Monday, December 31, 2007

MMVIII (2008)

2008 is the middle of the triennial International Year of Planet Earth. Year of the Rat starts in February. And it is a leap year so bachelors beware!

Gratitude 2007

What I'm thankful for this 2007:

  • New friends and old enemies, old friends and new enemies - for keeping me level-headed
  • New ventures - for the extra income to finance my MBA studies
  • New leash on my MBA studies - 3 As for first semester and 2 more subjects for 2nd semester and thesis writing next summer, fresh outlook from my teachers and the contagious enthusiasm of my younger classmates
  • Advocacies in reading and campus journalism - for the opportunities to share what I know
  • Ex-friends - for the realizations on what friendship really means
  • Acceptance of turning 51 - can't help it, can' t avoid it
  • Renewing ties with high school batchmates - the best thing to happen to me this year
  • Meeting online friends in person - for the bonding online and off
  • Minor victories and major disappointments - for keeping my feet on the ground
  • New books, book haunts online - for the steady supply of cerebral stimulation

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Do Pinoys Read at all? An NBDB survey

Do Pinoys read at all?

By Queena Lee-Chua

Posted date: November 25, 2007

MANILA, Philippines - What is the most popular book read (outside of school) by Filipinos? No, it is not Harry Potter, but the Bible. According to the 2007 National Book Development Board (NBDB) Readership Survey, 67 percent of respondents across the country read the Bible the most, followed by romance or love novels (33 percent), cookbooks (28 percent), comic books (26 percent) and religious or inspirational works (20 percent).

Other relatively popular book categories in 2007 are, in this order: humor, science (to my delight), horror and suspense, family planning, business, sports and fitness, health and medicine, government, laws, agriculture, lifestyle, heroes, animals, child rearing, social issues, and horoscopes.

Early this year, the NBDB commissioned the Social Weather Stations to do a second Readership Survey (the first was done in 2003). There were 1,200 respondents: 300 each from the NCR, Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Respondents answered detailed questions about their reading habits, preferences, attitudes and behavior. (I am a governing board member of the NBDB.)

Decline in reading

First, the bad news. Generally, the survey shows that reading has slightly declined in our nation. Only 92 percent of respondents say they read, down two percent from 2003. The reading of books, comics, newspapers, and magazines has gone down, by seven, 13, 14, and 15 percent, respectively.

Why the decline? One culprit is the National Capital Region (NCR). Surprisingly, the NCR is the only cluster in the country where reading has decreased, by five percent. In Luzon areas outside NCR, readership has actually increased by two percent, and in Mindanao, readers have held steady.

Despite the proliferation of bookstores, publishers, and libraries in the NCR, book readers have decreased by a whopping 31 percent, from 95 percent in 2003 to 64 percent in 2007. Magazine readers in the NCR have decreased by 27 percent, comics readers by 12 percent, and newspaper readers by 10 percent.

But there is good news elsewhere. In the Visayas, general readership has increased by four percent. Readers of books in the Visayas increased by 11 percent; comics readers, by 10 percent; magazine readers, by one percent. (Newspaper readers have decreased by four percent.)

It is interesting to note that NBDB has done a lot of intervention programs in the Visayas, such as the Booklatan community reading activities, which may possibly have accounted in part for the increase.

Kudos to the youth

The youth are leading the way. They start to read non-school books at age 16, on average, one year earlier than in 2003. Again, NCR is the poor exception—young people here start reading non-school books at age 18 on average, two years later than the national norm.

Unfortunately, reading has declined across all age groups, except again for the youth, those in the 18 to 24 age bracket, where the percentage of readers has in fact gone up. Does this mean that we read less as we grow older? I hope not.

Reading has also declined across all socioeconomic groups, except those in the AB class. Public school students now read fewer books, newspapers, magazines, and comics than they did in 2003, and as for private school respondents, the slight increase in reading today is only among those reading comics.

Ninety-six percent of urban respondents read, compared to 88 percent in the rural areas. This may be explained by the lack of access to reading materials in areas far from city centers.

Reading behavior

Pinoys read anytime they want. Evidently, reading non-school books is not a habit for most people, except for some who read before going to sleep. The number of books read in the past year is seven on the average.

An average of seven books a year is not too bad, but what is alarming is the median number of books read, which is a low three. This means that even if half the adult population of the Philippines have read three or more non-school books in the past year, the other half have read only at most three, or worse, no books at all.

Why do we read? More than 85 percent of the respondents read to gain knowledge or more information. The rest read for enjoyment. Almost half of the readers read books by Filipino authors only, while the other half read both local and foreign books.

However, the majority of the respondents, whether they read or not, have few books at home. (More than forty percent have at most only five books in their homes.)

Why? Perhaps more readers prefer to read media other than print, such as the Net. Perhaps others turn to other types of entertainment, such as TV. Perhaps the cost of books has become prohibitive for most of us.

The survey does not analyze the reasons why, but the research team offers some recommendations. “The challenge is for booksellers and publishers, printers and paper and ink manufacturers, to make more books affordable. The government can facilitate this, as well as the financing of technology upgrades to make operations more efficient and economical.”

“Authors are also challenged to write more books, not just to entertain, but also to inform, to teach the readers skills or to convey to them practical knowledge. Community libraries [should encourage] adults and out-of-school youth to like to read books; and educators, to teach students to read longer materials, such as books.”

The NBDB will present the 2007 Readership Survey results to the public on Nov. 28, 9 a.m. to 12 noon, at the Discovery Suites in Ortigas Center, Pasig City. Publishers, reading associations, educators, and other stakeholders are encouraged to attend. For more details, call the NBDB at 9209853.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Story telling and reading

From Philippine Daily Inquirer Nov. 4, 2007 issue:

Storytellers reach, touch hearts of kids
By Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez
Last updated 10:48pm (Mla time) 11/03/2007

WHEN THE PERFORMANCE of more than 2,000 pupils of the South City Central School in Cagayan de Oro City was evaluated last year, at least 10 out of 50 pupils in Grades 1 to 3 did not know how to read or understand what they read.

