Book Review: “A Taste of Asia” (Reuben Grace)

No this is not a cookbook. Lol

But just like food in Asian countries, its comes in different variety, colors and taste.

A Taste of Asia is a combination of a devotional, prayer list, bios and interactive book that is geared for children. Topped with vibrant and colorful illustrations, this book is an sparkling gem to the eye and it can be treasured by the heart for it’s aim to get our young ones get to know missions. If that doesn’t whet your appetite then read on.

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Faith She Wrote: Delighting Grace Interviews Marlene Legaspi-Munar

Writing, like its counterpart reading, is essential in our lives. But have you ever wonder what is like having it as a profession? How do we start and develop it? What are some tips to be one of the best? Most importantly, how can we use this it to glorify God? Delighting Grace talks with Marlene Legaspi-Munar to answer those questions and more:
Delighting Grace: Hello Marlene, so tell us when did you start writing?
 Marlene Legaspi Munar: I started writing as a hobby when I was about 12 or 13 years old. I first wrote poems and then later on I also tried writing stories. My first short story was published in a magazine when I was 16 years old. I was also a contributor in our high school organ around that time. I began writing professionally about two years after college graduation. 
Delighting Grace: Who do you look up to in writing? Any writing heroes?
Marlene Legaspi Munar: Well, there are writers whose style of writing I admire, like Max Lucado. I also like the style of Bob Ong. I admire the way Robin Jones Gunn connects with her readers not only through her writings, but personally and through the social media. There are some other writers I’m thankful for because their writings inspired me a lot. 
Delighting Grace: They say that if you’re a good writer you must be a good reader also? Do you see that in becoming a writer?
Marlene Legaspi Munar: Oh yes, that’s true. I grew up surrounded by reading materials. I would read piles of old magazines from my aunt’s attic during summer. My other aunt also bought for us encyclopedia and other books, including the Bible. In grade school and high school, I would always borrow books from the library and even list the books I’ve read. I think my love for books led me to my love for writing.
Delighting Grace: Another is a sort of rule  in writing. That is, you should write what like. Do you follow or break this rule?
Marlene Legaspi Munar: When I was working as a magazine staff writer, I had to write about the assignments given to me; I had to do that even as a freelance writer getting assignments from editors. But as a freelancer, somehow I have freedom in choosing writing assignments. I wouldn’t choose a project or topic which I’m not enthusiastic about. 
Delighting Grace: Where do you get inspirations in writing? Any sort of “rituals” you do before you write?
 Marlene Legaspi Munar: I acknowledge that God gives gifts, and I’m very thankful that He has given me the gift of writing. So it’s obvious that I get inspiration from Him first of all. Before I write, I pray that God would give me wisdom, insight, and understanding. I also pray that He will use me to enlighten and encourage other people with my writings.You could call that a ritual. Also, my husband has observed that I have a ritual before I could write–I would set up my writing station this way: plug my computer, put a foam under my table as a footstool, and another foam on my chair. Only then could I begin writing.
Delighting Grace: You have done services in different Christian organizations. Can you tell us which is the most notable and unforgettable among them and why?
Marlene Legaspi Munar: Each project I do with a Christian organization is significant because of the opportunity to sow good seeds–the word of God. For instance, I’m grateful to have written Bible-based values modules for VOICE Philippines. These materials are used in public schools for values education. I’m happy to have a contribution in the values formation of our young citizens.
      For three years, I also served as a consultant for the curriculum revision project of the Philippine office of Compassion International. Within those three years, our team was able to come up with a national curriculum for all the church partners of Compassion all over the Philippines. The curriculum was designed to help in the holistic development of their sponsored children.
Delighting Grace: Great! In what ways can we exalt God in our writing? How does writing strengthen our faith?
 Marlene Legaspi Munar: We can exalt God by what we write and how we write. There are so many things to write about–but in the end, I believe that we should write about the truth or what we write should lead us to the discovery of the truth. Philippians 4:8 also gives us a good guideline: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Bad news sells, that’s why all the more we should promote news or stories that are noble, admirable, excellent. If our writings (in whatever form–be it straight news, fiction or devotional) reflects these virtues and if they inspire and lead us to God, then we have strengthened the faith of our readers. And that means we have glorified God.
 As writers, we can also exalt God through our work ethics. Writers show a spirit of excellence in their patience in crafting a good story, in their respect for their readers, editors, and publishers, and in meeting deadlines. Properly acknowledging a source is also a sign of a truthful and responsible writer. 
Delighting Grace: What if I’m a novice in your field, what is the most indispensable advice you can give me?
Marlene Legaspi Munar: Read, read, read. Write, write, write. You learn a lot from what you read. You not only gain knowledge, you also learn about writing style from different authors. Have a writing journal to jot down your book ideas, observations, quotes, your own thoughts and feelings, and just about  anything you feel like writing about. This will become your rich source of materials for writing later on. It helps to have some training so if you have opportunity, attend writing seminars. Sometimes I’m invited to conduct writing seminars. If your group wants to have a writing seminar, you can contact me at and we can arrange to have one for your group. Connect with writers too. Follow me on twitter: marlene_munar. Many writers are happy to interact with their readers. 
Delighting Grace: You wrote a book “Add Mo Ko as Friend”. So tell us more about it.
Marlene Legaspi Munar: “Add Mo ‘Ko as Friend” is a book written in Taglish and published by OMF Literature. It’s about developing online and offline friendships. There’s a chapter on social networking, making friends through Facebook. Other chapters cover how to be a true friend. It became a bestseller at National Book Store–first in June 2012 when it reached the Top 5 slot, and then in July 2012 when it moved up to Top 3 position in the Philippine Publication Category. I thank God that many readers care to tell me how the book has helped them know more about themselves as a friend and how to relate better with others. You can purchase a copy of the book from OMF Literature’s website where they have an e-store. It’s both in print and digital edition. The e-book or digital edition is available from Amazon and Flipreads. I hope you’ll also like and share its Facebook page
Delighting Grace: Please invite our readers to get in touch with you. You have a blog and some social media, right? Also your work as a freelance writer.
Marlene Legaspi Munar: I enjoy writing and I hope I’m able to inspire you all. I also love hearing from readers! So please follow me on Twitter. I also have two blogs, Perspective where I post my reflections and Happy Traveler where you can read about my traveling adventures (yes, I like to travel!). You can learn more about the works that I do and see some of my photos in my website. You can also email me at
Delighting Grace: Any parting words for those aspiring Christian writers who want to make writing as a profession like yours.
 Marlene Legaspi Munar: If you feel that God has called you to write for Him, dedicate your life to this calling. Spend time reading God’s Word, the Bible, because you can learn much about life and what to write about through the Scriptures. Be trained and hone your writing talents. Be humble and accept constructive criticisms. Expect to work with many people involved in publishing. Endure but enjoy the process of writing. As much as the task of writing is a process, the writer is also a work in progress. You are called not just to be a writer, but to be a disciple of Christ. God will use your journey as a writer to shape you into Christ-likeness and draw you closer to Him. You may be writing a story, but in the background, God is writing yours. God bless you and hope to see your works in print!
Delighting Grace: Thank you and God bless you Marlene. So guys her out in her blogs, social media and website. Don’t forget to grab a copy of her book “Add Mo Ko as Friend”. God bless you as you write for God’s glory!
Love this interview? Then check these out:

