Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Endangered “Reading Filipino” Species

I love reading. Or maybe it’s an understatement; I think I’m addicted to it. I rarely drop by at bookstores without purchasing at least one book. For me, it is an investment where the returns are in multitudes for a lifetime.  I don’t have discrimination on what to read. As long as it captures my interest, I’ll definitely grab it. My collections aren’t all that serious stuffs. There are even comic books in it. My first reading addiction by the way is with Filipino komiks that my mom bought weekly.

Many think that a person who reads much has this sense of confidence for knowing a lot of things. But in contrast, more reading comes with the realization that human knows very little of this world and that there’s still a lot to explore; thus the hunger to read more. The more books read the more intellectually humble a person becomes. While for those who read a few and contented with the knowledge they gain from it are actually those who are endangered being trapped in the thinking that they almost know everything. Thus with the saying “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. Probably, this is the main reason why we now have a lot of opinionated Filipinos who lack sound judgment and proper balance on their views. We now have less Filipino readers. This is a sad truth to what historian Ambeth Ocampo exclaimed, that “Rizal wrote a lot for a nation that does not read.”

During the yesteryears, reading was just a normal activity as what watching TV to this generation is. And now, I’m saddened by the fact that it is being regarded differently by some; three things, first as a trend, second as a status symbol and lastly as a total nuisance or waste of time.

A lot of people now read certain books simply because it’s the “in” thing. It’s like a genre that they aren’t even interested before but suddenly have the urge to read it because a lot of people already were. Bandwagon. Well at least, it might bring hope to those who were previously non-readers to have an interest in reading other types of books other than those which are “in”.  I hope that they don’t just treat reading as a fad, because fad fades.

Reading as a status symbol is another “culture” that is slowly creeping in to the Filipino’s subconscious. Some think and act that reading is only for certain social classes, intellects, professions, etc. Reading is for everybody and it should stay that way.

And worst than those two are the people who thinks reading is just a waste of time. And then goes saying that lessons can be learnt better on living their daily lives. I agree that valuable lessons in life can be learned by experiencing it. But isn’t it that most books share the experiences and lessons that the authors gained for the readers’ consumption? It’s better to learn from the mistakes of others rather than experience it again myself.

History tells us how reading changed our country in the past. Books, novels, propagandas that were read by people then changed the landscape of this country, mostly for good but some for bad. There were even times that our people were deprived the liberty to read the materials of their choice but now that we have that freedom, we seemed not so interested in taking advantage of it. There were also decades that reading is the number one past time and the primary source of entertainment of our populace, but that part of history is now long gone.

Like a pre-historic animal, those parts of our history are now extinct. The probability for them to be brought back is close to zero. For the animals maybe by DNA cloning or something artificial but naturally, it’s close to impossible. But reading is not totally dead. It’s not yet extinct, just endangered. We still have time to save reading as part of the normal Filipino lives. So while some people are shouting “save the dolphins”, “save the eagles”, “save the forest”, let me say “save the ‘reading Filipino specie’ from extinction”!

-- If you share the same sentiments and supports this advocacy for the filipino readers, please share this article on your Twitter, Facebook or other social network accounts via the the buttons below or thru the floating icons. And please like our Facebook page “The Ignored Genius”(check the Facebook applet on the right) or follow me on Twitter @ignoredgenius.  Please leave your comments as well. Thanks!


  1. ako'y buong pusong sumasang-ayon sa iyong tinuran sa taas. :)

  2. True enough.

    Reading books made me realize that I am still lacking, and honestly, one I'm reading is the Bible. Reading the book does make me realize that I have a lot to know about my religion, about what I believe, and what I practice. Naisip kong hindi dapat ako makontento sa bsic prayers at sa mga images.

    We really need to save reading. We may learn many things in the internet, the movies, and social networking sites, but one thing is for sure - these media may not contain what books try to deliver.

    Nice read!

    1. That's good bro. Reading the bible directly will give us a better view of our faith and belief. Our teachings are not all "magical" as what other think. There are a lot of practical things that we can get from the bible.

      If I may suggest bro, read the bible side by side with the Cathecism of the Catholic Church. Another good read is the the Catholic Answers website What changed my attitude towards the faith is also thru reading. My faith strengthened when I got to read about our Church's history. I read how imperfect the history of our Church and how it was able to fight through all of that to become what it is today.

