Monday, September 30, 2019

October is National Museum and Galleries Month

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Pilgrim's Pit Stop: Through the Shadows and Into the Light

Many years ago, when Domeng and I were relatively new members of Magis Deo, we attended various formation activities organized and designed by the Magis Deo elders. The prayer deepening talks and workshops of  Eva Galvey and Monchito Mossesgeld made memorable impressions most especially. I learned a lot from their inputs, the sharing of experiences and their facilitation of skills in building an awareness of feelings. This was before attending a number of Annual Ignatian Retreats. 

These prayer workshops were all beneficial to my growth in Ignatian Spirituality. It helped me focus on my emotions as a way to inform my actions and behavior. I developed a better understanding of myself. This is one of the many benefits when praying the Examen and it leads to more wonderful discoveries. 

The “me” that I often find in the Examen is both beautiful and strange. Creative and destructive. This “me” is capable of generosity and can be downright selfish too. Praying the Examen makes me see my shadow and my light. While there in the shadows lurk my demons, there is always the light to turn towards to. Praying the Examine helps me see this play of darkness and light. It gives me the power to choose and to make decisions. This in itself is God’s gift. God’s grace. God protects and nourishes. And He too, empowers! Praying the Examen amplifies God’s magnificence in my life and in the wholeness of creation.  

I bring myself  into this reflections on prayer workshops, the Examen and Ignatian Spirituality because, recently, I have done something I am not proud of. I know I hurt many people. I realize I acted on behalf of myself without thinking through my actions. Then again, I did not regret doing it either. I am now ambivalent of the entire experience. However, I do find myself praying on this ambivalence. 

Perhaps God is just waiting for me to realize something more about the complexities of human nature. I appreciate that He is there, allowing me to figure things out on my own. All the more reason that I continue praying the Examen and to be sensitive to God’s movement in my life. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Pathfinder: John Lame Deer

The BA Library received a request from the CRE Teacher to gather sources about Rites of Passage. We came up with a Pathfinder focusing on John Lame Deer. We are sharing the file to everyone.

Content curation and selection of sources for your class are  services that the BA Library facilitate. You can send your request for assistance via email ( or Workchat. I can also facilitate a one-on-one session for you or for your class if needed. Content curation involves skills in locating, accessing, organizing and documenting sources. It may come in handy when working on long essays and research projects.

BONUS information: EBSCOHost and World Book Online both have curation apps embedded in their portals and e-learning platforms. If you have an app for curation or bookmarking functions, share it with us. We will see if we can upload them onto the iPads. Thank you!

Reference and Readers Services

Pathfinder: John Lame Deer
This Pathfinder is prepared for Ms. Roxas’ CRE class specifically targeting a text with a 900-1200 Lexile readability level. Ms. Roxas requested for sources that discuss rites of passage, vision quest and the experience of John Lame Deer, a Lakota Indian.

Key words: rites of passage, vision quest, John Lame Deer, John Fire, North American Indian, Lakota tribe, shaman

BA Library Resources: 
For a background information, definition and explanation of Rites of Passage, North American Indians, Lakota tribe recommended references are as follows:

World Book Online (WBO) -
Username: —**
Password: ——
Articles in WBO are lexiled

Explora in EBSCO -
Username: @@@
Password: $&$&
Selected articles in Explora are lexiled

Online Sources
John Lame Deer and the Lakota Nation - with notes on American history, white expansion and colonialism

The Lakota Nation and Vision Quest Explained (estimated 1000L - 1200L) 

Lakota-Sioux Vision Quest  (estimated 1000L - 1200L) - with emphasis on the journey of young Native American Indians into adulthood  

Vision Quest  (estimated 1000L - 1200L) - includes the preparations made for Native American Indian rites of passage, with mentions on the use of hallucinogens

Companion to the recommended texts sourced online
Non-Fiction / General Collection

Deloria, Vine Jr. Red Earth white Lies: Native Americans and the Myth of Scientific Fact. Colorado: FulcrumPublishing, 1997. {398.08997 DEL}

_____. Shamans Through Time 500 Years on the Path to Knowledge. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 2001. {291.144 SHA}

_____. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection. Colorado: Fulcrum Books, 2010. {741.597 TRI}


Kadohata, Cynthia. Weedflower.  New York: Anthem Books for Young Readers, 2006. 

