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Monday, July 22, 2019

Glezly Jandoguile: A Librarian

Glezly Jandoguile: A Librarian
Glezly Jandoquile, or Glezly for short, really wanted to become a nurse or a doctor because she wanted to wear white uniform. “Nurses and doctors look neat in their white uniforms,” she said.
But her desire to become a nurse or a doctor was changed when she met her close friend, Colyn Kaye Quebra. Both of them were enrolled in one of the universities in Iloilo City. Her friend was enrolled in Bachelor of Library and Information Science (BLIS) degree while she was enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Education, major in Filipino.
One time they discussed about their respective courses. Through their conversation, Glezly was encouraged to take up a library science degree.
After one month, Glezly transferred to the BLIS degree. She stayed on to her new course until she graduated. Immediately after that, she took the licensure examination for librarianship. Fortunately, she passed it.
Immediately after passing the licensure exam for librarianship, she was hired as a librarian at Ateneo de Iloilo. Like other new professionals, Glezly did not stay long in her first job. She applied as a librarian at St. Paul University Iloilo. Luckily, she was accepted.
What convinced her to take up library science as a profession? She said she loves to work in the library especially in an academic library because she learns new things everyday. She is forever thankful to her co-workers who are willing to share their library knowledge and skills. She applies these new things when students and faculty members ask help from her in locating valuable information for their research works. Along side with this, she learns the value of equal access to resources, and intellectual freedom.
Likewise, she enjoys working in the library not only because she has the chance to read more newspapers, magazines, journal articles and books which she can share the information she gathers to her students when she conducts religious classes in their congregation.
She knows that as a librarian, she will not be able to compete with doctors and other professionals who earn thousands of pesos per day, but when she goes home happy especially when she is able to help students find the right and sufficient information for their academic requirements, that is more than money to her.
Glezly Fontelo Jandoquile was born on June 27, 1998 at Western Visayas Medical Center in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. She took her elementary education at Baluarte Elementary School, Iloilo City, after which she continued her studies at Iloilo City National High School. She took her Bachelor of Library and Information Science at University of San Agustin.
Glezly loves to sing. Because of this, she joined the choral group since high school until she graduated in college. This singing talent of her supported her through college.
When I asked her on what advise she can share to the Filipino youth, she said: “Listen to your voice and soul. Let no one decides for your future.”

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Poem, Love

by Melchor F. Cichon

I sprung alone unnoticed
Like an oasis in an unstrolled desert
Until I heard you singing.
Then I began to paint roseate dreams.

I lifted my soul
To seek for you in vain in the Hades.
Love, laugh me out on this
But your music has become my Beatrice.

Poem, I think I Know

I Think I Know
by Melchor F. Cichon

I think I know what love is.
It is a shower, a song,
A mirror and a candle
In moments of solitude. 

But it can also be a spring
Of sorrows, of broken dreams,
Of broken homes.
Or a nail in one's coffin.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Poem, Akeanon Ako

Akeanon Ako
ni Melchor F. Cichon.
July 13, 2019

Akeanon ako
Ag Akeanon rang hambae.
Owa't ibang hambae
Nga makaeampas kara
Ano man ro matabu!
Tan-awa baea
Napaea sa mapa ro probinsya't Akean,
Sa sueod it tatlong gatos anyos
Pag-eapak ni Magellan sa Pilipinas,
Pero owa gid mapanas sa dila't
Mga Akeanon ro hambae Akeanon.
Nagtimgas pa gid ngani ra.
Ag makaron
Mabasa eon ro mga sinueatan it mga Akeanon
Sa mga antolohiya
Pareho sa mga binaeaybay nanday
Alexander de Juan, John Barrios,
Nynn Arwena G. Tamayo ag ni Mila DelaRosa.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Essay, Lezo, Aklan

