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The Philippine International Comics Festival: Bridging Filipino comics to the world.

THE Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF) 2024, the only comics festival in the world with an Official Selection of ten graphic novel pitches, developed in a Creator’s Lab, and published in time for the festival, announced the ten titles that made it to the festival’s Official Selection list.

Among these are the 40th National Book Award and 7th National Children’s Book Award winner “Alandal” by J. Philip Ignacio and Alex Niño. “Alandal” is currently published in German and Burmese, and Niño also received the 2022 Eisner Hall of Fame Award in the USA.

Doobiedoo Asks” by Bambi and Roland Amago is an autobiographical komiks about discovering that their first-born child is diagnosed with autism. It won at the 2021 Asian Festival of Children's Content - Best Media Pitch Winner, and at the 7th National Children's Book Awards as Kids' Choice Awardee, Chapter Book Category.

There is also “Twinkle Twinkle” by Tori Tadiar, which won the National Children’s Book Award, and the Filipino Reader’s Choice Award for Best Comics. Tadiar’s next work, Ilustra, is going to be published by Disney Hyperion in June 2025.

From L-R: Alandal, Doobiedoo Asks, Twinkle Twinkle.

Two new titles will get their first release, “Nino Bughaw” by CJ Reynaldo, about a deaf weather engkanto who has to save his parents from the evil stormy engkanto, and “Watchdog Of Manila” by Lucas Lacorte, about a young boy who uses his newfound superpowers to guard Sentro Manila.

For the first time since PICOF’s first edition in 2020, PICOF 2024 will be held face-to-face on July 20-21, 2024 (Saturday and Sunday) from 10 AM – 8 PM at The Podium Hall, 6/F of The Podium, located along ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City.

𝑀𝑒𝑒𝑡 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑠 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑦
Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the country’s most popular and top-notch creators, such as Pol Medina Jr., Tarantadong Kalbo, Libreng Komiks, and SSKAIT. National Book Award winners RH Quilantang from Leyte (“Ang Mga Alitaptap Ng Pulang Buhangin”), and Mike Alcazaren, Noel Pascual, and AJ Bernardo (“Death Be Damned”) are also in attendance. Flying in from Iloilo City, on the other hand, are Pasyon Komiks and Kartilya Komiks, and representing Davao City are Pulitzer Prize Finalist Ren Galeno and Gigi Chan of the popular webcomics, “Somewhere In My Past,” while Yuri Javillonar will come down from Baguio City to release a preview chapter of her work “Blight.” Students from the Komiket’s 9th Comic Book Creator’s Workshop will be releasing their first komiks, and the Makiling Komiks Kolektib are national arts scholars from the Philippine High School for the Arts in Laguna who will also be in attendance.

Pol Medina, Jr. 
Photo credit: Esquire Philippines.

Being an international event, PICOF will also see the presence of international delegates from South East Asia like Eisner winner Erica Eng from Malaysia, plus Chin Yew and Sam Seen, also from Malaysia. Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray, as well as Fang Kai Loo, both from Singapore, will be joined by Toni Masdiono and Tita Larasati of Indonesia, and Ping Sasinan and Maelon and Seesaw representing Thailand. Readers may find each of their short comics all together in the SEA Kommunity Comics Anthology.

Tarantadong Kalbo.
Photo credit: Pep PH.

Multiple Eisner Award winner and a recipient of the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, Craig Yoe (USA), will also be releasing his new book, “Woman and Man.” Sean Michael Wilson, also an Eisner and International Manga Award winner who has penned more than 40 titles, together with PICOF’s festival partners from the UK and Australia will also be in attendance. From the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, Lucy Sullivan, Lyndon White, and Mollie Ray will be representing the UK, while Katrina Turner from Perth Comic Art Festival will represent Australia.

𝑀𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑠, 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑠 𝑒𝑥ℎ𝑖𝑏𝑖𝑡𝑠
And PICOF 2024 will not be complete without the Comics Masterclasses so it’s the perfect time for festival attendees to attend these masterclasses. It’s a rare occasion to have these international comics professionals in the country, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close and hear them talk and help everyone hone their skills not just in comics but also in sequential art and visual storytelling. All classes are definitely worth attending, like Toni Masdiono’s class on “Dynamic Flow & Angles,” Lyndon White’s “Stand Out Cover Art,” and Carlo Vergara’s “Digging Your Well: Unearthing Your Personal Catalogue Of Story Possibilities,” just a few of the 12 Comics Masterclasses available for interested students.

Attendees can also get a sneak peek at the creators who are next in line, as the PICOF Creator’s Lab creators are releasing the first chapters of their work. “Hele,” by Mitzi Bajet and Alex Sevilla, follows the life story of jazz and bodabil singer Ada set in the Filipino-American period. There’s “Hiraya” by Fred Cabredo that creates a new mythology about a powerful babaylan, Jalberta, who uses the mystical page of Hiraya to cure her dying grandson, “Tablay” by Kat Olan and Paul Medalla, a high-octane Filipino myth mecha adventure, while lovers of Filipino manga will adore “Sitnalta” by Ray Magbanua.

