our new library launched last Sept. 14, 2012 @ Rizal Elem. School in Brgy. Rizal, Gubat, Sorsogon
When I was a kid, I never had any story books or encyclopedia on my own, never had a chance to see one. The books I only have and read are the goverment-owned academic books that I need to return at the end of the school year.
In high school, the only extra books I’ve read are the borrowed komiks and tagalog pocketbooks. Worst, I’ve never seen a library at all because my school nor our barrio never had one. It was only during college time that I saw a real library in BIcol University where I spent my free time.
That was until 1999. Since then, I frequented public libraries. And since I started working after graduation, I could afford to buy the books I wanted.
So this Bayanihan Library is very personal to me, It’s a dream come true not only for me but for my community, for my elementary alma mater and for the kids most of all, who just like me coming from a barrio, might not be able to own a storybook.
My school never had a library ever since neither my barrio where I grew up. The school were there already since the ’50s.
It’s not only a dream for me, but it’s also paying back to my school.
So as a sign of deep gratitude, I made a vow to myself to help my school in any way I can. And this started in 201o. Please read my post on https://emmthepinaytrekker.wordpress.com/category/community-volunteerism/
I volunteered myself as project coordinator to help the school’s alumni group both under then Presidents Erning Manallo and Ms. Lydia Arrindell. I was confident I could pull it off because I was trained by experience as a weekend GK ( Gawad Kalinga) volunteer/youth facilitator for almost 4 years altogether.
We all challenged everyone to share their bayanihan spirits.
I worked closely with the the school’s principal, Sir Aldrin Estipona,with the alumni officers,organizations, locals,private individuals to work together for the project. I rallied financial support since June 2011 from my FB friends,mostly alumni. Sir Estipona,whom I fondly call Kuya Al ( he was my theater and youth mentor when I was in my teens until college), was able to lobby 400K php budget to repair the 3 delapidated rooms in the school. However, the repair was way delayed versus our target repair of summer 2012 due to change of Deped personnel in Sorsogon so it was just repaired on August 2012.
It was a 1 year & 3 months in the making project but its all worth it. Please allow me to thank the individuals who have sent their hard-earned money from all over the world:
Alumni Pres. Lydia Ereno Arindell (USA)
batch mate Ariel Guevarra (Dubai)
batch mate Carmelita Forteza Caranog (USA
Marivic Estera (Canada)
Lucy Caceres (Canada)
Jane Mendoza Jolampong (Singapore)
Chona Santos (Philippines)
Dennis Escueta(sailing thru the seas)
Vanna Estareja (Spain)
Dayie Villarroya(sailing thru the seas)
Rowena Caudilla Sarmiento(Spain)
Cong. Ding Ramos(Philippines)
Edwin Ferreras(sailing thru the seas)
Cathy Cuenco Domanais (Philippines)
Meantime, the rest of Alumni officers ( Noel Estareja, Emma Camposano, Kenneth Escandor, Marissa Embile, Albert Buhion, Munding Estera & Carmen Escandor) helped in selling tickets during the alumni 2011.
The fund raised was used for bookshelves, tables, chairs, ceiling fans etc..
Room,check! library facilities, check!
Then came the next phase of the project>> fill it in with books! I had high hopes of course!
I started a book donation drive via Facebook and the response was just awesome! I personally picked up books in Laguna, Fairview,QC, Makati,almost everywhere and used my own money to transport as much as 12 boxes of books via taxi and delivered almost 20 boxes via bus to Gubat, Sorsogon and burned my butt sitting for 26 hours travel back & forth from Manila. hahahha. This happened when you really want to fulfill your dream!
But the books weren’t enough to fill the room. Honestly, the thought of giving up brushed on my head but I thought we all have gone this far so its best to continue the fight.
I tried sending solicitation letters to known bookstores but to no avail. I even went to the MV Doulos ship ( a floating library/bookstore that travels around the world to sell affordable books) docked in Manila Harbor just to ask help but to no avail. It was almost June 2012, one year since the library project was launched and I was nervous already that we wont be able to open the library by Alumni celebration.
I was bloody worried about our deadline so I flooded my FB wall with the book donation campaign.hahahha. And I wanted to believe, that caught the attention of a famous travel blogger James Betia of http://www.journeyingjames.com
I actually added him up in FB to follow his travels but I haven’t met him yet in person back then. I was researching for my 1st Mindanao travel last Feb 2012 when I googled mindanao solo backpacking and his travel blog site was on top. I can say I devoured all his mindanao travel stories like a hungry man. And I knew I’ve got all I need. I became his instant fan so I sent him an email and he gave me his number and so I texted him about my travel because he was then in Mindanao too. I was able to carry out my 1st ever solo backpacking in Mindanao for 3 weeks all in all ( 2 separate travels). Anyway.
1st week of June 2012.