Lezo, Aklan
Melchor F. Cichon
July 6, 2019
Today, July 6, 2019, Lezo, Aklan celebrates its 154th foundation day.
Lezo, the smallest of the seventeen (17) municipalities of the Province of Aklan was once a part of the municipality of Kalibo. It was once a barrio and was known as “Guicod,” a term derived from the word “Guicab,” which means a cavern in a creek where eels were abundant. The said creek can still be found at the back of Lezo Elementary School, now called Lezo Integrated School. It was also once called “Tierra Alta,” meaning high land, because its center was the only spot, which was not covered with great floods during the early days.
It was only during the time of Don Juan Legaspi and Benedicta Geronimo when the drive for its independence as a municipality was realized. With some of the prominent people in Lezo, they organized themselves in 1865 and petitioned to the Spanish authorities to grant their request of making Lezo an independent municipality from Kalibo.
Upon the granting of their request, many possible names were suggested for the newly created town but was later on decided to be named after a Spanish naval officer named Lezo who was present during that said negotiation.
But this statement is questionable because: (1.) The complete name of this naval officer has never been mentioned. ( 2. ) There was a Spanish naval officer named Blas de Lezo who died on September 7, 1741, or almost a century before the founding of Lezo, Aklan. (3). There is a place in Spain named Lezo after Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta, KOGF, OHS (3 February 1689 – 7 September 1741) who was a Basque officer in the Spanish Navy best remembered for the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1741) in modern-day Colombia, where Spanish imperial forces under his command resisted a siege by a large British invasion fleet under Admiral Edward Vernon.
So it is very much possible that the town of Lezo, Aklan was named, as usually the case in naming many towns in the Philippines, after this town Lezo, Spain and not after this alleged Spanish naval officer who was always present during the negotiations for the separation of Lezo from Kalibo.
As per decree of March 21, 1865, the town was inaugurated on July 6, 1865.
The town was handled by various leaders and was said to have encountered hard times due to the decrease of their revenues in 1904. Because of this, Lezo, together with the municipalities of Numancia and Banga, was again annexed to the Municipality of Kalibo. It only revived its independence as a municipality in 1910 having Patricio Motus as the appointed Presidente Municipal. Its independence was made stronger by an Executive Order No. 364 dated August 28, 1941, which was signed by President Manuel L. Quezon.
Another inauguration of the town was held in 1942. A guerilla named Capt. Prudencio Fernandez from Sta. Cruz, Lezo, together with Atty. Moises F. Morado from Poblacion, Lezo, young, and the only lawyer of the town led the said inauguration at that time. Atty. Morado was then appointed as mayor of the town and served from 1942 to 1943.
The source of income of the municipality came from the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA), being an inland municipality. It is also dependent in the income of the agricultural sector since ½ of its population are engaged in farming.
(Source: Lezo Municipal Planning and Development Office. Brief Description of the Municipality of Lezo.)

Portrait of Lezo, Museo Naval de Madrid (see below)
Birth name Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta
Born February 3, 1689
Pasajes, Guip├║zcoa, Spain
Died September 7, 1741 (aged 52)
Cartagena de Indias, New Granada
Allegiance Kingdom of Spain
Service/branch Royal Spanish Navy
Years of service 1704–1741
Rank Admiral
Source: Retrieved: July 5, 2018.
Admiral Blas de Lezo y Olavarrieta, KOGF, OHS (3 February 1689 – 7 September 1741) was a Spanish navy officer best remembered for the Battle of Cartagena de Indias (1741) in modern-day Colombia, where Spanish imperial forces under his command decisively defeated a large British invasion fleet unde...

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Essay, Aklanon's Beliefs and Practices on Death

Aklanon’s Beliefs and Practices on Death
Melchor F. Cichon
July 3, 2019

Aklanons show great respect for the dead. Out of these, various beliefs and practices have developed which has become a tradition. This tradition has been handed down to them from their great grandparents. The Spaniards must have reinforced this tradition through the introduction of Catholicism in the country as well as the Chinese through their commerce. It may be difficult to discern which beliefs and practices are of Spanish or Chinese origins. However, we can surmise that those beliefs and practices related to money like placing the first given alms to the palm of the dead must have been influenced by the Chinese,
When a person is dying, his immediate relatives call a parish priest or a pastor to give the last sacrament. It is also the time when the dying person could ask for blessings or forgiveness. Dying people should ask for a confession from a priest. The Aklanons believe that there is life after death. In this critical moment, a cantor or a member of the church choir is asked to sing religious songs to make his final journey pleasant and perhaps to ease whatever pain the dying person is suffering.

If a person dies, his immediate family would inform all his relatives of the incident as well as the parish priest. Upon the priest’s instruction the sacristan would toll the bells. The purpose of this is to inform people in the community that somebody had died. The townspeople who would hear the tolling of the bells are expected to pray for the repose of the soul of the dead. The intervals between strokes of the bell’s tolls would determine the age of the deceased. If the strokes are done briskly, the deceased is a child. If the intervals are long, the dead is an adult.

Before the 1960s, burial was usually done twenty-four hours after the person has died. But with the popularity of embalming, burial is done within weeks especially when a member of the family is away and is expected to come home.

It is believed that with shoes on, the journey of the dead will be difficult and he will be damned in hell so the deceased is not allowed to wear shoes, only socks.

