MANILA, Philippines?Kris Aquino shared her passion for reading at Thursday's Inquirer Read Along with selected pupils from three schools in Metro Manila held at the Petron Megaplaza in Makati.
Aquino, who came with youngest son Baby James, read the story "Bakit Hindi Na Naka-lipstick si Nanay" written by Grace Chong. The book won first prize in the Palanca Awards and was originally written in English with the title "No Lipstick for Mother."
Another familiar face who captured the hearts and attention of the children was actor and veteran storyteller Luisito Pascua, more popularly known as Kuya Bodjie of the now defunct children's TV show "Batibot."
Pupils from Pateros Elementary School, Andres Bonifacio Elementary School, and Tenement Elementary School are part of Petron Foundation's Tulong Aral Program. The reading session was also advocated by one of the foundation's partners in promoting education and love for reading, Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation.
Aquino was given a token of appreciation by Philippine Daily Inquirer Inc. president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, who was joined by Lizzie Zobel.
The reading session put the spotlight on families and mothers.
Aquino, who graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University with a degree of Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, asked three children to read with her while explaining the story in between breaks. She recounted how her habit of reading was inculcated in her by her father, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., who used to buy her books once a week.
"Until now, even with my busy schedules, I try to carry on with that value my dad taught me," she said. "I try to read at least one book every week and in a month I read about 45 magazines both imported and local."
She then encouraged the children to read at least one book a month.
Kuya Bodjie, on the other hand, effortlessly captured the attention of the kids with his lively storytelling of "Papel de Liha" by Ompong Remigio. He lauded the advocacy of promoting reading to the young.
A self-confessed "addict" to reading any reading materials other than books, Kuya Bodjie said he believed that "reading can serve as an inspiration for children to become more adventurous, critical thinking, and develop a broader view on life."
"Reading contributed a great deal to how I have become as a person," he said. Kuya Bodjie has a degree in Fine Arts in Drama from New York University. He is also known as Tito Luis on another children's TV show which helps children learn and understand English in a fun way titled "Epol/Apple." Lately, he's been seen on movies, television shows, and theater.
Kuya Bodjie, who is also a proponent of Alitaptap Storytelling chooses stories to read to kids that will stimulate the children's minds to ask questions. "Of course, it also has to be entertaining," he added.
Petron Corp.'s Crude and Product Supply manager Weng Cortez began the storytelling session with the story "Ang Pamilya" by Genaro Gojo Cruz. The children interacted, read, and laughed along with her.
Classmates Veronica Apan and Jaslaine Saberdo of Pateros Elementary School, both nine years old, said they enjoyed reading stories because "it's entertaining." They particularly liked the story read by Kuya Bodjie because it taught them to value the efforts of their mothers.
Saberdo said she enjoys reading because "I always learn something from it."
The children received treats from Jollibee Food Corp. and Junior Inquirer.
Marilou Erni, executive director of Petron Foundation Inc., said that promoting the reading habit was in line with Petron's corporate social responsibility, which focuses heavily on education with its Tulong Aral Scholars. It supports a total of 6,000 students in Metro Manila and Mindanao.
Sa Aklat Sisikat Foundation was established in 2001 with the aim of helping children to read more and training teachers to achieve this goal.
The Inquirer Read Along, now in its second year, regularly holds sessions at the Inquirer offices. Interested parties may contact Ellen Caparros and Girlie Refran at 897-8808 local 329.