Chair’s Corner

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer August 11, 2018 One knew the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) meant serious business in launching August as Buwan ng Wika when it invited cultural agencies to take part in its Monday flag-raising ceremony at the NCCA’s Teatro Leandro Locsin. It was more than ceremonial, because those continue reading : Taking pride in Filipino

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 28, 2018 For several years now, every time July comes to a close, I cannot help but think of President Cory Aquino with much gratitude and continuing admiration. She whom we lost on Aug. 1, 2009. I thought of her much earlier this year—even days before continue reading : Cory Aquino on my mind

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 21, 2018 In an ideal world where words and literature and books are seen as essential to survival, the announcement on National Children’s Book Day, Tuesday, July 17 at the CCP of the 2018 Best Reads would have been a major latebreaker. The selections came from continue reading : 9 new best reads for young readers

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 14, 2018 What’s there not to celebrate on the 35th National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) on July 17, the third Tuesday of the month? It is an amazing feat how a group of individuals fired with the mission of bringing books and Filipino children together has continue reading : ‘Sa Aklat, May Laya’

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 30, 2018 I made a sentimental visit to my parents’ hometown in Nueva Ecija this week, and though I was disheartened that it was no longer the Cabanatuan of my childhood summers of sago and gulaman, duhat from the trees, and the turkeys to be mercilessly continue reading : Lazaro Francisco, Cabanatuan’s pride

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 23, 2018 I was so pleased to read the Department of Education’s response to my column “The burden of a large DepEd budget,” which cited more recent statistics than my July 2017 figures obtained from them. Of course, there is every reason to celebrate the welcome continue reading : DepEd addresses underspending

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 16, 2018 Early this year, Omar Choa, a 32-year-old Filipino researcher scholar based in Paris, did the country proud as the first Filipino recipient of the Prix Leroi-Gourhan award for his work on the Tabon Cave in Palawan. The award, founded in 2008, was named after continue reading : An obsession with Tabon Cave

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 09, 2018 What is there not to celebrate about this year’s budget of P553.3 billion from the national government for the Department of Education, the highest budget allocation in all departments and agencies? Based on the General Appropriations Act of 2017, this budget for the government’s continue reading : The burden of a large DepEd budget

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 02, 2018 “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.”—Nelson Mandela (2003) “If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for ten years, plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years, educate children.”—Kuan Chung continue reading : Education’s promise: Are we there yet?

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 26, 2018 When the call for submissions to the National Book Development Board Trust Fund (NBDTF) was first made in 2011 and the succeeding years after, the specified topics were for science and technology, and local history and culture. Literature in a specified Philippine language on continue reading : Improving teaching resources in public schools

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 19, 2018 The National Book Development Trust Fund was established (Republic Act No. 9521) in 2009 through the efforts of my predecessor, Dr. Dennis T. Gonzalez, providing a wonderful opportunity for authors to explore and write on topics especially on science and technology and other disciplines continue reading : A call for supplementary materials

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 12, 2018 I had never heard of Mauban, a first-class municipality in Quezon, until I began researching on Horacio de la Costa, SJ, for a biography for children. Mauban was where he was born; his mother, Emiliana Villamayor, came from an old and landed Mauban family. continue reading : Mauban remembers Horacio de la Costa

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 05, 2018 My own personal celebration of National Literature Month was my rather belated discovery of the ambahan, Hanunuo Mangyan poetry, thanks to a coffee table book, “Bamboo Whispers: Poetry of the Mangyans,” published by the Mangyan Heritage Center (MHC) and The Bookmark, Inc. last year. continue reading : Listen to the bamboos whisper

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer April 28, 2018 Do you know the difference between a patent and a copyright and a registered trademark, often mistakenly lumped together as “patent”? What constitutes intellectual property rights? Is all the perceived “trouble” of registration worth it? What benefits do you derive from it? As this continue reading : Demystifying intellectual property

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer April 14, 2018 It stands to reason that a month devoted to Philippine literature would also be a time for a variety of new titles to be made available to readers—thus giving us many more reasons to celebrate and appreciate literature from authors near and far. The continue reading : April and its bounty of books

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer April 07, 2018 April, “Buwan ng Panitikan,” is full of activities to highlight and appreciate Philippine writing and to invite all of us to think, dream, and write literature. Note the emphasis this year (and in the years to come) on the richness of Philippine literature in continue reading : Fire of literature rages on

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer March 17, 2018 If students get report cards and progress reports at the end of the school year, how do schools similarly evaluate their programs? There is the well-regarded accreditation agency, the Philippine Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities, with its comprehensive school visits every five years, continue reading : What’s the impact of your school programs?

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer March 10, 2018 As another school year ends, the nonprofit enterprise Teach for the Philippines (TFP) celebrates its own 43 graduates, its 2016 cohort of teacher fellows who would be completing their two-year contract in assigned public schools all over the country. It needs to be pointed continue reading : Equal opportunity for excellent education

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer March 03, 2018 February is always a special month for St. Scholastica’s College (SSC) because the feast of its patron saint is on Feb. 10. Thus, the annual homecoming is also held on the Sunday closest to the feast—reason enough to throw the school into a frenzy continue reading : SSC and woman power

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer February 24, 2018 I confessed to my audience, Ateneo de Manila college students participating in Talakayang Alay sa Bayan (Talab) this week, that while I dreaded speaking to students knowing what a tough, critical audience they were, it was a compelling invitation from Glydelle Amon, president of continue reading : Why addressing students matter

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer February 17, 2018 How does one resist 2 million brand-new books for readers of all ages in a wide range of genres and all yours for the browsing (and hopefully, for the buying) at unbelievable 60-80-percent discounts in an uninterrupted record shopping time of 231 hours? The continue reading : Don’t miss the Big Bad Wolf

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer February 10, 2018 In the past few years the Ateneo de Naga University Press under the leadership of its director, Fr. Wilmer Joseph Tria, SJ, has been feverishly releasing titles in Bikol, not only to showcase the work of its homegrown writers but also to highlight classics continue reading : To think and write in our native tongues

