Quick Links: Talumpati | Licensed Librarians | Filipiniana Online | Stereotypes | Leadership | The Philippines

Troy Lacsamana — Filipino Librarian

A Filipino librarian was recently chosen as one of the 2005 Top 5 HSBC Faces of Volunteerism by Hands On Manila, which desires "to seek and salute those who take time out to help others without expectation or fanfare." (Point for reflection: the chosen "faces" are named but remain faceless on the website.)

Troy Lacsamana, project coordinator of Aklatang Pambata, was cited for "his vision and perseverance to create a library and reading center in Quezon City that is accessible to all children." Please note that Troy is a librarian who leads a group composed largely of NON-librarian volunteers, and that the award came from a group of NON-librarians.

I first wrote about Aklatang Pambata in "Volunteers Build Community Library," where I also said that, I "dream of the day when a person is automatically identified as a librarian in news articles... like doctors, lawyers, etc." Well, it looks like Troy is leading the way by getting involved in the larger community of NON-librarians and going beyond the limits of the library he works for.

If you would like to know more about Aklatang Pambata, please visit their blog. If you want to donate money for the project, please see the blog's sidebar. Or you can email Troy at troy_lacsamana-at-yahoo-dot-com.

Category: Librarians


Halloween, Libraries and the Philippines

Happy Halloween! You might find the following sites interesting if you're wondering about the origins of Halloween, haunted libraries, or Filipino ghosts.

The History of Halloween

Not only does the History Channel provide an overview of the origins of Halloween, it also provides links to creepy video clips, some ghost stories and other interesting facts.
Halloween Online
It's probably true that it's the "Internet's largest Halloween resource." There's an online magazine, cookbook, adult costumes (!), clip art, fonts, and even advice on building and buying coffins!
Willard Library
Is the Willard Library haunted? It's over 110 years old. The first sighting is said to have occurred in 1937. Visit the site, read the history, and watch out for the ghost through the hidden cameras installed for amateur ghost hunters and paranormal investigators.
Haunted Places
Among the places listed on this website are libraries in the University of the Philippines Diliman campus. The list needs to be organized by a librarian, but it has most of the usual suspects.
Philippine Mythology
This Wikipedia entry provides summaries of the creatures that have haunted many Filipinos' dreams. Some of the creatures on the list even have their own entries.
And then there's the quiz. Answer the ten questions and click on "Submit my Answers" to find out how well you know your Filipino "ghosts," how many got the answers right, and read the humorous annotations.

Category: Events


The State of Filipiniana

In "Filipiniana Online," I quoted from an article published in Sanghaya 2001 (Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2001). I would have wanted to reprint the whole article then, but I was unable to get in touch with either the authors or the publisher. Well, I was finally able to get the authors' permission, so if you'd like to know more about the state of Filipiniana as of 2001, please read on.

The State-of-the-Art of Filipiniana Collections in the Philippines
by Salvacion M. Arlante and Rodolfo Y. Tarlit

From November 24 to 26, 1992, the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI), held a national convention which focused on the Filipiniana collections in the country. The convention was in line with the national efforts to make librarians aware, fully understand and appreciate the nature and importance of building and developing special Filipiniana collections. The success of the convention may be gauged from the number of queries received concerning Filipiniana materials by the convention organizers. There can be no doubt that librarians became aware of the worth of Filipiniana materials for scholars and researchers.

In July 2000, a meeting was arranged to respond to such queries between Dr. Serafin D. Quiason, consultant, Eugenio Lopez Foundation, Inc., and Mrs. Salvacion M. Arlante, University Librarian, University of the Philippines Diliman. Soon after, Carmelo Lopez, director of Library, Ateneo de Manila University; Dr. Irene D. Amores, director of libraries, Polytechnic University of the Philippines and head, Committee on Libraries and Information Services, National Commission for Culture and the Arts; and Prof. Rosa M. Vallejo, former Dean, UP Institute of Library Science, joined Dr. Quiason and Mrs. Arlante in conceptualizing a seminar on the State-of-the-Art of Filipiniana Collections in the Philippines.

The seminar was held at the Eugenio Lopez Center in Antipolo City on November 29, 2000. It was meant to follow up the PLAI national convention in 1992 and also to address these following objectives: to survey the state of Filipiniana materials in the major libraries and institutions in the Philippines; to consider new methods of developing Filipiniana collections; to focus on the practical and theoretical aspects of conservation; to explore the computerization of Filipiniana holdings; and to address problems and issues related to inter-library cooperation.

The seminar drew more than 100 participants from all over the country, including two Spanish nationals and Dr. Jaime C. Laya, NCCA chairman, Dr. Pablo Trillana III, chairman of the National Historical Institute, and Dr. Benito F. Legarda. According to Dr. Quiason, the papers presented “are precious stones, strung together to form a tapestry showing the nature and extent of Filipiniana collections” in the following university libraries and institutions: Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City; Central Philippine University, Iloilo City; De La Salle University, Manila; Filipinas Heritage Library, Makati City; Lopez Memorial Museum, Pasig City; Mindanao State University, Marawi City; The National Library, Manila; Silliman University, Dumaguete City; University of San Carlos, Cebu City; University of Santo Tomas, Manila; University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City; and Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro City.

The seminar produced a remarkable amount of information on the state-of-the-art of Filipiniana collections in the country, resulting in “new lines of thought and programs.” The participants were made “aware of the issues and concerns relating to Filipiniana collections throughout the country.” Most important of all, the participants unanimously agreed to form the core group that would, as stated in Dr. Quiason’s closing remarks, “reaffirm the burden of our responsibility and commitment to collect, organize and serve the Filipiniana materials to our scholarly clientele at the most expeditious way and preserve them in whatever form for posterity.”

