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Posted by Giusseppe on February 5, 2018 at 8:45 PM


Courtesy of PHILSTAR GLOBAL (The Philippine Star)

During the last quarter of 2017, I was lucky enough to be invited to give a talk on the ambahan, the traditional poetry of the Hanunuo Mangyans of Mindoro. Their poems are inscribed normally on bamboo using a pre-colonial syllabic writing system called the Surat Mangyan.

Earlier, I had done pro-bono translation work for a book of the ambahan poems called Bamboo Whispers, edited by Quintin Pastrana and Lolita Fansler Delgado. It was published by the Mangyan Heritage Centre, which kindly sponsored my travel back to the Philippines from the University of Nottingham in Malaysia, where I now work as Head of School, English, and Professor of Creative Writing and Literature.

The ambahan is composed of seven-syllable metric lines and it can run to more than four lines. It is usually chanted, like many forms of oral literature, and owned by no one but the community. The author of the text is not a single individual but the whole community, in whose womb the words of the poem sprang. The ambahan usually teaches lessons about life and love. It is recited by parents to educate their children, by young people to express their love, by the old to impart their experiences, and by the community in its tribal ceremonies.


Using daggers, the ambahan is carved onto pieces of bamboo or barks of trees. The Hanunuo Mangyan script is one of the three forms of baybayin (alphabet) that is still in use today. The exhibit that ran at the Ayala Museum last October was a memorable one. On the green walls of the museum near the park that is the green lung of Makati were poems, artifacts, paintings, and even verbal games about the ambahan. Some of the poems are haunting: they have the clarity and depth of the haiku.


One of them is a beautiful love poem for us who are separated from our loved ones by distance. Listen: “You, my friend, dearest of all/ thinking of you makes me sad;/ rivers deep are in between,/ forests vast keep us apart/ But thinking of you with love./ as if you are here nearby/ standing, sitting at my side.”


The lyrical utterance is there, the cry of longing sharp and keening. But the ambahan is not just a repository of personal feelings; it can also give strong statements about contemporary concerns like illegal logging and the destruction of the environment.


Look at this poem: “I would like to take a bath/ scoop the water with a plate/ wash my hair with lemon juice;/ but I could not take a bath,/ because the river is dammed/ with a lot of sturdy trunks.”


This poem of protest reminds me of an interview I once had with a politician from the north. I was asking him why, in spite of the ban on illegal logging, there are still many furniture shops selling chairs and tables made of narra, the national tree, whose felling is not allowed by law. Without batting a corrupt eyelash, he looked at me and said, “But Danton, those tree trunks just fell because of the typhoon and the river carried them down the river. And that is how the furniture makers got those big tree trunks.” Right on, congressman.


I also talked about the people whose life work it was to preserve the rich cultural legacy of the Hanunuo Mangyans. One of them is Ginaw Bilog of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. He was awarded by the national government for faithfully preserving the Hanunuo-Mangyan script and the ambahan poetry. He has promoted the local script and the poetry so that the art would not be lost but preserved for generations to come.


Another cultural hero is Antoon Postma, SVD, whose original work on ambahan poems was called Treasure of Minority, published by New Day in the 1980s. Postma was later given the highest honors by the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for his work of archival knowledge that retrieved, published, and spread the good word about the beauty of our indigenous poetry.


The triple subjects of birth and infancy, childhood, and adolescence are contained in many ambahan. A sample poem runs like this: “When the bush knife is still blunt/ You should whet it on a stone/ Then you try it on the wood./ Its effect you then will see/ On a bamboo or a tree.” Among other things, I think this poem talks about how to raise a child: how you raise your child now will be mirrored by his or her acts when the child grows up.


This small gem sounds like a parent telling the child to be aware of the world and its wonders – or its many horrors. Listen: “Says the bird lado-lado:/ Far away you shouldn’t go!/ Mind the snares of evil spooks/ That are scattered in the woods!” The “evil spooks” would refer to the mischievous elementals and spirits that abound in the forest, the river, the hill and the plain. A Western literary critic would be quick to coin this as an instance of “magic realism,” or la maravelloso real. But here, in a world of spirits where wonders never cease, we just call them simply as “classic realism.”

Courtship, home, food and work are other subjects of the ambahan. This one is light-hearted and fun: “Lubidyawan is my aunt./ Once she had a stomach ache/ Her relief? She went outdoors!/ There she rearranged her hair/ And perfumed it with some plant.”


Hospitality, friendship, marriage, old age and death are the final concerns of the ambahan. This sounds like the tolling of the bells: “It’s a fact that we all know,/ A truth wherever we go;/ the sun in the afternoon/ Will be setting very soon.”


Bamboo Whispers is available at Bookmark, Fully Booked, Ayala Museum, and Tesoro’s. The gift box/wrap and Bamboo Whispers are only available at a Salcedo Village condo.


Email: [email protected], call (8103135) or text (0917-8244846). Please give your name and contact information so they can confirm the arrangements with you.

Haunting and affecting war novel is now in Filipino

Posted by Josefzki Pirmejo on January 7, 2018 at 10:35 PM

Haunting and affecting war novel is now in Filipino

Written by Tribune Wires Monday, 08 January 2018 00:00 font size decrease font size increase font size Print Be the first to comment!
Courtesy of

Randy Bustamante, Dr. Lourdes R. Montinola, and Anna Maria Tan-Delfin

Local bookstore The Bookmark, Inc. launches Pagbasag sa Katahimikan, a translation of Lourdes Montinola’s Breaking the Silence, which narrates the “most barbarous episode of the Pacific War.”

Editor and literary translator Randy Bustamante finds the war memoir worth telling because it teaches both history and creative writing.

"I used the original memoir in my creative writing classes and it occurred to me that more people—including those for whom English remains a foreign language—need to read this,” Bustamante explains.

While hundreds of history books tell stories about the Japanese’s role in our history, Breaking the Silence is one of the lesser known versions of the story. It is an account written by Far Eastern University chair emeritus Dr. Lourdes Reyes Montinola, a first-hand witness of the Japanese atrocities we heard and discussed in our classrooms, but, more importantly, it is also her story.

Montinola recalls having a hard time answering questions about the war and retelling the story felt like reliving each unfortunate event including her father’s death. At that time, some of her experiences can be described only by silence, until she found comfort in writing on her own journal.

"I'm glad that the story I wrote a few years back shows importance to today’s time, and I hope more Filipinos read and learn from it,” Montinola says. “It is by remembering the past that we can move forward.”

“My hope is that readers will find Pagbasag ng Katahimikan to have an even more visceral effect as it articulates a Filipino experience through the vocabulary, idiom, and music of the national language,” says Bustamante.

Bustamante’s previous projects for Bookmark include an English translation of Florante at Laura by Balagtas as well as a Filipino version of the Sea of Stories collection by Carla Pacis.

Pagbasag ng Katahimikan is available at bookstores nationwide.

Get to Know 10 Pinoy Wonder Women in Science, Math and More!

Posted by Josefzki Pirmejo on July 8, 2017 at 4:35 PM
By Therese Pelias
Chairwoman, Department of Child Development and Education
Miriam College

courtesy of

Let your kids learn about the lives of these awesome women in a series of children's books!

There is no question our girls need more role models. And as much as we love the success of Wonder Woman, they need to know the different kinds of power they can wield in this world.

The National Book Development Board through its National Book Development Trust Fund Program was quick on its feet to show girls that our country has some astounding girl power in the male-dominated field of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, and Mathematics). They commissioned Dr. Didith T. Rodrigo, a full professor of Computer Science at the Ateneo de Manila University, to write children's books based on the lives of 10 notable female scientists.

