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Overview of Filipino Librarian

Vernon Von Vonjobi TotanesLast week, J Baumgart invited me to attend Thursday Meetings at Berkman. This week, she asked me to tell the group about my blogging experience. And so I did.

I didn't realize that the guy by the door had taken my picture, and that someone was live-blogging, but it's a good thing they did.

If you're new to this blog and/or would like to know more about the history of this blog, read Erica's meeting notes. It's second-hand—i.e., I probably would have phrased a few things in a different way—but it's quite accurate.

You can verify what's in the notes by searching this blog or looking more closely at the sidebar on the right. But to see what this blog looked like on 25 February 2005 (featuring my second post!), you'll have to go to the Internet Archive.

Category: About Filipino Librarian


FO: The Philippines According
to the US Military

Americans and Filipinos fought against each other during the Philippine Revolution, joined forces during World War II, and pretty much had a love-hate relationship during the twentieth century. The US bases are gone now, but the US military still arouses different emotions among Filipinos.

It is perhaps appropriate to look at how American military historians have written about the Philippines 60 years after the US granted our country its independence on the Fourth of July.

The following sites feature entire books, photos and maps about US military involvement in the Philippines:
You may wish to use each site's search engine, but using Google might be easier, especially if you wish to look for images, too. The following syntax will allow you to search the sites listed above using Google:

site:www.xxx.mil keyword

Please note that there is no space between the colon and "www"; you need to replace "xxx" and "keyword" with the appropriate letters or words; and remember that you can use this same syntax to search any site using Google.
Or you can click on the links below to search the sites above using the keyword "Philippines":

Some of the more interesting items are:

Category: Filipiniana Online


SLA 2006: The Sessions

I don't think I'm ever going to have time to put my notes together for SLA, so here are links to notes, photos, slides—even a podcast!—on the sessions I attended, plus other sites that you can check for other sessions.

Gwen Ifill: Opening General Session
Notes: The Information Auditor, InfoToday Blog
Photo: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Ken Haycock: Developing Leadership
Notes: Library Buzz
Photo: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Podcast: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Gary Price and Genie Tyburski: New Web Tools
Notes: Info Today
Photo: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Slides: Gary Price, Genie Tyburski
Bloggers Meet
Photos: Flickr, SLA 2006 Conference Blog
List: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Jenny Levine: How to Use RSS to Know More and Do Less
Notes: InfoToday Blog
Photos: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Slides: The Shifted Librarian
Mary Ellen Bates: Becoming A Value-Added Information Professional
Notes: Library Buzz, InfoToday Blog
Photo: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
Slides: Bates Information Services (pdf)
Walt Mossberg: Closing General Session
Notes: InfoToday Blog
Photo: SLA 2006 Conference Blog
There are more photos and notes on the SLA 2006 Conference Blog and the InfoToday Blog, but check out the detailed notes, too, on the following blogs: Confessions of a Mad Librarian, Data Obsessed, and The Information Auditor.

Presentation slides will be made available on the SLA website, but quite a few (ppt and pdf) are already up at the following websites: Bates Information Services, the Business and Finance Division, and the News Division.

Category: SLA 2006


Singgalot and the Fourth of July

One week from today, the United States of America will celebrate Independence Day. The Philippines also used to celebrate its independence on the same day. But not anymore.

This year marks the 100th year of the arrival of the first group of Filipino sakadas in Hawaii. To commemorate the event, the Smithsonian's Ripley Center came up with "Singgalot: The Ties that Bind," an exhibition that
explores the challenges and issues that confronted Filipinos from the annexation of the Philippines as a U.S. colony in 1898 to their struggles to acquire full U.S. citizenship during the 20th century.
The exhibit will run in Washington, DC, until 20 August 2006. I don't know what language the word "singgalot" came from, but it doesn't seem to be a Tagalog term. And no, I don't think it's another way of saying sing-a-lot =)

There is a website that allows you to view the 30 panels in the exhibition, but while clicking on each panel leads to a larger image, these are not big enough to read the text. And that's why I've uploaded the photos I took while I was at the exhibit.
Click on the photos below if you want to read the text. If you're using Internet Explorer, after the larger image appears, point your mouse at the photo, wait until a small box appears in the lower right corner, and click on that to see the full photo. If you're using Firefox, after the larger image appears, all you have to do is click on the photo =)

If you're not good at geography, the panel on the left will help you understand just how far the Philippines is from the United States. The center panel indicates how many Filipino-Americans are in the different states, and while California and Hawaii are quite obvious, Illinois was a bit of a surprise. The panel on the right is significant because while it gets the facts right, it never mentions the term "Philippine revolution."

