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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.

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

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.

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.”

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.

Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series New Title My Father, "The Soldier" Released and Now Available

Posted by Michael Cuevas Barcas on December 18, 2013 at 8:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Jose Abad Santos Children’s Book Released

The Bookmark, Inc. presents new published children’s book-picture book for Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series – My Father, “The Soldier” is about the courageous life and martyrdom of Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos through the eyes of his son Pepito. Jose Abad Santos is one of the heroes of the Philippine resistance against the Japanese Occupation during World War II.


My Father, “The Soldier” is the new addition in Bookmark’s Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Series, which 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.


The story is written by Jake Advincula, an Ateneo High School student who won first prize in Modern Heroes for the Filipino Youth Writing Contest sponsored by The Bookmark, Inc. It was edited by Nina Macaraig-Gamboa and illustrated by Aurora Morealis and Gutch Gutierrez.

My Father, “The Soldier” is printed in color on 16 pages of matt-coated paper in an 8"x 10" format.


For more information contact Bookmark at telephone nos. 8958061–65, fax: 8970824,email: [email protected]