Komiket, which has been conducting Comic Book Creator’s Workshops since 2015, announced that the 9th batch of comics creators will be launching their komiks for the first time and they will definitely need all the support they can get.

Likewise, new released comics will get the special treatment they deserve as they will go on stage for the launch of their comics. The launch will be hosted by world comics expert Paul Gravett, Singaporean Comics Critic CT Lim, and Duy Tano, who will get to interview the creators. Among the new releases to be launched are Tuttle Publishing’s international edition of “Janus Silang,” the “Gigil” Anthology featuring 13 girls love one-shot comics, and “In the Jaws Of St. Camillus” by Stevie Barot, whose work was initially featured in Shortbox Comics Festival in the UK.

On the other hand, the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), a long-time partner of Komiket working on the project on climate change, will be working on a four-panel comics workshop for kids, with the view that comics can create a better world. This will be led by Mollie Ray of UK and Patty Ramos of the Philippines. The finished comics will become part of the comics exhibit of PICOF.

𝐶𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑏𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝐹𝑖𝑙𝑖𝑝𝑖𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑐𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑦 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑤𝑡ℎ
This year, PICOF will also pay tribute to the Alamat Comics creators who started the independent comics scene in Manila through a comics exhibit of collected artworks by the Komikero Museum, and a comics anthology, Alamat Origins. The anthology takes readers back to the stories and art of the first and sometimes only issues of 17 titles released by the Alamat comics group in the 90s. These komiks have now been unearthed, remastered, and revived for new readers to enjoy.

Komikero Museum in San Pablo City.

In a groundbreaking initiative for Southeast Asia, a Comics Rights Market will be held a week before the festival, featuring a two-day rights-selling training with international comics agent Ivanka Hahnenberger. This special project, supported by the National Book Development Board and organized by Komiket, aims to enhance the professional development of Filipino komiks publishers. After the training, they will pitch to eight international publishers from the USA, France, Italy, Czech Republic, Korea, and Myanmar, engaging in business matching sessions to promote Filipino komiks titles. This development initiative supports industry growth and aligns with preparations for the 2025 Frankfurt Buchmesse, where the Philippines holds the distinguished position of Guest of Honour. This prestigious fair, the oldest in the world specializing in translation rights, underscores the Philippines’ commitment to advancing its literary contributions on a global stage.

There will also be festival merchandise available to help raise funds for PICOF2025 to keep the event free for komiks creators and komiks publishers. This year’s poster is illustrated by 2022 Eisner Hall of Fame awardee Alex Niño. Komiket also calls on Filipinos to support over 200 Filipino komiks creators and publishers by purchasing their komiks. Every purchase during PICOF 2024, where book lovers, film geeks, and animation and video game enthusiasts who love visual storytelling will enjoy in this festival of sequential art, will help encourage creators to continue creating magnificent creations that can be showcased to the world.

Now is the right time to #supportfilipinocomics. Head to the Philippine International Comics Festival (PICOF) 2024 on July 20-21, 2024, from 10 AM – 8 PM at The Podium Hall, 6/F The Podium along ADB Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City. Tickets may be purchased at the venue entrance for only PHP 200. The first one-thousand paid ticket holders will get a free Kometverse komiks anthology featuring 95 Filipino creators. And during the grand raffle, one lucky komiks reader gets to receive over 100 komiks as a gift by the community.

#PICOF2024 is organized by Komiket, and supported by the Office of Senator Loren Legarda, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the National Book Development Board.


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Order PSA Birth Certificates Online - Home Delivery and National Bookstore Pick Up!

It feels like forever since I last updated this blog!

Life has been busy lately as I've been taking online courses, working on a new business venture, and squeezing housework in between. Thankfully, Yue is still on a school break, which means exams and school activities are the least of my worries at the moment. He will be going back to reality by the end of July though, and as a senior high school student at that. Also, I had him transferred to a different school because his previous school doesn't offer the strand that he wants. And yes, that meant securing documents required by the school. 

The need for official documents can often feel like a constant challenge in our lives. PSAHelpline understands this frustration and has established itself as a reliable partner for PSA certificate online ordering and delivery nationwide.By leveraging this user-friendly platform, individuals and businesses can navigate the task of acquiring PSA certificates with minimal effort. This translates to a significant reduction in administrative burdens, freeing up valuable time and resources. PSAHelpline empowers Filipinos to reclaim control of their time and resources, paving the way for greater efficiency and productivity.

How can I get my PSA birth certificate online? 
Here's a comprehensive guide on how to order PSA certificates online: 

1. Visit Head to their user-friendly website to initiate the process. Explore the well-designed interface and familiarize yourself with the navigation to ensure a smooth experience. 

