Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Finding bookworm-friends on ebay.ph Part 1

Delphine828, a bookseller on ebay.ph, who is now my friend, was quite intrigued with the bids I placed for some of her books for sale. You see, the books I chose to bid on were among those she liked. Seeing her books on sale dwindling down to a few because quite a number of it she already shipped to me, she got "curioser and curioser" about me. Here is part of her email to me:

Because you chose the books that you chose (which are those that I also like but had to let go) I could not help but google your name and chanced upon your most interesting blog, KnowRead / Knowrite. Very entertaining and somewhat rivetting that I did not realize it was already 3 a.m. Thank you and thank you again for choosing the books you chose. Now I know that my books (now yours) will be truly loved.

Well, Delphine828, what can I say since you already said it so eloquently? Your books richly deserve to be called "pre-loved" instead of "pre-owned." It is indeed my honor and privilege to be the new parent of books I have "adopted" from you. When I open my private reading/research for business a few years from now, your story will be among those I will never tire of telling the readers, young and old, whom I hope will be coming in to peruse many of "our" books on the shelves.

Name this blog contest

Ed Arevalo, a new blogger-friend, left a message in my shoutbox about a contest in naming his blog on music. Click here for the contest rules and prizes. Ed's blog offerings center on music, but also tackle other topics worth reading: food, economics, environment and telecoms.

Well, Ed, here are my suggestions for your blogname:
  • TunOgista (tunog+blogista)
  • Himigista (himig+blogista)
  • BlogSik! (blog+music)
  • Tunog Blog
For the tagline, I say: Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finding a book trove on ebay.ph

During the last quarter of 2007, I discovered a book trove on ebay.ph. Exasperated by the unfriendly online selling done by the better-known bookstores (imagine one bookstore requiring an online buyer to buy a Globe simcard to make a Gcash payment from a Globe cellphone when one can easily send a Gcash payment through one of its centers. Others would not accept online orders that can't be charged to a credit card.PERIOD.), it was a blessing in disguise to find ebay.ph. With no credit/debit card and only hard-earned cash on hand, I plunged into bidding for the books I've been searching for so long.

Thanks to these wonderful ebay.ph book sellers my library collection has been greatly enhanced: alana.md, baruchaba, bookends_ph, cthulhu2007, delphine828, rolf7285, and shoshoink2. Many of them have become my friends online because of their personalized accommodating selling. Payments can be made through Gcash, Smartmoney, or deposits to the seller's bank account. The books can be sent through Air21, LBC, DHL or 2Go. There are some "lazy" sellers though who refuse to ship and are content with meet-ups within Metro Manila (Hellooooo? I'm from Gensan. Why would I spend P6 thousand in roundtrip airfare for a meet-up to pay for a book?)

If you want to order books from ebay.ph, make sure to read the info details for the condition of the book (brand new, used, pre-owned, pocketbook, trade paperback, hardbound), bid amount, bid period, payment methods accepted and shipping. Also, make sure the seller has a high rating (95-100).

Going to bed with books

Yes, I do go to bed with books! I'm a bibliophile, that's why! :)

The books that keep me awake most nights since the start of 2008 are:
  • Personal and Impersonal by the recently-departed Rene Villanueva
  • DC Comics - A celebration of the world's favorite comic book heroes by Les Daniels
  • Aphrodite - A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende
  • The Courage to Teach - Exploring the innder landscape of a teacher's life by Parker Palmer
  • and a trio of books edited by Lena Lencek and Gideon Bosker: The Beach - The history of paradise on earth, Beach - Stories by the sand and sea, and Escape - Stories of getting away.

Let me count the ways... reading tips

Let me count the ways ... reading tips
By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:39:00 01/19/2008

The rallying cry of the eight-year old Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation (SAS), as it pursues its dream of building a nation of readers, does seem an ambitious goal when one considers the limitations of the present public school system.

To endeavor to promote the love and habit of reading among students from schools where libraries and librarians are luxury “items,” or even nonexistent because of limited budgets, may appear detached from reality. Yes, just like Sisyphus in Greek mythology and his eternal curse that condemned him to roll a huge boulder up a hill only to see it come down again each time.

Even as we in SAS are somewhat encouraged that, from 1999 to the present, our 31-day Reading Program for Grade 4 students has reached over 500 schools and directly benefited over 150,000 students, we know what little impact this has had on the entire public school system.

But this is all too familiar. Do we just continue to lament about all the ills we see (What is not going right in public schools? Let me count the ways…) and not do something concrete and positive, even if that “something” is admittedly a drop in a bottomless bucket?

It is far easier to throw up our arms and give up, but something tells us that we should not choose such a cowardly way out.

Miguel Santos, a letter sender, made a disturbing comment. He sees himself as an avid reader, but he says no amount of reading campaigns will instill the reading habit in students, and book donations will go nowhere because they will only end up in secondhand outlets.

