Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Meeting Real Life Earth Benders

It was Alternative Class Days (ACD) in school last week and I was the teacher proponent of two workshops: Paper Engineering and Clay/Pottery Workshop. With co-teachers helping conduct and supervise the former, I and two colleagues worked together to facilitate the later. 

Our plan was to visit the Pottery studio of Tessy and Jon Pettyjohn in Calamba, Laguna and assist potter and ceramic artist, Maui Melencio in conducting the workshop back in the Academy. It was an ACD that had all the elements working together: earth, water, air and fire. It was an Avatar moment and we became earth benders! 

Day 1 - Master Earth Benders

Tessy and Jon Pettyjohn have been bending earth for more than four decades. Their works have been displayed and exhibited in different parts of the country and the world. Tessy’s works are practical, showing symmetry and reason. Jon’s pottery go beyond functionality and utilitarianism. His works are fun to look at, suggestive of play and wonder with deviations from the expected norm. In their store, I saw a balck tea cup with a dent near the base. How beautifully made! Indeed, one’s impetfection can be a blessing to others!

Considered as the parents of Philippine Contemporary Ceramic Art, Tessy and Jon welcome visitors, especially those eager to learn about their art and their trade, to their home studio and workshop. Advance booking is needed so they schedule the visit in their calendar.

They do not disappoint. They are generous and warm, passionate artists who have been blessed by the earth’s bounties. That morning, we held clay in our hands. Cool and pliant. I noticed our students enjoying the feel of mud on their hands! I did too as the clay sticks to my palm like second skin. Yeilding, waiting to be formed. A story that must be to told.

Jon spoke about clay like it was alive. Listen to your clay, he said. Ask what it wants you to do, he added. In five minutes, I had a bowl made of clay.

When the clay is bone dry, it will be glazed and fired twice. The process takes a month so, potters create more in between days.

Day 2-3 - Becoming an Earth Bender

With Maui Melencio, we got to know clay and she brought out our inner earth bender hiding within. How it comes out naturally! How unique each earth bender is! No two artist are alike and this is seen in the pots and clay art we made. 

As the workshop was hands on, Maui worked closely with each of us. I was the teacher proponent of the workshop but I was learning so much from my students and from the experience as well. I put too much water on my clay. My base can be uneven and weak. I spray too close for my clay’s comfort. I lose patience. I do not talk and listen to my clay.  At some point I find myself feeling more like a fire bender! 

At the end of the workshop, I was able to make seven clay projects. It is the turtle, my kadua, that I love so much. It is a good start as Maui said. But I can still do better.

What’s next?

The clay projects are now bone dry. I will bring them to Maui for glazing and firing which, I hope, we could do with her. Well, except the firing process as it takes tweleve hours to fire them. 

For now, I will bend earth. And make paper art. And sew felt and cross stitch. Do a bit of gardening. Read books. Drink coffee. Look at the sky. Dream. Be good. Be kind. Love!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: A SEALs Purpose

A SEAL's Purpose (SEALs of Chance Creek Book 5)A SEAL's Purpose by Cora Seton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back at Chance Creek and this time, the Navy SEALs' project of sustainable living continues as well as the Regency women's Bread and Breakfast business. The camera's are still rolling for the reality TV show they all signed up for and the stakes are up for the gang to keep their dreams from ending. It's Kai's turn to find a wife and Addison, who has seen the TV show since it began, steps into Base Camp with a different set of expectations.

Having read and followed the series from the very beginning, I knew what I was up for. The background of the story and its premise are unique. The contrast between the SEALs and the Regency women make for an intriguing read. As Cora Seton has proved all along, it can work. The personal stories of each couple fits in this colourful tapestry of love at first sight, battling inner demons and finding one's true calling. It has been consistent all this time and though some parts can be predictable, it is the individual and personal journeys of each character that makes the books a fun, interesting and heart warming read.

In Book 5, Kai and Addison battle internal and external forces to be the persons they choose to be and found true love in the process. Supporting characters, like Felicity, Addison's sisters and Kai's family, provided a dynamic to the story in exploring issues on fears and detachment. By this time, there are enough characters from past books to pad and thicken each book in the series. If you are a follower, watch out for clues that lead to book 6.