Meeting William Girao

“Late”. That’s the word that keeps running in my mind. It seems that I won’t get a glimpse of Carmen Vargas at the Christ Strengthening Ministry (CSM )booth (the loudest booth at the fair).

It’s Saturday September 15, 2012. That’s the date that we will visit the “33rd Manila International Book Fair” at SMX Mall of Asia. I’ve been anticipating it for months now and finally its here. We will check the Christian booths over that event, buy some books, do camera frolic and rub elbows with authors. But time became the enemy. Also the bad weather threatens us.  But I won’t go home defeated. I will be the victor ha! 🙂

We came almost 3PM at MOA and got lost first before we found SMX Convention Center. We paid 20 pesos for the entrance fee. As we enter we can see swarms of book enthusiast and lots of booths making some part of the book fair crowded and as I have experienced it was hard to check the books you want to buy. Despite the dilemma, we still enjoy the booths of different local and international publishers. Discounted books over here and there, we are tempted to open our wallets and give in to buy books. We have to pinch ourselves not to because we are here to buy Christian books (goodbye Ambeth Ocampo).

We stop over to the foremost leader in Christian publishing here in the Philippines, OMF Lit. As expected it was a blockbuster. Jam-pack is the right word from the people checking the display rack to the cashier lane we can see that people still patronize Christian books especially from OMF.  We had a hard time to move around and checking books that we want to take home. Still it was fun. We get to buy discounted books like the newly revised book of R.C. Sproul “Knowing Scripture”, the new book from William Girao “Giving Up is Not An Option” (which will soon be reviewed here in this blog) and a devotional book for my friend I tag along. Speaking of William Girao, let’s jump to that story, because this whole post is all about that encounter.

