A festival of food, stories and books in Barangay Taptap
It was a day of celebration filled with food, stories and books.
On one side of the gymnasium was a group of 40 mothers eagerly listening to Cebu Daily News columnist Louella Alix, a noted home cook, as she demonstrated the process of making burger patties using banana blossoms and grated coconut as the main ingredients.
On the other side of the gym in the Cebu City mountain village of Taptap were 40 enthusiastic Day Care pupils who listened as volunteer storytellers from Basadours, Inc. read the stories of “Si Pagong at si Matsing” and “Just Add Dirt.”
A few steps from the gym was a team from the Cebu City Public Library, led by chief librarian Rosario “Ruth” Chua.
To liven up the literacy culture in the village, the library donated books to the barangay’s reading center.
The event dubbed as “Food+Stories+Books” held last July 16 was organized by the group,
Cebu Nanays for Nanays, as part of its mission to reach barangays for learning sessions with mothers on issues that are relevant to them.
It was organized in celebration of Nutrition Month and National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) which falls every third Tuesday of July to commemorate the anniversary of the publication of Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle.”
“This is a testament of dynamism and teamwork because we were able to put together an event with the support of different organizations,” said Barangay Taptap Councilor Griffins Malazarte.
“It tells us that we do not need to have a lot of money to organize relevant and timely learning sessions such as this,” added Malazarte.
Priceless giggles were heard across the other half of the gym as Basadours’ Jennie Elloran and John Espinoza regaled the children with Rizal’s “The Monkey and the
Turtle,” as retold by national artist and poet, Virgilio Almario.
Jo Belle Marabiles, Basadours’ deputy executive director described storytelling as an effective and fun-filled strategy to introduce concepts such as health and nutrition to children.
“It gives the children a fun base to understand complicated concepts,” said Marabiles, who runs Talenzville Learning Avenue.
Marabiles read “Just Add Dirt,” a tale about a boy named Miguel who refused to take a bath that different vegetables began to appear on the different parts of his body.
The story, written by Becky Bravo and illustrated by Jason Moss, teaches a lesson on personal hygiene.
One of the supporters of the event is multinational fastfood chain Jollibee, which provided 100 lunch packs for the parents and children.
Nelson Judaya, senior trade marketing manager of Jollibee, said the company supports community-based projects because they address the needs of the people.
Jollibee’s participation, he said, affirms the company’s corporate values of teamwork, humility to listen and learn, and the spirit of family and fun.
“Jollibee is part of a bigger community and we love to be socially responsible by contributing what we can through our participation in these initiatives. It ensures that the help we give is significant and thus, creates a lasting impression on the brand,” he said.
As the event brought the members of the community together, Malazarte and fellow barangay councilor, Jino Bontuyan, also encouraged parents to read to their children at home so they will become well-informed adults in the future.
For her part, Chua said there is a need to reach out to barangay reading centers to ensure that the literacy rate is vibrant and growing in the villages.
“The public library also conducts outreach activities so we can assist reading centers in improving their book collection and services,” said Chua, the city’s chief librarian.
Republic Act No. 7743 mandates that reading centers must be established througout the country from the congressional districts to the barangay levels. Each should have a librarian-designate.
In Barangay Taptap, aside from the reading center, the village has a small reading corner at their Day Care Center. Taptap Integrated School was also the recipient of the AlDub library project of longest-running TV noontime show, Eat Bulaga, in 2016.
As the children gathered to listen to stories and arrange books, the parents were busy learning how to make “humbang nangka” and banana blossom burger patties —- both healthier versions of the famous meat dishes.
While the regular humba recipe calls for pork belly, humbang nangka uses raw and mature jackfruit, boiled in water, as an alternative ingredient.
“Dili man kinahanglan nga mahal ang pagkaon nga masustansya. Pangamigo gyud mo sa inyong mga silingan aron matagaan mo og puso sa saging (Healthy food need not be expensive. Befriend your neighbors so they will give you banana blossoms),” said Alix who drew laughter from the audience.
Wrapping up the festive day was a basic make-up session and livelihood talk by Avon field sales trainer Risherylyn Ocampo.
The session aimed to empower women to become productive members of society.
“We cannot let ourselves go and just use the excuse that we are wives or mothers for not taking care of ourselves. Gone are the days when women are only limited to be being housewives. We can succeed in doing business and managing our families,” said Ocampo.
Last June 28, the same group —- Cebu Nanays for Nanays — also held a First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation lecture at the Cebu City Public Library with parents from Barangay Capitol Site.
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