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Our Story

By: Bernadeth Tabinas

 A Humble Breakthrough

It started with an ambitious dream. A dream that, when he learned to live with and stick at, slowly turned into a reality right before his eyes.

How it all began

Elija’s prime motivation and inspiration was Myla, his sister, who had been battling against lymphoma cancer and now, undergoing some series of tests for full recovery. Very eager to sustain for his sister’s diagnostic exams and positively winning the battle, he planned of directing and making an “Indie film” in collaboration with a Filipino-Spanish director.


The supposed film revolved around an inspiring theme, that was, to uplift the spirit of Filipinos, on not to lose hope when big challenges would come along the way. But as soon as scripts and scenes were made and outlined, came his problem with casting. This paved way to creating his first book instead, where he could eventually narrate his experiences about living in a foreign land and at the same time, he could express his own thoughts and views on what was happening around him. 

Behind those sheets

As a beginner in the field, it was never easy for him to understand what he really wanted for his readers. He also feared on not meeting what they might expect of him and his output. But ‘giving up’ was never his thing. He made some researches, tapped various friends for suggestions and even reached out to few known writers to whom he gained great insights for his book.


To get more focused, he locked himself out from all social networking sites, especially facebook, for a few months. Along with it were some matters about her sister’s situation and his difficulties to survive in London. He felt down and even got sick in the process but support coming from family and friends made him more determined to finish what he had started. He worked his own way out – from finding trusted editors, searching for low-cost publishers, and even to getting sponsors! He learned them all the hard way.

The Reviews

Ang Nababasa ni Pepe is a compilation of stories, teachings and lessons learned by the author from his experiences and exciting adventures overseas – from the moment he first stepped into the foreign land, to meeting friends, making conversations and simple talks and to dealing with varieties of people at work. It is created is such a manner that one can really visualize, feel and easily grasp the message. The book is an integration of happy, dramatic, playful and unique stories intended to complement with and instantly connect to the readers.

Manila Bulletin, J. Fernandez puts it, “Nakakatawa, nakakaaliw, mapupulutan ng maraming aral. Tunay mong mauunawaan ang hirap at ligaya ng pakikipagsapalaran sa mga nababasa ni Pepe. (Funny, entertaining, you will learn many lessons. You will truly understand the hardship and happiness to journeying life in Nababasa ni Pepe.)”

A known writer, psychlogist, educator and therapist, Dr. Margarita Holmes says, “You get to learn a lot from the author’s experiences, all from different views – anthropologically, sociologically/economically and psychologically. Truly funny and heart-warming…certainly very interesting and I love it!”

Phillip Salvador Palmos, writer, singer, advocate, actor/stage manager in Tanghalang Pilipino added, “A story of hope, perseverance, determination and love. A book that celebrates every Pepe in every country and in every side of the world. A book that speaks of our common humanity and proved once again that the youth is the future of our struggling but beautiful country.”

”Creative and curious. It will help even young people to understand and appreciate the adventures of Filipinos overseas,” describes Pebbles Badillo Sanchez, Youth Empowerment Advocate and the Team Leader of Greeneration Philippines, a climate change awareness campaign for the youth of the Office of the President – Philippine Climate Change Commission.

A Valuable Piece

Through his book, he is able to show that Filipinos, young and old alike, can easily adapt to someone’s culture without sacrificing his own principles and values. We will learn how the author dealt with the difficult times and how he looked for ways beyond the unimaginable; on how he saw every hardship as an opportunity to go further with all positivity and courage.

One important note about the book is that most of the words used are in Filipino and it is written informally just like a casual conversation between the author and his reader. It is produced for entertainment, like a storyteller slowly reading to his listeners. Stories are made light and in the simplest way possible for easy comprehension that even little children can enjoy.

The author primarily created the book, not only to support his sister’s medical needs but also to share his wonderful experiences and how he, as a youth of the new generation, has struggled abroad like others. His aim is to simply acquaint his fellowmen on the new things, prepare us for greater challenge over the unexpected and test our readiness on living in a different environment. This book simply invites us to walk with the writer in his journey towards discovering life and as we go along, we better understand his every step and turn.

This is definitely the kind of book everyone must have, a good read and a rare find. It is absolutely a great time to support and celebrate the success of a fellow countryman, adding to thousands of reasons why we must always feel proud to be Filipinos. 

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