2. Choose your Certificate Type. Select the specific document you require, be it a birth, marriage, CENOMAR, or death certificate.

3. Request for Yourself or Someone Else. Indicate whether you're requesting the document for yourself or another person (parents, children). This ensures the document reaches the intended recipient.

4. Provide Requester Information. Fill out the required details, including your name, contact information, and address. Ensure accuracy to prevent delays. 

5. Specify your Purpose. State the reason for requesting the document (passport application, employment, etc.).

6. Delivery or Pick-up? Choose your preferred method of receiving the document - either convenient door-to-door delivery of pick-up at a designated National Bookstore branch. The National Bookstore pick-up option is currently available in select branches in Metro Manila and provincial areas like Batangas, Cabanatuan (Nueva Ecija), Paniqui (Tarlac), and Angeles (Pampanga). You may refer to ther FAQ page for the most updated list of National Bookstore branches where PSA certificate pick-up is available.

7. Multiple Payment Options. Select the most convenient payment method for you, whether it's digital wallets, credit/debit cards, or accredited payment centers.

Pick Up Your PSA Certificates at National Bookstore
Instead of home or office delivery that you might miss if you are often out, picking up your PSA certificate orders at a National Bookstore branch offers a convenient and secure alternative. Here's how:

1. Select "Pick-up" as your delivery option upon checkout. 
2. Choose your preferred branch from participating stores in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
3. Complete your order and wait for the SMS/email notification.
4. Bring a valid ID and the SMS notification to claim your PSA certificate at the branch.

Remember: Only you can claim it (no representatives allowed), and you have 30 days to pick it up!

Peace of Mind with Robust Security
Beyond its user-friendly interface and efficient service, PSAHelpline prioritizes the security and confidentiality of your document requests. The platform utilizes robust encryption methods and secure payment channels to safeguard sensitive information submitted throughout the process. This ensures your data is protected from unauthorized access or misuse.

Furthermore, PSAHelpline upholds strict data protection protocols. They respect each user's right to privacy by implementing measures that guarantee your personal information always remains confidential. Choosing PSAHelpline for your document procurement needs allows you to rest assured that your information is treated with the utmost care and security, providing peace of mind throughout the entire process.

How do I check the status of my PSA birth certificate order?
PSAHelpline offers a convenient solution to stay informed about the progress of your application.

The platform features a dedicated order status tracking page. Simply visit this page and enter the necessary details, such as your order reference number, to access real-time updates.

You will receive the latest information regarding the status of your request, be it for a PSA birth certificate, PSA marriage certificate, PSA CENOMAR, or PSA death certificate. This level of transparency and convenience allows you to stay informed and manage your expectations throughout the process.

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Through, obtaining PSA birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other PSA certificates becomes a streamlined online process, guaranteeing ease and comfort for all users. With just a few simple steps, you can effortlessly manage your document requests, freeing up valuable time to focus on what truly matters. For a smooth and hassle-free experience from start to finish, entrust your document procurement needs to


Hemophilia Community Celebrates Success Over World Hemophilia Day 2024.

Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines (HAP), a national nonprofit organization for people with hemophilia and related bleeding disorders, proudly announces the success of its latest awareness campaign. Held at the Festival Mall, Alabang on April 13, 2024, World Hemophilia Day brought together about 250 patients, members, supporters, and advocates from across the country in a collective effort to raise awareness for those affected by hemophilia.

Hemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder that affects about 10,000 Filipinos. However, in the 2020 study conducted by the World Federation of Hemophilia, only around 1,600 cases have been diagnosed and registered.

Through educational discussions led by HAP’s medical advisors from the Philippine Children’s Medical Center and Philippine General Hospital, attendees, mall goers, and Facebook live spectators learned more about hemophilia care in the present age. The gathering also highlighted testimonies of how HAP’s partnerships with other organizations created opportunities and positive impact to improve the quality of life of persons with bleeding disorders.

This event also strengthened our efforts to call forth the attention of the Philippine government to hasten the passage of the Bleeding Disorders Standard of Care Bills that have been pending in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The generosity and compassion displayed by the guest speakers, advocates, and performers including Peter Harbinson a renowned Australian Opera Singer, underscored the importance of coming together to increase awareness and provide opportunities for individuals living with bleeding disorders to lead better lives.

HAP successfully commemorated World Hemophilia Day thanks to the commitment of its volunteers, donors, as well as foreign and local partners including Festival Mall-Alabang, Save One Life, Project
Share, Virtualahan, Jollibee, and the media sponsorship by, Cebu Daily News Digital, Pop!, and Be An Inquirer.

The funds raised through donations and merchandise sold will directly support HAP’s initiatives to make information accessible and comprehensive care available at the grassroots level.

"We are overwhelmed by the incredible support we received during this event," said Andrea Trinidad, HAP's President. "Every donation, every step taken, and every conversation had a meaningful impact on the lives of those affected by hemophilia. Together, we are making a difference and providing hope for a brighter future."