This dismally low literacy rate merely reflects the state of education in Mindanao.

According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), regions in Mindanao ranked lowest in functional literacy last year, with an average of 70 percent.

Dropout rate shot up to as high as 7.3 percent, another NSO data said.

To help address the problem, Amway Philippines, a global direct-selling company, has adopted the South City Central School for its “One by One Campaign for Children,” a project aimed at improving the reading ability of children in public schools.

Amway helped renovate the school library, where a well-lit and inviting storytelling corner was put up.

After months of waiting, the refurbished library formally opened on Oct. 19, to the delight of eager children, parents and teachers.

“A library is a very important component of the school. This is where children can feed their minds and souls. It is our hope that the newly renovated library and the ‘One by One Campaign for Children’ storytelling corner will encourage more children to go inside the library to develop the love and appreciation for reading and learning,” Ador Bonquin, Amway Philippines country manager, said.

A workshop for teachers and volunteers on innovative ways of telling a story was conducted before the project launch.

Captivating the listener

“We teach our storytellers how to reach and touch the hearts of the children. This way, listeners will be captivated by the story and encourage them to try reading the story by themselves,” Bonquin said.

Storytellers use props and visual aids to enrich the imagination of children, as well as enhance their comprehension.

Rebecca Pacanut, a Grade 1 teacher for the past 31 years, said the attractive appearance of the storytelling corner, as well as the new children’s books, had inspired her pupils to read.

“In my decades of teaching, this is the only time that I saw my pupils hurrying toward the library instead of the playground after classes. They have discovered the joy of reading,” she said.

The library now has 3,000 books, mostly donations from the United States.

“We are still trying to solicit more (reading materials),” librarian Arlene de Guma said.

To inspire the children to read and understand what they read, they allow even nonreaders to take home the materials for three days so that the parents can read along with them, De Guma said.

“We also encourage the parents to volunteer as storytellers,” she said.

Sustaining the project is a challenge both for Amway and for the school beneficiary, according to Bonquin.

“The school’s counterpart is to maintain the library and the storytelling corner. For us, we have promised to adopt the school, hence our local IBOs [independent business owners] will continue supporting its needs,” he said.

Amway will also donate computers and more books to upgrade the library. The company’s employees from around the globe will also donate books to the adopted school.

The literacy campaign is Amway’s global initiative to uplift the lives of children all over the world, Bonquin said.

Similar programs were launched to combat child poverty in Africa, provide crucial care for children fighting cancer in Mexico and Brazil, and help disabled children in Japan.

Last year, Amway Philippines received the Anvil Award of Merit under the institutional and corporate category for its One by One Campaign for Children.

Copyright 2007 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Friday, November 2, 2007

After teaching them to read, what happens next?

It is heartwarming to know that the Department of Education (DepEd) is doing concrete steps in encouraging our children to read. Reading is one habit Filipino kids need to develop for their own good and future. Last July, I was among the few adults who reserved and lined up at National Bookstore in Davao City for the release of Harry Potter 7 (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows). The rest were kids and teens accompanied by their parents. It was a wondrous sight.

After teaching them to read, what happens next? What worries me are several factors:

  • Parents' attitudes towards reading. Many of them think that beyond textbooks, they are only obligated to buy their kids dictionaries, nothing more. The most sought-after book by parents in bookstores selling brand-new and used books and even in MV Doulos is dictionaries! Even without the statistics on household expenses, I'm sure, aside from textbooks, other reading materials like magazines and newspapers are l-o-o-o-o-w in the list. The basic needs for food. clothing and shelter would take precedence over reading materials. (Maybe this is why the local komiks industry died.)
  • Sorry state of libraries in public elementary and high schools. Sure there are book donations from Books for the Barrios, civic groups and local/national politicians, but many of these are irrelevant to the academic needs of library users: highly technical books, books on American politics, college textbooks (advance calculus and physics), FVR books, etc. The lack of books and internet connection is one sure killer of curiosity in our kids.
  • Development of critical thinking is not promoted in consonance with reading. One only needs to see the factual errors in Philippine-made textbooks and shudder at the absence of critical thinking in our young pupils and their teachers!
  • Popular culture makes video viewing more attractive than reading. Why read when you can see it indeed! My nieces and nephews' main excuse for not reading: We'd rather wait for it to shown in cinemas and TV.
  • Teachers of non-language subjects (many of them don't even have reading habits) who refuse to go beyond the four corners of the textbooks they're using. They don't even have the initiative to relate their subject matters to current events and other disciplines. No wonder our kids find their textbooks dry and boring!

Growing Older is Mandatory/Growing Up is Optional

Hi! This was shared to me via email:

I liked reading this short article from a friend. I hope you will, too. The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know.

I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze."Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids..."

"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age. "I always dreamed of having a college education! and now I'm getting one!" she told me. After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I'm sorry I'm so jittery! I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! ! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know. "As we laughed she cleared her throat and began,

"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.

There are only four secrets to staying young... being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change.

Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it! These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY.GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give. God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it. He will bring you through it. Pass this message to people you care about. If you choose not, then you refuse to bless someone else……

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

I would have celebrated my 50th birthday last year with a party. I was prepared to be a golden boy or so I thought until I learned three months before it that I had become a grandfather! And I immediately went into denial!

When I learned in August this year that two of my batchmates would be celebrating jointly their birthdays, I promptly joined in.

And so it was held on October 28. And what a lovely time it was! In the happy company of fellow golden boys and girls of my high school batch "73, we had the time of our lives partaking of the meals, tropical fruits and dancing the night away to be the pulsating beat of 70s disco music (and yes! Ursula Dudziak's Papaya was a big hit once again on the dance floor).

And was it obvious that it was a Hawaiian-inspired party?

This is the third big birthday party for me. The first held on my 11th (because I was born on the 11th month (November), 11th day & the year when the last two digits added up to 11 (1956); the second when I was in fourth year college.