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer February 03, 2018 It is obvious that beyond the usual trade and investment concerns, literature enjoys a high priority for Jaroslav Olša Jr., ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Philippines. In fact, we first met, not at a diplomatic reception, but at the National Book Development continue reading : Not your regular ambassador

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer January 27, 2018 Not to worry because it is the friendliest, book-loving Big Bad Wolf (BBW) coming to town with a mind-blowing event—a 24/7 book sale at the World Trade Center in Pasay City on Feb. 16-25. I first heard of the now legendary BBW from the continue reading : Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer January 20, 2018 It is always uplifting to read about Filipinos who excel in their professions—and make a difference in other people’s lives—despite difficult circumstances. Consider Metrobank Foundation’s Outstanding Filipinos named in 2017. Jennifer M. Rojo, a teacher at Neogan Elementary School in Tagaytay, has always wanted continue reading : Going beyond excellence

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer January 13, 2018 One immediately sensed the friendly atmosphere while entering the 1949 structure on Roxas Boulevard that was formerly the Elks Club building and for 17 years now the Museo Pambata. The people at the entrance were welcoming, even offering to let me in for free continue reading : No ‘do not touch’ signs in Museo Pambata

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer January 06, 2018 With all the hype about the opening of the Mexican chain KidZania Manila at the BGC in Taguig, it had to be the next destination (after Fun Farm in Laguna) with our grandchildren visiting from the United States. It was not easy buying tickets continue reading : Manila’s fun but pricey attractions for kids

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer December 30, 2017 When our US-based Fil-Am grandchildren — Diego, 7, Emilio, 3, and Juliana, 2 — were in Manila for a brief visit in October, we wanted them immersed in Philippine culture. Their parents Tanya and Edmund have always been in full support of this idea; continue reading : Old-fashioned child’s play @Fun Farm

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer December 23, 2017 When the National Book Development Board (NBDB) is invited to participate in international book fairs—aside from the Frankfurt Book Fair which in the last three years our budget has allowed us to attend—we are always enthusiastic about making a presence to show the world continue reading : A Mindanao publisher shows the way

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer December 09, 2017 To complement last week’s list of award-winning books recently honored at the National Book Awards ceremonies, I am pleased to present more titles highly recommended by Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, an esteemed writer and professor whose opinion I value. I am more than happy to be continue reading : ‘Tis the season for reading, giving

  • Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer December 02, 2017 Why not local titles for Christmas presents? Tonight at 6 p.m., the best books published in 2016 will be awarded by the Manila Critics Circle (MCC) and the National Book Development Board (NBDB) at the National Museum auditorium for the 36th year. Consider it the continue reading : Award-winning PH titles to enjoy, give away

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer November 25, 2017 As the Philippine Book Development/National Reading Month of November comes to a close, it is reassuring that it is not ending with a whimper. In 2012, Nov. 27 was designated as “Araw ng Pagbasa,” another day to highlight reading in classrooms. It also happens continue reading : Never too late to discover joy of reading

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz – Philippine Daily Inquirer November 18, 2017 The Galing Pook Foundation and the Department of the Interior and Local Government announced last month the 10 local government units whose innovative practices in governance were judged to be exceptional and worthy of emulation. The yearly GP awards have always been of continue reading : A library-museum in Sual, Pangasinan

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer November 11, 2017 Whenever I lament the absence of public libraries in our lives, I am always offered statistics to prove that, yes, they do exist, and that in fact some have been recognized as model libraries. But what is the library that I am in search continue reading : The Book Stop: a pop-up library for all

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer November 04, 2017 When did you last read a book by a Filipino author? Would you be able to name at least five titles by Filipino authors? As we endeavor to introduce our literature beyond our shores, we realize how little-known Philippine writing is even within our continue reading : Time to read books by Filipino authors

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer October 28, 2017 Frankfurt Book Fair—In the course of many conversations with our Asean neighbors, geographically on the map and also in the International Publishers Hall where our country stands were located, one issue of mutual concern that surfaced was: Why were we not engaged in sharing continue reading : ‘The First Five’: marking Asean’s 50th year

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer October 21, 2017 The Frankfurter Buchmesse (FB), or Frankfurt Book Fair, has just ended and most of the members of the Philippine delegation have returned home. But we know too well that more challenging work lies ahead for the Philippine publishing industry in its efforts to be continue reading : Assessing PH presence in Frankfurt

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer October 14, 2017 Frankfurt—The opening ceremony program of the Frankfurt Book Fair is always impressive, with the featured guest of honor (GOH) country providing a glimpse of its literary culture, accompanied by an entourage of its most prominent citizens. It is always a gala event, and admission continue reading : When governments support writers

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer October 07, 2017 The Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), the most important event in the publishing world, will take place on Oct. 11-15. It is considered the world’s largest in terms of the number of publishing companies represented and the number of visitors. The first three days are continue reading : Making our presence in Frankfurt

  • For me, National Teachers Month this year—Sept. 5-Oct. 5—began with an invitation from the Rotary Clubs of Alabang, Alabang Centerpoint, Parañaque BF Homes, and Parañaque Sun Valley Sunrise to highlight the Basic Education and Literacy Month on the Rotary International calendar. I was more than willing to get on my literacy soapbox, I had told continue reading : ‘If you can read this, thank a teacher’

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer September 23, 2017 In the early-morning hours 45 years ago today, Ferdinand Marcos’ Presidential Decree 1081 declaring martial law two days earlier went into effect. The first arrests of the principal opposition figures were made, and topping the list of the “enemies of the state” were two continue reading : ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno’s spirit lives

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer September 16, 2017 The ongoing 38th Manila International Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center is happily drawing the usual large crowd of book buyers and school groups—newsworthy in itself. But consider this a sign of the times: My current favorite children’s book will not be available continue reading : Kian, forever 17

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer September 09, 2017 What an uplifting experience it was to witness the conferment of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards on the 2017 laureates. (Why, one even forgot how hard it was to get to the Cultural Center of the Philippines.) The palpable spirit of renewed hope and confidence continue reading : Peta continues to transform lives