The three panels above trace the progression of the status of Filipino immigrants from "labor recruits" to "war brides" to "skilled workers." If you don't want to—or can't—read the text, just look at the photos to see what I mean.

The two panels above reflect the change in status that Filipino-Americans have achieved over the years. The left panel reproduces the photo of the entrance to a hotel in the 1930s (it says, "Positively No Filipinos Allowed"), while the right panel shows photos of an Eliseo Silva mural, Jacky Agtuca, NVM Gonzales, Lt. Gen. Antonio Taguba, Jessica Hagedorn, Venancio Igarta, Cristeta Comerford and Cheryl Diaz Meyer. Nope, sorry, Jasmine Trias wasn't part of the exhibit =)

I wasn't really able to celebrate Philippine independence day last June 12, except through this post, but it will be impossible to miss the fireworks here in Boston, the "official headquarters for America's biggest Independence Day party," on July 4. I don't know how the Filipino-Americans featured in Singgalot felt on their first Independence Day in the US, but I certainly will have mixed feelings =)

Category: The Philippines


Broken Links

If you have been clicking on links on this blog that don't work, please email me at von-dot-totanes-at-gmail-dot-com, so that I can see if anything can be done.

No one, for instance, emailed me about the link to Jimmy Lopez's speech about "Manuel Quezon and the National Language," but I noticed that it seems to be quite in demand (students doing research, perhaps?), so I looked for a solution, and now it's working just fine.

Anyway, there's another broken (brokeback? LOL!) link—which also seems to be quite popular—that I can't fix, but I do have a copy that I can share if you ask nicely. You'll just have to guess what it is (hint: click on the link above) because I don't want any lawyers sending me threatening letters =)

Category: About Filipino Librarian


Outstanding Librarian 2006:
Fe Angela M. Verzosa

Fe Angela M. VerzosaFe Angela M. Verzosa
University Archivist
De La Salle University, Manila

The Professional Regulation Commission conferred the Outstanding Professional Librarian of the Year Award on Fe Angela M. Verzosa in 2006. The citation reads:

For her unparalleled achievements shown by her vast experiences as organizer of heritage collections here and abroad, sharing her expertise in the twin areas of librarianship and archival science, effecting strategic changes, providing better access to library sources and preserving materials of enduring value for the sake of national heritage; for her competence and outstanding leadership, having served as President of the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc. (PLAI), in 2000, and as a recipient of numerous awards, such as the "Academic Librarian of the Year 1996," the Cirilo B. Perez Award, "Tagahabi ng Kasaysayan" Award, Severino Velasco Award, and the prestigious Gabriel Bernardo Award; for her unmatched contributions as a globally-recognized speaker and trainor, which earned her the ASEAN Training Award from Singapore's Foreign Ministry; and for her exemplary achievements in the advancement of her profession as an active member of the De La Salle University ranked faculty, the Faculty Association's Board of Directors and the Technical Panel, supporting the negotiation for a new Faculty Manual and its revision.

Thanks to Susima Gonzales and Lilia Echiverri for providing the citation. The photo was provided by Elvie Lapuz.

Category: Librarians—Awardees


Manny "Pac Man" Pacquiao vs Oscar "Chololo" Larios

On Sunday, 2 July 2006, what happened on 22 January 2006—when Manny Pacquiao beat Erik Morales—will happen again. Nope, I'm not saying that Pacquiao will beat Oscar Larios (but I hope he does!). As I wrote about the Pacquiao-Morales fight, "Filipinos in the Philippines—not to mention all over the world—will be watching." Traffic in the country will stop, the crime rate will go down to zero for a few hours, and even those who don't like boxing will know that the fight is going on.