While I empathize with his disenchantment, I find it difficult to leave such complaints at that level. Let us refocus on reading and the many little things teachers can do to encourage the habit. Here are some of those things (read: tips); many of them come from celebrity readers. Teachers weary of “reading theories” will find these tips refreshing and helpful for these remaining three months of the school year.

1. Build up confidence in students. Boy Abunda credits his rags-to-riches story to his mother, a public school teacher of 43 years who led him to his passion for reading.

2. Reading of fairy tales is important to children because it prepares them for the realities of life. Dr. Marjorie Evasco, poet and literature professor of the De La Salle University, also recommends a poem a day and reading a book a week.

3. Children should be given the chance to learn about their society and their country. Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, National Artist for Literature and Ramon Magsaysay Award recipient, says books promote love of country.

4. With good storytelling, children get hooked on reading and the world of books. Bodgie Pascua, veteran actor, reminds teachers of their special responsibility to make books come alive in their classrooms.

5. Encourage kids to read. The art of reading is fading fast as kids get distracted with iPods, the Internet and TV. Fr. Johnny Go, director of Xavier School, says the keen competition with media can be overcome.

6. Inspire! Children derive their inspiration from great teachers. Broadcast journalist Karen Davila reawakens in teachers their ability to make their students reach out for the stars.

7. Books let us see the world and ourselves in a different light. We become a better person through reading. Sociologist and columnist Randy David emphasizes the seemingly obvious and yet little known.

8. You can only shape people by the way you were shaped. You cannot teach kids the love of reading if you yourself don’t have it in you. Onofre “Mr. Pagsi” Pagsanghan, well-loved Ateneo High School teacher and drama mentor, stresses the basic.

9. Employ classroom dramatics in teaching reading. Your body is your best visual aid. Dr. Ricardo Abad, professor and actor, has even used an umbrella and a ladies’ handbag while teaching -- precisely to attract class attention.

10. How can we encourage our students to read when we ourselves do not read? Dr. Paraluman Giron, regional director of the Department of Education’s Mimaropa region (comprising the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) and educator for over five decades, asks this basic question.

11. Read for its own sake -- it makes minds supple and is the best way to learn to use and manipulate language. Butch Dalisay, writer and professor, recommends a reading edition of popular entertainment shows.

12. Museum visits can be a stepping stone to reading. John Silva, writer and museum curator, strongly recommends field trips to museums rather than to TV shows.

To promote museum consciousness, Museo Pambata is hosting the first Asian Children’s Museum Conference on Feb. 23-26 at the Manila Hotel with the theme, “Children’s Museums as Bridges of Peace.” There will be a special session on books and storytelling. For more details visit the conference website www.museopambata.org/acmc or call Nina Lim Yuson at +632 4007558.

Neni Sta. Romana Cruz is a member of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People and a trustee of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation. Email comments to nenisrc@gmail.com.

Copyright 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Book: Romeo & Juliet by Shakespeare based on the film

Yes, you read it right! That's one item up for sale at the Ebay Philippines website. :)

No, this is not a discussion of the "what came first - the chicken or the egg?" kind.

Yes, many books have been made into films. Some books are difficult to translate into the screen; just ask Stephen King how he feels about his books being made into films. Some books like those of Michael Crichton and John Grisham are so cinematic, scriptwriters can do them with their eyes close. These are the books on which the films are based.

Yes, many films, specially the top grossing ones, were also novelized after they were shown in cinemas and their DVD and VHS versions are put on sale. These books were written based on the films.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Non-readers benefit from library hub

Non-readers benefit from library hub
By Ma. Cecilia Rodriguez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:21:00 01/13/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- With the quality of education in the country in dismal state, it is always a welcome sight to see local school authorities relying on their resourcefulness to improve the way their students learn.

In Cagayan de Oro City, a library hub that houses almost 50,000 books was built to reduce the non-readers among public elementary school pupils all over Misamis Oriental.

But officials said putting up the library hub was not easy even though half of the funds were already provided by the Department of Education and private donors provided the other half.

Parents and teachers of Cugman Elementary School have adopted the library hub and aimed to develop it as a wide source of primary books opened to all public school teachers and pupils in the province.

“The library hub is not your regular library. It is actually a warehouse of all reading materials that pupils can bring to their classrooms and even take home,” said librarian Corazon Pates.

“It is only a medium-sized library hub. There are bigger library hubs that can house more than 100,000 books. We expect more books to be donated so maybe after three years we can expand this building,” she added.

A one-story building with three classrooms had been renovated to give space to the dozens of shelves where the books are stacked in rows. Although not air-conditioned, the library hub looks like a commercial children’s bookstore.

Aside from textbooks, various reference materials are also available in the hub, including imported books for beginning readers, science and mathematics books.

There’s also a variety of fairy tale books with colorful pictures that lure young readers to the hub.

