Thursday, June 20, 2019

The 2019 National Children's Book Day

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The 2019 Alcala Prize Winner

Panadero wins Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People awards the 2019 PBBY-Alcala Prize to Adrian C. Panadero, a Visual Communication graduate from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts and a graphic designer and illustrator at And A Half Branding and Graphic Design,  a firm that specializes in creating brand identities.

This year’s PBBY-Alcala Prize called for entries based on the 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize-winning story, A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limcaco Dans by Gabriela Lee. A Delicate Strength is a creative nonfiction piece about a young Araceli Dans’ first encounter with art and how it eventually helps her family and country in a time of war.

Panadero shall receive a cash prize of PHP25, 000, a gold medal, as well as the opportunity to be published. He will be awarded at the 36th National Children’s Book Day celebration on July 16, 2019. The PBBY also recognized three Honorable Mention winners: Frances Alvarez of Cainta, Ivan Bryan Reverente of Quezon City and Arlei Dormiendo of Antipolo City.

The contest is co-sponsored by the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).

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

Monday, June 17, 2019

Accreditation is Building a Learning Community

Sunday, June 16, 2019

On Reading Aloud and Storytelling (2/2)

In the event of being with two different groups of people who are interested and eager to learn and relearn skills in storytelling and reading aloud, I consider myself fortunate to learn from them too. 

From the TSP volunteers, I realized how our search for meaning and goodness in this world can be actualized in volunteer work. I look back at the young professionals I met a week ago and I am still touched by their hope and their sincerity to help TSP reach its goal of people empowerment through books and reading. From the DepEd K-3 teachers in Pangasinan, I am reminded once again of the values of grit and patience. The Filipino public school teacher is up against challenges bigger than herself or himself. It will take a lifetime to change the system, but it is enough to be able to inspire and affect one person. 

Feeling young and energized with TSP volunteers!

I see the goodness in Rey Bufi and his wife, Grace, the parents and founder of TSP. I admire the resilience of Teacher Ara for continuing on and doing a thankless job. Organizing people and mobilizing them is not an easy task, but they do it anyway. This is the grace I take away from leaving Biñan once in a while. I meet authentic people who, despite limitations, persevere to make a difference in their communities.

Specifically, I discovered how tenuous our connection is with our folk literature and local knowledge. Pangasinan is showing signs of progress, but my conversations with teachers there reveal gaps in the use of their mother tongue and in telling stories from their culture and history. Exposure to different forms of literature is an area of growth as well. Both groups, TSP volunteers and K-3 teachers were fascinated at the folk tales I used as samplers for storytelling. Comments like “ganun pala yun”, “ay pwede pala” were aplenty. 

DepEd Superintendent Balderas explains that reading is comprehension.

The scarcity of books and resources was a clamor of both groups. I resolve to include one or two activities for materials creation next time I do a workshop. As a librarian, I will echo and share this concern. Hopefully, any of my advocacy group could pick from there and help bridge children to books they so badly need to engage in.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

On Reading Aloud and Storytelling (1/2)

I am writing this on may way back to Manila from a successful training workshop on reading aloud and storytelling in Pangasinan. I was invited by the Department of Education of Region 1 through the initaive and effort of  Teacher Arabella Soniega. The training program is designed for K-3 teachers to learn and relearn pedagogy in early literacy education. There were 128 teachers present in the training plus, a dozen school leaders. 

Last week, I was with the The Storytelling Project (TSP) to run the same workshop for their volunteers. Of the 15 volunteers, 2 are teachers and 1 is a librarian. They will soon be implementing TSP’s reading program in a public school in Laguna.

Two workshops. Same topics. Different audiences. Different purpose. Same goals. TSP volunteers need a good skill set in reading aloud because their two-fole roels. One is to support teachers in teaching literacy slills and the other is to provide children with an environment where reading is enjoyed and experienced outside of the classroom. The DepEd recognizes storytelling as an adjunct strategy for reading aloud when learning skills in the four communication arts, namely, listening, speaking, reading and writing. I discuss both in workshops and demonstrate ways of using them.

Reading Aloud from a teaching context, especially in literacy teaching, is a proven technique in teaching comprehension skills. When an adult reads aloud to children, the act of reading and the cognitive processes involved in it are shown, shared and modelled to them in a manner that is enjoyable and non-threatening. In storytelling, the teller does not use a book but a story to take the listener in a journey of adventure, wonder, play and the discovery of insights. Both are multi-sensorial activities that develop many skills including life skills, compassion and empathy.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Lithaan Literacy Festival 2019

Carlo Fernando, a literacy advocate, teacher, and current manager and founder of LITHAAN sent me an invitation to the LITHAAN Literacy Festival.

This event is in partnership with Teach for the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University. Sadly, I am not available to attend the event so the most I could do is to share it in the blog and social media. 

Read on the collateral and materials which Carlo Fernando. Share if the spirit of generosity moves you.

Having witnessed firsthand how transformative the power of reading is to achieve one's dreams, we are now in the position to help empower others. LITHAAN aims to connect us, to bring us closer through meaningful dialogue, and ensure that our collaborative efforts are made accessible to most. 