But this fight will be different. The last fight was in Las Vegas, Nevada. This one will be in Pacquiao's hometown, specifically Araneta Coliseum, where the Ali-Frazier "Thrilla in Manila" was fought almost 31 years ago. Try to imagine what will happen if Germany makes it to the World Cup finals while it's being held there. True, this boxing match is not quite on that level, but that may as well be the case when it comes to Filipinos who need a hero amid the endless politicking in our country.

If you're a Filipino or just interested in the fight, check out the following sites:

Pacquiao vs Larios: Mano a Mano
This is the official website. Read their bios and compare their stats. And since this is basically a Filipino website for Filipinos, click on "Multimedia" if you want to download wallpapers for your cellular phone =)
If you're not in the Philippines or won't have a TV at fight time, but you do have a computer with broadband access, subscribe to the video service so you can watch the fight live ($30). Or call up DirecTV and watch it as a pay-per-view event ($39.95).
If you're wondering who Larios is, watch him talk about himself, get interviewed in Japanese (!) about his fight with Pacquiao, and see him lose to Israel Vasquez. And then there's the video of Morales losing to Pacquiao, and the full trailer of Pacquiao, the movie that opened in Manila a few days ago.
News and Blogs
If you really can't watch the fight on TV or online, news updates will be available on Google News, Yahoo! News, and Topix.net. Or you can check out what bloggers are saying on Technorati and Google Blog Search.
See photos of Pacquiao beating up Morales, check out Pacquiao's bio and record, and realize that Larios does not appear anywhere on HBO's site.
This website devoted to Pacquiao has the latest news from different sources, plus information about all previous fights and a forum for his fans.

Category: The Philippines


Live from the Berkman Center

Berkman Center
I'm now at the Berkman Center for the weekly meeting (they have an agenda!) of the Thursday Meetings at Berkman group, on the invitation of J Baumgart, whom I met at the blogger's informal meeting at last year's SLA conference in Toronto. That's her on the left in the photo below. (Note: I took the photo because of the four Macs. And there were only seven people in the room then.)

Thursday Meetings at Berkman
I'm learning a lot here that I'll be using for future posts. The photo below was taken when there were already nine people in the room. Check out the laptop in the photo below. It's proof that I'm liveblogging this =)

Thursday Meetings at Berkman

Category: Blogging


Librarians Perform Miracles!

Librarians Perform Miracles!
Ok, that's not a real church sign. But I'd like to believe that there are a few people who think librarians can turn water into wine—figuratively, of course =)

A librarian "action" figure has actually been made because someone said that, "the people who really perform miracles everyday are librarians" (see "Able To 'Shush' All Buildings With A Single Sound?"). The "action" may tend to reinforce stereotypes, but the person on which the action figure is based goes beyond stereotypes. Read an interview with Nancy Pearl on LISNews.

Nancy Pearl
If you'd like to generate your own church signs, check out Church Sign Generator. It's easy!

Category: Humor


Brand Philippines

This morning I went to the supermarket here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to buy rice. And what did I find? "100% Thai jasmine rice." With microwaving instructions. There was no sign of "Philippine pandan rice." I don't think I'd find that anywhere in the world. (If I'm wrong, please let me know.)

Right before I bought the rice, I was reading an article that asserted that the anti-outsourcing efforts by US politicians actually improved the brand image of outsourcing countries like India and the Philippines. And this reminded me that countries themselves can, in fact, be "brands."

What is the Philippines known for? Export-quality Filipinas, entertainers, nurses, teachers, pilots, etc., and call center agents who can speak with an American accent. Sure, there are probably a few products here and there, some tourist destinations, and "People Power," but overall, I think we are rightly known for our people. And that's not counting Imelda Marcos. But I digress.

This is the reason I started looking at Google Trends. Why is it that more Filipinos than foreigners are Googling "Philippines," while more non-Thais, relatively speaking, are searching for "Thailand"? Could it be that only Filipinos want to find out about the Philippines? And why is it that Thailand—a country that benefited from rice technology developed in the Philippines—is now better known for its rice than the Philippines?

The answer lies in the fact that "Thailand" is a better brand than "Philippines." Its food is better known than ours. When was the last time you heard about a Filipino restaurant abroad other than Jollibee? And in terms of tourism, Thailand's industry was badly affected by the tsunami catastrophe, but Philippine tourism didn't quite catch up.

