You can’t silence our love (Cross-post)

[Cross-posted from tinamats.com]

Look, it’s 11/12/13!

I’m a sucker for dates, which I have proven through some of the posts I made in the past years (except for 11/11/11 — totally wasn’t able to blog then; I wonder why), and today is no different when I got home past midnight and started seeing tweets saying, “Hey look, it’s 11/12/13!”

So look, it’s 11/12/13!

I was thinking of something to write today on my way home last night — you know, something personal and thought provoking and maybe a little dramatic, something normal for me — and then it hit me how selfish it seems to think of that now, in the light of the recent events that happened in my country.

So none of that now. Today is a good day to start doing something. If you haven’t started yet, that is.

Last weekend, Super Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about this already, and if you haven’t heard, then here’s a little infographic from UN-OCHA to give you the facts:

We were spared in Manila, and my friends and family are all safe, too, but the typhoon hit the area of the Philippines that don’t have enough capacity to bear with this kind of storm. WAIT, SCRATCH THAT. There is NO place here that can really take that kind of typhoon and not come face to face with devastation. Not to mention that’s also the part of the country devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake a little less than a month ago. It’s just truly horrible and heartbreaking.

Today is a good day to start doing things, or to keep doing things. I’m a sucker for dates, and maybe you’re also amused with 11/12/13. If you want to do something different today, then I implore you: HELP. Every single help you can give is important and will go a long way. Donate your money, your time, your talent. This is not the time to be shy, or to think you can’t give something because everyone can give something.

It can be as easy as sending part of your salary/allowance for donation (and hey, it’s payday week this week). Or maybe even making personal sacrifices: bringing packed food to work so you won’t have to spend so much on food, or going for cheaper coffee instead of the overpriced ones for the rest of the month and giving what you saved to the groups organizing relief efforts. Or if you are going to eat out or get coffee, then dine at these places that promised to donate the proceeds for the typhoon victims.

Write about it, share information on your social media profiles.

Pray. And if you’re not the praying type, then just keep the people affected in mind for a few minutes in a day and let this be a factor in some of your decisions for the day.

Be kind, be patient, be gracious, be generous, be loving. Because we need to be this now more than ever.

We are never too poor not to give anything, or too powerless not to do anything.

Continue Reading →

Guardians of Tradition (Blog Tour Review + Excerpt + Giveaway)

Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour

Guardians of TraditionGuardians of Tradition: The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan by Mae Astrid Tobias, Rommel E. Joson (Illustrator), Renato S. Rastrollo
Publisher: Adarna
Number of pages: 32
My copy: print, review copy from author, for the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour

Who are the indigenous and folk artists of the Philippines? Guardians of Tradition by Mae Astrid Tobias and illustrated by Rommel Joson is full of facts about 11 of the best Philippine master weavers, folk musicians, performing artists, mat weavers and metal smiths whose talents and skills have earned them the title Manlilikha ng Bayan. Designed to help children recognize native Filipino ingenuity and creativity, the book includes fun activities to promote appreciation for culture and arts. Guardians of Tradition has a fun and colorful design that appeals to young readers.

* * *

When I was a kid, I loved watching those early morning educational shows on TV. I thought it was such a genius thing but I felt really bad because they weren’t available in my school. I mean, why can’t we watch it at nine in the morning? They’re educational! So come summer vacation, I end up watching them religiously every morning, over breakfast, before I get asked to do chores. I loved the historical shows the most, more than the science ones, because I loved how they were told and it helped me remember history a little easier than just simply reading it.

Reading Guardians of Tradition: The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan reminded me of those days when I watched those shows. This book by Mae Astrid Tobias, illustrated by Rommel E. Joson and with photos by Renato S. Rastrollo, is a children’s book about the different indigenous and folk artists of the Philippines. These are people who were awarded by the government the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan to let the country know about their art. These people are the best weavers, folk musicians, performing artists, mat weavers and metal smiths in the Philippines. The book talks about them, who they are, what they do, and it even includes some fun activities to help the readers appreciate what these people do. The book is narrated by two characters Kiko and Banog, and it is filled with colorful photos and illustrations for not just young but also the old readers.

In a nutshell, I really enjoyed this book. It’s not often I read a children’s book, and this one is a really pretty one. I loved the binding, and the glossy pages. I also love the illustrations and how the two main characters (or tour guides) seem so fun. They make it easier for the books to be read, and it didn’t seem like a simple history/arts/culture book. I honestly haven’t heard of anyone in the book, and it was fun reading about them and what they do. I figure I’ve probably seen some of these pieces, but I never knew the history behind it, and more importantly, the people behind them. There’s also a glossary of terms at the back for review, and a map of the Philippines that points out the locations of the people featured in the book.

