September 17, 2008

Books!Books!Books! Uso pa ba?

I was at the 29th Manila International Book Fair over the last weekend as part of my continuing networking activities for the DReAM Children* project. The trip was paid for by Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) a major project partner.

Every once in a while, I get confronted by people (of all ages, gender, income, profession and culture) with the eerie question "Uso pa ba ang mga libro?". This mostly happens when I get to present the concept of the DReAM Children as a project that intends to facilitate putting-up public libraries by helping the latter get books and reading resources from local and foreign sources.

The following are some images taken during my 2-day visit to the MIBF exhibit at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. These will undoubtedly answer the question and hopefully will put it to rest.

Scenes of MIBF 2008

The SMX main lobby just outside the main entrances to the exhibit

Could have been a single title

Dream, child, dream...

Storybooks from Indonesia and Malaysia

Materials from China and Singapore

Know what's right...

... and what are not.

Among the crowd-favorites

Fair Warnings

Beautiful friendly reminder

I peeked inside to see if there were K-F-R people or some dirty old white male joining in the meeting... Thank God, there were none :)

Meeting People

During the two-day swim and dip into the 10,000 sq. meter-pool that is the MIBF exhibit, I got to meet publishers, booksellers, writers, book and reading advocates, and friends.

Ms. Shiela A. Barcelona of IBC Infotech. A good source of highly-illustrated kid's books in Math, English and Science.

Mr. Rey Ignes of A-Z Direct Marketing. He has Reader's Digest, Catholic Digest, Discovery Channel Magazine, National Geographic/NG Kids, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Forbes, Financial Times, FE Economic Review, etc. Among his best deals is TIME Magazine at P51.00/copy for a 1-year subscription.

Ms. Jeanne Fontelera of REX Publishing which brings to the Philippines California's Teacher Created Materials (TCM) through the program Building Fluency through Reader's Theater!

[ That's free advertisement for you, guys! :) ]

Among the most fruitful, albeit brief, encounters I had during the MIBF were those with reading and literacy advocate Ms. Zarah Grace Gagatiga; and Ms. Lily Pahilanga of the National Book Development Board.

After a very avid and animated chat with Ms. Pahilanga at the NBDB booth, I and NBDB's executive director Atty. Ma. Andrea Pasion-Flores were able to talk over the phone and further discussed areas of partnership between DReAM Children and NBDB. Voila! Prospects are bright for a tie-up for some major training activity/ies before the year ends.

Ms. Zarah's immediate smiling assessment of DReAM Children: "Wow, ambitious kayo, ha?" But readily pledged support to the reader development initiative. Ms. Zarah is the librarians' sector representative to the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY).

At the UP PRESS Booth

L-R: DReAM volunteer Fraulein Oclarit [herself networking for her Community Resource Center (CRC) project], me, Ms. Zarah Gagatiga, and doctor-writer Luis Gatmaitan. Dr. Gatmaitan sits at the PBBY as the writers' sector representative.

Eli R. Guieb III -- multi-awarded writer, filmmaker, development worker, biker, mountaineer, and friend -- signs off my copy of PAMILYA: Mga Katha [an anthology about contemporary Filipino families and relationships].

Me and my PAMILYA; Eli Guieb and his.

And a big (literally) surprise: Koronadal's own, Mr. Bien Manzares.

Yes, uso pa ang mga libro!... and they are here to stay.

*DReAM Children is Democratizing Reading Among Mindanaoan Children. It is a partnership-driven reader development project which aims to help build libraries, school-based learning resource centers, and community reading centers within the KITACO (Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio) and adjacent regions. Its current partners are the Department of Education, the Local Governments (Municipal and Barangay), Sagittarius Mines, Inc., and a host of other local professional, academic and socio-civic organizations and individuals.

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