuwento Rap with Monkey and Tortoise dancing about, enacting the famous Tagalog folktale that launched a thousand Filipino tales and storybooks for children.

Paper presenters were a mix of young and seasoned researchers, academicians, dreamers and visionaries. Where else can you find an interdisciplinary conference with an international appeal, but in the Rizal Library International Conference. Pioneered by Hon. Lourdes T. David, her former team of librarians stayed true to her mission and legacy of fostering academic research in Library and Information Science by staging a gathering of curious, critical and creative thinkers in one big hall. Only this time, the younger set of librarians in the Rizal Library showed more - magis, by crossing content and accepting research subjects that will enrich the practice of LIS and the production of research in the discipline.

In the process, the Rizal Library library and staff succeeded in creating a research community beyond Katipunan and Loyola Heights.

I came. I saw. I CLICKED. See you in the next Rizal Library International Conference!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 1 of the 7th Rizal Library International Conference

As I write this post, participants of the 7th Rizal Library International Conference (RLIC) are out in the garden at the back of the Social Science complex having their morning break. I am in Leong Hall blogging away.

Reina Reyes' presentation on Big Data X Information Science has just ended. More on her talk next blog post.

Now, for Day 1 of the RLIC, here are some reflections I wish to share.

- Big data is the name of the game and librarians are in a good position to mine, curate, analyze and develop a body of knowledge that impacts communities.

- There has been an expressed need for training and continuous professional development on data mining and analysis. Me thinks: begin with information literacy.

- Librarians conserve and preserve information, knowledge and media. They create them too.

- Media and technology are thinking tools which librarians can use in creating, communicating and conserving information. There are limitations in technology and media access and availability, but through partnerships and collaboration objectives can be met. An example is the Community Archiving Workshop and Valerie Clarke's oral history, preservation project in Barbados

- Opportunities to imagine and create abound in our libraries and the communities where we belong and serve patrons. You only need to look closely to make things happen and to solve problems.

Next post is Day 2 of the RLIC!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The 1st Wordless Picture Book Prize of the PBBY

Lifted from the PBBY website:

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People is now accepting entries for its Wordless Book Prize2018 will mark the first year that the PBBY will be awarding such a prize. The winner shall receive Twenty Thousand Pesos and a medal. Prizes shall be awarded at an appropriate ceremony to be held on National Children's Book Day, July 17, 2018.


February 19, 2018 (5:00 PM)


  1. The contest is open to all Filipino citizens except those who are related to any PBBY member up to the third degree of consanguinity.
  2. All entries must be e-mailed to For this contest, all submissions must be in digital form, with each file clearly identifiable by a filename that is actually the pen name of the contestant.
  3. Entries may be in color or in black and white. They may be digitally rendered or traditionally done artwork that may or may not have been digitally enhanced. The submission format should be pdf. Entries should use the CMYK color space and should be at actual size format with resolution at 300dpi.
  4. Each entry should comprise the following:
    1. One clean comprehensive artwork of the cover spread design (includes both the front and back covers).

      Filenames for this file should include the initials CS.
      Example: PenName_CS.pdf
    2. Two clear comprehensive artworks of two spreads, rendered in the intended style and medium, and in the actual size format. The recommended spread size for a board book is 13 x 6.5 inches while the recommended size for a picture book is 14 x 9 inches.
      Filename should include SP01 for the first spread,
      and SP02 for the second spread.
      Example: PenName_SP01.pdf and PenName_SP02.pdf
    3. detailed storyboard in line drawing (grayscale).
      Filename should include the initials SB.
      Example: PenName_SB.pdf
    The contestant also has the option to submit all files already collected in a 4-page pdf. Filename should be Penname_ALL.pdf.
    Entries should not contain any words, just the title and subtitles (if any) on the Cover spread (CS).
    Failure to observe file naming rules may affect judgment of entry.
  5. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.
  6. Entries may be collaborative, meaning a visual artist may collaborate with a writer to come up with the narrative for the entry.
  7. Each contestant should also email two documents:
    1. The first document should indicate the contestant's full name, address, telephone/cell phone numbers and email address.
    2. The second document should be a scan of a notarized certification from the author. (Download the format for the certification).
    If the entry is collaborative, there should be complete information for both contestants.
  8. Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat and time-stamped no later than 5:00 p.m., February 19, 2018.
  9. PBBY reserves the right of first refusal for the publication of all winning entries.
Winners will be announced no later than April 20, 2018.

For more details, interested parties may contact PBBY by calling 3526765 local 203 or emailing pbby [at]
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