Tale of the Nine Tailed, Studio Dragon 2020 Written by Han Woo-ri Directed by Kang Shin-hyo By now, Tale of the Nine Tailed has been compared to Twilight and Inuyasha. There are also parallels to folkloric and fantasy elements of the Harry Potter ...
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"School Librarian in Action" - 5 new articles

  1. Ajooma Reviews: Tale of the Nine Tailed Gumiho Episodes 3 - 6
  2. For this term, I made another Reading R...
  3. Paghilom at Pag-asa sa Panahon ng Pandemya: My 3x3 Best Reads of 2019
  4. Paghilom at Pag-asa sa Panahon ng Pandemya: Kamusta ka? Kamusta na? Magkamustahan Kata sa Panahon ng Pandmeya!
  5. Feed the Children Campaign by Pumplepie Books & Happiness
  6. More Recent Articles

Ajooma Reviews: Tale of the Nine Tailed Gumiho Episodes 3 - 6


Tale of the Nine Tailed, Studio Dragon 2020 

Written  by Han Woo-ri

Directed by Kang Shin-hyo

By now, Tale of the Nine Tailed has been compared to Twilight and Inuyasha. There are also parallels to folkloric and fantasy elements of the Harry Potter series. Needless to say, TOTNT has plenty of fantasy and romance tropes found in the aforementioned stories and series. 

Lee Yeon, an immortal falls in love with a half blood. He vows to protect her for the rest of his life but tragedy struck (and this is slowly being revealed as the series progresses). Talismans, spells and superstitions, magic and mayhem abound in modern day Seoul as Lee Yeon finally recognized his past love in the reincarnation of Nam Ji Ah. In between are stories of ghost trying to find their way to the light, animals being mistreated, friendships and brotherhood going through the test of time. Oh, and yes, there is the serpent and his minions at his beck and call. Thanks to Ji Ah's blood, an orphan who appears to be the "chosen one", Lee Yeon's nemesis is back in the form of a young boy. 

Sounds familiar. Of course. TOTNT is a tale as old as time and while it follows the same tropes of fantasy series we love (except for Twilight), TOTNT remains Korean. I am not only referring to the language, but also to the character of the entire drama thus far. There have been references to Disney favorites as well, but it is Korean in culture, identity and beliefs. You will know this through glimpses of history in the architecture, clothes, food and art. Notice how the dialogues, though subbed in English, express sensibilities that reflect respect for elders, social class and hierarchy. 

How they have kept this intact for generations is an amazing feat. The same can be said of their Kpop idols. The foreign influence is strong, but the look, the movements and the sound -- all Korean. Ah, I digress.

So, what have I been enjoying in TOTNT despite the parallels and its predictability? Three things namely, the use of folk lore, Lee Dong Wook and men who are rendered helpless because of love.

1. The use of folk lore is well done. We may look at our modern cities as sophisticated dwelling places, but the story of our folks and their belief systems are deeply rooted in our collective consciousness we see traces of it in daily life. We will forever be fascinated by legends and myths. This is why the tropes of fantasy and romance are very evident in TOTNT. It forms the fabric of our lives and we yearn for this at a time when humanity is losing so much of itself in this pandemic. We need to believe again. We need to be amazed. We need to know that we can still hope and live amidst challenges big and small.

2. Lee Dong Wook. LEE. DONG. WOOK. Shirtless. Wounded. Eating ice cream in his bath robe. LEE. DONG. WOOK. Holding an umbrella for his lady under the rain. Hiding a smile. Definitely enjoying the moment. LEE. DONG. WOOK. Kissing the love of his life on a bridge framed by billowing sheets of cloth only to be challenged in return. 

"See me clearly for who I am," Ji Ah says. A look of amusement washes over his face and in my mind, I could imagine hundreds of Filipino viewers sighing and wishing, "Sana all..."

3. TOTNT has men characters rendered helpless in the name of love. Granny's husband is a hen pecked spouse but there is adoration for her in his demeanor. Also, marrying Hades' sister despite his claims is an act of great love if you ask me. Shin Joo, Lee Yeon's servant and housekeeper, loyal friend and veterinarian is brimming with care and compassion for Yu Ri. And Lee Rang... ah. Lee Rang. His anger is love unchanneled. 

