Today, on the third of a three-Saturday classical bookbinding workshop, I finished this.  It’s 192pp, with a cranberry-colored Philippine handmade paper cover and a yellow bookbinder’s paper spine.

Don’t mind the dark blots on the left-side endpaper.  That’s archival glue that hasn’t dried fully yet.  This is also Philippine handmade paper.  The swirls are made of paper as well – it’s NOT a print.  I believe this paper was made in Batangas although it is being sold at the malls or in National Bookstore, in different color varieties.

The pages open flat, which is what I love about sewn bindings.  We used lock stitch.  I love how neatly I was able to do this.  (One day I will learn Coptic stitch.)

Next time I will add a ribbon page marker.  I also want to try a smaller format, like a pocket-size journal.

Some of my classmates are librarians, but some, like me, wanted to learn how to make pretty and useful things.  This three-day workshop was held on May 16, 23 and 30, at the Lopez Museum in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.  Paper artist Loreto Apilado, our teacher, is conducting a Book Repair workshop soon.  I want to study that too!

For more details on activities at the Lopez Museum, visit their blog.


I learned of this happy news from my friends on Plurk.

The Philippine Star

Please read the ff. blogs, which describe the situation better than I can:

Joey Alarilla’s CNet Blog and in his earlier entry.

Manuel L. Quezon III has a very good timeline of our pet cause.

Let’s keep watch on how the BOC will respond to this directive.

Happy Monday, friends 🙂


Three years ago, my childhood classmate Lorelei (“Lyeh”) discovered she had a brain tumor. She was operated on, but a year later the tumor reappeared. Ever since then she would suffer periodic intercranial pressure (liquid in her brain would accumulate, and not drain properly), for which she would be medicated.

Two weeks ago, she suffered a sudden increase in intercranial pressure, which nearly caused a major seizure. Lyeh’s mother brought her to the hospital in time for an emergency lumbar tap (removal of spinal fluid for testing and analysis). They discovered that she was suffering from streptococcal (bacterial) meningitis, as a result of her weakened immune system. For the first four days she was in critical condition and nearly died. She was put on a severe cocktail of antibiotics and steroids via intravenous feed, and thus was confined in Delgado Clinic in Quezon City for twelve days.

As a result of this treatment, including laboratory tests and a second lumbar tap, her hospital bills reached unexpected heights. Afraid that her bill would balloon unnecessarily, Lyeh had herself discharged today, May 22. She has paid about half of her hospital bills from all her available direct sources of funds (family members), and has a remaining balance of PhP 75,000.00. She needs to pay the Delgado Clinic by June 3.

Our high school batch, UP Integrated School Class of 1984, is helping her raise money for that recent hospitalization.  Her family is taking responsibility for her daily care, but needs to clear that amount in order to move forward.

Lyeh Henson is a single mother, with three children, and is not able to work given her current condition. She is recuperating at home, and is a patient of neurologist Dr. Senna Lim of St. Luke’s Hospital and Delgado Clinic.

Please help Lyeh by contributing any amount to

Branch:  Aurora Boulevard Branch, Quezon City, Philippines
Account Name: Lorelei Henson
Account Type: Current
Account Number: 00-902-001584-2

before or by June 3, 2009.

Thank you very much for any help you can give. You can help by circulating this entry in your blog.  Lyeh needs her friends at this time, old and new.



Of course, that’s saying it nicely.  The issue makes my blood boil, because I believe all sorts of books should be accessible to all Filipinos and that reading books should be encouraged in schools and at home in order to stimulate independent thought and imagination, and facilitate learning.  I read for pleasure, for my own education and to learn about things in other parts of the world. That the Bureau of Customs would take it upon themselves to interpret law in favor of taxation over Filipinos’ ready access to literature is utterly ridiculous and misguided.  And heavy-handed.  Someone has actually written an article about this power trip that has been widely circulated on Facebook.  If you haven’t read about it yet, it’s time you should.