View all my reviews

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Call for Papers: 9th Philippine International Literary Festival

REPOST (from the NCBD Facebook Page)

Call for Submissions: Papers, Panels, Talks, and Workshops for the 9th Philippine International Literary Festival 

The National Book Development Board (NBDB), the government agency mandated to develop and support the Philippine book industry, is launching a call for submissions for the 9th Philippine International Literary Festival (PILF). To be held on April 19-20, 2018 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Pasay City, Philippines, the festival is a landmark project of the NBDB that celebrates literature and promotes best practices through discourse on issues of authorship and readership shaping the local book industry. The two-day affair is part of the Buwan ng Panitikan (National Literature Month) celebration in April. 

We welcome submissions from individuals or organizations for breakout sessions that are of professional interest to our attendees (book lovers, writers, illustrators, book designers, librarians, publishers, etc.)

Session topics must hew to the theme “(AUTHOR)ITIES,” underscoring the power and voice that come with creation. Sessions may also revolve around innovative ideas or unique research on any of the following topics:
• Reading 
• Libraries
• Storytelling
• Book talks
• Community outreach
• Book programs for differently abled
• Literary adaptations (book to film, book to games/apps, etc.)
• Technology
• Gaming
• Social media
• Rights acquisition

Submission guidelines:
• Proposals for papers, panels, talks, or workshops must include an abstract (200-250 words) written in a style that is accessible to a variety of readers, including the general public. The session may be in Filipino or English. Abstracts must be submitted in English or be accompanied by an English translation.  
• Proposals must indicate your chosen type of presentation (paper, panel, talk, or workshop) and its duration. We welcome 10-15-minute presentations for talks and papers and 30-60-minute presentations for panels. Workshops may be longer than 60 minutes. (Some talks and paper presentations may be merged by the NBDB in one session depending on the topic.)
• Proposals for panels must include a panel abstract and paper abstracts.
• Proposals for workshops must include a 3- to 4-sentence summary for the session.
• You may send your proposals by filling out this form:

All presenters are responsible for handouts and other materials required for their session. Successful applicants will receive priority registration to the festival and complimentary luncheons. Each presenter is responsible for their travel and accommodations. 

Deadline of submissions is February 18, 2018. Notice of acceptance of proposals will be emailed by February 28, 2018. 

For further information, please contact Ms. Debbie Nieto at or at (632) 929 3887. loc. 804.

More information about previous festivals may be found on the NBDB website at .

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Found Poetry: Poetry is all around!

Found Poetry: Poetry is all around!
From January 29 to February 16, 2018
Online voting: February 19 - 28, 2018
Found Poetry is a literary collage made from texts found in newspapers, street signs, speeches, letters, old pages of books, magazines and spines of books. It is hunting for words and putting them in a creative literary form, like, poetry. 

BOOK SPINE POETRY - Create a poem by stacking books on top of each other and showing the spines.
BLACKOUT POETRY - Find words and phrases from old pages of magazines, newspapers and books that can be fashioned into poetry.
POETRY MAGNETS - Create a poem by piecing together word magnets.

 Take a photo of the poem/s you made and post it on IG with the following hashtags:
#bookspinepoetry (for book spine poems)
#blackoutpoetry (for blackout poems)
#magneticpoetry (for magnetic poems). 
BA Community members vote for poetry that:
  • makes them say WTF (what the freak?!)
  • makes them go Aaaawww…
  • makes them want to hug someone dear
  • makes them imagine and wonder
  • they like, just because
The Found Poetry activity is in line with the celebration of Language and Literary Festival 2018. It aims to develop two IB Learner Profile, Risk Taker and Communicator.
Risk Takers - creating and making poems from words found in unlikely sources and places foster the exploration of new ideas and encourage resourcefulness. This activity challenges students to face uncertainty and be open to possibilities.

Communicators - Found Poetry is a creative way to express language in different ways.

 Here is a sample of a Blackout Poem I made a few days ago:

that strong reason for leaving
the lonely life
that we
fear someone 
or something
we can only deduce
the strong possibility
that fulfillment is a presumption
a warning
the sign
that you see

The Found Poetry activity is open to everyone in the Beacon Academy community!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Lighthouse Diary Entry 7: Reflecting on Learning Experiences on Research

Sharing some reflections I had on the Extended Essay this year, as one EE journey ends and another begins. More on research, really, because I found myself going back and forth to the writing workshop last August with the year 11 students, the work of the Research Committee that needs to be revisited, the IB workshop I recently completed and previous EE experiences.

