10 QUESTIONS FOR HERNANDO GUANLAO

Hernando Guanlao is the man who turned his home to a public library. His abiding passion for books and his advocacy to promote reading gained attention from worldwide and local media. He is definitely one of the modern heroes of today.

His home at Balagtas St., Makati City is the also the home of thousands of books from his collection, a mix of donations from people from different places and some of his favorites as well.

His library and his club, Reading Club 2000, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only rules in this library is that, “there are no rules,” as Mang Nanie relays.

Question 1: Paano niyo po sinimulan itong open library? (How did you start with this open library project?)

Mang Nanie: ’Yung Reading Club 2000 ay nagsimula sa paghahanap ko ng liwanag sa kadiliman. Naisip ko iyon sampung taong gulang ako. Binalikan ko yan. Nilakasan ko ang loob ko na balikan ko yan. Noong sampung taong gulang kasi ako ang ginagawa ko, ganito rin. Masaya ako sa ginagawa ko. May kaligayahan ako, maraming akong kaibigan. So nakita ko iyong mga libro naming magkakapatid sa bodega. Ayaw nilang i-uwi sa kani-kanilang mga bahay. 50 years-old ako nun, year 2000. Ang ginawa ko, para ‘di naman masayang iyong mga aklat, iniligay ko sa pasamano sa bahay bilang proyekto na inalay ko sa aming pamilya lalo na sa mga magulang ko na nagpunta ng Amerika. Namimiss ko sila e. Kahit wala sila dito, iyong ala-ala nila, andirito. (The Reading  Club 2000 started when I was searching for light within the darkness. I thought of that when I was 10 years-old. I went back to that time. I was happy with what I was doing back then, and it transpired to what I am doing now. When I was 50, year 2000, I saw a bundle of books that my sibling don’t want to take home with them, so I took the books and placed it in front of the house as project that I dedicate to my family, especially to my parents who migrated to America. I miss them. Even if they are not present physically, their memories remain because of the project.)

Question 2: Lumago na po ang library ninyo. Ano po ang vision ninyo kung bakit niyo po siyang tuluyang ginagawa? (You’re library is getting bigger and bigger everyday. What is your vision that keeps you motivated to continue with the Reading Club 2000?)

Mang Nanie: Kasi nga, hindi maubos-ubos ang dating ng mga aklat dito. Hindi ko naman pinlano na humingi ng abuloy sa mga taong may mga aklat, sa mga korporasyon o institusyon ng ating pamahalaan, na alam ko na napakarami nilang bodega ng mga aklat. Kasi nga sila na mismo ang nagsabi na pumunta sila dito, ang dami naming mga aklat, mga warehouse. Bakit sila andoon sa bodega at hindi gamitin tulad ng ginagawa ko? So, katulad nga niyan, ang magpasaya ka ng isang daang tao sa isang araw, sa isang buwan, tatlong libo yan. Masarap sa pakiramdam na ipinamimigay mo iyong libro sa kanila na napapasaya mo sila. Hinahanap-hanap ko sa pangaraw-araw iyong gawain na magpasaya. Kaya kapag hindi dumating iyong isang daan na tao, hinahanap ko sila sa ibang lugar. So may kasabihan nga, kung ano ang ibinigay mo sa sanlibutan, iyon ang babalik sa iyo. Ganun siguro iyon, ang nangyayari. (The donation of books keeps on coming in. I didn’t plan to ask for help from different corporations or from the institutions of our government, because I know that they have a lot of warehouses filled with books. Why don’t they give the books to the people like what I do? I like to make people happy. Like 100 people in one day is equivalent to making 3,000 people happy in one month. If I don’t get 100 people here, I go somewhere else to find them. According to the saying, what you give, will also be given back to you. And I think that’s the primary reason why the donations keep on coming in.)

Question 3: Nabanggit ninyo po na libre lamang ang pagpunta dito at libre rin po ang paghiram ng mga libro. Madali lang po ba iyon na libre niyo lang po ginagawa at bakit po libre lang? (You said earlier that it’s free to go here whenever you want, and it is also free to borrow books. Is it that easy to give books for free and why do you this project for free?)

Mang Nanie: Natugunan nito ang paghahanap ng liwanag sa buhay ko.  Buhay ko ang halaga. Kaliwanagan. Light. Nakita ko iyon nang makita ko itong mga malulungkot na libro na pinapasaya mo sila ang mga tao kapag ipinahiram mo ang mga libro. (This project helped me to find the “light” in my dark life. My life is the cost and value of this project. Light. I saw this “light” when I started lending books.)