Please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Thailand, Jollibee or Filipinos who decide to work overseas. I just wish the Philippines could be better represented on supermarket shelves around the world, or that Filipinos wouldn't have to go abroad to be better paid. Actually, the former has a lot to do with the latter. If we could export more of our goods, we'd have more money to pay Filipinos to work at home. It's not that simple, of course, but I hope you understand what I mean.

In a 2003 speech before advertising executives, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo spoke of "Brand Philippines," which was recently defined by Commission on Information and Communications Technology commissioner Dondi Mapa, as "a program that promotes local products and tourist destinations of the Philippines." Just how much have you heard about this recently? Well, I hope "Brand Philippines" takes off somehow.

I don't really have any answers as to why "Philippines" is not better known, but I think Google can provide a clue. Look at the results for "Filipino" and "Thai." While I should probably be happy that this blog is in the top 10 results for "Filipino"—along with all the other Fil-Am sites—the "Thai" results are much more varied. Maybe there are other explanations, but could it be that Filipinos are less aware—or, perhaps, less proud—of their brand? And could that be the reason they keep Googling "Philippines"? =)

Anyway, in case you're interested, this Filipino was able to cook the Thai rice in the microwave—something that I didn't think was even possible.

Category: The Philippines


Google Trends

Of the online searchers who Google the terms "Philippines" and "Thailand," those who look for the former tend to be Filipinos, while a greater percentage of those who search for the latter are very likely non-Thais. My source? Google Trends.

Google Trends Philippines Thailand
If you look at the graph carefully, you'll see that those searching for "Thailand" are slightly more than those looking for "Philippines," except for one point when the gap widened dramatically. To find out what the reason was, Google Trends provides links to webpages that provide some background on certain points on the graph. Check out the image below.

Google Trends Philippines Thailand
But the proof for my assertion in the first paragraph may be seen in the difference between the two tables below. The first is a search for "Philippines" and "Thailand," while the second is for "Thailand" and "Philippines" (yes, the order of terms matters on search engines). The first table shows that most of those looking up the term "Philippines" come from cities in the Philippines, while the second lists only one city in Thailand among ten cities where the term "Thailand" was Googled.

Google Trends Philippines Thailand
Google Trends Philippines Thailand
What does this mean? I'll be writing about the implications in my next post. In the meantime, learn more "About Google Trends," check out Micro Persuasion's "25 Things I Learned on Google Trends" (e.g., Google is more popular than God), and see ResearchBuzz's comparison of searches for "Clay Aiken" and "Taylor Hicks." And don't forget Pinoy Tech Blog's "Google reveals what Pinoys are fond of…" (i.e., "friendster," "call center," "gay sex").

It's a Google Labs product, so this means it's not quite ready for prime time, but it's going to be useful for getting an idea of what people are interested in all over the world at certain points in time and what, if anything, triggered their searches.

Category: Internet


SLA 2005: Filipino Librarian in Wonderland

Nope, that's not a typo. That's really "SLA 2005." It just occurred to me to check that what I wrote for the Business and Finance Division's Bulletin was published. And yes, it appeared in the Fall 2005 issue (pdf). See pages 47-49. It's very similar to what I wrote for the Asian Chapter, but with a different emphasis.

Category: SLA 2005, About Vonjobi


Sol Angala: Filipina

Sol Angala: Filipina
That's Teacher Sol, , in front of the school where she teaches in Washington, DC. Her husband, who has a degree in library and information science, took a photo of us, which she then posted in "I Met The 'Filipino Librarian'." What else did we do besides catch up with each other like old friends? Like all good Filipinos, we ate. She and her husband treated me to a lunch buffet.

I don't quite remember anymore how we "met" online, but it was definitely in April or May 2005. Soon after, I made a suggestion regarding one of the blogs she set up, and woke up one day as the Links Moderator of Pinoy Teachers Network! That's how she operates =)

Category: Filipina


"Brokeback Mountain" - One More Time

One of the more popular posts on this blog seems to be the one where I linked to the text of "Brokeback Mountain" by Annie Proulx. But due to the nature of the Internet—and a few lawyers, I think—none of the links work anymore. If you're one of those who got here because of that post, email me at von-dot-totanes-at-gmail-dot-com. I'd like to know exactly how many have been disappointed by the brokeback links =)

Category: Books and Movies


Philippine eLib in Trouble

"RP e-Library project faces possibility of being shutdown"

The title of Erwin Oliva's article (INQ7.net, 18 June 2006) says it all. The problem lies, I believe, in the project's business model. First of all, it's a "project." It can be shut down any time. Second, relying on government funding in a country that has neglected libraries for so long is like wishing that Filipino politicians would start working for the good of the country instead of their own families. In short, it's not going to happen any time soon. And finally, the effort to make the eLib self-sustaining doesn't seem to be very serious.