I received a call from James that he is interested to help with the book drive. My initial reaction was: star-strucked! And I was already thanking him many times and I just stopped when he told me to thank him when he delivers the books =)
He told me that we will have a meeting soon and he’s just contacting fellow bloggers and friends to support this cause. I was ecstatic! Right there and then, I smell success! James was very humble how he have gotten into this project but for me he is an angel. He opened the gate for a more greater bayanihan. Well I’m super glad our paths crossed.
our first meeting to discuss the project
from L to R: James Betia of journeyingjames.com (became our book sharing project teamhead),fellow blogger Josiah Sicad of lakas.com.ph(created our book sharing project FB group), outdoor enthusiast/photographer Jojo Pauly( our team’s photographer), lois’ friend, travel bloggers Lois Yasay ( wearesolesisters.com),Gay Emami( pinaytraveljunkie), Laiza Limpin(azialbatanggala.com) and Christine Fernandez ( jovialwanderer.com),whom have pitched in great ideas to finally realized our book donation drive.
James, fellow blogger Marky Ramone Go of nomadicexperiences.com, sports/outdoor enthuasists Arvin Quilloy, Aggy & Niqui came eventually to Rizal Elem. School for the ocular visit and to shoot a video campaign. Thanks to our town mayor Ronnel Lim for accomodating and touring them around.
This group shouted our cause on their respective social networks. Blogs were written to invite volunteers who can pitch in their talents, skills, time, money, effort, ideas and most of all, BOOKS.
Until more have joined like graphic artist Ed Escueta of pixelmanila.net & pinoyoutdoors.como, who designed our catchy posters.
the Book Sharing Project core team
Christine & runner/dentist friend Doc Minnie Tomas got us R.O.X & a Runner’s circle as our books drop-off points.
James’ friends Paula Peralejo and Charlie Fernandez opened their house as our meeting place and books storage house.
Paula’s friend GMA reporter Ms. Lia Manalac – del Castillo and her team of http://www.diksyonaryoatbp.com joined in bringing brand new books and dictionaries donated by different individuasl including GMA’s famous news icon Mike Enriquez.
While the Team USB runners helped out in buying and sorting the books and cooking for the team while in Rizal Beach, headed by our chef Arvin.
Fellow Sorsoganon/travel blogger Gael Hilotin of http://www.thepinaysolobackpacker.com helped out spreading the word.
Even blog followers and close friends of the Book sharing project team have pledged their support.
Big big thanks to the following volunteers/book donors: Lauren Gaile, Cathy Marzo,Eena Cantos,Faye Jacoba, Zarina Segundo,Arisse Tumandao,Claire Madarang,Janeca Racho, Reinerio Alba, Rhas Denilla,Leon Pangilinan,Tatit Quiblat, Awee Tallungan, Tet Lopez, Jeanette Nawanao, Che Asumen & family, Annabelle Mora,Evangeline Velasquez, Ivy Sy.
to those who have given books:
alumni Pres.Tita Lydia Ereno Arrindel Aida Erenol, Reading club 2000 c/o Mr.Nanie guanlao, Burugkos via Maggie Mimay Baybay, Khrisna Domanais-Mascariñas,tita Chona Santos,Lyra Advincula,Lib Galang,Meann Estares,
Evelyn Galao,Liz Belista,Nerl Rito Cruz and to Mr. Ronnel Lim for always supporting us.
Big big thanks to the following people who supported the Book sharing project team:
books & cash sponsors via the Book Sharing Team:
Mela Padillo, Emelyn Magpantay,Jennifer Salamillas, UP Mountaineers,Richard Omana, Jelly Castillo, Julicille Nogalada,Mai Flores,AnnabelleMora and Anonymous peeps who gave big cash for more new books and the team’s logistics.
Friday, September 14, 2012. The day we launched the bayanihan library. FINALLY!
It was indeed a great dream come true, realized by a lot of people who worked together!
We all did made a great legacy that will be forever written in the history of our humble community in barangay Rizal.
Very Special thanks to my friends & relatives who accomodated me while staying in Gubat, kuya Al & Vanny Estipona, Jannet Espayos & family, Yaya Rora & family — thank you for supporting me all the way. Thanks to my friend Reah Fazonela & her family for lending me their motorbike as my service. Thanks to RES teachers,esp to mam Diding Garlan for always accomodating us even my friends during our June ocular visit. Thanks to all the countless people who have supported me in so many ways, esp. my great family! Thanks to GK for the inspiration..Thanks to God for the Divine Providence!
(photo courtesy: journeyingjames)
the volunteers who came all the way from Manila and brought books and inspiration
(photo courtesy: Journeying James)
Thank you all for realizing the library! God bless us all always!
other blog posts about the project:
Christine’s Book Sharing Project Update
Thank you TV5 for the unexpected coverage: