The former model and editor hopes to inspire the Filipino youth to take pride in their identity and appreciate the country’s natural wonders.
An early career in modeling exposed Georgia Schulze Del Rosario to extensive travel in the country. She fondly looks back to the time when editorial teams would “fly me out to all these different beautiful places in the Philippines to shoot… that was when I really started falling in love with [these places],” she says.
From the pristine beaches, cities brimming with life, to the flavorful food unique to different regions, she recalls jotting down landmarks in her journal. This little habit during her travels paved the way for her writing project that has now come to fruition.
Together with illustrator Reena Gabriel, Del Rosario’s children’s storybook, Rosa Goes To, explores different Philippine destinations and their rich history, tradition, and culture. Through the eyes of a character named Rosa, Del Rosario hopes young minds can better appreciate their home country.
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A meaningful tribute
In coming up with the book character, she envisions a five or six-year-old girl who is curious about her home and takes adventures to these places. This project is a tribute to her daughters, Nadia, Sonia, Katia, and Irina. “[Rosa] has a little bit of each of my girls—whether it’s the eyes or the hair,” the mother of four explains.
As the character has to be relatable, she thought of embodying Filipino culture. ‘Rosa’ is derived from their last name, ‘Del Rosario.’ At the same time, Rosa is the name of the former model’s nanny since she was born. “I just loved her,” she says. “When she left to have a family of her own, it was very hard on me and it was hard on her. So, when she had her first baby, she named her Georgia.”
When Del Rosario’s daughters have grown up, the storybooks will be a reminder of how their mother has always been proud of being a Filipino. “That means the world to me,” she says. “I think that it is so hard to instill pride nowadays, in where you’re from and who you really are.” The books will become her legacy for her daughters, something they can always hold close to them.
Inspired by travel
What was once a personal project turned into a collaboration with Gabriel, Del Rosario’s business partner in The Bride’s Maids & Co. The strong friendship that blossomed from years of working with each other made it easy to work on Rosa.
Gabriel does calligraphy and watercolor paintings but has never illustrated humans until Rosa. Although the storybook is her first foray into human figures, she fell in love with the project. “Reena herself loves to travel. She is even more of a travel bug than me,” Del Rosario explains. “When she travels, she goes alone… when you’re able to go places by yourself, it definitely helps in drawing inspiration because you are fully there. You are fully committed to the experience.”
As of writing, they released two titles, Rosa Goes To Bacolod and Rosa Goes To Vigan. “One of the best travel destinations when it comes to culinary in the Philippines is Bacolod,” says the former editor and writer. “Food is really one of my passions—I love to cook; I love to bake… my favorite articles to write for many years were restaurant reviews and recipes.”
With her love for the city’s food and Gabriel’s fondness for Vigan (that she visits around six times a year), writing about these destinations was filled with inspiration and enthusiasm.
In the making
Del Rosario has experience behind the scenes, writing features for glossy magazines but this is her first time for children’s storybooks. So, it was a surprise when she received deals from publishing houses. “It’s very overwhelming,” she says. “[But also] wonderful because you feel like ‘wow, somebody is validating what I’ve done and somebody wants to invest in me.’”
However, she ended up trying the project on her own first. In the process, she is learning more about herself and the work process. While hoping the books would fulfill people’s expectations, she admits being open to anyone’s suggestions.
When asked for the message she would love to impart, Del Rosario again goes back to our nation. “Learn more about your country. I think that would deepen your love and appreciation for it… There really is so much value in just knowing or experiencing these things,” she says. “I know that it is definitely a privilege to have been able to go to these places.”
While she acknowledges not everyone is able to visit these destinations, she advises one can try the native food, learn the language, or even the culture of a region. “You might not get to go to Vigan, but you could definitely try longganisa or the Vigan empanada,” she cites as examples.
Now when industries are affected by the pandemic, she stresses patronizing local. Be it restaurants, travel, or businesses, supporting fellow Filipinos is much-needed. Like with Rosa, Del Rosario hopes more people would appreciate their identity and their country.
Currently, the storybooks are available to order through its Instagram account. They are hopeful to sell in bookstores and have their website. “Maybe when I have a library of a few more titles under my belt,” she says, optimistic of the future.
Click here to order the “Rosa Goes To” storybooks.