So maybe, just maybe, to come full circle, I'll have my fourth birthday party when I'm 56 (eleven again?!?). I have five years to save for it.

Friday, October 26, 2007

What I've Read and Watching Now

Based on the book Freedom Writers Diary. The true story of an English class handled by Erin Gruwell.

Monday, October 15, 2007

to all the kids born in the 50s, 60s and 70s

I got this from a forwarded email:


50s, 60s and 70s !!

some of us survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
(sioktong ang inumin)

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, fish from a can (brand: ligo) , and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after birth, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints , pati na yung laruang kabayu-kabayuhan.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, no kneepads , sometimes wala ngang preno yung bisikleta.

As children, we would ride in car with no seat belts or air bags – hanggang ngayon naman, di ba ?

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat.
(maykaya kayo pare !)

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle (minsan straight from the faucet)

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. Or contracted hepatitis.

We ate rice with tinunaw na purico (dahil ubos na ang star margarine) , nutribuns courtesy of Macoy and drank softdrinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight kasi nga ..... .


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. Sarap mag patintero, tumbang preso , habulan taguan….

No one was able to reach us all day (di uso ang celfon , walang beepers). And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our scooters or slides out of scraps and then ride down the street, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendos, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms....... ...WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
lawsuits from these accidents
. The only rubbing we get is from our friends with the words…..masakit ba ? Pero pag galit yung kalaro mo,ang sasabihin sa iyo…beh buti nga !

We play in the dirt , wash our hands a little and ate with our bare hands…we were not afraid of getting worms in our stomachs.

We have to live with homemade guns – gawa sa kahoy, tinali ng rubber band, sumpit, tirador at kung ano ano pa na pwedeng makasakit…..pero walang nagrereklamo.

Made up games with sticks
(syatong)and cans (tumbang preso)and although we were told it would happen, wala naman tayong binulag o napatay…paminsan minsan may nabubukulan.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mini basketball teams
had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Walang sumasama ang loob.

Ang magulang ay nandoon lang para tignan kung ayos lang ang mga bata…hindi para makialam.

This generation
of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and managers ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned



And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives for our own good.

and while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

PS - The big type is because your eyes
may not be able to read this…. at your age

ok lang ba kaibigan?

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Glimpse Caught

ROUGE Assassin!

Is this the sequel to Moulin ROUGE?

Or is the leading assassin wearing ROUGE?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Mala Malu Captions

Manolo was right, it's more fun to write captions for Malu Fernandez's pictures! Who is that woman??? Click on the images at left to read her People Asia Magazine article that started this furor.

And now for the photo captions!

Hmmmp! These guys must be gays not to notice my mammary glands! Wait till they see the other ten!!!

Ano'ng panama ni Miss Piggy sa akin?

Yes, methinks I'm carrying a litter! It's either that or it's Latigo 500 time again!

Behind me is the island of my idol, Circe. To the unwashed masses out there, Circe is the goddess/sorceress who turned Odysseus' men into pee-eye-gees.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Talecraft, Dom, Hoovenson & Spro

I have been looking for Talecraft, the card deck for story tellers and writers since summer. A co-teacher tried to find it in Metro Manila to no avail. Out of Stock!

So when I recently googled it, I was led to Dom Cimafranca's blogpost on Talecraft. I posted a comment asking him if it was available in Davao City. And it was! And Dom sells them! Yay!!!

So on August 10, he told me more about Talecraft, introduced me to Hoovenson Haw who owns Spro Cafe where we met and other cafe habitues.

It was a fun night even if I was initially oblivious to the java/wifi-charged ambience and of Spro. The following week, I tried the Cafe Amerikano (which Hoovenson recommended to lactose-intolerant moi) and liked it.

I felt instantly at ease with fellow Tsinoys Dom and Hoovenson who, like me, love books and movies.

As I am trying to cut down on smoking, methinks I now have the next addiction to feed: coffee!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

On the Road (again) . . .

My speaking engagements have started this month. As part of the University's extension services, I get invited to be a resource person in campus journalism seminar-workshops for student writers and school paper advisers in Regions 11 and 12.

I may be putting posting in this blog in the back burner for a while.

I hope you don't miss me that much. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Random tag

JMom has tagged me! She wants me to write 8 random facts/habits of mine:

1. I have two "live" moles: one dark blue mole half an inch under my lower right eyelid and the other (royal blue) on my left foot aligned with the big toe.

2. I go to bed with my books! Lucky me (or books?)! I used to curl in bed with the latest Stephen King book but I got starring roles in King-ish nightmares afterwards so I read them in daytime now.

3. Yesterday (July 21), I stood in line at 7 a.m. at National Bookstore Davao City to get my second first edition of JK Rowling's books: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the first being Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince).

4. I collect Snoopy thingamajigs.

5. I live by the Max Erhmann's Desiderata. It's a hard thing to do but I try to live by it.

6. The last time I checked, my IQ was 120+. No, it wasn't Mensa certified. :)

7. The only song I can play on guitar is Today by Bobby Goldsboro. I started learning guitar playing by piece and started with it. Then the minus-ones (or is it minuses-one) came to the music bars . . .

8. I used to be the most in-demand godfather for baptisms; now it's for being a principal sponsor in weddings. Sigh . . .

Approaching 1000 hits!

As of this writing, this blog has been hit 992 times. To my regular readers, thank you! To blog bypassers, thanks for dropping by!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Tita Lacambra-Ayala's poetry

When I started out as a budding writer, I had to travel 4 hours by bus to Davao City on weekends to bring my short story manuscripts to Tita Lacambra-Ayala. She became my mentor and cheerleader. Their apartment behind a row of commercial establishments along Quirino Avenue, became my literary sanctuary. Joey and the rest of the brood went in and out of the house, planting a kiss on her cheek each time and surprising me with their calling her by her first name. Quite an unconventional set-up.

Her husband Joe would come home Saturday morning from the banana plantation where he worked and leave in the afternoon with bags of freshly laundered/ironed clothes and provisions. Often he would also bring home some of the paintings he had finished.

