Posts Tagged ‘anthony de luna’

pop goes the world: rizal films in filipino sign language

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 July 2011, Thursday

Rizal Films in Filipino Sign Language

Did you know that films are being made in Filipino Sign Language (FSL)?

The development of FSL has its roots in American Sign Language and Signing Exact English. Among the filmmakers who have used FSL in their works is Mirana Medina, who advocates for autism and deafness causes. She studied FSL at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies.

I “met” her via my column about Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary last month, after she had emailed me her comments. Her interest in Rizal stems from her having been the researcher and film editor of “Rizal sa Dapitan”, a film produced more than ten years ago. Combining this interest and her advocacies, she produced a Rizal-themed film in FSL – “Mi Ultimo Adios”, which was launched last June 21 at DLS-CSB.

Mirana says: “Mi Ultimo Adios” in FSL is the first real translation or interpretation of Rizal’s poems in FSL. It wasn’t a literal interpretation at all. It was poetic in treatment. [University of the Philippines professor and poet] Vim [Nadera] helped us out [with that].

“I know deaf people who are capable of expressing themselves beyond the “usual” signing, [so] I made it a point that sessions between a hearing poet – Vim – and my deaf FSL consultant Raphy Domingo were arranged. We were lucky that Dr. Marie Therese Bustos of UP Special Education Area [an authority on FSL] helped us…the time we met to hold a deaf audition, she was there to interpret.”

To view the film trailer, search for “Mi Ultimo Adios in FSL” on

Mirana plans to produce four other Rizal-themed films in FSL – she says these are “”La Juventud Filipina”, which has already been shot but needs additional images; “A Las Flores de Heidelberg”; “Canto de Maria Clara”; and the [other] one will [be called] either “ Mi Primera Inspiracion” or “Mi Piden Versos”.”

July being National Disability Month, arrangements are being made to screen “Mi UItimo Adios” in Mandaluyong City on the 22nd. On the 16th, her film on autism – “Alyana” – will be shown at the Benitez Theater in UP-Diliman.

Mirana is now busy editing the film “Asiong Salonga”, directed by Tikoy Aguiluz.

To learn more about Mirana and her advocacies, visit her blog at

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Jose Rizal’s novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in the English translation by Harold Augenbraum and published by Penguin Classics, are now available at Fully Booked. I picked up what the salesclerks told me was the last copy of the Noli last weekend, but there are still many copies of the Fili left.

The books are also available in a Kindle edition at for $11.99 each. No affiliation with either merchant, I just wanted to let fellow Rizal-philes know about this particular translation.

The only other English translation I’ve read is Leon Maria Guerrero’s, which is fantastic, and iconic to generations of students. I’ve read several chapters of the Augenbraum, and so far I’m happy.

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I received several questions in response to my column last week on e-book publishing. Here’s more on the matter from Flipside Digital Content chief executive officer Anthony de Luna, on the origins and services of Flipside:

“Incessant prodding from authors in the academic and trade publishing communities made us decide early in the year to remove local barriers to the newly-paved e-book avenue that leads to international distribution and readership. Having serviced only foreign clients as a business process outsourcing company specializing in the publishing vertical in our 12 years of operations in various configurations, Flipside reluctantly offered e-publishing on the digital rights management-secure and economically viable platforms of Amazon Kindle, iBooks (iPad), and Barnes & Noble Nook to local authors and publishers.

“Flipside’s goals going in were first, to educate, and second, to enable those who would like to take advantage of technology’s contribution to solving the insurmountable international distribution challenge for Filipino content. It was a pleasant surprise to find a few local companies that already had their feet wet in e-ink–Vee Press of Vibal Foundation for general publishing, Bronze Age Media for comic books, and Salt & Light Ventures for the Christian publishing community.“

Can authors publish DRM-secure books on their own?

“Yes,” says Anthony, “Amazon has Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple has iTunes Connect, and B&N has PubIt! Whether you are an author with one essay or a publisher with a 2,000-title backlist, stop reading now, leave Facebook for a few minutes and sign up with them.”

Do you approach publishers or authors?

“We approach publishers first in an effort to achieve the information waterfall-and-echo effect. We let them know that they can expand distribution and increase revenue from their frontlist (active titles), and bring their backlist (out of print, out of distribution titles) back from the revenue grave without cost.

“We approach individual authors of note, as part of our goal to educate, to generate interest from and stimulate fact-finding by the publisher and author communities at large. In addition, we also reach out to deserving self-published and unpublished authors. Unsolicited submissions are subject to review for editorial quality and international commercial or academic value.”

Anthony answers other questions on the “Flipside Digital Content” Page on Facebook, which you can visit to find out more.

E-books are the present and the future of book publishing. Through this channel, Jose Rizal’s works from the late 1800s are made accessible to a new generation of Filipinos and to the rest of the world. This should give encouragement to local authors who have despaired of getting published the traditional, ink-and-paper, way. ***

Image of Mirana Medina here. Slide of Mi Ultimo Adios here

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pop goes the world: e-book publishing now here

POP GOES THE WORLD By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 30 June 2011, Thursday

E-book Publishing, Now Here!

