National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) 2015 Blog Tour: Dream Date

NCBD Blog Tour HeaderHello, readers! We are currently on the second week of the blog tour for the National Children’s Book Day (NCBD) 2015. And here is the theme for this week:

Hulyo 14 – 19: Dream Date Sinong manunulat o ilustrador ang nais mong makasama sa isang araw/gabí? (Kailangang mga aklat pambata at pangkabataan ang nililikha niya. Maaari ring maglista nang higit sa isa pa.)

Translation:Which Filipino writer or illustrator do you want to be with for a day/a night? (Their works must be geared towards children and young adults. Feel free to list more than one.)

Filipinos are talented hands down, if they don’t sing, they write or paint. I’m a huge admirer of talented/gifted/intelligent people so it’s not surprising that my list is long. Thankfully, we have a restriction, being that their works should be geared for kids or young adult, my list therefore, is mercifully shorter. Lol. ❤

Here are the writers/illustrators whom I believe are a cut above the rest and with whom I want to spend a date with. I’ll start with:

CJ de Silva1. CJ de Silva

Known as a “Gifted Child” and a “Promil Kid” of the ’90s, CJ de Silva is now an art director and graphic designer. She still loves to paint and illustrate.

I admire CJ because not only did she hold various exhibits as a child (and sold paintings while she was at it, with price ranging from P5,000.00 to P100,000.00 at the time), she also graduated magna cum laude (meaning with great honor) from the University of the Philippines Diliman College of Fine Arts, with a degree in Visual Communications.

While Filipinos are generally accepting and kind, there’s always that one person who “organize” bullying against a person/classmate who are more talented and more intelligent thanPicture1 the rest. Being on the receiving end of that kind of bullying I can attest that it is not easy. And that is why, more than her talent and intelligence, I admire CJ for her courage and strength, for she is someone who  endured bullying in high school and still, she emerged as a successful person that she is today.

You can watch interviews on CJ here:

done by GMA7

for Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin

She illustrated one children’s book: Ang Ikaklit sa Aming Hardin written by Bernadette Villanueva Neri

Ang Ikaklit Sa Aming Hardin (Ikaklit in Our Garden) by Bernadette Villanueva Neri and CJ de Silva

Ang Ikaklit Sa Aming Hardin (Ikaklit in Our Garden) by Bernadette Villanueva Neri and CJ de Silva

and one book which I think is for YA, NA, etc. title Stupid is Forever by Miriam Defensor Santiago.

Check CJ de Silva’s works here. The theme of her paintings are mostly mother and child.

2. My second dream date is Johann de Venecia. ^___^ I can’t begin to tell you how much I love his works.

Here is Johann’s profile in Goodreads:

Johann de Venecia began drawing on the walls of his grandmother’s house at the age of four. He was hooked ever since and years later, he earned his BA degree in Visual Communication from the College of Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD).

Johann had moved on from walls to more suitable media, but the childhood enthusiasm remained. He is now based in Long Beach, California with his partner Chris, and is actively pursuing a career as a freelance illustrator and concept artist. I love Johann’s works because of its ability to bring me into an entirely new and different world. Funny how, by just staring at an art work I get to see a story, a fantasy world that holds something dark, sinister. Some of his artworks for The Seven are a tad frightful that the children who saw it during our exhibit in SM Calamba and SM Lipa got scared and one or two of them actually, er, cried.

Like CJ, Johann only has one children’s book titled Brightest:

and one YA, titled The Seven: The Key of Credence by Veronica Mist. I already included some of his illustrations for The Seven in my previous post here so I’ll only place here the remaining pieces.

Here are his other works (only posting a few, there are plenty really)

The first image is Johann’s version of Rapunzel (left) while the other one is titled Death and Rebirth of Spring (right). Admittedly both not children-friendly because of its dark themes BUT I love it.

I forgot what this one’s called but I really love the colors.

This one is called Fatima and The World Slayer

Johann has plenty of works but I won’t post them all here. Go check him out!

3. Dr. Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal’s “The Monkey and the Turtle” published in Trubner’s Oriental Record in London over a hundred years ago. Source:

Rizal is the first published (children’s) author in the Philippines. He wrote “The Monkey and the Turtle.” In French. Because he was an overachiever like that. Then, he proceeded to write both Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo in Spanish. Overachiever, as I said.

Bust of Padre Guerrico in clay, by Rizal. Source:

I’m assuming everyone knows who he is so I’m not going to post what his works are here (okay so maybe some of it, but not everything because there are plenty!). If you want to see his artworks, go check out the museums in Manila (I forgot which museums, I visited them all sixteen years ago) which have his works on display. It’s the least we can do considering he died for the country and, they are really good! For my non-Filipino readers, you can read this post I made about him: Jho-sigstylediv So, what do I do once I am face to face with my dream dates? I’d want them to show me their work space, at home

and at the office. Their studio if they have one, their current work-in-progress, paintings and illustrations they all did as a child and in Rizal’s case, his writings when he was a kid. I’d enjoy comparing their works when they were still a kid and their works as adults.

Rizal’s pencil sketch of Blumentritt. Source:

With that out of the way, I’ll ask them what made them pick up a pencil. What was that aha moment that made them want to draw / write? What were they doing then and how old were they? Who are their influences? What are their favorite books? Paintings? Who are their favorite artists and writers? Who do they look up to? I’ll ask them what’s the greatest thing about being a writer or an artist? What their feelings are while they are up against a work and how do they feel once they are done? What are their frustrations / constrictions as a writer/ artist that they feel? I have a lot of questions, so many I’m sure long after I posted this I’d still be able to think one. Even personal ones. How are they as a person, as a son or daughter, as a significant other? Are they perfectionist only when it comes to their work or does this apply to all aspects of their lives? And I have questions especially for Rizal. I’m sure, wherever he is now, he is still looking after us.  For one, I’d like to know his writing process. Did he agonize over story structure, too? How many words did he write per day? How many hours did he write per day? What did he love doing the most? Writing? Sketching? Painting? Sculpting?

Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo Source:

Rizal predicted in his book that one day the Filipinos will no longer suffer in silence but will fight back against the tyranny of its government:

“Ang bayan po’y di dumaraing dahil siya’y pipi, di tumitinang dahil natutulog. Subali’t darating ang panahong malalantad ito sa inyo at mapapakinggan ang kanyang mga panaghoy. Pagsapit ng araw na ito,… sasambulat sa lahat ng dako ang mga naipong luha; himutok at buntong-hiningang matagal na panahong kinimkim sa puso ng bayan.” – Pilosopo Tasyo (kab. 25)

English translation: “The people do not complain because they have no voice; do not move because   they are lethargic, and you say that they do not suffer because you have not seen their hearts bleed.” ― Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not)

Dr. Rizal, do you think we are only ten years away from this? Or do we wait for another three hundred years for this to happen?

“Mamatay akong hindi man lang masisilayan ang pagbubukang liwayway, kayong makakakita, batiin n’yo s’ya at wag kalimutan ang mga nabulid sa gitna ng dilim.” – Elias (kab. 63)

English translation: “I die without seeing the dawn brighten over my native land. You who have it to see, welcome it … and forget not those who have fallen during the night!”

Rizal, if you are going to be given another chance to do over, would you have done things differently? What would you have changed? Do you still think we are worth dying for? (Hey, I know Ninoy said this, but I’m sure Rizal thought it, too). We, the Filipino people who saw the dawn, who saw the sun rise and brighten our mother country, are we on the right track? Do you think the country’s where you want it to be? Now there’s a food for thought.


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