Vibe: Vibal Foundation’s e-Bookstore

The first e-bookstore in the Philippines has launched. Vibe, a project of Vibal Foundation, launched recently and was introduced to bloggers at a gathering at the Filipinas Heritage Library.

Vibe is the e-bookstore’s name as well as the name of the reading app that is downloadable FREE on PCs, Macs, Android devices as well as on iPhones and iPads.
Vibal Foundation’s goal was to make available to the reading public the widest number of newly published, out of print or public domain book titles, including magazines and newspapers. This is good news not only for academe who will have digital access to many books that have long been out of print but Vibe is also a way by which budding authors and bloggers can get their dream book/s self-published in cyberspace. And earn from it as well.

What is Vibe?
Vibe is a universal reading app that displays both flat and interactive material. It has functionalities built into it that can be found in several reading apps like PressReader (e-newspapers), Zinio (e-magazines), Apple’s AppStore (storybook apps), Kindle and Apple iBooks (ePub books).
What platforms will it run on?
Mobile and tablet (iOS, Android), PC (Windows 7) and Mac (Leopard+)
What kind of books will Vibe carry?
All kinds of digital books (flat, enhanced and interactive)
What advantages does Vibe have?
Publishers can reduce time to market. E-books can be launched simultaneously with its print version. Digital versions can be substantially cheaper and yet publishers save on paper, printing, distribution and marketing costs. There are also more affordable reading options like limited-time licenses where readers read material that lapses automatically within an agreed period of time (like 7 days, 14 days or one year). Textbook publishers can package electronic textbook versions with tablets and sell these directly to schools with the content pre=loaded.
What differentiates Vibe from other e-bookstores like Amazon Kindle, iBooks, etc?
Vibe is for Philippine readers and publishers. Amazon Kindle and iBooks require a US credit card as its main payment method so that prevents many Philippine citizens from purchasing Philippine titles from the store. Vibe, on the other hand, accepts payments through Globe GCash, Smart Money and other e-services such as load wallets and pass-a-load. At the same time, since Vibal Foundation has direct accounts with Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook, Philippine publishers can still deploy their e-books to the international market.
Why is Vibe attractive for bloggers and writers?
You know how hard it is to get a book published in print, right? You need a good book agent, lots of luck to get a publishing house interested in your writings, and you need to have a minimum quantity of books printed. With Vibe, you skirt all these constraints and publish directly in cyberspace. And you earn a good share of the proceeds (70% to the writer, 30% to Vibal).

Why should Moms be happy about this development?

As a Mom who had kids going to school with very heavy bags, I was always concerned about the effect of this daily weight on their shoulders. But now as more publishers opt to transform printed textbooks into digital form or produce entirely digital content, it will not be long before kids will simply be bringing a tablet to school, reading from it, taking tests with it and learning interactively.

Tin Mandigma of Vibal Foundation took us through some of Vibe’s features. It will not just be an e-reader for flat books but it will eventually have storybooks that are interactive as well as textbooks that use multimedia features. 
Tin Mandigma
Here’s an example shown by Vibal Foundation President Gas Vibal of how music will eventually be taught via Vibe:

Watch out for Vibe in the coming months as more and more books are made available in different formats. It is exciting to see e-readers becoming a more visible mode of academic learning as well as a tool that brings publishing access to ordinary bloggers and budding writers.