How do we define research? Does it need definition since it is, for most part a thinking skill that is made visible through a written output? Or something tangible like a project, a module, an art work. I think what I need is to ground the idea or the concept of research into statements or beliefs.

1. Research is asking questions and finding answers. 

2. Research is a process that entails collaboration - not just cooperation and coordination.

3. Research is a conversation.

4. Research is an invitation for you to stand on the shoulders of giants. And this is both an honor and a privilege.

I wonder how my colleagues see research and, in the practice of teaching ATLs, how would a belief or thesis statement on research factor in effective pedagogy.  

Can we introduce the EE as a rite of passage to the juniors when we meet them again on Feb 7, before DP teachers give sessions on subject specific guidelines?

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I am a Human Book!

When an old man dies, a library burns to the ground. ~ African Proverb

I made another visit to our neighbour, the De La Salle University Science and Technology Centre (DLSU STC) Canlubang. I was there as an invited guest in the Human Library project. I was one of their Human Books.

The DLSU STC community conducts the Human Library every year with the objective of opening avenues to understand people who come from different backgrounds, experiences, social status and circumstances in life. It prompts participants to listen to Human Books and create opportunities to dialogue with them. This way, stereotypes and prejudices are challenged. In previous years, invited Human Books included a politician, a peace advocate, a Chinese immigrant to the Philippines, a naturalised Indian Filipino, the university's security guard, a sar-sari store vendor, a single parent, a cop with a disability.

With Candy May Schif and Willian San Andres Frias
I was there to tell stories about being a librarian, a blogger and author as well. I had two sessions each with high school students (grade 7-9) and senior high school students (grade 10-12). The younger group was eager to ask questions about books and reading, that my work as librarian is perceived as boring by others, what career opportunities await a library and information science graduate and if I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I don't know where that question came from, but it was probably the design and layout of my presentation slide. I was also very conscious of the time allotment. The older group was more interested in knowing my life as an author and the back stories of each of my published books. Both group of students were interested at knowing life outside the classroom and the grown ups who populate the community they belong to. I honestly answered all their questions with all honesty especially the one with the OCD issue.

I had fun interacting with students. In a way, I also learned from them. Young people are curious. Young people have a lot to say. I think we need to listen to them too.

During the lunch at the common room, I had a good time chatting and knowing the Human Books who were guests like me. I met Susan Quimpo, who was my art therapist two summers ago. I met friends from the DLSU Library System. It was like attending a reunion!

The librarians of the DLSU STC really did a good job putting this together. And, I have to say this, the teaching and non-academic staff gave their all out support. The Human Library is one program that helps develop empathy among people, young and old alike.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Call for Entries: 2018 PBBY Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2018 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 17, 2018.


April 27, 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. Entries must be based on the 2018 PBBY-Salanga Prize winning story, May Alaga Akong Bakulaw by Becky Bravo. A copy of this story may be downloaded here.
  3. All entries must be original unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.
  4. 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.
  5. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Quezon City by April 27, 2018. Entries may be submitted in person or by courier service.
  9. Winners will be announced no later than June 20, 2018. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than August 15, 2018 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 pbby [at]


Extended Essay Workshop: Completion and Certification

My certificate of completion arrived last week. This was for the IB Workshop I attended last year, on the Role of the Supervisor in the Extended Essay. Like in any workshops, I take the experience as an eye opener. There is so much to learn and learning is indeed lifelong.

In case you missed it, here are the reflections I had in the workshop.

The EE and Pedagogical Support 

The World Studies EE and Approaches to Teaching and Learning

Reflections on REFLECTION

Where do I go from here?

I will continue blogging about the EE and my adventures in research. As a school librarian servicing young adults, otherwise known as teenagers, I take my role as teacher of skills very seriously. One way for me to continuously improve and grow is to document my experiences in journey.

If you have anything to share, or if like me, you are a high school librarian too, drop a comment below. I always reply to my readers.

Call for Entries: 2018 PBBY Wordless Book Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People is now accepting entries for its Wordless Book Prize.

