Friday, August 30, 2019

Author Visit at Keys School Manila

Thank you to the teacher librarians of Keys School Manila, Teachers Alfred and Van, for hosting my author visit with their students in kinder, grade 1 and 2 levels. I had a wonderful time sharing about my life as a writer, the stories behind my published books and the structure of writing I use for my stories. The Keys students were curious, confident and authentic inquirers. 

Thank you so much to my publisher, Lampara House for setting up a booth to display and sell my books. Signing copies of books that students bought took me an hour! I am excited to see my new book launched at the Manila International Book Fair this September.

The visit was like a reunion for I have met former co-teachers and children of friends I knew from my librarian days in Xavier School. Now I look forward to continuing partnership with the teacher librarians in Keys School as they have recently been authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School. It is in the IB where collaboration, resource sharing and networking truly happens. Let’s see what’s in store for us Filipino Librarians in the IB network!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Nina Martinez, Wordless Book Prize Winner (2 of 2)

Here is part 2 of the interview of Nina Martinez, 2019 Wordless Book Prize winnwr. 

4. What moved and inspired you to create it? Why in the format of a wordless book?

I was inspired by the breadth of the imagination of children, whether it’s other children’s imaginations or my memory of my own. When we’re young and don’t know what something is like, we come up with the most fantastical concepts to fill in the gaps, just because we prefer excitement over logic. I wanted to imagine a young girl who, like me, was born and raised in the city, and had created whimsical versions of the sea and sky in order to understand them.

I found the format of a wordless book perfect for this concept because children don’t always have the extensive vocabulary to describe what they visualize in their heads – luckily, illustration can shoulder this responsibility every once in a while.

5. What projects, art exhibits or books you wish to promote?

I love writing and illustrating original komiks – you can check them out on my online portfolio at I always sell them at press fairs like KomikonKomiket, and everything in between. Come by and support local artists!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Nina Martinez, Wordless Book Prize Winner (1 of 2)

Nina Martinez, winner of the 2019 Wordless Book Prize, shares with us her five memorable books, why Math is interesting and briefly describes what her winning story is all about.

1. What are the 5 books that you will always remember? 

Estrellita: The Little Wishing Star by May Tobias-Papa -  one of the first ever books I read and also possibly the first to ever make me feel sad.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – for its simple but purposeful illustrations.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – for the terrifying but believable world it was able to paint through first-person perspective.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel – for its painfully real, lived-in illustrations, difficult subject matter, and its proving that even autobiographical graphic novels could have striking prose.

Blankets by Craig Thompson – another graphic novel with expressive illustration and the ability to turn a personal story into a tale worth reading.

2. What would you be if not a visual artist?

If I was not a visual artist, I would be a mathematician because I find math beautiful. They say numbers are a “made-up” language yet when used properly they reveal beautiful patterns and truths of our universe.

3. What is Ang Mga Sikreto ng Langit at Dagat?

Ang Mga Sikreto ng Langit at Dagat is my entry to the PBBY 2019 Wordless Book Prize. It opens with a little girl looking at a bird outside of her condominium window and wondering what the open sky and sea are like. We are invited into her imagination of those things.Being an archipelago, the Philippines is surrounded endlessly by both sea and sky, so much that they are both cornerstones in indigenous faiths, folklore, and art. If a child were raised in a highly urbanized environment, she may not be able to experience either of those until much later.

Part 2 will follow soon, so visit the blog again!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Scavenger Hunt 2019 (1 of 2)

The Beacon Academy Library Treasure Hunt 2019


Grade 9 - Group # ______



Answer the questions as quickly as you can. Your answers need to be accurate and correct.


Task #1.  Use PageMaster V5, the BA Library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) and conduct a search using Philippines and Folktales as keywords.  Choose a book from the search results. Locate the book on the shelf. Write the bibliographic data of the book.





Place of Publication:

Publication year or Copyright:


Task #2.  Go to the OPAC.  Find a book written by Dianne de Las Casas. Write a short description of the book (3-5 sentences long).



Task #3.  What is the Dewey Decimal number of the book The Legends:Philippine Folk Literature?


DDC #: 


Task #4.  Answer the question: How can basic Boolean Searchstrategy help you in locating information and sources online?


Tasks  #5Log in EBSCOHost. Go to EXPLORA. Search for mythologySkim the article. From what encyclopedia was the article sourced out? 


Task # 6.  Log in World Book Online and go to World Book Student. Search for legends. Answer this question: What makes a legend different from a myth? Cite your source.


*You may write your answer at the back of this paper.


Tasks #7. Using the BA Library OPAC, search for the bibliographic data of The Power of Myth. Write a citation in APA and MLA formats. Use the back of the paper to write your citations.