Nature and scope of Filipiniana materials

According to Vallejo, the term “Filipiniana” is derived from two root words: Filipinas for the country and “ana” or “aniana” for “collected items of information, especially anecdotal or bibliographical”, e.g., Americana, UPiana, Rizaliana, La Salliana.

Two views emerged as to the scope of Filipiniana: one comprehensive and the other specific. The majority of the participants acquire Filipiniana according to any one or all of the following criteria:

The printed books in the Philippines, irrespective of subject matter, because all of them are indispensable to the complete study of typography in the Archipelago (See Wenceslao Retana, Aparato Bibliographico dela Historia General de Filipinas, Madrid: M. Minuesa de los Rios, 1906);

Those that deal with the Philippines in whatever language they may be written and place were they may have been printed, because they are more or less needed for the study of said country;

Those published by Filipinos, about any topic, regardless of the publication’s imprint, because they are very helpful in providing us information on the extent of the intellectual faculties of those born over there, their industry, their likings, inclination, etc;

Those written in the Philippine languages regardless of the subject of the author, and the place of publication (See Luis Montilla, “A Brief Survey of the Bibliographical Accomplishments of the Past: A Plan for a New Philippine National Bibliography,” 1940);

All those printed in the Philippines prior to American rule, irrespective of authorship and subject matter;

Works containing distinct chapters or passages on the Philippines useful for local historical investigation and research; and

Books and non-book materials about the Philippines, produced in or outside the Philippines, by Filipinos or non-Filipinos, in any of the Philippine languages, or in a foreign language (See Isagani Medina, “Collection Building: Filipiniana.” In Developing Special Library Collections, Filipiniana: Proceedings, November 24-26, Camelot Hotel, Quezon City, Manila: Philippine Librarians Association, 1992).

Some participants follow strictly Medina’s definition of Filipiniana. One library, the De La Salle University Library, has a unique definition of Filipiniana. As reported by Ms. Fe Verzosa, the scope of Filipiniana at the DLSU is as follows: all book publications about the Philippines, its peoples and culture, regardless of author, imprint and language; generally works written by Filipinos except works by De La Salle University faculty, administrators, and students/alumni, theses and dissertation, faculty or university publications, La Salliana materials, and works and other original research studies on universally accepted knowledge, such as chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, etc.; books written in Philippine languages; Philippine government publications and yearbooks, except publication by Philippine corporate bodies the subject matter of which does not have anything to do with the Philippines; publications containing substantial portions or chapters regarding the Philippines (publications with only a small portion or a chapter on the Philippines are not considered Filipiniana, but analytics are provided for that portion or chapter); and works dealing with the application of scientific thought and methodology to Philippine and local needs and circumstances.

In a survey conducted by Vallejo of 14 academic libraries and the National Library, nine libraries consider Filipiniana based on the criteria of subject, imprint, author, language, etc.; five libraries do not consider imprint as a criterion, and another two libraries do not consider author/writer as criterion for inclusion.

Because of the perceived dearth of Filipiniana materials, which are scattered in diverse locations, it was agreed that librarians, historians, libraries and institutions should not confine, limit or restrict their collection development program of Filipiniana to any one of these definitions. Rather, in building their Filipiniana collections they should consolidate/integrate the salient points from these definitions for a comprehensive Filipiniana collection in keeping with their respective institutional mission and objectives.

The Filipiniana collections of the 12 university libraries and institutions that participated in the seminar come in various forms. Aside from books, monographs and periodicals, these libraries also collect, maintain and make available a substantial number of special collections in the form of government documents and publications, theses and dissertations, cartographic materials, pamphlets, music, sound recordings, motion pictures and video recordings, graphic materials, three-dimensional artifacts and realia, microforms, and the very latest electronic resources such as CD-ROMs and other online databases both textual, visual, and bibliographic. Most guarded collections are rare books and archival papers of individuals as well as corporate entities.

The combined Filipiniana book collection of the 12 institutions is approximately 350,000 volumes with the UP Diliman contributing 25 percent. The collection covers a broad spectrum of topics, with the social sciences and the humanities extensively represented, particularly culture and history, politics and government, social conditions and art, languages and literature. Unbelievably, books on the natural and applied sciences constitute, perhaps, a measly 10 percent or less of the total book collection.

The libraries are very proud of their respective rare book collections. These are their most treasured Filipiniana holdings. The Filipinas Heritage Library holds around 2,000 rare books and manuscripts, the oldest of which is the Proceso de la Demanda de Nulidad de Matrimonio, published in 1647 on characters no longer used today. Of the 215 Philippine imprints published from 1597 to 1800 in Manila and other key towns, the Eugenio Lopez Library has 12 rare titles; 69 rare items for the 18th century, and 777 titles for the 19th century. A rare gem is the first edition of Belarmino’s opus Doctrina Cristiana (Manila, 1620) translated into Ilocano (Libro a Naisuratan Amin ti Bagas...) by Father F. Lopez and printed by Antonio Damba, a Pampangueño, and Miguel Saixo, a Japanese.