2018 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]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Book Reviews: Falling for Her Brother's Best Friend and A Baby for Easter

Falling for Her Brother's Best Friend (Tea for Two, #1)Falling for Her Brother's Best Friend by Noelle  Adams

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It is a crazy round about love affair between Emma and Noah. So, they are friends and their siblings are best friends. What's really stopping them from hooking up and, apparently finding love in the process? Sex complicates things? But, life, even without the sex is already complicated.

Not the best Noelle Adams book for me but it has the fun and the laughs. There is witty dialogue and a loving grandma. I love the simple life in a small town and this make up for the pointless run-chase-run drama of Emma and Noah.

View all my reviews

A Baby for Easter (Willow Park, #2)A Baby for Easter by Noelle  Adams

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Alice is back in her hometown of Willow Park after a series of failures. She had lost her job and her fiance broke off their engagement. She lives with her parents and couldn't find a stable job to keep her finances and her life back to normal. She gets by working as a part time librarian for the local pastor and her prospects are slim.

Micah is the pastor's brother whom she nurtures a special attraction to after all these years. However, she has agreed to follow the 5 Nevers in Dating and Relationships (a five point guide to prevent her heart from being broken again). But this self imposed strategy to distance herself from Micah never really worked out especially when a baby came into Micah's life from a past relationship and he needed a nanny.

Who else to trust but the Pastor's new librarian and secretary? What follows is a romantic adventure on taking risks, going back to things lost and remembering that the human heart is big enough to forgive and to love again. I liked it. It gave me that warm, cozy feeling of falling in love for the second time around is indeed sweeter.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: Thunderhead (Arc of Scythe Book 2)

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was hard to put down. I am slowly rereading each chapter to carefully track the changes in the plot and connect gaps that were left open in book 1. There was still no clear explanation on Scythe Faraday faking his death but, from his travels and trajectory in book 2, he sure will play a big role in book three.

In this second book of the series, Shusterman lets us in into the mindscape and emotions of the Thunderhead. Considering that the Thunderhead is a computer program, an Artificial Intelligence, it remains a product of humanity. It is an amalgamation of man's greatest dreams and worst achievements. Therefore, it knows the human heart so well and given its all seeing eye, cameras and bots all around, it can meddle with their affairs. Then again, it does not entirely do so.

As the utopian world where the Thunderhead exist as god unravels, it makes use of people it can trust and who, based on a mathematical computation and algorithm, can save the world from destruction. From what we learn in history, the downfall of one world takes time. Empires are not built in a day and so its. Book three will be a difficult read and I will be at the edge of my seat hoping for the heroes to rise and save the day.

Thunderhead retains everything I love in book 1: the irreverence, the humor, the murders that are cushioned with moral explanations and philosophical ruminations and the love story. The ending tore me apart and the only consolation I had at the closing chapter was the idea of how romantic it is to die for and with the one you love.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Reviews: Love for Christmas and Arm Candy

Love for Christmas: A Billionaires and SEALs Romance Novels Boxed SetLove for Christmas: A Billionaires and SEALs Romance Novels Boxed Set by Julia Kent

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Pretty much what I expected. A light, good read during the holidays to destress one’s mind from all the busyness of the season. Cora Seton remains my favorite for keeping the community spirit intact at Crescent Hall.

View all my reviews

Arm Candy (Hot City Nights #3)Arm Candy by Patricia Ryan

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I neither like it nor hate it. I just didn’t find Nora and David worth rooting for. Perhaps I have had enough of the billionaire-experienced guy meets ingenue romance troupe?

View all my reviews

Monday, January 15, 2018

Makerspace and The DLSU-STC School Library

One of the features that the DLSU-STC School Library have that struck me when I visited last December 2017 was their Makerspace. Have a look at these photos and the physical set up that the librarians prepared for their young readers and makers.

A Makerspace is a collaborative learning space where creative thinking and a maker attitude are the emphasis and not the tools. Though, tools and technology are needed to keep the creative juices flowing and the maker attitude up and going. Planning and setting up a Makerspace in your school library would attract more learners who may not always find joy in reading books. Makerspaces promote other forms of thinking and learning. This project may be a door way to opportunities that will help learners grow and the library's resources are used by them.

 Here is a link on Makerspace: Basic 101. I have set up a Makerspace in our library. I blogged about it, Makerspace in the School Library. 

