Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to Write a Guidebook?

Recently, I have done about three guidebooks on finance and business as the knowledge products of our USAID project. The first two was easier to prepare since it were patterned from a developed guidebooks only for different end-user. But the last one was painstakingly developed because everything is fresh and the only pattern available was the actual experience. So much so that the field experiences were so difficult to translate into a standard manuscript. Anyway, everything is done, printed and soon will be in use.

I always ask myself this question, "How to write a guidebook?" I assumed that the available answers in the are directly related to what I actually meant, that is, the writing of a technical guidebook. What appeared on my screen however is about writing a good guidebook on travels. Well, this interests me because I am fond of traveling around the country. Thanks to my nature of work. And I dream of traveling around the world, which I already started with Southeast Asian countries.

And so it formed in me another question, "Why not write a guidebook on those interesting yet unknown places I have been to?" or "Why not write a guidebook of my travels on very tight budget in and out of the country?" So I copied the article from and have it posted here.

1 Write what you know, not what you've read about. It's possible to compose a guidebook without having been to a destination, but your work will be missing what separates a decent read from a great one: heart. Your South American trek to Sugar Loaf Mountain will say far more about what another traveler can expect if it's taken from the notes in your journal than from a library book or an Internet site.
The beat generation was full of great travel narratives, and Jack Kerouac was the master of powerful, moving, passionate language that unfolded stories like few people have ever managed. While “On the Road” is the most often pointed to travel narrative by Kerouac, “The Dharma Bums” is a better book. Full of passion, interesting characters and stories, and the kind of passionate language and powerful prose that made the beat generation writers popular, this Kerouac book is extraordinary and deserving of its number one spot.

2 Choose a focus. Decide whether you want to tackle the entire country of Australia or just create a guide to the outback. If you've traveled extensively in a country, it can be tempting to cover the entire territory. Focus the book on a distinct hook; for example, "The Adventurous Woman's Guide to Australia," and you can use all of the information you've gathered to write a one-of-a-kind guidebook within that framework.
Probably one of the best travel writing collections released in recent memory, this collection creates a varied tapestry of travel writing that will keep the reader flipping from one writer to another.

3 Find out what's already been written about the destination you have chosen for your guidebook. The chances that your work will stand out from the crowd will rely a great deal on how unique the information you've gathered has been presented. Any number of writers can put together a great guidebook on Ireland. Put a spin on the topic by following the travels of Irish rebels over the past century and you'll grab the attention of those who couldn't care less about another detailed listing of Dublin pubs.
Paul takes readers the length of Africa via overcrowded rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train in a journey that is hard to forget. There are moments of beauty, but there are also many moments of misery and danger. This is a narration of Africa that goes beyond the skin deep to dare to look at the deeper core of what is often referred to as “The Dark Continent.”

4 Identify your audience. "The Adventurous Woman's Guide to Australia" has an implicit target. If your guidebook doesn't have one, you can stay true to your mission if you understand to whom you are writing. Find a magazine photo of a person who best represents the audience you want your guidebook to appeal to and then tape it to your monitor. Write directly to that person and you'll stay true to your goal of reaching your audience.
Travel book, journalistic book, nature book, adventure book—whatever you call it, this is one heck of a read, and the debate this book causes is deep and passionate.

5 Choose one of 10 styles travel writers frequently use to formulate their guidebooks. These are: advice ("Costa Rica on $5 a Day"), here and now ("Carnival in Rio"), round-up (Reviews of the same place by 10 different people), how-to (survive in Japan if you're on a budget), what-to-do (while you're visiting Ottawa), a history of (the Orient Express), humor (Trapped in a brothel in Nevada when a dust storm broke out), destination (The only guide you'll ever need while you're in Lichtenstein), gimmick (Tour the places Henry VIII's wives lived) and personal experience (How I survived a drive to Disneyland with four kids in the back seat).
This is one I actually found in the “Christian” Non-Fiction section, which can be unfair. There’s no question Miller is a Christian, but he’s a writer first and foremost, he’s not preachy, and his questioning of his own faith, of reasons for existence, of who and what he is or is becoming is reminiscent of the fantastic soul searching that came from the travel writing of the Beat generation. Miller’s account of his trip is great, going through the moments of beauty, the necessity of good road trip music, and admitting his moments of embarrassment and fear as freely as any other part of his journey.

6 Draft and edit your guidebook until you are satisfied with the work. Ask a friend with editing skills to review the work and check for the spelling, syntax and grammatical errors that so often escape writers when they are too close to the project. You may wish to hire a professional editor. Find editors on the Internet or call the English department of your local college to see if they can help you find an editor close to home.

The most important tools needed as suggested by the author are travel experience, which I have plenty of, and target audience, which I should think of. I wish I can write my first within the year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Vocation in Teaching extends here

My call to teaching started at an early age. I have been teaching groups of people since I was 11 years old. That was when I joined the parish youth council in our parish. Then, immediately I became one of the youth leaders. I was endorsed by my school during my high school years to join a facilitator's training. I was actively involved in May catechism every year. I grew more in the diocesan youth formation team in my college years until my few years as an employee.

