In Bataan, a rare setting blends with stories on environment


BAGAC, Bataan—Just a few meters from the statue of Lola Basyang inside the Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar here, at least 40 school children relived the tradition of storytelling last week.

Laarni Lanosa, 9, sitting in the front row with other students of Bagac Elementary School, said she knows Lola Basyang, the fictional elderly storyteller created by writer Severino Reyes, and came to the Inquirer Read-Along session excited.

“I really like stories,” she said.

Lanosa said she and the other children had fun after the storytelling session that featured stories told by Felicito Payumo, Bases Conversion and Development Authority chair, and Gina Virtusio, corporate communications head of New San Jose Builders Inc. (NSJBI).

“We really had a great time. I like [the play acting portion] of the [session],” said Lanosa.

Payumo read Rene Villanueva’s “Si Emang Engkantada at ang Tatlong Haragan.” Members of Teatro Fernandino, a theater troupe from Pampanga, brought the story to life.

The children were all smiles and animated as performers acted out the story about how three naughty children, who threw garbage anywhere, destroyed plants and wasted water, learned how to care for the environment when an enchantress appeared and decided to teach them a lesson.

“You could really see that the lessons of the story were brought home to these children,” said Payumo.

Fe Mandocdoc, Department of Education district supervisor in Bagac, said the Read-Along program was appropriate for Grades 4 to 6 pupils.

“This is a great way to encourage kids to read more,” she said.

She said children’s attention nowadays is drawn to the Internet, TV and online games instead of reading.

Virtusio read Reyes’ “Rosa Mistica” (“Mystical Rose,” which was retold by author Christine Bellen).

She said the story of Rosa is about faith. “No matter what happens, you hang on to faith,” she told the children who gathered at the stone house Casa Lubao.

Casa Lubao used to belong to the Arastia and Vitug families. Built in 1920, it served as storage for rice and sugar and became a Japanese garrison during World War II.

Virtusio said it was the first time that a storytelling session was held in the heritage resort. “We are taking care of Philippine history,” she said.

Opened in 2010 in Barangay Pag-asa here, Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar features more than 20 houses built in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Jerry Acuzar, NSJBI chair, in an earlier interview said he and his team of craftsmen reconstructed old houses from all over Luzon, choosing them based on historical, cultural and architectural values.

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