If it isn’t obvious enough, ‘Augvocacy’ is a silly play on the words ‘August’ and ‘advocacy’, which can already give you a somewhat clear idea of what this event aspires to do: to bring together like-minded individuals in actively forwarding a particular advocacy throughout the month of August, which will hopefully carry over in small, indirect ways for the rest of the year. Participants of said event are referred to as Augvocates (💖). You can learn more about the origin of Augvocacy 2018 (or #Augvocacy2018) by reading my event launch post.
For 2018, twenty-four* (24) Filipino readers, bloggers (like me!), and authors are dedicating this month towards emphasizing a single message, that is, the importance of fostering a culture of reading in the Philippines.
* That’s 24 not including myself, by the way!
While all Augvocates have written their own personal narratives on this advocacy, which I’m sure they’re very excited to share with you (psst, don’t forget to check out the event schedule later!), I’ve also taken the liberty of interviewing them, which I’m incredibly ecstatic to share with you!
Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to three of our amazing 2018 Augvocates: Cha, Nicay, and Shaine!
When did you start reading?
Nicay: I started reading when I was in high school, and my first book was Twilight. It was also my first book that I re-read twice! Since then, I became addicted [to] reading, though I [couldn’t] focus on reading because of my school. But when I started working, it was the time that I started collecting books, and continued being a reader, plus I started blogging also. Reading is my form of relaxation, and reading changes my life afterwards, and I am truly thankful for it. 😊
What motivates you to keep reading?
Cha: Back then, it [was] just a hobby. But as I drown in all the responsibilities of being an adult, I read to ease the pain of worrying and stress.
Nicay: Reading is my form of relaxation, my escape [from] the reality. That’s why I am still motivated in reading.
Shaine: Reading relaxes me. Whenever I feel down or I need an outlet, there’s an urge to read. Further, it always gives me something to ponder. There are life learnings and it opens new perspectives about life.
Do you think that Filipinos should go beyond academic or required reading and explore reading books for leisure? Why or why not?
Cha: Yes. Because [they] wouldn’t know! Personally, I am not an adventurous person. I don’t travel a lot. I just travel for work which means, I don’t really explore a place because I have to work, attend seminars, etc. But by reading, I have the opportunity to look at the world [through] someone else’s eyes and culture.
Nicay: Yes. Because if Filipinos explore more books for leisure, it will give more benefits aside from its benefits of learning. And they will eventually appreciate the importance of reading.
Shaine: Yes. It’s hard to admit but even our libraries are limited to academic books. Maybe, if we start changing our library system and we have advocate librarians who encourage and [promote] leisure reading, there’s a chance that Filipinos would go beyond academic and required books and will learn how to enjoy reading books.
In your opinion, are there values reading has that other forms of entertainment (e.g. television, films, video games) cannot really offer?
Cha: It gives you the sense of empathy and wider imagination.
Nicay: Reading gives more than benefits other than the current entertainments we have. For example, it gives us a wide knowledge that other entertainments can’t give. It also gives peace of minds when we want to have a deep solitude, and plus it gives more friends!
Shaine: Reading is valuable than other forms of entertainment in a sense that when we watch films, for example, we don’t know the innermost feelings of the characters. Unlike when we read, we get to read and know their perspectives, we feel what they feel. Moreover, it takes me to places beyond my imagination. It is like an escape [from] the reality.
In your opinion, why is it important to foster a culture of reading in the Philippines?
Cha: I am a Tita right now, and I see younger generations having their attention on social media and gadgets. They seem to not read anymore. They see reading as a school requirement, a task, a burden. I want future generations to read not just the “trend”, but also the classic/inspirational ones.
It is important to foster a culture of reading in the Philippines not only for [academic] achievement but also to develop literacy skills. We must understand the importance of reading for pleasure in supporting learning.
Do you think there are downfalls to or negative consequences of a culture that is disinterested in reading?
Cha: Let’s be honest, reading makes you wiser in life. It gives you the sense of focus, perception, asking yourself questions, being woke, and seeing every aspect of life. And that’s what you will miss [if you] don’t read.