In partnership with the Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences and Teach For the Philippines, I would like to invite you to the LITHAAN Literacy Festival on June 7, 2019, Friday, from 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM at Arete, Ateneo de Manila University. During the Festival, four (4) literacy interventions shall be presented, all of which have shown significant insights, on-going learnings, and meaningful contributions on the advancement of basic literacy in the country.  Attendees will be given time to ask questions related to basic literacy and network with academe, industry, government partners, school leaders, teachers, and advocates. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Call for Entries: The 2019 PBBY Alcala Prize

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2019 PBBY-Alcala Prize. The winner shall be given a cash prize of PHP25,000.00, a 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 16, 2019.
Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat and time-stamped no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 7, 2019.
  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 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize winning piece of the creative nonfiction, A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limcaco Dans by Gabriela Lee.
  3. A copy of the creative nonfiction piece may be downloaded here.
  4. All entries must be original, unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.
  5. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size, two of which are colored, in sequence, and rendered in the same medium. The third spread should be a rough sketch of any other spread. Contestants are free to determine how to distribute the text for their spreads, bearing in mind that the interaction of art and text is an important criterion of the contest.
  6. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. A format of the certification may be downloaded here
  9. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City by June 7, 2019. Entries may be submitted in person or by courier service.
  10. Winners will be announced no later than June 21, 2019. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than August 16, 2019 after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.
For more details, interested parties may contact PBBY by calling 352 6765 local 204 or e-mailing

Monday, June 3, 2019

Writing Workshop at DataBites Los Baños, Laguna

Writing Workshop: Weaving Stories for Kids and Young Readers

Workshop facilitator: Zarah C. Gagatiga

Date and Time: Saturday, June 29, 2019

Session 1 for Kids and teens (grade 4 - grade 12)
9-11.30 AM

Session 2 for Grown ups (college and up)
1-5 PM

DataBites Cafe & Restaurant 10046 Mt. Data St. 
Los Baños Subdivision
Los Baños, Laguna 4030

Points for discussion:
 ⁃ Story Grammar: formats and elements
 ⁃ Children’s Literature Today
 ⁃ The stories that shape our childhood
 ⁃ Why write for kids
 ⁃ Writing workshop: writing, critiquing and revising
 ⁃ Note: if you have stories for workshop and critiquing bring 4-5 copies

Workshop fees
Kids and Teens session - Php 1,000.00 inclusive of snacks and handouts; plus a FREE Book!

College and up session - 
Php 2,500.00 inclusive of snacks and handouts; PLUS a FREE Book!

5-8 participants only

Payment of workshop fee is through bank deposit three days before the workshop date.

For questions and inquiries call or text: 09209672884 09282894627

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Lighthouse Diary Entry #15: Curation as a Library Service

We are in the in-between days. It is nearly the end of the academic year and preparation for closing out the year and graduation is in full speed. As this happens, we look to the coming summer and the inevitable in-service work that lies ahead. Curriculum alignment. Unit Planning. Attendance to professional development activities. 

Teachers have been planning on interdisciplinary projects that inspire collaboration. Librarians and libraries can lend support in this learning experience. I am sharing this email I sent out to teachers on curating and how it can support collaborative projects.

Curating sources of all media types and formats, people services and community resources is a library service we can do (and have been doing) with you. It is aimed at assisting teachers and helping students archive, record and manage information and meaningful content following citation formats and bibliographic standards (Ola, academic honesty!). Curating is best done collaboratively by teachers, the librarian and his/her staff, a class or a study group learning about specific units of study or projects. Curating can come in the form of a simple bibliographic lists of concepts in a unit of study, a LibGuide, a Pathfinder or a curating app that can be accessed and used via a mobile device. 
The tools for curation are many. Google Classroom has one as well as apps that can be merged or embedded in Google Drive. There are web apps like Scoopit, Pocket, Pearl, etc. World Book Online, which we have a subscription to, has Pathfinders. A class can create one and this is can be "shared" not just for a grade level, but to other classes in other schools here and abroad. We can also subscribe to LiGuides. Our new WebOPAC can also host and link curated sources and content. And, as your teacher librarian, I can also do it by request. We can sit together and plan a curating system that can function as an independent learning tool for your class.
It will get mixed reactions, I am sure. But, at the end of the day, I know I did my job.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tips, Tools and Tech for the Busy Teacher: Online games, Citation apps and Curation Tools

Because sharing is caring!

Kahoot is an online game and mobile app that you can use for defining terms, improving vocabulary and reviewing concepts learned in the different content/subject areas. 

Cited is a mobile app that guides you in following different citation formats for various resources and sources of information. It is free in the iTunes App store.  

Remember the bookmarking tools in the late 90s and early 2000? Really Simple Syndication (RSS),mailing lists and list sers? Well,  Scoopit is all that and more. It is a curation tool that you can manage per topic of interest. The free web app has a limit of articles and content for curation so if you are serious in sharing curated info and knowledge, consider getting the premium account. Scoopit is also a tool to brand and market your expertise or grow a professional learning network. 

How can you annotate or take notes while watching a video on YouTube of Vimeo? Use VideoNotes. It can be an extension app in Google Chrome so, your notes can be saved and shared on Google docs. 