      Thanks! :)

  3. Ako naman natutong magbasa dahil pag nagbabasa ng dyaryo yung nanay ko, gusto ko naiintindihan ko rin. Tapos naging favorite ko yung Funny Komiks, yun ang ginamit ng nanay ko para turuan akong magbasa. Haha. Nakakalungkot ngang di na halos nagbabasa mga tao ngayon, kahit sa internet, mas mabenta yung magagandang pictures kesa sa magaganda yung nakasulat, kasi mas gusto ng tao yung convenient para sa kanila.:(

    1. patok na patok talaga dati Cris yung Funny komiks. naabutan ko pa nga nung ang size pa lang nito yung kalahati. Kainis nga nawala na yung nag iisang copy na yun na naitago ko pa. tapos hanggang sa naging malaking komiks na (yung standard size). tapos sumikat sila combatron, tinay pinay, niknok, eklok, matsutsu, bardagol, viktar istarkid, tomas and kulas, etc.

      nasanay kasi ngayon ang tao na mabilisan. gusto isang tingin lang lipat na. kaya mas gusto na rin ng tao ngayon ang pictures.

  4. Hmmmm, I know a lot of people who are readers too, like me, like you, like us. :)

    I do love to read. It was my father who encouraged me to read. I began reading the broadsheets when I was in kindergarten. I progress to comics (Aliwan, ano pa! :D) when I was in 4th grade, and begun reading paperbacks when I was in high school.

    Since fiction books were limited(because I was in the province), only romance books were available that time. My mother rented books every week and I would devour them. When I went to college, the first facility that I checked out was the library. I read the whole fiction section from A-Z. That's when I found out what genre I was most inclined to read.

    Now I'm into collecting books and building a mini library. As of this time, I may have 1,300 books already and still adding! Not sure because I'm still in the never ending process of cataloging them. My hope is to donate books to school children in elementary levels because that's the time when the love for reading can really be nurtured. A love for reading is not a talent nor a skill. It has to be nurtured. It has to be imparted to the children that reading can open another world for us.

    No use teaching an adult. It's like teaching an old dog new tricks. :D

    ~Ms. LH~

    1. Wow! I commend you for that deed Ms. LH. :)

      You're right that there are still a lot of us, probably in our generation who are readers (mga namulat sa komiks era kasi, gusto ko rin ang Aliwan! hehehe). But for the younger generations where there are a lot of distractions that make kids nowadays difficult to concentrate on one thing for at least 20 mins, reading as a past time seemed too boring for them. I know a lot of kids in our family who are like that. Though I was able to influence at least a couple of them, luckily.

      And yes, this behavior should start at a very young age. That's why I usually give books as a gift to my inaanak or my young cousins.

      By the way, hope you can share with us some details of your advocacy. I personally like to help with that and some might also be interested. :)

      Thanks Ms. LH! :)

      - Rogie

    2. Hi Rogie,

      One day when I get my thoughts organized, I'll ask for your help, definitely! One book will go a long way in opening a child's imagination. I remember when I was in 4th grade, we have a piggy bank in our classroom and each one of us would put P1 per day. Our teacher bought glossy books with pictures of animals and all, and would call us one by one on her table. She would instruct us to select a book then read it aloud. :D

      When I have my own kids, there will be no TV in the house. :D

      Ms. LH

    3. We look forward to that Ms. LH. :)

      Kami naman ng wife ko, we have this shelf in our bedroom. We arranged our books there. Nagbibiruan kami na kung anong unang kukunin ni baby na book dun, yun yung clue kung ano siya paglaki. hehehe

      Here's how our bookshelf is arranged:
      - Spiritual
      - Novels/Fiction
      - Self-help
      - Cookbooks
      - Comicbooks
      - Miscellaneous
      - Magazines

      By the way, I am planning to put all the spiritual books in the lowest shelf. hehehehe

  5. honestly, late bloomer ako pagdating sa books. nag-umpisa pa patambay-tambay sa library. then na-inspire na ako magbabasa, like you kahit ano talaga. freedom sa akin ang makabasa at matuto ng kahit ano. in fact self study ang pag-aaral ko noon ng Nihingo, Psychographology at kung ano-ano pa. siempre hindi naman nakatulong ang mga ito sa pag-aaral ko at pag-akyat ng kaban sa bahay namin pero trip ko e.

    hindi naman ako ganun palabasa at ganun pa rin binabasa ko kung ano ang gusto ko lang. may something sa libro na pag natapos mo masaya. ang nakapila kong basahin ay may kinalaman sa negosyo, HTML, photography at kwentong pambata.

    yes super share ko itong post mo. mabuhay!

    1. Thanks Hoshi! Mabuhay! :)

      Yun nga siguro, may magtrigger lang ng interes ng isang tao na matuto pa lalo kahit isang libro lang, magtutuloy tuloy na ang hilig niya dito.

      And nga pala, baka di mo alam e maraming kaban ang iaakyat sa bahay nyo pag nagamit mo ang Niponggo knowledge mo. Maraming companies ang malaki ang sueldo pag ang isang tao eh may alam na ibang foreign languages bukod sa english and filipino. ;-)



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