• Tong Pakitong Kitong, Paru-Parong Bukid, and More Get the Celebrity Treatment!

    The project hopes to pass on the spirit of play and Pinoy culture through music to the next generations.
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
  • PHOTO BY Ayala Malls Solenad

    Those of us born between the '70s and the '80s experienced a childhood that the younger generation would probably find hard to imagine. Who else would play futbol or piko outdoors from sun up to sundown? We were the nimble kids who got to places running instead of walking, whose hand-eye coordination was developed by playing jackstone or patintero, and who knew every nook and cranny in the neighborhood that would make for a suitable taguan.

    As kids of the '80s, we jumped, laughed and crept up on our friends. We sang and made up stories or told riddles we couldn't solve. We would go home all sweaty and stinky from hours of play, our feet grimy and badly in need of scrubbing, much to the dismay of Nanay or Tatay. But oh, how alive and happy we felt! We'd go to bed dead tired and satisfied, knowing that we will do the same thing all over again tomorrow.

    Singer/songwriter/actor Gary Valenciano, who grew up around the same era, shares that his playground was his school. “I studied in La Salle Greenhills. The grade-schoolers couldn’t go into the high school area, because that wasn’t allowed,” he shares. “So, my friends and I would play 'cops and robbers' on Saturday, and we had the whole school to ourselves! And patintero, because patintero we used to play down in the covered areas, where the basketball court was, and it was Grade 5 against Grade 6 or Grade 6 against Grade 7.”

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    Growing up in the '80s was a joy that can be difficult to describe to kids today because they belong to a generation that has embraced the virtual world of play. But, it didn't stop Gary from joining forces with Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco, whose father is renowned architect Francisco "Bobby" Mañosa, for a project that was a long time coming.

    Recalls Bambi, "Growing up with a creative father who is a firm advocate of everything Filipino, it was only natural to make 'laro' — or Filipino games — the theme for the closing art exhibit of my Creative Kids Studio in the summer of 2015. Laro championed the creative power of children through an art exhibit and sale celebrating Filipino games and play. When my father and I closed the Laro exhibit, he asked 'What’s next?' and immediately suggested two things: add music and ask Gary V for help." Thus "Awit at Laro" was born. 

    A spread from the Awit at Laro songbook features artwork by Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan and song lyrics of traditional Filipino songs
    PHOTO BY Awit at Laro

    The vision of Awit at Laro is simple: to reintroduce traditional games to a new generation of youth through music, dance, and the arts. 

    On the "Awit" front, Awit at Laro brings together some of the top Filipino singers and composers to bring forth reimagined versions of nine traditional songs and 11 new songs about games we loved to play. Some of these are Magtanim ay Di Biro by Bamboo, Paru-parong Bukid by Yeng Constantino, Nanay, Tatay by Darren Espanto featuring Anne Curtis, Tago Tagoan by KZ Tandingan, Sitsiritsit Alibangbang by the TNT Boys, Piko by Morisette Amon, Sipa by Ogie Alcasid, Tong Pakitong Kitong by Lea Salonga, and Saranggola by Gary Valenciano. The lyrics of the songs are compiled in a hardbound songbook, with special artwork created by artists from Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (INK), and a unique code for downloading the album from the Awit at Laro website

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    Awit at Laro Music Teaser from Awit At Laro on Vimeo.

    For a real "Laro" experience, kids and the kids-at-heart can enjoy playing larger-than-life versions of favorite Filipino games like saranggola, tumbang preso, piko, and more through the Larong Pinoy installation at Ayala Malls Solenad in Sta. Rosa, Laguna from November 17 to 24 to bring Awit at Laro to life. 

    "When playing, one needs a kakampi — so do we, in a project, an advocacy as big as this one that will help in preserving and passing on our nation's heritage of Filipino games and play on to the next generation," says Gary in his video message.

    Gary added he hopes the general public will also be one with them in encouraging the youth to go out and play. He ended his message with this invitation, "Tara, laro tayo!"

    The Awit at Laro songbook is available for sale. Proceeds will benefit the kids of UNICEF, Tukod Foundation, and the Shining Light Foundation.

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