What do I mean? More than a year ago (19 April 2005), here's what the e-Lib website said about subscriptions: "For Corporate Subscriptions, please contact us at: +63-XXX-XXXX or email us at XXX@elib.gov.ph (see Registration Form)." A month later (30 May 2005), it was announced that, "this June a prepaid card system for individual subscribers [will] be made available in P100, P300, P500 and P1,000 denominations."

Now, more than a year later, the membership page has been updated so that would-be corporate subscribers have a real contact number and email address to use (if they look hard enough), but it still says on another page that, "Institutional membership/subscription is not yet available at this time. Please wait for announcements." And all it says about prepaid cards is that, "Prepaid cards will be made available later, please keep posted."

The last time I wrote about the eLib (16 November 2005), I said that, "Perhaps those behind the Philippine eLib need to promote their product more." But I think the solution to the current problem lies not with local customers paying for the use of foreign databases.

As I wrote last year (19 April 2005), "local databases that foreign libraries might want to subscribe to do not seem to be available through the eLib." I believe that the eLib will earn more from institutions like the Library of Congress and libraries with sizeable Southeast Asian collections, which will pay significantly more than prepaid-card amounts for access to digitized Filipiniana materials.

Maybe someday...

Category: Libraries


Father's Day: A Personal Story

Today is Father's Day. And since I'm in the United States with no way of giving my father a gift, let me just share this story...

I was about 4 or 5 years old. The entire clan was in Pansol, Laguna, for a swimming party because my lola (grandmother) had come home from Canada, along with some of my father's siblings.

I still remember very clearly that I saw my lola floating in the middle of one of the pools with my cousins. I wanted to join them. And so, I started walking toward them. I entered the pool and continued walking. Pretty soon, I could see my lola's legs from under the water. And that's the last thing I remember.

The next thing I knew, I was in a hospital. It would be many years before I fully understood what happened. But the short story is that I drowned. Not almost drowned—drowned. I wasn't breathing. I was blue. I was dead.

The lifeguard noticed that I wasn't moving under the water and got me out. But he didn't know how to administer CPR. It's a good thing my dad knew how. That's how my father literally breathed life into me. And I never really thanked him for it.

This post is my Father's Day gift for my dad. But he's given me so much more.

Categories: Events, About Vonjobi


Ivan Chew — Rambling Librarian

Updated June 18 to include two corrections and one note.

In "I've got a verbYL t-shirt," Ivan Chew—better known online as Rambling Librarian—posts two photos of himself wearing a t-shirt, but doesn't show his face. Well, he's not against disclosing his identity, but he is reluctant to let his neighbors know that he's Rambling Librarian.

With some prodding from me, he allowed me to post his photo. As he says, "I guess I have to assume that 'people know where I live.'"

Ivan Chew — Rambling Librarian
That's him demonstrating the use of the automated machine for borrowing and returning books at the Jurong Regional Library.

Chew is anything but a stereotypical librarian. He is, I believe, the first librarian to have started blogging as a librarian in this part of the world. And he now has several blogs, including showcases for his artworks and podcasts. He has conducted blogging seminars, most notably in South Africa, and has even started the group Singapore Librarians for Empowerment & Advocacy for the Disabled.

In addition, his personal blogging has led his colleagues to consider institutional blogging (see High Browse Online) as a means to reach out to its customers (correction: "has led his colleagues" should be "contributed to the effort"). Check out the book chats they started last June 13 with Tuesdays With Morrie. You can even join their future chats on July 4 ("Mid-Autumn") and July 25 (The Kite Runner).