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dear Ms. Z: Literature and Lifelong Learning (1 of 2)

Teacher Twinkle Caro, a friend from PBBY and the teaching community sent me this questions a few months back. She was then preparing for a radio interview and I was in Singapore attending a workshop. Much of our conversation happened in Messenger so technology bridged the geographical distance.

How has being literate and being exposed to different forms of literature (books, newspapers, magazines, etc.) helped you in terms of your work and continuous lifelong learning?
This was my reply:
Reading helps me to be kind. When reading fact or fiction, I discover truths not only of my own beliefs but of others too. I realize I am not alone. There is the endless possibility to learn from others in reading.
Going back to our conversation now, I feel, and think, that I have not fully answered her question. There is an aspect of library work or librarianship I wish I had told her. Thanks to blogging, again - another format of technology, I can revisit and continue the process of thinking through such a question that matters to me and to my colleagues.

I will be posting part 2 of my reply to Teacher Twinkle. Continuing on this exercise has relevance in the way we use information and the formats of literature.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Teachers and School Librarians Working Together for Student Achievement

This is a work in progress! Collecting and curating all my blog posts on teacher-librarian collaboration.
Teacher-Librarian Collaborative Activities:  Library Scavenger Hunt
LSH 2016

Teacher-Librarian Collaboration Lesson Plans & Mini-Lessons
Lesson Plan on Information Literacy: Teaching the Big 6 Model (2006)
Dear School Librarian In Action: Library Skills Instruction for Prep Students (2012)

Teacher-Librarian Collaboration: Dynamics, Functions, Purpose and Roles

The Beacon Academy Library Packet for Teachers - A promotional material for inspiring collaboration with teachers (2012)

School Librarian as Collaborative Teaching Partner Five ways to make collaboration happen (2015)

Grade 9 English: Preparing for Personal Project
Grade 9 English: Preparing for Personal Project
A recent post on teacher and school librarian collaboration, where I worked with the English teacher in planning a mini-lesson on Search Strategies for Grade 9 students (2017)

The School Librarian: A Trusted Sidekick - Adapting Dianne McKenzie's framework and approach when collaborating with teachers (2017)

How school librarians can help teachers? A smorgasbord of activities that school librarians can do in partnership with teachers, for reading development, promotion and literacy skills teaching (2018)

The school librarian can also assume the role of student services or support for student life. Here is a blog post where I wrote about the plans and activities that school librarians can do in collaboration with class advisers. (2019)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dear Ms. Z: Tandem Teaching in Support of the Extended Essay

A friend from the school library profession asked about teacher and librarian partnership in support of the Extended Essay. As we are both school librarians working in schools that run the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program, we share common problems and concerns. Specifically, my friend wishes to know if I have library lessons I use in teaching research skills in tandem with the teacher.

Below was my reply and, I admit it was done in a rush.
Begin by tandem teaching or partnering with a content teacher in grade 11 during the 1st semester. Plant the seeds of basic research skills as used in the subject area or content area. This way, the skills are taught from a context and from a learning experience. Around the 2nd semester in grade 11, find time to teach research skills explicitly as preparation for the Extended Essay. Support and follow through by conducting one-on-one sessions and consultations with librarian on the evaluation and use of sources, citations, etc. 
This (teaching research skills and writing) is a community effort. So, better to meet and plan with academic leadership and teachers. You also need to identify specific research skills that library will teach, facilitate and support. The IB has a guide called Approaches to Teaching and Learning. Research Skills is listed as one of the approaches. You can use it as reference in making your own library and research skills plantilla or matrix. 
Hope this helps!
I am adding this link of curated blog posts on the Teacher and School Librarian Collaboration that I have been building since 2017 in the blog.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

School Librarians and 21st Century Literacy

There were two plenary speakers on the last day of the IASL PASLI Workshop and Conference. They were Atty. Suyat who discussed data privacy laws in school libraries and Hon. Lourdes David who peesented updates on the Continuing Professional Development Act for librarians. Both topics were of utmost importance to participants and delegates.

The announcement of newly elected officers followed next and yours truly was elected as the association’s PRO. The 2019-2021 PASLI Officers are: Ching Perez Basagre, President; Rhodora Valdez, Vice President; Mavic De la Cruz, Secretary; Gemme Cuña, Treasurer; Salve Dimzon, Auditor; Charlie Padernal, Business Manager; Kelvin Samson and Alma Singian as Board Members. Cris Laracas, former president of PASLI delivered the PASLI accomplishment report to the association. The elected officers were sworn in by Hon. Lourdes David. What followed was the tour to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, The National Museum of Natural History and Fort Santiago. 

There was no official announcement when and where the 6th IASL Workshop is going to be, but if I were you, this is one of the many professional development activities worth saving up for. Networking in the ASEAN is a promising investment. Planning is key when one sets goals and programs for lifelong learning. Attendance to national conferences as well as off shore professional events can be targeted and programmed in a span of three to five years. 

In general, the IASL PASLI Workshop and Conference was a success as it gathered school librarians in the ASEAN to an engaged discourse on issues relevant to the needs of school librarians today. With the help and support of agencies like the Board for Librarians, IASL and even PLAI, PASLI will be able to continue to actualise its goals and objectives.