Another jewel is Pedro Chirino’s Relacion de las Islas Filipinas (Rome, 1604). The Eugenio Lopez Library also holds various early and rare works on the different languages of the Philippines. The National Library boasts of having in its Filipiniana collections the first known book written about the Philippines, Maximilianus Transylvanus’ De Moluccis Insulis, a very tiny, 30-page book measuring 7 1/2 x 15 centimeters and 1/2 centimeter thick. It was written in Valladolid, Spain, in October 1522. It is about Magellan’s voyage to the East based on testimonies of the few survivors of the Magellan’s expedition. Also priceless are Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, which was printed in Mexico in 1607, Antonio Pigafetta’s First Voyage Around the World, and the facsimile copy of the Doctrina Christiana (1593), an incunabulum by the Filipino printer Tomas Pinpin, and one of the extant eight incunabula in the collection of The National Library.

Most libraries that participated in the seminar have also the facsimile edition of the original Doctrina. Books and documents comprising the Filipiniana Rare Book Collection of the UP Library number 3,441 titles with imprint dates ranging from the 16th century to the early 20th centuries. Most of the materials are on history (57 percent) and social sciences (30 percent). The rest are on general works, philosophy and religion (13 percent) and science, agriculture, technology and bibliography (6 percent). Most of these have been microfilmed.

Special collections are rare, unique, out of print, unpublished ephemera or fugitive materials as well as non-textual materials. These collections supplement or offer information on various subjects not readily available in books and periodicals. Most are donations from individuals as well as corporate entities. Many of these collections contain primary sources such as correspondence, reports, diaries, etc.

The collections of Amado V. Hernandez, Gabriel Bernardo, Sixto de la Costa, Frank H. Golay, Arturo B. Rotor, Trinidad H. Pardo de Tavera, the American Historical Collection and the Women’s Writings Collection are in the Ateneo de Manila University.

The collections of Lopez-Bantug, Ambeth Ocampo, Literary History of the Philippines Collection of regional literature, International Corpus of English-Philippine Component Project Collection, Bitanga-Valero are in the De La Salle University.

The Maisie Van Vactor Collection of Islamic and Philippine Muslim Materials is in the Gowing Memorial Research Center, Dansalan College Foundation, Marawi City.

The Rizaliana Manuscripts, Philippine Insurgent Records, Philippine Presidential Papers, the Tabacalera Collection and the collections of Lope K. Santos, Julian Cruz Balmaseda, Raymundo Banas, Cirilo Honorio, Anita Garcia, Amado V. Hernandez and Atang de la Rama, Camilo Osias, Encarnacion Alzona, Leonora Orosa Goquingco, Benigno Zamora, and Paul Verzosa are in the National Library. The World War II Records/Papers of Negros Oriental are in Silliman University.

The historical papers of Carlos V. Ronquillo, Teodoro A. Agoncillo, Philippine Insurgent Records, Luther Parker, Japanese Occupation Papers, Jose Llanes (Guerilla Papers), Panay Guerilla Movement Papers, Delfin Jaranilla, People’s Court Papers, the Communist Party of the Philippines Papers, the Literary Collections in various Philippine languages (Faustino Aguilar, Florentino Collantes, Alberto S. Florentino, Hermogenes E. Ilagan, Julian Cruz Balmaseda, Tomas E. Remigio, Bikol Collection, Sugbuanon Collection, Hiligaynon Collection, Ilokano Collection, Pampango Collection), Philippine Radical Papers, Local History File, H.H. Bartlett Collection, Harry Whitfield Harnish Collection, the UP Presidential Papers, and other papers of UP’s outstanding alumni, faculty and administrators are in the University of the Philippines.

Other special collections are separately maintained because these require special handling and storage. Such collections include theses and dissertations, maps, vertical files, CD-ROMs, university publications, faculty files, audio-visual materials, music, pictures, stamps, biography files, posters, speech files, and art works.

Of special interest is Filipinas Heritage Library’s Photo Archive, a subset of the library’s photo archives which is a treasure trove of images of Philippine life, history and culture from the fifteenth century to the early 1970s. The black and white photographs numbering around 9,747 scanned images are already available online. The beta site can be viewed at this URL address (www.fillip.or.ph/retrato). The database includes engravings, lithographs, drawings, and other modes of visual representations as well as original photos gathered and annotated by the Ayala Museum Research Department over several years.

Issues and concerns

One of the objectives of the seminar was to find out the problems of librarians concerning their Filipiniana collections. The papers presented and the ensuing discussions during the open forum yielded these observations and concerns:

Collection Development. There is an apparent difficulty in the selection and acquisition of Filipiniana materials due to lack of reviewing media and systematic listing on published Filipiniana materials. There is also a dearth of authors and publishers on Filipiniana materials. Another problem is the limited printing of Filipiniana publications due to a limited market and the apathy of Filipiniana users.

Organization. Filipino librarians use the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, the Library of Congress Subject Headings, the Library of Congress Classification System and the Dewey Decimal Classification System to organize their Filipiniana book collections. However, the librarians’ concern was that these tools are inadequate, aside from the fact that some are very difficult to use or understand. Some do not provide provisions for local applications. Difficulty in cataloging and classification also arise out of the uncommon characteristics of many Filipiniana publications, e.g. information on the place of publication, name of publisher, and date of publication is not always available.

Reference Services. The librarians agreed that there is a lack of Filipiniana materials that would easily answer bibliographical, biographical, historical, geographical and facts-and-figures questions posed by library users. The participants also deplored the limited indexing services for Filipiniana materials. Most participants, however, know of the services provided by the UP, Ateneo, and the Mendiola Consortium.

Usage and Access. Policies on access to Filipiniana materials, particularly rare materials and special collections, are definitely wanting. Users may not be able to access such materials due to some restrictions imposed by donors of special collections or due to the deteriorating physical conditions of rare materials. Some librarians are in a dilemma whether or not to allow duplication of Filipiniana materials. The reason is that photocopying or other forms of duplication expose the materials to harm that could permanently damage their original physical conditions.

