70 Years of Publishing Excellence

Manila Bulletin, May 8, 2006 | Go to article overview

70 Years of Publishing Excellence


Seventy years ago, the seeds of a fledgling publishing company were sowed because a husband and wife could not stand being apart from each other anymore.

Both educators, the husband, Luis Abiva Sr. was a supervisor of public schools in Pagadian, Zamboanga while the wife, Asuncion Quiray Abiva, was assigned in Cabadbaran, Agusan.

"They endured years of separation because of their respective calls of duty. So they decided to settle down in Manila in 1936 and established a small printing business," narrated Nena Abiva-Garcia, the eldest among the Abiva's four children.

Located in a one-room office on Evangelista St., Quiapo, Manila, Abiva Press first published civil service examination review materials for first and second-grade policemen and junior and senior teachers. While Asuncion managed the office in Manila, Luis Sr. traveled a lot to market the review materials which he himself wrote or prepared in collaboration with a team of authors.

The war and the death of Luis Sr. in 1942 left Asuncion fending for their four children and the printing press. But determination reigned in her heart.

"In 1945, when my mother had saved enough, she began rebuilding Abiva Press from the ruins of war. Inspired by letters of request for educational materials from teachers nationwide, she ventured into publishing elementary and high school textbooks in all subject areas in addition to the civil service review materials," Garcia continues.

In the '50s, Abiva ventured in publishing textbooks for elementary and high school. Among its bestsellers are Elementary Science (1954), Wikang Sarili (1960), Mathematics for the Elementary School (1965), and Hiyas (1967). Since then, Abiva Publishing has never stopped tapping able authors to develop learning materials both for students and teachers. It has published more than 700 books for preschool to college.

SECOND GENERATION LEADERS

To continue developing the products and services of the publishing house, all the Abiva children--Nena, Felicito, Rosario, and Luis Jr., were expected to help run the company.

Even at a young age, all the four children will spend many summers either working in the warehouse packing books, helping with invoicing, getting orders from customers, cashiering, and clerical work.

This training would prove advantageous for the Abiva children, especially for the youngest, Luis Abiva Jr. as he took over as president of the company in 1969.

"My interest in the publishing business grew from constantly tagging along with my mother as she collaborated with Filipino authors in developing new textbook titles and from talking with teachers to get feedback about the kinds of books they need in the classroom," Luis, Jr. 65, recounts.

Luis Jr. also took up a postgraduate printing management degree at the Rochester College in the US to ensure that the publishing house will continue to be innovative and at par with international publishers.

Aside from beefing up Abiva's roster of authors, Luis Jr. was instrumental in the company's tie-up with Silver Burdette and Houghton Miffling, both international publishing houses, for the reprinting of math textbooks that aim to develop the mathematical skills of learners. …

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