For more details, visit


Book Launch: The Kaya Natin! Champions

My own kids can get cynical when it comes to discussions about transparency and good governance. They are old enough to be aware of how dirty and corrupt the systems are in government and even, I daresay, in pockets of the private sector and in the lives of the common Juan. 
Based on the Corruption Index 2010, the Philippines ranked 134 out of 178 countries with a grade of 2.4 out of a perfect 10. We are in that ranking together with countries like Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. Vietnam is even doing better than the Philippines, ranking 116.
So it was quite a delight for me to be invited to the launching of a book by the Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership. Called “The Kaya Natin! Champions: Inspiring Stories of Good Governance and Leadership in the Philippines”, the book is the first in a series of books that features 10 government leaders who have embodied the values of effective and empowering leadership with integrity.
Harvey Keh, Lead Convener of Kaya Natin! gave the opening remarks, saying that with a rigorous advocacy on good governance, corruption and other transgressions in government can be alleviated.
This book is meant not only for those in government positions. More importantly, it is a way of showing the youth that there are still people in position of power who use this power responsibly and for the public good. Keh says “The objective of this book is to highlight the positive and inspiring stories of political leaders who are doing good for the country, and how this can help bring about empowerment for ordinary Filipinos who also want to make a difference.”
Each chapter covers one champion and follows them from their background to their political career and up to their leadership lessons.
In this first volume, the champions being introduced to us are the following: Kaya Natin co-founders Jesse Robredo, Grace Padaca and Ed Panlilio; former mayor Sonia Lorenzo (San Isidro, Nueva Ecija); Sen. Teofisto Guingona III; Rep. Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. (Ifugao); Rep. Bolet Banal (Quezon City); former councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta (Davao City); Mayor Roque Verzosa, Jr. (Tagudin, Ilocos Sur); and Board Member Shirlyn Macasarte (Cotabato).
Former mayor Sonia Lorenzo (2nd from left) and Rep. Bolet Banal (center)
pose with the Kaya Natin! book’s editors and Harvey Keh

With former councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta of Davao City

Even as the first volume is being launched, I hear the second volume is already in the works. That is great! The more people we feature, the more we can inspire ordinary citizens, the youth and those already in government to take up the advocacy for a broader base of transparency and good governance.
During the launch, we heard from 2 of the champions featured, former mayor Sonia Lorenzo and Rep. Bolet Banal. I bought myself a copy and am looking forward to reading the book itself to read their stories in greater detail as well as the stories of the other champions.
The Kaya Natin! Champions Volume 1 book is available at Fully Booked, the Kaya Natin Office (call 02-990-0928) and the Ateneo de Manila University Press (call 02-426-6001 ext. 4612).

Book Launch: [R]evolutionaries

[R]evolutionaries book cover

When I hear the youth being cynical about their future in this country, I feel sad. After all, they will live out and be part of the future generation. Of course, I cannot blame many of them, who have seen how deep-seated corruption has made life a lot more difficult for the ordinary Juan and has distorted the values that they have learned from their families and from school.

So when a book is launched about how innovative-thinking Filipino youth have spent their time finding new solutions to old problems, testing how far their skills and creativity will take them, daring to go beyond the normal call of duty in life, and proving the status quo wrong, I become hopeful that there is indeed a future for my children.

Good friend and writer Nina Terol-Zialcita and Silvie Bandiola-Agravante took two years to complete the writing of the [R]evolutionaries book but it is all worthwhile as you will read below.

Author Nina Terol-Zialcita

More than just a collection of stories, the [R]evolutionaries has 14 chapters dedicated to innovative thinking, resourcefulness, teamwork, passion, initiative and leadership. It is testament to how the youth are showing the way in breaking barriers, building bridges, confronting issues and solving problems within different communities and fields of expertise.

For 6 years now, the Ten Accomplished Youth Organizations (TAYO) Foundation has been conducting annual searches. This book features those winners.

The book is an easy read and filled with inspiring pictures of our youth in action. You’ll read of their work in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and NCR spanning areas such as education, disaster response, environment, women’s rights, social services and livelihood.

I believe this is a book that every Filipino home should have because it is meant to be read by everyone, most especially our youth. If they are one of those who are cynical about whether the Philippines is ever going anywhere, this book will hopefully inspire them not to just keep whining but to actually get up and do something on their own.

