Children Rising: Empowering kids at 9th PDI Read-Along Festival
Children have the power to change the world.
The message, from Philippine Daily Inquirer president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, kicked off an interactive session of the ninth Inquirer Read-Along Festival at the Inquirer’s Makati City office on Friday.
“If there is a superpower that the kids have, it’s that sense of wonder, sense of determination and being 100-percent focused on seeing what can be achieved, rather than seeing what the barriers and hurdles are toward that goal,” Romualdez said.
This year’s festival, a two-day event held in celebration of National Reading Month, carries the theme, “Children Rising,” in honor of the youth who has been the core of Inquirer Read-Along.
The festival’s second day on Saturday will culminate with five students vying for the title of Festival King or Queen in the storytelling competition finals round.
Launched in 2007, the Inquirer Read-Along is a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project of the company which aims to promote love of reading among children.
Romualdez, a staunch advocate of reading, narrated the story of “Super Ningning.” Written by Liwliwa Malabed with illustrations by Kara Dandan-Albano, the story tells of a girl who fights bullies in school by making new friends and being kind to people.
“Reading is something that we need to invest in. I love that this is our ninth festival,” said Romualdez, who also thanked Inquirer volunteers, school partners, foundation partners and sponsors “who have been there from the very beginning and have carried on the advocacy of reading.”
The festival’s morning session featured professional storytellers Rich Rodriguez and Posh Develos of Ang Pinoy Storytellers, who read to 108 kids from Maybunga Elementary School Annex, Caniogan Elementary School, Palatiw Elementary School, Child Hope Asia Philippines and Virlanie Foundation.
During the afternoon session, TV host-actress Patricia Tumulak, actor-model Mike Liwag and veteran storyteller Dyali Justo read to some 70 students from Good Shepherd Montessori School, Bangkal Christian Ministry Development Foundation Inc. and San Antonio Village Elementary School.
Echoing the festival’s theme of celebrating children who rise above all odds to achieve their dreams, Tumulak read “Si Ching na Takot sa Dilim,” by Aleli Dew Batnag, about the girl’s constant fear of the dark and how she overcomes it and discovers light amid darkness.
Liwag read “Bisnesboy Minggoy,” which was written by Augie Rivera and illustrated by Liza Flores. The story, about a boy who dreams of owning a bicycle but does not have the money to buy one, shows how business savvy can make dreams come true.
“When you want something, you have to work hard for it,” said Liwag, a first-time storyteller. Knowing the concept at an early age will surely be an advantage among children, he added.
Rodriguez and Develos did an animated reading of “Ang Mahiyaing Manok,” written by Rebecca T. Añonuevo and illustrated by Ruben de Jesus. The story tells of a shy rooster that learns to come out of the shadows and remains confident.
The event celebrating children also had kids from Good Shepherd Montessori School performing a special song number, while 5-year-old Tala Vita, a storytelling workshop participant, joined Justo in reading “When Color Came to Town” by Susan dela Rosa Aragon.
Rodriguez also read “Sa Bagong Planeta” by Feny de los Angeles-Bautista and Elmer Gatchalian, with illustrations by John Crisostomo.
Tumulak, an Inquirer Read-Along ambassador who advocates reading through her passion project, “Push to Read,” said she hopes children will go beyond the constant use of electronic gadgets, a disturbing trend seen in the crucial early years of childhood.
The morning session was hosted by Read-Along regular hosts Ruth Navarra-Mayo and Mona Maceda, while Bianca Kasilag-Macahilig and Eds Garcia hosted the afternoon session.
The festival was sponsored by Metrobank Foundation, Smart Communications, McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Pridez Food Services Inc., Adarna House, Anvil Publishing Inc., and Kaulayaw Coffee.—REPORTS
FROM KATHLEEN DE VILLA, ARIANNE SUAREZ AND MEG ADONIS
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