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Ginaya Namin Ang ‘Old Enough’ At Ito Ang Nangyari
PHOTO BY MIKE PELAYO
  • “I really wanted to try if it will work in the Philippines,” says Mike Pelayo, father of five-year-old Vito who just like many of us just binge-watched Netflix’s Old Enough TV series in amazement.

    The long-running Japanese show is known to follow young kids, some as young as two-years-old to go on an age-appropriate simple errand alone while an entire camera crew follows the child without his or her knowledge.

    Many parents at Smart Parenting Village said it was impossible to do in the Philippines, and that teaching kids independence can be done inside the home instead. But all agree that young kids can definitely do age-appropriate tasks.

    “Yung nasa Netflix, two or three years old, I think he’s old enough to do errands already,” says Mike. He also wanted to see if his son could do it. “I really wanted to see kung kaya ni Vito because he’s already five years old.”

    PHOTO courtesY of MIKE PELAYO
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    The setup: a controlled environment

    The Pelayos live in a private subdivision with a pandesal bakery about 550 meters away. The trip would be 1.1 kilometers in total. The task was simple: Vito needs to buy pandesal.

    “We wanted him to be alone talaga but si Karlene, my wife, medyo hesitant yun eh. Ayaw niya for Vito to go by himself,” says Mike.

    To appease Vito’s mom and also in the name of safety, Mike planned to secretly tail Vito using a car that his son was not familiar with. This was also so he could take videos of his son’s first errand. 

    Mike was about 200 meters away. “Halos hindi ko na talaga makita si Vito nun.”

    It was a spontaneous experiment for Mike and Karlene, with daddy as the mastermind. He chose to send Vito on the errand on Easter, estimating that there would be few cars on the road because their neighbors would still be on vacation.

    Vito arrives at the bakery, captured on video by Dad Mike.
    PHOTO Courtesy OF MIKE PELAYO
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    The instruction: Dad needs pandesal, now

    “I asked Vito politely, ‘Can you please buy me pandesal?’” The bakery is familiar to Vito because his parents’ barbeque business is right next to it. “So he knows the area completely, lagi kaming dumadaan doon.”

    “At first he was very hesitant. He wanted to do it tomorrow, but I told him, ‘Do it now,’” he says. “Tapos inisip niya, sino daw kasama niya? Sabi ko ‘Ikaw lang. You know we watched ‘yung Netflix na Old Enough, mag-isa ‘yung kids. Bata yung mga yon, you’re older than them. You’re five years old, so I think you can do that.”

    Mike says after reminding him of the show, Vito realized he could do the errand his Dad asked of him.

    READ ALSO: Raise An Independent Child The Montessori Way: Use These 5 Phrases 

    Safety first

    To ensure Vito’s safety, Mike asked his son to wear something bright so that he could be spotted easily. “Para makikita ka talaga sa labas. Afternoon namin ginawa [yung errand]. We don’t want to risk na gawin niya sa gabi, ang hirap nun,” Mike says.

    Before Vito left his home, Mike repeated the instruction: Buy pandesal, “ubusin mo lahat yan,” Mike said about the Php 140 he handed his son in a plastic ziplock. Vito was also reminded to walk on the sidewalk.

    Mike informed the bakery in advance that he would be sending his son on an errand to help him capture the moment so the staff secretly setup a mobile phone that was recording Vito.

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    Vito arrives at the bakery (left) and pays for the bread (right).
    PHOTO COURTESY of MIKE PELAYO

    How the errand went

    Once Vito left his home, Mike reports that Vito chose to first go to the guardhouse “and then he asked the guard to accompany him. Sabi niya, ‘Puntahan natin please, may pinapabili si Daddy na pandesal sa akin.’”

    “Nakakatawa lang na nag-hanap siya ng help para makabili siya ng pandesal,” says Mike. But because Mike was following Vito, he motioned to the guards to allow the five-year-old go on his errand.

    Mike catches concerned neighbors who were wondering why a young boy was unaccompanied.
    PHOTO COURTESY of MIKE PELAYO
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    Because it rained earlier that day, the sidewalk was wet and slippery so Vito chose to walk on the street. “I clearly told him to go to the sidewalk. Pero madulas yung sidewalk.

    “He was not in the middle of the road, he was on the road, sa gilid,” says Mike. “Sobrang chill lang niya.

    Never alone

    “Nagulat ako, nashock ako na lahat ng tao kinakausap niya,” Mike says of Vito’s jolly disposition as he was going on an errand. Mike recalls Vito kept greeting people he would meet on his way. Perhaps Vito was excited to be given the freedom and the responsibility.

    “Nakakatawa na may neighbor kami na inalert yung guard, bakit daw may bata na naglalakad mag-isa?” Mike says.

    “Buti sinabi nung guard na nakita niya ako. Sinabi niya ‘Bayaan niyo Ma’m, sinusundan namin at may nakasunod din po kay Vito.’”

    RELATED: Japanese Kids Going On Errands Alone Inspires Pinoy Parents To Raise Independent Kids

    ‘Nakakatakot na masaya’

    “I remember, we were excited, anxious, we couldn’t explain what we were feeling at that time,” says Mike.
    “Iba talaga. Nakakatakot na masaya, mixed emotions completely,”

    He adds, “Si Karlene, I told her to just stay in the room and I’ll bring Vito. You know moms kasi, they worry too much so sabi ko ako nalang bahala.”

    At the shop, Vito confidently picked out the breads his Dad asked to buy. However the bakery’s video footage shows that he almost “stole” the bread as Vito forgot to pay. “Bayad muna!” reminded the bakery’s salesperson.

    Vito’s total bill came out to Php 99 and the salesperson assisted him in putting the breads inside the backpack he was wearing for the errand. He also forgot to get his change and he was called back to receive it.

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    Vito before (left) and after (right) his first errand.
    PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIKE PELAYO

    How you can try ‘Old Enough’ with your kids

    “It’s doable, especially in gated communities,” Mike says. He says that when he was Vito’s age, he was already going around their subdivision alone and knew the different food vendors. “Nakakautang na ako sa tindahan, bata pa ako. So I think they just need to try it.

    “But siyempre controlled environment–may nakasunod, alam na nila yung left and right, or napuntahan na nung kids yung location,” Mike reminds.

    His other tip is to be conscious of the weather. “Pag umuulan, mahirap palabasin yung bata kasi madulas so might as well do it ikapag dry yung weather.”

    “I think Vito will become more independent. I will do this again, for sure. And uutusan ko na siya talaga na wala ako sa likod,” Mike says.

    “I hope he becomes very reliable in the future. Yung pagiging obedient niya, sana madevelop by doing all these independent tasks.

    But wait, why did Vito have change if Daddy Mike instructed him to use up all the Php 140 given to him?

    “Hindi niya nasunod yung pinabili ko. Nakabili siya ng tatlong pirasong pandesal pero bumili rin siya ng cheese bread and another kind,” Mike says with a laugh.

    Turns out Vito mistook the other breads for pandesal. But he still did the errand and returned home safely! 

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    READ ALSO: Raise a Child to Have the Ability to Stand on His Own Two Feet

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