Until next conference, school librarians! 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Book Review: Switch How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

I have a friend at work who is one of the most engaging conversationalists around. Our recent topic at morning coffee is change and how it could affect the young people we mentor and teach in the Academy. Because I am a fan of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, I sent her a web article on the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) in the hope  that we can look at change and learning how to change from theories tried and tested.

Piaget  theorized that children learn at their leisure and in autonomy. But Vygotsky added the  environment as a factor in learning. By guiding, mentoring and scaffolding learning experiences at a child’s ZPD, he/she will be able to build self confidence and continuously construct knowledge by intearcting socially with parents, teachers and peers. I haven’t heard from her since the email.

I persisted by sending her a short book review of Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (Heath and Heath, Crown Business 2010)

On change and what research in the human and social sciences say about it; what makes it complicated; why people find it such a challenge. But, early on in the book Chip Heath and Dan Heath, the authors of the book, gave a very simple and real reason. They said, “Often, the heart and mind disagree. Fervently.” 

Peppered with stories on change and managing change in big and small ways, research on human interactions and behavior towards it are overlaid. Studies are presented and built around these human interest stories. For example, to introduce the idea that perception plays a role in the will to change, a study on popcorn consumption is used to great effect. There are chapters that include specific strategies in making the change and responding to it in personal ways, as well as its implications to the community. My personal favorite is the chapter on sustainability because it is for me, the more challenging task in creating and making a chane.

Available at the BA Library for your reading pleasure!

Friday, May 3, 2019

School Librarians and 21st Century Literacy (2 of 3)

Riding on the themes of 21st Century Literacy, days 1 and 2 of the IASL-PASLI Workshop and Conference covered a variety of concepts, theories and ideas that permeate in today's school library services and programs. Fake news, Metaliteracy, Computational Literacy were among the different kinds of literacy discussed by plenary speakers. Thus, the necessity to build partnerships, linkages and networking is as strong as ever. Even Hanna Chaterina George, IASL Regional Officer, spoke about concerted efforts in Indonesia to make manifests the reading and literacy programs they run in private and public schools in Jakarta. In Day 2, Dr. Diljit Singh enumerated the challenges that school librarians face in the digital age, reminding everyone to stay relevant in a time of constant change.

Former IASL President, Diljit Singh elaborates on the importance of networking and linkages.

Day 2 of the workshop and conference was interactive and engaging. Paper presenters discussed actual projects and research that show the relevant role librarians play in teaching and learning, community building and in the growth of the book industry. Furthermore, presentations on day 2 focused on the importance of research as a means to validate professional practice. An integration and interdisciplinary approach to planning school library services and programs is key to target the new kinds of literacy and the ones that will soon emerge from a technology induced world.

With Charlie Padernal. my "Beybi Bibe, during my presentation on Bibliotherapy.
Photo credits: Thank you for the Ms. Cris Laracas

Five topics and presentations inspired and fueled me to further think through professional practice. These are computational literacy, metaliteracy, Dr. Baylen's session on creativity and collaborative thinking, Dia Evangelista's research on Information Literacy and Dr. Chinee's paper on Design Thinking as applied to space programming and readers' services. Their topics are all under one umbrella - thinking! How interconnected different thought processes can be! As in all professional learning experiences, I have filed them and cataloged them in the journal of my mind for future use and reference.

With my roomies. We know how to shimmer!

At the end of Day 2, members nominated peers for the election of a new set of officers. Dinner followed next and the fellowship night commenced. Dubbed as Sparkle Tonight, PASLI members came in their most dazzling selves. We were all shining! Shimmering! Splendid! My two roommates, Erlinda Soliva and Cathryn Ann Dimapilis won awards as Star of the Night and 1st Runner-Up respectively.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

School Librarians and 21st Century Literacy (1 of 3)

The last week of April is when most library organizations in the Philippines have their national conferences. The Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc (PASLI) is one of them. Many school librarians are on summer break in April and PASLI sure knows where to go to offer its members a conference where learning and fun both happen. I have had participated in many summer conferences of PASLI in the past and I always felt welcomed.

In 2009, I conducted a Storytelling Workshop in the PASLI Conference at Teachers' Camp, Baguio. They went back to the same venue in 2013 where I first presented the idea of BIbliotherapy and ran a workshop. Three years after, I was back with PASLI friends to run two workshops namely, Work Life Balance and Building Professional Learning Networks. The PASLI Conference that year, 2016, was held in IloIlo City. A few days after, I had a stroke. That is why, in 2017, I missed the annual conference at their invitation but I Darrel Marco and Ann Grace Bansig conducted the session on my behalf. They also received the plaque of appreciation that the association conferred to me. It was a surprise! I only managed to post in my blog my "acceptance speech". When PASLI celebrated its Ruby year in 2018, the officers asked for a video relaying my message of good wishes for the association.

And so, when Cris Laracas and Jude Gorsope sent me an email to join them for dinner to meet Diljit Singh, former President of IASL last July 2018, I said yes. Turned out, it was a dinner to begin initial talks on a  regional IASL workshop in Manila. In less than a year, PASLI pulled through!

