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Building Readers Project: Kawasan Edition

DSCN8662As a kid, I did not have access to books, but I always love reading. Back in high school, a teacher accused me of ripping a book into two and had my sister, a senior then, notified. My sister cried out of humiliation. The allegation stemmed from the fact that I was the sole soul reading that book every lunch break. But I had no memory of ripping the book.

When I transferred to a Catholic school, which had a relatively big library, I stole most of its Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys hardbound collection. Until now, I still have some of those books. I did and do not feel guilty.

I see myself in the country kids nowadays. After all, I was and still am. There must be a community of aspiring readers somewhere but does not have access to books. So I made it as a personal project to adopt a small community where I can send books regularly. So far, I launched this small project with my two favorite places in Cebu, places I visit once or every other month: Malapascua Island and Kawasan Falls, my writing muse. With this, I can personally assess the kids’ progress, can supply new books, and read books with them.

As you may have noticed, I sell some preloved books here on BWAB. The proceeds goes to buying preloved young adult and children’s books.

Because reading shapes minds, ideas. Because there is nothing impossible to a well-read mind. Because really, our nation badly needs more readers.

Adopt, build a community of readers. This is how I celebrated my 28th.

DSCN8667  The first waterfall is the busiest part of Kawasan’s river system.DSCN8678I love the walk from the second falls to the lagoon. It is wild, beautiful, and serene. DSCN8687Inserted Sari-Sari Story Books activity. Kids were asked for their own intepretation of tiktik/wakwak—a mythical and mostly horrifying creature in the Visayas and Mindanao.DSCN8704Rizalito is one of the residents of Kawasan waters.  Everytime I visit Kawasan, he is always there, dipping. kawasanTried cliff jumping with the girls. It was exhilarating and nerve-wrecking. DSCN8720They asked when I would be back in Kawasan. They would be there to welcome me once again. DSCN8727We are a community of readers.

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Jona | Backpacking with a Book

Hi, I'm Jona! I write stories and poetry and take a lot of photos, which I'm too lazy to upload. If you want to receive some photos that I don't share here on the blog, please leave your email here. I'm crazy about cats too. Feel free to browse through BWAB, and I would love it if you say hi! For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com For more stories about BWAB, check here. Connect with us through

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1 Comment

  1. Bob Lenson says:

    I must confess… I started to read ask your blogs a while back but got sidetracked with my own writing… So, when I came across this one today, I was not only surprised but inspired by the way you help others learn the joy of reading! As soon as I finish this, I am heading over to my friend’s sari sari to look at a stack of YA books piled in the back… There are too many young children living here where families can’t afford the cost of school… Perhaps, with time and some help, I can do a little bit to help these children get a step back up in life… For once we learn to read, there if nothing we can’t learn!

    Quickly (so I can go see about those books) I wish to ask two questions… The first is because no timeline shows for this posting… Can you tell me when it was written? I wish to visit the Kawasan area shortly and this will help me get an idea of how fast the area is growing… My other question concerns the last photo showing several people standing in knee deep water together… Is the taller person in the photo, well, you? A friend who reads your site and I disagree on if this is truly you or somebody else… Can you help us settle this? Please? I would be forever grateful!!!

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