BACK IN the days before digital games like Cooking Mama and Café World, kids would play and pretend to cook using luto-lutuan (toy cooking pots). Before Angry Birds crashed pigs into houses, kids used a tirador (slingshot). Before anyone played indoors with Wii Sports, games were played in the backyard or on the road in the absence of courts. Before strolling everywhere in search of Pokemon characters, there was hide and seek. But if we think all these are a thing of the past, Awit and Laro aims to prove otherwise.
In 2015, Creative Kids Studio — an art school founded by interior designer Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco — held a fund-raising art exhibit called LARO (play). It was then that Ms. Mañosa realized that the children needed to learn the games first to have an idea for their artworks.
“We brought kids together to come up with a fund-raising exhibit thinking that all children knew Filipino games and play. I was surprised to find out they didn’t. How could they draw their art if they didn’t know what they were drawing? So, we had to teach them how to play. We created a play day where we taught all these Filipino games,” Ms. Mañosa told BusinessWorld on Jan. 31 at the Tesoros store in Makati City.
Ms. Mañosa’s project was eventually expanded to incorporate music with the childhood games. Awit at Laro aims to revive and reintroduce traditional Filipino toys, songs, and games to children.
“I think nowadays parents feel like there is really like a gap. The generation gap is getting wider and wider. So, I thought it would be a nice advocacy because not only is it raising funds for a cause, but, at the same time, it’s to bridge generations together,” she said.
This year, the project partners with Tesoros as its exclusive retail partner in promoting Filipino traditions and culture to all generations.
The centerpiece of the project is a 20-track album, made in collaboration with Filipino singers, containing rearranged traditional songs and songs about Filipino games which was released in October 2018. Sold alongside the album are redesigned Filipino toys such as Chinese garter, jackstones, lutu-lutuan, tirador, and sungka. Paintings on old doors by Filipino artists depicting the traditional games are also on display at the store.
“We asked different visual artists to do the rendition of Filipino games on the door [which] symbolizes ‘Let’s go outdoors and play.’ It was exciting. It was a different canvas,” Ms. Mañosa said, adding that the doors will be part of exhibitions in future events.
“Tesoros has always been an advocate for all things Filipino. What about Filipino habits that expose us not only to things but also to culture?” Beatrice Tesoro-Arit told BusinessWorld about the partnership.
“When Awit at Laro came, we were so excited to introduce a [brand] new experience to others. As an advocate of all things Filipino, we want to expose another generation to what it means to be Filipino [through] these games,” she added.
The album and toys are exclusively available in all Tesoros retail outlets.
Proceeds from their sale will benefit the rehabilitation of Museo Pambata’s playground, Tukod Foundation, which is an organization supporting the advancement of Filipino art and design, and UNICEF Philippines. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman