Guardians of Tradition by Mae Astrid Tobias– Book Review

Hi Everybody! It’s my last day of being 24 and I’ll end it with a bang with the Guardians of Tradition book tour’s stop on my blog.

Title: Guardians of Tradition–The Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan

Author: Mae Astrid Tobias 
Illustrated by: Rommel E. Joson
Photos by: Renato Rastrollo

Who are the indigenous and folk artists of the Philippines? Guardians of Tradition by Mae Astrid Tobias and illustrated by Rommel Joson is full of facts about 11 of the best 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. 

Special Note: For the duration of the Guardians of Tradition Blog Tour (Oct 13-19, 2013), Guardians of Tradition is available at discounted prize at the Adarna showroom in Scout Torillo corner Scout Fernandez Streets, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City 1103 Philippines(Trunkline: (632) 352-6765, Fax: (632) 352-6765 local 125, Email Address: adarnahouse@adarna.com.ph)

For international readers and Filipinos abroad, an ebook version is coming soon.To order paperback copies online, visit http://adarna.com.ph/authors/mae-astrid-tobias.html

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“All over the country, you find people who love to sing, dance, paint, write, play musical instruments, and create the most beautiful things–there are also special people who spend their lives making sure that these traditional arts are not forgotten.” 

When I first heard about this book, I thought, “Okay, it’s a children’s book…but why not try?”  So, I signed up for the blog tour and thank God I did because I got to read this gem of a book.
Guardians of Tradition is more than just a children’s book–it is something that is full of information about the Filipino Culture and about our unsung heroes–the Manlilikha ng Bayan or the Guardians of Tradition. These people are those who have devoted their lives into honing their skills and imparting these skills to others so that the legacy wouldn’t end.
In this book, you will get to know more about the Manlilikha ng Bayan namely Ginaw Bilog (a Hanunuod Mangyan Poet), Masino Intaray (Pal’awan Musician), Sumaon Sulaiman (a Maguindanao Kutyapi Player), Lang Dulay (T’boli Weaver), Uwang Ahadas (Yakan Master of Instrumental Music), Federico Caballero (Panay-Bukidnon Epic Chanter), Alonzo Sadag (Kalinga Traditional Performing Arts), Haja Amina Appi (Sama Mat Weaver), Eduardo Mutuc (Kapampangan Metalsmith), and Darhata Sawabi (Tausug Tapestry Weaver). Their lives, their passion and elgacies are tackled, plus there are also some instructions that you can follow as to how to create things that are somewhat similar to what they have done. This way, you’ll get to understand more about them and why their chemistry is important. The photos of the artists are also crisp and give light to who they are and what they do.

I also appreciate the fact that some really lively and colorful illustrations were used because it made the book more interesting and entertaining. Kids and kids at heart will surely enjoy learning more about our guardians of tradition because of this book’s characters: Kiko, the smart, fun loving kid and Banog, the ever reliable Eagle.

The book is light and easy to read. It is not only educational and informative but very entertaining, as well, which I think are very important characteristics of a book.

I personally think that this book can be used as a supplement to aid in better learning when it comes to MAPE/SIBIKA/.HEKASI subjects. I think students will be more inetrested in learning if they are exposed to books such as this.

This book is something that should be heard of. It is such a shame that most of us Filipinos have no idea about these local true artists of ours and it’s high time that we try to learn something about them.

After reading this book, I felt prouder of being a Filipina because I’ve learned so much and now I feel inspired and hope that one day, I get to leave a legacy just like these people did. They maybe unsung heroes for sure, but they are real heroes for me.

And so are the people who worked so hard on this book.

**Special Thsnks to Maricris Tobias for providing the review copy of this book; NCCA for the Sumaon Sulaiman CD; and to Dia of Book Junkie Blog Tours for organizing this awesome tour.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 MAE ASTRID TOBIAS (1979-2009) was a Palanca-award winning author of children’s books. In addition to Guardians of Tradition, her books include Blue Bananas (Crucible), BayongngKuting (Lampara Books), My Forest Friends (Haribon), Bakawan (Adarna Books) and two books retelling the Ifugao traditional chant, hudhud. These are Halikpon: A Retelling of an Ancient Ifugao Chant and Pumbakhayon: An Origin Myth of the IfugaoHudhud. Both are finalists for children’s literature and best design in the 2006 National Book Awards of the Manila Critics Circle.

She also spent several years in the field of children’s television. She served as the Manila Bureau Manager of Kabataan News Network, a project of UNICEF and Probe Media Foundation that trains young people nationwide how to produce their own broadcast quality documentaries. She also also wrote episodes for children shows like Sirit!, and ABS-CBN and Eskuwelang Bayan, as well as worked for Philippine Junior Inquirer and Shell Foundation. She was a member of KuwentistangmgaTsikiting  (KUTING), an organization of Filipino writers for children.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

ROMMEL JOSON is a painter and an illustrator. He graduated magna cum laude and College Valedictorian from the University of Philippines College of Fine Arts. He was also a Merit Scholar and a recipient of the Dean’s Awards for Visual Awards from the Ateneo de Manila University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. He worked in the advertising industry for several years before devoting his time fully to painting and illustration. He has received awards and citations for painting, illustration, comics, and design from various organizations such as the Philippine Board of Books for Young People (Honorable Mention), the Shell National Art Competition (3rd Place Oil/Acrylic Category), the Neil Gaiman/Fully Booked Graphic Fiction Competition (3rd Place in the Graphic Fiction category), the Adobo Design Awards (Silver) and the Philippine Araw Awards (Silver in Art Direction) and the Metrobank Art and Design Excellence Competition (Semifinalist in Oil). He is currently an active member of AngIlustradorngKabataan (Ang INK).
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
RENATO S. RASTROLLO, is a photographer, graphic artist, book and exhibit designer. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising from the Philippine Women’s University. With over 25 years of experience in the field of documentary photography, his works have appeared in national and international publications. Presently, he is a culture and arts officer  at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. 
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