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Buwan ng Wika 2015

August is Buwan ng Wika (Language Month). This year's theme is "Filipino: Wika ng Pambansang Kaunlaran" (Filipino: Language of National Development). See the banner and calendar of activities below.

But perhaps the most interesting development—for me, anyway—is that Philippine Panorama has devoted most of its latest issue (2 August 2015) to a discussion of different aspects of the national language... in English! It's also interesting to note that while I've seen photos of the cover (see above) on social media, I haven't seen any links to the ePaper, PDF, or any of the articles. So, as a public service, here are the links to the articles:
Language for pleasure, not pressure (Editorial)
Why Filipino is "Filipino" by Virgilio Almario
What about Filipino? by Efren Abueg
New wave by Jacky Lynne A. Oiga
Don’t wince at the smell of rotten fish by AA Patawaran
Who says LIRA Stands for Literatura ni Rio Alma? by Vim Nadera

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Click image to enlarge.


Top 5 Free Sources for Filipiniana Online (Books)

"Online research" is supposed to be what lazy students do. Scholars, meanwhile, are expected to travel to different libraries, archives, and museums to consult documents, photographs, and books. This, however, is not necessarily true anymore because more and more resources are becoming available online. In some cases, surfing the web is not only less expensive, but also more productive because researchers can examine texts more closely and are not limited by policies regarding physical access to the materials. Plus, if your university library is closed, but you just need to check one small detail, online research is the most convenient alternative.

The 5 websites enumerated below in alphabetical order are, in my opinion, the best free sources for Filipiniana online at this time. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and you'll have to search them all if you want to make sure that a particular title is really not available on any of them, but what's really good about these sites, is that unlike others that only reproduce the texts, you can see for yourself how the text originally appeared on the page, you can cite specific page numbers as if you had the book in front of you, and you can even download the entire book or certain pages (with one exception, which is indicated below).

If you have any suggestions, please send a message or leave a comment via Facebook.

Biblioteca Digital Hispanica (Hispanic Digital Library)
This site is, of course, in Spanish, so if you can't read Spanish, make sure you click on "Welcome" (other languages aside from English are also available) at the top-right corner of the page. Once you're looking at the book, you can download the entire book by clicking on the disk icon on the upper-left corner of the page, next to the book's title. Some of the books available are:
La música popular de Filipinas (Walls, 1892)
Archivo del bibliófilo filipino (Retana, 5 vols., 1895-1905)
Mga tala ng aking buhay at mga ulat ng Katipunan (de Jesus, 1932)

HathiTrust Digital Library
This website was very helpful when I was doing my PhD because it was the only one then that had such a huge collection of downloadable books on the Philippines. Note, however, that many titles are not accessible to all. You'll have to select "Full view only" to limit your search to the ones that are freely available. Also, if you see that a book is downloadable today, don't assume that it will be downloadable tomorrow. So it's probably best if you download a title when you see it. Some of the books I've downloaded in the past are:
The Philippine Islands (Blair and Robertson, 55 vols., 1903-1909)
A history of the Philippines (Barrows, 1905)
A short history of the Philippines (Jernegan, 1905)

Internet Archive
This site doesn't only host the Wayback Machine, it also provides access to a lot of books digitized by different libraries around the world. What's good about it is that you can actually turn the pages by clicking on the left or right pages. Some of the books available are:
Arte de la lengua tagala (Totanes, 1745)
The medicinal plants of the Philippines (Pardo de Tavera, 1901)
Census of the Philippine Islands (1918)
Vols. I | II | III | IV.1 | IV.2 | Appendix to Vol. I

UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004
This site is the only one that provides access to books that are still copyrighted. Not all books, however, are accessible, so you'll have to choose "public access books" to limit your search to the ones that are freely available. Note that books or pages cannot be downloaded, but page numbers are indicated at the end of every "page." Some of the books available are:
Unequal alliance: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Philippines (Broad, 1988)
Sugar and the origins of modern Philippine society
(Larkin, 1993)
Muslim rulers and rebels: everyday politics and armed separatism in the southern Philippines (McKenna, 1998)

The United States and its Territories: 1870-1925 (USIT)
I've called this site "the best and largest online collection of Filipiniana materials available for free" before, and in some ways, it is still the best because while its name suggests a larger geographic reach, it is the only one on this list that is almost exclusively made up of Filipiniana. And while most, if not all, its titles also appear in Hathitrust, some titles can only be downloaded on USIT. One big difficulty with this site, however, is that you cannot download entire books. You can only download one page at a time. Some of the books available are:
La imprenta en Filipinas: adiciones y observaciones á la Imprenta en Manila de D. J. T. Medina (Retana, 1899)
FO: Reports of the Governors General (1900-1915)
A review of the identifications of the species described in Blanco's Flora de Filipinas (Merrill, 1905)

Other sites you can check are: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, Digital Public Library of America, Google Books, and Project Gutenberg.