Some Davao artists and writers would also drop by to return/borrow books, for some chitchat, and to listen to what Tita had to say about the state of the arts in the city.

We would consume a prodigious amount of cigarettes, rum coke and pomelo or some fruits in season while she read and critiqued my stories. When we finish early, she would have me tag along to exhibits, poetry reading, book hunting.

Or she would ask me to reveal more of myself as a person. When I recounted to her how my father was shot dead by robbers, after I processed his SSS death benefits in Davao, she shed some tears. I should have joined her for a good cry, but I had to go back home that same day. I cried in the busride home. I was wearing a silver-coated crucifix on a string around my neck and a loose silk shirt embellished with blue peacocks that day.

The next time I saw her, she showed me a column she wrote about how she felt over my father's death. And soon after she wrote a poem for me and included it in one of the anthologies in her self-published Roadmap series (a book in the form of a roadmap featuring paintings and poems of local artists and writers).

This is the poem she wrote as published in Camels and Shapes of Darkness in a time of Olives, the poetry flipside of Friends - The Adventures of a Professional Amateur, her autobiography. This was published by UP Press as part of its Philippine Writer Series in 1998.

Counterpoint in Double Poem
(For Gilbert)

thong around your neck
crucified in gold
the blue peacocks
turn their eyes inwards
suspecting audiences
fanning summer's fall
smoke scrolls
the sunset air with
unlit fires
secret conflagrations
uncomposed poems
tumble into fits
of disaster
"some buses are longer
than the bridges
and cannot
make a turn --
the roads are bordered
with newtonian faults"
where farther to
the edge of things?
you are in their
continuous center
evolving platitudes
wise and angry
against this ravage
of violent

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Notre Dame Dadiangas High School Batch '73 list II

In preparation for its 35th Grand Homecoming next year, Batch '73 would like to establish contact with its members worldwide. Notre Dame Dadiangas Girls alumni may contact Victoria Gonzaga-Firmalino at Vickee_gonzaga@yahoo.com.ph (cellphone # 09156546485) (landline 301-7366). Notre Dame Dadiangas Boys alumni may contact Danilo Sanchez at dansanz0956@yahoo.com (cellphone # 09062057090). Batchmates may also register in our yahoogroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDDCHighSchoolBatch1973/members or you can leave your contact info (email address, phone number, address, etc.) in the comments section (click below) this blogpost or in the message box at left margin of this page.

Notre Dame Dadiangas Boys Batch '73:

Edgardo Abatayo
Filbert Absin*
Rodrigo Aclan
Desiderio Alaba*
Marto Albaran
Armando Aliwalas
Jose Alvarado Jr.*
Ponciano Ampo
Santiago Anfone
Jesus Aparente
Ramon Arana*
Caesar Aranas Jr.*
Cesar Bacatan
Ramon Baldostamon
Rogelio Balido
Mejorico Baloria
Roland Baruc
Manuel Basadre Jr.
Sensino Basadre
Estanislao Bayan
Julius Bernal
Demetrio Biadoma ^
Arthur Bognosan
Eduardo Bonjoc
Je Buenaventura
Jonathan Bueno
Rodirgo Buhi
Danilo Cababayao
Ben Cabradilla
Nestor Cagunan
Felix Canizares
Antonio Cantre
Cyrus Carballo*
Eugenio Carillo Jr.
Elmer Celebrado
Justino Cemini
Rolando Copia
George Cordero
Eriberto Cortel
Panfilo Cristobal
Arturo Cruz
Roberto Cruz ^
Melecio Dable
Emmanuel Dayanan
Manuel Decatoria
Edgardo Delfin
Nestor Deligos*
Tranquilino Deydo Jr.
Felix Ditchoson
Edilberto Dolorosa
Benjamin Dupalco
Oscar Engkong
Juanito Escaño
Efren Felisan
Alfredo Fernandez
Julio Firmalino*
Eulogio Franco Jr.
Orlando Galang
Isabelo Gallemit
William Galvan*
Danilo Geraldizo
Jose Billy Gilay
Juanito Go
Antonio Gultiano
Ben Hurtado
Rodrigo Ibero
Winston Jabonillo*
Jose de Jesus
Henry de Jose
Eduardo Joseph
Dalmacio Jugarap
Elpido Lastimosa Jr.
Charlie Laureano
Virgilio Lauzon*
Miguel de Leon
Ceasar Lim
Mariano Lim*
Vicente Lim
Nixon Lomboy*
Carlito Lopez
Manuel Lopez*
Vitor Loquias
David Lu
Mariano Macalam*
Mario Macaraeg
Wilfredo Monterde
Ranie Mullanida*
Denis Nacua ^
Hector Natividad ^
Fernando Ocat*
Freddie Oloroso
Henry Panlaque
Cesar Paquingan
Adolfo Perez Jr.
Jose Perona
Cesar Pontino
Norberto Ramizo
Mario Rebucan
Edgardo Recibe
Juanito Reyes
Ricardo Roldan
Leonilo Sabasaje
Juan Sabido
Danilo Sanchez*
Nante Santos*
Juancito Sarenas ^
Eduardo Senajon
Edgar Sim
Vivencio Soguilon*
Herminigildo Solana
Alando Suansing
Gilbert Tan*
Jaime Tablizo*
Romeo Ting
Ramon Trespeces Jr.
Ofresino Uy
Samson Uy
Mario Villaspin
Charles Wong
Eleazar Zetha


* South Cotabato/Sarangani/General Santos City based

^ Metro Manila based

Notre Dame Dadiangas High School Batch '73 list

In preparation for its 35th Grand Homecoming next year, Batch '73 would like to establish contact with its members worldwide. Notre Dame Dadiangas Girls alumni may contact Victoria Gonzaga-Firmalino at Vickee_gonzaga@yahoo.com.ph (cellphone # 09156546485) (landline 301-7366). Notre Dame Dadiangas Boys alumni may contact Danilo Sanchez at dansanz0956@yahoo.com (cellphone # 09062057090). Batchmates may also register in our yahoogroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDDCHighSchoolBatch1973/members or you can leave your contact info (email address, phone number, address, etc.) in the comments section (click below) this blogpost or in the message box at left margin of this page.