I could easily this book as an app, or a TV show, especially since the two characters seem to be drawn for that. I would love to have another volume for this book, because I’m pretty sure there are more than 11 of these people in the country! They truly are guardians of our tradition, and it made me proud to be born and raised in a country with such colorful culture. :)

Rating:

For the duration of the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour, Guardians of Tradition is available at discounted price at the Adarna showroom in Scout Torillo corner Scout Fernandez Streets, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1103 Philippines (Trunkline: (632) 352-6765, Fax: (632) 352-6765 local 125, Email Address: adarnahouse@adarna.com.ph)

For international readers and Filipinos abroad, an ebook version is coming soon. Click here to order paperback copies online.

Here’s an excerpt:

Lang Dulay

Lang Dulay – Photo by Renato S. Rastrollo

Lang Dulay of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato has been weaving t’nalak since she was twelve years old. T’nalak is what the T’boli call the three-colored cloth made from fine abaca fiber. The three colors of the t’nalak represent the three places where the T’boli believe the soul goes when one dies. Hitem (black) is for people who died because of natural causes. Hulo (red) for those who died violently like by a bullet or a blade. Bukay (white) is for those who take taken their lives and those whose deaths were untimely.

The T’boli weavers, like Lang Dulay, get the designs for their t’nalak from their dreams. They believe that when Fu Dalu, the spirit of the abaca, shows them the design in their dreams, they must immediately weave it into cloth or else they might fall ill and soon forget the pattern. Sometimes, the designs are passed on from generation to generation, from grandmother to grandchild. Lang Dulay knows a hundred designs like the bulinglangit (clouds), the bangkiring (hair bangs), and the kabangi (butterfly).

When Lang Dulay became a Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan awardee, she was able to build a traditional long house where she teaches younger women how to weave.

Lang Dulay

Lang Dulay – Photo by Renato S. Rastrollo

Suggested activity:
The T’boli get their ideas for t’nalak designs from their dreams. Dreams are good sources of ideas for stories, poems, and drawings. Why don’t you try to keep a dream journal? Get a small notebook and a pen. Keep it near your bed. Every morning when you wake up, write down or sketch what you remember from your dream the previous night.

About the Author:

Author - Mae Astrid TobiasMAE ASTRID TOBIAS (1979-2009) was a Palanca-award winning author of children’s books. In addition to Guardians of Tradition, her books include Blue Bananas (Crucible), Bayong ng Kuting (Lampara Books), My Forest Friends (Haribon), Bakawan (Adarna Books) and two books retelling the Ifugao traditional chant, hudhud. These are Halikpon: A Retelling of an Ancient Ifugao Chant and Pumbakhayon: An Origin Myth of the Ifugao Hudhud. Both are finalists for children’s literature and best design in the 2006 National Book Awards of the Manila Critics Circle.

She also spent several years in the field of children’s television. She served as the Manila Bureau Manager of Kabataan News Network, a project of UNICEF and Probe Media Foundation that trains young people nationwide how to produce their own broadcast quality documentaries. She also also wrote episodes for children shows like Sirit!, and ABS-CBN and Eskuwela ng Bayan, as well as worked for Philippine Junior Inquirer and Shell Foundation. She was a member of Kuwentista ng mga Tsikiting  (KUTING), an organization of Filipino writers for children.

About the Illustrator:

Illustrator - Rommel JosonROMMEL JOSON is a painter and an illustrator. He graduated magna cum laude and College Valedictorian from the University of Philippines College of Fine Arts. He was also a Merit Scholar and a recipient of the Dean’s Awards for Visual Awards from the Ateneo de Manila University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He worked in the advertising industry for several years before devoting his time fully to painting and illustration. He has received awards and citations for painting, illustration, comics, and design from various organizations such as the Philippine Board of Books for Young People (Honorable Mention), the Shell National Art Competition (3rd Place Oil/Acrylic Category), the Neil Gaiman/Fully Booked Graphic Fiction Competition (3rd Place in the Graphic Fiction category), the Adobo Design Awards (Silver) and the Philippine Araw Awards (Silver in Art Direction) and the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Competition (Semifinalist in Oil). He is currently an active member of Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK).