Here is what Nina Terol-Zialcita has to say about [R]evolutionaries:

And TAYO Awards Foundation, Inc. President, Bam Aquino, also has a few words:


Real Living Launches its Book on Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers

Thanks to Summit Media, I got to attend the launch of Real Living’s newly launched book “Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers”.
I’ve been living in our present home for as long as my married life. And a lot of the furniture and “look” of the house is as it was when we got married. It gets a bit tiring when the familiar becomes TOO familiar, right? So I’ve been trying to find ways to change the look of the house without having to go right out and spend a fortune. I felt that little touches here and there could really do the house a lot of good.
But, my creative imagination is really sorely lacking in this department. I always feel that if I walked into a bare room, I would not know what to put in it. I prefer to see a magazine or picture and point to stuff to say, “I want this. And I want that.”
The next best thing is of course to leaf through the glossy mags, right? But why, oh why, do they have to feature such expensive stuff that I can’t afford?
Well, this book is just the answer I need and for good reason:

~ It is NOT thick so it’s easy to bring around. It’s a small, compact book but packed with lots of great visual tips.
~ Many items used for doing a home makeover are things you have around the house, redone with a twist. When I flip through the pages, it doesn’t make me feel like all the items I need would set me back and burn a hole through my pocket. Ordinary canisters, vases, cups and many more you have around the house can actually be used as containers and makeup cases. They make you feel like you can actually DO and CREATE what are shown on the pages.
~ The hints for organizing, creating minimalistic look, making the old look new and more are really a-plenty. I think I could go over these pages several times and every time, find something new I can actually implement.
~ The book only costs P120. Isn’t that a steal? (But don’t tell the publishers…hahaha)
The launch, emceed by Patricia Bermudez-Hizon, introduced us to 3 creative women. I’ll tell you what was my favorite tip from each of them.

Real Living assistant stylist Coni Tejada also gave a talk on how to create instant tabletop pieces when hosting a party in your own home. I said I would tell you which was my favorite but I actually liked 2 tips of Coni’s:

(simple yet elegant)
(cheap and doable any time!!!)

Next was contributing writer, Arlene Maslog, who showed ways to organize your desk, pantry and kitchen cabinets. I loved her true-to-life example of a corner of her room which was disorganized and how she eventually organized everything with a simple cabinet she had made.

(what a difference a cabinet makes!)
I am very happy to own a copy of this book already. Can’t wait to try my hand at making over my home.
Real Living’s Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers is now available in newsstands, bookstores and supermarkets nationwide for P120. For more of Real Living online, visit and become a fan of Real Living on Facebook via

Real Living Gives Small Space Storage Tips – in a Book!

My problem at home is always space. I can’t believe how fast gifts and purchases fill up closet space.

So when my friend Fran invited me to the launch of Real Living Magazine’s Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions which focused on what else — small space solutions! I immediately said YES!

Knowing how to maximize small space really is an art in itself. Many times, we tend to fill up horizontal space and forget that there is such a thing as vertical space. Our floors and closets fill up quickly but if only we viewed air space around us, we can still actually fit more if furniture was designed to take advantage of the space ABOVE the floor or closet levels.

My girl and I went to the launch at Megamall’s Atrium. There we were greeted by living room, dining room and bedroom sets done by 3 different designers who were challenged with a very tiny space to work with.

Living Area (by Frenjick Quesada)

Dining Area (by Kristine Neri)
Bedroom (by Grace Moslares)
Wow, look at those tiny spaces.  They were able to maximize the space to produce 3 areas! I think even a small bachelor’s pad will fit these 3 sets in it.
There are more such ideas in the book Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions. The book is divided into three parts. The first chapter deals with different kinds of small homes and allows the reader to identify which type is most identical to the one he or she owns. The second chapter is all about small space tricks, which gives storage and furniture layout ideas. The third and last chapter gives tips on how a homeowner can go about renovating a small space and what to remember before retouching a small space home.

Real Living Editor-In-Chief Rachelle Medina says of their latest release, “Small homes are a reality for most of us these days, and this book will show you how to make the most out of the situation – from maximizing available space, and creating an efficient room layout, to choosing stylish but flexible furniture pieces. So whether you live in a condo, a studio apartment, a tiny, single-detached house, or a room in your parents’ home, you can still have a beautiful place, regardless of floor area or budget.”

The Real Home Ideas 5: Small Space Solutions book is available in bookstores and magazine stands nationwide for only P195.