Notre Dame Dadiangas Girls Batch '73:

Monica Abucejo
Evelyn Abueva-Olarte
Alicia Acharon-Tagpuno
Marietta Alforte-Fundar
Severina Alforte
Ma. Ofelia Altarejos
Minda Andang*
Mary Aprille Rose Anung-Contreras
Necita Arancon-Demonteverde
Julita Arquisa
Antonia Asibal-Alquizor
Victoria Avestruz-Wong
Purisima Azarcon
Crispina Azuela
Judith Balajadia
Expedelita Balan
Evelyn Baloria
Gilda Bantawig-Elemia*
Esmeralda Basaya^
Esterlina Barot-Lacson*
Rabia Batuwa-Tayoto
Webina Bemon
Helen Betonio
Estrella Bolido
Teresa Borgonia
Ninfa Bretaña
Agapita Cabradilla
Lorna Calderon-Dela Torre
Elena Calvario
Zenaida Campos
Rosalind Canizares-Niez
Salustiana Carillo
Angelina Catapang-Bongcawil
Elvira Cauayan*
Susan Chavez
Rebecca Corporal-Isa
Melinda de la Cruz vda. de Pitogo*
Teodora Cruz
Lucia Cua vda. de Chua
Bibiana Cuajotor -Peñaranda
Rosanna Cuarenta-Tan*
Aracelie Dagupioso
Ma. Lani Dalisay-Callao
Erlinda Damicog
Lolita Delfin
Flor Delizo
Bessie Deocampo
Mae Diamonon-Europa
Elizabeth Diapera
Ma. Lourdes Dinopol-Canaria
Bernardita Diot-Briones
Corazon Dizon-Rodriguez
Felma Domantay
Erlinda Dulay+
Glynda Dumanig
Fredisminda Dupalco-Carriedo
Evelyn Duran-Flores
Marilou Dypiangco*
Nancy Elisan
Rosalinda Erbina
Adela Escote
Corazon Estinoco
Jasmin Fauni
Leonida Felisan
Aster Fernandez-Lim
Marilyn Ferrariz-Polinario
Monserat Firmalino-Vingno
Mariame Franco-Saplor
Gloria Gamolo-Bermejo
Anita Garcia-Angeles
Eden Garcia
Sonia Garcia-Lauzon*
Ma. Colleen Garcera-Janssen
Mercedita Geraldizo-Ometer
Victoria Gonzaga-Firmalino*
Ceferina Graciosa
Susan Guatlo-Acosta*
Consuelo Guzman-Baes*
Nelia de Guzman-Soriano*
Ma. Salome Inguillo-Aduca
Edna Javier-Tupas
Fernie de Jesus
Mildred Joven-Sayson
Benilda Labos
Myrna Lacsamana-Sapasap+
Eva Diana Lavega
Jocelyn Leyva-Cuevas
Zenaida Llerena
Violeta Lopez-Makiling*
Marianita Loreco
Loida Lubaton
Eva Magallanes
Inocencia Makilang
Dalisay Malones
Francisca Managbanag
Erlinda Manaloto
Angelita Mapalo-Cruz
Perla Maratas
Teresita Mejorada
Lourdes Mesina^
Edna Mirabueno-Tanchuling
Myrna Mirabueno
Elena Mojado-Bogador
Sabiniana Mullanida
Marialina Munez
Prima Muring
Florentina Nalugon-Maulit
Corazon Narciso vda. de Florida
Letecia Narte-Azares
Thelma Narte-Garcia
Ma. Paz Natividad-Arana*
Maria Navalta-Sardido
Susan Nuñez-Frippiat
Corazon Ogaco
Amelia Olarte
Cristeta Olarte
-dela Cruz
Angelita Ondangan
Carmen Ongkingco
Ermelinda Orantoy
Norma Osorio
Andrea Padernal
Afdulia Padilla
Anne Palma
Amelia Pamintuan
Sernisa Pananguiton
Alicia Pelarco
Ninfa Perez
Jocelyn Pilapil
Arlene Elena Plata
Regina Prieto
Helen Posadas
Lolita Punla
Juliet Ras
Susan Raval
Angelina Regner
Teresita Rivera
Angela Romero
Florence dela Rosa
Jocelyn del Rosario
Regina Salcedo
Leah Saligumba
Elizabeth Sanchez-Mendoza*
Loida Sanz
Jurie Sendico*
Merlyn Soguilon
Judith Solon
Marietta Soon
Lurencia Sulanting
Elizabeth Sumajit
Edna Sunga-Casabuena*
Editha Tagalog-Ty
Ellen Tan
Emilita Tatel
Teresita Tatel
Elvira Templonuevo
Josephine Toledo
-de Leon*
Melody Tolentino
Janet Totesora
Teresita Tubao-Garcia*
Remedios Tubon
Felicitacion Ugsang-Arizola
Susana Verba-Cordova
Helen Villanueva-Santos
Rowena Villanueva
Marietta Villarin
Ma Wilhilmina Villasis*
Josefina Villegas
Elsa Vinculado-Rabot
Conchita Yap-Pinili
Celia Young
Emelina Yu
Evangeline Yumang
Bernadette Yway
Angelina Zaulda
Herlina Zerrudo


* General Santos City based

^ South Cotabato based

+ Davao City based

Monday, July 9, 2007

Notre Dame Dadiangas High School Batch '73

Notre Dame Dadiangas High School Batch '73

Several batchmates of Notre Dame of Dadiangas High School Batch '73 (NDDBD & NDDFG) met at Vir and Sonia (Garcia) Lauzon's home on July 8 to discuss preliminary plans for the 35th (Coral/Jade/Emerald) Grand Homecoming next year.

