Thursday, December 5, 2013

Registration Deadline to the Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids

When is the deadline for submitting a registration form?  It is on Sunday, December 8, 2013.

Who may register?   Children, aged 10 -12, enrolled in private or public schools in the province of Cavite.

How many contestants per school may register?  Only TWO contestants per school, please.

What does a contestant need to submit?  A child, aged 10 - 12, must e-mail to the accomplished registration form and a pdf or jpeg file of his/her school ID. That's all.

May a parent or guardian submit a child's registration form?  Yes. There is no need for a certificate of enrolment from the school. The child's school ID is sufficient.

How should a registration form be submitted?  Please e-mail to
Please send ONE registration form and child's ID per e-mail. If you are submitting another registration form, please send another e-mail. To ensure clarity, please use the child's name in the subject line. Example: Registration of Michael de Jesus.

Why does the registration form need to be e-mailed?  E-mails have a time-stamp. In case three or more contestants from one school register, the time-stamp will determine the "first come, first served" rule. In addition, it is convenient to acknowledge an online registration.

If you have any questions, feel free to email Dr. Carmelita C. Ballesteros at
You may also call or text through mobile number 0943 311 6401.

See you at Magallanes Square Hotel on December 16, 2013 at 2:00 - 5:00 p.m.!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids

Did you know that Tagaytay is a "City of Character?" In keeping with this unique quality of Tagaytay City, we have organized the First Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids. How does the read-aloud competition support Tagaytay as a "City of Character?" Well, the book to be read aloud, Annie D. Ant, is about an ant, a grasshopper, and other animals who show that GENEROSITY is giving when you have very little to give in the first place. Also, the animals spread the love around while dealing with the challenges of climate change (El Nino), a very timely topic.

What are our objectives?  1) to promote love of reading; 2) to enhance reading fluency while developing poise and confidence in children; and 3) to help build the children’s character through books  which exemplify universal values such as kindness, love of neighbors, stewardship of the environment, etc.

The Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas competition is open to all students, aged 10-12, who are enrolled in any school in the province of Cavite. It will be held at Magallanes Square Hotel on December 16, 2013 at 2:00-5:00 p.m. Medals, gift certificates, and consolation prizes will be given to winners and non-winners.

Registration is free. E-mail your accomplished registration forms to
Call or text mobile 0943 311 6401.

Below are the registration form, mechanics, and criteria for judging.

See you at the First Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids!

December 16, 2013
             Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition  for Kids

Read-Aloud Registration Form
                                                  (please scroll down for the Mechanics)

Child’s NAME: ______________________________            AGE: _______

Name of School: _________________________________________________

Address of School _______________________________________________


Name of Principal _______________________________________________

E-mail Address:    ________________________________________

MOBILE ______________________     Landline________________


Name of Teacher, Parent, or Guardian:
(please delete whichever is not applicable )


E-mail Address:    ________________________________________

MOBILE ______________________     Landline_______________


On behalf of ____________________________________________________
(child’s name), I hereby  affirm that the above information is true 
and correct to the best of my knowledge.

