Accepting differences and discovering each other’s uniqueness was the message of the stories during the first Inquirer Read-Along session of 2023, held virtually on Saturday.
The storytelling event, which carried the theme of diversity and inclusion, was special for being the first Read-Along session to include a sign language interpreter.
“We look forward to having a sign language translator in our next sessions,” said Connie Kalagayan, assistant vice president for corporate affairs of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The session was held in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications and aired live on Inquirer’s Facebook pages.
“Education is important to us so you can count on us to always support your continued pursuit of new knowledge,” Cathy Yang, PLDT and Smart First Vice President and Head of Group Corporate Communications, said in Filipino in a video message to the participants.
Participated by some 60 students from Calvario Elementary School, Saluysoy Integrated School, and Meycauayan West Central Integrated School, the session was held via Zoom and featured Inquirer Read-Along ambassador and TV host Patricia Tumulak alongside veteran storyteller Ann Abacan.
Students who participated through Zoom will receive books while winners during the question and answer portion will get P300 load from PLDT and Smart.
Tumulak read Jomike Tejido’s “Si Dindo Pundido,” a story about a young firefly born without light. Despite being different from other fireflies, Dindo expressed a desire to find his own light.
“Let’s be content with what we have,” Tumulak said while discussing the moral of the story during the question and answer portion with the kids.
When asked if there was a time when she felt she had insecurities, Tumulak admitted to having reservations about being morena when she was younger.
“Back then, all of my classmates had fair skin color. I then wondered, why am I morena? I later realized that I stand out because of my different color and that physical attributes don’t really matter…What’s important is our character,” Tumulak said.
Abacan, also the principal of Sophia School in Meycauayan City, Bulacan, read “Si Tanya, Ang Uwak na Gustong Pumuti,” written by German V. Gervacio and illustrated by Gino G. Borja. The story is about a young crow named Tanya who wishes to be as white as the heron she saw on the pond.
“We all have unique characteristics and abilities, which is why we shouldn’t feel jealous or have regrets. Instead, we must hone and share our knowledge, abilities, and characteristics to others,” Abacan added.
The program, hosted by Inquirer Lifestyle writing editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo, was interpreted by sign language translator Damaris Capulla of Hand and Heart Disability Services Organization, Inc.
Launched in 2007, the Inquirer Read-Along is a corporate social responsibility project of the Inquirer that aims to promote a love of reading among children.