Present were: Minda Andang, Mary Aprille Rose Anung, Gilda Bantawig, Esmeralda Basaya, Erlinda Dulay, Glynda Dumanig, Sonia Garcia, Victoria Gonzaga, Ceferina Graciosa, Nelia de Guzman, Consuelo Guzman, Ma. Paz Natividad, Jurie Sendico, Edna Sunga, Filbert Absin, Jose Alvarado Jr., Danilo Cababayao, Ben Cabradilla, Cyrus Carballo, Winston Jabonillo, Virgilio Lauzon, Carlito Lopez, Danilo Sanchez, Vivencio Soguilon Jr., Gilbert Tan.

If you belong to NDD High School Batch '73, you may contact the following: Bebot Sanchez (09062057090), Vickee Gonzaga (09166546485). You may also want to join our yahoogroup: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDDCHighSchoolBatch1973/

Monday, July 2, 2007

Thank God for Small Blessings

To finish my MBA degree, I decided to request for a study leave with pay for one year. The University committee decided to deload me by two subjects (6 units) instead. Well, beggars can't be choosy so I thank them and God for the small blessing that came my way this week.

Going back to graduate school was a smooth transition for me. It helped that I'm studying at my former employer and alma mater. Seeing the familiar faces of former colleagues and coworkers made me instantly at home. It was the campus where I spent 15 years of my life since I was a freshman high school student. The warning bell was no longer a buzzer but an instrumental version of Edelweiss from The Sound of Music and the main bell was Elephant Walk.

My classmates are way younger than me. Two or three are my former college students. I'm amazed at their energy level even after 8 hours of work. Their enthusiasm is infecting. One classmate said she was "frozen" (her credits were frozen after 5 years) during the first day introductions. When it was my turn to introduce myself, I said "I'm from the Ice Age," much to the delight of the class. I think I will learn a lot from them and from my classes.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Going back to (Graduate) School

Nineteen years ago, I had passed 13 comprehensive exams to complete the academic requirements for a Master in Business Administration degree. I also defended a thesis proposal on transportation needs in General Santos City.

Nineteen years ago, I transferred from a private Catholic college to a state university here. It was some culture shock I went through. From syllabi-bound and guided teaching to an academic freedom-driven one. I still remember my shock at being told at the university that the grading system is up to me (you decide the passing grade, you decide the raw score equivalents of 1.0 to 5.0).

For 19 years, I've helped send four siblings through school until they finished their college degrees. After a brief respite, I then sent nieces through school because their parents couldn't afford to do so (after producing a lot of them!)

Now it's my turn for me to be sent by myself to school. To reinstate my residency and eventually complete my MBA, I now need 15 units of academic subjects and 6 units of Research which basically will take 2 semesters and 1 summer.

What's weird is I'm enrolled in courses which I also teach in the undergraduate. Teacher by day, student by night. In my Human Resources Management class, I have two former students as my classmates. It's also a good thing I'm not the only "senior" student in class.

I look forward to attending my grad school subjects. Probably it's because I've always been a student at heart. I just love the cerebral stimulation in grad school.

Pac Man goes to College

As a teacher, it warms my heart to see the eagerness of Manny Pacquiao to earn a college degree. While he initially announced his interest in pursuing a degree in Political Science which will eventually lead to a law degree, after the elections, he decided to enroll in a Business Administration degree. This, for me, is a telling sign of how he regards lawyers after his dismal failure in the May elections. He has already taken the entrance exam at Notre Dame of Dadiangas University (NDDU) and I heard he is to be a student under a home study program in consideration of his boxing career.

He's back on the right track. His honor and integrity, while briefly tarnished by his short political foray, will be shining bright again as a beacon of hope for young Pinoys. I've always believed in his good heart and intentions which were unashamedly manipulated by others. I believe he has learned his lessons and will never let himself be used as pawn again. He may have made some wrong moves in the recent past, but he is willing to do what he thinks is right. Let's give him another chance. Good luck Pac Man to your studies!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Island Hopping in the Philippines

My Lakbayan grade is B-!

How much of the Philippines have you visited? Find out at Lakbayan!

Created by Eugene Villar.

The map of the Philippines above shows how many places I've been to - thanks to the annual National Schools Press Conference (NSPC) where I served as consultant and coach to the contestants of Regions 11 and 12, the seminars I've attended as participant and resource person, and the few times I've saved enough to spend summers and Christmases there.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Morphing My Face

This interactive software of Perception Laboratory called Face Transformer is so fun! I uploaded my ID picture and Voila! Here are some of the facemorphs that resulted:

Me as a child, a teener and a senior citizen!

My portraits if they were done by Botticelli, El Greco and Modigliani!

Gilbert as a West Asian, African-Caribbean and Caucasian!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Wanted: Readers/Reading in Films

When a TV station announced the Reading Room, a Hallmark film, as its weekend feature, it got me all excited, for obvious reasons. For one, I'm a bookworm. For another, this is one film that features reading and readers removed from the classroom and library setting.

After the memorial service for his wife, William Campbell, played by James Earl Jones, watched one home video and in it his wife broached the idea of opening a community reading room in a storefront business he owns in his former inner-city neighborhood. Using their library collection and personal money, Campbell opened it and immediately earned the suspicions of various residents.

Children and teeners thirsting for knowledge and hobbies slowly trooped into the Reading Room. Campbell's main problem was how to keep it open in spite of his being mugged and threatened. The Reading Room was also slightly burned but somehow that only spurred Campbell to continue with his wife's legacy. Through books and magazines, he was able to touch the lives of many people in the community.

Unlike other films where libraries, readers and reading serve only as backdrops to some scenes, the Reading Room is the main focus where most of the action takes place. Its collection of books and magazines is modest compared to Lex Luthor's yacht library in Superman Returns. The film was endorsed by the National Center for Family Literacy of America.

Among local films, Abakada Ina starring Lorna Tolentino as an illiterate mother comes to mind. Her mother-in-law (a teacher) looks down to her because she is "useless" and "unreliable." When one of her kids gets sick and the doctor prescribes some medicines, the latter has to put some colored stickers on the bottles to help her distinguish which to give for what symptoms. When one sticker gets unstuck, Lorna in her confusion gives the wrong medicine to her kid. When the kid gets hospitalized as a result, she realizes the importance of literacy. And in the final scene, she is seen with her daughter in class.

