Wife, mom, author, entrepreneur and career woman. Is there anything Cel Tria, the author of 'Francesca, Isa, Dalawa, Sorpresa!' can't do?
We had the pleasure of meeting Cel a few months ago and her passion and energy is contagious! Cel tells us about her story, the inspiration behind the 'Francesca' book, and Philip & Ana.
Tell us more about yourself
I’m one of those people who believe that small things can make a difference, and that many many small things can add up and make a huge difference. I’m a wife and a mother of 2, with a full-time career. I make time for writing and Philip & Ana because I believe that there’s great value in getting people interested in reading.
Tell us more about Francesca and Philip & Ana
What’s the story behind Philip & Ana?
Philip & Ana is the name of a publishing company, started by 5 women, including myself. Our goal is to promote the love of reading and learning, to publish quality content about Filipino culture and other cultures of the world, and to give back to the community.
What inspired you to write Francesca? Why focus on counting and why set it in a birthday party?
My children inspired me to write Francesca. I want to capture childhood experiences that other kids can relate to. A birthday party is a celebration of the beginning, isn’t it? And kids find so much joy in such celebrations. When you begin counting you start with one. So this idea of a birthday celebration featuring the numbers 1 to 10 seemed like a very appropriate theme for our first book. Besides, I love literature as well as maths, so the combination of text and numbers appealed to me.
What did you enjoy most about the publishing process?
Some authors don’t get to interact with their illustrators or give any feedback about the look of the book, fortunately for me this was not the case. I loved collaborating with Gel. She’s very good at what she does and she captured the ideas that I described to her, translated them into these beautiful images, and threw in a few surprises and ideas of her own.
What can we expect from Philip & Ana?
Expect more children’s books from Philip & Ana, but not only that, we’re also working on books for grownups, follow us on fb and instagram for updates!
How do you share your Filipino culture with your children?
We talk to them in Filipino and in English. They understand both, though very likely they will respond in English. They can reply in Filipino too but sometimes their accent makes them self-conscious about it, other times they laugh it off. I cook Filipino food, though not all the time. We have watched old Filipino movies, listened to OPM, especially the Christmas songs. And of course we also share the culture, values, language and history through books! We support other Philippine publishers too!
Advise for raising Filipino children abroad and things you wish you did?
Several years ago, I struck up a conversation with a co-worker who happened to be on the same train as I was on the way home. He was raised in America and his parents were Filipinos, I cannot remember now if he was born there too. But I can’t forget something he said...”I’m not really Filipino per se...” He looked Filipino, and his predominantly American accent even had a hint of Filipino, but anyway that’s what he believed.
We will become part of the culture we live in, and it will be a part of us too. Our children especially, if they are raised outside of the Philippines, will pick up the values, culture and language of wherever it is they are living in. We have to accept this and respect it. However, if there are values that we think should be important to them too, if we want them to get to know their heritage and be proud of their roots, then we should clearly send that message to them and make time for it.
I wish that my kids could have attended some Filipino classes. Perhaps it’s not too late for that!