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer September 02, 2017 What was the buzz at Raffles hotel in Makati last week that it drew such a large crowd? Who says Filipinos no longer read when the main attraction was books and authors at the 4th Philippine Readers and Writers Festival organized by the National continue reading : Finally, authors as celebrities

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer August 26, 2017 Anyone aware of the school calendar knows that the month of August is marked in schools at all levels as Buwan ng Wikang Pambansa—expanded from the Linggo ng Wika declared by Presidential Decree 1041 of then President Fidel V. Ramos on Jan. 15, 1997. continue reading : It’s Filipino, not Tagalog or Pilipino

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer August 19, 2017 When Cory Aquino was buying a memorial plot for her husband, she did not care for the private and secluded areas where the mausoleums of the elite were, saying even then that Ninoy had to be where people could easily visit. Thus, every commemoration continue reading : Ninoy Aquino on my mind

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer August 12, 2017 Hawaii-born Lily Prijoles remembers that when she was growing up, she learned Filipino from her maternal grandmother Felisha Medina Marquez, who could speak English but deliberately spoke in her native tongue to make sure Lily learned the language. Felisha told Lily stories, taught her continue reading : Helping Fil-Ams discover themselves

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 08, 2017 As America was celebrating the 4th of July, I as a temporary visitor was recalling with much pride the recent Philippine Independence Day events of which I was happy to be a part, thanks to the Ayala Museum’s well-planned June-July calendar. Consider that my continue reading : Julio Nakpil, composer and Katipunero

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 29, 2017 Whenever the month of August nears, I am reminded of how significant a month it is for the Aquino family, with former president Cory Aquino passing on Aug. 1 (2009) and her husband, the former senator Ninoy Aquino, assassinated on Aug. 21 (1983). I continue reading : August, Cory and Ninoy

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 22, 2017 Happily, the celebration of National Children’s Book Day does not begin or end on the third Tuesday of July. It certainly merits more than a mid-morning ceremonial gathering of officials and guests of honor in Manila. President Duterte’s daughter Kitty was a storyteller at continue reading : To enrich children’s lives with books

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 15, 2017 What’s the big fuss about the moveable feast that is the third Tuesday of July? It commemorates the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” in 1885 in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London, a magazine devoted to literature from continue reading : Much to celebrate on 3rd Tuesday of July

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer July 01, 2017 It was with a special sense of pride that I welcomed the news of the release of Bookmark’s Women of Science series, a 10-book collection for children written by Didith T. Rodrigo. It was refreshing to see informational books that present science to young continue reading : From research to popular books

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 17, 2017 Whoever thought science could be this fun, this cool? A community shudders when extreme weather conditions end in disaster. How do you study the 70 kinds of bats in our midst when they only appear at night? Caves are always exciting destinations to explore, continue reading : Meet 10 cool women scientists

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz June 03, 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer What would have been just another class reunion in Pangasinan turned out to be a trip beyond expectations. We knew that our college classmate and host, Belle Ventenilla Arcinue, was keenly interested in local history and culture, but not to the extent of her continue reading : Valuing heritage in our midst

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer May 20, 2017 Gloria F. Rodriguez is a name always associated with the Philippine publishing industry, specifically New Day Publishers and Giraffe Books. I could not help but smile at the timing of her passing: in the month of April, which is mandated by presidential decree as continue reading : A gentlewoman of letters

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz May 6, 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer I did not have the good fortune of meeting the Jesuit icon Horacio V. de la Costa (HVDLC), much less sitting in his legendary history classes at Ateneo de Manila. But all was not lost because there surfaced the rare opportunity of getting to continue reading : Honoring Horacio V. de la Costa, SJ

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz April 22, 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer At the special morning ceremony to mark the 117th death anniversary of the revolutionary hero Emilio Jacinto, former detained activist and now Laguna Rep. Benjamin C. Agarao Jr. lamented how little we know of our Philippine heritage. This holds true, he said, especially concerning continue reading : Getting to know Emilio Jacinto

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 1 April 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer For the past three years, the month of April has come to stand for the celebration of Philippine literature in all Philippine languages, recognized and upheld as our precious cultural legacy. When National Artist Virgilio Almario, who chairs both the National Commission for Culture continue reading : Let literature in all our languages grow

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer March 18, 2017 What we thought would be a regular 2-day respite from the city, an out-of-town jaunt to Tagaytay and Lipa, turned out to be much more than a spillover of our college golden jubilee euphoria. From our Tagaytay base, Costiera Fermiliana on Ligaya Drive, where continue reading : A visit back in time

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz March 04, 2017 Along with nine classmates who decided to celebrate together 50 years from college, I have just returned from a trip to the old royal capital Luang Prabang in northern Laos—a true adventure in a place that initially lured us because it is said to be where time continue reading : All that Luang Prabang offers

  •     By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer February 18, 2017 Thankfully, many events are highlighting the month of history that February is and ought to be for every Filipino. Who can think of February without thinking of Edsa and People Power? Despite the disappointments about the nonrevolution that did not alter the continue reading : Lest we forget

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz February 04, 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer About two years ago, there was a news clip on British authors declining invitations to a literary festival because the organizers were deemed less than professional in not offering each an honorarium. The authors were asserting their right to be compensated for work, like continue reading : Balancing rights of authors and end users

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz January 21, 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer An ubiquitous nook in school campuses is the photocopying center usually found in libraries—a must for students and teachers. We have witnessed—nay, even experienced—how easily and efficiently entire books are copied, so faithfully from cover to cover that the reproductions could pass for originals. continue reading : Giving writers their due

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer January 07, 2017 I know too well the folly of drawing up a long list of New Year wishes, so let me focus on only one. This should be predictable considering my recurring refrain about the need for literacy at home, in the classroom, everywhere. Yes, just continue reading : A book in every student’s hand, please

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz December 24, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer Because the warm family memories of my childhood Christmases continue to see me through life’s challenging seasons, I ensure that my children though now young professionals and grandchildren, ages six, three and one and a half years, are similarly blessed. More than the presents continue reading : Of Christmases past and present

