A select group of Biyaheng Pinoy correspondence had the opportunity last April 28, 2010 to visit one of the First and the largest publisher of Filipino children books. The company was named after a traditional Filipino novel character Adarna a mystical bird with strange powers. The publishing house office is located on 2nd floor of a modern building near Tomas Morato Avenue in Quezon City. There is a small showcase area where children books and coffee table books were on display. While there was an ongoing story telling sessions, called Kuwentong Adarna. These are facilitated by a member of Adarna House’s pool of volunteer storytellers and thru their efforts the sessions are done to encourage children to take up the habit of reading. Apart from storytelling, Adarna House also facilitates numerous workshops for children and adults. Regularly held during summer vacation, Klasrum Adarna for kids offer a variety of reading, writing and illustration classes, while Klasrum offerings for adults include storytelling, teaching beginning reading, and library improvement among others. When the Nutrition Center of the Philippines (NCP) in the late 1970’s found themselves in need of a series of storybooks to supplement their mental feeding program. The company approached Mr. Virgilio S. Almario poet and literary critic to spearhead the production of this series. He then recruited authors, editors, illustrators, and creative staffs for the series, which he would call Aklat Adarna. The name was chosen to evoke the healing power of education and knowledge against the struggle of the Filipino against poverty and through NGO led drive to boost educational literacy. Among them is Mr. Rene O. Villanueva a prolific writer, cartoonist of a well-loved children television show “ Batibot” a popular children television show that run from 1984 to 1998. Marketing Manager – Ms. Vanessa Estares stress the Adarna House is an NGO group, which advocate, “ Business to Business advocacy group which give less fortunate children books”.
The company had numerous tie-ups with various NGO groups like Gawad Kalinga ‘s Sibol Day care center. Adarna House works with various organizations to carry out its primary goal “to educate and entertain the Filipino child.” The publishing company had also partnership with with DepEd and Ronald Mac Donald House of Charities ( RMHC) Bright Minds Read where big books and a collection of lesson plans were developed to help public school teachers use children’s literature as a springboard in building reading skills among beginning readers. The Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare (DSWD) and Development are major partners for the Early Childhood Development Project. DSWD also worked with Adarna House for Ang Buhay ni Bimboy, a guide for parents and day care workers in nurturing children. Filipinas Heritage Library has hosted many of the campaign’s activities under its roof. It is through this partnership that the Pilar Perez novellas for young adults were created.
The Meralco Management and Leadership Development Center (MMLDC) Foundation works closely with Adarna House for Lakbay Kalikasan, which promotes environmental awareness through storytelling, puppet shows and nature trips. Adarna House serves the Philippine Board on Books for Young People as its Secretariat. With the logistical assistance of Adarna House, PBBY is able to organize its activities such as the National Children’s Book Day celebration, PBBY-Salanga Prize, PBBY-Alcala Prize, and the Salaysayan National Storytelling Competition. Even with modern day technologies such as internet, e-books , audio- books , there is still no substitute for the traditional books.