Shaine: It means that we do not support even our Filipino authors, that literature is slowly dying in our country. If we could observe, some Filipino authors are now publishing internationally. Maybe because they could see and feel the disinterest of Filipinos in reading.
What can be done to encourage more Filipinos to read? In line with this, what is your personal contribution to this advocacy?
Cha: Just talk about books. Don’t be shy to unleash the bookworm in you. You will be surprised that there are people who are also interested in reading. Personally, I give books as a gift whether they are a reader or not. It is up to them if they read it or not, they may give it to someone else, the important thing is, I am able to spread the love of reading.
Nicay: To encourage people to read is to share the importance and the benefits of it. Because I love reading, I am trying my best to encourage every people I know to read, that’s why when they want to read, they [borrow] my books, and I am doing it for free! I started it with my friends, [until] I decided to give some of my books to my fb friends last year, friends or not. It is my small way of contributing to promote my advocacy towards reading.
Shaine: I think we should change our library system. There must be at least 70% academic books and 30% novels in our libraries. This may help students access [newly released books] without spending too much money, especially if they don’t have money to buy a book. Another, a reading movement such [as] encouraging and promoting pleasure reading at young age (as early as 5) at home would help to foster a culture of reading. It may take time and commitment but if [we] start at home, we could achieve it.
My move for the advocacy is the integration of novels to my teaching subjects. For an instance, I require my students to read a novel with representation of mental illness/disorder in our Abnormal Psychology class. It really helps because 80% of them [start] to love read and now [ask] me for other book recommendations.
How has reading shaped who you are as a person?
Cha: I don’t have siblings to share things, to play with, to be with 24/7. I only have books. Aside from my parents’ guidance, books shaped my values as a person. I learn cultures, political issues/strategies. I learn to emphatize. With that, people ask me for [advice] and surprised I am able to give them the ones that could help, I may be younger than someone else, but books made me wiser.
Nicay: Reading has a big part in my life. Reading widens my vocabulary, and aside from that it makes me a better person. I learned to know more about people because of reading.
Shaine: Reading always gives me something to ponder and it really helps me a lot in decision making. I always learn something new from the characters and the world inside the book. I must say that reading made me mature.
What books have made the biggest impact on you as a reader?
Cha: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Song of Ice and Fire Series, Smaller and Smaller Circles, All The Light We Cannot See, and my current read, The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
Shaine: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. Some readers [do] not like it because of how CoHo ends it, but for me, it made [the] biggest impact in my life. It changed my life perspectives in whole different level. Her book [talks] about bravery, loving, and accepting yourself.
Featured Augvocates of the Day:
Cha is the book siren behind the blog, The Literary Siren. Her favorite genres are classic, high fantasy, psychological thriller, crime fiction, dystopian, science fiction, and young adult. Basically, she wants to compile all her book thoughts in one place, and she wants to meet the bookworms all over her country and the world. And oh, she’s a die-hard Game of Thrones fan.
Nicay is a consultant by day and reader by night. She loves to read and as well as collect books. An aspiring writer and photographer. If you caught her reading, please do not disturb her.
Shaine C. Hayag is a mother of two beautiful boys and married for 6 years now. She currently works as Instructor in a state university in Cavite; teaching Psychology subjects, guiding students in their thesis and volunteering in college admission. Shaine decided to make a book review blog a year ago when she felt that she needed an outlet while writing her graduate thesis. At the present, she enjoys book blogging/reviewing in genres in YA, dystopia, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery/thriller, retelling, historical fiction, contemporary, romance, and bookstagramming.
(Image not working? Try clicking here.)
And there you have it: a whole lot of insight from our very own Augvocates! Any thoughts on their answers? Are you looking forward to the succeeding batches of interviews? I know I am!
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and don’t forget to enter this year’s giveaway! I’m giving away beautiful paperback copies of the highly acclaimed, award-winning The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly to one lucky winner from the Philippines and to one equally lucky international winner (provided that Book Depository ships to you).
Good luck and until next time!
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