During the wake, people in the community and members of the family from far away would come home to pay their last respects. Usually they would give alms. Others would give food. Another distinct practice is the holding of the feast on the third day after death. The usual food being served are ubod of coconut mixed with pork. Vegetables that are vine-like are however a taboo. Usual games being played are bordon, card games like paris-paris, karga buro, etc. Other games being played are konggit and mahjong. One popular game is the bordon. Participants are often teenagers. They form a circle and one participant would be in the middle to be the “makataw” or “it”. Other participants would hold hands and sing “bordon de las bordon, singsing papanawa…”

Dalia sa pagpalakat
Singsing sa pagpadapat
Basi kon malipat
Isa ka makawat.
Andar de las singsing
Singsing de los andar
Andar de los singsing
Singsing de los andar.
Singsing papanawa
Mentras makadangat
Sa Hari kag Reyna.

While this song is being sung, the hands of the participants are moved back and forth, bluffling the person in the middle as to who is holding the singsing or ring. The singsing here is anything from stone to marble. From time to time, the participant at the middle would grasp the hands of the participants to catch the singsing. Whoever is caught holding the singsing will be punished by making him recite a ditso or a luwa. Here is an example of a luwa:l

Ay abaw Inday nagapakatig-a
Daw bato bantiling ro anang kaha;
Indi ka pagdutlan gunting ag labaha,
Dutlan ka gid Inday ku akong paghigugma.

Like the bordon, konggit is played only during the wake. The game is played with small stones, as big as marbles. The number of players range from two to five. Before the start of the game, the participants would first decide via a jack and poy. Those stones which were not caught could still be taken by the player if he is able to strike two stones, which were previously pared by putting an imaginary line between them. If he fails to strike the other stone, the next player continues the game until all the stones are taken. Each player then counts all the stones he/she has taken. Whoever has the most number of stones is declared the winner. Another round of konggit is played.

These games are rarely played now during the wake. What are popular these days are mahjong, tumbo, and card games like pusoy dos and lucky nine.

When there is death in the family, the family members are expected to mourn by wearing black clothes. Others would wear black ribbons. In case the deceased is a mother and has left a child, the child should wear a piece of red cloth so the parent would not disturb the baby at night. Another practice of mourning is by hanging a black cloth on the window facing the street. Members of the family are not allowed to take a bath until after the burial. They are not allowed to sweep the floor also. This is to prevent another death in the family. Children are not allowed to listen to radios. No social gatherings should be held during this period. Weddings are also postponed until after a year to avoid back luck to the newly married couple.

The deathbed of the deceased and the clothes worn during his death are thrown outside the house to rot. If he died on a bed made of bamboo thatches, one thatch is removed and thrown away. This is to prevent another death in the family.

When the deceased is brought out of the house for burial, all the members of the family pass under the coffin. This is done to prevent the spirit of the dead to disturb those who are left behind. When the coffin is being brought out of the house, the feet portion of the coffin is put forward as if the deceased person were passing through the door himself. Care is being taken cared of to prevent the coffin from bumping any portion of the door so as not to disturb the soul of the dead.

If the deceased is a Catholic, he is brought to the Catholic church for blessing. Mass is offered for the repose of his soul. If the cause of the death is suicide, the priest will not allow the dead to be brought inside the church.

At times, a priest is requested to welcome the deceased at a crossroad nearest the church. Then, mourners would walk toward the cemetery.

In the church, the coffin is opened for the mourners to make a final view. It is understood that no tears should drop on the deceased’s face because it will only make his journey difficult and will cause bad luck to the family. Picture taking is done and eulogies are said, if there’s any.

Procession continues to the cemetery. Again, great care should be observed so as not to bump on any part of the coffin on the church’s door. Also, the feet portion is put forward while leaving the church.

On the way, people who are at the streets usually pray for the repose of the soul of the deceased. Others would take off their hats or make a sign of a cross.

In Zamboanga City, I observed that people in the streets would throw coins to the passing coffins. These are picked up and given to the family of the deceased.

Upon reaching the cemetery, the coffin is again opened for the last time. Here, people would come very close to the coffin, particularly the immediate members of the family. Pins and other decorations inside the coffin are removed and thrown away so as not to make the journey of the deceased difficult. Loud crying is usually heard. Mourners would start throwing flowers and a handful of soil to the coffin as pabaon. Then the coffin is closed and nailed. The coffin is then lowered into the grave or entombed in the pantheon. Snacks are served inside the cemetery. Upon leaving the cemetery, mourners would pass through the smoke prepared near the gate. This is done to prevent any illness that would befall the mourners’ family, especially when there is a child in the house. If no snacks are given in the cemetery, the mourners are expected to go to the house of the deceased to eat.
From the day of the funeral, a nine-day novena is held. People in the neighborhood would come to pray, play, and to gamble. As usual, the bereaved family serves drinks and foods to those who come.

