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.

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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. :)

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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! :)

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Required Reading: November

Where did October go? I seriously do not know. I knew it was just crazy (but good!), and now it is November and I am still going crazy. I had planned to blog several times here, really, but gah, all I want to do when I go home after work is sleep. Sleep. Sleep. And I think I will still be busy until 2012 ends. :( I feel like I’m going to crash at any time and like I would need a Nolan N90 helmet to stop me from getting too burned out. Gah.

But I will still try to read, I promise. I always do. I think it’s one of the things that keep me sane. :o

I realized that I didn’t have a Required Reading post last November because I was too busy with NaNoWriMo. I almost didn’t want to have a post for this year because I am still busy, but I realized — what the heck. It’s not like there are brand new books on my list anyway. And nothing’s stopping me from trying, right?

But first, October!

  • The Viewless Dark by Eliza Victoria (4/5) – Totally creeped me out. I liked it! I have a bunch of Eliza’s book pending for review. One day I will write about all of them!

I’m still in the middle of The Historian and Isle of Blood, and honestly I don’t know when I will be able to read them, but I am easing pressure on myself. Because it’s never fun to be pressured, yes?

Required Reading: November

On to this crazy, crazy month!

November Books

  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova — still ongoing, and I’m halfway through! :) I can definitely finish this before the discussion.
  • The Complete Adventures of Charlie and Mr. Willy Wonka by Roald Dahl – this is for our December discussion, and I kind of want to get tot his earlier than usual so I won’t cram. We will be discussing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory , but since I saw this book has both Charlie stories in, I decided to get this one instead. This should be an easy read, right?
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – only because November plays a big part in this novel. I have no idea if I will be able to crack into this, though.

Here’s to trying this November. It will be crazy, but I will definitely try. :)

Minis: Brightest and Giving

I have several short books that I thought I’d put them all in one Mini’s post but then that would defeat my purpose of the Minis feature because I’m supposed to not write long posts for that. So watch out for several Mini reviews soon!

Anyway, I haven’t read many children’s picture books lately — in fact, I can’t remember when was the last time I read one. Ever since Filipino ReaderCon, though, and being a part of the Readers’ Choice Awards committee, I’ve been curious, so I thought I’d start reading them every now and then. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being kids every now and then, right? :)

Brightest by Johann de Venecia, Joanne Crisner, Josephine Litonjua Brightest by Johann de Venecia and Joanne Crisner
Publisher: Isshin Dream Publishing
Number of pages:  50
My copy: free copy from publisher

A story about a lost firefly catcher, trying to find his way home… and a broken firefly that had long lost himself. And how friendship and being there for each other made a difference in their lives.

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I received a copy of Brightest during our 7th Face to Face discussion for our book club, where Jho, from Isshin Dream Publishing, gave away copies. I was curious, and I have a soft spot for local, self-published books, so I got one and read it immediately the next day after the event (when I’ve caught up on sleep, that is). :) Brightest is the story of a firefly catcher who got lost trying to find his way home. As he went through the forest, he runs into a broken firefly who was also lost — lost long ago, and has given up on finding himself again.

I liked it. The illustrations were gorgeous, as well as the printing — it was such a pretty book that I almost didn’t want it to end. It felt like a good bed time story, something that parents would read to kids who don’t feel like sleeping, or at least, to read to kids who have trouble sleeping in fear of nightmares. I guess the older reader in me just started questioning some things, like why exactly was the firefly broken? I didn’t quite get that, but maybe that’s me over thinking it.

Overall, though, Brightest was a lovely book, and it’s one that I would probably give to my brother and sister-in-law once they have kids. :)

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The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Publisher: Harpoer Collins
Number of pages:  64
My copy: ebook

‘Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.’
So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.
This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation. Shel Silverstein has created a moving parable for readers of all ages that offers an affecting interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.

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The Giving Tree was one of the books lined up for our book club’s December discussion. It lost the face to face voting last Saturday, and one of my co-moderators said that this book is relevant reading now, especially to what has been happening with the floods and all that in our country in the past week. So yesterday when I got home, I decided to read it (the shortness of the book is also a factor why I decided to do that).

The Giving Tree is about a tree and a boy, and the tree loved the boy. So much that the tree gave him everything he asked for, even if the boy (who grew up to be a man) didn’t seem to return the same kind of love that the tree has for him. This book is both heartwarming and sad, because there is such truth in this book. I didn’t know if I would be happy or sad when I was done — I was pretty sure I felt both.

It’s interesting how a book can sum up what loving really means in less than 100 pages, and with simple words and illustrations. Yes, I think The Giving Tree is relevant to us as far as the environment goes, but I think the book is more relevant because it just shows one of the many, many aspects of true love: giving without expecting anything in return.

I think we all need a reminder of that every now and then. I know I do.

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