  • By: Neni Sta. Romana Cruz December 10, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer If we allow it, this time of the year can drive us to a mindless frenzy, lamentably so contrary to the season of peace and joy we know it must be. Aside from the travails of Metro Manila living and what appears to be continue reading : When all else fails, there are books

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer November 26, 2016 Yes, we lament the treachery that took place on Nov. 18, but should we wonder that a dictator’s life full of deceit and deception should include such a ghastly episode, complete with speculations on wax replica or human remains, casket size, and secret chamber? continue reading : The Marcos myth-making continues

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz November 12, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer Did we need a commendably coordinated Philippine Education Summit with an overflow crowd of 500 to be reminded of all that is wanting in our public school system? These issues are all too familiar: perennial classroom shortages; quality of textbooks insulting to our students; continue reading : Catching up with ourselves

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer October 29, 2016 The Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF, or Buchmesse) is behind us now, having ended six days ago. But what a specially significant event this year’s participation of the Philippines was, only the second consecutive year that its publishing industry managed to do so. Our Asean continue reading : What a difference gov’t subsidy makes

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz October 15, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer Just a few years ago, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) would never have dreamt of making a presence in the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF), the world’s largest, held in five separate large pavilions and one Agora (a la the ancient Greek city-states) that take continue reading : On to the world via Frankfurt

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 1 October 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer There was no better way to celebrate National Teachers Month than being in a public school classroom to teach for 50 minutes. It was the second time I had done so for Teach for the Philippines (TFP) Week, during which invited individuals serve as guest continue reading : Back to the classroom

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer September 17, 2016 Since 1995, the Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Sexual Abuse (CPTCSA), a nonprofit, nongovernment institution has been working toward a safe world for children free from sexual abuse and exploitation. Expatriate social worker Lois J. Engelbrecht and current executive director Zenaida continue reading : Not easy to teach or talk about

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 3 September 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer It was with special interest that I read the recent announcement of Asia Society’s 2016 roster of Asia 21, emerging young professionals from the Asia-Pacific representing the private, public and nonprofit sectors selected for “outstanding achievement, commitment to public service and a proven ability to continue reading : Bravo, Clarissa Delgado and TFP!

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 20 August 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer When, IN a previous column, I cited in passing the Kid’s Choice Awards as a unique feature of the National Children’s Book Awards/Best Reads, it was not intended to minimize the significance of the role of our child judges, all 10 of them, ages 7-14. continue reading : What to tell today’s youth?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 6 August 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer I BEGAN August wearing yellow in loving memory of Cory Aquino, a woman I was fortunate to know beyond her being the Philippines’ first woman president. And it is neither sheer fanaticism nor blind loyalty that drives me to remember her each time. Aug. 21, continue reading : A month of remembering and reading

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 23 July 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer The 33rd National Children’s Book Day festivities held last Tuesday at the lobby of the Cultural Center of the Philippines were more celebratory than usual because the traditional ceremonies included the announcement of the 4th National Children’s Book Awards (NCBAs). The biennial awards had been continue reading : Best reads for 2016

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 9 July 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer I AM winding up one of my regular tours of grandnanny duties in San Francisco. The demands and expectations are now more complex, having tripled with Diego, six; Emilio, two; and the year-old Juliana. Their parents, Edmund, a doctor at Kaiser, and my daughter Tanya, continue reading : Who’s afraid of technology?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz June 25, 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC has every reason to describe the opening of this school year as the best he and his team have ever experienced, judging from the reports received on the ground and through the Department of Education’s hotline. Not that continue reading : Education for All by 2030

  •   By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 11 June 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer To many, the byline of Christine S. Bellen, a professor at Ateneo de Manila University (Admu), may be associated with the “Lola Basyang” series, the subject of her master’s thesis and popularized as a children’s book series and adapted into ballet and a TV continue reading : Celebrating Rizal and plays that rock

  • In that terse statement, National Book Development Board (NBDB) deputy executive director Anna Katarina Rodriguez summed up an important facet of literacy in the country today. Cleverly using the Filipino word “mahal,” one familiar to some of our Asean neighbors, she highlighted its two important meanings: “expensive” and “beloved.” Rodriguez was a panelist in a continue reading : It’s expensive to love books

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz 14 May 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer How could I sit through two recent library-related events without being anguished, thinking of two government directives significant to literacy but, from all indications, ignored and forgotten today? These directives are then Education Undersecretary Isagani R. Cruz’s memo (Department of Education Memo 34 s. 2001) continue reading : A tale of two libraries

  • APRIL 23 was a particularly significant literary milestone because it marked the 400th death anniversary of two illustrious names in world literature: William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes, who coincidentally died on the same day. The tradition of Día del Libro has its origin in Barcelona, Spain, that has men and women exchanging roses and continue reading : A day of many traditions

  • HALF OF the month of April, Philippine Literature Month, may be gone, yet the Alab ng Panitikan schedule of activities continues with much fervor, thanks to the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the National Book Development Board (NBDB). It was wonderful to be witness to two continue reading : Turning authors into celebrities

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 20 March 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer FRANCISCO BALAGTAS’ birth anniversary on April 2 was the most appropriate reason for Presidential Proclamation No. 968, issued on Feb. 10, 2015, and declaring the month of April as “Buwan ng Panitikang Filipino” (National Literature Month). But now, on its second year, we find continue reading : All-out for Alab (‘Ay Lab’) Panitikan 2016

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 20 February 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer IF PREVIOUS Edsa People Power celebrations were bathed in nostalgia and joyful festivities that simulated the dancing in the streets in the heady days of February 30 years ago, this year’s program of activities deliberately departs from that. The reality check had to happen continue reading : Edsa 2016 engages the millennials

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 9 January 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer In my years of introducing the craft of writing to young writers, I am always excited, the way I am when my own books are poised to roll off the press: when the final step of the writing process happens for them—seeing their bylines continue reading : Listen to their own words

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 26 December 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer At a meeting with publishers at the Department of Education last month, Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC spoke in strong, uncompromising terms regarding improving the quality of learning materials for public schools and reforming practices in the procurement of such books. It was continue reading : Luistro’s latest challenge to publishers

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 5 December 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer It was nothing short of a miracle that the 6th Philippine International Literary Festival of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) took place in Davao City so successfully despite it being nose to nose with the departures of Apec leaders from Manila. But actually, continue reading : ‘Laláng’ in Davao

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, 21 November 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer The Philippine Book Development Month of November was off to a promising start with the “Booklatan sa Bayan” of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa. I had never been on that campus continue reading : Heady over books in November

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz
    24 October 2015
    Philippine Daily Inquirer

    By this time, the intrepid team of seven publishers that made possible the Philippines’ first-ever collective stand at the 67th Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF or Buchmesse) would have returned home, energized by the initial foray in the international market and encouraged by the number of inquiries from rights buyers.