Preservation. Most librarians worry about what to do about the deteriorating and decaying physical conditions of their Filipiniana materials. They are worried that in due time such materials will be lost forever. They expressed the need to have trained personnel to undertake the preservation of their Filipiniana collections.

Copyright. The Filipinas Heritage Library worries about questions on copyright ownership of digitized materials and how to protect such resources that are freely and easily downloadable. Participants would like to know if printing of images from websites constitutes copyright infringement.

Use of Information Technology. It was observed that most computerized Filipiniana databases are bibliographic in nature. There is a clamor for more text-based databases. Another problem concerns some media which become inoperable and their contents inaccessible after sometime. Moreover, some digitized information may be lost when converted into other media, e.g., print, microfoms, etc.


One of the unexpected results of the seminar was the formation of a core group made up of the seminar participants themselves to look into the many problems that concern the acquisition, organization, servicing, and preservation of Filipiniana materials. Many participants consider this development as a big step towards real inter-library cooperation and networking among libraries and institutions in the country.

No individual or institution was named, but it was suggested and unanimously adapted that a reviewing medium to aid librarians in the selection and acquisition of Filipiniana materials be set up.

Computerization of bibliographic information of Filipiniana holdings throughout the country can start with the ARALIN database as suggested by Corazon M. Nera who started the development of such a database. ARALIN is a computerized bibliographic database of Filipiniana titles available in many university, college and school libraries in the country. From there, the core group could work towards shared creation and global access to one national Filipiniana database.

About the Authors

SALVACION M. ARLANTE received her M.A. in Library Science from the University of the Philippines. She is the University Librarian and head of the University Archives and Records Center of the UP Main Library in Diliman, Quezon City.

RODOLFO Y. TARLIT is the head librarian of the Filipiniana section of the UP Main Library. A senior lecturer at the UP Institute of Library Science, he has also served as president of the Philippine Librarians Association.

Category: Filipiniana Online


LLE 2005: Taking the Exam

The exam is already next week. If you don't know what to expect, check out "What not to expect in the LLE," where Peachy Limpin writes about what you can expect and shares what Perla Garcia, chair of the Board for Librarians, told her. If you missed all my other posts about the exam, here they are:

LLE 2005: Preparing for D-Day
LLE 2005: Studying for the Exam
LLE 2005: Applying in Person
Librarians' Licensure Examination 2005
You should also go over all the requirements and instructions for the exam days. Bring only what you're supposed to bring, wear what you're told to wear, and try to get a good night's sleep before the exam.

And finally, here's what you need to remember while taking the exam:

  1. Pay attention. Read, understand and follow all of the instructions. Listen to the proctor. No matter how unlikeable s/he may be, you're stuck with your proctor. Some will be very kind, while others will terrorize you. Don't let them affect you. Life is not fair. Get over it.
  2. Be careful. Once you get the answer sheets, check that you have all of them in the proper order, make sure you understand what you're supposed to write before you start writing, and think like the professional that you aspire to be.
  3. Systematize. Will you encircle your choices on the questionnaire first and mark your answer sheet later? Or will you mark your answer sheet after every question? Whatever you decide, remember that you can write on the questionnaire and that the number of the question you are answering should match the number on the answer sheet. Last year, I first answered all the questions I was confident about and marked those that I wasn't sure of—but always making sure that the numbers on the questionnaire and answer sheets matched. After the first pass, I went back to the ones I skipped and spent more time on the questions to which I didn't know the answer or which I thought were tricky.
  4. Pace yourself. When you receive the questionnaire for a particular test, take some time to look at all the pages first so that you have an idea of the kinds of questions you'll be encountering. Make sure you're done with your first pass at half-time. If not, then you're taking too long. Your objective is to answer all the easy questions first, then go back to the hard ones. Stop answering questions during the last five minutes, and start filling in the blank spaces on your answer sheet. Why? If you leave a space blank, you will definitely get a zero for that question. But if you guess blindly, then you will at least have a 25 percent chance of getting one more point.
  5. Don't fight the questions. Some questions will not make sense, but try to make sense out of them anyway. There will be occasions where a word seems to be missing (e.g., not) from the question; see if the choices support your hypothesis and act accordingly. If the question really does not make any sense, focus on the choices and play "spot the difference." You can prepare for these kinds of questions by going back to your mock exams and "playing" with the questions. If you change one word in the question, what will the answer be? If you disregard the questions, can you guess the correct answer just based on the choices?
  6. Finally, focus. This is the moment of truth. It doesn't matter anymore how much or how little time you spent preparing for this exam. This is not the time to torture yourself about the things you should or should not have done before the exam. After each test, try not to discuss the questions and/or answers with other examinees; this practice will only serve to distract you from the next test.
Good luck!

Category: Licensed Librarians



TODAY’S JOKE: Sen. Lito Lapid returned a book to the Senate library. "Walang kwenta ito," he complained, "puro tao, walang istorya." [This is no good; all characters, no story.]

The librarian replied: "So kayo pala ang nag-uwi ng aming telephone directory." [So, you were the one who took home our telephone directory.]

—Neal H. Cruz, "Hey guys, what about the people?" (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 October 2005)
The joke may not be politically correct, but it's very Filipino and shows just how indispensable celebrities are in the Philippines. Lito Lapid, for those who don't know, was an action star before he ran for the Senate. The Senate librarian, of course, goes unnamed.