Wonder Women of Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics. (From top, first column) Dr. Jinky Bornales, Dr. Nida Calumpong, (second column) Dr. Connie Ragasa, Dr. Jurgenne Primavera, (third column), Dr. Ninette De Las Peñas, Dr. Evelyn Taboada, Dr. Nina Ingle, Dr. Gemma Narisma (fourth column) Dr. Olga Nuñeza, and Dr. Giselle Concepcion.

These books are fantastic opportunities for your daughters (and sons!) to understand the world, protect it from destruction and, possibly transform it further.

Dr. Angela Nina Ann Rivera Ingle braves not only the forest by going on foot and hiking up a mountain, but she also dares to touch creepy creatures of the dark. How were she and her assistant able to do it? By setting up nets 10 meters high and patiently identifying them without harming or killing them at all. Dr. Ingle is well known for her 1992 publication, "A Key to the Bats of the Philippine Islands," the first publication of its kind that enabled scientists to identify the 70 indigenous bat species then known in the Philippines.


“Math is a language just like any other.” Yes, but in the case of Dr. Ma. Louise Antonette "Ninette" De Las Peñas she saw saw mathematical harmony on the pattern designs of the humble table mat! Known for her work on mathematical crystallography, color symmetry, and hyperbolic geometry, tilings, among others, Dr. De Las Peñas was the lone female and the only representative from Southeast Asia who was elected as a member of the Commission on Mathematical and Theoretical Crystallography in 2014.

The curious mind of Dr. Evelyn B. Taboada has led to an innovative take on Cebu's most favorite fruit -- the mango. Whoever could even think that mango peels and seeds can still be turned into something else must only have one thing in mind: how to help save this world. Dr. Taboada had been conferred the World Intellectual Property Organization's gold medal for inventors twice for developing technologies related to the treatment of fruit wastes.

When Dr. Jurgenne Primavera and her companions found themselves lost in the dying Ibajay mangrove forest, she found herself saying, “I have to do something to save these trees.” The rampant depletion of the mangrove forests for fishponds and other industries propelled her to get allies from different places to work on rehabilitation and conservation work. For her efforts, she had been named as one of Time magazine's Heroes of the Environment in 2008 and is now the chief mangrove scientific advisor of the Zoological Society of London.

The story begins by catching our attention, “What does it take to be a world-class scientist?” Dr. Consolacion Ragasa shows us very well how by pouring in decades of patience, concentration and a whole lot of effort from honing her skills not only in the laboratory but also in scientific writing. Dr. Ragasa publishes 30 or more scientific research paper a year. She is interested in finding the chemical constituents and bioactive compounds in indigenous Philippine plants.

Dr. Concepcion, who is the vice president of Academic Affairs of the University of the Philippines, studies the ocean, yes, but she wants to discover the drugs that can be produced from bacteria found down there. Together with other collaborators, Dr. Concepcion works to find new treatments for pain, cancer, infections and other illnesses by studying the Philippines' rich marine resources.

Sometimes a calling can come from something unplanned, as Dr. Ging Nuñeza showcases in her adventures from riding the “Skylab” to the forests of Mindanao. The accidental biologist ends up saving caves for research and education and protecting all the resident animals found in them. She spearheads the research on Mindanao's fauna to encourage environmental protection.

Dr. Gemma Narisma’s work on climate change brings her to communities deeply affected by storms of catastrophic proportion. From her, girls can learn how flexibility, resilience and putting in every bit of scientific knowledge applicable to odd situations can make a difference in our environment today. In 2013, Dr. Narisma was named one of The Outstanding Women in Nation's Service from the TOWNS Foundation.

As a small girl, Dr. Nida Calumpong, whose works were named Best Higher Education Research Programs by the Commission on Higher Education in 2006 and 2009, almost drowned. The trauma didn't stop her from becoming a deep sea diver to study creatures that lived underneath the ocean’s surface. Dr. Calumpong's work lies in saving the seagrasses and seaweeds, which are important in holding the seabed down.

Dr. Jinky Bornales, presently the vice chancellor for Research and Extension at the Mindanao State University - Iligan Insitute of Technology, found herself searching for her place in the scientific sun and ended up in the wonderful field of Physics. She teaches and mentors many young, aspiring scientists because she worries about the shortage of women in the field. To teachers and parents she says, “We have to stimulate children’s curiosity. Don’t confine them to a single way of looking at things.”

Each book is Php120 and available at Bookmark The Filipino Book Store.

Previously the chairperson of the Department of Child Development and Education at the College of Education in Miriam College, Therese Pelias continues to teach in the same department and is currently the project coordinator of the Growth, Upgrading and Resource Office under the same college.

Meet 10 cool women scientists

Posted by Giusseppe on June 29, 2017 at 6:50 AM Comments comments (0)

By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz -

Whoever thought science could be this fun, this cool?

A community shudders when extreme weather conditions end in disaster. How do you study the 70 kinds of bats in our midst when they only appear at night? Caves are always exciting destinations to explore, but some must be left strictly for their resident animals. It took considerable time to study the dilang baka, a common weed that heals wounds, but today there is exhilaration with every new plant sent for analysis. A childhood love for the sea has led to the study of seaweeds and sea grasses. Obviously, allies from the government sector as well as international scientists are needed to continue the crusade to preserve mangroves, and true enough, one Australian mangrove expert found a Philippine species so rare that he took 100 photos of it. It’s a long trek in the discovery of science—from biology to chemistry to physics.

Also: There is such a thing as the geometry of mats. Seeds and peels from the mangoes we love are being recycled into pectin and mango flour. And has anyone heard of turrids, a family of snails that have lived on our planet for over 100 million years?

These nuggets comprise the varied and fascinating information one gets from a reading of the Women of Science series, a 10-book collection for children published by Bookmark in full color and written by Didith T. Rodrigo based on the careers of today’s most respected female scientists in the country.

The author’s clear-cut criteria in choosing her subjects are as awe-inspiring as the narratives: The scientist must be an internationally respected scholar and must have published scientific articles; she is making a clear contribution to her field of specialization; and she has played a leadership role in her academic life. The most important point of all, especially because the opportunities for research are more encouraged and supported overseas, is that this scientist works in the Philippines.

The choice of women scientists is deliberate, with the author’s awareness that there are few women who enter STEAM, or the fields of science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics. That makes this segment of the population a wealth of untapped talent and resource. Thus, the Women of Science series aims to inspire and encourage the younger generation to seriously consider careers in research and science. Rodrigo herself is a computer science professor at Ateneo de Manila and has special research interests in artificial intelligence in education, educational data mining, and affective computing.

She is also the author of children’s books, among them the Kid’s Choice winner of the National Children’s Book Awards, “Made Perfect in Weakness,” the extraordinary story of Roselle Ambubuyog, the first visually impaired Filipino woman to earn summa cum laude honors at Ateneo.

The books in the series to be launched at the Ateneo University Library on June 20 are: “Beyond the Storm: A Story about Gemma Narisma,” illustrations by George Vincent Bien; “Capturing Flight: A Story about Nina Ingle,” illustrations by George Vincent Bien; “Cave Dweller: A Story about Ging Nuñeza,” illustrations by Gabi Mara; “Chemical Romance: A Story about Connie Ragasa,” illustrations by Works of Heart (Roxy & Joreen Navarro); “Gardener of the Sea: A Story about Nida Calumpong,” illustrations by Corrine Golez; “Mangrove Warrior: A Story about Jurgenne Primavera,” illustrations by Tris Lintag; “Random Walks: A Story about Jinky Bornales,” illustrations by Jonathan G. Rañola; “Rigid Motion: A Story About Ninette De Las Peñas,” illustrations by Mika Aldaba; “The Stuff of Life: A Story about Giselle Concepcion,” illustrations by Ma. Montessa Realista; and “Treasure from Trash: A Story About Evelyn Taboada,” illustrations by Eveth Nocon.