Grade 6 pupil Vincent Borres said he only discovered it was fun to read when he was in Grade 5.

“Since last year when the library hub was built, I always borrow books that I take home and read with my parents,” he said.

Among Vincent’s favorite books are ‘Ibong Adarna’ and ‘The Monkey and the Turtle,’ which he retells to his playmates.

“I love to read. We are thankful that we now have the library hub, we no longer need to buy the books we want to read,” Vincent said.

Kristin Ramos, 11, said her parents are happy whenever they see her reading.
“I learn a lot from reading, and the stories teach us good moral lessons,” she said.

Kristin then showed one of her favorite books, which has big, colorful pictures with an English-Tagalog translation. “I learned to speak good English because of these books,” she proudly said.

Teachers ask their pupils to submit a summary of the stories they read, library aide Maribel Octap explained.

“This way, the pupils learn to read and write in English. The translations in the book from English to Tagalog help them a lot to easily understand the story,” said Octap.

Children also learn responsibility in taking care of the books, she added.

“They use the books properly and they make sure everything they borrow is returned on time,” she said.

Pates said regular reading sessions for pupils in Cugman Elementary School has been the main factor of the school being able to post a 100-percent rise in reading rate.

“We are now No. 11 in the regional achievement test. Before the library hub was opened, we were way at the bottom,” she said.

School children in hinterland schools are encouraged to borrow the books from the hub.

Priority is given to schools where a higher number of non-readers are found, Pates said.

“Children in the rural barangays don’t get to read these kinds of quality books, unlike those in the city,” she said. Books can be borrowed for 20 days by the school principal or librarian. Pates said there’s no limit in the number of books that can be borrowed as long as the principal or the librarian gives assurance that these will be returned in good condition.

“We usually have a hard time transporting the books to the rural areas. It is really a sacrifice for the teachers who have to carry the books all the way to the schools, and they even have to shoulder the fare,” Pates said.

Villages with service vehicles sometimes offer to transport the books to the schools.

“We urge the teachers to get the support of local village officials so that books can be transported regularly and by the bulk,” Pates said.

Help from members of the community is always enjoined by school authorities to achieve their goal of raising literacy among the children according to Pates.

“Reading is the first step to functional literacy. Everyone, not only the teachers, but most importantly, the parents and the local officials, must do their share,” she said.

Dr. Wilfreda Famador, assistant chief of the elementary education department of DepEd in Northern Mindanao, said the library hub was actually conceived as an outreach project by the DepEd to minimize the number of non-readers among grade schoolers.

Of the hundreds of library hubs established around the country since June 2006, only 30—including the one in Cagayan de Oro City—have remained operational.

The thrust of the library hub project is to create a reading culture among children, Famador said.

“We encourage the principals to allow even the pre-school to use the books to expose them early to good reading behavior,” she said.

Famador, however, admitted that the DepEd does not have a budget to sustain these projects as all the department’s funds go to basic needs.

“We empower our principals to come up with ways to get the funding. We also seek the help of the private sector. Usually, the principals come up with a strategy, like soliciting books or utilizing the PTCA (Parents Teachers Community Association),” she said.

The strategy that Cugman Elementary School principal Dr. Arlan Paul Reyes has come up with yielded surprising results and became a model for other provinces.

Donations from parents and politicians alike poured in to finish the library hub.

Additional funds for plastic covers for the books were also solicited.

In June 2007, an extension project of the library hub was launched.

“We now conduct informal computer literacy training every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Some politicians donated computers, which we now utilize for the training. We have a teacher who volunteered to teach computers with only a measly allowance,” Pates said.

The computer literacy training is open to the community. “Our students are not just the elementary pupils, but their parents as well. We also have out-of-school youth who were all very thankful for the computer training,” she said.

Copyright 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Philippines - One country, Three New Years

The Philippines celebrates three New Years!

New Year's Day - January 1The most commonly-celebrated holiday at the start each year signifying new beginnings, hence New Year's resolutions are made to be kept/broken on this day. January was derived Janus, the two-faced Roman god of gates, doors, beginnings and endings. Interestingly, the word Janitor was also coined from this god's name.

Amon Jaded - January 9 (date varies depending on Islamic calendar)

More of a cultural, rather than a religious, event which Muslims in the country celebrate (also a National Holiday) on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar which also marks the Hijra or emigration Prophet Muhammad made to the city now known as Medina.

Chinese New Year - February 7 Year of the Earth Rat (date varies depending on Lunar calendar)February 7 marks the first day of the China Lunar calendar year of 4705. The Chinese calendar follows a 12-year cycle starting with the years of the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. This order was established by Buddha based on the arrivals of the said animals to the meeting he called. The Chinese New Year also marks the Spring Festival. Many Chinese customs, beliefs and superstitions (on fireworks, clothes, fruits/food) were adopted by Pinoys to celebrate the New Year on January 1.