Lourdes T. David — Filipino Librarian

Lourdes T. David (center),
with Kate Obille (left), Dean of UP SLIS,
and Grace Tabiendo, President of UPLSAA

Congratulations to Mrs. Lourdes T. David for her Distinguished Alumna Award from the University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association (UPLSAA)!

Mrs. David, currently a member of PRC's Board for Librarians, was my predecessor at the Rizal Library. She encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. while I was still "young" (I was relatively younger then LOL). A few months before I defended my dissertation, the job ad came out, and one of the qualifications indicated was "Ph.D. preferred" =)

Anyway, below are the response she delivered, as well as photos of the plaque, the souvenir program, and the citation in the program.

Lourdes T. David
4 July 2015

Thank you UPLSAA Executive Board 2014-2015 for this Distinguished Alumna Award.

I humbly receive this award on behalf of all librarians and library staff that I have worked with from the time of Ms. Marina Dayrit, when I first worked in the UP Diliman Main Library, and the librarians of UP Los Banos, who inspired me to become a librarian. I also thank the faculty of the then Institute of Library Science, now School of Library and Information Studies, for imparting to me all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of a good librarian. Allow me to also thank three people who played very important roles in molding me: Prof. Rosa M. Vallejo, Prof. Filomena Tann, and Prof. Namnama Hidalgo.

Now let me tell you a story about how I became a librarian. My bachelor's degree is in Food Technology. When I graduated in 1965, I wanted to teach and study again, so I applied at the Department of Physical Sciences at UPLB, where I taught Chemistry and studied Food Science. While working on my thesis, I frequented the library to conduct my literature search. It was there that I observed and marvelled at how librarians were able to organize information, so that searching for the right information at the right time was possible. Little did I realize that this facination would lead me to the course Master of Library Science (MLS).

I never finished Food Science because I married early and left UPLB for Diliman, where I worked in the main library as a research assistant. The fascination with library work turned into a vision that someday I will become a librarian. In 1985, the vision was realized and I graduated with my MLS. I never regretted the decision. The passion that I had then for Library Science is with me until now. I love librarianship and I am proud to be a librarian. Thank you Prof. Leonor Gregorio and the UPLB Library staff for showing me the importance of librarians in the conduct of research.

I know that the image of librarians is not as high as that for faculty or other professionals, but we who are in the field know our importance. If mathematics is the queen of the sciences, library science is the mother of all disciplines. Without library science, now library and information science and other names akin to it, scientists, educators, students, and the whole of society will not be able to search for and access the right information at the right time, and will not be able to “stand on the shoulders of giants,” so to speak, when they conduct research because they will not be able to identify similar and related works done by others in their field.

Today computers have made text searching of digitized or born-digital materials possible. However, books and other materials that are not available in digitized format still have to be catalogued for easy access. In addition, librarians today teach and/or assist users in searching for information.

Our profession is a noble one and we have to increase our tribe so that more people will benefit from our knowledge and skill. In the last Librarians' Licensure Examination (LLE), the passing rate of new graduates was 70.36 per cent, while that of repeaters was only 21.47 per cent. Only 388 new graduates and 276 repeaters took the exam. The University of the Philippines had a 100 per cent passing rate, but only 25 graduates took the exam. These figures show the very small number of students enrolled in either the bachelor's degree or master's degree programs. We have to work together to increase enrollment and the passing rate. Our goal is an 85% passing rate.

The challenge is for a group or groups to develop modules that would enable the repeaters to understand the concepts of the field. In the past, library science has been taught in a recipe-style manner. With AACR2, for example, the number of spaces between words and the punctuations were always emphasized. The display format was so important to make the catalog look good through uniform entries. Today the display is no longer that important. The content is the key to access and librarians have become teachers, facilitators, managers, and what have you. Let us help the repeaters cope with these changes so that they can pass the LLE, become better librarians, and help improve the image of the librarian.

Click on the images to see the larger versions.

This award is very prestigious because UPSLIS is the leader in library education and librarianship in this country. The bottom line in quality of education is the quality of teaching and teachers. The UPSLIS must be a training institution for librarians, as well as teachers of Library Science in this country. UPLSAA is its alumni arm. UPLSAA must also play this role by helping practitioners develop further through contintuing education programs designed not only for its graduates but also for graduates of other library schools. UPLSAA in this regard must also be a leader in providing life-long learning skills to Filipino librarians.

