In this third and final part of our interview with Zarah Gagatiga, she takes us through the storied (no pun intended) history of the PBBY, the organization which she now chairs, and the state of children’s literature in the Philippines.
What can you tell us about the Philippine Board on Books for Young People (PBBY) and your work with it?
Oh my God… the PBBY has been in existence for 27 years! It has a long history. Luminaries in Philippine arts and culture founded the PBBY: Lucrecia Kasilag; Alfredo Salanga; Larry Alcala; Serafin Quiason; Virgilio Almario. Its past officers and board members included the late, great Rene Villanueva, Mailin Paterno-Locsin, Linda Nietes, Gloria Rodriguez, Angelica Cabanero, Bodjie Pascue, Beulah Taguiwalo. The CCP, the National Library and the Museo Pambata are member organizations. The current board is composed of people you don’t mess around with! It’s a formidable non-profit organization pursuing a very challenging advocacy: literacy for children and teens! Young people are a country’s greatest resource. They need looking after, or else someone like the Pied Piper might take them away.
PBBY is a pioneer in the growth and development of Philippine Children’s Literature. In the course of 27 years, PBBY has initiated literacy activities for young people and those who work and care for them: the Salanga and Alcala prizes, storytelling, workshops, exhibits, book fairs, shows and plays, etc. The first National Children’s Book Awards (NCBA), which was held just recently, is a project that expresses the PBBY mission. We have to know where the industry is, before we can move on. Being in PBBY is a dream come true.
Read the rest of this entry »