Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 Monthly First Post

As I keep up with this blog tradition, I am also reminded of how fortunate I have been this 2019. The year is awfully hard and I could not have made it this far if not for the support of friends at work, in the book industry and in Philippine School Librarianship. As the year ends, I can only say thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

January - Prayer for the New Year - I should have gone back to this every time I needed to. Reminder to self for 2020, pray more. Pray harder!

New Year’s Prayer for the Family

God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time.


February - Teacher and Librarian Collaboration - My work always involves collaborating with faculty and academic coordinators.

I had a productive meeting with our Dean of Faculty last week. 

March - A Hymn to Time - I can no longer remember the context of the post, but I should post more poetry, di ba?!

Time says “Let there be”
every moment and instantly
there is space and the radiance
of each bright galaxy.

April - Pilgrim's Pit Stop - Because I also write for the Magis Deo Newsletter.

Sometime in early February, I felt weighed down, irrelevant and vulnerable. Work made me listless and dissatisfied. Changes in family life left me confused, even lost. Under the circumstances, I would rather protect myself by staying in my comfort zone. I did recognize the invitation to be brave. Being brave, however, would mean taking risks, going the extra mile and stretching an arm and a leg. I found myself asking, “what for?” and at “what cost?” I was tired.

May - School Librarian in the 21st Century - This is part 1 of a three part post about my participation in the 2019 PASLI Conference in Manila. When you visit the post, do read the entire series as I have shared some insights and reflections too.

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.

June - Summer Writing Workshop - Something I do every summer. And yes, I will be doing this again in June and July 2020.

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

July - Books. Tech and Design Thinking - Some random thoughts on the topics of tech, books and design thinking.

Since my summer began in early June, I have been to several round table discussions and meet-ups with friends in the education sector and in the book industry. Our topics of conversation range from reading, to books, the creation of information and knowledge, ways to communicate these resources to them and the behavior we apply as we consume them. I discovered and validated three things.

August - Library Skills Sessions at the Beginning of the Academic Year - What I do in the Academy

I am preparing for next week's library orientation and research session with our Griffins. The teacher in me is excited to go back to school, officially, and meet new and returning students. Another part of me is missing vacation already. Such is life.

September - Bookish Convo and Self Publishing - Meet up with Techie Lopez who was, at the time, starting out a book project.

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. 

October - Filipino Illustrations in Picture Books - A Q and A over SMS led to a post in the blog and lead to a talk on illustrations and picture books.

I am sharing this exchange I had with a dear fiend in the book industry on identity and book illustrations. 

November - Game Changers in Philippine Librarianship - Thanks to John Hickock for this feature and study of librarians in the SEA region making a difference.

It is in October when the Rizal Library conducts its international conference. I have participated in this academic and scholarly endeavor countless times and I have always felt welcomed by the library community there. Each visit, be it for work, professional or personal matter, feels like a day of hanging out with my favorite cousin. On its 8th International Conference, I was there once again as a social guest by John Hickok of the American Library Association. He attended the conference as a paper presenter.

December - Room To Read Book Project - Yes. 2019 has been a good year. Everything is grace.

The news that our book, Masaya Maging Ako (Gagatiga and Bauza, Lampara Books) is included in this brochure and will soon be out for publication surprised me like a thunderstorm. On this day when typhoon Kammuri passed through CALABARZON, the Philippine Children’s Book Industry has something to smile about. And that is on top of all the gold medals that the FIlipino athletes are raking in the 2019 SEA Games. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

A Six Sentence Christmas Story by Jamie Bautista

Jamie Bautista had a neat activity for Christmas in Facebook! This post was on his timeline last December 24, 2019.

 Post any photo as a reply to this and say a genre. I'll write a 6 sentence max (genre) Xmas story for the first 10 today.
Jumping into his challenge, I replied with this photo:

Taken on December 12, 2019 between 5.45 PM - 6PM at the Beacon Academy campus using an iPhome 6s.
 Below is Jamie's story which he posted as a reply to my photo and genre, which is Gothic.