Bravo to Rodrigo and her magnificent 10 women scientists.

Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ([email protected] is chair of the National Book Development Board and a member of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

Reviewing 'Songs on the Wind'

Posted by Giusseppe on January 2, 2017 at 12:25 AM

Briton in the Philippines by Robert Hartland

Posted by JTP on August 4, 2016 at 9:35 PM" target="_blank">Courtesy of British Embassy Manila

The Philippines is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots. On its 7,107 islands, there are thousands of species found nowhere else in the world.

"Touring the Philippines was a truly inspirational experience, especially discovering the wildlife of the country," said British conservationist Rachel Shaw who made her first visit in 2009 as a part of a Rotary International Study Exchange team.

As a child, Rachel, an ardent wildlife writer and blogger, enjoyed making up stories about animals. "Having a glimpse of this diversity of life here really sparked my imagination. They became characters in the mind and made me start writing stories again.”

The result was three fascinating, fully illustrated children's books - Pipisin the Pangolin, Mayumi the Forest Pig and Danao the Parrot ¬ all published and launched in the Philippines by The Bookmark Inc.

"Filipino children should have the opportunity to read stories about the amazing animals that live on their islands," added Rachel.

Rachel is currently working on an exciting new picture book project in collaboration with Reynante Ramilo from C-3 (Community Centred Conservation). Titled Diwa the Dugong, all royalties will go to C3.

Rachel works for the UK's Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust charity and is an honorary member of Rotary Club of West Bay, Laguna, through which copies of her books have been donated to local schools as well as to NGOs on Palawan and Negros.

Binagoongan fit for a Queen

Posted by Giusseppe on July 26, 2015 at 7:40 PM

Courtesy of Stella Sait

Can you ever imagine Her Majesty The Queen feast upon binagoongan and rice? Maybe someday. Maybe soon.

Our humble everyday dish, binagoongan baboy (pork in shrimp paste) might be making its way to the royal dining table. A world famous chef who has catered for Her Majesty The Queen, has transformed this simple Filipino speciality into a classy, sophisticated one.'

Chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE (Order of the British Empire) of the popular Cafe Spice Namaste in London, was inspired by a binagoongan recipe from a talented Filipina, the late Des Rodriguez Torres. The original recipe, a heirloom from the Rodriguez family of Pampanga, was already a quiet hit among a number of Manila’s food lovers, as Des would happily share her special version with family and friends.

The lovely culinary expert is a friend and classmate since kindergarten and would always pride herself in her Kapampangan heritage. She added her own take on the family recipes and shared these dishes when she joined the now famous Salcedo Community Market in Makati a few years ago, where she was one of the organisers. Her daughters have now taken over her bright red Pamangan stall showcasing Kapampangan mouthwatering and scrumptious entrees.

Des’ original binagoongan must have so woven its magic hand on the acclaimed chef’s palate that he decided to enhance it further with special Goan mixes and spices. Chef Cyrus and his wife Pervin first decided to introduce it at a small fund-raising dinner at his restaurant right after Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines in 2013, then at another fund-raiser for the same cause, a £120-pound a plate benefit at The Savoy Hotel in London in October 2014 attended by 200 people (including me).

Its popularity has prompted yet another encore. This time, as a tribute dish to our very brave Des who recently lost her battle with cancer. Cafe Spice Namaste offered it as special dish for the Find Your Feet poverty action charity in June, but it has now been extended for another month.

Chef Cyrus’s version resembles a sweet and spicy curry where the spices complement the saltiness of the bagoong or shrimp paste. You can still taste the shrimp paste but the fishy shrimpy after taste has disappeared. Instead, a savoury kick takes its place which makes it even more delectable. It is gentle, not too strong and overpowering as most binagoongan recipes are. Of course. you have to eat it with steamed rice and this appetizing binagoongan just melts in your mouth. You eat more and you realise how addicting it can get.

He makes use of pork belly as the main ingredient and this sits on a creamy sauce that seems like a strong curry. There is a Parsee twist somewhere that truly makes it a gastronomic delight. Most important of all, it goes well with other Indian and Goan dishes being offered at the prestigious Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant.

Having cooked for Her Majesty The Queen during her Diamond Jubilee, I would not be surprised if the innovative chef someday tempts Her Majesty and the royal family to try this exquisite dish.

It would be a dream come true for Des should Her Majesty one day, ask her Royal Household, “what’s for tea?”

To which they curtsy and politely answer, “Binagoongan fit for a Queen, Your Majesty!”

British conservationist shows passion on PHL wildlife and environment

Posted by JTP on March 30, 2015 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Story & photo by Johnny F. Goloyugo


In Photo: The Bookmark, Inc., General Manager Mari Tan-Delfin (left) is shown with Jonathan and Rachel Louise Shaw during the book launch at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City on February 18.

WILD animals can be very difficult to see in real life. Unless one is a conservationist and has a lifelong interest in exotic and endangered animals, who would venture into the green canopies of the wild just to see a Philippine bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus philippinicus), Visayan warty pig (Sus cebifrons), Rough-back forest frog (Platymantis corrugatus) or a Visayan spotted deer (Rusa alfredi).


Six years ago, Rachel Louise Shaw of the Lincolnshire Wild Trust, a wildlife charity in the United Kingdom, visited the Philippines as a part of the Rotary International District 1270 Group Study Exchange team.


As a wildlife conservationist “visiting the Philippines was truly inspirational in many ways from the people I met and friends I made, to discovering the wildlife of the country. The Philippines is one of the world’s biodiversity hot spots. On the 7,107 islands, there are thousands of species that are found nowhere else in the world,” Shaw says.


In her childhood, Shaw recalls enjoying making up stories about animals and reading The Tale of Peter Rabbitt (1902) by Beatrix Potter, a British writer, illustrator and conservationist and author of 22 other books, such as The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903), The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904), The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904) and The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle (1905), among others.


Shaw says: “Despite only seeing a few of these animals while I was here [in the Philippines], having a glimpse of just a little of this diversity of life sparked my imagination…they became characters in the mind…and made me start writing stories again!”


With her experience that spans writing for publications, web site content, social media and editing the charity’s magazine, the results are three excellent fully illustrated and colorful children’s books—Pipisin the Pangolin, Mayumi the Forest Pig and Danao the Parrot—all published and launched by The Bookmark Inc., recently at the posh Manila Polo Club in Makati City.


Illustrated by Shaw herself, Pipisin is about a Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis), a scaly ant and termite eater with four paws, sharp claws and extra-long sticky tongue that rolls up tight when afraid and unrolls “when there’s no one there.”


Pipisin the Pangolin blurps children’s attention because of Rachel’s illustrative ability in capturing the animal’s delicate “acrobatics” for balance and survival, while being confronted by the sound of a woodpecker, a bearcat, a frog and hunters.


The book also suggests the quiet mood that children need to understand the real essence of the story.


