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Watch out! Danish writer’s newest children’s book takes place in Bohol

Photo credit: Thorbjørn Hartelius

A writer from Denmark, who has always been fascinated about Philippine culture, has published his latest children’s book—this time, focusing on native Filipino kids in the setting of Bohol.

‘Sticking Together’, according to author Thorbjørn Hartelius, is a book about finding joy in sharing a passion for Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) with a friend and enjoying cultural diversity.

“The book is all about cultural diversity, the passion of teaching and learning new things in life, the friendship and bond between two young children meeting within the community of Filipino Martial Arts,” he told The Filipino Times.

Photo credit: Thorbjørn Hartelius

The book takes place in Bohol, where a young boy named Bayani is training under his father, the local Grandmaster of FMA. He meets Danish kid Martin, who was visiting the country for the very first time with his father. Martin sees FMA for the very first time and is amazed by the entire culture taking place in the community. Bayani befriends the foreigner and takes him around the beautiful island while introducing to him the basics of FMA.

Among the attractions they visited include Chocolate Hills, the Philippine tarsier wildlife sanctuary, as well as the island’s amazing beaches.

Photo credit: Thorbjørn Hartelius

Hartelius, 53, said he started writing about Filipino culture two years ago, wherein he wrote small proses that eventually became children’s stories.

He added that the idea of writing about the country also stemmed from his fascination with Arnis, a known Filipino martial art.

“When I was 16, I lived as an exchange student in the north of Alberta, Canada, and I saw a local TV station presenting Arnis, the Filipino Martial Art of stick fighting. The next day, I went to the club and asked the chief instructor for permission to train. Grandmaster Fidel Bonifacio introduced and taught me the basics of Filipino Martial Arts, and it has stayed with me ever since,” he told The Filipino Times.

Since then, he has visited the country several times and trained with the best Grandmasters of Arnis. He noted that he specifically loved the hospitality of the Filipinos and their positive outlook on life, not to mention the rich cuisine and beautiful attractions around the country.

Photo credit: Thorbjørn Hartelius

“This is my way of giving back to the Philippines—the country that has formed my life and has given me and my family so much!  I made a huge effort to make this book as genuine and true as possible,” he said, adding that he even got a Filipino illustrator Edralin Laurilla to accurately capture his story.

Hartelius said that he also began a campaign wherein EUR1 of every book sold will go directly to the Philippine tarsier wildlife sanctuary in Bohol.

‘Sticking Together’ is envisioned to be the first book in a series of six called “Books That Stick With You”.  The second book, ‘Sticking Around Manila’ is projected to be released sometime in 2021, according to the author.

“I want to show and inspire children around the world about the Philippines and Filipino Martial Arts. I want to give kids all over the world a possibility to read and learn about Philippine customs, traditions and the beauty of the country and its people,” he said.

The book can be brought via Hartelius’ Kickstarter campaign http://kortlink.dk/kickstarter/28b8w. It will be available in the Philippines and the UAE in November via Amazon.com

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan

Jamille Domingo-Marasigan gathers stories on a wide array of topics, particularly on the Philippines, UAE, Saudi, and Bahrain—which are published on The Filipino Times Newspaper, The Filipino Times Website, and The Filipino Times Newsletter. She also presents the news on cam in the pre-recorded daily broadcast of The Filipino Times Newsbreak—a run-through of the most important events of the day, reaching 5,000 to 20,000 views—to deliver stories to audiences inclined to audio-visual content online. For recommendations and story pitches, you can reach her at [email protected]

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