MANILA, Philippines—Stories about change and new beginnings kicked off the first Inquirer Read-Along session for the year.
At Saturday’s session, actor and peace ambassador Mikael Daez, returning storyteller Dyali Justo, and child winners of the recently concluded 2nd Inquirer Read-Along Festival Storytelling Competition, Mark Nowel Eleuterio and Laila Rontos, regaled over 60 children with stories about a town that rediscovered laughter, a dragon who learned to accept his different nature, and a grasshopper who changed his naughty ways, among others.
Daez, a first-time storyteller, read “Si Isem sa Bayang Bawal Tumawa” by Eugene Evasco, a story about a cheerful man who brought laughter to a town.
Justo read Time-Life’s “The Dragon Who Couldn’t Breathe Fire,” a story of how a dragon and his family learned to adapt and accept his different nature.
Champion storyteller Eleuterio read “Ang Hardinerong Tipaklong” by Rose Torres-Yu, a story about a grasshopper who changed his ways, while Rontos read “Si Pilandok, ang Bantay ng Kalikasan” by Virgilio Almario about a quick-witted mousedeer who protected a forest. Both youngsters had read their winning pieces at the Inquirer Read-Along Festival Storytelling Competition held in November at the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City.
National peace envoy
Tapped as a National Peace Ambassador by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Daez said he was grateful to finally get the chance to participate in the read-along.
“I actually wanted to volunteer before but my schedule would not permit it. Besides being a peace ambassador, I am also an advocate for health and education, so promoting love for reading is important to me. I was glad to see the children really listen to the story,” said the actor, who can be seen on GMA 7’s “Sana Ay Ikaw na Nga.”
Daez, whose appearance drew shrieks from the children, said he was happy to be able to “influence children in [my] small way.”
“I want to emphasize the importance of education and reading. It helps you make informed choices and decisions,” said Daez, who asked a number of children to help him act out the story.
‘Seize the day’’
Optimistic about 2013, Daez said he “wants to beat 2012…I want to seize the day.”
Nine-year-old Eleuterio said he was “very happy to be able to share a story with the other children,” while 12-year-old Rontos said that reading to an audience was “a very meaningful experience.”
“I hope the audience learned the importance of helping other people and taking care of nature. If we see someone who needs help, we must help them. Also, we need to be responsible for our environment and clean it,” Eleuterio said
“There are a lot of lessons we can get from reading. You can reach different places just by opening a different book,” Rontos said.
Asked if she had any resolutions for 2013, Rontos said: “To stop procrastinating. I will finish my school work earlier and to try to accomplish things right away.”
For 11-year-old Meriel Ann Baniaga, the story of the grasshopper was memorable. “I liked that he was given a chance to turn over a new leaf and that he did not waste it,” Baniaga said.
“Ang Hardinerong Tipaklong” was also the favorite of Christine Laiza del Rosario, 10. “For me, Tipaklong was an inspiration because he became industrious and helpful…we should follow his actions in helping others,” she said.
Bringing joy to others
Ten-year-old Joshua Miguel Omogtong said his favorite story was “Si Isem sa Bayang Bawal Tumawa.”
“I learned the importance of smiling and bringing joy to others,” Joshua said.
The session, led by Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was cohosted by Marian Domingo and Lendl Fabella of GMA.
A special read-along will be held on Jan. 25, 1 p.m., at Calvario Elementary School in Meycauayan, Bulacan, with Sophia School storytellers and Derek Ramsay as celebrity reader.
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