On the other hand, Mayumi the Forest Pig and her family’s meandering through the forest in search for tasty roots and fruits brought them in wet hollows and splashed in it, a reminder of how humans would rush to a swimming pool or a beach to escape the heat of the sun. While the other pigs left in search for food, Mayumi felt enchanted by a singing bird deep inside a bush, again a reminder of how music quenches the soul in its aloneness.


Ingrid G.Tan, a digital illustrator who works as a game artist in Makati City, not only captures Mayumi’s adventures in the bush, but also illustrates the adventurism and curiosities of a child in this accucolored world.


More important, the book teaches about how animals like pigs help grow new trees by eating fruits and leaving the seeds somewhere, even in a pile of poop. By helping grow new trees, the pigs, thus, enrich the life cycle of the wilderness and our natural environment.


Meanwhile, Shaw’s third book explodes in color and tells the story of the daydreaming Danao the Parrot, translated in luxurious illustrations by Juan Nathaniel “Jonathan” G. Ranola III, a painter, graphic designer, book illustrator and art instructor at the Bulacan State University and Feati School of Fine Arts in Manila.


The book describes Danao’s confusion of living in a bustling and hustling metropolis like Manila and his longing for quietude in the vast expanse of the seven seas, coral reef, beach and strange mangrove. In his daydreaming, Danao’s conundrum becomes further complicated by running into the rich diversity—Maputik, a little buffalo in the marsh; Mabaho, the stink badger; Palalo, the peacock peasant; Tingin, the big-eyed tarsier; and Hari, the king of all birds in the forest.


The only respite, or so it seems, is his discovery of the smelly but sweet durian, which Danao thinks is good to eat.


The book describes the rich diversity of the Philippines and of Danao’s world, like the presence of the butanding Batik along, with Maputik, Mabaho, Palalo Tingin and Hari.


Shaw’s three books are not about clever tales and pure imaginings, but a cerebral approach in describing through stories the richness and diversity—yet endangered—of the unique wildlife of the Philippines. She believes that children’s imagination and knowledge should not be restricted by focusing on few species of animals or only those chosen in Disney feature films.


“Filipino children should have the opportunity to read stories about the amazing animals that live on their islands not just about tigers or penguins. There should be diversity in stories just as there is diversity in wildlife,” Shaw says.


“I hope the children’s books—Pipisin the Pangolin, Mayumi the Forest Pig and Danao the Parrot—will prove to be a lasting and tangible contribution to a country that has given me so much,” she says.


Shaw’s second visit has given Rachel more ideas in publishing children’s books on the unique Philippine wildlife.


She intends to write further adventures of Mayumi the Forest Pig and has, in fact, started a story about a tarsier after a visit to the Philippine Tarsier Foundation in Corella, Bohol, and meeting the “Tarsier Man” himself, conservationist Carlito Pizarras.


Shaw is an honorary member of the Bay, Laguna-based Rotary Club of West Bay, Rotary International District 3820. The work of Philippine Rotarians left a deep impression on her particularly after Typhoon Ondoy (international code name Ketsana) hit the country in 2009. Since the Group Study Exchange experience in 2009, she tried to raise funds for Rotary projects and disaster relief in the Philippines whenever she could.


Story & photo by Johnny F. Goloyugo

SIDLAK: Ang Paglalakbay Tungo sa Mundo ng Musika, Sining, Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan, at Kalusugan

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on October 19, 2014 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

SIDLAK: Ang Paglalakbay Tungo sa Mundo ng Musika, Sining,

Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan, at Kalusugan

SIDLAK: Ang Paglalakbay Tungo sa Mundo ng Musika, Sining, Edukasyon sa Pagpapalakas ng Katawan, at Kalusugan

Karapatang Sipi © 2015 nina Alili M. Balaso, Ana E. Chan, Ma. Corazon R. Elitiong, Esmeralda V. Pastor, at ng The Bookmark, Inc.

Ang musika, sining, mga gawaing pangkalinangang pisikal, at kaalamang pangkalusugan ay mahahalagang salik sa paghubog ng kabuuang pagkatao ng isang bata. Sa mga larangang ito napalalabas at nalilinang ang pagkamalikhain at kamalayang pangkultura, pangkalusugan, at disiplina sa sarili.

Ang Sidlak ay seryeng tumatalakay sa nilalaman ng asignaturang MSEPK o MAPEH na nakabatay sa gabay pangkurikulum ng K to 12 at sinusundan ang dulog na 4 A’s (Activity, Analysis, Abstraction, and Application) na isinasaalang-alang ang iba’t ibang proseso sa musika sa paglinang ng mga aralin.

Napaloloob dito ang mga araling lilinang sa kaalaman at kakayahan ng bawat mag-aaral na makatutulong sa kanila sa pagharap sa totoong buhay balang araw.

Mga May-akda

We're Ready and Going K to 12: Published and Upcoming Textbook Titles

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on September 29, 2014 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (3)

We're Going K to 12: Published Textbooks and Upcoming

As a stakeholder in Philippine education, we're geared and supportive of DepEd's K to 12 Basic Education Program. The goal of the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum is geared towards the development of a holistically developed Filipino with 21st century skills who is ready for employment, entrepreneurship, middle level skills development and higher education upon graduation from Grade 12.

Bookmark has started develop products–textbooks that are K to 12 Compliant and new editions aligned with Minimum Learning Competencies (MLCs) of the K to 12 Curriculum. On the process, [production, work in progress] all other subjects were being revised and fine tuning to the goals of K to 12.

We have 2 (two) Araling Panlipunan (AP): Pilipinas sa Ikadalawampu't Isang Siglo (Serye ng Araling Panlipunan) with its writing team headed by Editor/author Teresita Tomines Battad. Currently published are Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2. Grade 3 is work in progress to ensure its quality available for the coming Grade 3 K to 12 students next school year 2014-2015. The other AP is Araling Panlipunan sa Siglo 21 by Editor/author Mildred Frago Ruallo and author Lea Niloban Lee. Also available in Grades 1 and 2.

One of our best seller, is the second edition of Simplified Mathematics K to 12 Compliant. Aligned with DepEd's latest curriculum, the K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum in Mathematics which aims to:


  • Understand and appreciate the key concepts and principles of mathematics
  • Use appropriate technology in problem solving, communicating, reasoning, making connections, representations, and decisions in real life

Available in K2, Grade 1, and Grade 2. Forthcoming is the Grade 3.

Adventures in Learning English K to 12 Edition is The Bookmark's K to 12 series for young learners of English. The Kindergarten and Grade 1 are authored by Esmeralda V. Pastor with guidance of Series Editor Corazon P. Dadufalza.

Soon to be published and forthcoming textbooks:
Sidlak MAPEH K to 12 Edisyon
Mother Tongue Tagalog K to 12
FILIPINO: Tatas sa Wika at Pagbasa K to 12 Edisyon

Bookmark: The Filipino Bookstore is located at 264 Pablo Ocampo Sr. Avenue, San Antonio Village, Makati City. Store hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Inquiries are entertained at 8958061-65, fax: 8970824 or email us at [email protected]

Email Michael Barcas: [email protected]


Mother Tongue Tagalog Baitang 1 - 3

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on August 8, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Mother Tongue Tagalog Baitang 1 – 3

1. Ano ang Mother Tongue Tagalog?

Sagot: Ito ay ang unang sinasalita ng mga taong nakatira sa Katagalugan.


2. Sa ano-anong lugar sinasalita ang Tagalog?

Sagot: Mga bayan sa National Capital Region, mga lalawigan ng Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, at Bulacan at iba pang lugar na hindi sakop ng mga nabanggit ngunit Tagalog ang kanilang sinasalita.