 ”Is that seriously the tree you want?” Lord Habershenk asked his wife, Lady Trudy, as the couple stared at the bare and craggly old tree, the moonlight casting web-like shadows on their faces.

“It’s perfect, darling,” Lady Trudy exclaimed. “I can already picture us putting it in the east wing of the manor, hanging all this tinsel and aluminium balls on it and putting on top that glorious gold-leaf star we got during that trip to Bangkok.”

“Isn’t that the tree where Margaret Goldmore hung herself five years ago?” Lord Habershenk asked, sounding almost hesitant to bring up this dark history.

“Darling, I want a Christmas tree that took a life, so I can try to bring life to it. Isn’t that what this season is all about?” Lady Trudy laughed with an unsettling giddiness in her voice.
Now this is how you engage readers in story creation using social media tools. 

More about Jamie Bautista's works featured in the blog:
Jamie Bautista in Sagada
Private Iris on YouTube

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Movie Review: Klaus

Klaus (2019)
Director: Sergio Pablos
Screenplay by: Sergio Pablos, Jim Mahoney and Zach Lewis

I heard friends talk about Klaus as a heartwarming take on the legend of Santa Claus. It has good reviews online as well, so I included the movie in my list to validate what I have read and heard. It did not disappoint.

The animation is amazing, smooth and clean. I enjoyed the colors: beige, mocha, blue and gray. I am not a fan of steam punk, but it is the movie and it grew on me. The 19th century setting of the movie was a factor, I think. It is old and miserable, sentimental and full of hope all at the same time.

Of the many Santa Claus portrayals I have seen over the years, this Klaus is now my favorite. This Klaus has a past, does not talk much and perceives signs in nature around him. All the stories and details that made Santa Claus a legend are in the movie. Watching these scenes were all comforting as I dig deep into childhood memories of the rituals of gift giving. What made this legend all the more real to me (while watching an animated movie) was the rendition of the stories about Klaus told by the children as Jesper, who is actually the lead character, delivers all of the toys that Klaus made for them. That is the power of imagination right there. Truth and faith as well.

In the end, I gained a new insight about Klaus. He wants us to play. He wants us to laugh. In play and in laughter, we become.

Rating/Recommendation: 4 of 5
Go and stream it! 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Movie Review: A Christmas Prince

Of the five Netflix original movies I have in my To Watch list this month, I have successfully seen two, so far. I am putting a check on Klaus (2019) and A Christmas Prince (2017). Here is my review of A Christmas Prince.

A Christmas Prince
Motion Picture Corporation of America (MPCA)
Directed by Alex Zamm

One of two romcoms I have in my list, A Christmas Prince contains all the recipes of a Hallmark movie. The characters are pretty much what you would expect from a trope that uses mistaken identity and clean-up-your-mess-to-be-redeemed ending with a kiss in the middle of a snow covered street. There is the scheming and conniving ex-girlfriend, the ambitious royal cousin, the endearing and imperfect princess that acted as the female lead's bestie and fairy god mother. Yes, Cinderella lives!

I did find Rose McIver endearing and Ben Lamb as the titular Christmas Prince is charming. However, sparks were low between the two actors. While I did root for them, their chemistry lacked the fire that says, "We are a sexy pair, so we deserve to be together" at the end of it all. But, the movie has two sequels up in Netflix. But. I am skipping it.

I am moving on to A Knight Before Christmas where Vanessa Hudgens is the female lead. I want to give myself a chance on her again as I loved her in the first High School Musical.

Rating / Recommendation: 3 of 5
Stream it if you are a fan of romcoms :-)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Room to Read Book Project Update: Masaya Maging Ako!