And in case you've ever wondered if any celebrities aside from Manuel Quezon III are blogging, the following, in alphabetical order, are the ones I know about:

Francis Magalona
In The Freeman Pages, the most famous Filipino rapper writes about his family, feelings, and the work he's doing. Check out his post on how he found out that he made it into an international hiphop book.
Luis Manzano
There is not much evidence that the owner of Lucky me......... is really Luis Manzano, the son of Vilma Santos and Edu Manzano. But who knows, maybe the man who is said to have asked his mother to stop calling him "Lucky" really likes writing poetry.
Jim Paredes
He became famous for being one-third of the Apo Hiking Society, but has also become known for his writing and photography. In Writing on Air, he talks about his work and personal life, and shares a lot of photos. On Jim's Multiply Site, he shares downloadable versions of his solo songs and videos.
Jessica Zafra
In Jessica Zafra's Twisted, the author says in her first post that, "Yes that IS my real name, I AM the columnist slash talk show host, I AM the author of the seven Twisted books (eight if you count Twisted Flicks) and this IS my first and only blog." She just started blogging this month.

Categories: The Philippines, Blogging


Reading and Barangay Libraries

There are actually two stories in "Show kids you read, parents told" by DJ Yap (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 25 October 2005). The first story deals with how parents can encourage their kids to read by reading in front of them. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "the first step is to get people reading—anything—and then, hopefully, they will want to read more." The basis for the story was the four-day conference organized by Sa Aklat Sisikat (SAS) for public school teachers.

The second story involves the "GMA Modular Library program, which will triple the number of barangay libraries from 500 to 1,500 within the next two years." Yap refers to the fact that, "it has been 56 years since a municipal library law was enacted mandating the establishment of 1,000 libraries," but the more relevant law is actually Republic Act No. 7743, which provides for the establishment of "public libraries in every congressional district, city and municipality, and reading centers in every barangay throughout the Philippines." R.A. 7743 was enacted in 1994 and is "a classic example of a law that is good in paper but poor in implementation," according to a press release that quotes Senator Aquilino Pimentel.

Maybe Pimentel's comments did some good, but the inauguration of the GMA Modular Library program is good news, of course. However, I will wait until I see more concrete plans before I start jumping up and down. I am concerned about the fact that the word "librarian" is never mentioned in Yap's article, Pimentel's press release or the press release from the Office of the President. Politicians, contractors, and educators are mentioned prominently in all three, but the name of the one librarian mentioned in the press releases—Prudenciana Cruz, director of the National Library—is misspelled. It looks like these libraries are going to be built without any input from librarians.

Which brings me to the fact that people seem to think that a building with books is already a library. Who will organize the books? Who will train children to look for information using the computers? I'm happy that the government is finally turning its attention to libraries. I can only hope that librarians will be consulted in planning, building and managing these libraries. And maybe someday, librarians will also figure prominently in conferences that seek to promote reading.

Categories: Education, Libraries


Online Newsletters

How will people find out what's happening at the library or what librarians are doing if we don't tell them about it? The following are published by libraries or library associations in the Philippines:

  • The Philippine Association of Academic and Research Librarians has an unnamed publication whose first issue goes back to 1999.
  • The De La Salle University Library has its Newsette, which is available in pdf format from September 2001 onward.
  • Aklatang Emilio Aguinaldo of De La Salle University-Dasmariñas publishes The Bookshelf. Some articles in its latest issue are available online, but all other issues since June 2004 are available as pdf files.
  • The University of the Philippines Library Science Alumni Association set up a blog, UPLSAA Online, as the first draft of its newsletter. (Disclosure: I am the editor of the online and offline versions of the newsletter.)
  • The Philippine Normal University Library and Information Science Alumni Association also blogs at PNU-LIS Updates.
  • Xavier School has its XS GS LRC Blog, which has a lot of photos.
  • And then there's the latest: the International Rice Research Institute Library's What's New at the IRRI Library, which is devoted to current awareness.
What's going on? Could it be that a trend is starting? Blogs are free and easier to update than regular websites. Keep your fingers crossed.

Category: Libraries


FO: Pinoy Ako

"Pinoy Ako" is the theme song of "Pinoy Big Brother." But this post is about the song and not the show. Download the song at pinoy.rickey.org. I modified the lyrics I found at Lyrics! and provided a rough translation of the lyrics below for the benefit of those who can't understand Tagalog.

Some have suggested that the song was copied from another song. I don't mind. If you think about it, adapting (note: some will probably call it stealing) foreign originals is actually very Filipino. Pinoy ako!

Pinoy Ako
(Orange And Lemons)

Lahat tayo'y mayro'ng pagkakaiba
Sa tingin pa lang ay makikita na
Iba’t ibang kagustuhan
Ngunit isang patutunguhan

Gabay at pagmamahal ang hanap mo
Magbibigay ng halaga sa iyo
Nais mong ipakilala
Kung sino ka man talaga
Ikaw ay Pinoy
Ipakita sa mundo
Kung ano ang kaya mo

Ibang-iba ang Pinoy
Wag kang matatakot
Ipagmalaki mo
Pinoy ako, Pinoy tayo
'Pakita mo ang tunay at kung sino ka
Mayro’n mang masama at maganda
Wala namang perpekto
Basta magpakatotoo

Gabay at pagmamahal ang hanap mo
Magbibigay ng halaga sa iyo
Nais mong ipakilala
Kung sino ka man talaga [chorus]

Talagang ganyan ang buhay
Dapat ka nang masanay
Wala ring mangyayari
Kung laging nakikibagay

