XZN Sting ProfileWe let Filipino kids and teens review books written for them. First up is Sting Asistores, a student from the Philippine High School for the Arts.

Writing his first comic book review, Sting is an incoming Grade 10 student who has been reading comics since he was five. His favourite superhero has always been Batman and his favourite comic book is Knightfall by Doug Moench.


Published by Anino (2016), an imprint of Adarna House Inc. for comics and graphic novels, written by Russell Molina, and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo, 12:01 features the story of the teen band Edji-Voice. The action starts when the authorities found them on the streets beyond the midnight curfew imposed during the Martial Law era.


Oppression and Resistance

Some information crucial to the story was presented to the reader using deep imagery – forcing the readers to think. This method is likely to elicit varying interpretations from readers. While there are advantages to a story with no definite plot, this might be problematic for a book which aims to illustrate a critical period in Philippine history.

The transitions to sub-narratives were admirable as well. The author slowly gives out hints before introducing the sub-narrative itself. These sub-narratives also lead readers to a critical understanding of Martial Law by weaving together narratives of the oppressed and tortured.

The author also composed verses presented as songs written by the band. The verses are rich in metaphors and symbolisms about the Marcos regime. This allows readers to get a sense of what it was like to constantly fear abuse from the government.


1201 Cover


A Lesson of the Past

Writing the dialogues using the particular slang of the time period helps readers picture what life was like in the Philippines during the Martial Law era. Curfew, for instance, held a lot of meaning. This particular use of language also helps character development. Through particular quirks in speech, characters gain their own personalities.

Though set in the past, the characters are depicted in ways that prompts modern readers to resonate with them. The deliberate portrayal of the characters as band members is an example. This raises the comic’s appeal to younger readers. At the same time, it could also pique their interest in the past.


1201 (kajo2)


Realistic Illustration

The illustrator’s clear, unique, and detailed style captures the realism that the story wants to portray, save for some cartoonish details used to emphasise expressions. The gloomy background drawings are also very rich and interesting.

The illustration and the text also really work together to deliver the story. The flow of the panels in some parts though was confusing. For instance, there is a continuous left to right movement, then a left to down and back to right movements. Other readers might see this as a way of reflecting the characters’ movement, especially in the section where the band is escaping from the police. It just doesn’t work for me, though.


1201 (Kajo)


Martial Law for Millennials

The book really gives readers, especially Filipino teenagers who didn’t get to experience Martial Law, a glimpse of what may have happened during that time. It exposes the brutality of the regime and what it used to do to people through the band members’ individual narratives in the story.

The book enlightened me on what happened during the Marcos Regime. It is informational enough to get me curious about whatever happened during Martial Law and what drove millions of people to revolt in the streets of EDSA. It showed me how it was like when Filipinos cared so much about each other and how much they wanted the same thing. It reveals Filipino nature and could lead readers to discernment on one of the many meanings of being a “true Filipino”.


Images are from Kajo Baldisimo’s Facebook account.

Bookmark’s FABruary Book Launch

The Bookmark, Inc. will launch its new children’s books, featuring THERE’S A DIPLODOCUS IN THE HOUSE, PLAY, HUGGING THE TREES, AND OTHER INTERESTING TITLES on Wednesday, 24 February 2016, 5:30 in the afternoon at The Last Chukker, Manila Polo Club, McKinley Road, Brgy. Forbes Park, Makati City.




Titles included in the launch are:

-There’s a Diplodocus in the House by Rebecca Añonuevo, illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III

-Yehey, May Pamilya na ring Mag-aaruga sa Akin! (Yehey, There’s a Family That Will Take Care of Me!) by Genaro Gojo Cruz, illustrated by Aaron Asis

-Play by Javier Delfin, illustrated by Shannah Orencio

-Legacy by Simon Godfrey Rodriguez, edited by Nina Macaraig-Gamboa, illustrated by Wylzter Gutierrez

-The Hero of Mount Pinatubo by Julian Christian B. Patdu, edited by Nina Macaraig-Gamboa, illustrated by Bea Lintag