3. Ano ang sangguniang aklat na dapat na gamitin sa asignaturang Mother Tongue kung ikaw ay nakatira sa Katagalugan?

Sagot: Ang aklat na dapat mong gamitin ay nakasulat sa Wikang Filipino at tatawagin itong Mother Tongue Tagalog. Kung ikaw naman ay nakatira sa Bikol, ang tawag naman dito ay Mother Tongue Bikol, at kung ikaw naman ay nakatira sa Ilocos ang tawag dito ay Mother Tongue Ilokano at iba pang sinasalita sa buong Pilipinas.


4. Ano ang pinagbatayan ng aklat na Mother Tongue Tagalog?

Sagot: Ito ay ibinatay sa K to 12 Curriculum Guide sa Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education. Ang learning competencies ay isinalin sa Wikang Filipino upang mabuo ang aklat na nakabatay sa pamantayan o standard ng K to 12.


5. Bakit makapal ang aklat sa Mother Tongue–Based Multilingual Education?

Sagot: Sadyang makapal ang aklat na ito sa kadahilanang napakarami ng mga layunin na nasa Learning Competencies o pamantayan sa pagkatuto. Ayon sa pananaliksik, ang mga batang mag-aaral ay mas natututo kapag ang aralin ay itinuturo o ipinaliliwanag sa kanilang Mother Tongue at nagkakaroon sila ng matibay na pundasyon upang mas lalong matutunan ang iba pang mga salita tulad ng Ingles. Sadyang humaba ang mga aralin dito dahil sa programa ng K to 12 na “Spiral.” Kahit na ang pokus ng MTB-MLE ay sa karunungang bumasa at sumulat (literacy) naka-“spiral” pa rin ang tungkol sa pakikinig at pagsasalita (Communication Skills) na pokus naman ng asignaturang Filipino at naka-spiral naman doon ang literacy. Sa totoo po dito lamang sa mga asignaturang Mother Tongue at Filipino ang sadyang napakarami ng “spiral” na tinatawag sapagkat nandito ang mga pangunahing kasanayan na lalong mahalaga upang matutunan nang mabuti ang iba pang asignatura o subjects.

Hindi maaaring paghiwa-hiwalayin nang basta-basta ang pakikinig, pagsasalita, pagbabasa, pagsusulat, at panonood dahil sila ay magkakaugnay. Hindi maaaring pabasahin ang isang tao kung hindi siya marunong magsalita. Hindi maaaring magsulat ng komposisyon ang tao kung hindi siya mahusay sa pagbabasa. Hindi naman lubos ang pagkakaroon ng pang-unawa kung hindi mahusay makinig ang isang tao. Ang mga paksa at kasanayan ay paulit-ulit sa bawat linggo ng pagtuturo ngunit nagkakaiba-iba ng degree of difficulty. Bakit ito ginagawa? Upang magkaroon ng lubusang pagkatuto dahil ang Mother Tongue lamang ang pinakapundasyon ng lahat ng asignatura. Ang Mother Tongue ay ituturo sa loob ng 50 minuto simula unang markahan hanggang ikaapat na markahan. Ang Filipino ay 30 minuto lamang ituturo at magsisimula sa ikalawang markahan hanggang ikaapat na markahan.


6. Ano ang layunin ng “Spiral”?

Sagot: Ang pinakamahalagang layunin ng pagkakaroon ng “spiral” ay upang magkaroon ng lubusang pagkatuto (mastery) sa tulong ng iba’t ibang asignatura, magkatulad na kasanayan (skill) ngunit magkaiba ng paksa (topic.) Minsan naman magkatulad ng paksa ngunit magkaiba ng kasanayan.


7. Ang sabi ng iba ay kahit hindi na magturo ng Mother Tongue dahil nasa asignaturang Filipino na ito. Totoo ba ito?

Sagot: Hindi po ito totoo. Dahil ang mga kasanayan sa bawat isa ay hindi eksaktong magkatulad.


8. Ano ang Learning Competencies o Pamantayan sa Pagkatuto na makikita sa Curriculum Guide ng DepEd?

Sagot: Napakahalaga po nito. Ito ang nagsisilbing bibliya sa ating pagtuturo sa araw-araw sa lahat ng asignatura tulad ng Mother Tongue, Filipino, English, Mathematics, Science, Araling Panlipunan, MAPEH at Edukasyon sa Pagpapakatao. Ang Learning Competencies ay ang mga talaan ng mga layunin (objectives) na isinusulat sa Lesson plan o learning plan sa bawat pagtuturo. Ngayong ipinatutupad na ang K to 12 at binago na ang grading system napakahalaga na sumunod tayo sa Learning Competencies.


Ang katotohanan ay napakaraming guro (Hindi lahat) ang hindi marunong gumamit ng learning competencies. Dito nakasalalay ang tinatawag na quality instruction. Gumagawa ng sariling objectives ang mga guro gayong naihanda na ito ng kagawaran sa pamamagitan ng curriculum guide at nasa column ng tinatawag na Learning Competencies. Simpleng kokopyahin na lamang ang mga objectives dito upang makagawa ng lesson plan sa araw-araw na pagtuturo sa lahat ng subjects. At kung may aklat na ginagamit siguraduhin lamang na nakasunod ang aklat sa learning competencies sa pamamagitan ng pagtingin sa mga objectives sa Learning Competencies at sa aklat. Hindi na dapat pahirapan ang sarili sa paggawa dahil ang National Achievement Test na ibinibigay ng DepEd taon-taon ay nakabatay sa Learning Competencies.


9. Saan nakakukuha ng kopya ng Curriculum Guide sa lahat ng subjects?

Sagot: Information age na ngayon. Madali ka na lang makakakuha ng mga impormasyon dahil sa technology. Downloadable na ito. I-type lamang ang sa Google at i-click ang resources, tapos i-click ang salitang K to 10 Subjects.


10. Ano ang bagong grading system ng DepEd?

Sagot: Ang bagong grading system ng DepEd base sa K to 12.

11. Ano-ano ang saklaw o content ng Mother Tongue na aklat?

Ang mga sumusunod ay ang nilalaman ng aklat:

1. Wikang Binibigkas – Ipinakikita dito ang pasalitang pakikipagtalastasan sa iba’t ibang nilalaman.

2. Kasanayang Ponolohiya – Naipapamalas ang pang-unawa na ang mga salita ay mula sa mga tunog ng letra at mga pantig.

3. Kaalaman sa Aklat at Iba Pang Limbag – Naipapamalas ang pang-unawa sa pangunahing katangian ng aklat at kung ano ang nagagawa ng limbag na siyang pangunahing kailangan upang matuto sa pagbasa.

4. Palabigkasan at Pagkilala sa Salita – Naipakikita ang kaalaman sa alpabeto at pagbasa, pagsulat at pagbabaybay ng salita nang tama.

5. Tatas – Naipakikita ang kakayahan sa pagbasa ng mga teksto sa bawat baitang na may ganap na kawastuhan, bilis, at pahayag sa sumusuporta sa pang-unawa.

6. Komposisyon – Naipakikita ang kakayahan sa pagbalangkas ng ideya upang maging pangungusap o sa mas mahabang teksto na magagamit sa pagpapaunlad at maging pamantayan sa ispeling o pagbabaybay.

7. Kamalayan sa Balarila – Naipakikita ang kamalayan sa wikang balarila at gamit nito kapag nagsasalita at nagsusulat.

8. Pag-unlad sa Talasalitaan at Kaisipan – Naipakikita ang pagpapaunlad sa kaalaman at gamit ng akmang talasalitaan at kaisipan sa bawat baitang.

