In the City: Halo Halo Books Launch


A delicious halo-halo from Edgy Veggy, an adorable print designed by Robert Alejandro of Papelmelroti, and a button from Halo Halo Books

Ahh… a tall, cold glass of halo-halo — the coming together of an assortment of ingredients to make one delicious dessert.

It is this same idea to mix a variety of wonderful things to make something even better that Jan Vincent Ong wanted to happen when he created Halo Halo Books, a digital publishing company that offers free Filipino-themed children’s books and gives local illustrators and writers a chance to showcase their talents to a wider audience.

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A snap of Halo Halo Books homepage

I was recently invited to attend the site’s launch and because children and literacy are topics very close to my heart, I looked forward to seeing what it was all about.

The event was held at Co.Lab along Brixton St., an awesome co-working space that deserves a feature of its own on this site in the near future.


Jan channeling his inner Palanca Award winning self. (An inside joke you’d understand if you were there)

The speakers who offered their time and talents for the launch were Robert Alejandro of RAA Design, Ryce Calunsag of The Learning Library , and Janice Villanueva of Mommy Mundo. I had a lovely time listening to to them share their thoughts on the importance of art and stories in children’s lives.


Look how much fun the speakers were having. Makes you want to squeeze into the couch and grab the microphone. I kid.

It was also nice to meet people from a various industries who were brought together with the goal of doing something good for the kids.


Some of the people who attended. The lovely art work in the back was done by teacher Ryce Calunsag.


Locally published children’s books were on display

I asked Jan to share a little bit more about Halo Halo Books for my readers:

Cat JL: Break it down for us, what is Halo Halo Books?

Jan Vincent Ong: Halo Halo Books is a digital publishing company for Free Filipino children’s books. Our books can be read and heard on an online browser, our Facebook page, and by a tablet app. As a publisher, we produce light hearted books for kids that are filled with the life of Filipino culture.

The mission of Halo Halo Books is to support artists and advocacies through advertisements, sponsorships and grants that fund our books. Each book in itself gives artists a platform to build their portfolio in the children’s content industry and material that can be sold as merchandise. For advocacies, our books can be a way for them to communicate their cause and raise funds through donation links within the book. Our dream is for writers, illustrators, and voice actors to gain a regular and lucrative career from our books.

Who exactly are Halo Halo Books made for?

Our books are targeted at ages 3-5 years old that love to explore and get messy. We are called Halo Halo as it is named after the dessert that is sticky, colorful, and bursting with yummy flavor. Our books are about giving the same experience.

Even if we are based in the Philippines, Halo Halo Books wants to tap the Filipino communities abroad seeking content about our country. Our books are digital because we want Filipino kids around the world to instantly learn about their native language and heritage. They wouldn’t need to visit the Philippines to buy a printed Filipino book or wait for stories to be shipped to them.

Our latest book entitled “What’s That?” by Ajie Taduran is about educating Filipino kids everywhere about local street food.

What kind of support does Halo Halo Books need to succeed?

First, we need your belief in Halo Halo books by liking our Facebook page, sharing our posts and reading our stories at. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter for the latest book releases.  An avid and active fan following will propel us to attract advertisers and grant givers.

Second, we release books on a bi-weekly basis and need a regular stream of entertaining stories to keep our fans interested in our site. This is the easiest way for us to attract advertisers. Thus, we are always looking for talented and committed writers, illustrators, and voice actors to contribute content. We are also open to posting comic strips for kids on our Facebook page and on Pinterest.

Third, we are looking for corporate sponsorships or grants to fund our books. For example, we are currently building a project to make stories for kids in pediatrician clinics. We are seeking grants from pharmaceutical companies to start this project. If you have similar projects, please let us know about them.

What are the different ways parents or children can read the books on the site?

They can visit the directly to view our featured book. They can also click the “Free story tab” on our Facebook site. Lastly, they can download the stories on their tablet via the 3D Issue app. Instructions can be found here.

Can anyone write a story and draw illustrations for Halo Halo Books? Talk us through the process.

Yes, we are opening an alternative opportunity for artists to not wait for annual contests in order to be published and promoted. Halo Halo is continuously scouting for talent. We are looking for fun and Filipino culture stories that are less than 600 words and 16-24 pages. The stories must be submitted on Powerpoint or Keynote presentation. Artists can apply by visiting this page.

After submitting either your story, illustration or voice demo, we will screen your work and let you know how we can best collaborate. After, we will set a deadline when your story will be published.

For writers submitting a story without illustrations, we will read your work and see if it matches our brand. If it is a match, we will look for an illustrator to bring your words to life.

For illustrators without a story, we will look at your work and keep you on our radar. If a story matches your style, we will contact you asap.

For art or advocacy organizations, we can set up a volunteer meeting for your group to learn how to contribute stories for the site.


Thank you Halo Halo Books and Co.Lab for the invite. Till the next event!