 _____________________________________                  ________________

Name of Teacher, Parent, or Guardian                           Date
(please delete whichever is not applicable )
Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids
                                          (Please scroll down for the Criteria for Judging.)
1.   The Read-Aloud Competition is open to all students, aged 10-12, who are enrolled in any school in the province of Cavite.
2.   Only two contestants per school may join the competition. The “first come, first served” rule will be observed if more than two contestants from one school happen to register. 
  1. Registration is free. Interested students may download the registration form and contest mechanics from  
  1. Registration by e-mail is open until December 8, 2013.
5.    E-mail an accomplished registration form, together with the child’s school ID (pdf or jpeg file), to until December 8, 2013.  Note:  Please send only  one child’s registration form and school  ID per  e-mail. Use the child’s name in the subject line. Send another e-mail to register a second contestant.
  1. The book to be read is a Christmas picture book entitled, “Annie D. Ant.”  It is available at the Magallanes Square Hotel during store hours (10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.) The book is about an ant, a grasshopper and other animals who share meager resources and celebrate Christmas while facing the challenges of climate change (i.e., El Niño). 
7.   The read-aloud method of delivery is book-based.
            a.    Contestants must read from the book. There is no need to memorize.
b.   Contestants are not allowed to use any props or costume.
c.    Contestants must wear a plain white t-shirt (with or without collar) and a pair of pants (any color).
d.   Contestants may not use any equipment or gadget.
8.   Each contestant will be given four (4) minutes to perform. His/her teacher, parent, or guardian may help in editing lines from the book while keeping the storyline intact. A contestant must  manage his/her time well by allocating approximately 30 seconds to the introduction, 3 minutes to the book proper, and 30 seconds to the closing. When the “time’s up” sign is shown, a contestant may finish his/her last sentence and tell the audience that he/she will be back to finish the story. (Hint: Use the 100 words per minute speed as the guideline.)
9.   On the day of the competition, December 16, 2013, contestants must register in person at the Magallanes Square Hotel at 1:00 p.m. They must show their school ID to the event organizer. They must wear the prescribed attire and they must have their own copy of the book to be read.
10.  Criteria. Please scroll down.
11.  The decision of the judges will be final.
12.  Prizes: Medals and gift certificates will be given to the 1st , 2nd , and              3rd place winners. The rest will be given consolation prizes.
                          Tagaytay Read-Aloud Christmas Competition for Kids
Premise. The book-based method of reading aloud must be followed as given in the mechanics. A contestant will be disqualified  if she/he fails to observe the prescribed method:
a.     Contestants must read from the book. There is no need to memorize.
            b.     Contestants are not allowed to use any props or costume.
            c.     Contestants must wear a plain white t-shirt (with or without collar) and a pair of pants (any color).
            d.     Contestants may not use any equipment or gadget.



1. Audience Rapport. The reader glances at the book, then establishes eye contact with the audience.


2. Audience Interaction. The reader must:

a. Introduce the book by showing the cover to the audience and giving its title, author’s name and illustrator’s name. Also, the reader must say or ask something about the story to whet the interest of the audience.

b. Proceed to the book proper immediately. The reader may “ad lib” by acting out ONE short scene from the book. The “ad lib” part is brief and makes the story come alive.

c. Close the read-aloud session by asking a question or two which will help the audience get the message of the story.


3. Voice Projection. The reader speaks loud enough so that the audience can hear comfortably.


4. Reading Fluency. The reader speaks with little or no hesitation,  pronounces accurately, and observes proper phrasing and intonation.


5. Expression, Enthusiasm, and Body Language. The reader is able to engage and energize the audience.


6. Poise and Confidence. The reader exudes grace and self-assurance.


7. Overall Impact. The reader’s total performance is fluent, expressive, and engaging. It communicates the message of the story.


 T O T A L



Friday, September 27, 2013

Koala Lou: "She Loves Me. She Loves Me Not."

Creative Writing Tutorial No. 1.  This is for Quincy and everyone else interested in creative writing. There is no age limit.

Koala Lou: "She Loves Me. She Loves Me Not."