I first "met" Chew online in April 2005 when he sent me an email (correction: left a comment) and wrote, "Would love to know if there are more of such Liblogarians like yourself :)" That was less than two months after I started this blog, but it would take more than a year before I would meet him in person (note: he left the comment on 3 April 2005; we met in Singapore on 4 April 2006). That's basically what's been happening with all the people I've been meeting lately =)

Category: Librarians


Wanted: Librarians

Are you looking for a job as a librarian? Just in case you didn't know, you don't have to buy the Sunday newspapers to check out the classified ads. Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Daily Inquirer have online versions that can be searched without having to get ink on your hands. Sadly, no openings for librarians are available at this time.

But not to worry, there are other websites you can explore that do have existing openings:

You should also check out LibraryLink's Talakayan Board, which has a thread devoted to Job Vacancies.

These are nothing, however, compared with the 41 vacancies—yes, 4-1—in the United States as listed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration since 25 May 2006. This probably has something to do with the fact that "librarian" is one of the five professions listed in "Today's Most Unpopular Jobs" by Laura Morsch (CareerBuilder.com, 6 February 2006)—along with "registered nurse."

But don't jump up and down just yet. Read "The Entry Level Gap" by Rachel Holt and Adrienne Strock (Library Journal, 1 May 2005), which indicates that those with more experience are more likely to be hired.

Category: Librarians


Feedback on "I am a Librarian"

From Sabs Alejandrino, New York:

Good video! You know it's funny how I've forgotten the stereotype of a librarian has been in the Phils. Since we've been here, we've been taking the kids to the library quite often as they have lots of activities, and the librarians here are as cool, friendly and hip as the Starbucks employees in Manhattan. What strikes me is their service orientation, especially to kids as they're all aware that you have to catch them while they're young, to make lifelong readers. It doesn't matter what they read, comic books, magazines, etc. as long as they have printed material in front of them daily (di naman siguro porn no?). My son gets to read Yu-giyoh and Power ranger books along with his robotics and dinosaur ones which he gets to check out every week in the school library and in our community library.
It looks like American librarians have a better image than Filipino librarians, especially if you read "The Library: Next Best Thing to an MBA" by Stacy Perman (BusinessWeek, 30 May 2006).

But considering that a few blograrians linked to my "I am a Librarian" video, maybe stereotypes haven't been totally eliminated in the United States. Check out the following:
Categories: Stereotypes, About Filipino Librarian


SLA 2006 Conference Blog

Just in case any of you are wondering what I've been doing at SLA's conference in Baltimore, I've been taking photos of the sessions I've attended and doing some "live" blogging at the SLA 2006 Conference Blog.

I don't know that people even notice that photos are up within minutes of the beginning of the sessions, but hey, it's better than posts delayed by several months, like what happened last year =)

The following are the posts I've written in the past three days for the conference blog:

Walter Mossberg: No Powerpoint!
5,844 participants!
Successful Competitive Intelligence Models
Is that what I think it is?
Mary Ellen Bates on Becoming a Value-Added Information Professional
The Shifted Librarian on How to Use RSS to Know More and Do Less
Business Meeting Starts
Gary and Genie on New Web Tools
Photo of "The bloggers got together!"
Ken Haycock on Developing Leadership
Gwen Ifill wanted to be a librarian
If you want to know what Jenny Levine and Gary Price look like, I suggest you click through. And one of these days, I'll post the photo of the Lipstick Librarian =)

Category: SLA 2006


"Books" on Bamboo Tubes

mangyan bamboo texts

Aside from the Ate Vi issue of Liwayway that I saw at the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress, I also found some examples of "early Filipino writing in Indic script incised on bamboo tubes."

And though I was not able to make an appointment in advance, Kathryn Wellen (see photo below, right) was kind enough to show me the bamboo tubes for real. The tubes, incidentally, are Wellen's grab-and-run items in case of emergency. Yes, these bamboo tubes are the most important in the entire Southeast Asian collection.

mangyan bamboo texts mangyan bamboo texts mangyan bamboo texts kathryn wellen
Click on the photos to see larger versions.

As John Reyes, the Filipino who used to work for the Asian Division, once wrote,
These specimens of Filipino writing in old Indic script were gathered on the island of Mindoro around 1938. This collection of 55 bamboos in prose and 22 in verse provides a glimpse into Mangyan (Hampangan) and Tagbanua society.
mangyan bamboo texts

Wellen also took me to the Rare Book and Special Collections Reading Room, where she got the librarian on-duty to show me what is probably the only existing copy of the Doctrina Christiana. I wasn't allowed to touch the book or take photos, but... wow!

