April 17, 2009

DReAM Children Update: Advocacy for public libraries resumes

The DReAM Children project (see related posts) is resuming the advocacy for public libraries and reader development. The project hit a speed bump late last year when one of its main partners abruptly and inexplicably pulled out of the partnership. One partner's folly, however, cannot (and should not) stifle a good advocacy. So, after almost 7 months of laying low while regrouping, reflecting and re-prospecting, volunteers and other partners have picked up the pieces and are now taking steps, small as they are, to continue an endeavor that can help turn the tide for literacy in this region.

Lately, advocates began touring public libraries (including barangay reading centers) hoping to get a grounded glimpse of the latter's status in the Soccsksargen region, and arm themselves with telling information to help push for compliance of Republic Act 7743 (mandating establishment and support for public libraries). The visit to public libraries is being led by Mindanao Librarian who is about to deliver a case paper on the DReAM Children project at the CONSAL XIV General Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam. The visit to two municipal public libraries so far have already provided inspiration for the rekindling of the advocacy.

These old and dilapidated books, found in one of Soccsksargen's
public libraries, represent how real and big the challenges are for
the mainstreaming of public libraries in the region

As I write this, partners in the community of Tampakan (CDIC, Municipal Library, and LGUs) are busying themselves preparing for a one-day Children's Summer Reading Festival which is set to happen late May 2009.

Other than this, advocates have sought audience with the South Cotabato Sangguniang Panlalawigan Education Committee chair Atty. Rene B. Jumilla in early May for an exploratory discussion about mainstreaming the public libraries in the province.

Elsewhere in the country, good stories [Iriga (more photos here), Cebu] have continued to come out, proving once again that a public library is still among the best options a community can have if it wants to free itself from the bondage of ignorance.

It is the hope and goal of the advocates who are behind DReAM Children that a similar good story will eventually come out from among the local communities of Soccsksargen.

April 12, 2009

Pooh-K is coming to town!

When is Pooh coming to town? April 19th! And I don't mean Pooh, the lovable bear of children's fare, but our very own Pacman's alter ego -- (say it with a booming voice ala Michael Buffer) Mannnnny... Poooooh-kyaw!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, damas y caballeros, men and women of all ages, people of General Santos and neighboring towns, get ready to... laugh til you drop!

Pooh and the equally talented and hilarious K Brosas are coming and, in tandem, will be bringing with them to town what is arguably this generation's best standup comedy!

In a show fittingly titled, yes you read it right, LAUGH TIL U DROP! Pooh & K will treat everyone with the same if not more riotous homegrown wits, skits and humor that have made the two pack places in Metro Manila like Punchline, Laffline, Metro Bar, and The Library everytime.

This is going to happen at the Lagao Gymnasium in General Santos City this coming April 19th beginning 8:30 p.m.

So don't wait for the rains, go get a front row seat now! or any of the following tickets by contacting 0920-207 8888 or 0905-822 2220 or call the Gensan City Mayor's Office at (083) 554-4214 and look for Haydee:

  • Platinum - Php 600 (reserve seats, court area)
  • Gold - P400 (Free seating, court area)
  • Silver - P250 (free seating, lower bleacher, black seats)
  • Bronze - P150 (free seating, upper bleacher)

You may also visit Bariles' www.gensantos.com for more info and update.

April 8, 2009

My first plurkfiesta; Orange Bistro in Gensan

About two weeks ago, I had the rare chance of meeting up with the fabulous bloggers of Gensan. I say rare because it counts as my first eyeball with the group after the successful 2nd Mindanao Bloggers Summit in October of last year during which I saw for the first-time a co-blogger in the flesh.

The Gensan bloggers have been holding meet-ups called "plurkfiestas" in different (mostly food) venues in General Santos City. (A Plurkfiesta is so called because most of the attendees are themselves plurkers or have signed-up to the social networking site plurk.com). Gensan's Bariles, Kuya Avel Manansala has always made it a point to invite me to every plurkfiesta and I have always tried to find the perfect timing. It has not been easy finding the chance; I may be a true blue General but I now reside an hour away in Koronadal. There should be two or more agenda for a visit to Gensan to proceed; that's a carbon footprint-lessening policy I now try (take note, try) to impose on myself and my household... [canned applause!]

I finally was able to catch-up with the plurkers during their sortie at the Orange Bistro in Lagao, General Santos City, the afternoon of March 28. There were Ikang, Gheltac, Jes, Tanchi, Sheng and Kyawster, Rammyboi, Cindy, Sir Gilbert, Sir Hecky, Iceah, my MSU-High classmate Jinky, and the invaluable kuya of bloggers from this part of the world Avel Manansala. It was not hard to make out the faces (and match them with their screennames at least) as these plurkers own blogs that I happen to visit every now and then; though it somehow felt kind of funny introducing myself to people who I already call friends in the blogosphere. Later came Tammy, Rosilie and Arnel and reigning Miss Gensan Ivy Cunanan who is vying for the Reyna ng Aliwan title in the upcoming Aliwan Fiesta 2009 Battle of Philippine festivals. I apologize now if I have missed out on anyone.

It was my first plurkfiesta; and when Orange Bistro began dishing out the food that afternoon, not only did I realize what I've been missing. I also realized I made a very big mistake of eating late lunch before coming over to the venue. It was literally a fiesta! And I could only nibble on the nachos and chicharong bulaklak!

(photos courtesy of Tanchi)

Orange Bistro is one perfect venue to hold a plurkfiesta, or anyone's dining date for that matter. It has good food of a wide variety; provides choices of ambience (e.g. indoor, outdoor, and closed venues) to suit a diner's preference; offers services that cater to a range of dining needs - from the simple and intimate to the more elaborate group events; has among the most polite and hospitable service crew in town; and most of all, a very important thing for bloggers/plurkers, it has Wi-Fi!

For those Generals who have been away for some time now, this Orange Bistro is the very same Teng family-owned cafe which used to occupy a smaller place along Pioneer Avenue. It has since moved to its current and substantially larger location along J. Catolico Sr. Ave (Lagao Road) at the corner of Geronimo Street in Lagao. The restaurant can be reached through +63 (083) 3010992 or +63 (083) 3015555 for inquiries and special arrangements.

The plurkfiesta at Orange Bistro was made extra special by the presence of Davao-based IT consultant and blogger Blogie Robillo. Blogie is among the primemovers of the group Mindanao Bloggers, and is a leading advocate of responsible blogging for/of Mindanao.

The meetup was a relatively short one for me, as I had to proceed to the second item on my agenda in visiting Gensan; but it was nonetheless a discovery experience that is going to make me strive more to be able to join more plurkfiestas in the future.

The next time, I will starve myself half a day prior.