Mikaelsen, Ben. Touching Spirit Bear. New York: Scholastic, 2001.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Research Supervision: The Extended Essay

I took off my EE Coordinator’s hat this academic year to rest. Leading the research in the Extended Essay is no mean feat. However, I was given a student to supervise and scheduled library consultations with the seniors. So far, I am weirdly enjoying it.

It is a given that as librarian, I assist and provide reference and readers services. But facilitating the first three steps in the Guided Inquiry process opened up new learning for me too. I do not only provide services. I teach and facilitate the application of skills. Plus, I get to interact with students. Listening to them and knowing their thinking processes help me understand their attitude and behavior. More on these points in future posts.

For now, I wish to share specific feedback I gave to my student. She has a research question but, she needs clarity on how to approach the research work in general. Our first meeting was spent dissecting and unpacking her research question. After identifying variables, I asked her to do more research. She came back with results. So, I replied.

As I said in a previous email, you have found good sources. I commend you for knowing each papers’ purpose for your EE. Now, you need to identify specific information from each source so that you can use in your presentation and discussion of the child narrator. I suggest you do the following:

- take note of definitions, phrases, paragraphs and quotes as well as information you deem relevant for your topic in general. 
- as you take note, include the source for example:
Child narrators are unreliable when they are used arbitrarily to show themes that often reflect the bias of the author. (Page 14, Gagatiga, Child narrator in adult fiction. Crown, 2017)
- after reading and taking notes, pause to reflect on the process you went through. Doesn’t have to be long. Be aware of what you did and ask yourself, what are my discoveries about my content and topic, and about myself? Did I enjoy reading it? Did I feel confident? What are my doubts? What do I have now? What did I miss? These reflections will help you direct your next steps further on. 

Lastly, here is a tip. List down synonyms and antonyms for the word “reality”. Don’t limit yourself to literal meaning. Use context as well. For example, imagination / knowledge. Then, try the synonyms using this truncation in the search box of Google or databases:


See what happens! 

I will post updates of our journey so visit the blog again soon!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Update on Book Project: When A Book Talks

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

MIBF 2019 Moments

And so the 40th Manila International Book Fair came to pass. My new book didn’t make it to the launching date because of constraints in the printing schedule but I had fun nonetheless. I went there as a reader and storyteller.

I  cued in line for Trese 7. Picked up books for young adult and intermediate readers at Adarna House. Bought books for the library at the Ateneo de Manila University Press and UP Press booths. Bumped into old friends in the book industry and for the first time, heard mass in SMX. I met new authors in Kahel Press and chatted for a bit with their staff. As of writing, they are going through issues of infringement but Ruth “Wowie” Catabijan is making sure they learn from the mistake.

I judged the Lampara Batang Kuwentista Storytelling Contest. How can I say no to my publisher? All the while, Jun Matias and I have identified gaps in the children’s book publishing industry. Needless to say, he and I have more book projects to do!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Finding the Right Source

Miss, may I ask help in finding the right source?

This is a request I frequently get from some students, especially during research season. Before reminding them to use the OPVL assisting them on the use of the BA Library OPAC and research databases, I verify the following activities prior to locating sources of information in the library and online.

Did you understand and analyse the task or project?

Did you identify information you need to complete the task?

What important terms or words have you pulled out from the identified information? You can use them as key words for searching the BA Library OPAC, online databases and search engines like Goggle.
Are you familiar with primary and secondary sources?

If the answer to these questions are all in the affirmative, which rarely happens, we proceed to the OPAC and databases. Once a student finds a book, an article or an academic paper he proceeds with evaluation of the source, text and material. And then, citation becomes a concern. That would require another session. Another inquiry. Or, the student depends on a citation machine online.

Recently, I got bored with my pre-research interview and verification process. Searching EBSCOHost for ideas, I found a good material to further support me in library reference work and readers’ services. The Right Source is a short, easy to read article that may help me assist students in their research and inquiry. I recommend you read it too and download the file. Share it with another co-teacher and to your class as well.  

Is this the right source for me?

