Read-Along finalists: Then there were 5 | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Five young storytellers emerged as finalists in this year’s Inquirer Read-Along Festival Storytelling Competition after the semifinal round held Saturday at the Inquirer office in Makati.


Now on its fifth year, the two-day festival, to be held Nov. 6-7 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), is an annual event in celebration of National Reading Month. A highlight is the crowning of the Festival Queen or King, the storytelling champion among students aged 10-12.


The Read-Along Festival is part of the CCP’s free three-day Performatura Festival, which features 200 local and international artists in 10 performance venues at the CCP.


The Read-Along storytelling competition finalists are: Michael Stephen Maglente (Optimus Center for Development), Noah Roa (Optimus), Edward Benedict Batac (School of St. Anthony), Christine Joy Liwanag (Comembo Elementary School) and Aki Bukuhan (John Dewey School for Children).


They will compete in the final round on the second day of the Read-Along Festival on Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Silangan Hall of the CCP.


The contestants and their coaches attended a workshop on the basics of book-based interactive storytelling conducted by veteran Read-Along storytellers and festival competition judges Ann Abacan, Rich Rodriguez and Dyali Justo last Oct. 3. Twelve semifinalists were chosen after the elimination rounds held on Oct. 17.


Choice of story


The semifinalists were given a choice of reading “Tuwing Sabado (Every Saturday) by Russell Molina or “Sikat ang Mommy Ko!” (My Mommy is Famous) by Segundo D. Matias.


Junior Inquirer editor and Read-Along host Ruth Navarra and professional storytellers Ray Escasinas and Posh Develos served as judges for the semifinal rounds.


This year’s Read-Along Festival, copresented with the CCP, is part of the Inquirer’s 30th anniversary celebration and will feature marathon storytelling sessions of 30 well-loved children’s stories to be read by the Read-Along Ambassadors led by Inquirer president and CEO Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez.


UK ambassador


Other Read-Along ambassadors slated to read include broadcaster and former Miss Earth Foundation executive director Cathy Untalan-Vital; ABS-CBN teen stars Nash Aguas and Alexa Ilacad; lawyer and former Binibining Pilipinas-Universe Anna Theresa Licaros; and Bianca Umali and Miggy Jimenez of GMA 7. Joining the readers is UK Ambassador Asif Ahmad.


Also reading are professional storytellers Rich Rodriguez, Develos and Escasinas of Ang Pinoy Storytellers, Adarna House’s Dyali Justo and Ann Abacan, and Sophia School teachers and students.


Students from Vergonville Elementary School, St. Alphonsus Liguori Integrated School, Centex Batangas, Antonio Regidor Elementary School and Chiang Kai Shek College will read well-loved fables.


Those interested in joining the festival may call Odeng Orolaza, 8978808 ext. 330 or e-mail [email protected]. Slots are on a first-come, first-served basis.


Those interested in participating in CCP’s free three-day Performatura Festival are encouraged to bring a book in exchange for a day pass to gain access to the 10 performance venues for a whole day.


The books will go to the CCP’s Aklatang Bayan program under the Center’s Library and Archives Division and Cultural Exchange Department.


For a donated book or a day pass, the audience may experience the Epic Center (featuring Philippine epics), CCP Café (featuring talks with National Artists for Literature), Park Poetry Series, three art exhibits (Chromatext Rebooted at the Main Gallery, Oral Literatures Exhibit at Pasilyo Guillermo Tolentino and Binhi, Ani at the CCP Library) and a day-long summit of performances by young poets, among other pocket events. For more information, visit

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