We see so many faces and phases of love in the men of TOTNT. So far, the narrative has been honest, straightforward, silly but sincere, in its rendition of love as an all powerful force in the universe. At a time when there are more men who red tag women for speaking their minds, let us watch men who are unashamed to lay bare their soul for women and the object of their affections. 

This is Kdrama, you say. I know. 

But life can be stranger than fiction. The answers to questions we grapple in real life can be found in the fantasy and the romantic stories of old. 

Kdrama is life ajooma!


For this term, I made another Reading R...

 For this term, I made another Reading Room on Fake News and Fact Checking Tools using Canva. I have not synced my Bitmoji account yet so, this one does not have my avatar. This lessens teacher librarian presence even more. There is an advantage, however.

Using Canva as virtual/online Reading Room allows me to link URLs of selected websites into images. I am excited! This means, I can stretch the function of this virtual/online Reading Room into an interactive game or platform to present concepts and the application of skills in research and media and information literacy with more media and tech tools for engagement. Weeeeh!!!

This digital migrant and Kdrama ajumma is happy!

Paghilom at Pag-asa sa Panahon ng Pandemya: My 3x3 Best Reads of 2019

For our second priming activity, think of three books you consider as your best reads for the past two years. Write a simple review of the book in three sentences. When you make a list of your three best reads, be sure to include the complete bibliographic data of each book. 

Below is an example.

Sirena Ba Yan? by Candy Gourlay, illustrations by Francesca Chessa, published by Adarna House, 2019

Sirena Ba Yan is a playful rendition of self and identity. It opens up discussions and inquiry on the names and labels we use to define who are. Strange and unacceptable these words and terms may be, a listening ear, or ears for this matter, makes all the difference as it leads to understanding, kindness and the building of empathy.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik, published by Del Rey 2015

I love this book since it brought me out of my reading slump last year. Thanks to reading buddies who answered my plea for help. The fantasy-romance tropes are all too familiar, but the the storytelling is brilliant.  

How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Crown Business 2010

The case studies and social experiments in the book fascinated me. Dan and Chip Heath, the authors of the book recognized how tough change can be since the heart and the mind will always disagree. Change is indeed very personal. 

You can write using the language you are most comfortable in expressing your self. Your choice of books are yours to make. Sharing them with others expands the reading experience. There is no right or wrong answer. 

Post your 3x3 Best Reads on your socmed account using the hashtags #bibliotheraphy2020 #paghilomatpagasa #storytellingforhopeandhealing #regalotouchinglives.

You can also send me your book reviews via Messenger or email (zarah.gagatiga@gmail.com). For more examples, see the 3x3 Best Reads of the following Filipino Librarians who took part in this reading campaign.

 Johann Frederick Cabbab 

Ann Grace Bansig 

Kevin Conrad Tarrobal Tansiongco

Joseph Marmol Yap

Zarah Gagatiga


Paghilom at Pag-asa sa Panahon ng Pandemya: Kamusta ka? Kamusta na? Magkamustahan Kata sa Panahon ng Pandmeya!

This is one of two priming activities for my webinar-workshop on bibliotherapy, Paghilom at Pag-asa sa Panahon ng Pandemya. It is important that you participate in the two activities prior to attending the webinar. The allotted time of the webinar-workshop is only one hour and a half. Under normal circumstances, it would take me two to four hours to run a workshop such as this. But we are living in strange and unusual times so, we need to be resourceful and resilient. 

I do hope to get your full participation since bibliotherapy is a topic that is close to my heart. I am continuously developing materials and conducting research on bibliotherapy. Your contribution to these activities, before, during and after the workshop is very much appreciated. I am positive that I will learn many things from you.

Priming Activity 1 - Kamusta ka? Kamusta na? Magkamustahan tayo sa panahon ng pandemya?

1. I had an interview with the Vlogger Librarian Ph about school librarianship, children's books that I have authored, Work From Home routines, burnout and life in general during the pandemic. Here is the video of the interview. Watch the video and pay attention to the book I shared and briefly talked about.


