MANILA, Philippines—Tales celebrating the strength and bravery of women took center stage at the special Inquirer Read-Along session Saturday, which coincided with International Women’s Month.
Featured storytellers in the special session at the Inquirer Makati office were celebrity mom and TV5 actress Danica Sotto-Pingris, former Miss Earth executive director and Read-Along ambassador Cathy Untalan-Vital, and Sophia School principal Ann Abacan.
Pingris, who came with her two kids Mic and Caela, read Grace Chong’s “Bakit Hindi Naka-Lipstick si Nanay?,” about a girl who learns to appreciate her mother’s odd job as a tricycle driver.
Returning storyteller Vital retold Ma. Corazon Remigio’s “Bru-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha… Bru-hi-hi-hi-hi-hi…” which tells of a girl who mistook her neighbor for a witch but eventually learns to value the elderly.
Abacan read Augie Rivera’s “Si Diwayen, Noong Bago Dumating ang mga Espanyol,” about a young girl whose bravery earns her freedom from slavery.
At least 30 children and parents joined the session meant to foster love of reading among the young.
“I hope the children learn to love reading again,” Pingris host of morning show “Happy Wife, Happy Life,” said. “When we read books, we use our imagination. The children also expand their vocabulary and practice spelling when they read more. It’s really good mental exercise for them,” she added.
Pingris said every woman can contribute to promote reading. “If you have children or younger siblings, you can set aside a time dedicated to reading. Reading time for my kids is before they go to sleep. They choose the book they want to read and we take turns reading each page,” she added.
The first-time Read-Along reader said she enjoyed the experience. “I felt like a kid again and imagined myself listening to the story as well,” Pingris said. The experience of reading to other children, not just your own, is refreshing. When you ask questions and the children reply readily, you know they really listened to your story.”
Vital said children should learn not to be judgmental, “especially now, because of our different notions of beauty and because people are easily influenced by what other people say. Hopefully, the children learned through the story I read that we should be slow to judgment and easy to love. I also hope the kids would learn to value their grandparents more, like the character of the story I read did,” she said.
As a Read-Along ambassador, Vital helps promote the habit of reading more. “This year, I turn 30, so my special project for my 30th birthday is to conduct 30 Read-Along sessions. This is my second for this year. Actually I’m doing overlapping advocacies: promoting the love for reading and helping children learn values.”
First-time participant Seoan, 8, said she liked Pingris’ story as it taught her to better appreciate her parents’ handiwork.
“We should not be ashamed of our parents’ jobs because they’re doing it for us” said Seoan, who said his mother works as an office clerk. “That’s why I study hard, so I can become first honor [in our class],” she added.
Grade 6 student Lloyd said boys should always respect women “the best way they can,” while Elizabeth, 8, said she learned from Vital’s story “not to misjudge other people, especially the elderly.
Marielle Medina and Rafael Antonio, Inquirer Research