Unlike the Doctrina Christiana, the bamboo tubes shown above are not available online. And so, I suppose this post will have to suffice until the Library of Congress decides to "digitize" the bamboo tubes.

Category: The Philippines


Librarians and Ask.com

In the video above, the founder of Ask.com says "If librarians love us, then I think the world should love us too" (via librarian.net). But have you even heard of this search engine? I believe more and more people will be using this search engine in the months to come.

Some of its more useful features are the icons of binoculars (see balloon below), which shows a preview of the webpage when users point their mouse at it; individual hits can be saved; and there are options in the sidebar to "Narrow Your Search," "Expand Your Search," and "Related Names" (click on the image to view the webpage).

ask.com filipina
For more information about the video and Ask.com, see "The New Ask.com TV Commercial" by Gary Price.

Category: Internet


PCIJ features Aklatang Pambata

Troy Lacsamana

Troy Lacsamana with mascot Clifford and children
who attended a storytelling session last December 2005.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has featured Aklatang Pambata, the children's library set up by Troy Lacsamana, in a podcast. Lacsamana is identified as a "professional librarian" in the podcast, unlike a newspaper article that neglected to even mention that he was a librarian.

The podcast tells the story of how the library was set up, emphasizes the importance of developing the love for reading among children, shares interviews with volunteers and the children, and includes examples of storytelling sessions done by storytellers and even by the kids themselves.

The 14-minute podcast was produced and narrated in Tagalog by Vinia Datinguinoo.

Category: Libraries


FO: Doctrina Christiana, 1593

See also "The First Books Printed in the Philippines."

Doctrina Christiana
Not everything shows up on search engines. If you would like to read Doctrina Christiana, one of the two books which are said to have been the first to be printed in the Philippines, Google and Yahoo! will most likely lead you to Project Gutenberg's text-only version. But because search engines don't normally show results from the "invisible" or "deep" web, you probably won't find the "digital book" version. And yes, that means you can read the entire book online almost as if you were turning the pages of this very rare book printed in 1593.

  1. The site indicates that there are 91 pages, but the text appears only on pages 5 to 80.
  2. If you would like to know how the book was preserved, check out the eighth item in "Books: Preserving the the Nation's Heritage at the Library of Congress."

Category: Filipiniana Online


Onofre Pagsanghan: Filipino

Mabuhay! Today is Independence Day. And the birthday of someone who helped me grow and achieve my own independence.

Onofre R. Pagsanghan is a teacher. He began teaching at the Ateneo de Manila High School in 1951, taught both English and Filipino for more than four decades, became one of the first awardees of Metrobank's Search for Outstanding Teachers in 1985, and continues to be recognized for his teaching not only by the Ateneo, but by other national organizations as well.

Mr. Pagsi, as his students fondly call him, has utilized and continues to utilize theatre as a means to teach not just English and Filipino, but Christian values as well. He began "teaching" theatre as moderator of the Ateneo High School Dramatics Society in 1955, managed its transition into Dulaang Sibol in 1966, and has won recognition as a playwright and director in the succeeding decades.

He married Florinda Duran in 1960. They have three children: Stella, Joel, and Sylvia. He was born in Manila on 12 June 1927.

For more information, read his curriculum vitae.

Category: Events


SLA 2006: "Live" blogging Gwen Ifill and Widharto

SLA's annual conference in Baltimore has just started. The opening keynote is still ongoing and I've already posted a photo of Gwen Ifill on the SLA 2006 Conference Blog.

Before the keynote, it was satisfying to watch Widharto, an Indonesian librarian who obtained his MLS at the University of the Philippines, receive a Diversity Leadership Development Award.

Widharto Widharto Widharto

Category: SLA 2006


Floating Libraries

You've heard of book mobiles, but have you ever heard of floating libraries? Well, check out "Agusan Sur opens 'floating library'" by Ben Serrano (Sun.Star, 9 June 2006). It really looks like the private sector is now taking over the role that government should be playing. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Category: Libraries


SSP: First Day

Society for Scholarly Publishing
The Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) ends today. Yesterday, I attended the two plenary sessions as a librarian, one of the publishers' customers, and as a freelance book producer who could only wish that the industry in the Philippines were better appreciated.