-The World, My World, in My Eyes by Carl Matthew Rodriguez, edited by Nina Macaraig-Gamboa, illustrated by Ingrid G. Tan

-Hugging the Trees by Russell Molina, illustrated by Liza Flores

-Bangkang Bakunawa by Carla Pacis, translated by Randy Bustamante, illustrated by Edrick Daniel

-Handog ni Lola by Carla Pacis, translated by Randy Bustamante, illustrated by Seth Clarece Estacio

-Mapun by Carla Pacis, translated by Randy Bustamante, illustrated by Jose T. Gamboa and Herbert Consunji

-Ang Jin at ang Pawikan by Carla Pacis, translated by Randy Bustamante, illustrated by Jeanne P. Tan

-Biyaheng Page by Carla Pacis, translated by Randy Bustamante, illustrated by Lloyd Niguidula




Authors and artists of the books will be present for book signing. Artists’ original works are also on exhibit and available for sale.

To RSVP, call 895-8061 and look for Tessie Homeres, Joseph T. Pirmejo, or Elaine Bagang, or leave a message at rsvp@bookmarkthefilipinobookstore.com.


Press release from The Bookmark, Inc.

Russell Molina (EDSA)

Illustrated by multi-awarded artist Sergio Bumatay III and published by Adarna House, EDSA is a counting book that reminds kids of this generation about the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Award-winning writer Russell Molina talks about EDSA, his latest book.


Sambat Trust: How was EDSA conceived? Can you describe the writing and publication process of EDSA?

Russell Molina: EDSA is probably one of the toughest stories to write because it [the 1986 People Power Revolution] is such a defining moment in our history and retelling it for a new generation seems like a daunting task. Also, we all have different versions of that event that can be framed through different lenses – from historical to personal.Since we lack stories on the revolution intended for young readers, I wanted this book to have an introductory feel that can capture both their curiosity as well as their imagination. So I decided to write about the event from their perspective.The tricky part of the storytelling is in choosing which scenes should be given prominence. I think the magic of EDSA is clearly demonstrated in those small, seemingly unnoticed, moments that radiate with real emotions. Through the child’s eyes, I attempted to recreate those wonderful images vis-à-vis the iconic ones.

edsaI also remember the EDSA Revolution as a series of different events that ended with thousands of people converging in that historic spot. I wanted the story to have that same effect. That’s why I decided to turn it into a counting book to give it a tempo and a huge crescendo at the end.

I think Serj Bumatay did a wonderful job in his re-imagination of Edsa. His visuals were current but at the same time nostalgic in feel. I purposely used words sparingly because I wanted the visuals to drive the story forward.

ST: What is your EDSA Revolution experience? Did you inject a part of your experience in the elements of the book?

Russell: Most of the images I included in the book were culled from memory. These are the vivid scenes that left an impression when I was young. And I wanted to share those images with the young readers.

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I wanted them to ask questions the way I did during those times.

serjST: What do you think is the significance of EDSA to children?

Russell: EDSA is more than just a piece of our history. It is a wellspring of solid Filipino values like determination, cooperation, perseverance, etc. It is about unity. It is about faith. It is about freedom. It showcases the unwavering Filipino spirit. And I think children can learn a lot about themselves and what they are capable of doing through this book

(first published in the Sambat Trust blog)

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Anong Gupit Natin Ngayon?

Na hindi pa siya tinatanong ng kaniyang barberong ama na “Anong gupit natin ngayon?” ang bumagabag kay Eboy. Nagtataka rin siya kung bakit simula pagkabata ay hindi na nagbago ang ayos ng kaniyang buhok. Lagi siyang nagpapantasya ng mga gusto niyang ayos: may napakahabang patilya, makapal na kulot, kulay berde at patusok, at gulo-gulo na parang pugad ng ibon. Sa dulo ng aklat, nakita niya ang sariling nakaharap sa isang salamin sa barberya. Tinanong siya ng kaniyang tatay, “Anong gupit natin ngayon?… Gupit binata ba, iho?” Umoo siya at pumikit. Pagmulat ng kaniyang mga mata, nakita niya sa salamin ang isang napakalaking ngiti.

