Loving someone entails knowing that person. The same can be said about loving our country. There must be a conscious decision to get to know it intimately in order for us to embrace where we live and where we belong.
Love of country, however, must begin with us parents. By deliberately immersing our children in Philippine culture, food, and places, we plant the seeds of patriotism in them.
Sibika classes in school cover Philippine geography and culture. You can easily supplement this by being creative with activities that you do together.
Here are 5 creative ways we can encourage our children’s appreciation and love for the Philippines.
1. Include Philippine history in pretend play.
Children learn while they play, that’s what they do. Through pretend play, we can let them explore different aspects of our culture.
And what’s a better way to play pretend than donning on costumes? Put Filipiniana clothes into your child’s costume box and let her pretend to be someone from an earlier time period. According to Charisse Aquino-Tugade of The Manila Collectible Co. (TMCC), however, “Filipiniana doesn’t have to be piña or barong. You can go tribal!”
So, make sure to save your child’s school program costumes. Alternatively, you can buy some malong, beads, and clothing of different indigenous tribes. Kid sizes are available at TMCC, which is a unique space for Philippine products, tours, and kiddie workshops. Then again, you can always make your own traditional Filipino costumes.
For quiet, bonding time with your child, try doing arts and crafts activities. While inspiration abounds on the Internet, you can save yourself the trouble of thinking of Filipino-themed activities and gathering materials by getting the KaHone Art box for August.
KaHone Art is a themed box subscription service of arts and crafts projects. It is for the busy mom who doesn’t have time to make DIY activities for her child. For August, the theme is called “Filipino Ako,” which is in line with the “Buwan ng Wika” celebrations.
Activities included in the box are “Decorate your own jeepney”, “Make Filipino and Filipina paper dolls,” “Make your own sipa,” and a cut and paste activity about the classic Filipino folk tale “Ang Pagong at ang Matsing.” With all the materials needed to complete different projects, it would be a breeze to learn about our country’s culture.
Let us not raise our children to be citizens of the world yet strangers in their own land. Get a Scratch Map Philippines Edition from The Mind Museum or QuirksPh.com and make it a family goal to visit and scratch off as many places as you can. Show your child that Philippine geography and culture are not just school subjects to be studied in textbooks.
So, take your vacations in local destinations, preferably to places that your child has studied in school in the past year. And while everyone loves the beach, don’t limit yourselves to sun and sand experiences. Enjoy a street festival with your kids at least once: T’nalak in Cotabato, Ati-Atihan in Kalibo, Sinulog in Cebu, Dinagyang in Iloilo, MasKara in Bacolod, and Panagbenga in Baguio. Being part of one will form lasting memories.
Go on heritage tours like the ones conducted by WalkThisWay.com and JeepneyTours.com. If guided tours are not for you, you can explore the heritage houses recognized by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Involve your child in planning a trip, from choosing a destination to learning about the town where the house is.
Make your child fall in love with Filipino artistry and craftsmanship. Start with music, as it is the easiest to introduce to children who naturally gravitate towards it. Re-learn Filipino children’s songs and play OPM at home. If you’re feeling nostalgic, you can even listen to Kundiman music together through free online Kundiman radio shows at MixCloud.com.
Theater is another art form that is attractive to kids. Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) is especially known for its thrust to produce distinctly Filipino stage work; their performances should be explored beyond what is usually required in school. In addition, consider PETA’s acting workshops during the summer to immerse your child in Philippine theater while having fun.
Philippine folk dances are also becoming unfamiliar to our children. Yes, watch videos on YouTube but only as an introduction. It is still best to watch a live performance of the tinikling, pandanggo, and other dances from the different regions if you can.
Charisse Tugade, herself a mother of two kids, encourages parents to talk to their children about “heritage, history, and our indigenous people.” She champions crafts, hand-woven textiles, jewelry, décor, and other products made by different ethnic groups in the Philippines.
Through TMCC’s museum, shop, and events, she is able to introduce young Filipinos to the richness of our culture. Her Kiddie Archeology Tour, for one, is an exciting and interactive way for kids to dig for treasure and at the same time learn about Philippine pre-history.
Above everything else, however, parents must make it a point to explore their own neighborhood with their children. You don’t need to go on a plane to appreciate the Filipino way of life. Ride the jeepney and tricycle, eat street food, and just be part of the rhythm of life.
As a family, learn together, explore together, and love our country together.
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“We can only love what we know, and we can never know completely what we do not love.“ - Aldoux Huxley
Looking for Filipino costumes for Buwan ng Wika?? Click here.