The photo above shows the first slide of the presentation by Marshall Keys. Chaotic transitions are indeed in the cards. And that was apparent not just from Keys' presentation, but also at the other sessions. I will be writing about the plenary sessions and the other sessions I attended yesterday and today as soon as I get the time =)

Category: SSP


The Library of Congress

Vilma SantosYup, that's Ate Vi on the cover of Liwayway. And yes, it's under a glass case. But guess what? I took this photo at the Library of Congress.

I joined the public tour, but it was not until I thought of asking whether there was a Filipino librarian in the building that my visit turned into something beyond my wildest expectations.

My curiosity led me to the Asian Reading Room, where Kathryn Wellen, reference librarian and specialist on Southeast Asia, took me behind the scenes and showed me what many tourists don't see on the regular tour.

Library of Congress
She took me through the endless corridors (left), introduced me to Rann, the technician who has to deal with the many Southeast Asian languages (center), and brought me to the digitization lab that's converting rare Chinese documents.

corridor rann technician chinese digitization

She also showed me two very interesting documents that I will be writing about in separate posts. Stay tuned =)

Category: Libraries


SSP: SPi and the Philippines

SPi and the Philippines
The photo above was taken at the exhibit hall of the annual meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The following caught my attention: "Scalable facilities in the Philippines, India and the US." It was good that SPi used "the" with "Philippines," but what really made me proud was the thought that SPi considered its presence in the Philippines important enough to feature it prominently on its banner.

Categories: SSP, The Philippines


A-LIEP: Jurong Regional Library

teens' library children's library customer service children's library teens' library

Click on any of the photos above to see the photos I took of the Jurong Regional Library. Check out the circulation counter that's known as "Customer Service"; the shopping-mall features, including sliding doors and escalators; and the children's and teens' libraries. Maybe someday...

Thanks to Rambling Librarian for the tour!

Categories: A-LIEP, Libraries


SSP and SLA Maps

Well, I made it safely to the United States. I'll be attending the Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) in Arlington, VA, June 7-9, and the Annual Conference of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) in Baltimore, MD, June 11-14.

I've posted "Maps" on the SLA 2006 Conference Blog for those who are not so familiar with the streets of Baltimore. And since SSP doesn't have a similar site, I'm including here what I would have posted on their blog if they had one.
Note: The information below will also be of interest to those who will be traveling to the United States or Canada. Unfortunately, the sites listed do not yet have similar maps for the Philippines. But we do have MapCentral =)
If you're not familiar with Arlington because you're from out of town—or out of the country, like me—you may want to check out some maps on the following sites:
  • A9 - Includes street-level photos of the meeting venue. You just need to figure out which side of the road you're on.
  • Google Maps - The "hybrid" view combines "map" and "satellite" images for a bird's-eye view of the venue.
  • MapQuest - No photos, but provides additional options for driving directions, like "Shortest Time" and "Avoid Highways."
And don't forget to visit the Crystal Gateway Marriott's website, which has its own maps, directions and photos.

By the way, just in case you're wondering, yes, I'll be blogging about both events. But please be patient. I haven't even finished with A-LIEP yet!

Categories: SSP, SLA 2006, Internet


I'm leaving on a jet plane...

This post will be the last one I will write in the Philippines until next year—if I have money for the plane ticket. But don't worry, I should be blogging again in a few days.

I would have wanted to make this post a more substantial one, but I just finished packing and I'll be leaving for the airport in a few minutes. I will miss all of you—including those I have yet to meet =)

Categories: About Vonjobi


Haggard—but not hungry—librarian

The photos above were taken during a twelve-hour period yesterday. Hectic, right? Well, in between, I got word that my Canadian student visa had finally been delivered to my house. And so, I rushed home and finalized plans for my flight on Sunday, June 4, at the last possible moment. Then, I went on with the rest of my plans. Whew!

Descriptions of the photos, clockwise from top left:Click on the photos to see the larger versions.

If you want to know why I needed a Canadian visa, please see "PhD - Information Studies." If you're wondering why I need to leave so early, please read "For the Record: SSP Travel Grant Recipients" or look at the calendar in the sidebar on the right.

Category: About Vonjobi


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