Payak lamang ang kuwento ni Russell Molina na tinumbasan ng mapaglarong ilustrasyon ni Hubert Fucio ngunit matapat sa pagkabata ng tauhan. At marahil isa ito sa mga dahilan ng paggawad ng Philipine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) sa kuwento ng Salanga Writer’s Prize at sa ilustrasyon ng Alcala Illustrator’s Prize noong 2012. (Inilimbag ito ng Adarna House sa taon ding iyon.) Idinakila nga ng aklat ang bata sa pamamagitan ng pagkilala sa kaniyang pangangailangan, kuryosidad at paglaki. Ipinakita rin ng kuwento ang napakayamang imahinasyon ng bata nang mag-isip siya ng iba’t ibang ayos ng buhok.

review_anong gupit_pbby

Nakatutuwa pang tinutumbasan (at hinihigitan pa nga sa ilang pahina) ng ilustrasyon ang imahinasyon ng bata ayon sa teksto. May mga idinagdag si Fucio na napakaraming detalye na nagpapayaman sa kuwento. Sa katunayan, nang ipinabasa ko ito sa ilang bata, pinagpiyestahan nila ang mga pahina sa pamamagitan ng larong hanapan ng bagay (lalo na sa unang pahina). Ngunit hindi maipagkakamali na magulo ang ilustrasyon sa dami ng detalye. Sa katunayan, napagsanib ng ilustrasyon ang yaman ng mga detalye at ang pagpapanatili ng kaayusan at kalinisan sa bawat pahina.

Russel Molina, manunulat

Ang pagtatampok naman sa gawain ng amang barbero ang isa pang yaman ng kuwento. Idinadakila nito ang panggugupit bilang isang dakilang propesyon – ayon pa nga sa kuwento, madalas na mahaba ang pila ng mga parokyanong nagpapagupit sa amang barbero. Upang maidakila ang pagiging barbero, napagtagumpayan ni Molina ang paglalaro sa ‘wika’ ng mga barbero. Pinakapaborito ko ang umuulit na mga tumutugmang linyang: “Hugis-palong, korteng sombrero,/ mukhang payong, gupit sundalo.” Sa nibel naman ng talinghaga, itinuring din ang pangugupit bilang isang proseso ng pagbabago (ng bagong pagkatao o búhay), lalo na sa mga linyang nagsasabi kung paano ngumingiti ang mga kostumer pagkatapos magupitan. May magaang pakiramdam na naidudulot ang pagpapagupit at, sa kaso ng batang tauhan, senyales ito ng pag-usad niya sa panibagong yugto ng kaniyang paglaki. Ngunit hindi rin ipagkakamaling seryoso at walang búhay ang pagkakasalaysay ni Molina dahil hitik na hitik ang teksto ng pagpapatawa at pang-aaliw!

Hubert Fucio, ilustrador

Naidakila pa ang daigdig ng panggugupit sa ilustrasyon ni Fucio. Nahuli ng kaniyang napiling estilo ang bawat hibla ng buhok sa mga pahina ng aklat. Kitang-kita sa ilustrasyon ang bawat hiwa, daloy, likot, kulot, tuwid at iba pang detalye ng mga buhok – sa ibabaw man ng ulo ng tao, sa kilay, bilang balahibo, sa balat ng tupa at maging sa mga ibon. Matagumpay na naitawid ng estilo ng ilustrasyon ang kuwento tungo sa isang biswal na karanasan para sa mga mambabasa.

Isang napakaganda at huwarang aklat pambata ang “Anong Gupit Natin Ngayon?” dahil itinatanghal nito ang daigdig ng mga bata at ang panggugupit bilang dakilang propesyon (at sa pag-iwas sa nakamihasnang burges na representasyon ng mga bata sa maraming aklat pambata) sa teksto man o sa ilustrasyon.

(unang lumabas sa Kalatas)

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