Not sure if this source is something you can cite in your research? Find your class assignment or research prompt and check the guidelines your teacher has outlined. Then, ask yourself the following questions about your source to see if it’s what you need:
  • Primary or secondary? A primary source is an account from a specific time period. If you’re writing a paper about the medieval political system, the surviving pages of Magna Carta would be a primary source. A book written by a medieval studies scholar that describes the importance of Magna Carta would be a secondary source—this type of source provides analysis and context.
  • Popular or academic? Popular sources are "popular" because they are meant for the general public. Newspapers and magazines are popular sources because they are easy to understand and widely available. Academic sources are more thoroughly reviewed than popular sources. They often undergo a peer review process, have multiple sections, and are generally much longer and more detailed.
  • Neutral or biased? Examine the word choices made in your source to determine if it is objective or trying to get across a certain point of view. If it seems to be interpreting facts with a specific agenda or goal in mind, the source may have gone past a specific viewpoint to outright bias.
  • Where did this source get its information? Look for a bibliography at the bottom of the work and see what sources were used. If they look credible and trustworthy, not only is your source likely a good one, but you now have a list of other reputable sources you can search for.
The "right" source for you depends on the guidelines your teacher has set for the assignment. If your teacher has asked you to see how an event was covered in newspapers, then neutral, academic sources won’t be the right fit. All sources—whether they are primary or secondary, neutral or biased—can be useful; it all depends on the type of source you need. If you’re not sure what kind of a source you should be looking for, simply ask your teacher.

Content provided by EBSCO LearningExpress PrepSTEP® for High Schools.
Retrieved August 26, 2019

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Recommended Reads: My List of Must Have Children’s Books at the MIBF 2019

This is batch four of my recommended must have children’s books to acquire at the Manila International Book Fair happening tomorrow. For this post, I am sharing titles of middle grade books, young adult novels and sequential art or comics.

1. Tuli o Di Tuli by Dr. Luis Gatmaitan,; illustrated by Manix Abrera, Hiyas 2019;
Philippine Children’s Literature’s resident doctor strikes again! Dr. Gatmaitan’s Tito Dok series tackles the science behind circumcission breaking myths and folklore along the way. 

2. Ako Ang Bayan by PD Guinto; illustrated by Manix Abrera, Adarna House 2018
Guinto writes about freedom as the most precious thing on earth. His exposition is clear and straight to the point. Abrera’s visual interpretation of Guinto’s prose is simple but satisfying. 

3. Moymoy Lulumhoy Book 4 by Segundo “Jun” Matias, Lampara Books 2019
Moymoy is now a teenager and his adversaries doubled. However, his greatest enemy to date is himself. Follow Moymoy’s adventures as he traverses a more challenging journey, finding his own self.

4. Janus Silang at Ang Hiwagang May Dalawang Mukha by Edgar Samar, Adarna House 2019. 
If you are a fan of this book, go grab a copy because the questions left unanswered in book 3 leads you closer to the end. 

5. Trese Book 7 Shadow Witness by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldissimo, Visprint 2019
Finally! Trese fans, we will get to know more about Alexandra’s mysterious brothers! 

Enjoy the MIBF 2019 and hope to see you there! 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Recommended Reads: My List of Must Have Children's Books at the MIBF 2019 (Batch 3 of 4)

The Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) opens on September 11, 2019! Have you made your list of books to buy? I am sharing my list of Must Have Children's Books at the MIBF.

Kahel Press is the new kid on the block and it has begun publishing non-fiction book for kids age 6 and up. I love their books about pets! Young pet lovers and animal enthusiasts will find the information helpful since the text is written in a casual and conversational manner.  

Did the title make you laugh? These books are worth keeping in your home's book shelf and perfect addition to the library's Sciences collection.
Saya/Saya by Auri Asuncion Yambao is a pictionary that lives up to its title. Ang saya-saya ng aklat na ito! Who would have thought that Filipino homonyms could be used to tell stories through illustrations and visuals? Tahanan was able to pull it off amazingly well!   

This book is perfect for learning new words and in the hands of an excellent storyteller, it can open up a world of meaning and sense to the listening child.

Go visit the booths of Kahel Press and Tahanan at the MIBF!

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Recommended Reads: My List of Must Have Children's Books at the MIBF 2019 (Batch 2 of 4)

The Manila Intetnational Book Fair 2019 will open and welcome readers of all ages from all walks of life next week, September 11, 2019. For the next five days, the SMX in Pasay City will host and witness once again the crowds and hoards of people who are eager buyers of books and fans of authors, artists and content creators. MIBF, here we come!

I have my own list of books to buy and booths to visit, of course. I mean to share them with you here in the blog. In August, I posted a list of 
MIBF Must Have Children’s Books. In the next days leading to the MIBF, I will post on the blog my recommendations for parents, teachers, librarians and young readers. So, here we go.