Question 4: Ano po ang kampanya ng proyektong ito? (What is the campaign for this project?)

Mang Nanie: Seeding principle. Magtanim ka, tutubo yan at ipamahagi mo. Iyon lang ang pamamaraan na ikinakampanya ko. (Seeding principle. You plant, it grows then share it to the world. That is my campaign.)

Question 5: Para po sa inyo ginagamit ang libro para po makapagbigay ng kaalaman? (So for you, you use the books as a tool to give knowledge?)

Mang Nanie: Ganun na nga ang nangyari sa pagsunod sa mga magulang. Hindi na planado ang sumunod na ginagawa ko. Wala na sa plano na katulad ng sa mga paaralan. Ito ay nanggaling sa labas ng aking senses. Natutuwa ako dahil sa nangyayari. (That’s what happened after I obeyed my parents. Everything that came after are not planned. They are not planned like what we do in schools. My plans come from outside my senses. I am glad to what is happening with the Reading Club.)

Question 6: Ano po ang pakiramdam ninyo na nakakatulong po kayo doon sa mga rural areas? Edukasyon na rin po kasi ang naibibigay po ninyo sa kanila. (What is the feeling that you get when you get to help the people living in rural areas? Because somehow, you’re already providing education.)

Mang Nanie: Gawa ng normal ang paglapit ko sa kanila, mainit naman ang pagtanaw nila at pagtanggap nila ng mga aklat. (Since I approach them, they welcome me warmly as well as when they receive the books.)

Question 7: Paano po ninyo na inspire si Sandra po, iyong Tausug na gumawa rin ng ganitong klaseng pagkilos? (How were you able to inspire Sandra, a Tausug, to be able to start this kind of movement along with yours?)

Mang Nanie: Ang kanilang lugar, mahirap puntahan. Ilang isla tatawirin mo. Ang lugar nila talagang kapos. Kung aklat ang paguusapan, sa isang bata, isa sa dalawampu. Hindi nabibigyang puna yan. Hindi katulad dito sa atin, ang isang libro, isang bata. Kaya kung mangarap man lang ako ng pagkilos, gawin ko na puntahan ang mga pinakamahirap at hindi napapansin. (Their place is difficult to reach. There are many islands to cross to. They lack resources in their area and it is not given the proper solution. When we talk about books, for them, one book is to twenty children. Here at our place, one book is to one child. If I were to dream about another movement, it is to go to the poorest communites, the ones that are difficult to reach.)

Question 8: Ano po ang reaction ninyo na isang Tausug ay nagsisimula na rin po ng ginagawa ninyo? (What is your reaction to Sandra’s will to start your project somewhere else?)

Mang Nanie: Hindi lang naman si Sandra ang ganyan, marami pang nauna diyan. Sa Kalinga, sa Abra, sa Catanduanes. Hinahayaan ko lamang sila. Interes nila ‘yan. (It’s not only Sandra, for there are a lot who also went ahead of her. There are people from Kalinga, Abra and Catanduanes, just to name a few. I just let them, for it is their interest.)

Question 9: Para sa inyo po ba, nakikita niyo na napupunan nito ang kalooban ninyo? (For you, does it fulfill your vision when other people try to do the same?)

Mang Nanie: Ang binibigyan ko ng halaga ang pagserbisyo sa iba. Ang kalooban ko, okay na ako, from the start pa lamang na nagdesisyon ako para sa proyekto na ito. (I give importance to helping other people. My vision is fulfilled. I am already contented, from the very start when I first decided to pursue with this project.)

Question 10: Hanggang kailan niyo po balak gawin ito? (Until when do you plan to do this?)

Mang Nanie: Ang totoo nga ay ang pangarap ko ay may broadcast live-in sa mga indigenous people, yung mga hindi inaabot ng media. Ang katwiran ko, hindi ko naiisip na humina katawan ko, kasi nagpapalakas ako ng mga tao. (To be honest, I want to do a broadcast live-in to indigenous people, the one that media can’t reach. I don’t think of getting weak because I know that I make other people strong.)

(Source: roiserrano)

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    10 QUESTIONS FOR HERNANDO GUANLAO Hernando Guanlao is the man who turned his home to a public library. His abiding...
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