9. Pag-unawa sa Pinakikinggan – Naipakikita ang pang-unawa sa salaysay at patalastas na pinakikinggan.

10. Pag-unawa sa Binabasa – Naipakikita ang pang-unawa sa salaysay at patalastas na binabasa.

11. Kaugalian sa Pagbabasa – Naipakikita ang positibong gawi sa wika, pagbasa, at panitikan.

12. Stratehiya sa Pag-aaral – Naipakikita ang pangunahing kaalaman sa mga kasanayan sa pakikinig, pagbasa, at pagsulat para sa tiyak na mga layunin.


12. Bakit kinakailangang ituro ang Mother Tongue?

Sagot: Kinakailangang ituro ito, sapagkat bukod sa ito ay isang batas na dapat sundin, kapag Filipino lamang ang iyong itinuro, ang mga sumusunod na content ay wala sa Filipino kundi nasa Mother Tongue lamang.

– Mga kasanayan sa ponolohiya (Phonological Skills)

– Tatas (Fluency)

– Pang-unawa sa Napakinggan (Listening Comprehension)

– Gawi sa Pagbabasa (Attitude Towards Reading)



ni Mildred F. Ruallo


Mother Tongue Tagalog

Ayon sa K to 12 Curriculum



Nilimbag ng

The Bookmark, Inc.

264 Pablo Ocampo Sr. Ave.,

San Antonio Village 1203, Makati City

Tel nos. 895-80-61– 65

Fax: (632) 897-08-24

E-mail: [email protected]


31st National Children's Book Day and Book Fair - A Childrens' & Kids at Heart Success!

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on August 8, 2014 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

31st National Children's Book Day and Book Fair

[More photos, check our Facebook Page:]

MANILA, Philippines – Last July 22, 2014, after rescheduling due to inclement weather, children, librarians, kids at heart finally trooped to the Museo Pambata for the Philippine Board on Books for Young People 31st National Children's Book Day 2014 (NCBD) plus a special children's book fair featuring the country's major children's book publishers was held from 9.00AM till 5.00 PM at the Museo Pambata.

National Children's Book Day, is the commemoration of the publication of Jose Rizal's Monkey and the Turtle in Trubner's Oriental. This year 31st edition was special, as children from different schools spent their excursion to the Museo Pambata with NCBD festivities, story telling session from publishers, book signing, exhibit, and goodies from the participating publishers.

A workshop was held for librarians, "The School Library as Avenue for the Development of Life Skills (An Echo and Workshop Session of the 42nd IASL Conference in Indonesia)" facilitated by Zarah Gagatiga, Librarian, Beacon Academy and PBBY Board Member.

Bookmark is looking forward to support the NCBD in the years to come. Counted is developing more children's book, both nonfiction and toddlers.

Congrats! Kids' Choice Awardee, The Day of Darkness - 3rd National Children's Book Awards 2014

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on August 8, 2014 at 3:50 AM Comments comments (0)

MANILA, Philippines – The Day of Darkness, a children's book written by Gutch Gutierrez & Zig Marasigan and Edited by Rory Gutierrez, was chosen Kids' Choice Award for 2014 during the 3rd National Children's Book Awards (NCBA) last July 26, 2014 at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center Auditorium in UP Diliman, Quezon City. "Through the Kids' Choice Award, young readers will share what books they enjoyed the most and why," Tarie Sabido, chair Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) on her message for the 3rd NCBA.

[The NCBA] is an award recognizing children's books, that are written, produced, designed, and created exceptionally well. (Gagatiga, Zarah NCBA 2010.) The NCBA hopes that this will help the general public  1) understand the breadth and scope of children's literature, 2) get a glimpse of the collective effort behind book production and 3) appreciate the crucial role reading outside an academic curriculum plays in the development of those we call the hope of our motherland.  (Sunico, Ramon, PBBY Treasurer.)

The 3rd NCBA 2014 is presented by the National Book Development Board of the Philippines (NBDB) and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY.) The attendees were authors, illustrators, editors, art directors, designers, and representatives from publishers.

Pages by Javier Tan Delfin and illustrated by Gabi Dimaranan is also a Top 10 Kids' Choice Award 2014 nominee.

Check out The Day of Darkness author Gutch Gutierrez's thoughts and afterword on winning the Kids' Choice Award 2014:


NBDB and PBBY announce Best Reads of 2012-2013


The National Book Development Board (NBDB) and the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) announced the winners of the 3rd National Children's Book Awards on 26 July 2014. Close to 200 writers, artists, and publishers attended the event held at the GT-Toyota Auditorium, UP Diliman, Quezon City.

 The Best Reads in Philippine Children’s Books published in 2012-2013 are Hating Kapatid written by Raissa Rivera Falgui, illustrated by Fran Alvarez; Ngumiti Si Andoy written by Xi Zuq, illustrated by Dominic Agsaway; The Little Girl in a Box written by Felinda V. Bagas, illustrated by Aldy C. Aguirre; and What Kids Should Know about Andres and the Katipunan written by Weng Cahiles, illustrated by Isa Natividad. The four books are published by Adarna House, Inc.


The panel of judges tasked to choose the Best Reads was composed of Robert Alejandro, renowned artist and designer; Daisy Calado, reading specialist; Troy Lacsamana, librarian; Isabel “Pepper” Roxas, illustrator and graphic designer; and Budjette Tan, comic book writer.


For the first time, the NCBA had a Kids’ Choice Award for the best picture book chosen by a panel of young readers. The Kids’ Choice Award was awarded to The Day of Darkness written by Gutch Gutierrez and Zig Marasigan, illustrated by Gutch Gutierrez, and published by The Bookmark, Inc.


The panel of judges for the Kids’ Choice Award was composed of two groups of kids, those ages 11 to 13, namely: Alon Luna Fabros, Jay Harold Odon, Pheonna Heart Ragasa, Amihan Ramos, and Miranda Villanueva; and those ages 10 and below, namely: Carelle Ann Abanico, Sophia Aspera, Apriel Beltran, Alonzo John Ibarra Cristobal, and Rafael Varela.


Bahay Kubo, the classic Filipino song illustrated by Pergylene Acuña and published by Adarna House, Inc., was honored as Best Book for readers ages 0 to 4, a prize sponsored by Save the Children International.


Gerald Cai, Head of Learning & Reading, Media Solutions Centre, Southeast Asia and Oceana of Samsung Asia, attended the ceremony to launch the Samsung KidsTime Author's Award that aims to recognize quality children's books in the region.


NBDB Chair Hon. Flor Marie Sta.Romana Cruz and PBBY Chair Tarie Sabido officially turned over copies of the winning books to the representatives of the Department of Education: Hon. Francis Varela, Undersecretary for Finance and Administration, and Hon. Dina S. Ocampo, Undersecretary for Programs and Projects; and Flordeliza Quiñones of the National Library.

Source: National Book Development Board (NBDB) and Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) 

July 22 is National Children's Book Day! - PBBY

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on June 18, 2014 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Features [ ] -

July 22 is National Children's Book Day!


To celebrate National Children's Book Day, a special children's book fair featuring the country's major children's book publishers shall be held from 9 till 2:30 pm at the Museo Pambata. The fair shall be open to the public and admission is free.