HAP extends its deepest gratitude to everyone who participated, donated, and supported the event. The generosity and commitment to their cause are invaluable, and with our continued support, we can all create a world where individuals with hemophilia can live healthier, happier lives.

For more information about Hemophilia Advocates-Philippines and how you can continue to support their mission, please visit or contact our Executive Director Ms. France Alviz at 09955505315.


PH to make its debut at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2024.

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) and its partner, The Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY), are set to make a historic debut at the 2024 Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF) from April 8 to 11, 2024 at the BolognaFiere Exhibition Centre, Bologna. This is a milestone for the Philippine children’s book sector, as it marks the country’s first-ever participation at the world’s biggest international fair for children’s content.

With the Philippine children’s book sector thriving and highly sought-after in the local publishing industry, this debut offers a long-awaited opportunity to showcase the country’s children’s content, which is among the most widely translated genres, to a global audience.

A curated selection of 103 books, exploring themes such as culture, diversity, identity, peace, community, and the environment, will be featured at the Philippines’ country stand at the BCBF.

The delegation includes acclaimed artists Beth Parrocha (The Pencil Who Would Not Write, Bulul), Liza Flores (The Secret is in the Soil), and authors Russell Molina (Tuwing Sabado, Sandosenang Kuya), and Mary Ann Ordinario (My Muslim Friend, War Makes Me Sad).

It aims to not only present the talent of Filipino creators but also to secure translation rights, expand networks with foreign publishers, and foster collaborations between local and international counterparts.

Additionally, Philippine comics will take center stage at the BCBF’s Comics Corner, courtesy of Avenida Books founder and Trese publisher Nida Ramirez, who has been honored with a fellowship from the BolognaFiere Group.

Establishing the country’s presence in the BCBF—as well as in the upcoming Asian Festival for Children’s Content, where it will be the Country of Focus, and the upcoming Guest of Honor role in Frankfurter Buchmesse 2025, shall help solidify the Philippines as an emerging creative content capital in Southeast Asia. We cannot wait to introduce our children’s book industry to the global stage—the many Filipino authors and publishers exploring themes of peace identity and community,” notes Executive Director, Charisse Aquino-Tugade.

Since its inception in 1964, the Bologna Children’s Book Fair has been the premier platform for professionals in children’s content worldwide, providing opportunities for networking, rights selling, and cross-media adaptation, along with educational activities.

This year, with over 1,500 exhibitors from around 100 countries, including the Philippines, the fair anticipates over 25,000 visitors. The Philippines’ country stand, designed by the award-winning artist and illustrator Aldy Aguirre, is located at Hall 29, Stand B24-C23.

For industry professionals interested in attending, tickets for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair can be purchased at For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @nbdbphilippines.

Vinyl Gold Rush.

More and more audiophiles keep digging their hands for hours to score the vinyl record they have been searching for so long. Audiophiles crowded the first "One Stop Record Fair" for this year which kicked off at the new Greenhills Mall in San Juan City recently.

The quarterly music event "One Stop Record Fair" featured over 30 vinyl record sellers, such as Bunnygod Records, Tambai Records, Lennox Records, Kapitan Plaka, Musique Vibe Records, Mamsy Records, Plakatons, Ohmandys, and Perfect Day Records, among others. Vinyl records from as early as the 60s to 2020s were discounted up to 50 percent and sold for as low as 200 pesos, but everyone is welcome to negotiate and ask for discounts. First pressings are often sold for an expensive price so it's good to note for next time to bring additional cash.

Got no turntable and other audio equipment yet? Fret not because cassette tapes and compact discs (CDs) were also available at the record fair. Audio-Technica had a booth selling their audio gear such as turntables and speakers. Notable titles which are sold at the event are Bob James Trio's "Feel like Making Love" and "The World's Greatest Audiophile Vocal Recordings" both from UG34 Music; Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham's "Buckingham Nicks (Japan Pressing" and "City Pop Avenue" by Paper Moon Project from Bunnygod Records; Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians' "Shooting Rubberbands At The Sky (US First Pressing) and Charles Mingus' "Mingus at Monterey (Japan pressing mono)" from New Vintage Culture and other unique records sold.

Cubil's wife Keiko Necesario, who is also a singer-songwriter, joined him on stage to sing their song "Una." Meanwhile, director and actor Bobot Mortiz launched his 8-track vinyl album "Goin' Standard," a collection of standards popularized by Frank Sinatra, at the record fair.

"I am happy with the outcome of this event. One Stop Record Fair is indeed successful. I can say that 'our events are always successful, and it was different from previous fair since it was more fun and more people came,'" said Sari Osorio, the organizer of the record fair.

Osorio noted that the people are also more excited this time because they already know what the record fair offers and they want to get a look at what has been added to the mix since the last fair. Get ready to get digging because the next “One Stop Record Fair will be in June 2024.


The Philippine Book Festival is back, and it's bigger than ever!

For the second year running, the National Book Development Board Philippines (NBDB) is bringing together publishers, authors, artists, educators, and readers at the country’s biggest traveling book festival.

Taking place at the World Trade Center in Pasay from April 25 to 28, 2024, the PBF is a four-day celebration showcasing the richness of Philippine literature, culture, and arts. This unique book fair integrates education, entertainment, tourism, and shopping into a single family-friendly event.

In addition to the extensive collection of published works and titles from the Philippines, this year's festival offers a diverse range of talks and workshops.

Highlights include "A Day with Gwy Saludes," featuring an exclusive book signing and meet-and-greet session with the author. Historian and bestselling author Ambeth Ocampo will lead "Ambeth Without the Overcoat," a book signing session. National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricky Lee, will present "Trip to Quiapo," while "Dahling Nick: A Tribute to National Artist Nick Joaquin" will honor the renowned writer.

Other sessions include "Aklat Para Sa Accla: New Trends in Boys Love and Girls Love," "Comics Can Change the World" with Patti Ramos, and "Zine-making 101," a workshop on crafting independently-produced "fanzines" led by Komiket's Bunny Luz.

Attendees can anticipate the comeback of the Rare Book Collection by the National Library of the Philippines, which will feature a new selection of rare manuscripts and facsimiles; the Book Bar–a library of sorts filled with award-winning books; Cosplay Filipiniana, a cosplay competition allowing fans to portray their beloved Philippine literary characters; and Guhit Pambata, an exhibit highlighting the creations of some of our best children’s book illustrators.

This year, the PBF will launch the Tabuan Food Hall, wherein guests can feast in between pages.

The festival brings back its four popular realms: Kid Lit, a land just for children, Komiks, which puts the spotlight on Pinoy komiks, Booktopia, home to an abundance of fiction and non-fiction titles, and Aral Aklat, which is devoted to textbooks and educational materials. There will be a Creators Lab, Main Stage, and Kids-at-Play that highlight exciting talks, activities, and workshops more specific to the interests of readers and fans of those genres.

Panels, puppet shows, storytelling with surprise television and movie celebrities, and live performances are also scheduled throughout the four-day festival.

This year, we have more authors and we bring together the best of Philippine content for the entire family. The country needs more reading spaces that encourage conversation, creation and collaboration. Ang Philippine Book Festival ang nagsisilbing panghikayat ng NBDB sa iba pang mga organisasyon na lumahok at makiisa sa mga programang nagtutulak sa mga Filipino na magbasa dahil ang aklat ay para sa lahat,” said NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade.

The event is longer this year to give ample time for teachers, librarians, and organizations to research the books they need for their schools. Similar to last year, NBDB is working closely with the Department of Education (DepEd) to train more than 750 book evaluators and procurement officers to scope and evaluate books to purchase for public school libraries and library hubs. Evaluators from all over the country will fly in to source educational books for the students of their regions.

A Feast for the Eyes
The festival will be a feast for the eyes too as it features the designs of talented graphic designer and children’s book illustrators Marc Vincent Soriano, Liza Flores, and Beth Parrocha. Parrocha designed the four realms, finding inspiration in the four major elements: water for Kid Lit; earth for Komiks; fire for Aral Aklat; and air for Booktopia. Each realm has its color as well—pink, purple, yellow, and aqua—to make it easy for guests to figure out which part of the festival they’re in.

I had fun doing all the visuals. It’s a great opportunity for any artist to be given the whole World Trade Center as a canvas for my art,” Parrocha said.

A Stronger Culture of Reading
The Philippine Book Festival is part of the National Book Development Board’s effort to promote a culture of reading and develop the publishing industry in the Philippines.

The Philippine Book Fair is a program that, on the one hand, is about celebrating Philippine culture, but on the other hand, encompasses our agency’s long-term plans: improve access for every Filipino reader, democratize distribution, and enable our publishers and authors to keep producing Philippine books,” said Chairperson Dante Francis Ang II.

Register now at or scan the QR code. No worries, because entrance is free! The fair is open to the public from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on April 25-28, with no entrance fees. For more information on the Philippine Book Festival and to register for free, visit


NBDB urges focus on readership and literacy initiatives; ramps up efforts to boost reading among Filipinos.

The National Book Development Board (NBDB) urges policymakers, educators, community leaders, and stakeholders to prioritize readership and literacy initiatives, while also involving parents in efforts to make reading more accessible to all segments of the population.

This call follows the release of the 2023 National Readership Survey (NRS) results, showing a notable decline in non-school book readership among Filipino adults and children. The survey revealed adult readership at 42% and children at 47% in 2023. Access to books emerged as the primary reason for the decline, with limited awareness of public libraries and constraints like time and distance cited as barriers to visits.

These results have prompted the NBDB to reaffirm its commitment to bolstering existing programs and policies to reignite a love for reading among Filipinos.