A few months after, a reader of my blog picked it up! We had a chat over at Messenger and I documented that as well. Here are the links: Makerspace Convo 1   Makerspace Convo 2  Makerspace Convo 3.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Makerspace and the DLSU-STC School Library (1 of 2)

Here are photos of the DLSU-STC Library. These selected photos show how the library staff was able to manage the space to allow learners of all kinds, sizes and types to use its facilities, services and programs.

Computer terminals for the OPAC and the circulation counter very near it. Human engagement remains an important factor in the delivery of readers and reference services.

The reading area where one can sit and relax to his or her heart's desire while reading a book. Behind it are tows and rows of book shelves that make up the library's printed book holdings. 

A space for viewing, workshops, big group activities and storytelling. This area also holds the Fiction Book Collection.  

This area is a more quiet space for researchers who need silence when writing. The room at the back is a meeting room, viewing room and discussion room. Notice the glass walls that suggest transparency and openness. 

Internet terminals where students have access to the library's databases and online subscriptions.

The librarian's work area and office is beside two small meeting rooms and a room that has the Teacher's Resources. This suggests the role of the school librarian as instructional partner of teachers. The meeting rooms allow for staff meetings and individual consultation with the librarian.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

In Retrospect: #milclicks Posts of 2017

Curating and collecting all #milclicks post I made in 2017.

#milckicks: Where it all began  The round table discussion on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) last March 2017 prompted me to review and to look forward on plans for a MIL campaign through my blog. I wanted to blog every week on a #milclicks topic but only got to do seven in a period of one year.

I will be more realistic this year. From weekly posts, I will go for monthly #milclicks posts.

Pathfinder: MIL Sites and Helpful Links Basic readings on MIL. For starters, I recommend these links and websites.

Cultural Pluralism, Libraries and MIL One of the many terminologies that struck me in the MIL MOOC I attended last year.

#milclicks: Think Before You Click Use the library bulletin board for awareness campaign and information services on MIL.

Media Literacy and Media Education Media Literacy and Media Education are kins of Information Literacy. Know more about each of these concepts and identify library practices being implemented in school libraries in your area. Begin in your learning community. Assessment and appraisal is a good start to understand these concepts.

Unit 1 of the UNESCO MIL MOOC Sigh. Another unfinished business. Let's see if I can get back to complete this MOOC.

Digital Citizenship Where I left off last year on my #milclicks blog campaign.

#milclick Activity: Jinkee Paquiao and the Belo Ad A MIL activity I used for my session on social media during the 1st National Conference on Technology in Education.

I have more library lessons and Information Literacy activities posted in the blog. I did not include them here as I will put them in one post on Teacher and School Librarian collaboration. Watch out for more In Retrospect posts!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Reviews: High School Hacks and The Storyteller's Three Daughters

High School Hacks: A student's guide to success in the IB and beyondHigh School Hacks: A student's guide to success in the IB and beyond by Brianna Smrke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Insightful and impressive. Helpful to IB students who wish to succeed in their IB courses, as well as in life, in general. Teachers need to read the book with an open mind and with a humble heart. We all learn from each other in the IB, regardless of the results of the external exams.

Every IB school library must have this book!

View all my reviews

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Not as exciting nor compelling as Tales of the Otori, but an interesting read nonetheless. Japan in the 1800s is on the verge of change. It affects everyone and everything in varying degrees and these are all narrated through the eyes of the storyteller. He observes and explores the lives of the people around him through Japanese culture and art.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Ang Larawan: Behind the Scenes with Alemberg Ang

Mr. Alemberg Ang (far right) with the Marasigan siblings.
The blog's opening salvo to 2018 is an interview with Mr. Alemberg Ang, one of the producers of Ang Larawan. In this interview, he shares some behind the scenes information in the making of the award winning movie. He has honest advise to young people who dream of pursuing a career in the arts and in film making. 

Bakit Ang Larawan?  If it was a passion project, what is in the source material, or in the process of making the film that you were most passionate about?