    To give one an idea why the Buchmesse boasts of being the world’s largest, it is housed in six buildings (called halls) featuring, among others, the Antiquarian Book Fair; an Education Center featuring current issues in education; Comics; International Publishers where the Philippines’ stand was, along with those of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia; the guest of honor in a separate pavilion; Children’s & Young Adult; Fiction and Non-Fiction; Art Books/Gifts/Design; Religion; Tourism; Academic Publishing; and Stationery & Gifts, a very popular Calendar Gallery. Think of SMEX 6-10 times over. One needed a map to check out the areas one wanted to visit, and the all-day shuttles were a big help.

    In our same hall was Iran, whose large exhibition space was starkly empty—an expression of boycott because of its displeasure that Salman Rushdie was invited to the Buchmesse opening press conference. No author-sighting for me, especially of Isabel Allende; I only have memories of my Paulo Coelho encounter last year.

    Each day had a packed schedule of forums on a wide range of topics. One of the sessions featured a member of the Philippine Team Frankfurt delegation, Jorge Abiva Garcia of Abiva Publishing House Inc., who gave an introduction to Philippine textbook publishing. He was the only featured Filipino speaker.

    The Buchmesse is not a consumer or retail fair in the way our September Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) was. The books on display were only available for sale in the last three hours of Sunday, the final day. It was open to the public only in the last two days, when the book-buying public came in droves along with a horde of cosplayers, showing just how much characters from sci-fi, comics, or anime are loved and seriously studied. In the trains on those days was the typical sight of adolescents in full regalia, complete with makeup and wigs, carrying homemade signs, hammers, swords, lasers and appropriate accessories.

    If not the general public, who is the main audience of the Buchmesse? The first three days were restricted to trade visitors, representatives of book publishing and multimedia companies from all over the world to negotiate international publishing rights and licensing fees.

    The Buchmesse is a revered tradition in Germany, and all roads literally led to it for the week. Even the German Embassy in San Francisco, where I had to apply for a visa, waived the fee after I explained my circumstances. Initially they said it was not possible for a temporary visitor like me to secure one, but later they said they were happy that the Philippines would be represented. Similar sentiments were aired by the German visa personnel at the Frankfurt airport.

    Many actually expressed surprise and relief to find the stand of the Philippines at the Buchmesse. Too long in coming, said Buchmesse official Claudia Kaiser. But it would be inaccurate to say it was a first time for everyone in the team, for some of our leading publishers—Karina Bolasco of Anvil, Ani Almario of Adarna, Jun Matias of Lampara/Precious Pages—have been to the fair, as individual participants, though not annually. Rex Group of Companies and the Philippine Educational Publishers Association led by Dominador Buhain and Sonia Santiago have been a constant presence. Visprint Inc. had its own complimentary stall for two successive years under the Buchmesse’s international training program for young publishers-trainees (Nida Ramirez and Kyra Ballesteros).

    One could see how those efforts are now reaping benefits and goodwill. When foreign publishers dropped by, they were better known and sought. A good number were primarily interested in selling their book rights to the Philippine market, the usual starting point for a business relationship. I could not resist asking for a reciprocal relationship. Others wanted books in English to expose foreign children to stories from Asia. Others wanted books originally written in Filipino. It was fortunate that UST Publishing House’s Jack Wigley was present, because foreign universities and libraries wanted materials for Southeast Asian studies.

    The recurring comment was: But where do we find your books aside from the stray titles that find their way to Amazon? The team tried to address this with a catalogue of Philippine publishers which included even the nonparticipating publishers.

    National Artist Virgilio S. Almario, who heads the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, paid us a visit as he wound up a previously scheduled personal visit to Berlin. His presence was fortunate as he could join us for a meeting to which we were invited with Buchmesse CEO Juergen Boos, who especially welcomed the Philippines as a first-timer.

    All in all, it was good for the Philippines to be found. Lirio Sandoval and Ani Almario of the Book Development Association of the Philippines (who also initiated the MIBF three decades ago) and National Book Development Board executive director Graciela Cayton deserve all the credit for this endeavor.

    Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ( [email protected]) is chair of the National Book Development Board, a trustee of Teach for the Philippines, and a member of the Eggie Apostol Foundation.

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, October 10, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer When the Frankfurt Book Fair (or Frankfurter Buchmesse), the world’s largest annual trade fair for books, opens on Oct. 14, for the very first time in the fair’s more than 500-year history the Philippines will have its own exhibitor stand with the proud continue reading : PH best source of content in Asia

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz September 26, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer For National Teachers Month, I’d like to pay homage to five teachers who have made a difference in their students’ lives. Fernando Pagsibigan is now a teacher training adviser in Cambodia but cannot forget an experience from 13 years ago as a Grade 5 continue reading : Going beyond the curriculum

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz September 5, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer Two years ago, he appeared at one board meeting with his arm in a cast. He explained that he and his motorcycling group were on one of their trips to northern Luzon when his cycle crashed. We were at the edge of our seats continue reading : Francis Varela, public servant and colleague

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, August 22, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer I distinctly remember the sense of anticipation and uncertainty at the meeting of the Women Writers in Media Now (or Women) the day before Ninoy Aquino’s expected arrival on the afternoon of the next day, a Sunday. As had become a regular practice continue reading : ‘Dad in white, lying dead on the tarmac’