These findings, which provide a much-needed nuanced understanding of Filipinos’ reading habits and preferences, reinforce the fact that access to quality books remains a pressing issue in book publishing and education, so the sectors’ focus now clearly has to be on addressing gaps in access,” said NBDB Chairperson Dante “Klink” Ang II.

Moreover, Chairperson Ang stated that the NBDB and its partners will examine various proposals to develop meaningful policy directives aligned with the objectives of Republic Act No. 7743, which aims to establish congressional, city, and municipal libraries, along with barangay reading centers nationwide. According to a 2018 study by the National Library of the Philippines, only 3% of LGUs have local libraries across the country.

One of the main hindrances to reading revealed by the survey is access to reading facilities such as public libraries, particularly in the provinces. Some of them are really beyond the reach of those living in mountainous areas, for example. Besides expanding the Book Nook project, we will also work to bring libraries closer to the people,” Chairperson Ang added.

Meanwhile, NBDB Executive Director Charisse Aquino-Tugade emphasized the significance of enhancing NBDB's readership efforts, particularly through initiatives like the Book Nook project. This project establishes reading and storytelling centers across the Philippines, featuring locally published books and serving as distribution hubs for publishers. By offering quality books in various Philippine languages, the Book Nook project addresses access and literacy issues in a single space, fostering education and community engagement in a safe and inclusive environment where visitors can participate in activities, borrow books, and take them home at no cost.

Additionally, the Philippine Book Festival (PBF) promotes a robust reading culture while providing guidance on institutional book purchases. Like the Book Nook project, the PBF brings quality books to readers nationwide while facilitating collaboration between major buyers of educational resources and Philippine publishers.

To encourage involvement in the local book economy, NBDB launched Booklatan sa Bayan, inviting both avid and passive readers to explore literature and culture. NBDB collaborates with reading advocacy groups such as the Reading Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Librarians Association, Inc., and the Adarna Group Foundation, Inc., to synergize efforts in enriching the nation's reading culture.

Programming must work hand in hand with policy. Besides readership programs, we will push for policies that democratize distribution and enable publishers to publish more affordable books,” Executive Director Tugade emphasized.

These survey findings should serve as a call to arms: an opportunity to acknowledge and better understand the current state of readership, to reframe the problems they pose in a way that we are pushed to act and change them rather than dwell on them. If attitudes toward reading are less than desirable, then the responsibility to create environments that make reading possible lies with us. The NBDB is hopeful and renews its commitment to better its programs and policies,” Executive Director Tugade added.

The NBDB highlighted that, according to the survey findings, overall attitudes towards books and reading remained positive. The majority of respondents recognized the importance of books beyond educational and professional contexts. Key insights from the survey included the most popular non-school book (NSB) genres among adults (the Bible) and children (picture books), the preferred reading language (Filipino for both age groups), preferred formats (printed books for both age groups), and primary considerations when selecting NSBs (availability for both age groups).

The NBDB enlisted the Social Weather Stations (SWS) to conduct the 2023 National Readership Survey from November 14th to 20th, 2023, with a sample size of 2,400 adults aged 18 and above, and 2,400 children aged 8-17. This survey is the most comprehensive examination of Filipinos' reading habits and preferences and is expected to provide invaluable insights for the agency's readership-focused initiatives.


How You Can Fall in Love with Your Own Hair.

Have you ever seen anyone, whether it be a random person passing by, an influencer, a celebrity, or basically anyone, with gorgeous hair to the point you just think, “Wow, I wish my hair was like that”? In general, there are constant trends, such as people changing their hair to keep up with the trend.

Yes, it goes beyond just makeup and clothes, but there are even trends when it comes to hair, like getting a perm in the 1980s, doing a blowout in the 1990s, having fully straight hair in the early 2000s, and even right now in the 2020s, curtain bangs, even when it comes to hair coloring, that also impacts it, like a full dye, ombre, balayage, and so on.

But at the end of the day, you need to remember that your hair is an extension of you. You need to pick what you like, not some trend or beauty standard. What do you like for yourself and for your hair? Your natural locks are already swoon-worthy; they’re already enough. But of course, it’s hard to just immediately tell yourself that, and it magically takes effect. Sincerely, it does take time. So, with that said, here’s what you need to know when it comes to falling in love with your own hair!

Photo credit: Thiago Matos on Pexels.

Embrace Your Natural Texture
You really need to keep in mind that your hair's natural texture is unique to you, so celebrate it! Yes, so what if you don’t have some other texture, that’s fine. Just love and embrace what you have! Besides, regardless of your texture, it’s not too hard to replicate other textures, thanks to styling and even hair extensions. Whether you have straight, wavy, curly, or coily hair, learn to appreciate and embrace its natural texture. But before you try to replicate another style or just fall head over heels for your current texture, do you know it?