Saturday, August 24, 2019

Designing a Bibliotherapy Program

Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Riza Reyes who was, at the time, finishing her thesis on Bibliotherapy at Southville International School and Colleges. A friend from the library profession introduced us and we found ourselves seeing each other for consultations a few times over. 

Riza was designing a Bibliotherapy Program for teenagers and adults. A guidance and counseling major, her masteral studies involve the use of literature and stories for therapy. While she was confident in the areas of psychological assessment and treatment, she admitted that identifying literature for her intervention sessions was an area she needed help and assistance. Thus, the referral and our meet ups over pastries and coffee.

I learned many things about the program she was designing back then - her target participants, the design and environment for her therapy sessions, the pre-test and post test assessment tools she planned to administer. It was a clinical program using Bibliotherapy. Understanding her study and the purpose for using literature to help teens and adults come to terms with their mental health conditions inspired me to further help her. 

I recommended varied reading materials and media to use. I reminded her that readers need encouragement to make choices on the materials to read. This is an empowering experience, simple as it may seem. Allowing them to express their thoughts and responses to the literature they have read completes the cycle of confidence building. Riza is listener and eager to learn. A month after our first few meetings, I received the revised Bibliotherapy Program. She gave the participants more activities and agency in the experience of encountering literature. 

I will definitely follow up on her since Bibliotherapy is my passion project. And who knows, this guidance counselor and librarian team-up may lead to more projects for teens and young people in the future. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Review: MMK Hagdan by Roderick Baturi Ramos

As a book blogger and book reviewer, I often get free print copies of books to review and Advanced Review Copies (ARC)  of ebooks to write about for the blog. I was not surprised at all when Roderick “Erick” Ramos gifted me a copy of his newest self published ebook, MMK Hagdan, on the first day of August. In exchange is an honest review so, here it is.

Erick has written several ebooks which he also self published. He markets and sells them in social media on a regular basis. This is, in itself, an accomplishment. 

In all seven ebooks, he wrote about insights on librarianship gleaned from  experiences and professional practice. In MMK Hagdan, however, he writes about his childhood and his growing up years that, as stated in the ebook’s title, would qualify for an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya. The structure of the narrative follows the popular television show’s format. The lead character is beset by challenges made by others and nature, yet, he overcomes. Such hardships and trials do not extinguish the life out of him. It made him move further on. And this is where the formula all fell apart for me. 

In his own writing, Erick is letting his readers know that he is coming to terms with his loss of self. It is a confession. A brave admission of the need to be loved as he is. In this autobiography, he removes the branding and puts down the gimmicks he would attach on social media for every library event. And what do you get? Roderick Baturi Ramos, the man who is right now at the precipice of a chasm of loneliness. The dramatic title and his melancholic face that is found  on the cover to the last page of the ebook amplifies this isolation and desolation that has haunted him all his life.

In the end, Erick’s narrative reveals to me the palpable truth that in creating art salvation is not too far away. When telling stories we shall all find a way to heal ourselves. 

Hang on, my friend. You are not alone.

Rating: 2.5 bookmarks over 5


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Recommended Reads: Must Have Children's Books at the MIBF 2019 (1 of 4)

The Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is just around the corner!

Here's hoping you have saved enough to buy books for your toddlers, your children and your teenagers. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a grandparent, an adult working for kids' welfare and well-being or a children's literature advocate and enthusiast, may you find this list of recommended books helpful when choosing and buying books for young readers.

For this first batch, I have identified ten titles plus one!

Adarna House
1. Tingnan Mo, O! Isinulat ni Noelle Pabiton at Iginuhit ni  Gica Tam
2. Sirena Ba 'Yan? Is That A Mermaid? By Candy Gourlay Illustrated by Francesca Chessa Billungual Edition
3. Ang Taon ng Pusa Isinulat ni Jaume Copons at Iginuhit ni  Agustín Comotto

Anvil Publishing
1. 1..2...3.. by Aaron Randy
2. Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay

The Bookmark Inc.
Common Courtesies Series by Didith T. Rodrigo

Hiyas / OMF Lit

Porcupine Pirate Plans the Perfect Day by Robert Magnuson

Lampara Books

Green / Luntian by Becky Bravo Illustrated by Beth Parrocha

Tahanan Books for Young Readers
1. Pitong Tsinelas Kuwento ni Divine Gil Reyes Guhit ni Benjor Catindig
2. Folk Songs Series: Kaisa-Isa Niyan (Alvarez and Prudente); Pakitong-Kitong (Monzon and Prudente); Ed-Edoy (Albano and Prudente)

Plus one - Karapatdapat: Bata alamin ang iyong karapatan (CANVAS and Ang INK)

Do come back and check the blog for three more batches of children's books to buy and acquire for your home library and school reading centers.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Children's Book Summit: Prospects and Directions in Philippine Children's Literature (4 of 4)

After knowing the Top Ten Awesome and Amazing Events in Philippine Children's Literature and the children's book industry, it can be concluded that prospects for its growth and development is an on-going process that is already beyond the borders of Metro Manila. We are discovering publishing houses, book shops and organizations of book creators in the regions. Government agencies like the DepEd and the National Library of the Philippines are supportive of book development efforts and book projects by teachers and NGOs. The continuous building and the development of public libraries in the provinces is another venue of distribution. Though, the acquisition process of books is another story to discuss all together. The traditional means and ways of book production remain but new models are being made and this infuse excitement and vigor to the book and reading communities.

We have heard writers, authors and artists talk about the state and situation of the industry. I am grateful, as a librarian, to be given this chance to speak about book development from our perspective. Content creation as process and product is already a stable system, though it needs to be constantly open to possibilities and the great "what if".  Economics is always an issue, but I believe that creativity knows no boundaries nor walls. Since libraries operate and conduct services and programs for young people, the process of creation extends outside the confines of the classrooms.

We also need to listen more to our readers and welcome new voices. What do they offer? What can we learn from them? How is media playing a role in the exchange of information? There is research to do and to make use of apart from the surveys and interviews we regularly conduct. Instead of asking what attracts readers to books, ask why are readers reading and how do they read.

Lastly, we need to recognize that reading is a personal experience. And yet, it is a social one too. Enough of the statement that Filipinos do not read. The Filipino reads. Even this statement begs to be pared and dissected from a social and anthropological view.  The Igorot child is reading a different story from that of Lumad in the fields of Mindanao. The teenager from Binan, Laguna who goes to an high end senior high school has so many reading materials at her disposal compared to the young adult living in Baseco, Tondo who only reads required textbooks and his exposure to social media and afternoon variety shows happens every day.

We are a country with diverse peoples and diverse needs. Do our systems of thinking, learning and content creation celebrate and support this diversity?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Grace and Wonder with Magis Deo Kids

As far back as I can remember, my family and I had facilitated sessions with the kids and the youth of Magis Deo. Domeng and I led the singing in talks designed for them on several occasions. Afterwich, we assisted in activities of the assigned facilitators. A year ago, our eldest, Nico, joined me in the clay workshop for Magis Deo Kids. Last month, it was couple power time again as Domeng and I led a pop-up card making activity for the children.

The grace in taking part in these activities is plentiful. As a family, we get the opportunity to work together outside the comforts and confines of our home. To be called upon by friends and companions in the community to serve and to share our talent is another. We grow as persons when we share and serve the community. This is an experience I personally value. The love and devotion we learn and apply in the family should spread out to the bigger society and to the world in general. Often, parents need the help of others in teaching their children. I am thankful that Magis Deo, in its own way, has helped us raise our children well.

Lastly, it is also a wonderful experience knowing the young children of Magis Deo members and companions. They are diversely talented, confident and respectful kids. Being with the Magis Deo children fills me with hope. Imagine the programs we can design for them. Think about continuity and formation as a developmental program. The fish and bread is multiplying before our eyes and we only need to discern more to know what to do with these graces and wonderment. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Lighthouse Diary Entry #17: Welcome New Griffins!

This week we officially opened the academic year to new and returning students. As it has been the practice for years, the library conducted orientations for grades 9-12. Each cohort brought to the table a unique characteristic and behavior towards the library. Once again, I realized that a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning will not do.

What was remarkable to me in this year's library orientation was the response of the grade 9 students to the activity I planned and prepared. I kept the same activities for the returning students, but decided on the last minute to change the activities for the new Griffins. Besides the orientation, I carried on another session for them later in the day. This was part of the Foundation Days Program that the MYP Team put together.

The Harkness Table where thoughtful discourse and mutual respect are observed. 

The activities that the grade 9s worked on were anchored on two concepts namely, research as an inquiry process and  research as communication. The class was divided in two groups. Group 1 was tasked to make a plan in repairing an old bike. Group 2 was tasked to analyze Hitler's proclamation as Time's Man of the Year. Both tasks involved process as an important factor in completing tasks.

The output that each group brought to the table was impressive. Not only did they answered the questions and completed the tasks, they also described their process at arriving at an answer or a conclusion. There was evidence of critical thinking as one group reasoned out practical means to repair the old bike versus, going the long route of understanding how a bike works and what needs to be repaired if it is broken. I was impressed on the group who worked on the Hitler activity. They consulted books, online resources and went back to previous assignments about World War II. The discussion was rich with in the groups and the presentation was a team effort. Promising!