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz August 15, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer What is there to fear about the traditional ghosts of August? The 8th of the month was an auspicious date for Teach for the Philippines (TFP) as it marked its third anniversary. And what more fitting venue to celebrate this milestone than at one continue reading : Teach for the Philippines turns 3

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz August 1st 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer Aurora H. Roldan was an extraordinary woman of many persuasions. When we were in college and she was newly returned from graduate studies at the University of Southern California, she introduced us to the then-intoxicating and radical concept of speed-reading. What a magical trick continue reading : Pioneer reading woman

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz July 25, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer At the height of the torrential rains last week, the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) chaired by Tarie Subido and the National Book Development Board (NBDB) began to worry that they may have been jinxed by labeling this year’s National Children’s continue reading : ‘Umuulan ng Libro’ in July

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, July 4, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer The sight of the backhoe and armored vehicles on the Philippine National Police grounds in Camp Crame two weeks ago was chilling, evoking images of violent deaths, especially in the Ampatuan massacre. But on that Monday morning, the task of these vehicles was continue reading : Remaining off that piracy watch list

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz June 20th, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer I went to the Aquino Center in Tarlac on Independence Day, deciding that this year would be the best time to celebrate the holiday. On the ride there, I was suddenly filled with regret at the thought of never having had the chance to continue reading : Reliving Ninoy’s life and times

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, June 6th 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer At the National Children’s Book Awards ceremony in July 2014, Samsung Asia announced the launch of the Samsung Kids Time Authors Awards (SKTAA) in partnership with the National Book Development Council of Singapore. The competition called for children’s stories from Asean countries that continue reading : Look who’s turning digital

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer It’s that time of the year when teachers are for the most part eager to start a new school year, hopefully all renewed and refreshed, building on and learning from the previous year’s successes and setbacks. Listening in on two authors mentoring young continue reading : Take heed, teachers

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday 9 May 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer One cannot be in London and not imbibe the vibrant city’s love for literature and the arts. During previous visits I felt deep regret when it was already time to leave and I had yet to go through my long list of things continue reading : A Dream Library

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, 25 April 2015 Philippine Daily inquirer Fear not. The K-to-12 program should be viewed, not as a threat, but as the best opportunity for Philippine publishers to grow and show off the best that they are capable of doing. In a nutshell, those were the reassuring words—in truth, an continue reading : Who’s afraid of K-to-12?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, April 11th, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer Even before the onset of April, panitikan was already in the air, announcing the very first month dedicated to it—Buwan ng Panitikang Filipino, or National Literature Month—as mandated by Proclamation No. 968. The proclamation was a dream come true for the Komisyon sa continue reading : It’s April, think Balagtas and ‘Panitikan’

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, March 21, 2015 That is the wordplay on the “war cry” of the forthcoming special summer month of April—Alab Panitikan! (“Alab” is, of course, the lovely Filipino word for blaze, ardor, kindle, rage.) There is a new and wonderful reason for welcoming the month of April continue reading : ‘I love (Aylab) Panitikan’

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 7 March 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer On March 13, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) will honor the latest batch of grantees of its Authors’ Trust Fund, or the National Book Development Trust Fund. The fund was established to support and promote Filipino authorship and the completion and publication of continue reading : A (modest) boon for authors, researchers

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, February 21st, 2015 It’s a school holiday on Wednesday, Feb. 25, yet how many of our students and especially their teachers know and appreciate what this day in recent history really means? Yes, I know what the cynics will say. What is there to celebrate about Edsa? What has continue reading : Edsa: a story worth retelling

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, February 7th, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer As the country in focus at the 2014 Frankfurt Book Fair, Finland went all out to showcase its literature, calling attention to authors, established and on the rise: Aleksis Kivi, Sofi Oksanen and children’s author and illustrator Tove Jansson, who was marking her continue reading : Where teaching is a coveted profession

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz 24 January 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer I like it when public officials do not mince words and say it like it is, with little need to resort to euphemisms or politically correct language. You’d think that it being the first meeting of the New Year, it would just be a continue reading : Telling it like it is

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, January 10th, 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer If you think the issue of book donations is simple and uncomplicated, think again. It is not just a matter of a ceremonial turnover. I myself have gone through several changes of heart and mind about it. The day I felt like a continue reading : A book in every child’s hand

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, December 27th, 2014 Quite a conundrum to wrestle with. I had run many literacy workshops before, but this one for teachers of Marikina public schools, where Teach for the Philippines (TFP) fellows are assigned, was particularly challenging—and initially frustrating. While I have always enjoyed facilitating workshops continue reading : How to love to read—without books

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, December 13th, 2014 These are old and new discoveries, a merry mix of titles within easy reach in the house, by my desk, by the night light, on the computer table, on the kitchen counter, in a bag in the car for long waits and the continue reading : Books for the 12 days of Christmas

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer It’s almost the end of November, which is Philippine Book Development Month as mandated by law and the Department of Education’s National Reading Month. And happily, many book-related events continue to take place. Just this week, also National Book Week, there was the congress of the Philippine continue reading : A November of books

  • BREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz The Philippine Star, November 27, 2014 Last Saturday, Nov. 20 was a special night at the Marble Hall of the National Museum of the Filipino People for Filipino authors, designers and publishers of the most outstanding books published in 2013. Started by the Manila Critics Circle led by Dr. Isagani continue reading : 33rd National Book Awards winners

  • Photo Courtesy of Ms. Pepper Roxas The news that Amy Gary, editor of the Margaret Wise Brown Estate, found hundreds of pages of unpublished manuscripts in a cedar trunk in the attic of Margaret’s sister, is significant. Gary was not immediately convinced that this cache of writings on onionskin with rusty paper clips had never continue reading : Filipino artist’s illustration chosen as cover of bestselling children’s book

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer The 3-day Philippine International Literary Festival/Book Industry Summit of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) culminates today with the yearly Komikon Convention, a fitting crowd-drawing finale for days of discussions on “The Pressing Issue: Sustainable Publishing Amid Asean Integration.” The first day focused on an overview and continue reading : Books as a measure of self-awareness