Do you know what type of texture your hair actually has? For example, is your hair constantly frizzy? Then, there’s a chance that you might have naturally wavy or curly hair without even realizing it. It’s so important to know your hair type, and you need to understand that there are so many different types, too. For all you know, you might actually have the hair type you’ve always dreamt of.

But be sure to educate yourself, such as looking into 1B Hair: What Is It and How to Care For It if you have that hair type. Overall, embrace what you have, learn what you have, and understand how to care for it.

Practice Self-Care
In a way, that goes with what was said above: You need to learn how to properly take care of your hair. One of the best ways so it doesn’t feel like a chore would be to just incorporate self-care rituals into your hair care routine to nurture and pamper your locks. Just give yourself the chance to treat yourself to regular deep conditioning treatments, scalp massages, and hair masks to keep your hair healthy, hydrated, and vibrant.

Photo credit: Nataliya Vaitkevitch on Pexels.

But why? Well, you could say that pampering yourself is good for the soul and hair, too. When you pamper yourself, you’ll look and feel better, and these are things your hair will need anyway. Seriously, just take the time to indulge in luxurious hair care products that make you feel special and pampered, turning your hair care routine into a self-love ritual.

Celebrate Your Hair Journey
Like other aspects of you, if you think about it, your hair is just another extension of your growth and how far you’re coming along. Because it’s not exactly the easiest to just accept yourself and even get your hair the way you want it, that’s why it’s important to at least just celebrate.

Yes, you should celebrate the milestones and moments that have shaped your relationship with your hair, whether it's overcoming challenges, embracing new styles, or discovering the beauty of your natural texture. You absolutely deserve to take pride in the progress you've made and the confidence you've gained along the way.

You Need to Have Confidence in Your Style
This might sound like generic advice, but honestly, there’s so much truth to it. You probably want something else, like a different hairstyle, because you think that will give you confidence. But would having totally different hair actually do that? Most likely, no, it won’t. Building confidence is hard, and that on its own is already quite the journey.

Regardless, you still need to understand that confidence is the ultimate accessory that complements any hairstyle. How can you do this, though, with the hair you already have? Well, to truly embody confidence in your appearance, you must stand tall, own your unique style, and embrace your natural beauty.

Seriously, you need to radiate self-assurance and poise as you rock your favorite hairstyles, knowing that true beauty comes from within and shines through when you embrace and celebrate yourself authentically.

Think About the Heritage of Your Hair
Keep in mind that hair is a deep part of so many cultures, just about every culture out there. Think about the ancestry behind your hair, too! In general, your hair carries a lot of history and tradition. Because it’s so deeply rooted (no pun intended), you should take pride in the unique characteristics and qualities of your hair that reflect your cultural background and heritage.

Photo credit: Toa Heftiba Sinca on Pexels.

In fact, you should celebrate the diversity and richness of hair textures and styles around the world, recognizing the beauty in all forms of hair expression. Your hair is what makes you, well, you! Your family shares the hair, too, and there’s just such a big story to tell. Embrace that because your heritage is beautiful, just as you are!

Just Focus on Healthier Habits
At the end of the day, how healthy your lifestyle is is going to have the biggest impact on your hair, skin, nails, body, and even your mentality. You basically have no choice but to adopt healthy habits if you truly want healthier hair—hair that you’ll adore.

It’s far easier than you may think it is. Seriously, it’s all about eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support hair health, staying hydrated, and protecting your hair from damage caused by heat styling, harsh chemicals, and environmental factors. That's literally it! Sure, you still need high-quality hair products and a good hair care routine, but don’t underestimate the impact healthy habits have!


Logistics Made Easy with ML Moves.

When we talk about pawning jewelry and money lending, the first name that comes to my mind is M Lhuillier. I guess most Filipinos can relate to this because after all, M Lhuillier is a household brand when it comes to pawn-broking and money-related services.

Established in the 1980s as an ordinary pawn and jewelry shop, M Lhuillier opened its very first branch in the oldest city in the country, Cebu City. The company now has over 3000 branches nationwide and have expanded their services through the years. From its humble beginnings, M Lhuillier has evolved into one of the largest and most respected financial institutions in the Philippines, offering services such as money lending, quick cash loans, micro-insurance, money transfer, and bills payment.

In 2015, M Lhuillier took a giant step by venturing into the logistics retailing sector with the addition of ML Moves to its wide range of products and services. With ML Moves, M Lhuillier branches serve as drop-off points and pick-up hubs to businesses and individuals with logistics needs. They cater to both walk-in and e-commerce transactions and accept deliveries to both local and international destinations.

Here's how ML Moves works:

  • Drop off your item at a M Lhuillier branch near you that offers the ML Moves service. Present it to the staff for checking, fill out the necessary form, and pay the corresponding fee.
  • Shipping will be fulfilled by local courier partners and DHL Express (for international destinations).