I’m not expecting to see this prolific Christian author in the fair. I was expecting Carmen Vargas of DZAS at the CSM booth (well it’s too late and I’m not interested to see Pilar Pilapil’s appearance there). As I was browsing some books someone announced that Pastor Girao will be there at the OMF booth and will be signing his books. So I grab his latest book and my diglot Bible for a chance to get it signed. I saw him and he is what you may call a typical pastor. At first glance you won’t he is a widely read author. But the built, the clothes and the looks. Mukhang isa sa mga senior pastor sa iglesia ninyo. He resembles one of our pastors here in Batangas City. He welcomed me with a warm smile, a hand shake and start signing the book and my Bible. I’m star stuck at that moment, so I reinforce myself and courageously try to start a conversation. I open the topic of Calvinism. I told him I thought he is a Calvinist and it is one hot topic back at home. He looked at me and we launched into a 3 minute or so conversation about his stand on Calvinism. He said Calvinism is an open-end debate. There are questions that will be left unanswered. He could say that he is a “limited Calvinist” (or I think he’s standing on the moderate Calvinism approach). If we see Bible verses pertaining to election we should preach it and if we verse that points man’s part in salvation we should also preach it. ‘It’s in the Bible isn’t it?” he said” So there is no conflict in that.” I think our chat is getting too long but as I check at my back I’m the only one in the line (thank goodness). It was a great and memorable talk. I’m honor to meet this Bible expositor and learn spiritual lessons from his books. I hope in the coming year OMF Lit will do this again. Thank you OMF!

As for me because of the book fair experience, it added my appreciation to books and its impact to our lives a Christians. Next year I will be planning for this event with more friends to tag along and a bigger budget. And I hope next year I will see you there. Till next year, keep reading books guys!

My Book Fair 2012 at SMX Experience

    The bad weather didn’t seems to stop the excitement and enthusiasm as we took a trip over SMX Mall of  Asia Convention Center for the “33rd Manila International Book Fair 2012”. This 5 day book fair (Sept 12-16) showcase local and international book publishers and of course their products. You can buy them in discounted prices and lots of goodies that comes along with it. We came (and counquer) last Saturday Sept 15 on its 4th day of the event. We have to pay an entrance fee of 20 pesos and once inside, man books, books and more books!

       Its my first time to go to that annual event and also my first time in MOA. The place was packed and crawling with bookworms like me that sometimes its hard to find a book your looking for. Our first stop was the Anvil Publishing booth reeking with Filipino literatures. Found new “Looking Back” books by Ambeth Ocampo but I hold on to my dear cash to buy Christian books (well his book can wait). After browsing it we immediately went to the OMF booth.Their booth as expected is swelling with great Christian books (saw Holliness of God by R.C. Sproul) but before I go dive in I have another mission on that book fair. I ask someone from OMF if they can help our small ministry for books to be donated in schools. He referred me to the Marketing Supervisor of OMF Literature, Gladys Calalang. We had an interesting chat, gave me her business card and told me to e-mail me a concrete proposal of our request. So please guys  pray for the project to push through and many will get to know Christ.Before I leave the OMF booth I grab “Knowing Scripture” by R.C. Sproul , a devotional book for my friends and a suprise. Well I got to meet Christian author William Girao. But before I go on I might as well save the encounter in another post. So wait for it guys it’s awesome!

We also check some Bible Societies in the Philippines who has booths there also. We went by CLC then Lighthouse (did we?).
Then to top it all off, we went to the loudest booth in the fair. Will all much hype not only for their booth but for  the whole book fair they should get an award. Church Strengthening Ministry’s with their “CSM Book Madness” Christians are in for a treat. For 100 Pesos you can buy anything as in anything you eyes can see in the booth. What a jaw dropping deal. So I brought “The Pleasures of God”
MP3 audiobook and “When I Don’t Desire God” book by John Piper. I couldn’t believe it cost that cheap I even ask them if its 100 pesos! As if I had enough, the Navpress Philippines booth is offering 99 pesos of Jerry Bridges title. I took “The Fruitful Life” and currently reading it.

I really had fun over that event and next year I will plan for it (bigger budget and more friends to tag long). By the way, did you come to that event too? Please post your story on the comment section. God bless you till next blog post!