MANILA, Philippines?Bulacan?s homegrown talents, among them basketball star Khasim Mirza and child star Krystal Reyes, treated their young province mates to stories, songs and other surprises in a special Inquirer Read-Along session Sunday in Meycauayan town.
The session, held at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish church plaza, brought together more than 150 children from Meycauayan public schools, some of them from communities recently razed by a fire.
The story-telling treat was sponsored by Sophia School of Meycauayan as part of its 15th anniversary celebration.
Mirza and Reyes read in tandem Angelita Aragon?s ?Ang Magkaibigan,? a story about how two different creatures?an ant and a dove?show how grateful they are for each other?s friendship.
Another Bulakeña, Miss Philippines Earth-Water 2008 Michelle Oblea, who hails from Obando, read Christine Bellen?s retelling of Rosamistica,? about a poor girl who discovers how kindness is usually repaid with kindness.
Sophia students Jasper Regoso, Joseph Urian, Erika Mae Jurado, Kim Sta. Cruz and Alyssa Bularan kicked off the program with a lively skit of Rene Villanueva?s ?Si Emang Engkantada at ang Tatlong Haragan,? a story about three wayward children who eventually learn how to treat Mother Nature right.
Sophia School teachers Ellie Carable, Lorna Darilag and Nerry Denilla capped the program with a wacky and interactive performance of Carla Pacis? ?Si Hipon at si Biya,? about two friends who learn how to value and appreciate each other?s unique characteristics and talents.
Intermission numbers were presented by the school?s Spins and Swirls Poi Club. The Terpsichoreans High School Dance Club also delighted the audience.
In attendance were children from Meycauayan Central School, Bayugo Elementary School, Zamora Primary School, Saluysoy Elementary School and Gasak Elementary School.
?We should be thankful to our parents for working hard to send us to school,? 13-year-old Reyes told the audience. It was the first time she read to an audience, said Reyes, who came to the session with her mother Apple.
?At first I was nervous because it was a big crowd. But in the end, I really had fun reading to them, and I was glad that they listened to me. It was such a great feeling,? she said.
Mirza, a member of the Philippine Patriots competing in the ASEAN Basketball League, was excused from an important team practice to attend the Inquirer event.
It was also Mirza?s first time to participate in the Read-Along.
?I had a hard time reading in Tagalog but it was all worth it,? he said. ?When I saw that the children were listening to me, I felt really inspired.?
Oblea, a ballet instructor for children, was another first-time reader. ?It was a lot of fun. The kids really paid attention and it was such a great feeling,? she said.
For Sophia School principal Ann Abacan, the Read-Along, as well as the school?s annual Adopt-a-Kid event, was a way of ?giving back to the community.?
Lyrlie Almario, who came to the session with her 10-year-old daughter Floriza, a student at Meycauayan Central School, said the program was a real learning experience. ?It?s good because the kids learn a lot of valuable lessons, apart from being motivated to read,? she said.
Perla Asido of Saluysoy, who attended the session with her six-year-old son Jeriko, said she most enjoyed the teachers? interactive reading of the story ?Si Hipon at si Biya.?
Rogelio Ingco, supervisor of Meycauayan West District Schools, helped Sophia School gather the children for the program. ?We believe that developing good reading habits is important in education,? he said.
In the question-and-answer segments following each reading, the winners were given prizes prepared by Sophia School. Snacks and gift packs were also distributed.
Saturday?s session, hosted by Junior Inquirer writer Ruth Navarra and Libre advertising sales manager Mylene de Jesus, was held with the assistance of the Knights of Columbus-St. Francis of Assisi Council No. 3941 of Meycauayan; Grand Knight Fernando Sulit Galsim, St. Francis of Assisi parish priest Msgr. Epitacio Castro, Max?s SM Marilao and Diwa Publishing House. The stories read were published by LG&M Corp. and Adarna House.
The next Read-Along session will be on Jan. 30 at 10 a.m. at the Inquirer main office in Makati. Interested participants may contact Ellen Caparros at 8978808, local 329. Slots are on a first-come, first-served basis.