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  • These Picture Books Lets You and Your Kids Sing Along to Classic Filipino Folk Songs

    It's a fun way to introduce children to different cultures and in a medium that's easy to understand.
    by Alexine Parreno .
These Picture Books Lets You and Your Kids Sing Along to Classic Filipino Folk Songs
PHOTO BY courtesy of Tahanan Books
  • "Tong, tong, tong, tong pakitong-kitong..."

    Do you remember that song? We all grew up with children’s songs like this and most of us have passed it on to our children. To continue this legacy, Tahanan Books has translated classic Filipino folk songs for kids into picture books.

    They’ve produced a total of six folk song picture books starting with Bahay Kubo (1993); Antukin: Filipino Folk Song and Lullabyes (15th Anniversary Edition, 2013); Pagtulog Na, Nene: A Hiligaynon Lullaby (2017). For 2019, Tahanan published three new gems — Pakitong-Kitong: A Cebuano Folk Song; Ed-Eddoy: An Ifugao Folk Song; and Kaisa-Isa Niyan: A Maguindanaon Folk Song.

    What other parents are reading

    Ed-Eddoy is full of rich cultural details about the "kadangyan", a wealthy social class from the Ifugao, says Tahanan Books managing director Fran Ong.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tahanan Books

    Fran Ong, Tahanan Books managing editor, shares that their first folk song picture book Bahay Kubo is now a classic and it’s never been out of print since it was published in 1993. To this day, they still continue to get messages from readers telling them how much they love it, and this encouraged them to continue.


    She shares, “Songs are such a fun way to learn about other cultures. You can learn about their daily lives and the things that are important to them. Music can touch you at such a visceral level. You're not just listening to their stories, you're feeling them as well.”

    For the new series, Fran shares that they made a conscious effort to choose songs from each major region — Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao. “Ed-Eddoy is full of rich cultural details about the kadangyan (a wealthy social class) from the Ifugao. Pakitong-Kitong is a playful Cebuano song about catching river crabs. Kaisa-Isa Niyan is a counting song that combines fanciful imagery and simple rhythms that can be played by a kulintang ensemble.”

    What other parents are reading

    "Tong, tong, tong, pakitong-kitong," is such an iconic line from the Cebuano folk song, which is about catching river crabs.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tahanan Books

    Music editor Dr. Felicidad A. Prudente, one of the leading Filipino musicologists in the country says, “Folk songs are fun and enjoyable tools in imbibing Filipino values, customs, and traditions to our youth. We don’t have to wait for children to start learning about the Philippines from textbooks; we can bring our culture closer to them through a language they can understand — music.”

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    The illustrators Kora Dandan-Albano (Ed-Eddoy), Harry Monzon (Pakitong-Kitong) and Fran Alvarez (Kaisa-Isa Niyan) were tasked to celebrate the people they were depicting in their art and all three hit the mark. Guided by cultural consultants and a lot of research, each book depicts accurate cultural representations of the songs.

    Sheet music of every song is included for your budding musician. There is also information about the song’s cultural origins, allowing for diverse representation across the Philippines. Whether you love music, art, culture, books, or all of the above, we’re sure you’ll fall in love with these titles.


    Apart from the beautiful illustrations, the books also contain the sheet music of every song should you want to play it using a musical instrument.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tahanan Books
    What other parents are reading

    This may be a Maguindanaoan counting song, but each book in the lineup also depicts accurate cultural representations of the songs.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Tahanan Books

    Tahanan Books hopes to add more to the series. Dr. Prudente notes, “Our regions have such rich musical traditions that we will always have songs to feature as long as parents are willing to learn and introduce them to their children.”

    “With books that are as simple and as engaging as these folk song picture books, we hope that we can encourage people from the different cultural groups in our country to learn more about each other,” says Fran.

    Each picture book retails for P120 only and will be available at discounted rates at the Tahanan Books booth at the 40th Manila International Book Fair happening from September 11 to 15, 2019 at the SMX Mall of Asia. (Click here to see what books and deals you can score at the fair!) They are also available online at pumplepie.com.

    What other parents are reading

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