Binabasa pa rin sa mga bata ang "Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna!"

[Natutuwa ako na binabasa pa rin sa mga bata ang Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna! kahit matagal na itong out-of-print. Maliban sa article sa ibaba, nakatanggap din ako ng royalty mula sa Anvil dahil isinama pala nila ang kuwento ko sa textbook nilang Our World of Reading--at nakakagulat ang halaga ng royalty na natanggap ko ngayong taon, lalo pa kung iisiping contributor lang ako at isa lang ang kuwento ko sa maraming iba pang laman ng libro. Anyway, ang mabuti'y nababasa pa rin nga ang kuwento, pitong taon matapos ko itong masulat noong 2001.]


Ateneo star a hit with street kids

By Schatzi Quodala, Lawrence de Guzman
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:09:00 12/17/2008
Filed Under: Good news, Celebrities, Personalities, Children, Literature, Education

MANILA, Philippines—A trade cooperative decided to forgo its Christmas party, while a five-star hotel modified its usual offering of Yuletide events—all to become part of an advocacy to share the gift of reading among the young.

The results were two special Inquirer Read-Along sessions held over the weekend. The first catered to an audience of mostly street kids in Makati City, the other gathered children in a Pasay City hotel.

Ateneo de Manila Univerity basketball star and TV host Chris Tiu led a reading session at a neighborhood music bar in Barangay Tejeros in Makati for some 70 kids, including vagrants, on Saturday, Dec. 13.

This was followed on Sunday by another session featuring Pinoy Dream Academy scholar and singer Miguel Mendoza at Heritage Hotel Manila in Pasay. The reading was incorporated in the traditional Christmas party hosted by Heritage for some 30 child guests.

Joining Tiu also as storytellers were 11-year-old Jullie Rose Ursal and Inquirer employee Grig Montegrande. The Tejeros session was hosted by the Makati-based Southern Rice Retailers Multipurpose Cooperative (SRRMC), which decided not to hold a Christmas party this year and organized a read-along session instead.

Saturday’s stories promoted values such as love for family, perseverance and patience.

Tiu read “Ang Mahiwagang Biyulin” from the classic anthology “Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang ni Severino Reyes” as retold by Christine Bellen. The book was published by Anvil. (See video at

Mobbed by fans

Tiu’s supposed inexperience as a storyteller didn’t show. The sports celebrity maintained focus during the reading—but this was after being mobbed upon arrival by his young screaming fans.

“It was very fulfilling. The children were very attentive. It felt good that somehow I was able to share the importance of reading to the children. Education is my advocacy, and literacy is the key to learning,” said Tiu, a councilor of Barangay Urdaneta, also in Makati, in charge of educational and cultural projects.

A management engineering graduate from Ateneo de Manila, Tiu was captain of the Ateneo Blue Eagles basketball team that captured this year’s University Athletic Association of the Philippines basketball crown. Alongside boxing idol Manny Pacquiao, Tiu currently hosts the TV shows “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” and “Pinoy Records.”

“I plan to create a foundation that will address problems of the youth, but it is not feasible at the moment. Instead, I try to have tie-ups with already established organizations and programs like the Inquirer Read-Along,” he said.

In the same session, Ursal showed why she was named division champion in the recent “Big Kuya/Big Ate Storytelling Contest” in Pasig, where she bested over 30 competitors. Ursal read an Adarna publication, “Uuwi na ang Nanay Kong si Darna,” by Edgar Samar.

Rice as blessing

Ursal’s performance, complete with a song-and-dance routine, was an instant hit among the children, some of whom were even older than her.

Montegrande read the story “Popong Eats His Rice,” about a boy who comes to realize how much hard work goes into the planting and preparation of the rice that he eats. Written by Chat Garrido-Ocampo, the story captured the theme set by the SRRMC about appreciating the blessings or “biyaya” that one receives.

Montegrande, a sales office assistant in the Inquirer’s Classified Ads section, came to the session with wife Tsai and their 2-year-old daughter Sophia. A former Alitaptap storyteller, he has been active in reading sessions for underprivileged children.

“We wanted the children to experience the joy of reading. Reading is the key to education,” SRRMC chair Edita Queras said.

“The SRRMC decided that the read-along is the best gift we can give the children this Christmas. Hopefully, the children will be able to draw inspiration from the readers and learn to love reading,” said Bro. Hansel Mapayo of the Society of St. Paul, which works with SRRMC.

Kids hard to please

The Dec. 13 session was hosted by Junior Inquirer writer Ruth Navarra and held in cooperation with the Department of Education’s Library Hub project (covering Pasig and San Juan). The children also received books, snacks and other gifts donated by Anvil, Barangay Urdaneta and Hapee Toothpaste.

At Heritage, Mendoza read “The Wonderful Story of Christmas,” a children’s book written by Matthieu de Laubier and also published by Adarna. It was his second time to take part in Inquirer Read-Along.

“Kids are very hard to please and their attention span is short. And so storytelling is very demanding and, therefore, very fulfilling” said Mendoza, a La Salle student.

Mendoza also shared tips on how to protect the environment, which were further demonstrated to the children through puppetry. The puppeteers were composed of staff members of the US Department of Energy’s Sustainable Energy Development Program, a cosponsor of the session.

Back to basics

“We incorporated the read-along session in our children’s Christmas party because we want children to go back to the basics,” said Romina Gervacio of Heritage Hotel’s marketing communications department. “We want them to rediscover the joy of reading because most of them are into video games.”

“It was fun!” six-year-old Ronald Castillo said of the session. “I learned many things. I also like the colorful puppets.”

The session was held at the hotel’s Riviera CafĂ© and hosted by Megi Garcia of Inquirer Corporate Affairs.

It capped a series of six read-along sessions that ran from Dec. 11 to 15. The earlier sessions were held in Baguio City, Laguna, and again in Makati, with Kris Aquino, Bodjie Pascua, Kristelle Lazaro, Inquirer president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Tessa Prieto-Valdes and Kidlat Tahimik as guest readers. (See video of Aquino and Pascua at

Inquirer Read-Along was launched in May 2007 by the Inquirer’s Research department, Library and the Junior Inquirer. The project received an award of excellence last month from the prestigious Philippine Quill, an honor given by the International Association of Business Communicators.