Ipakilala ang 'yong sarili
Ano man sa 'yo'y mangyayari
Ang lagi mong iisipin
Kayang kayang gawin [chorus]
All of us are different
One look and it's obvious
We like different things
But share similar objectives

You're looking for guidance and love
For what will give meaning to you
You want to let people know
Who you really are
You are Pinoy
Show the world
What you can do

The Pinoy is very different
Don't be afraid
Be proud
I am Pinoy, we are Pinoy
Show the truth and who you are
Both the good and the bad
No one's perfect
Just be true to yourself

You're looking for guidance and love
For what will give meaning to you
You want to let people know
Who you really are [chorus]

That's what life is like
Get used to it
Nothing will happen
If you always try to please

Introduce yourself
Whatever will happen to you
Always keep in mind
That you can do it [chorus]

Category: Filipiniana Online


LLE 2005: Preparing for D-Day

D-Day for those taking the Librarians' Licensure Examination this year will be on Thursday and Friday, November 3-4. If you have not yet begun reviewing for the exam, you still have a few weeks. It's also time to start preparing for the day itself.

Pay attention. The deadline for submission of applications has already passed. You should have all the necessary papers by now. Make sure you read, understand and follow all of the instructions.

Plan ahead. If you can go on leave from work during the week of the exams, do so. (This should be easy because only November 2 and 3 are working days during that week. But I'm not sure if the declaration of November 4 as a holiday will have any effect on the exam.) If you can pass on your household responsibilities to your husband/wife, parents, children, or friends during that week, start making arrangements now. It will be much better if you are not worrying about other things a few days before or, worse, during the exam. And if you can afford to celebrate after the exam, start making plans to go out of town for a few days.

Getting there. The venue will be announced just a few days before the exam. Make sure you are able to find out as soon as possible. Visit the venue before the first day of the exam. Figure out how to get there and how long it will take. If you plan to take public transportation, find out all the possible routes you can take. If you're bringing a car, look around to see where you can park. If you want someone to drive for you, let them know now. Finally, assume that something will go wrong, so prepare backup plans in case your car won't start, there's a rally somewhere, or you wake up late.

Stay healthy. Remember to eat. Not just on the exam days, but also while you're studying. It's very hard to think on an empty stomach. And get some exercise. Studying for many hours without stopping will be counter-productive. Get up after an hour and walk around a little. Better yet, play badminton, go to an aerobics class or swim every other day. Are you the type who gets sick when something important is coming? You better visit a doctor soon.

Category: Licensed Librarians


Preserving Our Cultural Heritage

The International Conference on Challenges in Preserving and Managing Cultural Heritage Resources, organized by the Rizal Library in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and held at the Ateneo de Manila University from 19-20 October 2005, was very enlightening. Below are my notes on some of the more interesting sessions.

Ambeth Ocampo, director of the National Historical Institute and chair of NCCA, spoke about the need to help Filipinos appreciate culture; otherwise, we may not have anything to preserve. No copies of Ocampo's keynote address were given out, but most of what he said appeared in his two most recent columns in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (see "Lack of appreciation for our heritage" and "More Halloween stories on heritage").

Stephen Maxner (Vietnam Archive) shared his experience on the development of the Virtual Vietnam Archive, the technical requirements of their digital library and the importance of taking care of donor relationships. Jose Ignacio (UP Environmental Architecture Lab) showed photos and videos of the stone houses in Batanes, and discussed plans for their restoration.

Teresa Montesa (Asian Development Bank) emphasized the need to identify archival records at the point of creation—and not when these have already deteriorated—while Mages Periasamy (National Library Board, Singapore) pointed out the need to start thinking about preservation at the point of creation. Heather Brown (State Library of South Australia) recommended adoption of the hybrid option—microfilming for posterity and digitizing for accessibility—and referred to the machine that Montesa had described earlier, which microfilms and digitizes at the same time. Brown also spoke about the hands-on preservation classes her library has conducted for children.

Khaw Lake Tee (University of Malaya) distinguished between economic rights (copyright-holder) and moral rights (author)—because authors do not always own the copyrights to their works—and ended up getting asked so many questions that the organizers had to do away with questions for the other speakers. Fe Angela Verzosa (De La Salle University) would have won the Most Entertaining Speaker Award, if one had been given. Verzosa, for instance, referred to documents created with computers as "born digital," and those that need to be converted to digital form as "born again." She also said that Internet users are now looking for full text, rather than catalog or bibliographic information. Amen.

Chuck Sutyla (Lord Cultural Resources Planning and Management) talked about the blurring of boundaries between libraries, museums and archives, and how those in charge should plan for users and not just collections. Yuki Nagano (International Christian University, Japan) showed a video of her library's automated storage system and presented evidence that the system enhanced productivity, expanded storage capacity and will eventually save money for the library.

And then there was the poster presentation by Richard Ragodon on Filipiniana book jackets. I hope this one gets published somewhere.

Overall, the conference was very well organized and the speakers were well-chosen. I just wish that some of the finer details—like reminding participants to put their phones on silent mode or that those who want to ask questions should remember that they are not speakers—were also paid some attention.

Category: The Philippines


Revolting Librarians

Revolting Librarians Revolting Librarians Redux

Thanks to Owen Massey, we can now read most of the out-of-print Revolting Librarians online. The newer Revolting Librarians Redux is on my wish list.

But what exactly is a revolting librarian? The word "revolt" can mean "to rebel." It can also mean "to repel." The former wants to change things, the latter is offensive. Both are represented in Revolting Librarians.