I am so happy to see the dummy and cover of our new book, Masaya Maging Ako.
This book is one of the 20 books created and produced during the Room to Read Workshops in Bohol and Baguio.
Author: Zarah Gagatiga; Illustrator: Jamie Bauza; Publisher: Lampara Books, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019

2020 PASLI National Conference Call for Papers

Philippine Association of School Librarians, Inc. (PASLI)

Call for Papers 2020

42nd National Conference
Newtown Plaza Hotel, Baguio City

April 22-24, 2020

“IntenZfied” School Libraries: Optimizing Diverse Collection Development Practices for the Generation Z

Topics of Interest
• Collection Development
• Collection Management
• Selection issues and challenges
• Collection analysis
• Consortial collection development
• Patron-driven acquisitions
• Electronic resources
• Outreach, Liaison activities, and Marketing
• Policy, Planning, and Fiscal Management
• Trends and future of collection development
• The collection, collection development, and the community
• Selection tools and selection criteria
• Collection assessment
• Preservation and conservation of library resources
• Censorship
• Legal Issues in collection development
• Engaging students to read
Important dates:
December 18, 2019- Announcement of Call for Papers

January 31, 2020- Deadline of abstract submission

February 21, 2020- Acceptance notification

April 13, 2020- Submission of Full Paper and Presentation

April 22-24- PASLI Conference
Instructions for submissions:
1. Abstract for paper presentation should be submitted using this format:
a. Title of Paper (in capital letters, Arial Narrow font size 14)
b. Name of author/s (including official designation. Use * for the presenting author)
c. Institution/Company Affiliation
d. Contact details (email address and contact number)
e. 3-5 keywords
f. Abstract (300 to 500 words only, Arial Narrow font size 12)
Abstract must include the following sections:
o Research purpose
o Research methods
o Research findings
o Research impact
g. References (Please use APA format)

2. Abstract must be attached (in pdf format) and submitted to or

3. Use PASLI Call for Papers 2020 in the subject line.

4. Deadline of submission of abstracts is on January 31, 2020.

5. Notifications of accepted abstracts is on February 21, 2020. If you are not selected, you will also be notified as well.

6. The authors of accepted abstracts will be asked to submit the full paper and presentation on or before April 13, 2020.

7. The author/s of accepted papers will be asked to present it on PASLI’s 42nd National Conference at Newtown Plaza Hotel, Baguio City on April 22-24, 2020.

8. Each presenter will be given 20 minutes to present their paper and 10 minutes for question and answer during the plenary session.

9. Please note that accepted paper presenters still need to pre-register and pay the necessary registration fee. The association will only provide the food and corresponding CPD points for each paper presenter.

10. If you have any questions, please contact or

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

PASLI 2020 National Conference in Baguio City

The 2020 PASLI National Conference has opened the online registration for participants. Here is the PDF of the invitation letter to the 2020 PASLI National Conference in Baguio City. Please READ the letter carefully as it has all the information on the registration fee, payment and bank details, online registration form and contact persons in PASLI. Thank you and see you in Baguio!

Below are hashtags to use for when you are searching for information about the 2020 PASLI Conference.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Lam-ang for Millennials and the Gen Z

With Lance Reblando who plays Taraok, Lam-ang's pet rooster.
The hubby and I watched Lam-ang an Ethno Epic Musical produced by Tanghalang Pilipino the other night at the CCP. It’s an early Christmas treat we allotted ourselves before plunging in into the busyness of family reunions and meet ups. Overall, it was a satisfying show and a brave retelling of one of the oldest epics in the Philippines.  

Lam-ang has its strengths and weaknesses (which includes the narrative, sadly) yet, the core cast is amazing. Just when music and dialog become chaotic, especially in Act 1, Tex OrdoƱez-De Leon as Baglan brings everyone back to the musical’s core. Reminding the audience why Lam-ang is worth rooting for. And here is where JC Santos succeeds. I went out the Little Theatre wishing there was an Act 3. 

Nonetheless, Lam-ang remains to be a brave retelling of an epic that is worth revisiting. Offering many points for reflection on shared values and the lack of it these days, on leadership and the loss of moral courage. I think this is the purpose of theater especially in this day and age when reading literature takes on a new meaning. It challenges us to seek ways to revitalize culture and to continuously examine identity in the performance of art  be it in the old and or the new. 