There shall also be a special workshop for librarians called, The School Library as Avenue for the Development of Life Skills (An Echo and Workshop Session of the 42nd IASL Conference in Indonesia) from 9-12 noon also in Museo Pambata. The workshop shall be facilitated by Zarah Gagatiga, Librarian, Beacon Academy and PBBY Board Member


This workshop session will help librarians integrate life skills and well-being indicators in library management. Ms. Gagatiga will also discuss concepts in planning, implementing and evaluating programs and services for children and teenagers. 21st century trends in school library management and administration will also be presented as well as information on professional learning networks, particularly the International Association of School Libraries.


Participants will be charged a workshop fee of P500.


For inquiries about the bookfair and the workshop, you may email [email protected] or contact Lance at 3526765 local 120.

The Hunt for Filipino Food: Kusina to Cuisine - The Theresian Cookbook

Posted by JTP on May 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Courtesy of Corinne Trang

The Hunt for Filipino Food:Kusina to Cuisine – TheTheresian Cookbook I am a cookbook reviewer, and it’s always exciting to leafthrough pages that offer an insight into a new and vibrant cuisine. AndI am a food writer, so I appreciate the effort it takes to compile sucha book. Kusina to Cuisine – The Theresian Cookbook had me glowing withchild-like joy.

We think we know all about food, don’t we? Those classic French dishesthat are so prized …by the French; sumptuous and spicy curries from theSubcontinent (I am personally addicted); baked goods from these veryshores – yes, we are au fait with food. But then there are plates fromthe Philippines!

I am fortunate to have a dear friend who hails from Manila. She is an‘Old Theresian’ and has contributed to this volume, a compilation ofrecipes from former pupils of St. Theresa’s. For us non-Filipinos, it’sa delicious introduction to a very individual cuisine. There is nothingin this book that would strike epicurean terror into the heart of evena timid European home cook. OK, granted, a very few of the ingredientsmight demand a trip to an Asian supermarket, but that aside, themajority of recipes here are accessible and they are all tempting.

Chef cookbooks are glossy, polished and sometimes intimidating. On theother hand, cookbooks such as Kusina to Cuisine offer a real vision ofhow folks cook and eat, and in this case the cooking and eating isenjoyed in the Philippines. Perhaps I am naïve but I trust recipesfrom home cooks. They take pride in that cake, that sauce, that pasta,those noodles might be dinner every Wednesday night. These particularhome cooks have flair!

I am rather surprised that Filipino restaurants are not flourishingoutside that country. Its foods have so many elements with which we arealready familiar. I have seen menus from the best of Manila’srestaurants and I could book my flight this very moment. The recipeshere are a more domestic take on these dishes but they indicate thevalue of this internationally little-known cuisine.

Good use is made of both fresh fish and shellfish. Pork is prominent,along with chicken. Lots of Asian fruits and herbs but chilli isn’toverpowering. Garlic is evidently popular, along with the expectedChinese accents of soy and rice. It’s a delicious amalgam of all thecultural influences that make these islands what they are today.

I have several favourites from this practical ring-bound collection.Killer Chili Dip is simple and comforting and flexible. Great for aparty and it can be spiced up for those with adult tastes; nothingexotic, admittedly, but worthy of a try. Yema are sweet caramelisedmilk balls that would make delicious gifts if one could bear to giveany away. Toyoma is a pork belly stew with eggs – just a couple ofingredients, used to present a unique dish. Lengua is beef tongue andit takes advantage of that underestimated meat. This recipe turns thathumble offal into dinner party fare with Asian colour.

My dear reader might wonder why I bother to review a book that themajority will not find. Kusina to Cuisine – The Theresian Cookbookisn’t readily available, that’s true. I have used this volume toillustrate the broad appeal of Filipino food and to act as a catalystto ask the question: ‘Where are the Filipino restaurants in London?’Failing that: ‘Where are the cooking classes?’ I am sure I will beadvised that there are one or two but they are not well publicised. Aswe speak I would say that the most authentic food is found in homes.There seems to be little publicity about the dishes, although there arefaint rumbles of enthusiasm from those who have travelled. There arefolks who are endeavouring to introduce Filipino food served from foodtrucks. Word is slowly getting out to those who are open to anothertaste palate.

I will travel to Manila and beyond at the soonest opportunity and enjoylearning about the restaurant trends, classic dishes, home cooking and,undoubtedly, snacking. I will muse on origins of dishes and considerhow to describe this European-infused multi-Asian culinary delight inone word. I guess ‘Filipino’ will do nicely.

Books are available at The Bookmark, Inc. bookstore and Fullybooked outlets.

Remembering Macliing Dulag

Posted by JTP on April 23, 2014 at 2:45 AM

Courtesy: Desiree Caluza (

Inquirer Northern Luzon

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—This generation should always remember that they have a great hero in their history.

This was Baguio-based writer Luz “Luchie” Maranan’s message to a group of children and activists who attended the launch of her children’s book, “The Pangat, the Mountains, and the River,” at Mt. Cloud Bookshop here last year.

The book tells the story of respected Kalinga pangat (tribal chieftain) Macliing Dulag and his people, who opposed the construction of the Chico River hyrdroelectric dam, a government project that would have submerged the farms and ancestral lands of the Kalinga and Bontoc peoples in the late 1970s.

Dulag was shot and killed by government soldiers on April 24, 1984, for leading the protests against the project.

Maranan’s book opens with Apong Chumallig, who was at the ator (village center in form of rocks) in front of children, recalling how Dulag started to fight for the rights of his fellow villagers.

“Time came when we, the Kalinga and the Bontoc, had to strengthen our bodong (peace pact between the two tribes in the Cordillera) to defend our villages. One brave, heroic man stood out among us and urged the people of the Cordillera to unite and fight so that all of us can still live in these beautiful mountain villages,” Apong Chumallig said.

He recalled his days with Dulag and their friends discovering Chico River, the center of their struggle.

“With our friends, Macliing and I enjoyed swimming in the Chico, diving from the rocks that stood like giants against the current. We explored the forests where our fathers hunted deer and wild boar,” he said.

Maranan said the heroism of Dulag and other Cordillerans should be a constant reminder to the younger generation of indigenous peoples to value their rights over their ancestral lands.

“It is my wish that the children in the urban center know the stories of the indigenous peoples. They should know how mines, dams and logging concessions could destroy our natural resources. If children know that these resources are for them, the future generation will appreciate [why indigenous peoples are defending their land] because that is an act of patrimony,” she said.

Maranan said she chose to write about Dulag because there was no popular material on the Kalinga leader, except in news articles and biographies.

She said writing about the stories of Cordillera heroes was a way of educating children about the heroes who fought and sacrificed for their future.

The book focuses on the heroism of Dulag, but it also tells the story of his people who inspired him to lead the struggle against the dam project.

In 2011, Maranan did intensive research on the life of Dulag when she attended an elders’ meeting in Tinglayan town, Kalinga province. She interviewed relatives of Dulag for the book.

Published by Bookmark as part of its series on “Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth,” the book was illustrated by Ariel Santillan.

It was the English translation of Maranan’s award-winning work, “Ang Pangat, ang Lupang Ninuno, at ang Ilog,” which won third prize in the short story for children (Filipino division) in the 62nd Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature in 2012.



8 Children's Books for the Next Generation by Weng Cahiles

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on March 18, 2014 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

8 Children's Books for the Next Generation by Weng Cahiles




It’s time to tell the kids to drop their iPads (or whatever gadget they’re holding) and have them flip through actual book pages instead. Introduce them to the joy of reading through the following children’s books (and a comic book) that will introduce you to important Filipino personalities, events, folklore and a thing or two that the internet won’t tell them.


