Guarding Tradition

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In the wake of the devastating loss of life, property, livelihood, and heritage sites in Bohol and Cebu due to 7.2-magnitude quake, we are reminded of how fleeting and fragile everything is. Eskritoryo Pilipinas is one with the nation in praying for those who have been affected by this calamity.

It also makes us reflect on how we can work to preserve those that define us a nation. A timely example of this is this special non-fiction children’s book that seeks to educate young minds about our Living National Treasures.

Guardians of Tradition is full of facts about 11 of Philippine master weavers, folk musicians, performing artists, mat weavers, and metal smiths whose talents and skills have earned them the title Manlilikha ng Bayan. Designed to help children recognize native Filipino ingenuity and creativity, the book includes fun activities to promote appreciation for culture and arts. Guardians of Tradition has a fun and colorful design that appeals to young readers.

Written by Mae Astrid Tobias, with illustrations by Rommel E. Joson and photographs by Renato S. Rastrollo, Guardians of Tradition is a lovely and informative book. It’s only fitting that it is currently nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Uwang Ahadas, Maestro of Yakan Music

Uwang Ahadas always wears a pair of dark glasses. He lost his eyesight when he was only five. But he does not let his disability keep him from becoming a master of Yakan music.

Together with his siblings, he learned to play different instruments like the gabbang and the agung. The instrument called the kwintangan kayu is supposed to be played by women only, but Ahadas broke this tradition and learned how to play this.

Ahadas wants children to learn to play instruments while they are young because their hands and wrists are still flexible. He teaches them by showing them his techniques.

Even when working in the fields, the Yakans play their musical instruments. One of these instruments is the gabbang. Small children play it to shoo away animals from planted crops. It looks like a xylophone, but it is made of five bamboo slats.

Another instrument is the kwintangan kayu which is made of five wooden logs hung horizontally under a tree near a ricefield. It is played to make the rice plants grow.

*****

Suggested activity:
Blind people have keener senses of touch, sound, taste, and scent. Try to find out how it feels to be blind by getting a handkerchief and covering your eyes. Notice the sounds, smells, textures, and taste of the things around you.

If you’re from the Philippines, you can start showing your support by joining the Guardians of Tradition giveaway. You can win one of the following prizes:

One $25 Amazon Gift Card + signed copy of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 1 CD of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

3 $10 Amazon Gift Card + signed copy of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 1 CD of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

6 signed copies of Guardians of Tradition from Adarna + 6 CDs of National Living Treasure Bayan Sumaon Sulaiman from NCCA

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