Sometime in 1990, I attended  a Creative Writing Workshop led by the award-winning Australian author Jackie French at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
            I adored Jackie French and I savored every word she said. But we had a conflict!
            I couldn’t see eye to eye with her regarding conflict. She told me in no uncertain terms that conflict there must be between my main characters. Stubbornly, I maintained that there wasn’t any conflict between them because they loved each other.
            How naïve of me!  How stupid!
            Just to be polite to Jackie French, the guest facilitator from Australia, I half-heartedly threw in a contrived conflict into my workshop story.
            Let’s fast-forward to 2013. My grandson asks why there’s always an antagonist who makes the life of the protagonist miserable. By way of a reply, I ask him questions.
            “If Harry Potter didn’t have an unloving and mean foster family – the Dursleys - would you emphathize with Harry as much as you do?
            “If Harry Potter didn’t have mean classmates and professors at Hogwarts School, would you have rooted for Harry as much as you have?
            “If Harry Potter didn’t have the meanest meanie of them all – Lord Voldemort – making his young life exteremely dangerous, would all of us have continued reading all seven books in the series?”
            Conflict, not love, makes the world go round.
            Having invented Harry Potter, the protagonist, and Lord Voldemort, the antagonist,  J.K.Rowling has made herself richer than the Queen of England.
            Conflict is a gold mine.
            What if it’s just an innocent picture storybook for children? Does it need conflict?  Very young children learning the alphabet and the numbers one to ten  don’t need conflict yet.
            But soon enough, conflict rears its ugly head into their young lives. It makes them appreciate conflict in the picture books read to them. (Sometimes, they ‘read’ the pictures by themselves.) Isn’t conflict the glue which holds together fairy tales? Don’t Cinderella’s stepmother and stepsisters make us love Cinderella more?
Let’s take the case of Koala Lou, written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts. Koala Lou, the bear, was the first-born of her parents.  Mommy K loved her baby bear so very, very much. She always said, “Koala Lou, I do love you!”
Everybody loved Koala Lou. She was the superstar, the megastar, the diamond star. She was the center of the universe. She loved being loved by everyone, especially by her Mommy K who said all the time, “Koala Lou, I do love you!”
In Frame 5 of the book, conflict suddenly happened between Koala Lou and her Mommy K. How could that happen between mother and child? Between two people who loved each other?
Well, new baby bears had been born. Koala Lou had siblings and Mommy K had no more time to say, “Koala Lou, I do love you!”
Did Mem Fox, the author, put Koala Lou and Mommy K toe-to-toe like bulls in a bullfight?  No, Mem Fox didn’t. Aware that she had only 15 frames in which to develop her story, Mem Fox kept the spotlight on her main character, Koala Lou.
It was necessary to do so in order to develop the character of Koala Lou. How did Mem Fox make Koala Lou an interesting character to her readers? How did Koala Lou solve her problem? Did the conflict give her an opportunity to grow up? To shine? To discover her hidden talents and skills?
Koala Lou didn’t hate her Mommy K and her siblings. Instead, she resolved to make herself more lovable. She felt that if she could win in the Bush Olympics in the Bear Universe, she would become the center of the universe again for her Mommy K .
So Koala Lou trained long and hard for the Bush Olympics. On the day of the championship in gum-tree climbing, Koala Lou exerted every ounce of energy which she had. But it wasn’t good enough. She was only second best.
Koala Lou’s strategy to win back her mother’s love was a failure. Koala Lou was heart-broken. She went off somewhere to cry and be alone.
Surprise!  When Koala Lou crept home, Mommy K who had been waiting gave her a long, long hug and whispered, “Koala Lou, I do love you!”  
                 This surprise ending was in the last frame, of course. It is the most important frame because it shows the theme or message or moral lesson of the story without preaching.     


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Mother's Day Poem: "Something She'll Appreciate"

Something She’ll Appreciate
                                                           by Alyssa Jamela Dadayan
                                                              Draft 3, May 8, 2013

 It's Mother's Day today. What should I give Mom?                                                       
          I want something different,
          I want something special,
          I want something she’ll appreciate.
How about a card? With beautiful bright colors,
Shapes, and flowers in the middle.
How about a cake? Mom loves chocolate cakes.
Or a soft green pillow? She’ll love that.

But I have no materials for a colorful card.
I have no money for either a sweet chocolate cake or a pillow.
I guess I can’t give Mom a gift. All I can give her is LOVE.
But still, I want something different,
              I want something special,
              I want something she’ll appreciate.
I’ll just pick five red roses from our garden,
take off the thorns, tie them with a white ribbon.
And put a little note on it.
When she gets home, I’ll kiss her and say,
“I love you, Mom, very much!”
          That’s something different,
          It’s something special,
          It’s something she’ll appreciate.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Alyssa Jamela Dadayan's DRAFT 6

The Chair and the Table

by Alyssa Jamela A. Dadayan

Yesterday, 2013 April 16, was Alyssa's second session in Creative Writing. During the first session, she started drafting a dialogue poem by imitating the format of Shel Silverstein's "The Little Boy and the Old Man."  Alyssa is drafting a dialogue poem between a chair and a table. This is draft 6. Although it's still less than perfect, I think it is safe to publish it. Alyssa's only 12 years old right now. When she's older, I'm sure she'll have new insights and she may wish to revise one more time...