With the steadily increasing cost of paper and ink, books are getting to be even more out of reach for students and those without much disposable income. They are considered luxuries, rather than essentials, in many households.

I’ve advocated time and again in this column about the supreme value of reading in building vocabulary, grammar, and writing skills in any language. The publication of works in digital formats would make them available to a wider audience. You don’t even need an e-book reader like a Kindle, Nook, iPad, or other tablet gadget; e-books can be read on a desktop computer or laptop loaded with the proper app, many of which are available for free download on the Internet.

It’s a giant step forward  that e-book publishing is now being done here by a local company, and this news should give heart to writers who’ve despaired of getting published the traditional way, or wish to reach a global audience for their work (and earn better than they usually would, which is not bad at all.)

Let me tell you about one example.

Carljoe Javier’s latest book, Geek Tragedies, is going to be launched on July 1, 5pm, at the GT Toyota Hall of Wisdom, Asian Center, UP Diliman. It’s published by UP Press which will also be launching eight other new titles the same day, among them UP professor emeritus Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo’s Six Sketches of Filipino Women.

The interesting thing about Carljoe’s work is that it’s possibly the first time a book by a local author will be released in both print and e-book form.

The digital format was supplied by Flipside Digital Content, which has also made Carljoe’s book available for download at giant e-retailer Flipside also recently released the digital version of another book of Carljoe’s, And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth, on Amazon. It was originally published in traditional form by Milflores Publishing.

Flipside’s CEO, Anthony de Luna, waxes enthusiastic about the e-publishing trend:

“Our titles are distributed through Amazon (170+ countries) and Apple iTunes iBookstore (six major market countries). We will also distribute through Barnes & Noble Nook later this year.

“Flipside has notched 12 years of experience in e-book production as an outsourced service provider to publishers in the US and UK, with more than 100,000 e-books produced. It started as a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble (I served as Director of Digital Content for B&N during the early years of e-books).

“We use leading-edge production techniques, resulting in some of the bestselling and highest-profile e-books for our publisher clients, including Grufallo Red Nose Day (it was No. 1 in iTunes UK not just for e-books, but including songs and apps); the enhanced e-book edition of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Notes from My Kitchen Table; the enhanced e-book edition of Nelson Mandela’s Conversations with Myself; and the enhanced e-book edition of Ken Follett’s Fall of Giants.

“In April 2011, we decided to leverage the company’s international experience and resources to enable local authors and publishers to publish internationally via e-books. In our first month as a publisher – May 2011 – we published 16 titles and now have a fast-expanding title line-up.

“UP Press is the traditional print publisher of Geek Tragedies; the author Carljoe Javier asked and gained permission from UP Press to simultaneously publish an e-book edition through Flipside. It is the first time in the Philippines for a book to have print and e-book editions published simultaneously.

“On e-book publishing, the bottom line is that in the US, e-books are outselling print books three-to-one.”

Cover of Carljoe Javier’s Geek Tragedies. Image here.

While they will never replace the tactile and sentimental enjoyment one gets from ink-and-paper books, e-books are the future. In fact, many analysts say that that their future is now, and that it is only a matter of time before they will become more common than traditional books.

I’d say the major barrier to this happening fast, especially in developing countries, is the cost of the e-reader, which makes the reading experience convenient, personal, and portable, just like reading traditional books.

A major advance in this direction is the Rizal e-tablet, released by the Laguna provincial government on the hero’s 150th birth anniversary last June 19 in Calamba. The tablet may be loaded with textbooks and other reference materials, and is manufactured by Laguna-based semiconductor firm Ionics. It was distributed in Laguna schools starting last week.

I remember writing about this in my column last year when the project was first announced. It’s terrific to see that promises were kept here. Hopefully other local government units will follow suit.

One thing more needed to complete this winning recipe? The electrification of all barangays unto the remotest of rural areas. How can one effectively use gadgets if one can’t recharge them?

The Rizal tablet distributed in Laguna schools. Image here.


Many thanks to veteran broadcaster Jo Salcedo for giving me a break on radio. Without fully knowing whether I would talk sense or drivel, she took a chance on me and starting February 2 this year had me on her show “Buhay Pinoy” five days a week on AFP Radio at DWDD 1134 khz AM as a guest analyst. For 15 minutes, we’d discuss current events from a cultural perspective.

For some strange unfathomable reason, she and station manager Capt Emmanual Diasen found merit in my mumblings and gave me an hour show which debuted on June 4. It’s called “Kwentuhang Pinoy”, on Saturdays at 8-9am, and live streamed over

I was a horseracing commentator from 2002 to December 2010 on cable TV in a live format much like radio, doing six to eight hours at a stretch up to six days a week. However, doing opinion and news in a radio booth instead of horseracing in a TV studio is new to me.

If you tune in, please be patient; it’s a work in progress, and I’m grateful to have the support of Ms. Jo and her daughter, broadcaster Jaimie Santos, who’ve promised to stay with me in the booth till I get it right.  *** (Email:, Blog:, Facebook: Gogirl Cafe, Twitter: @jennyortuoste)

Black-and-white portrait of author Carljoe Javier from his private collection.

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