Oct 31, 2012

Undas and Days of the Dead Around the World

A typical scene at a cemetery during Undas
As we gear up for the long weekend that November 1 and 2 or Undas brings each year, we got around to asking each other at the office whether there are versions of this in other parts of the world. It's an interesting topic of conversation as taking two whole days to pay respect to our loved ones who have passed away, is not your typical national holiday.

We know that November 1 and 2 in the Philippines means spending a day at the cemetery with relatives to pay our respect to those who have gone on before us. Aside from prayers, fellowship, and the ever Pinoy kainan, Undas is a distinctly Filipino tradition that seems like no other in the world. But after some simple researching on Google, we found that in the other parts of the world there are similar celebrations that are meant to honor the dead as well.

From Los Dias de los Muertos in Mexico, to how Ecuadorian's celebrate November 1 and 2 seated near the graves of their dearly departed. It's interesting to see that the ways people all over the world celebrate their versions of Undas. This article from Huffington Post shows how "Day of the Dead" all over the world is celebrated. It was published last year, but if you're interested to find out more, the pictures are a bit scary, but very fascinating.

Wishing everyone a meaningful long weekend ahead!

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Photo Credit:
Photo 1- http://yashikibuta.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/undassadabaw2007.jpg

Oct 23, 2012

AHON Foundation Featured on the Rappler Today!

We were featured on the Rappler today in an article about our 66th Partner Library in Cuyapo Nueva Ecija!

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines - The travel to Cuyapo, the farthest municipality in Nueva Ecija and a mere hour away from Baguio, took almost 4 hours. But our intention of traveling this far was not only to visit the beauty and feel the serenity of far-flung barrios.
We went there for a very specific purpose – to visit the public elementary school of Cuyapo Central School. We came to bring brand-new books and educational materials for children and teachers.
From the main highway, getting to the place means taking a right into a little road you’ll likely miss unless you’re specifically looking for it. Then you follow the thoroughfare where you see more tractors and tricycles than cars. Never-ending rice paddies line the either side of the road where carabaos bask in the early morning sun. And just when you feel that you might’ve taken a wrong turn, you arrive in the little, quiet town of Cuyapo.
Our friends from “Books for a Cause” recommended Cuyapo Central School to be the next partner-school of the Acts of Hope for the Nation or Ahon Foundation. Cuyapo Central School has a nice campus gifted with a sprawling field and spacious learning parks. Its library is however noticeably neglected and suffers from a lack of quality materials.
Before our partnership, the school had only a simple room with a humble collection of books. Termites made it to the place, destroying books and shelves. Cracks in the floor had been an eyesore. But within the span of one month, after finding cheap but creative ways of fixing the place, they were able to re-create the reading space into one that is so different from what it was.
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Oct 22, 2012

Inspiration: A Library for Everyone

To start out this week with interesting inspiration, here's an article we stumbled upon that was published a few months back in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Mr. Hernando "Nanie" Guanlao established "The Reading Club" for anyone who wants to read. With more than 500 titles under its name, this library of sorts for everyone, can be found in the front of his ancestral home in Balagtas St. in Barangay La Paz, Makati City. With the "Reading Club" Mr. Guanlao wanted to create a service for his community while at the same time encouraging the culture of reading.

"The Reading Club"actually began in 2000 when Mr. Guanlao built some makeshift shelves outside his house and displayed his family's collection of books. Though people initially didn't understand what Mr. Guanlao was doing, they picked up after a while that these books were there for their reading pleasure.
Mr. Nanie Guanlao, founder of "The Reading Club" shows some books on his version of the libraries mobile counterpart.

What's most interesting about the "Reading Club" though is that Mr. Guanlao says there are no rules behind this. People drop of boxes of books at his door step, sometimes anonymously, and the collection grows. But what's even more interesting is that he says "people can read, can borrow, can take home." And the "Reading Club" never closes. It's always there for people to visit and use. From students who are looking for reference books and textbooks to people who just want to read, the "Reading Club" is always open.

The Reading Club, always there. Always open.

At the end of the day, what we love most about the "Reading Club" is that Mr. Guanlao says he doesn't expect anything from this. Plain and simply, he just wants to promote literacy to people and give them the chance to read.

Read more about Mr. Guanlao in this article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

*Information for this blog entry was taken from the article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday, June 2, 2012.
*Pictures from: http://www.samutsari.info/readingclub/?m=201206

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Oct 19, 2012

Kind Words to End the Week

It's always nice to end the (work) week on a positive note. So here's a very nice comment we received from Ms. Joanne Tupas- Parsons on the most recent library we inaugurated at Cuyapo, Central School in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija.

Thank you for your kind words, Ms. Joanne! It's always great reading inspirational messages of thanks like yours.

If you have a message for AHON Foundation, you can like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter  or send us an email at ahonfoundation@gmail.com.

Have a GREAT week end ahead!

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Oct 18, 2012

Our Very First "THINKING WHILE READING" Seminar!

Over the Weekend, AHON Foundation in cooperation with our friends from Bagong Kulturang Pinoy Inc. (BKPI) conducted our very first "THINKING WHILE READING" seminar. This seminar, which is one of the newer seminar's conducted by BKPI, trains teachers in creative ways to teach reading skills to their students. The methods that participants learn here are alternative but informative and can still can be easily brought to their own classrooms.

Both BKPI and AHON Foundation possess the mission to promote a culture of reading in school children in the Philippines. So a partnership was formed on the agreement that BKPI would conduct a literacy skills teaching seminar for public school teachers from AHON Partner Schools around Metro Manila.

The two-day seminar was well attended by 30 public elementary school teachers who not only learned important skills when teaching their students to read, but also were given the chance to share with one another ideas that would build the culture of reading amongst their students. Ms. Mhea Ang See and Ms. Hazel Domingo Babiano, our ever energetic seminar facilitators from BKPI also created the perfect environment for teachers to learn and share with one another. 

Using a mixture of lectures, workshops, and dialogues, the teacher participants had dynamic discussions after every topic that was introduced to them. They learned about the concept of reading as a group activity, giving creative supplementary exercises to students after reading assignments, and the idea that reading is a process that also enhances the thinking skills of students when done properly.

At the end of two days the teachers not only learned new and important skills in teaching reading to their students but also rediscovered their enthusiasm to teach this to their students. Despite the fact that the culture of reading is not a prevalent one in the schools they teach at, they were confident that with the new creative methods they learned from AHON Foundation and BKPI’s first “Thinking While Reading Seminar fervor for reading would not be hard to plant within their students.

Congratulations to all our teacher participants!

AHON Foundation would like to express our deep and heartfelt thanks to our friends from Bagong Kulturang Pinoy Inc who facilitated this two day seminar. Find out more about them and the work they do by visiting their website. 

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Oct 14, 2012

Library Inauguration at Cuyapo Central School, Nueva Ecija

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012 AHON Foundation inaugurated its 66th library in Cuyapo Central School, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija!

It takes 4 hours by car to get to Cuyapo Central School in Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija. From the main highway, you take a right into a little road you would not notice unless you’re looking for it, and you begin to follow this thoroughfare where you see more tractors than cars. As you make your way down this road, houses begin to appear farther and farther away from each other, and soon you find yourself driving beside rice fields that seem to extend on and on. And just when you feel that you might’ve taken a wrong turn, you arrive in the little town of Cuyapo.

Despite it being located in a small town, Cuyapo Central School has a student population of 800. To be able to accommodate all their students in their classrooms they have both morning and afternoon sessions. But despite the lack in the number of classrooms, the campus of Cuyapo Central School is a nice one. They have a nice gym, a sprawling field, and a cafeteria. The only thing that Cuyapo Central School lacked was a library.

Our friends from Books for a Cause actually recommended Cuyapo Central School as a partner to AHON Foundation. Before our partnership, Cuyapo Central School only had a simple room with a humble collection of books that functioned as their library. But within a span of one month, they were able to create a reading space that was unrecognizable from the very first time we visited their school.

Under the tutelage of Dr. Cristina Miranda, principal of Cuyapo Central School, the faculty and administrators were able to acquire enough resources to give their library a new look. They are especially thankful for their school’s Parents Association that helped them every step of the way. With the money they were able to raise, they painted the tables, chairs, and shelves, and covered all four walls with colorful murals depicting cartoon characters as well as quotes inspiring children to read. When we arrived on the day of the inauguration, their library was a shining example of what a library should be. The only thing it lacked were students to use this!

But the students did excitedly pile into the library after the short but meaningful inauguration took place. Once the ribbon of the library was cut, and this declared officially open, children rushed towards the shelves to grab a book for reading. As the four walls of the library were filled with excited chatter of the students, Ma’am Jackie, Cuyapo Central School’s OIC, thanked us for the library we developed. We replied to her telling her that she was very welcome, but without the work that they as a school put in, there wouldn’t be a library either.

Congratulations Cuyapo Central School! We hope that the library we developed together will inspire your children to dream!

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Oct 5, 2012


The work we do in AHON Foundation gives us the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of teachers. These teachers are some of the most caring, passionate, and hard working individuals we know.

So today, as we celebrate World Teachers Day, we give our special thanks to all the teachers we have had the privilege to work with in building our libraries. They serve constantly as inspirations to us.

Don't forget to greet a teacher who has inspired you today.


Oct 3, 2012

This Week is Banned Books Week

Here in AHON Foundation we're always looking for interesting book related events to share with our supporters who are avid readers and literary buffs. Interestingly enough September 30 to October 6 2012 marks Banned Books Week. 

Banned books week is an annual event that celebrates the right to read. Highlighting the free and open access to information, Banned Books Week brings together a community of book lovers in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those which are unorthodox or unpopular. This year marks the 30th year that Banned Books Week is celebrated.(http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek

Though banned books week is primarily celebrated in the United States, we at AHON Foundation believe strongly in free and open access to information. We also believe in the freedom to seek and express ideas, which is one of the things we hope the libraries we build promote in the children who benefit from them. 

So in celebration of Banned Books Week and our freedom to access information, why don't we pick up a banned or challenged book, and read? Here's a list of banned books for adults and a list of challenged books for children.

If you want to know more, you can visit the website of banned books week here.

Happy Banned Books Week everyone! 

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