Perhaps the quality that I possess that has inspired others and gained your vote to name me as the Distinguished Alumna Awardee for 2015 is my belief in people. I believe that all persons are capable of improving themselves through mentoring, and exposure to life-long learning programs. Such activities enable them to see themselves as capable of sharing ideas to colleagues, networking, and becoming more and more competent. Learning is from cradle to the grave.

All of us have this ability to believe in man’s capacity to learn and help in the education of our society. Let us stop remembering how some people look at our profession. That is past. We are what we are at the moment, and let us see ourselves as important members of society. As librarians we have travelled far and wide to either attend or deliver papers in conferences to share our ideas. We have helped students graduate. We have helped faculty with their research and more. Let us therefore share these abilities with other people and encourage them to become librarians.

I would also like to thank my children who have been very supportive of my endeavors. I travel a lot such that my grandaughter asked me one day if I were a spy. When I asked her why, she told me that I am always away on mission, so I must be a spy. Then she added, “It's alright Lola, you always give me gifts when you return.”

This response will not be complete without expressing my gratitude to God Almighty. He has always been my Great Wall, on whom I lean for strength, guidance, compassion, and love. The teaching to love one another is His greatest gift to humanity.

Thank you UPLSAA for this opportunity to share my thoughts about librarianship.

Mabuhay tayong lahat!

Reproduced with the author's permission.


Outstanding Librarian 2015:
Estrella Velasco Manuel

Estrella Velasco Manuel

The Professional Regulation Commission conferred the Outstanding Professional Librarian of the Year Award on Estrella Velasco Manuel on 18 June 2015. The citation reads:
As one of the pillars of Philippine Librarianship, a distinguished leader for more than sixty years, having served as a teacher-librarian since 1952, Dr. Estrella Velasco Manuel, was instrumental in the institution of the Library Science Program of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in 1978. Her exemplary dedication and service to the profession as library director of PUP and head of the Library Science Department for many years, author of the book on Philippine School Librarianship and other research publications, and participation in leading library organizations both international and local, such as the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA), the Orientalist Organization of Asian Librarians, the Philippine Librarians Association (where she served in the Board), the Philippine Association of Teachers of Library Science (PATLS) where she served as Vice President, then President in 1988-1989, and the Philippine Society on Curriculum Development as its former President, amply demonstrate to the highest degree of professionalism and leadership her outstanding contribution in the field of library science.

Thanks to Elvira Lapuz for providing the photo (taken by Joebert De Paz) and citation.

Category: Librarians—Awardees


The Philippines for Beginners: Book Recommendations

I was recently asked to make some book recommendations. The books, preferably available in bookstores and "easily digestible," were to answer the question: What should I read if I want to learn more about the Philippines and Philippine culture?

Smile, Cebu Pacific's inflight magazine, is probably one of the most widely-circulated (if not most widely-read) magazines in the Philippines AND I had long wondered why the few books featured in its pages were mostly foreign books, so even though my mom was in the hospital when the request came and I was quite busy at work, I set aside some time thinking about which books about the Philippines would be helpful for foreigners and Filipinos alike.

Below is the introduction I sent (which was not published huhu), as well as the full text of the article. You can download "The Philippines for Beginners," the entire June 2015 issue, and even previous issues on the Smile website.

These recommendations from book historian and librarian Dr Vernon R Totanes are sure to add to your knowledge of the nation

"What’s the best history book on the Philippines?" That's a question I usually get asked when people find out that my PhD dissertation was on the history of the Filipino history book. My answer is often another question—"What are you interested in?"—because there is no book that is suitable for all readers, and scholarly monographs or school textbooks are not necessarily appropriate for the needs of those who wish to know more about Filipinos and the Philippines.

1 Learn Tagalog — the fun way
The song "Bahay Kubo" enumerates the many vegetables grown in neighborhood gardens with one exception — ampalaya (bitter gourd). The omission inspired this children's book. The Tagalog and English texts are sure to prove useful for those aiming to study one or both languages.

2 Get to know a national hero
Jose Rizal, considered the national hero of the Philippines, was more man than Superman. This book uses humor and interesting trivia to (re)introduce Rizal as a mere mortal who loved women, was stingy with money and liked to eat tuyo for breakfast.

3 Be one with the locals
Ever wondered why Filipinos — most of whom aren't that tall — love basketball? Find the answer in this book, which the author has described as his love letter to the Philippines.