Category: Stereotypes


FO: Journals

Updated on 13 January 2006 to include the Journal of Asian Missions.

Updated on 6 November 2005 to include the following: International Online Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, International Rice Research Notes, Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, PJRReports.
In "Directory of Open Access Journals" (DOAJ), I promised to feature Filipino journals. The following are not all necessarily "open access" as defined by DOAJ, but articles are available for free. If you are interested in reading the journals with "(pdf)" after their titles, you will need to download a free Adobe Reader. Unless otherwise stated, journals are available in print.

Acta Medica Philippina (pdf)
As the title implies, this is a Filipino medical journal. Articles published by the UP College of Medicine from 1993 to 2001 are available.
Asian Development Review (pdf)
It is not, strictly speaking, a Filipino journal because it is published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). However, I have included it in this list since it is published by an institution based in Manila. Articles containing the results of economic and development research carried out by ADB are available from 1997 onward.
East Asian Pastoral Review
Published by the East Asian Pastoral Institute, this theological journal features articles from 1994 to the present. Roman Catholic teachings are emphasized but other Asian religions are represented as well.
International Online Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
The National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development of the University of the Philippines (UP) publishes this journal exclusively on the Internet. The first issue was published in 2001. Please note that UP's server is not always reliable, so if you are not able to access an issue, keep on trying =)
International Rice Research Notes (pdf)
Like the Asian Development Review, it is not, strictly speaking, a Filipino journal, but it is included in this list because the International Rice Research Institute is based in the Philippines. Each issue from 1998 onward is available online.
Journal of Asian Missions (pdf)
The journal is published by the Asia Graduate School of Theology-Philippines. All issues and articles, including editorials and book reviews are available online from the first volume in 1999 to March 2005. Filipino Christians who do not happen to be Catholic will probably appreciate this journal more than the majority of Filipinos, who are predominantly Catholic.
Kritika Kultura (pdf)
This electronic journal (no print counterpart) is published by the Ateneo de Manila University's English Department. Articles on language and literary/cultural studies in the Philippines from 2003 to the present are available.
According to its website, it is "an online monthly literary magazine dedicated to Philippine fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and literary criticism." Eleven issues have been published, but only the full text of the last three issues are available at this time. If you can't access the site (due to limits imposed by GeoCities on sites it hosts for free), try again after an hour. It is not available in print.
Philippine Journal of Development (pdf)
Formerly the Journal of Philippine Development, this journal published by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies has tables of contents from 1974 and full text from 1981-2001. It contains articles on Philippine development, sectoral policy concerns in various countries and development issues in general.
Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine (pdf)
This bimonthly journal is published by the Philippine College of Physicians. Individual articles are available from 2003 onward.
Philippine Journal of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (pdf)
Articles published by the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from 1972 to the present may be viewed, but a few issues from the 1970s and 1980s are not available.
This publication of the Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility is not, strictly speaking, a journal in the conventional sense (i.e., scholarly). But since its articles are written by journalists for fellow journalists, it is used as a reference in journalism classes, and it is not merely a newsletter, I believe it belongs on this list. The first issue appeared in January 2005, but only articles from the March 2005 issue onward are available online. The September-October 2005 issue is in pdf format. Only selected articles are available from each issue. Tip: If there are no text links, click on the covers.

Category: Filipiniana Online, Technical Services


Dying for a Book

In third-world countries... bribery was a way of life. If you wanted to do business in Mexico, it was grease that got you through the doors. You could play the same game in the Philippines, as long as you played by the Filipino rule book.
Booked to Die and The Bookman's Wake are the first two books in John Dunning's series of Cliff Janeway novels. The quote above is from The Bookman's Wake (New York: Pocket Star, 1996), p. 350. It's possible that some Filipinos will be offended by the quote, but on the same day that I finished The Bookman's Wake, the person who sold me the computer that I'm using now gave me an overview of how some Internet cafes bribe their way to profitability, so I'd say that Dunning is pretty much right. Oh, and yes, I'll be blogging more regularly now =)

Back to the books. I bought both of them for a total of 227 pesos at Books for Less on Roces Avenue. The books are so good that I finished them in less than three days. These mysteries, however, are not for everyone. Aside from the murders, there are, of course, lots of book collecting trivia and literary allusions, not to mention a character driven to a killing spree because of a spelling error! And I thought I had a bad case of editor-itis.

By the way, please let me know if you have a copy of "the Filipino rule book" that Dunning refers to in the quote above. Let's make copies for all the bewildered foreigners and law-abiding Filipinos who can't understand how business should be done in the Philippines. I'm sure many are dying to get their hands on such a book.

Category: Books and Movies


Blograrians' Questions and Answers

In "Sex in the Library," I asked: "why is it that some students are proud of the fact that they graduated from school without ever setting foot in the library?" DIY Librarian suggests an answer in "Are we just 'the help'?" In answer to her question, I said that my reply would differ if the word "just" were not part of the question.

In "Who Am I, Anyway?" I asked whether the little experience I've had so far qualified me to call myself a librarian. Well, I got a few supportive comments, but for more comprehensive information on what it is that librarians do, see the five-part series (so far) by Rambling Librarian on "Questions about becoming a librarian" (1 2 3 4 5) and the three-part series by The Gypsy Librarian on "What [do] I do as a librarian?" (1 2 3). And then there's Filipina Teacher-Librarian who remembered in "Who you gonna call?" that librarians are the best persons to call for help with information.

Yes, we do help. But nope, we are not just "the help."