    RETURNS (Lazada and Shopee)
  • Once your return/refund request has been approved, drop off the item at any M Lhuillier branch. Your item will be sent back to the seller without you having to shell out for the shipping fee.

BRANCH PICK-UP (Lazada and Shopee)
  • You can opt to have your packages dropped at your nearest M Lhuillier branch so you can have the flexibility to pick it up any time you want. No more guessing what time your parcel will arrive or waiting at home all day for 'Kuya Rider'!
  • Shopee costumers within Metro Manila also have the option to pay the COD amount at the M Lhuillier where they will pick up their parcel. This gives the customer ample time to prepare for their payment.

SELLERS' DROP-OFF (Lazada and Shopee)
  • For selected Lazada and Shopee sellers, selected M Lhuillier branches can be used as drop points for their parcels. Lazada and Shopee couriers will then periodically pick up the batched parcels ready for delivery to the line haul carriers.

ML Moves is all about speed and convenience – truly an innovative solution to our constantly evolving logistic needs. At the same time, this latest addition to the company's wide range of product and services goes to show that M Lhuillier continues to be the bridge between families and stays true to its promise of being the “Tulay ng PaMLyang Pilipino”.


Annual Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes study reveals significant decline in cash payments amid rise in cashless transactions.

The cashless wave continues to gain momentum in the Philippines as consumer habits shift away from cash dependence, and more towards usage of cashless payments. This is according to Visa’s latest Consumer Payment Attitudes Study, which indicates a notable decline in cash usage to 87%, from 96% in 2022.

The Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study is an annual study covering payment behaviors of Filipino consumers when it comes to digital payments, digital banking and the future of commerce. The latest edition is in its 10 th year running and was based on interviews conducted in October to November 2023 with 1,000 Filipino consumers aged 18-65 years old, spread across different cities/regions and income brackets, with the minimum monthly income being PHP 12,000.

The cashless wave continues.

Driven by the younger (Gen Z and Gen Y) and more affluent segments, Filipino consumers are increasingly embracing cashless transactions, going without cash for an average of 10 days. Specifically, card payments usage was at 70% (including swipe / insert, online, and tap-to-pay / contactless payments) in 2023, while mobile wallets usage stood at 87%, on par with cash transactions.

43% of Filipinos who were surveyed now carry less cash in their wallets mainly due to the growing consumer habit of using cashless and contactless payments, alongside the increasing acceptance of cashless payments among stores & merchants.

Supermarkets (88%), food and dining (86%), and bill payments (82%) are the leading merchant categories that consumers observed to have opened up acceptance of cashless payment methods compared to a year ago.

Filipinos are becoming more comfortable with cashless payments, and we are confident that they will continue to embrace new innovations in the digital payment landscape,” says Jeff Navarro, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines. “With growth attributed to increasing payment acceptance across merchants for cards, both dip and contactless, as well as mobile wallets, Visa remains committed to ensuring a seamless transition to a cash-lite society by providing secure and convenient digital payment solutions.”

Growing acceptance and usage of contactless payments among Filipinos
Contactless payments – including contactless cards, QR codes, and mobile wallets – are driving the growth of cashless payments in the country.

According to the study, about 9 in 10 Filipinos are aware of and interested in using contactless cards and QR codes when paying for their transactions. Specifically, 32% of Filipinos used contactless cards for their payments in 2023, mainly driven by the affluent population. Meanwhile, 55% used QR codes, with at least 50% adoption across age groups except for consumers aged 59-65 (31%).

Visa Country Manager Jeff Navarro highlights the results
of the latest Consumer Payment Attitudes Study.

Among mobile wallet users, paying through QR codes is the most preferred method for 38% of consumers, making mobile wallets the most preferred funding source for QR payments. Scanning the QR code in-store is the preferred mode of payment by 78% of its users.

When travelling overseas, Filipinos prefer to use cards for cross-border payments, where 55% of consumers prefer debit and credit cards for the convenience, time savings, and hassle-free user experience. An emerging trend is the use of QR codes for cross-border payments, with 37% of Filipinos currently aware of and have tried using it. Meanwhile, 69% of those who have not tried it have expressed interest in using it in the future.

Road to a cashless society
With the shift to digital forms of payment, 52% of consumers are confident to go without the use of cash, and rely on cashless payment methods entirely for at least a week. Moreover, 1 in 3 consumers (37%) believe that the Philippines will be a cashless society by the year 2030 – if not sooner.

Mr. Jeff Navarro, Visa Country Manager for the Philippines.

Our study shows that the cashless wave is maintaining its momentum in the Philippines. We are moving closer to achieving a cashless Philippine society, but we still have some way to go,” said Navarro. “Visa plays a strategic role in the payment ecosystem to drive financial and digital inclusion by partnering with the government, banks and financial institutions, and fintechs to support the development of digital payments in the Philippines. We are supporting the digitization journey in the Philippines – such as Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap – by providing consumers and businesses with convenient, seamless and safe digital payment solutions.”