In the beginning of the 1960s, much changes have taken place on the beliefs and practices on death among Aklanons, particularly among the later generations. Today, bordon or konggit is seldom played, but mahjong, pusoy dos, and tumbo games are popular.


As noted earlier, so much foods are served during the novena, the patnog, and the katapusan which cause so much spending. This is an added burden to the members of the bereaved family who are already economically drained.

Aside from this unusual and untimely spending, activities like planting, and harvesting of palay are suspended until after the burial which can affect the family’s income.

Monday, July 01, 2019

Essay, Evidenced-Based Librarianship

Evidenced-Based Librarianship
By Melchor F. Cichon
July, 2019
(Thanks to Herbert Vigo for his editorial help)

 “Evidenced-Based Librarianship” was a lecture delivered by Corazon M Nera, director of libraries of the Lyceum of the Philippines University, during a summer workshop for librarians.
While she was lecturing on this subject, she asked the participants why students make noise in the library. Perhaps surprised by her question, all the participants did not immediately respond.
It took us time to collate five answers: 1. The librarians themselves are noisy. 2. The students have nothing to do; so they talk. 3. Their discussions in the classrooms were not finished; so they continue their discussion or debate in the library. 4. The students are sent to the library by their teachers just so their teachers could do something else; hence all they do is talk 5. The library staff is not strict, if not very lenient.
These perceptions of the librarians could be true or not. To verify them, a librarian should conduct a research to back up their assumptions. This is what evidenced-based librarianship is all about.
Lecturer Nera said that this concept was first used by a medical school in 1968. In 1980, the medical librarians taught various health care professionals how to search Medline, a medical online source, and they developed resources to identify high quality, clinically important studies.
In 1991, evidenced based medicine appeared and was defined as the best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patient. Ms. Nera provided several reasons to use research evidence in library practice, namely: To make the most efficient and effective use of services and resources. To help us plan and evaluate the results of the action. To base funding proposals and ensure funding success. To produce usable evidence after the process. To publish findings.
In addition, she quoted Andrew Booth: "Evidence-based librarianship is an approach to information science that promotes the collection, interpretation, and integration of valid, important and applicable user-reported, librarian-observed, and research- derived evidence. The best-available evidence moderated by users’ needs and preferences is applied to improve the quality of professional judgment."
Although evidence-based librarianship is desirable, it is not that easy for luck of funding, lack of experience, lack of time and support from the administration, and access to peer-reviewed research articles.