I hope #TPLamang gets an extended run. For the sake of our youth, CCP and Tanghalang Pilipino, please consider a rerun!

Friday, December 13, 2019

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Book Launched!

It has been three weeks since our book, When A Book Talks, was launched in the National Library of the Philippines but my heart will be forever grateful for all the support given by friends in the profession and by my publisher, Lampara Books. The event would not have been a successful one if not supported by the NLP, CLAPI and the presence of my college professor and mentor, Mr. Miguel Cobaria.

Prof. Cobaria has indeed grown in wisdom over the years. But, his zest for learning has never waned. He was the most engaged participant of them all. I was not surprised at all that he was awarded the Most Outstanding Librarian by PLAI during the National Congress in Tagaytay last November 30, 2019.

With Ghie Cabalar, illustrator of When A Book Talks

After my talk on the status of Philippine Children’s Literature, CLAPI and Lampara Books facilitated the launching. Ghie Cabalar, illustrator of When A Book Talks, gave a short talk on her approach to illustrating the book. Then we had book signing and first in line was our dear Prof. Cobaria.

This book launching was the simplest I had but the most special so far because it happened during the celebration of Book Week and National Library and Information Science Month. Librarian friends from CLAPI were present, and Ghie Cabalar who is a licensed librarian made sure to be there as well.

With CLAPI Officers and Prof. Miguel Cobaria
Our book is for all librarians who serve children and young people. I wrote the poem, When A Book Talks, at a time when librarians are challenged to provide engaging library and literacy services to young people. The challenge and the demand are still the same. We are needed all the more in bridging readers to books that they can read with confidence.

Friday, December 6, 2019

With Readers and RAPers (2 of 2)

Delivering a plenary session during the RAP Demofest was a meaningful experience for me. It was a platform for me to advocate the roles that school librarians play in teaching and learning, especially where Information Literacy skills is concerned. Not many school librarians are given this opportunity, so I treasure this very much indeed. I also had the honor of listening to Dr. Dina Ocampo delivers the keynote address.

Since the theme of the Demofest is about multiliteracies, Dr. Ocampo focused her keynote on the teaching of critical thinking and comprehension. Using critical theory as a base of her claim, teachers are all the more challenged to continuously examine and reflect on teaching practices. It was an inspiring and thoughtful keynote All the more,  I am prompted to look at my own teaching practices in a scholarly approach towards professional development. This means, applying research on professional practice and doing self assessment and evaluation to its effects. 

Easier said than done, I know. But there is no better way to begin than today. And, build allies along the way. I am sure of one thing. My participation in the RAP Demofest has definitely strengthened the awareness of  teacher-librarian partnerships. At the same time, RAP is valuable ally in our (school librarians) quest for the advocacy of literacy. 

How to forge a formidable alliance? The adventure continues! 

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Brochure of Room to Read Book Project

The news that our book, Masaya Maging Ako (Gagatiga and Bauza, Lampara Books) is included in this brochure and will soon be out for publication surprised me like a thunderstorm. On this day when typhoon Kammuri passed through CALABARZON, the Philippine Children’s Book Industry has something to smile about. And that is on top of all the gold medals that the FIlipino athletes are raking in the 2019 SEA Games. 

Masaya Maging Ako, illustrated by Jamie Bauza and published by Lampara Books. Created during the Room to Read (RTR) workshop for writers and illustrators in Bohol and Baguio, I have always dreamed of writing a story for my daughter, Zoe. And I did during the Room to Read Workshop in Bohol So, I dedicate this book to her, and to victims of mean cliques and bullies, kids, teenagers and adults alike. Remember that there is a place where the cliques and the bullies cannot touch you. You are never alone. You have companions. You have allies.

In time, those cliques and those bullies will get what they deserve. But for now, know that you are loved. You are beautiful in your own unique way. You are enough. You can make a difference!
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