Guggenheim fellow and University of Iowa writer Robin Hemley tells us about The Great Book Blockade of 2009 in Dispatches From Manila:

“Over coffee one afternoon, a book-industry professional (whom I can’t identify) told me that for the past two months virtually no imported books had entered the country, in part because of the success of one book, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. The book, an international best seller, had apparently attracted the attention of customs officials. When an examiner named Rene Agulan opened a shipment of books, he demanded that duty be paid on it…”  Read on.

The part about “books on publishing” is enough to make an international laughing stock of our Customs officials, who perhaps do not read for pleasure.  I sure as hell would not like a bureaucrat to limit my access to reading matter by taxing it out of my budget.  If you (parents, teachers and friends) agree with me that books are right up there with food, clothing, and shelter in terms of priorities in our lives, then make a stand.

In response to this, journalist Inday Espina-Varona wrote in Facebook about her Negros Occidental High School alumni class’ efforts to donate secondhand books to their school library.  Books, I agree, are useless if they aren’t read, but it seems some officials are more used to having their pictures taken with book donations instead of actually making dynamic use of them.  Inday’s class had to specifically insist that the books be read and handled by students, instead of being displayed like fragile museum pieces.

Inday goes on to express her love for books and the values her parents instilled in her:

“For me, the project is a way of giving thanks to Nanay and Dad, who provided us with books in our youth and who allowed free rein to their inquisitive and sometimes irreverent brood.I remember Nanay’s stories about scrimping to buy books, about gentle salespeople who didn’t shoo them away from bookstore shelves. My classmates know that solving the problem of poverty is beyond our ken but that each book held by a student represents a gate that could lead them out.”

Robin Hemley’s article and various accompanying notes expressing passion for books, bafflement, disbelief and outrage are circulating in Facebook.  The online campaign has snowballed and is now an official Cause.  If you’re on Facebook, express your support NOW.  If FB isn’t your style, then Plurk it or Tweet it or write about this in your blogs so other people may know.  Parents and teachers should be concerned for their children’s reading welfare.

Manuel L. Quezon III wrote about it in his column in  And he writes:

“But of course this is simply yet another manifestation of a larger trend, which is to deemphasize government’s being in place to serve the citizenry, and instead fortify its existing in order to mulct the population: the rule of law being nothing more than systematized extortion, whether one talks of traffic enforcement or books.”

It saddens me that as a result of this debacle there will be a certain percentage of Filipino youth that will not be reading for pleasure because “books are too expensive.”  So much for stimulating independent thought and imagination.

I heartily agree with Inday, who ended her Facebook note with this call to action:

“… I take the taxes on books personally. And I am sure, many do. While the effort in Facebook is laudable, there is need to transcend the virtual world. Ten thousand is a good number. But if people believe they can get a million signatures for someone, surely we can get more for this endeavor. Let’s do it, office per office; neighborhood by neighborhood; school by school. Let’s test it in court. And, yeah, if a rally is called, I’ll be there.”

Note:  Many thanks to Inday Espina-Varona, who gave me permission to quote from her note, which I wasn’t sure I could link directly to.


I finished these 2×2 cable socks some time after I finished Mimi’s cappuccino socks. Well… I started them before Christmas, laid them down, misplaced them, found them again and finished them in January when I was having my thyroid woes. Nothing like keeping your hands busy to get your mind off things.

The cast-on is 64 sts, and I used Monaco crochet cotton with a US size 1 (2.25mm) pair of bamboo needles 40″ long. My cable needle – badaboom! – is a bamboo toothpick 2.25mm in diameter. Very very nifty to use a bamboo toothpick, the stitches don’t fall off as the surface of the bamboo holds the stitches well. Great for small-diameter portable projects. It follows the standard sock pattern, only I realized (quickly enough in the middle of knitting the first sock) my design error.

You may notice that the last cable columns on either edge of the sock front sort of blend into the stockinette of the underside. I was trying for symmetry, so to fit the cast-on, I inadvertently left the P2 column out. Next time I shall try for:

P1, cable, P2, K2, P2, cable, P2, K2, P2, cable, P2, K2, P2, cable, P1 = 32 (front)

Yes, it’s very pretty with clogs and certain sandals.