MANILA—Children of all ages gathered at Plaza de Roma in Intramuros, Manila on Sunday to listen to storytellers in a one-day event intended to promote love of reading.
Dubbed “Storytelling Sunday,” the event is only one of the many reading-related activities organized by the team behind the mobile public library The Book Stop, an initiative of WTA Architecture + Design Studio.
Volunteers from all walks of life read stories to children in both English and Filipino from 10 a.m. to around 4 p.m. while other participants helped facilitate.
During the afternoon session, student Joylyn Arevalo kicked off the storytelling session with National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario’s “Si Langgam at Si Tipaklong” — a story about being practical enough to save food for the rainy season.
Arevalo said that she has been used to reading to children as she had previously joined regional storytelling contests and speech contests in high school.
”I want to make better use of the free time I have on a weekend,” Arevalo, who is majoring in political science, said. “I have always wanted to volunteer for events like this so I feel like now is the right time.”
Arevalo said she arrived at the Plaza de Roma at around 8:30 a.m., even before the storytelling session started because she was told to come early and also because she was excited.
First-time storyteller Roanne Davila was one of the many teachers who volunteered for the storytelling activity. She read Kristine Canon’s “Si Pilong Patago-tago” — a story about a young boy who would often hide from his mother.
Davila, who teaches high school students, said that it was a challenge to read to younger students, especially because they had shorter attention-spans.
“It was tiring but also rewarding because the kids were difficult to handle. I’m used to teaching high school students. It’s easier to discipline them. Younger kids are often naughtier,” she said.
She said she is willing to volunteer again if given the opportunity.
Among the other volunteers was TV host Lyn Ching-Pascual, who read to children during the morning session.
After the storytelling session, volunteers also provided children with snacks and drinks and other materials for the kids present.
The Book Stop is a mobile public library where visitors can “give a book and get a book” in return.
It was also established to bring back the idea of setting up libraries not only as “a place for books and reading” but also “a space for human interaction, and a platform for learning.”
This mobile public library was launched during the Dia de Libro or International Book Day celebration last April 23 where it was installed at the Ayala Triangle Gardens in Makati.
It will be in Intramuros until July 8.
Aside from storytelling, The Book Stop also holds events such as open-mic music and poetry sessions, heritage walks and blind-dates with book, wherein participants wrap pre-loved books in wrapping paper to cover their books and write down keywords that say what their books are all about and exchange it for another blind book.