Mang Adong’s Jeepney by Tippy Kintanar; illustrated by Jose Maria Tristan V. Yuvienco. Published by Bookmark, 2018.

A couple of years ago, the news about the Jeepney Phase out disturbed many Filipino commuters, jeepney operators and drivers. The issue affected individuals and communities who own and run jeepney transport businesses as well as, the national consciousness. The jeepney is a symbol of Filipino identity, history and culture. Removing the jeepneys from the streets is like ceasing to be Filipino. 

In Mang Adong’s Jeepney, Kintanar helps us remember the humble beginnings of Salvador Sarao, the man who dared innovate the jeep. This is a story of  a man who changed the transport business and innovated the technology to build one. Man — and woman, love their machines because it is an object of creative expression. The book is part of Bookmark’s Modern Day Heroes series.

Marami Land of the Brave written by Melissa Salva; translated into Maranan by Lawambae Basaula-Lumna; illustrated by Kathleen Sareena Dagum. Bookmark, 2018.

This book is part of the Marawi Book Series, a project of the Gift of Reading Project of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) The goal of the project is to use literature that  heals  and inspires children and  young people who were survivors of the 2017 Marawi conflict. The Bookmark collaborated with PBSP and the Department of Education Marawi to publish the books. 

The author, Melissa Salva, makes use of folk stories and legends that amplify the bravery of the Marawi people. A young boy narrates the stories to his younger brother with hope and belief, that the legacy of the heroes of the Maranao legends live on in the heart and soul of their people. Dagum’s watercolors evoke nostalgia and in some pages, render a tender picture of the loss the boys experienced. I cannot help but take pity on the child narrator and ask myself, what can I do? What can I do to help?

Lakay Billy: Defender of Indigenuos People by Luz B. Maranan; illustrated by Duday Ysabel Maranan. Bookmark, 2018. 

August 9 is Indigenous Peoples Day. This book, Lakay Billy, is a fitting read to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of Philippine indigenous groups. Maranan narrates the life of William Funa-ay Claver, lawyer and elected Igorot delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention and his fight for representation and human rights. A year after, Martial Law was declared. Lakay Billy’s battle becomes more relevant to read and think about in this time and day when fascism and authoritarianism resurges.

Theses are all for now. I will be posting batch 3 of my MIBF Must Haves any day this week. Read and grow, everyone! 

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Library Book Displays: On Leadership

Our Student Council reserved the use of the library reading area last weekend. They had a leadership training seminar and training session. Composed of officers in the council and in the various clubs, they spent time in the library for quiet reflection and writing time. 

I thought of setting up a display of books on leadership. When we did, the teacher facilitators were appreciative of the gesture. 

On Monday, we received good words from the Dean of Student Life. She said —

Zarah and Flynn, what an inspiration to walk into the library to begin our leadership training to find your display of books on leadership and leaders.   We, the facilitators, kept sneaking peaks at the books during the workshop.  Thank you for your thoughtfulness and warm welcome.  We had a very productive workshop and you helped set the ambience that got us off on the right foot.

We will have a follow through of this information and readers service. So, visit the blog again or watch out for postings I do in all my social media sites. I don’t mind sharing and I would appreciate your feedback or comments. 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Bookish Conversations and Self Publishing

Von Totanes, Director of the Rizal Library, introduced me to Techie Lopez via Messenger. Techie is an aspiring author who is at a crossroads. She has written a story but could not decide where to bring her manuscript. Finally, after chatting online, she decided to self publish. 

When I met her last week, she was already applying for an ISBN. Overwhelmed but undaunted, she told me the process she has gone through so far. As a response, I showed her copies of my published books and told her of my own publishing story. She asked how I started out as an author. I introduced her to the system and the ecology of the book industry. She was pleasantly surprised to find out that a supportive community awaits her in Philippine Children’s Literature. 

Before we parted ways, I gave her copies of my books. We took a selfie, of course! It made it on social media and this is what she said of our meeting and about my books —

Zarah Gagatiga is a teacher librarian, a storyteller, a blogger, and an award winning author (both in the Philippines and abroad).  Her generous heart, encouraging spirit and passion to develop quality children’s literature in the Philippines is inspiring. Thank you, Von, for introducing me to her ❤️

Here are some of her other books, all meaningful, easy to read with great artwork by talented illustrators. They’re very affordable in bookstores. 

This is not the last I will be seeing Techie. I am sure of that! 
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