This blog entry is long overdue, but I have to give my big thanks to Mr. Vic Romero, author of the Learn Filipino books.
Being the dork that I am, sometimes during vacations I take digital camera pictures with the express intent of uploading them for use in Wikipedia articles. Earlier this year Vic emailed me asking my permission to use some of my Wikipedia photographs for a book that he was writing. The pictures are actually published under the GNU Free Documentation License, a free license, meaning he could have used them even without asking, but he was considerate enough to contact me and ask for permission anyway (which, as always, I am more than happy to give).
Anyway, last month, Vic sent over to me one copy each of the fruits of his labor: Learn Filipino, Book One and Book Two (plus another copy of Book One to donate to the local library). Amazon.com lists the value of each of the books at $29.95, and getting anything at all of that much value is a treat in itself. Plus, peppered throughout the pages of Book Two are nearly a dozen of the maps and photos that I contributed to Wikipedia-- all with clear and well-placed attribution. I've sort of grown used to big companies (The Inquirer, Cebu Daily News, ABS-CBN News, Cebu Pacific, among others..) using the photos without bothering to credit me, so getting to see my work and my name appear in a real-life published book is quite a delight.
The books themselves are quite nice (and, for myself, so coincidentally appropriate!). It's got lessons and exercises and happy illustrations that make the gargantuan challenge of actually learning Filipino a bit less intimidating. I haven't seen many books like this that do their best to hold your hand and walk with you into discovering the Filipino language, without assuming that another person is available to guide you through the book.
Vic tells me he has several more books in progress, including a Learn Filipino Book 3 and a book on Philippine history. Keep it up, good sir!