My very first employment entailed purely of teaching. Upon passing the CPA board exam, I immediately took post as an Accounting Teacher for 3 years full time; 2 years later as part-time. Teaching was my part-time job when I worked as an accounting in my hometown's government center. When I left for Metro Manila, I thought I ran off from teaching. It ran after me instead and so I still do teaching in many trainings and workshops.

As facilitator or trainor or mentor, despite the fact there is no more grade preparation or checking of exam papers, the nature of work as a teacher is the same. So, I believe that teaching really is my vocation. The latest of which was during the training-workshop on "ring-fencing" for water operations of multipurpose cooperatives with students, upcoming 4th year, of the College of Cooperatives in Polytechnic University of the Philippines on March 23 & 24.

Take note that it was a one-man show; I was the sole trainor who acted as a lecturer, a moderator and mentor for the 62 students, even the closing remarks was given by yours truly.

The first batch of PUP-CC students I lectured on ring-fencing was attended by 35 students on November 17 & 18 last year.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I want the Real Thing

I always wanted a "real thing". Basically because I know I am real; I am very true to myself and thus to everyone. Being real, no matter how awkward to everyone's own description or version or concept or framework, is essential to maximize your full person, your gift, talent, ideas, potentials.

That is why I can always relate to this song "Real thing". I love this song. The very first time I hear it from my bestfriend and sister Joy Fortaleza from her file of jazz musics, I fell in love deeply. Indeed whenever I found a boyfriend, I always thought of this song: Real Thing by Bobby Caldwell.

Happy singing people!

Real Thing
Bobby Caldwell

Here comes the night
Once again
I'll be feeling lonely
Oh if only things could work out like you plan

Where can love be
Tell me why it's so hard to find somebody
Who will stand by me
And take the time to understand
And so may love again

*I want the real thing
Or nothing at all
I need someone that I can be sure will
Catch me if I should fall
Someone who'll be there when I call
Then I'll know that it's the real thing

I want the real thing
To warm me each night
Someone to love me over and over
Making the future bright
Somebody who will make it all right
Just give me the real thing

Where is the moon
Won't it smile
On just one more dreamer
Let your beams come down and fill my empty room

Here comes the night
But if there's still a chance that love can find me
I'll be here
Crossing my fingers

Repeat *

I want to know for sure
That I can feel secure
Knowing I've found an everlasting love
Once I get that under control
Then I won't let go

Repeat *

Friday, March 11, 2011

My American Idol 10 bet


Born February 27, 1989 in Kent, Washington, Stefano Langone  is 22 years old who auditioned in San Francisco, California with Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". He performed Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" in the Hollywood week and his own composition "Come Home" for his final solo.

He survived a near-fatal car accident in 2009 being hit by a drunk driver.

Initially eliminated from the Top 13, Langone was chosen by the judges to rejoin the competition during the Wild Card round.

He is my current BF AI 10 (Bet and Favorite American Idol)! He has a wonderful rendition of one of my favorite Stevie Wonder songs, "Lately". He hungered me more of him in his over-the-top performance and rendition of "If You Don't Know Me By Now". Gosh! In loved na ako sa kanya...

Watch out for my boyfriend in the Idol!

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today shall mark the celebration day for Ma'am Rebecca Febrero, CPA to leave the teaching profession. She retires from teaching Accounting and related subjects after the challenging and grueling 20 years in  Saint Paul University Surigao, formerly known as San Nicolas College.

The BS Accountancy Alumni has collaborated to realize a "Tribute to Ma'am Bec-Bec" event. Most of the transactions happened and being facilitated by the Facebook. And today here it comes. I did not go home to attend the ceremonies but I was requested by Dupong, my classmate, friend and colleague in the profession, to prepare a poem in dedication to Ma'am Bec-Bec - Nanay Bek.

A poem? Are you kidding me? I only wrote a poem once in high school and have it published in the college school paper. I can not even remember what it contain. I don't even know what and how to word a poem, much more a poem for my favorite mentor? But the request came this afternoon and Dupong will be reading it tonight. So I rushed and have finally come up a reasonable amount of words, simply written and arranged to look like a poem. Dupong titled it "The ASCENT of a MAN: a TRIBUTE to my TEACHER!"

Here it is.

Oh how blessed we have been
We thank God for this wonderful offering
A teacher of high caliber is given
Who teaches us life beyond accounting

To our beloved Ma’am Bec-Bec we admit
We became achievers because of your deeds
We thank you for such great teachings
We love you for such great caring

You have been consistently great
You have been constantly excellent
You have always been our great teacher
You will always be our mother

Many a times we make you laugh
There have been times we make you cry
Though most of the times we make you mad
But everything no matter unfathomable is grounded on love

Times had passed, years gone by
Some of us stay, some of us fly
As we showed the world who we really are
We always declared in our lives the who you are

We will always keep the memory forever
We will always maintain Ma’am Bec-Bec in a special ledger
As we periodically account for our revenue
Our balance sheet will be complete because of you

Now that you leave the portals of teaching
We wish you the best of luck in retiring
Along with it our congratulations
And we thank you for making an indelible mark on our souls

The BSA Alumni, Batch 1997 would like to send our best wishes to Ma'am Bec-Bec: