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.”
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.
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