In local cinema and TV programs, there is a dearth of positive roles showing readers in real-life terms. Readers are often portrayed as nerds and shrinking mimosa types complete with eyeglasses and thick book props. In one weekend show, a reader is shown as such but with a superpower (invisibility)!

How I wish there were more positive reader roles in local entertainment like those in The Emperor's Club, Dead Poets Society, Finding Forrester, among others. With a literacy rate of 94%, why is this not reflected on local film and TV? Is it an inherent conflict of interest?

Friday, June 1, 2007

It's CoTAbato!!! or the persistence of its misspelling

Before writing this blogpost, I googled for the word CoTObato and found 74 pages of websites (or 7,400 websites) where CoTAbato is misspelled.

It's a shame, I tell you:

To my surprise, even national/regional/provincial/local government offices misspell CoTAbato!

One blog commenter even claims to have lived in CoTAbato for 17 years and yet cannot spell it right to show for those years of living in that part of our country. If a local resident cannot even spell it right, can we expect other non-residents to do so correctly?

Even a website called Mindanao.com has misspelled it eight times!

During the campaign and vote canvassing for the last election, national papers covering Manny Pacquiao's candidacy misspelled it!

Even Wikipedia is not exempted from this misspelling!

Persistent Misspelling/Mispronunciation

Since I learned to read in the 1950s, I became aware of misspelling CoTAbato as CoTObato. It irked me then and still irks me now. With the great strides in technology, the built-in spell checkers and auto-correct features in browsers and word encoding programs, the misspellings are still as rampant as weeds.

The name "Cotabato" is derived from either the Maguindanao kuta wato or Malay kota batu, meaning "stone fort", which makes it a very good memory aide. CoTAbato as in KUTAng bato "stone fort." NOT CoTObato as in KUTOng bato "rock lice" (see picture below right).

Repeat after me, Co-TA-ba-to as in KUTAng bato!

Theories for the persistence of misspelling/mispronunciation:

1. Low awareness is out of the question. With the mainstream media spouting good and bad news about CoTAbato, there is definitely medium to high awareness about this region. A folk song, Ang Bayan Kong Sinilangan originally sung by Asin and still popular up to now, contained five CoTAbatos in its lyrics. In UP campuses, there's a prominent group called Kutang Bato with members coming from CoTAbato.

2. POOR Editing. With the spell checker underlining the CoTObato in red and auto-correct features that can correct its misspelling every time it appears in a document, it becomes clear that the encoder is just too l-a-z-y to edit it. Even those who are supposed to be in the know are just too lazy to do so, thus perpetuating the misspelling.

3. Discrimination. While Cebu has never been spelled as CebO/SEbo/SEbU, the VisayaS has been plagued by the missing terminal s (the Visaya/Bisaya). With the misspelling of the VisayaS and CoTAbato, is this because people in Imperial Manila discriminate against promdis (those from the provinces)?

4. As to its mispronunciation, is it easier on the tongue to say CoTObato than CoTAbato? Unlike the case of Butuan which is seldom misspelled but often mispronounced (Locals insist it should be "But-wan" (two syllables) rather than "Bu-tu-an" (three syllables) because of the latter's Visayan sexual connotation, is it easier to say CO-TO because of the rhyme than the rhymeless CO-TA?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I must have done something good . . .

If It Feels Good to Be Good, It Might Be Only Natural (highlights)

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 28, 2007; Page A01

Jorge Moll had written. Moll and Jordan Grafman, neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health, had been scanning the brains of volunteers as they were asked to think about a scenario involving either donating a sum of money to charity or keeping it for themselves.

The results showed that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Their 2006 finding that unselfishness can feel good lends scientific support to the admonitions of spiritual leaders such as Saint Francis of Assisi, who said, "For it is in giving that we receive." But it is also a dramatic example of the way neuroscience has begun to elbow its way into discussions about morality and has opened up a new window on what it means to be good.

Grafman and others are using brain imaging and psychological experiments to study whether the brain has a built-in moral compass. The results -- many of them published just in recent months -- are showing, unexpectedly, that many aspects of morality appear to be hard-wired in the brain, most likely the result of evolutionary processes that began in other species.

It is known that animals can sacrifice their own interests: One experiment found that if each time a rat is given food, its neighbor receives an electric shock, the first rat will eventually forgo eating.

New research shows morality has biological roots -- such as the reward center in the brain that lit up in Grafman's experiment -- that have been around for a very long time.

The more researchers learn, the more it appears that the foundation of morality is empathy. Being able to recognize -- even experience vicariously -- what another creature is going through was an important leap in the evolution of social behavior. And it is only a short step from this awareness to many human notions of right and wrong, says Jean Decety, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago.

The research enterprise has been viewed with interest by philosophers and theologians, but already some worry that it raises troubling questions. Reducing morality and immorality to brain chemistry -- rather than free will -- might diminish the importance of personal responsibility. Even more important, some wonder whether the very idea of morality is somehow degraded if it turns out to be just another evolutionary tool that nature uses to help species survive and propagate.

Moral decisions can often feel like abstract intellectual challenges, but a number of experiments such as the one by Grafman have shown that emotions are central to moral thinking. In another experiment published in March, University of Southern California neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio and his colleagues showed that patients with damage to an area of the brain known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex lack the ability to feel their way to moral answers.

When confronted with moral dilemmas, the brain-damaged patients coldly came up with "end-justifies-the-means" answers. Damasio said the point was not that they reached immoral conclusions, but that when confronted by a difficult issue -- such as whether to shoot down a passenger plane hijacked by terrorists before it hits a major city -- these patients appear to reach decisions without the anguish that afflicts those with normally functioning brains.

Such experiments have two important implications:

  1. Morality is not merely about the decisions people reach but also about the process by which they get there.
  2. Society may have to rethink how it judges immoral people.