Last April 24, 25, 26, more than 150 school librarians in the ASEAN region and in the Philippines attended the 5th IASL Regional Workshop and Annual Summer Conference of PASLI cum National Assembly at the Century Park Hotel, Manila. Present were past officers of PASLI imcluding Madame Leony Galvez who was also there as the assigned monitor and observer of the Board of Librarians (BFL) and the Philippine Regulations Commission (PRC). The regional workshop and conference was a success as it gathered school librarians in Southeast Asia with resources speakers and paper presenters from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and even in the US!

The three day IASL Workshop and PASLI Conference was fun, friendly and full of learning insights!

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Winner of the 2019 Wordless Book Prize


The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) declared Nina Patricia C. Martinez as the 2019 PBBY Wordless Book Prize. Martinez, a freelance graphic artist and illustrator, bagged the grand prize with her entry, Ang Mga Sikreto ng Langit at Dagat.

Martinez has a degree in Visual Communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman. She has illustrated and designed for NGOs and businesses, as well as for magazines and books.

Martinez shall receive a medal and a cash prize worth Twenty Thousand Pesos at the National Children’s Book Day ceremonies at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on July 16, 2019.

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

Monday, April 29, 2019

Collection Development: Arthropods Around Beacon Academy

As I was out of campus last week, I did not receive the books that one of our students donated to the library. Good thing my staff was present to acknowledge and to be at the donor's ceremony. Such an event is special and is honored in the community. Having written a book is a milestone and there are good reasons to celebrate it.

Arthropods Around Beacon Academy by Lyndon Yap
Through books, one's thinking is made visible. And by one I mean a collective, a group, a team who collaborated in making it. The library as its recipient or place for curation increases its worth and preserves the creators' knowledge and skill. In a library, the authors and his or her partners find an audience who engages with them. In the process, the cycle of creation continues and more knowledge is added up to the existing status quo.

Arthropods Around Beacon Academy is written by Lyndon Yap, grade 12, nature enthusiast and photographer. The three volume series began as a passion project which Lyndon started in grade 10. Through the Personal Project, he was guided and mentored by his supervisor in creating a field guide as requirement for the completion of his Middle Years Program certificate. He was really dedicated on the book project and because he was doing a project of interest, he was able to finish it in time - something many young researchers are challenged to do.

 He continued on. Documenting. Recording. Taking pictures of the insects, reptiles and birds he sees around school. He did research as well and even interviewed an Ichthyologist to determine the validity of his own studies. Last year, he finished volume 2 and this year, volume 3 of the series.

Now, the library is a proud owner of his Personal Project and Creativity Action and Service outputs. The library is indeed a growing organism!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

My Library Mentors, Teachers and Guide

It has come to pass - my talk at the University Library of the University of the Philippines in Diliman. The talk for New Professionals Series was organized by the University of the Philippines Future Library and Information Professionals of the Philippines (UP FLIPP) in cooperation with the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI) and various student organizations from the different schools and universities offering Library and Information Science.

 I agreed to the invitation despite the short notice. New professionals need to see models, choose mentors and seek guides. The journey in finding one's self, a community to belong to and a niche in this world is filled with challenges. And if I could help a bit in these young people's journey, then I am glad to do it. As a new professional two decades ago and more, I had met teachers, mentors and guides who have made a big dent in my life. I have blogged about them and now that I was given a chance to teach and share, I remember them with fondness.

It is already a given that my mother and teachers in the Philippine Normal University are my mentors. Their advise, freely given and unsolicited remain with me after all these years. Working as a school librarian, I have Mrs. Del Hernandez to thank for inspiration as well as her husband, Marc Hernandez for being the father figure while I was a young professional in Xavier School. Up to the time when I was an administrator, I turn to Mr. Hernandez for consolation.

In UP Diliman, I give my gratitude to Hon. Lourdes T. David when she was my professor in graduate school. I learned so much about life as a professional librarian from her. Every time I hear her speak at a conference, I feel affirmed, happy and inspired. I know I am doing something right. Peers and colleagues as well as Library Organizations can be mentors too as they guide and help towards skills and development of competencies.

 This experience of interacting with a community of professionals has stretched far and beyond the archipelago.It was a great joy meeting my idols in the profession at the 2013 IASL Annual Conference  in Bali in 2013. Who would have thought that my LIP idols would become my friends and my support group in the long run?

Reflecting on these events inspires me to do a Research on Mentoring in the LIS Profession.

What makes a mentor and a guide? How does it help a new professional? Who among the Filipino Librarians are at the top 10 mentor list of millenial LIPs? Interesting questions waiting to be answered!

Saturday, April 27, 2019

PPT: Pursuing Personal Advocacies

Here is the presentation for my talk on advocacy for UP Flipp's New Professional Series. I am scheduled to deliver my talk at 9AM in the UP Main Library. Excited to meet and engage with students of library and information science and new professionals!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Beth Parrocha

Illustrator and woman of wonder, Beth Parrocha lent me her time for this blog feature. I have heard her talk on several occasions but in this interview, Ms. Parrocha speaks from a well spring of love and dedication for her chosen craft. Read her insights on the book industry, especially on the illustrator and publisher relationship, her creative process and the benefits of curiosity and play for the growth and the development of the artist.

1. In your years as children’s book illustrator, name three things that have changed PH Children’s Literature and three things that have remained the same since you started out. These changes and constants may vary from the stories you worked on, the community that supports you as an artist, the publisher-illustrator partnership and opportunities beyond the archipelago. 