“I’m more useful than you!” said the chair to the table.
“No, you’re not!” argued the table. “I’m more useful than you!

“I have more uses than just sitting on.  
 I can make people feel more comfortable. 

 They can rest and relax on me!” yelled the chair.

“Well, the priest cannot proceed to the consecration 

  without me,” said the table proudly.

“People can stand and walk on me whenever 

  there’s an emergency!” screamed the chair.

“People can use me for their cooking preparations,” rumbled the table.

“I show position in society,” rattled the chair.

“I can save people’s lives as an operating table!” roared the table.

“Huh, looks like I have more uses than you, chair. 

 Goodbye!”  The table stormed out.

“Wait a minute, table,” said the chair sadly.

“Why?” asked the table.

“I’m so sorry, table. I’ve been so proud of myself.

  But I think it will be better if we work together,”

  said the chair with a hopeful smile on its face.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Imitating Shel Silverstein's Dialogue Poem

It's Summer 2013 in the Philippines. April and May are spring time elsewhere, but it's scorching summer in the Philippines! Some kids go to the beach, some kids go to the malls, and some kids take summer classes.

For the second summer, I'm offering speech and writing classes in my hometown, Nasugbu, Batangas. My host school is Adelaido A. Bayot Memorial School, Inc.

Alyssa Jamela Dadayan, an accomplished 12-year old swimmer with many medals won from many competitions, decided to stick to her Creative Writing Class even if she's the only student. Her would-be classmates had transferred to Academic Writing for practical reasons.

And so I decided to keep the Creative Writing Class even if I have only one student.

Our first session was on writing a dialogue poem. I don't lecture. I let my writing students dive into the pool immediately. And that's what I did with Alyssa. She's a be-medalled swimmer, after all.

However, Alyssa came right up gasping for air. Ooops, I'm getting ahead of my story.

How did I proceed? First, Alyssa and I did a dramatic reading of Shel Silverstein's dialogue poem, "The Little Boy and the Old Man."

Said the little boy, "Sometimes I drop my spoon."
Said the old man, "I do that too."
The little boy whispered, "I wet my pants."
"I do that too," laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, "I often cry."
The old man nodded, "So do I."
"But worst of all," said the boy, "it seems
Grown-ups don't pay attention to me."
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
"I know what you mean," said the little old man.   

After reading the poem, I told Alyssa to write her own dialogue poem between two persons or two objects. She said she'd write a conversation between a table and a chair. "Okay, you've got 15 minutes to write," I said.

In a manner of speaking, I threw her into the pool. And she came right up gasping for air. "I cannot think of what to write," she said. Her draft 1 was two lines long.

So I showed her how to do a mind map of the chair's uses and the table's uses. Then I gave her 20 minutes to work on her second draft. Afterwards, she said it was too long and sort of rambled. It was prosaic, not poetic.

I told her to choose only the more important ideas which means excluding the less important ones. I told her to work on draft 3. When she finished draft 3, she said she didn't know how to end it.

I asked her which one she wanted to win the argument between the table and the chair. Let the winner have the last say.

Her draft 4 was a pleasant surprise!  She said she didn't think she could finish a dialogue poem in one session. And she's very happy with the result. Alyssa's draft 4 is far from perfect, but already has the making of an original poem with an original message.