Category: Librarians


Talkin' Blogs on Library Journal

Talkin' BlogsIn "Talkin' Blogs," a few blograrians "discuss the impact of blogging on library practice." There's also an interview with the anonymous Feel-good Librarian, who once wrote in "On the good ship Librarian" that

We hold hands. We open eyes. We walk through doors with people through the information we provide. We boldly go where no one has gone before, through teaching people to read, showing them new possiblities, giving them options. One piece of information has the power to change someone's life, and we get to do it every day. Every day!
See also "Creating Your Niche on the Net" by Marylaine Block, where she talks about blograrians who got in on the ground floor and are now the recognized experts in their field. This is already happening here, where librarians have begun setting up blogs that are not about purely personal matters: School Librarian in Action, Filipina Teacher-Librarian, and Filipino Public School Librarians.

Category: Biblioblogosphere


By Vernon R. Totanes

Updated October 11: added Malaya link and 2 more newspapers.
PCIJ: GMA supporters outspent rivals in the battle of the ads, but did they win it?
Malaya (page 1): GMA camp spent P22M in "Battle of the Ads"
Manila Times (page 3): GMA allies outspent rivals in ads
ABS-CBN Interactive: GMA allies outspent rivals in ads
Sun Star Cebu: Pals pay P22M for Glo ad blitz
Business World (page 11): GMA supporters outspent rivals in ad battle, but did they win it? [Only paid subscribers can access this.]
Cebu Daily News: [I've been told that the article appeared in the October 10 issue, but I can't find the link. Please leave a comment below if you can find it.]
I always dreamed of seeing my name on the front page of a newspaper. Well, it just happened—in a newspaper difficult to buy on the streets or find in a library. But that's good enough for me =)

And since this post has "Bida ako" [I'm the star] written all over it, I might as well let you know that there are links to the PCIJ version of the article under INQ7's "Other Top Stories" and Inside PCIJ, and that there's a nice photo you might want to check out at the garapata can speak....

In case any of you are wondering how this apolitical librarian ended up writing for the very political PCIJ, I actually submitted an application for the position of librarian, and got a call asking if I was interested in writing an article for them.

I'd like to think I got offered the job because of my good looks... but it's more likely that this blog—and being in the right place at the right time—had something to do with it.

For what it's worth, I always thought my name would make it into the news for something trashy like "Kris dumps James for Von!" =P

Category: About Vonjobi


Heaven on Earth?

What kind of heaven can one possibly find on the sixth floor of a building in Manila?

What kind of madness happens in the morning in thematic, bliss and heaven rooms? And the difference between heaven and bliss is only 25 pesos? Only in the Philippines =)

If only getting to heaven were so easy...

Category: The Philippines


Are Bookstores Better Than Libraries?

Vanny Bicomong, a friend and former classmate who now markets books for a living, sent the following email in reaction to "Sex in the Library."

Very interesting questions you raised about marketing a library. In the end, the best way to know the answer is to talk to the consumer. Why don't we go around asking friends who love to read -- why don't you go to the library? If I were one of the consumers, my answers would be as follows:

1) The library is too far from me. (By Library, I only know of the National Library or the Ateneo Library -- I don't know of others I can enter.)
2) The books in libraries are old and outdated. If I wanted the latest titles, it's better for me to go to Powerbooks and browse there.
3) Library ambience is not as good as Powerbooks. Libraries bring back memories of school research, Powerbooks is more envigorating.

If there were a library near my house, and it had excellent quality of books and ambience (and even offer drinks and snacks) I'd be willing to pay a small fee to be able to use such a library.
I can understand where Vanny is coming from, but I'll hold off on giving my comments until after I ask for your comments. In short, let's do a little survey =)
  • If you are a librarian, what would you tell people who prefer bookstores to libraries?
  • If you are not a librarian, why don't you use libraries?
Please leave a comment below or send me an email at von-dot-totanes-at-gmail-dot-com. I'd also appreciate it if you asked your friends who buy a lot of books to read this post and leave a comment. You may also wish to answer the question on your blog and just tell me about it.

Category: Libraries



I had confidently began the day reading the newspapers.
Once upon a time, business people had some loose change laying around the house.
What's wrong with these sentences? Check out "The troublesome verbs" by Asuncion David Maramba (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 5 October 2005).

Category: Education


Who Am I, Anyway?

"Who am I, anyway? Am I my resumé?" is a line from the musical A Chorus Line. Well, what's on my resumé anyway? I always say that I'm a "licensed librarian" and that I have a master's degree in library and information science. I also provide a link to this blog.

But am I really a librarian just because I have a license to practice? What if I am not physically working in a library and have had minimal experience working in one? And what if I am better known for what I've done online as Filipino Librarian, rather than for anything that I've accomplished in a real library?

Then again, what is a "real" library? Can the "reference questions" I've answered through this blog qualify as "experience"? Google searches for "Filipino librarian" and "Philippines librarian" will lead to this blog. But just because Google says it is so, doesn't make it true.

I spoke about the Christian concept of the "already but not yet" when I took my oath as a licensed librarian. I even said that "life is a process of becoming what we already are—but not yet." I am definitely a licensed librarian with an MLIS, and undoubtedly Filipino. But librarian?

Category: About Vonjobi


Filipino Newbie at SLA's Annual Conference

SLA's Asian Chapter has published my impressions of the Toronto conference in its latest newsletter. Longer versions of most of what I wrote in "Filipino Newbie at SLA's Annual Conference" (pdf) have already appeared in this blog before, except for "Getting there" and "Looking forward."

Categories: SLA 2005, About Vonjobi


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...