 3 things that have changed:

There are more children’s book illustrators now.

More picture book stories that are relevant to what is happening with children in the Philippines.

International publishers are recognizing Filipino illustrators a lot more.

       3 things that have remained the same:

There are still some publishers that are unaware that to nourish their place in children’s book publishing, they will have to nourish the people that are a part of the industry like the writers and the illustrators.

IPR and copyright laws still need to be established in people’s minds.

I still illustrate for children’s picture books ☺

2. You have an amazing and wonderful body of work. I find them playful and whimsical. Quiet, cozy and comforting too. What keeps you going? 

What keeps me going is that I’m curious.  I’m curious as to how the main character would look like.  How the visual elements would conspire to make the story come alive to the reader. Whenever a publisher gives me a story to illustrate and would tell me of their excitement to see the illustrations. I always reply, “I’m excited too!”  For me, I don’t really know what would come out until the book has been printed.

More than anything else, I am a storyteller; the picture book is where I am free to express my narrative.  

It’s not an easy process, but worth it. To undergo with each new story the process of exploration and the thrill of seeing everything connect together at the end.  Illustrating a book is an adventure; I will not deprive myself of that.  

I love it when publishers give me stories, it’s like they are kids themselves and they are asking me to play.

3. What is your take on awards and recognition as an artist? 

When people especially your fellow artists acknowledges your work, express your gratitude but don’t let the trophy or the recognition define you. There are a lot of other artists that are better than you. It’s just that at this moment, you are the one that is being recognized.  That thinking will keep you grounded, or else that trophy can destroy you, by making you complacent. So you wonder why you’ve reached a plateau with your art? That is the reason why.

The sense of wonder and enjoyment that you will feel, whenever you create something that you can actually see and touch out of an idea, that feeling, that is what you should work on. Only you can give that to yourself.

4. How does play factor in your work and in the life of an artist, in general? 

A circle is just a circle until the artist decides that it be something else, stretches it, twists it on one end, and calls it a fish. That decision is the spirit of play.

A line is just a line until the artist grapples with it, chases it around with a pen, a pencil, brush or even a mouse and it becomes anything that the artist wants it to be. That is play.

A story becomes interesting when you have toyed with it enough to see through the tiniest of ant holes just so you can look at it from a different perspective.

Play is important to the artist or else everything about his work would look static.

5. Kindly give your 5 recommended activities for  artists and children’s book illustrators. 

There are lots of things that you can do to make yourself a better artist and illustrator that you will have to discover for yourself.  I cannot limit your experience based on what I know.  But perhaps I can help you with how you can conduct yourself while you are having those experiences.

Be curious.

Suspend judgment.  Do not conclude in the beginning what may or may not happen at the end.

Hold your emotions in check. You might miss something important by indulging in your emotions.

Clear your mind of clutter so that the experience flows in to you unhampered.

Be firm in the belief that you will be learning something.

Ms. Parrocha will be conducting the ILLUSTRATORS AT PLAY II* A Hands-on Workshop on Making Picture Book Art with Beth Parrocha. April 27 (Saturday) | 1:30 to 4:30 PM Glass Space, Ayala Museum

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New Professional Series: Pursuing Personal Advocacies

Lifted from the FB Page of UP Future Library and Information Professionals (UP FLIP):

Get to know our speakers for the New Professionals Series 2019: Starting up as a New Professional for this coming April 27, 2019!

Ms. Zarah C. Gagatiga is a teacher librarian at the Beacon Academy. She is an award-winning author, blogger, storyteller and a bibliotherapist. She is also a board member representing librarians in the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY). She will be giving a talk on "Pursuing Personal Advocacies", giving her insights on how to pursue personal advocacies side by side with pursuing a career.

To secure your slots, kindly pre-register at

For inquiries, send us an email at


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Lighthouse Diary Entry #15: Creativity Action and Service in the School Library

One CAS (Creativity Action and Service) activity I have been brewing in my head since way back when, is a knowledge sharing project that our students can do for the library. After several meetings and consultations, plus, the IBAP Librarians Workshop I attended last month in Singapore, I finally had a concrete project, the Help Us Build the BA Library Project.

The project has two aspects: 1) skills building in referencing and citations; and 2) resource sharing. For Diploma Program students, they are invited to sign up in a bibliography writing project. See the poster.

Consultations with the CAS coordinator proved helpful and support from the Dean of Students came in 100%. Our next step is to inform the student body of the CAS project and get the endorsement of the Student Council. Visit the blog as I monitor this project and share with you updates.

Monday, April 22, 2019

The 41st IASL PASLI Conference 2019

The Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc. (PASLI) partnered with the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) to stage a regional workshop and national conference in Manila on April 24-26, 2019. The venue of the conference is at the Century Park Hotel, Malate, Manila.

I will be presenting a professional paper on Bibliotherapy, a passion project I have been working on since 2009. I have curated in the blog the presentations, interviews and research I have been involved in over the years about Bibliotherapy

So, it has been ten years! Imagine that!