Onward to the next phase of research skills building. This is going to be an exciting academic year!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Lesson Plan for Library Orientation for Grades 9-12

The Beacon Academy Library Orientation Plan

Session objectives:
  1. To welcome grade 9s to the library;
  2. To present ways on how the library supports grade 10 students in the Personal Project;
  3. To assess students’ knowledge of the library, citation and skills in locating and accessing information;
  4. To discuss possible ways the library can be an avenue for CAS projects and Community Service.

Grade 9 Learning Experience:

  1. The Library is…
  • Write what you know or your idea of the library in a post-it.
  • Post it on the whiteboard.
  • TL will read the post-its.
      B. The Beacon Academy Library
  • Distribute brochure to all students.
  • Read the brochure and take note of important words or ideas that struck you.
  • Turn to a partner and share your notes and ideas.
  • Go back to your notes and your brochure. Think of one word or a phrase to describe the library. Stand up and write them on the cartolina.

      C. BA Library Themes: Empathy, Inclusion and Diversity
  • Bulletin Board: Libraries are for everyone! Ang Aklatan ay para sa lahat!
  • Reading Guidance Program: READING Without Walls Challenge
    • 1. Read a book about a character who doesn’t look like you or live like you.
    • 2. Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about.
    • 3. Read a book in a format that you don’t normally read for fun. This might be a chapter book, a graphic novel, a book in verse, a picture book, or a hybrid book.
      D. In the library you can…

  1. Read and borrow books for academic and leisure reading.
  2. Study by yourself or with a group.
  3. Learn about Academic Honesty and apply research skills taught in the classroom by your teachers.
  4. Develop, build and make stuff for academic work, Personal Projects, IAs, Extended Essays and TOK essays, and CAS Projects.
  5. Help grow its collection of books, ebooks, online resources and the like.

      E. Distribute library bookmarks and show online subscriptions, OPAC and BA Library Website.
Grade 10 Learning Experience

  1. TL asks the question: How was the library of help or of assistance to you when you were in grade 9? Write your answers on post-its.
  2. Students are to discuss their answers in pairs. After 3-5 mins, post-its are put on the whiteboard.
  3. TL reads students post-its.

  1. How can the BA Library help you in the Personal Project?

    1. Search for sources and resources in your research. (OPAC, Online Databases)
    2. Learn more about referencing, citations and the annotated bibliography. (Academic Honesty)
    3. Apply research skills taught in the classroom by your teachers.
    4. Schedule consultation or skills sessions with Mrs. Gagatiga. (per class, group or individual study time)
    5. Access and read PP reports and samples. (for room use only)

  1. TL introduces theme for the year: Libraries are for everyone! Ang Aklatan ay para sa lahat! Themes for this year is EMPATHY; INCLUSION and DIVERSITY.
  2. TL introduces year long Reading Guidance Activity: READING Without Walls Challenge.
  3. Show and access online subscriptions, OPAC and BA Library Website.

Grade 11 Learning Experience

  1. Students play the BA LIBRARY BINGO.
  2. Process the game and answers of students.
  3. How can the BA Library help you in your IAs?

    1. Search for sources and resources in your research. (OPAC, Online Databases)
    2. Learn more about referencing, citations and the annotated bibliography. (Academic Honesty)
    3. Apply research skills taught in the classroom by your teachers.
    4. Schedule consultation or skills sessions with Mrs. Gagatiga. (per class, group or individual study time)
    5. Access and read EE reports and samples. (for room use only)

  1. TL introduces theme for the year: Libraries are for everyone! Ang Aklatan ay para sa lahat! Themes for this year is EMPATHY; INCLUSION and DIVERSITY.
  2. TL introduces year long Reading Guidance Activity: READING Without Walls Challenge.
  3. Show and access online subscriptions, OPAC and BA Library Website.

Grade 12 Learning Experiences

  1. Present possible projects and activities for CAS and Community Service.
Context: Reading advocacy and book campaigns 

  1. Set-up a pop-up library or library on wheels.
  2. Help organize a classroom library for Loma Elementary School.
  3. Create and illustrate stories under the Early Readers Project of the Beacon Academy.
  4. Schedule a workshop or consultation session with Mrs. Gagatiga on reading aloud and storytelling.
  5. Contribute to BA Library Spotlight, Drake Velasco’s website by writing reviews on books, apps, games and arts and culture events. 

        2. TL introduces theme for the year: Libraries are for everyone! Ang Aklatan ay para sa lahat! Themes for this year is EMPATHY; INCLUSION and DIVERSITY.

        3. TL introduces year long Reading Guidance Activity: READING Without Walls Challenge.

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