About the Photographer:

RENATO S. RASTROLLO, is a photographer, graphic artist, book and exhibit designer. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising from the Philippine Women’s University. With over 25 years of experience in the field of documentary photography, his works have appeared in national and international publications. Presently, he is a culture and arts officer  at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Giveaway time! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards 2013

This day last year was the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon at the Filipinas Heritage Library. It was a fun, fun, fun bookish event, but one of the most memorable things I did as part of the organizers of the event was be a part of the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. It was such a fun experience working behind the scenes in the awards, setting up voting forms, writing posts and cheering silently for the books that I hope would win. It also helped that I was working with two great girls (who know so much more than I do about books! :D).

Preparations for the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon are all under way, and that means we’re also starting to work on the 2nd Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. In fact, nominations have been open since August 9! Have you nominated your favorite book yet?

Filipino Readers' Choice Awards

What books can you nominate? Any book (print or electronic) published in the Philippines from January to December 2012. Yes, even self-published books count! 

What are the categories? Children’s picture book, Chick lit, Novel in English, Novel in Filipino, Comics / Graphic novels, Short story anthology, Essay anthology, Poetry.

I’ve been checking out my reviews before I wrote this post, and I saw some books I read and reviewed on the blog last year that fits the criteria (most fall under Chick Lit category…why am I not surprised? :D):

Have you read any of these books, too?

Nominating a book is as easy as filling out this form, and you can nominate more than one book! Don’t worry about nominating books that you think your friends have nominated too — we like reading your reasons for nominating. :) And yes, do tell your friends, your co-workers, and everyone you know about this. :D Nominations are open until August 23 — but don’t wait until the last day to nominate!

More updates about the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards will be posted on the Filipino ReaderCon website, Facebook and Twitter. :)

Happy birthday!

I owe you guys a lot of reviews, and I promise to catch up on them on my long weekend this week and next. A short post is in order, just to let you guys know that yes, I’m still alive. Just terribly busy. And also, a year older.

Anyway, I was watching the latest episodes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (if you haven’t watched this fun and modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice…why haven’t you? Go watch, now), and I found out that Lizzie and Charlotte recently celebrated their birthdays. Being a March birthday, too, I wondered when their birthdays were, so I did a little search1. And then, surprise! We were all born on the same day – March 17! :)

Happy birthday! - Click to watch the video :)

Happy birthday! – Click to watch the video :)

Okay, fine, they’re fictional characters. But I think it’s still cool to share my birthday with these two girls on Youtube. :) At least, their fictional counterparts.

So, belated happy birthday to Charlotte, Lizzie and me! :) I will end this post now, so you can go ahead and watch The Lizzie Bennett Diaries. Because you really should. :)

  1. Twitter would’ve made it easier, but I’m fasting from Twitter this Lent, so Google is my best friend []

Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards set for 2013

In 2012, I was lucky to be included in the team that organized the first Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards that was a part of the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon that happened last August. It was fun because I saw so many Filipino books that I can add to my TBR. This year we’re sort of launching the awards a little bit earlier, so we readers can start recalling our favorite Philippine published books in 2012. :)

Filipino Readers' Choice Awards

The Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards returns for its second straight year, engaging the Filipino reading public in honoring their favorite Philippine-published titles.

An initiative of the Filipino Book Bloggers Group, the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards debuted at the 2nd Filipino Reader Conference in 2012, and was established to develop awareness and appreciation of Philippine literature, recognize the reader’s role in creating the meaning and experience of a literary work, and give the readers a voice in the Philippine book industry.

For 2013, the Filipino Readers’ choice awards will be open to books published from January to December 2012. Nomination period is set for May 2013, in preparation for the awards ceremony at 3rd Filipino ReaderCon in August.

2012 winners of the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards (books published 2010-2011) were: “But That Won’t Wake Me Up!” by Annie and Anelka Lumbao and Liza Flores, Adarna House (Children’s Picture Book); “Fairy Tale Fail” by Mina V. Esguerra, Summit Books (Chick Lit); “Ilustrado” by Miguel Syjuco, Anvil Publishing (Novel in English), “Ang Huling Dalagang Bukid at ang Authobiography na Mali” by Jun Cruz-Reyes, Anvil Publishing (Novel in Filipino); “KikoMachine Komiks Blg 6” by Manix Abrera, Visprint (Comics/ graphic novel); “Alternative Alamat” edited by Paolo Chikiamco, Rocket Kapre and Flipside (Short Story Anthology); “It’s A Mens World” by Bebang Siy, Anvil Publishing (Essay Anthology); and “Off the Beaten Track: Tulaan sa Tren 2” NBDB and Vibal Foundation (Poetry Anthology).

Preliminary survey for the Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards is now ongoing at http://filipinoreadercon.wordpress.com/readers-choice-awards/frca-2013-survey/.