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People and Places

Staff Spotlight: Tala of the Dean’s Office

Marie Kristine Alice Dela Rama
Tala, an admin staff member of UPD-CS Dean’s Office (Photo credit: Mikke Ibarra).

Everything starts with coffee. That’s how Marie Kristine Alice Dela Rama, known as Tala, also starts her day. “I’d say coffee, hot or cold, is vital in my office routine.” Tala is an administrative staff member at UP Diliman College of Science (UPD-CS) Dean’s Office, where she processes and digitizes documents, and forecasts and updates contracts. But outside work, she and a couple of researchers had been working tirelessly for the past three years to write a textbook for senior high students. The book was finally published on April 1, 2024.

The book, Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics, explores the intersection between culture, society, and politics, and how they relate to social science disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, and political science. “This textbook is an appreciation of [these] social sciences subjects where students will be provided with opportunities to explore ideas, theories, and views on how our society, our culture, and politics define and redefine our collective and personal experiences,” she explained.

Tala, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Philippine Studies majoring in Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino and Anthropology at UP Diliman, worked as an assistant editor for Social Science/Araling Panlipunan in C&E Publishing Inc. Tala’s then-supervisor propositioned her to be a researcher for the project, but she was eventually offered to join the team of authors. “From structural to content to technical editing, I was actively involved,” she said.

Writing a textbook is no less challenging than writing other types of books. In fact, the lessons and exercises in the textbook took a lot of time and effort. “It was a strenuous process mainly because I started from scratch, complying with the manuscript’s evaluation,” she said. “In the early stages of the product development, I remember I had monthly to quarterly submissions of Unit Lessons, so I rigorously did my research during the day and composed lessons at night.”

The book was originally planned to be published in 2023 but was delayed to align with the school year. Now, she’s glad it’s finally published. It is available in C&E bookshop branches across the country. For requests for the e-book version, one may contact the bookshop’s customer service for assistance at this email: [email protected].

As a UP graduate, the commitment to serve the people rings true to Tala. After all the hard work, the real reward comes from the impact the book will have on its readers. “Secondary na lang yung royalty dito,” she said. “My goal for the book is for it to reach far-flung communities. Sana makarating [ito] sa mga komunidad at maibahagi sa mga batang gusto magaral.”

Outside her work at CS and her stint in book-writing, Tala is known to her friends as a homebody, or “someone who likes being at home most of the time rather than being with them out and about,” she described. But she thinks this is a misnomer. She does like going out – to the church, cafes, or the beach – just not to bars and parties. “Anywhere there is peace and silence.”

Eventually, she hopes to continue pursuing her Master’s in Community Development at UPD, but she is currently prioritizing her health and personal and career growth. “That’s my goal for myself,” she said. “Nothing extravagant.”

By Harvey Sapigao

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