8. Ang Pangat, Ang Lupang Ninuno at Ang Ilog

written by Luz Maranan, illustrated by Ysabel Maranan, published by Lampara Books

This project by the mother-and-daughter tandem of Luz and Ysabel Maranan is about the life of Macliing Dulag, a pangat or a tribe leader hero from the Cordillera. He was known for opposing then President Marcos’ plans to build four dams along Chico River in the Mountain Province.

Based on a Palanca-winning story, children will read about Macliing’s leadership and bravery during Martial Law.


7. Brocka: The Filmmaker Without Fear

written and illustrated by Jose T. Gamboa, published by The Bookmark Inc.

Introduce kids to one of the best directors our country has produced.

This Sorsogon native is the man behind the movies “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang,” “Jaguar,” “Bona” and “Insiang” which was the first Filipino film ever shown at the Cannes film festival.

This year, the Museum of Modern Art in New York had a week-long screening of “Maynila: Sa Kuko ng Liwanag”—deemed by many to be the greatest Filipino film ever made.


6. Ngumiti Si Andoy

written by Xi Zuq, illustrated by Dominic Agsaway, published by Adarna House

Winner of last year’s PBBY-Salanga Prize, the story is about Andrew’s encounter with the Father of the Philippine Revolution himself when a statue in his school’s park turns into life.

Beautifully illustrated by Agsaway, this book was released November 30 last year, just in time for Bonifacio’s 150th birthday commemoration.


5. Edsa

written by Russell Molina, illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III, published by Adarna House

For those who want to educate kids about the People Power Revolution of 1986, this book is just what you need.

This counting book makes children tie together images of people and objects related to the EDSA Revolution, allowing them to learn numbers and about this important part of our nation’s history at the same time.



4. Guardians of Tradition

written by Mae Astrid Tobias, illustrated by Rommel E. Joson, photos by Renato Rastrollo, published by Adarna House

This 32-page book is perfect for kids (and adults) who want to get to know our country’s National Living Treasures awardees selected by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The awardees were chosen for their dedication to their craft and their contribution to preserving tradition. Some of the personalities included in the book are musician Uwang Ahadas, master mat weaver Hadja Amina Appi, poet Ginaw Bilog and master of dance Alonzo Saclag.


3. Ang Bonggang Bonggang Batang Beki

written by Rhandee Garlitos, illustrated by Tokwa Penaflorida, published by Chikiting Books

This groundbreaking children’s book tackles effeminacy in young boys. The story revolves around Adel, a child teased “beki” by his friends because he is soft-spoken, loves to sing and dance and prefers the color pink.

Illustrator Tokwa Penaflorida perfectly captures the essence of Adel’s playfulness through his wistful drawings.


2. Pilandokomiks

written and illustrated by Borg Sinaban,published by Adarna House

Transforming classic Pilandok stories written by National Artist Virgilio Almario into a series of comic books for kids is not an easy task but Borg Sinaban managed to do a good job at it. Instead of letting kids read the usual manga, why not give them Pilandokomiks? It packs the same well-executed illustration but with stories rooted in local setting.


1. The Public’s Servant

written by Didith T. Rodrigo, illustrated by Kaecee Salvador, published by The Bookmark Inc.

The Bookmark Inc.’s Great Men and Women of Asia – Children’s Series aims to introduce to children awardees of the Ramon Magsaysay Foundation.

Jesse Robredo won back in 2000 for exemplary government service but his life as an outstanding public servant was cut short by his tragic death in 2012. This biography is written using Internet chat style to entice young readers to learn anecdotes about this modern hero’s life.



Weng Cahiles is the author of the Adarna House children’s book “What Kids Should Know About Andres And The Katipunan.”

Book Review: Modern Heroes For the Filipino Youth Series

Posted by Giusseppe on January 24, 2014 at 3:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Courtesy: Zarah C. Gagatiga (

Back in 2010, Bookmark won a Best Reads National Children's Book Award for Lub-Dub Lub-Dub, a biography of Dr. Fe Del Mundo the first woman pediatrician in the Philippines. Written by Rusell Molina and illustrated by Jomike Tejido, the book is part of Bookmark's  Great Men and Women of Asia–Children’s Series. The series brings together stories of ordinary people who've done extraordinary acts of goodness that it elevated them to heroic status. Specifically, the heroes featured in the series are awardees of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Awards. At a time when teachers and librarians are looking for biography books for children to read, Bookmark took the brave initiative to have this series published.


And they've only just begun on this courageous venture as another series is produced for the Filipino young reader: The Modern Heroes For the Filipino Youth Series.  The series aims to present role models for young people to emulate. Each story in the series contains a central theme that exemplifies a moral value or characteristic or an exemplary incident in the life of each principal character. So it says in each of the book's blurb.

The books live up to its aims as values of bravery, courage and love of country, bespeak of the stories of Ninoy Aquino, Ed Jopson, Jaime Ongpin, Vidal Lorenzo Tan, Gen. Vicente Lim, and Jose Abad Santos. The stories of Richie Fernando, Sr. Christine Tan and Macliing Dulag would inspire young readers to look at love, service for others, determination and social justice in a new light. 

The series also features the artistic genius of Lino Brocka and Jovita Fuentes; the ingenuity and business acumen of Margarita Dela Cruz Santiago; the dedication of Fr. Eduardo Hontiveros SJ to bring liturgical music closer to church parishioners; the drive and endurance of Filipino scientists Drs. Lourdes Cruz and Baldomera Olivera Jr.; and the heart and passion of Doreen Fernandez to teaching and writing.

Written by the country's best writers and illustrated by select artists, the series is a beautiful medley of good storytelling and strong visuals. Readers young and old would definitely feel the creators' intent at putting in their best effort and talents to produce quality reading material. What really worked for me, as far as this series is concerned, is it's message of revisiting core values that would help define our identity as a nation in this age of rapid change and globalization. At a time when we're all going through problems that challenge our moral fiber, we need stories to remind us that we're capable of making the right choices no matter how difficult the odds are.

Bookmark's launching of Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series Children's Books and other titles is on Feb. 5, 2014, Wednesday, 6:00PM - 9:00PM at the Last Chukker, Manila Polo Club, Makati. For details check Bookmark's events-link on Facebook,

Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series Launching

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on January 15, 2014 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series Launching

Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series, Bookmark’s series for children’sbooks, will be formally launched on February 5, 2014, Wednesday, 6:00-9:00p.m., at the Last Chukker, Manila Polo Club, McKinley Road, Forbes Park, MakatiCity.

The series features nine new titles, namely: APassion for Science (Dr. Lourdes Cruz and Dr. Baldomero Olivera, Jr.), ATime to Grow (Margarita Dela Cruz Santiago), A Voice of Hope in a Timeof Darkness (Susan Fernandez-Magno), BROCKA: The Filmmaker without Fear (LinoBrocka), The First International Filipino Diva (Jovita Fuentes), ThePangat, the Mountains, and the River (Macliing Dulag), I Know Where MyHeart Is (Bro. Richie Fernando SJ), My Father, the “Soldier” (ChiefJustice Jose Abad Santos), and My Role Model (Vidal Lory Tan.)

TheModern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series aims to present role models foryoung people to emulate. Each story in the series contains a central theme thatexemplifies a moral value or characteristic or an exemplary incident in thelife of each principal character.

Also to be launched are Pages written byJavier T. Delfin, illustrated by Gabi Dimaranan, The Day of Darkness writtenby Gutch Gutierrez and Zig Marasigan, illustrations by Gutch Gutierrez.

Original illustrations will be exhibited and up for sale. The authors and artists will be present for the book signing.