Psychopaths often feel no empathy or remorse. Without that awareness, people relying exclusively on reasoning seem to find it harder to sort their way through moral thickets. Does that mean they should be held to different standards of accountability?

Joshua D. Greene, a Harvard neuroscientist and philosopher, said multiple experiments suggest that morality arises from basic brain activities. Morality, he said, is not a brain function elevated above our baser impulses. Greene said it is not "handed down" by philosophers and clergy, but "handed up," an outgrowth of the brain's basic propensities.

Moral decision-making often involves competing brain networks vying for supremacy, he said. Simple moral decisions -- is killing a child right or wrong? -- are simple because they activate a straightforward brain response. Difficult moral decisions, by contrast, activate multiple brain regions that conflict with one another, he said.

In one 2004 brain-imaging experiment, Greene asked volunteers to imagine that they were hiding in a cellar of a village as enemy soldiers came looking to kill all the inhabitants. If a baby was crying in the cellar, Greene asked, was it right to smother the child to keep the soldiers from discovering the cellar and killing everyone?

The reason people are slow to answer such an awful question, the study indicated, is that emotion-linked circuits automatically signaling that killing a baby is wrong clash with areas of the brain that involve cooler aspects of cognition. One brain region activated when people process such difficult choices is the inferior parietal lobe, which has been shown to be active in more impersonal decision-making. This part of the brain, in essence, was "arguing" with brain networks that reacted with visceral horror.

While one implication of such findings is that people with certain kinds of brain damage may do bad things they cannot be held responsible for, the new research could also expand the boundaries of moral responsibility. Neuroscience research, Greene said, is finally explaining a problem that has long troubled philosophers and moral teachers: Why is it that people who are willing to help someone in front of them will ignore abstract pleas for help from those who are distant, such as a request for a charitable contribution that could save the life of a child overseas?

"We evolved in a world where people in trouble right in front of you existed, so our emotions were tuned to them, whereas we didn't face the other kind of situation," Greene said. "It is comforting to think your moral intuitions are reliable and you can trust them. But if my analysis is right, your intuitions are not trustworthy. Once you realize why you have the intuitions you have, it puts a burden on you" to think about morality differently.

Marc Hauser, another Harvard researcher, has used cleverly designed psychological experiments to study morality. He said his research has found that people all over the world process moral questions in the same way, suggesting that moral thinking is intrinsic to the human brain, rather than a product of culture. It may be useful to think about morality much like language, in that its basic features are hard-wired, Hauser said. Different cultures and religions build on that framework in much the way children in different cultures learn different languages using the same neural machinery.

Hauser said that if his theory is right, there should be aspects of morality that are automatic and unconscious -- just like language. People would reach moral conclusions in the same way they construct a sentence without having been trained in linguistics. Hauser said the idea could shed light on contradictions in common moral stances.

U.S. law, for example, distinguishes between a physician who removes a feeding tube from a terminally ill patient and a physician who administers a drug to kill the patient.

Hauser said the only difference is that the second scenario is more emotionally charged -- and therefore feels like a different moral problem, when it really is not: "In the end, the doctor's intent is to reduce suffering, and that is as true in active as in passive euthanasia, and either way the patient is dead."

Book Burning - Fahrenheit 451

KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) -- Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books.

His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.

So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.

"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit for burning.

Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply -- estimated at 20,000 books -- is exhausted.

"After slogging through the tens of thousands of books we've slogged through, and to accumulate that many and to have people turn you away when you take them somewhere, it's just kind of a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "And it's a good excuse for fun."

Wayne said he has seen fewer customers in recent years as people more often get their information from television or the Internet. He pointed to a 2002 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, that found that less than half of adult respondents reported reading for pleasure, down from almost 57 percent in 1982.

Kansas City has seen the number of used bookstores decline in recent years, and there are few independent bookstores left in town, said Will Leathem, a co-owner of Prospero's Books.

"There are segments of this city where you go to an estate sale and find five TVs and three books," Leathem said.

The idea of burning the books horrified Marcia Trayford, who paid $20 Sunday to carry away an armload of tomes on art, education and music.

"I've been trying to adopt as many books as I could," she said.

Dozens of other people took advantage of the book-burning, searching through the books waiting to go into the flames for last-minute bargains.

Mike Bechtel paid $10 for a stack of books, including an antique collection of children's literature, which he said he'd save for his 4-year-old son.

"I think, given the fact it is a protest of people not reading books, it's the best way to do it," Bechtel said. "(Wayne has) made the point that not reading a book is as good as burning it."

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a painful book to read if you're a bibliophile (that's booklover for you). Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper starts to burn. The book's plot recalls the censorship of the 1950s and the book burnings by Nazis in Germany. In recent times, we saw laughable versions of book burning by groups who opposed certain books (like The Da Vinci Code and Harry Potter series).

Reading the book scared me as a college student and made me appreciate books and the written word all the more. Not surprisingly, the only fire extinguisher at home can be found in my library. I have spent a fortune on insecticides and pest termination to protect the books from termites, but they just k-e-e-p o-n c-o-m-i-n-g. Being the only one in our subdivision with a functioning library, my home has become the favorite destination of these pesky white-butt ants whose tastebuds go for hardbound books but snub newsprint editions. The terminator told me: Sir, if you were a termite, wouldn't you prefer newly-cooked food over reheated leftovers?

I've had my share of book burning. I've cremated good books half-eaten therefore rendered useless by termites. In the process, I've incinerated millions of termites. I've cried while watching cherished books turn to ashes in the pyre.

When I saw the above news on TV, it gave me goosebumps and raised my hackles. What a waste of books and the knowledge they contain! I cheered up at the sight of the bibliophiles who rescued the books. Those books could have been put to good use in Third World countries such as ours. But I've been told by book donors about the prohibitive cost of transporting books. If only the billionaires and millionaires of the First World could spare some of their loose change to buy up all of those used books and ship them to countries who need them the most.

If only. . .