Discovering talents in read-along | Inquirer News

Discovering talents in read-along

/ 10:17 PM May 27, 2011

CEBU CITY—This was one task he could perform with his eyes closed.

No, former Tourism Secretary Joseph “Ace” Durano was not selling the country to the international market. He was reading a storybook to 30 children at Ayala Center Cebu.


Like a pro, Durano removed his shoes, sat on the rubber mat and exchanged morning greetings with the children before reading “Magnificent Benito and His Two Front Teeth,” a story written by Angie Rivera and Mike Rivera and illustrated by Jason Moss.

Encouraging the children to read along with him, he and 30 other voices told the story of Benito, a boy who was teased for his ugly front teeth but later discovered his talent as a teeth sculptor, which gained him worldwide prominence.


Durano explained some parts in Cebuano and told the children the importance of finding and sharing their talents with others—something that Benito only discovered accidentally.

The Inquirer Read-Along session was held on May 21 at the Active Zone of Ayala Center Cebu and had Durano and Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI) president Francis Monera as guest readers. It was organized with Ayala Center Cebu and CHI.

Barangay kids

The children are from Barangays Luz and Hipodromo, which are part of the Cebu Business Park and Neighboring Barangays Altruistic Alliance Inc.

A premier business district in Cebu City, the Cebu Business Park sits on a 50-hectare property adjacent to the two barangays and is owned by CHI. It is home to high-rise residential buildings, shopping and business centers, as well as sports and recreational facilities, with Ayala Center Cebu as centerpiece.

Nenita Tapayan, a gender and development worker of Luz, said this was the first time the children attended a storytelling session.

“We hope that we will be invited in many activities like this. It gives the children reasons to be interested in reading again. Seeing personalities like Sir Ace (Durano) read tells them that successful people are successful because they read,” she said.


Durano said he used to read stories to his two children—AJ and Cara, now 18 and 17, respectively. “I miss doing this (reading stories) because my kids are now teenagers and the last time I read to them was ten years ago. It brought back a lot of nice memories,” he said.

Story lessons

Benito’s story appealed to Ayen Gallardo, 9, an incoming Grade 4 pupil, who said she was often teased in her class for her curly hair.

“They would tease me, ‘Kulot! Kulot!’ I used to cry but not anymore. I tell them, ‘So what if I have curly hair? I’m pretty anyway.’ I know that there is something good in being kulot,” Ayen said.

Monera, a father of five and grandfather of five, read “Tight Times,” written by Jeanette Patindol and illustrated by Sergio Bumatay III. The book delivers the message that hard work and perseverance are values to keep during trying times.

Neighbors Crishia Tumabine and Sheena Mae Daba liked the story because it reminded them to be grateful with the little things they had.

“Our parents are factory workers but they work hard in giving us what we need even if sometimes we lack some things. But we are lucky because we still have something (to eat),” said Crishia, 10, an incoming Grade 6 pupil of Barrio Luz Elementary School.

Both Durano and Monera emphasized the need to develop the culture of reading among children.

“Although you get information these days and learning through television, reading is still required,” Durano said.

He stressed that reading is a critical skill when children pursue their professions. “For young children, the brain development that could happen through reading is different compared to just watching television,” he added.

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TAGS: Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu City, Children, Education, Read-along
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