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, November 1st 2014 I am still star-struck over my recent personal encounters with best-selling author Amy Tan and young talented poets Mark Anthony Cayanan, Mikael de Lara Co, Kristian Cordero, Allan Popa and nonfiction writers Chay Hofileña, Pam Pastor and Arnel Patawaran. And if time allowed, continue reading : Never enough literary festivals

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, October 18th, 2014 With the leisurely way I browse in bookstores, it was a real dilemma. How would I manage to cover the 7,300-plus book displays of exhibitors from more than 100 countries spread out in cavernous halls at the Frankfurt Book Fair (FBF) that ended continue reading : At the Frankfurt Book Fair—but where was PH?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, October 4th, 2014 I was enrolled in Dr. Bien Lumbera’s comparative literature class at Ateneo Graduate School and was totally intimidated. Newly emancipated from sheltered years in a convent school where I read him in Antonio Manuud’s “Brown Heritage”—then the groundbreaking book on Philippine literature—and only continue reading : A tribute to a teacher: ‘Muy Bien!’

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, September 20, 2014 Expectations were high at the gala of “Noli Me Tangere: The Opera” at the Resorts World Manila Theater. After all, there was much hype even during the casting for the Manila production of what had originally been presented in the United States, the continue reading : ‘Noli’ on the grand scale it deserves

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, September 6th, 2014 Call it an evening of yet another discovery of our little-known rich Filipino heritage. I was intrigued by the invitation of Vibal Foundation to the launch of a coffee-table book, “The Life and Art of Isabelo Tampinco” written by Santiago Albano Pilar and edited by National continue reading : Discovering Tampinco, discovering ourselves

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer One can immediately sense how successfully the spirit of Nick Joaquin has been captured in the large framed photograph of the National Artist that welcomes you to this ongoing exhibition at the Ateneo Rizal Library, Special Collections Building. It is a solo of a happily inebriated Joaquin—just continue reading : To remember and to sing

  • It was big news in the children’s publishing industry that at the PBBY-NBDB’s 3rd National Children’s Book Awards, Adarna House won all four of the selected Best Reads for 2014. These books are: “Hating Kapatid” by Raissa Rivera Falgui, illustrated by Fran Alvarez; “Ngumiti Si Andoy” by Xi Zuq, illustrated by Dominic Agsaway; “The Little continue reading : Kids say it best

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz Typhoon “Glenda” may have temporarily upset all plans for the 31st National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) festivities on the third Tuesday of July, but booklovers like the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) are never that easily discouraged. So what’s a minor setback wrought by the weather? The logical continue reading : There’s no stopping National Children’s Book Day

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, July 5th, 2014 It was an unusual morning of launches at last week’s “Booklatan sa Eskwela: Tuloy ang Basa” at the Makati Elementary School Library Hub. Booklatan is a regular reading outreach program of the National Book Development Board (NBDB) in partnership with the local government continue reading : Brother Armin’s love story

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz The Limbag Kapihan for writers, artists, editors and translators drew a crowd eager to know “what’s next, now that my manuscript is ready to become a book?” Organized as part of a continuing series by the National Book Development Board with its stakeholders, the forum was scheduled on the heels continue reading : Alternative Publishing 101

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Forty-five incoming Grade 3 teachers took their oath at the Teach for the Philippines (TFP) graduation ceremony of the 2014 Cohort two days before classes began for the public schools. As if the rigorous selection process they underwent—the nine-week summer institute in Dagupan immersing them in pedagogy continue reading : Teach the student, not the curriculum

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, May 24th, 2014 When Joseph O’Reilly, the UK-based Save the Children senior education adviser, prefaced his opening remarks on “Getting the World’s Children to Read” with staggering statistics—that 61 million children are out of school and that 200 million schoolchildren in developing countries struggle to read continue reading : No substitute for ‘black marks’ on a page

  • Delivered by Chair Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz during the Kapihan for Book Publishers and Sellers on May 22, 2014 at the Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University The Philippine book publishing industry is rich with the talent and craft of our writers. We have over 1,000 writers, both of literary and commercial content. There are around continue reading : State of the Book Industry Address

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Saturday, April 12th, 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer “Education that teaches people to ask questions” was how Drew Gilpin Hurst, the 28th and the first woman president of the 375-year-old Harvard University, described the kind of education that matters in a recent television interview. A major delight in being in the continue reading : Keeping the conversation on education going

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, April 5th, 2014 An unexpected invitation during my continuing personal visit to the East Bay in San Francisco came from Chevron’s Filipino Employees Network (FEN), which wanted me to speak yet again on my pop culture books—“You Know You’re Filipino If…,” “Don’t Take a Bath on continue reading : Deciphering the Filipino psyche

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, March 8th, 2014 When teachers introduce themselves and their careers with an apologetic “I am only a teacher,” my hackles are raised and I never pass up the chance to chide them and remind them about the vital role they play in the nurturing of hearts continue reading : Not just good but great teachers

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, February 7th, 2014 The Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) is a study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of the scholastic performance of 15-year-old students in nations all over the world in three areas of competencies—math, science and reading—on a 1000-point scale. continue reading : No secret to Shanghai’s success in education

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, January 17th, 2014 Perhaps I will be a more credible speaker at literacy workshops with this experience I am going through with my grandson Diego, who is in the throes of the Terrible Threes. How everyone in the family laughed when I threw up my arms continue reading : Is pushing a button learning?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, December 28th, 2013 Two major productions are to be commended for highlighting November, the month that was especially dedicated to Andres Bonifacio. One was “Teatro Porvenir, Ang Katangi-tanging Kasaysayan ni Andres Bonifacio, Macario Sakay at Aurelio Tolentino sa Entablado” of Dulaang UP, a Palanca Award-winning play continue reading : Bonifacio still on my mind

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, December 13th, 2013 I knew I was off to a great start when I began my private celebration of Andres Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary with the Gantimpala Theater musicale “Mga Anak ng Bayan,” written by Bonifacio Ilagan and directed by Joel Lamangan. Despite the initial frustration continue reading : Do you know the way to Maragondon?