Ang Larawan is based on National Artist Nick Joaquin's play, Portrait of the Artist as Filipino.  It has been a passion project of our executive producers, Girlie Rodis and Celeste Legaspi to turn into a movie the musical they produced in 2017.  In the movie production, Rachel Alejandro who played Paula in the original musical's rerun and in the film version, joins them as one of the Executive Producers in this version.  This version features the translation by National Artist Rolando Tinio whose lush words are converted into the screenplay of the movie.

Two years in the making ang pelikula. Ano ang pinaka-challenging na experience mo bilang isa sa mga producers ng nito? How did you face or overcome the challenges?
3 years.  1 year of rehearsals, then just 15 days of shoot, tapos 2 years of post-production.  There are so many aspects that were extremely difficult.  The first one was looking for the perfect cast.  The ladies have long been casted already but it's the boys that were a little tricky to cast.  After several auditions, we were able to cast Paulo and Sandino.  

Then we casted the other members of the cast.  One of the most difficult things in preparing for the film are the rehearsals.  The schedules of the artists are almost impossible to make them all come together so that we'll be able to rehearse.  But somehow we managed.  Then we proceeded into recording the orchestra first.  With that, the cast rehearsed again using the orchestra music.  Then we recorded the cast.  After recording the cast with the music of the orchestra, they had to rehearse lipsyncing naman.  A very grueling process before we started shooting.  

Sa shoot naman, the toughest is having to leave super early for Taal, Batangas.  We leave siguro mga 2am so we can start filming around 8am.  Tapos, it was extremely hot and uncomfortable in the house because we had to cover all the windows so that we can later "locate" the house in Intramuros using computer graphics.  The most difficult scene to shoot was the La Naval procession where we had 600 extras.  Dressing them all up, blocking them and shooting them took a lot of time, patience and effort in making the scene work.  There was a typhoon pa at that time so we had to resched which we eventually was able to film.  

The two most difficult things naman in post-production are the sound and the visual effects.  People won't believe the amount of visual effects we have in the film.  For one, the painting.  We first held a photoshoot.  Then our photographer had to use some effects in making it look like the masterpiece being described in the story.  Then the sound.  The syncing of the lips and making the singing and the speaking appear seamless is a tough job.

3. What scenes resonate most to you? 

Don Perico's song, Hindi Simple ang Buhay.  Paula's Malaya na Ako song.  The final confrontation where Candida broke down.

Don Perico's song resonates with almost anyone who works in the arts.  Would you allow your family to starve while you pursue your arts?  Can you actually control your own fate?

Paula's song is what I would call an "anthem" in the veins of Defy Gravity and Let It Go. It literally feels like a song that sets one free.

Joanna Ampil showed so many emotions in that final confrontation.  Her range is just breathtaking and you are simply drawn to the multiple layers of her emotions in that scene.

With Paulo Avelino during the MMFF Parade 2017.

After winning Best Picture in the MMFF, what is next for Ang Larawan and for Alemberg Ang?
Well, we're still promoting.  We are slowly doing better in the box office, gaining back cinemas we lost and even more.  Audiences are actively advocating for our film on social media and that's drawing the audiences to watch our film.  We hope this will help in our box office which eventually, we'll recoup all our investors' money.  And once that happens, we have another musical in the pipeline, Alikabok.  But for now, it's really still trying to show Larawan to as many people as possible that includes schools, universities and organizations who would want to sponsor screenings of the film.

What would you tell a young person if he/she is interested to pursue a career in art, particularly in producing and directing movies?

Don't.  Hahaha!  It's important to know from the beginning why you're doing it.  If it's to earn a living, then it's not a lucrative field, unless you work for mainstream companies.  Working in the indies is a huge gamble and the odds of a film earning is extremely slim.  Of course, now, it's getting better.  More and more people are looking for alternatives and these eventually help draw more people to support indie productions like Heneral Luna and Kita Kita.  So, when you're making your film, it's very important to be honest to yourself and access what you are really doing and why you're doing what you're doing.  Otherwise, you'll just be lost in the system.

Mr. Alemberg Ang is an educator, film maker and producer. His first foray into film making and producing movies was in 2009 via the movie Ang Pangagahasa Kay Fe directed by Alvin B.Yapan. The movie has won several international awards. The rest is history, so they say since he has produced notable Filipino independent films that have won awards and recognition here and abroad. His dreams of one day making literature mainstream.

Photos courtesy of Mr. Alemberg Ang. Posted with permission.
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