Kids learn what makes a good leader at Read-Along


How can you be a role model despite being a simple person?


This was the challenge posed to about 60 children who heard stories on wise leadership and shunning greed at the Inquirer Read-Along at the newspaper’s office in Makati on Saturday morning.

Featured readers were GMA 7 teen actors Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix and veteran storyteller Rich Rodriguez of Ang Pinoy Storytellers.


Tanfelix and Umali together read “Ang Pinakasakim na Raha at ang Pinakamaputing Ulap (The Greediest Rajah and the Whitest Cloud)” by Honoel Ibardolaza, about a selfish chieftain who indulges his desires at the expense of his people.

Rodriguez read “Ang Babaeng Tumalo sa Mahal na Datu (The Maiden Who Defeated the King),” part of the “Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang” series as retold by Christine Bellen. The story is about a young girl who outsmarted a cunning king through sheer wit and bravery.

Also at the session were a volunteer group from Baker & McKenzie Global Services Manila.

Umali, an Inquirer Read-Along ambassador, said it was refreshing to read a story for children together with Tanfelix, a first-time reader and her onscreen partner in the GMA 7 afternoon drama, “Wish I May,” and Sunday evening comedy, “Ismol Family.”

“I had fun reading with the kids and it was challenging because you had to make sure they learned the moral of the story and got entertained at the same time,” Tanfelix said.


As two of the more popular teenage actors today, Umali and Tanfelix have managed to juggle their studies with their work. Tanfelix is a freshman at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas and Umali completed Grade 9 in a home-study program.


“It is a matter of time management. I never regard it as stress because going to college will help me build a bright future,” Tanfelix said.

“We make it a point to accomplish our tasks both in school and at work. It is hard but somehow we have survived,” Umali added.

As an ambassador, Umali said she wanted to influence as many children as she could to cultivate a love of reading, to which Tanfelix agreed: “She actually influenced me to read more books,” he said.

So how to be a role model in a simple way? Tanfelix said: “Be as nice a person as you can be and follow your parents because you will never get in trouble if you are properly guided.”

The kids found the stories interesting and filled with lessons. For 11-year-old Zayshel, she learned the importance of choosing a good leader that could be your role model.

“I learned it is not good to be a greedy person,” she said. “I also learned that it is important to have a leader that is humble, honest and generous to other people.”
Think of others’ welfare

Icen Rose, 11, described a good leader as “someone who thinks of the welfare of other people,” and said she realized that “being a good person” could make one a role model to others.

Marian Regidor, who led the group from Baker & McKenzie, said the Read-Along exceeded their expectations.

“We saw in the enthusiasm of the kids that they had so much fun, which is the point of this activity, to make reading and learning fun and not just something they need to do for school,” she said.

“Our corporate social responsibility is focused on education. When we found out about this activity, we thought it would fit well with our advocacy,” she added.

Meryll Sarco, also from Baker & McKenzie, said that while they were waiting for all the children to arrive, some of the kids who were already there were engaged in a discussion about the coming elections.

“The children had their opinions on who should be the next president. They had different views and they were having a discussion on their own. It was really nice to see that the children are informed and they can make these decisions. It’s a good trait they can carry growing up and when it’s their time to vote, we know they will have a good foundation of values,” she said.

Saturday’s session, hosted by Inquirer Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was in cooperation with Marian Domingo-Antonio and Michael Foz of GMA 7, Marian Regidor and Anne Sandico of Baker & McKenzie, and Hands On Manila.

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TAGS: Bianca Umali, Inquirer Read-Along, Marian Regidor, Miguel Tanfelix, Read-along
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