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, November 29th, 2013 Why is the education secretary, Br. Armin Luistro FSC, talking lipstick these days, even dropping lines like “Nail polish is the new lipstick”? What has gotten into him that he has this new vocabulary? In a brief conversation before the Senate’s final hearing continue reading : Lipsticks today, books to follow

  • BREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 21, 2013 A week after the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, two groups of booklovers took time out to continue their tradition of honoring the most outstanding Filipino authors and books of the year. In her address to the audience, the chair of the National continue reading : Honoring 2012’s best books

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, November 16, 2013 The week of Nov. 11-16 was a coup of sorts for the National Book Development Board as it mounted the 4th Philippine International Literary Festival, dubbed “Text and the City,” in an innovative new format: a deliberate strategy conceptualized by NBDB deputy executive continue reading : Think November, think books

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, November 2nd 2013 When I was invited to join the Teach for All conference held on Oct. 18-24 in Shanghai and then Tenchong in Yunnan province by Teach for the Philippines founders and top officials Margarita Delgado, Lizzie Zobel, and Clarissa Delgado, I thought my only continue reading : Teach for All advocates from 32 countries, 6 continents

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, October 18, 2013 All lovers of the written word, and, I have to add, illustrated images, in view of the rising interest in graphic literature: Brace yourselves for November, a month of literary events. The Manila City Library headed by Renan C. Santos will hold a continue reading : Literary guests for ‘Text and the City’ in November

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Saturday, October 5th, 2013 What does one remember of one’s teachers? Certainly not the lectures they made for these were not always brilliant or memorable, not the tedious rote drills for these were meaningless and mechanical, but, rather, the sundry incidents, even mere fleeting encounters with them, continue reading : Flowers for the living: five special teachers

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer 20 September 2013 I was back in the classroom again a few days ago, coteaching a class of third-graders in Apolonio Samson Elementary School in Quezon City with Teach for the Philippines (TFP) fellow Leslie Espinosa for close to an hour. It brought to mind an invitation continue reading : Teaching for the Philippines, and leaving your mark

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, August 30th, 2013 I had never been to a workshop quite like the recent Booklatan that the National Book Development Board (NBDB) had in Valenzuela on that Friday in August, the day before Tropical Storm “Maring” and the habagat began to unleash pouring rain across the continue reading : First Read for 0-4 kids

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer Friday, August 16, 2013 Cory Aquino would not have approved of all the fuss we make every time August comes around. As she has said often enough in gratitude to the crowd that faithfully attended the anniversary of Ninoy Aquino’s Aug. 21 assassination, you have done more continue reading : August and Cory and Ninoy

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Friday, July 26th, 2013 I am normally hostile to persistent e-mail messages that have not been detected as spam and are not totally in the junk genre. I actually feel a degree of accomplishment—the same high one experiences in clearing one’s desk—in deleting them without taking the trouble of reading continue reading : The love for reading is alive and well

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer In recent years, the Department of Education has been highlighting the third Tuesday of the month through a memo to all public schools enjoining them to celebrate National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) through storytelling, read-alouds, Drop Everything and Read sessions, and other reading promotion activities. Of course, continue reading : ‘Basa, mga kapatid!’

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Commentary, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 22 June 2013 In the June 4 edition of Public Education NewsBlast, an online weekly of the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP), is a link to an article by Motoko Rich that first appeared in the New York Times titled “In Raising Scores, 1 2 3 continue reading : Reading: not easy to teach or learn

  • BREAKTHROUGH By Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) At the end of May the National Book Development Board, in partnership with Museo Pambata Foundation, held for the first time a two-day literary festival with a special focus on children’s literature. It was called “Little Lit Festival: A Coming of Age.”

The choice of title, even if continue reading : NBDB comes of age

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer June 7th, 2013 As expected, the opening of classes has brought the Department of Education back in the glare of publicity once again. The usual shortages of teachers, classrooms, and books are highlighted, the K to 12 program is under critical scrutiny, as well as liberal and continue reading : Too important to leave to educators

  • By Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer April 27, 2013 That was the catchy slogan of this year’s celebration of World Book and Copyright Day on April 23, an annual event traditionally spearheaded by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). It is a day meant to honor authors and literature and to continue reading : Reading rocks, copyright rules

  • By Neni Sta. Romana Cruz Philippine Daily Inquirer April 12, 2013 “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” —Jorge Luis Borges March 9 was Public Library Day, the 113th such commemoration—but did any of us take notice? The National Library headed by Director Antonio Santos held a panel discussion on continue reading : Do you know there is a Public Library Day?

  • In “The Power of Words” (in Magis, ed. Queena Lee-Chua), Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, expresses the hope that Philippine literature will develop fully to become the third jewel of our destitute nation, whose two original jewels are our music and our faith. A full body of literature can bring forth a people of great works continue reading : Structures for Creativity

  • The Expanded Value Added Tax Law has been enacted, and it has retained the VAT exemption of books. When the public hearings on the E-VAT bill began, the National Book Development Board (NBDB ) passed a resolution appealing to our legislators to retain the VAT exemption of books in order to prevent an aggravation of continue reading : The VAT Exemption and its Challenge

  • Groucho Marx might have been joking when he quipped: “behind every great man is a woman.” A better quip goes: “behind every great man is an astonished mother-in-law (who is sure he would not have amounted to anything without her daughter).” Fortunately, we live in an age when more and more women are admired not continue reading : Filipina Achievers and Book Lovers

  • “Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Low-quality books tire the eyes and bore the mind. High-quality books stimulate creative and critical thinking. Low-quality books breed mere words, and in this case Ecclesiastes rightly says, “the more the words, the less the meaning, and how does continue reading : Why Make or Read Books?

  • Can an educational institution be held liable for rampant acts of indiscriminate photocopying of copyrighted materials within its campus? What if the machines used for the infringing acts are owned by an entity that merely rents campus space? Can an educational institution be held liable for allowing students to use infringing copies within the classroom? continue reading : Secondary Liability for Copyright Infringement