As soon as Alyssa's ready with her draft 5, I'll publish it in this blog. I'm sure you'll love it!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

National Children's Book Awards:Philippines

by Neni Sta. Romana Cruz
Neni Sta. Romana Cruz ( is a member of the Philippine Board on Books for Young People, the Foundation for Worldwide People Power, and a trustee of the Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation.
Ms. Cruz has graciously given her permission to re-post her article in this blog. It was originally published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 27, 2010.
AT LAST YEAR'S NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS (NBA), the children's literature industry stakeholders were disturbed that the usual category for children's literature was not even in the line-up of contenders anymore, as it had been for many years before.
This was especially disappointing as the yearly output of publishers has been steadily increasing, encouraged by the growing public awareness of noteworthy Philippine titles for children and certainly boosted by the popular storytelling and read-aloud sessions by institutions like the Inquirer.

I am the first to admit that more titles do not always correspond to better quality; and I was awaiting the perfectly legitimate and acceptable-and yes, perhaps justified-reason from the Manila Critics Circle: that unfortunately, there was no book that met the standards of literary excellence for 2008. And what a helpful, though damning, statement that would have been for the genre.

No official reason was ever given or received. But moving from the endless conjecturing and the perils of sounding like sour grapes, could the category simply have been overlooked? That does not sound like the handiwork of a Manila Critics Circle-National Book Development Board (NBDB) collaboration.
Was it because for the first time, the NBA carried with it a cash prize aside from the coveted trophy by the year's invited artist? Was the children's literature category combined with or, horrors, subsumed by another?

The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) led by chair Zarah Gagatiga and secretary-general Ani Almario, Emily Abrera, RayVi Sunico and Karina Bolasco, sat down with NBDB executive director and booklover Andrea Pasion Flores to discuss where the industry could go from there.

And in typical Andrea fashion (pun unintended), a long held elusive dream of the multi-sectoral PBBY became a reality: the creation of the National Children's Book Award (NCBA), an NBDB-PBBY endeavor which will name not just one top book or the usual tiered roster of winners, but a "Best Reads List" of a maximum of 10 titles year after year.
Books selected for the year, after this initial 2010 competition, will be titles published in the preceding calendar year. The final selection will not be ranked. The board of judges is not compelled to name any minimum number of recommended reading titles should it not find any nominee deserving of inclusion.

NCBA captures much of PBBY's reason for being-to bring children and books together. What is essential to the organization is not only to encourage the writing, illustrating and publishing of quality children's books but also to make these known to parents and teachers, and the young readers who are the intended primary audience.
Finally, this looks like the beginning of the compilation of reading lists, requests for which we are endlessly besieged with.

This should also be the distinct recognition that the talents behind the production of an excellent book will finally be credited with.
The 1st NCBA has just officially begun, barely after the ink has dried on memorandums of agreement. This year's contest rules are condensed below:

1. Anybody, whether publisher, author or illustrator may nominate a children's/young people's book, fiction or nonfiction, for ages 0 to 19 published in the years 2008 and 2009. Not under consideration as yet are electronic books or textbooks.

2. The nominating party must be registered with the NBDB as publisher, author or illustrator.

3. The book must be authored by a Filipino citizen and may be written in English or Filipino. Books in other Filipino languages may be accepted, as specified in contest rules over the years.

4. The book must have been released to the public in the eligible years specified with proof of any of the following: delivery to a bookstore or a jobber; donation to a school or library; distributed to bookstores or entities that sell the book, including online distribution; produced or printed by an entity in quantities consistent with the act of publication.

5. Nomination forms have to be submitted for each title, along with seven copies of the book for the five-member board of judges.

Deadline for submission of all entries is April 15, 2010.

Nomination forms may be downloaded from the NBDB ( and the PBBY ( websites.
All submissions must be accompanied by a letter of nomination addressed to:

The Executive Director
National Book Development Board
2/F National Printing Office Bldg.
Edsa cor. NIA Northside Road
Bgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City
Subject: The National Children's Book Awards

Each selected title will be awarded a trophy. A citation from the board of judges for each book will be read during the awards ceremony.

The special logo for the NCBA was created by talented illustrator and former PBBY chair Totet de Jesus.
May the Best Reads List for 2010 --to be announced in July at a special awards program --open up young minds to worlds (and yes, words, too) beyond their ken and nurture discriminating, critical readers. We owe our youth that.