4 Appreciate the nation's cuisine
Learn how to cook lumpiang Shanghai, adobo and kinilaw and get better acquainted with the origins of Philippine cuisine with this cookbook by the duo behind Purple Yam. It features stunning photographs, too.



Book-lat: Reading in the Philippines

In case you missed it last week, the video of a TV5 documentary on reading in the Philippines is now available online. The documentary's title, "Book-lat," references the Tagalog word "buklat" (in English, to open like a book). The question it seeks to answer is "Kaya ba nating makalikha ng isang nasyon ng mga mambabasa?" (Can we create a nation of readers?) Watch the entire documentary below.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Disclosure: I was interviewed for the show, and I appear as early as 1:11 in the first segment. Note that I am not identified as a librarian, but as a book historian. Also, the Rizal Library is featured prominently in the host's spiels and my interview, and several librarians and staff are clearly identifiable in the background and walking through the stacks.


Librarians' Licensure Examination 2015: Results

Congratulations to the new librarians!

The passing rate for this year's Librarians' Licensure Examination (LLE) is 47 percent (349 out of 742), which is higher than the 2014 passing rate of 28 percent, but is consistent with the passing rates of 47 percent in 2012 and 46 percent in 2013.

It appears that the decline in the passing rate last year was, in fact, due to the change in exam schedule (i.e., from November to April), which meant that most of the 2014 examinees were repeaters, not fresh graduates. This conclusion is borne out by this year's passing rate for first timers (70 percent, or 273 of 388), which is more than triple that for repeaters (22 percent, or 76 of 354).

What I found most interesting about this year's LLE, however, is that while most of the examinees on the list of top scorers (9 of 12) were from the University of the Philippines (UP), the three non-UP examinees—from Central Philippine University (Iloilo), University of San Carlos (Cebu), and Cor Jesu College (Davao del Sur)—dominated the top 4.

The list of the top scorers is reproduced below. The list of successful examinees may be downloaded from the official website of the Professional Regulation Commission.

Top 12


Librarians' Licensure Examination 2015

Yes, librarians in the Philippines are licensed by the Professional Regulation Commission. This year's Librarians' Licensure Examination (LLE) will be held on April 22 & 23 in Manila, Baguio, Cebu, Davao & Legaspi.

Ten years ago, I shared some tips on applying for and taking the LLE. While there have been a few changes between now and then, most of the advice I gave then—from applying early to not "fighting" exam questions—should still be applicable today.

If you or someone you know is taking the LLE (or any board exam, actually) this year, you may wish to read the following posts:

Librarians' Licensure Examination 2005
LLE 2005: Applying in Person
LLE 2005: Studying for the Exam
LLE 2005: Preparing for D-Day
LLE 2005: Taking the Exam


Epifanio de los Santos Day 2015

Ten years ago, I unilaterally declared April 7 as "Epifanio de los Santos Day." It was commemorated in 2006 and 2007, but it hasn't been celebrated on this blog since. Thankfully, Ambeth Ocampo wrote about the librarian after whom the the Philippines' best-known highway is named just last week. Here's what he wrote in "Contemplating Edsa" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 27 March 2015):
Epifanio de los Santos Avenue starts north from the Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan stretching almost 24 kilometers through Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, to the Mall of Asia in Pasay.

What did De los Santos do to deserve such a singular honor? He was not just a two-time governor of Nueva Ecija, he was more than an epal politician: He was a historian, journalist, musician, bibliophile and antiques collector who served as director of the National Library of the Philippines...

Epifanio de los Santos wrote for the revolutionary paper La Independencia and was also an accomplished painter. It is said that a beautiful young lady in charge of a college for women (Rosa Sevilla?) received an oil portrait from an anonymous admirer. Nobody knew who had sent the gift, so some of her many suitors courted her attention and affection by claiming that they had sent the portrait. So one day when all the competitors were wooing the woman, praising and commenting on her portrait, De los Santos asked that they take the painting out of its frame. On the back they found his name. Furthermore, a piece of music hidden behind the painting was found, and De los Santos serenaded the woman with it, “to the mingled delight and despair of the other suitors.”
Next year, I hope that we'll have a story about a living librarian to share, someone who shares Epifanio de los Santos's qualities.


Movers & Shakers 2015: Ma. Lorna Eguia

Congratulations to Ma. Lorna Eguia, the first Filipino librarian to be chosen as one of Library Journal's Movers & Shakers!

Her work with victims of Typhoon Haiyan, specifically the bibliotherapy she offered to children through her Books in Bags project, is featured prominently in her citation as a Community Builder.


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