Essay, Best practices in the library

Best Practices in the Library*
By Melchor F. Cichon
June 8, 2019

Some years back, I attended a National Summer Conference on Emerging Trends in Libraries and Information Services sponsored by PAARL in Bo. Tobuan,Labrador, Pangasinan. One of the speakers there was Mrs. Lourdes David, one of the leading librarians in the Philippines today. She talked on the best practices in the library. Although that conference was held in 2007 but the issue she talked about is still relevant today.
According to Mrs. Lourdes David, best practice as an activity or procedure has produced outstanding results. She also said that a best practice is a technique or procedure or methodology that, through experience and research, has proven to reliably lead to a desired result.
A clearer definition was given by Wikipedia.
"Best Practice is a management idea which asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method, process, etc. The idea is that with proper processes, checks, and testing, a desired outcome can be delivered with fewer problems and unforeseen complications."
This idea of best practice is not really an emerging one. It had been advocated by Frederick Taylor in 1919 when he said that there is always a one best way of doing things.
Mrs. David also defined policy as a definite course of action adopted for the sake of expediency, facility, etc.
These two concepts, best practices and policies, can be applicable to the various activities of the library like in acquisition, cataloging, circulation, reference, and periodicals. They can also be used in other functions of the library like staff development.
To come up with a line of best practices, librarians should always be observant. They must document these practices to get their pros and cons, their advantages and disadvantages. And their antidots in case something gets wrong.
But one must see to it that the chosen best practices must conform with the mission and vision of the mother institutions. So if the vision of the parent institution is to be globally competitive, the library must also be globally competitive.
Like in any corporate world, policies, once formulated, should be known by all stakeholders like students, faculty and staff so that all will conform with those policies. The library administrator should use every means to let all stakeholders know of such new policy. He/she can use the bulletin boards, hand-outs, leaflets, or during library orientation.
Unfortunately, policies are sometimes not followed because of some pressures from the administration and from the clients.
Example: The policy is to buy the cheapest price of a book. But when the person in charge in buying books has an undercurrent objective, that person will not think of this policy. What matters to him/her is the commission that she/he gets from the book dealer.
Another example: Maintain silence in the library. But if the librarians themselves are noisy, how can the students follow this policy?
Best practice is a sure way of getting quality service, but if the library administrator will always rely on this principle, there will be no innovation or progress in the institution.
There is a saying: If you will not innovate, you will perish.
One method of getting idea on how to innovate the library procedures and policies is by benchmarking.
Ms. Corazon M. Nera, another pillar of the Philippine librarianship, defines benchmarking as a management technique to improve business performances. It is used to compare a performance between different organizations or different units within a single organization undertaking similar processes on a continuous basis. The purpose of which is to document and measure a key process and then compare the resulting data with those relating to similar process in other organizations.
In addition, let me share this definition of benchmarking from Wikipedia: Benchmarking (also "best practice benchmarking" or "process benchmarking") is a process used in management and particularly strategic management, in which organizations evaluate various aspects of their processes in relation to best practice, usually within their own sector. This then allows organizations to develop plans on how to adopt such best practice, usually with the aim of increasing some aspect of performance. Benchmarking may be a one-off event, but is often treated as a continuous process in which organizations continually seek to challenge their practices.
According to Mrs. Nera, there are five types of benchmarking activities. These are:
1.Competitor—comparing with leading organizations with similar products or service and adapting their approach.
2.Generic—comparisons of business processes or functions that are very similar, regardless of industry.
3.Internal—comparison of internal operations by different departments within the same organization.
4.Functional—comparison to similar functions within the same broad industry, or to industry leaders.
5.Customer—the aim of the improvement program is meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
According to Ms. Nera, the most appropriate types of benchmarking to the libraries are the generic and the customer benchmarking because as regards to the former, it focuses on measuring and comparing key processes in different organizations.
Here are some areas she mentioned that are suitable for benchmarking:
1. acquisition, cataloging, processing
2. acquisitions of core text
3. copy cataloging
4. customer satisfaction
5. document delivery
6. information skills
7. interlibrary loan
8. library systems costs
9. materials availability
10. original cataloging
11. research support
12. shelving
13. staff perceptions
14. technical services
Other aspects of the library that can be benchmarked are staff development and salary, staff discipline.
Ms. Nera presented the Australian experience why they benchmarked.
She cited the following:
1. to facilitate dramatic process improvement
2. as part of an on-going continuous improvement mechanisms.
3. to ensure that plans are being carried out.
4. to focus evaluation on the most useful areas.
5. as part of change management process
6. to justify the existence or value of the service
7. to demonstrate areas of merit to stakeholders
8. to develop relationships/partnerships with other organizations and
9. to assess aspects of management (include the level of management
She also cited the following reasons for benchmarking as per Australian University Libraries:
1.cost comparison
2.reduction in turn around times
3.reduction in error rates
4.establishing meaningful performance indicators/realistic output measures
5.feasibility of collaboration to achieve cost saving
6.investigate in sourcing, outsourcing and collaborative opportunities
7.establish individual performance target
8.explore appropriate roles and activities of cataloguers
9.develop improved outcomes for customers
10.pilot benchmarking/instill value of benchmarking instrument to achieve change
12.develop best practice model
13.validation measure
14.develop statements of good practice
15.framework for benchmarking performance and quality
Ms. Nera cited five approaches to an effective benchmarking. These are:
1.Identify the process to be benchmarked like the generic model because it ensures elements crucial to customer satisfaction and it facilitates an in-depth scrutiny of the way operations are currently run.
2.Determine what to measure. Is it the cataloging process or something else?
3.Identify who to benchmark. Should be done by only one person or better still by a team.
4.Collect the data. Of course only the relevant data should be collected
5.Analyze the data and determine the gap.
6.Set goals and develop an action plan.
7.Monitor the processes.
Benchmarking is no easy way for there are some factors to be considered. Some of these factors include the partners. Some institutions may not like to be a part of a benchmarking activity because of time element, staff involvement, confidentiality, and competition. Since benchmarking is not a one-day affair, this activity will require key personnels, and divulging company secrets is tantamount to losing their cutting edge against their competitors. ____ *While looking for an article on librarianship, I came across this write-up which I wrote some years back. Since I believe that the contents of this article is still relevant today, I rewrote it and came up with is article.