2. Answer the following questions. You do not have to explain or expound on your answers.

a. What is the most challenging experience of the pandemic have you had so far?
b. What has been your source of joy and inspiration in these uncertain times?
c. What story or stories from socmed or from shows in TV/streaming, books and reading materials, friends and family that has/have touched you? Stories that you were able to relate with its characters on a personal level. 

3. Post your answers on your socmed accounts with the hashtags: #bibliotheraphy2020 #paghilomatpagasa #storytellingforhopeandhealing #regalotouchinglives

Here is an example:

The most challenging experience I have of the pandemic is taking care of my seniors - meaning my parents, however, a source of joy and inspiration in this time of uncertainty is my mother's vegetable garden. We have harvested fruits from the okra, eggplant and siling labuyo she planted last March at the beginning of the lockdown. Of the many stories I heard and follow on socmed, it is the closure of ABS-CBN that has affected me the most. Even my seniors were depressed for a while not being able to watch their favorite noon time shows.

##bibliotheraphy2020 #paghilomatpagasa #storytellingforhopeandhealing #regalotouchinglives

Thank you for your participation! I am excited to know your stories. This way, we can be linked to one another despite the distance that the quarantine has drawn between us. 

See you online! Continue to stay safe!


Feed the Children Campaign by Pumplepie Books & Happiness

 Early this month of October, I had a wonderful interview with the family of Alexine Parreno and Nong Madrid about family life in the time of COVID-19. Our conversation focused on the set up they have for their only daughter, Adriana. The interview was the episode premiere for season 1 of The Learn From Home program which I manage for YGoal, a social entrepreneurship, business, consultancy and leadership training company. You can watch the full interview by following this link: Learn From Home: Setting Up an Environment for Learning.

A few weeks after the interview, I heard good news from Alexine. An amazing thing happened! Their family was inspired to organize a community outreach project. Through Alexine's Online Bookstore, Pumpliepie Books & Happiness, they are coordinating with Gawad Kalinga for a Feeding Program in Silay, Negros Occidental.

Below is the project brief. This project is Adriana's 10th birthday celebration party. Feed the body and nourish the mind!

PROJECT       :           Feed the Children Campaign by Pumplepie Books & Happiness

PARTNERS    :           Gawad Kalinga and Filipino children’s book publishers

GOAL              :           To raise P240,000 to feed 100 children for 120 days

COMMUNITY  :           Sitio Dacutan, Silay City, Negros Occidental

DURATION     :           October 18 to November 18, 2020



Right after our interview for Ygoal, Adriana says she realized we were very fortunate and asked, “How come we are not doing more to help other families?” She said that every day the news reports that more and more Filipinos are suffering from the pandemic.Since her birthday is coming up on November 21 and we normally hold promos, I said she could decide on her 10th birthday project and we would support her all the way. Adriana immediately decided she wanted to help children who are hungry.


We partnered with Gawad Kalinga for their ongoing#BeAHungerWarriorCampaign . Through them we learned that SWS surveys show that the number of hungry families between Dec. 2019 and Sept. 2020 have more than tripled, with the bulk of them in the Visayas and Mindanao. GK is gathering pledges at P20 per meal per child per day. P2,400 can feed one child 120 meals over 120 days.


Our hometown is Silay City, Negros Occidental in the Visayas so we have selected to support a community in Sitio Dacutan in Silay City. The goal is to raise P240,000 to feed 100 children for 120 days.




  1. Pumplepie to raffle off 10 book bundles donated by Filipino children’s book publishers. Value of each bundle is between P3,000-P5,000 (no final cost yet)
  2. To join the raffle, participants must pledge a minimum of P100 (equivalent to 5 meals). P100 Pledge = 1 Raffle entry. A pledge of P2,400 (120 meals for 1 child) is automatically entitled to 50 raffle entries. 
  3. Promo duration is October 18 to November 18, 2020. Winners will be electronically drawn on Adriana’s 10th birthday, November 21, 2020.
  4. Feeding in the chosen community will also commence on November 21.



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