I am excited to meet friends from PASLI and IASL especially the ones who come from the South East Asia. My last participation in an IASL Workshop was through a recorded video presentation in Indonesia in 2017. This year, as I am in better health and the venue is in Manila, I will be joining the two organizations for professional linkages and exchange.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Reflections on Faith and Life

If you are a follower of the blog, you may have noticed the regular posts I have been writing about: my faith and my relationship with God, the tests and trials I go through - big and small, and the many surprises life has been throwing my way. This Holy Week, as I continue to reflect on the amazing moments when I discover that God is present in my life, I curate these written reflections. Looking back at these events makes me grateful. I am humbled by the graces I receive.

This series of reflections is entitled Pilgrim's Pit Stop.

On Generosity How I pray for grace and when it is answered, it can be life changing and life affirming.

On the Examen and Prayer Apps The Daily Examen is a core of Ignatian Spirituality. Praying the Examen everyday allows me to see and to find God in all things. Through the Examen, I recognize the many colors of life and its complexities. Deep with in the prayer exercise, I experience a knowledge of who I am. It is not always a pleasant discovery. But since God is with me in prayer and in every moment, I am consoled.

On Love and Transcendence  When I realized that I am capable of loving and going beyond myself.

On Midlife and Growing Old with Grace Transitioning to midlife is not a walk in the park, but it can gracefully be achieved!

Living in the Now I have been battling with anxiety since I turned forty years old. I have been prescribed to take medicines but, I opted to go a naturel. Strengthening my spiritual anchor is one way of dealing with the condition.

Pilgrim's Pit Stop appears 4-6 times in a year in the Magis Deo Newsletter. I have been writing for the Magis Deo Newsletter since 2006, when my husband I first joined the community. I took a leave for two years, I think and went back in 2016. It was actually the year when I had my mini-stroke.

You can read about my journey on a second chance on life by following these links: The Big Reveal: My Stroke of LuckMy Stroke of Luck: Trying to Make Sense of It AllMy Stroke of Luck: On the Road to Recovery.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Illustrator of the Month: Jonathan Rañola

Jonathan Rañola and I had our book launched last Septemeber 2018 during the Manila International Book Fair. However, it is only now that I am featuring this interview with him in the blog. He shares with us his approach and style in illustrating Ino the Invincible (Lampara Books, 2018) and works of artists he admires. He also has tips for aspiring artists who dream of breaking into children’s book illustration.

1. What was your approach (creative process) in illustrating the story, Ino the Invincible? 

When  I was given the transcript and read the story of Ino,  I was visualizing a book that has lots of touches of nostalgia.  Coming from an all-boys school,  I can definitely identify with Ino’s school life, like hanging out in the library or doing school projects and activities with the whole class.  I intentionally made my images with touches of monotone to project the image of nostalgia in every scene.   I also applied the idea of spot-color,  that is why, page after page,  Ino is the only character that is in full color.  This is to stress that he is the main character and  to focus and  highlight   his uniqueness and importance in the story.  Proper research using books, the internet and videos were used and reviewed to add accuracy in the representations.  I also used my favorite medium in illustration, pen and ink with watercolor so that I  could translate my ideas to actual images.  

2. What challenges did you encounter in illustrating the story? How did you overcome or break these challenges? 

To tell you the truth,  doing Ino the Invincible was a breeze. Maybe because, as I said earlier,  I could  identify  and see the commonness of the situations and surroundings of Ino.   I really enjoyed doing the different scenes in the book, and being  the illustrator,  I try to add and create different stories in every scene.  The only actual challenge of illustrating Ino is that I have to be totally faithful with the written text and accurately illustrate the basketball moves that are being described in the narrative. The solution is to do a lot of research on the different basketball uniforms from the past to the present and the plays and moves of the game.  Also, some scenes require a lot of characters, and I have to show the  different personalities of each.  There are also some group or crowd scenes, which are quite difficult to illustrate.  But overall,  I am satisfied with the end-result of my illustrations.  

3. What tips or advise can you give aspiring artists?

For young and aspiring artists,  my best advice is to follow their dreams; do not be influenced  by peer-pressure or be dictated by  people that surrounds you.  Create an impressive portfolio of works.   Draw a lot and make things that you like or that inspire you.  It is also important to create your own style that will be your branding in the field of illustration.   Making your own mark by creating images that will be identified and established as yours.    Furthermore, never be insecure with the works of others.  

In the world of illustration,  clients approach you for the style and aesthetics of your works.  When they come to you, mostly are already familiar with the style of your work.  Besides, there will always be a lot of narratives to illustrate.

4. Give three picture books/story books you wish you had illustrated and Why? 

First is “Where The Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.   He is one of my favorite book illustrator and I have always been fascinated with his charming works.  Like Maurice, my favorite medium to use for illustrating is pen and ink with watercolor.  

Second is “Dick Whittington and His Cat” by Marcia Brown.  How I wish I could also make  a book using Linocut as medium.  Linocut is a technique in printing which uses a sheet of linoleum.  A design is cut in the surface  using carving  tools, then inked and printed on paper. Her works are very graphic and I am fascinated with lines that are manually carved that creates highlights and depth in the figures of her illustration.   

Lastly my favorite book is “Columbus” by Ingri d'Aulaire and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire.   I have never heard of this husband and wife illustrators before.  I just discovered their book in a thrift shop.  The book was really old, but when I saw their work,  I instantly fell in love with their aesthetics and how contemporary their vision in creating children’s book.  They are great inspirations for my work in book illustration as well as in my works in painting.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Update on Book Project: When A Book Talks

My illusrator, Ghie Cabalar sent in the activity pages for our book, When A Book Talks. I love the colors she used. Btave and vivid!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

What Good Public Libraries Do

Last month was National Public Library Awareness. I gathered from librarian friends working in the public library sector through Facebook of the many activities they had. It was in the same month when I got tagged by a friend living in Canada of a photo he took of his son and wife reading my book, The Day Max Flew Away (Lampara Books, 2017). I also learned that my books are all available in the public library of Calgary. Amazing! What good public libraries do!

This may be a month late, but allow me to amplify the relevance of public libraries to a person, to his or her family, to the community and society in general.

1. Public libraries are spaces where a person can find his or her own people. Through services that allow him or her to access reading materials and informtion that represent his or her heritage, language and culture, the world is a little less lonelier.

2. Public libraries bridge gaps between peoples and generations. Imagine my friend’s delight to read a book in Filipino to her son when they have been living in Canada for years. The longing for home never ends. Thanks to the public library and its librarians who make books that speak of home available to migrants and immigrants. Now, a Canadian born child of Filipino ancestry could read along with his parents a story written by a Filipino author!

3. Public libraries empower people, their families and communities. Reading is a right as much as it being a skill and a set of skills to be learned. Learning to read is a skill that is learned at home, first of all. If books for learning how to read are too expensive to acquire, then public libraries come in to the rescue. What’s more, their services are developmentally programmed. There is everything for everyone in a well funded, well supported public library.

So, having said all these, I hope Filipino librarians continue to learn from each other and from the experiences of others. I am still hopeful that, despite the many challenges we face, we are able to rise above it to empower people, bridge gaps and show empathy. On a personal note, I thank the librarians of the Calgary Public Library for including my books in their Filipino collection. This is inclusive library services. This is recognising diversity. These are reasons libraries are all the more relevant today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Summer Writing Camp at SOX

GenSan to host SOX Summer Writing Camp

SOX Writers, in partnership with the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will be conducting a SOX Summer Writing Camp this coming April 29 to May 2, 2019 in General Santos City. 

The event aims to contribute to the growing literary scene in Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN or SOX). It also aspires to develop and promote the writing talents of young writers in the region, encouraging them to produce literary works that represent and highlight the diversity and richness of the cultures in SOX

“The camp will provide a big opportunity for young writers in our region to hone and improve their craft,” says Camp Director Kurt Comendador. “It will bring them more exposure to experienced writers who will serve as their mentors in this four-day activity. It will give them a taste of what it’s like to live a writer’s life and experience dwelling in a community that shares the same passion as them. It is a rare vibrant event for us who live in the region, which is only beginning to appreciate local literature.”

During the camp, there will be a plenary lecture: Introduction to Writing and Literature; specialized lectures on Poetry, Essays, and Fiction; as well as a zine-making activity and zine fest. High school, senior high, and college students from different parts of the region will undergo general and specialized creative writing workshops and are expected to write creative works and publish them in zines.

For the past few years, there have been several literary events to help grow the literary scene in the region. Still, it is undeniable that access to bigger writing opportunities remain outside the region. The SOX Summer Writing Camp not only aims to develop the creative writing skills of young writers but also aimsto encourage institutional support from concerned agencies and writing communities in the Philippines. 

We hope this inaugural event will be successful and open numerous opportunities for writers in the SOX region. We hope that this will garner the support of our local institutions towards literary efforts in the region and give SOX literature a chance to prosper,” Comendador says.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Call for Entries: The 2019 Alcala Prize


The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) is now accepting entries for the 2019 PBBY-Alcala Prize. The winner shall be given a cash prize of PHP25,000.00, a 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 16, 2019.


Entries must be received by the PBBY Secretariat and time-stamped no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 7, 2019.


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 2019 PBBY-Salanga Prize winning piece of creative nonfiction, A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limcaco Dans by Gabriela Lee.

3. A copy of the creative nonfiction piece may be downloaded through the PBBY website (

4. All entries must be original, unpublished illustrations that have not won in any previous contest.

5. All entries must consist of three (3) illustrations that are of the same size, two of which are colored, in sequence, and rendered in the same medium. The third spread should be a rough sketch of any other spread. 

Contestants are free to determine how to distribute the text for their spreads, bearing in mind that the interaction of art and text is an important criterion of the contest.

6. A contestant may send in more than one (1) entry.

7. 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.

8. 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. A format of the certification may be downloaded through the PBBY website ( 

9. All entries must be sent to the PBBY Secretariat, c/o Adarna House, 109 Scout Fernandez cor. Scout Torillo Sts., Brgy. Sacred Heart, Quezon City by June 7, 2019. Entries may be submitted in person or by courier service.

10. Winners will be announced no later than June 21, 2019. Non-winning entries must be claimed no later than August 16, 2019 after which they will no longer be the responsibility of the organizers.

For more details, interested parties may contact PBBY by calling 3526765 local 204 or emailing secretariat [at]

Here is the link to the winning story and certification template.

A Delicate Strength: The Story and Art of Araceli Limaco Dans by Gabriela Lee

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...