Looking for Philippine Folk Tales?

I’m part of a  new small storytelling group in Manila.  For my piece, I want something unique, something not so familiar among kids. We probably know a lot of western children stories and a lot of Grimm’s fairy tales.  For this reason, I prefer to use a Filipino story. The problem with Filipino children stories or must I say Philippine literature in general. They are not available on the internet.  You’ll probably find a few but very limited. You have to go to libraries and book stores to find one. Luckily, I  found this book in National Book Store. It is a collection of Philippine folk tales about fruits.  It has eight stories. Some of which are  popular ones such as Why the Pina Has a Hundred Eyes, How the Lasones Became Edible, Why the Mango is Shaped Like a Hear, The Story of First Coconut Tree. 

It  astounds me that I only get to know some of these tales as an adult such as  The Story of the First Durian,  Why the Guava Wears a Crown, The Story of the First Banana Plant,  The Legend of the First Makopa Tree.  With this kind of books, there is no excuse to repeat the same stories to children. We have a lot of stories.  We just lack exposure. We, who are stoytellers, teachers, and adults can promote the richness of  Philippine children literature.  And stories feel  closer to us  if the subjects are very familiar to us such  the fruits we regularly eat such as banana, pineapple, and coconut.

This  book suits all ages but smaller kids may not pay much attention. The illustrations are colorless and the characters do no look  cute-like creatures in Cartoon Network.  It is written in a simple language. It is easy to understand, easy to memorize but it is not playful. Hence, if you are reading this  out loud in front of kids, you should be more creative in your delivery.

Philippine Children Books

If you are running out of children stories, go back to folk tales 🙂

A Pure Filipino

*Here’s another archive file.  I wrote this for an exam which did not prosper.

Many Filipino netizens dislike Bayo’s ad campaign on mixing up. The Philippine based clothing line featured a teen star Jasmine Curtis with a caption 50%, Filipina 50% Australian, followed by a tag line, “What’s your mix?” The fashion brand’s implicit message that having Filipino blood is not enough to be beautiful is an irony for many Filipinos bragging that Jessica Sanchez has a Filipino blood. Jasmine Curtis who has Filipino blood, has been traveling back and forth from Australia to Philippines. On the other hand, Jessica Sanchez, half Filipino and half Mexican was born and raised in the US. Comparing the two, which one is more Filipino or less Filipino?

If the measurement of one’s nationality is solely based on the proportion of Filipino blood, perhaps no citizen in the Philippines will ever be a genuine Filipino. The people of  the country today is a  generation that has been perfected by a long rich history. Though it is a bitter past that the country has been colonized by the Spaniards, Japanese, and Americans, it is a historical truth that has crystallized the identity of Filipino. From the very beginning, Filipinos have been borrowing culture through trading with Chinese or perhaps the land bridges which some historians believe carry different culture and colors to the country.

The Filipinos today are products of the past. Some Filipinos have fairer skin than others. The skin color they have must have come from interracial marriage of their ancestors during the colonial period. The remnant of the country’s history also reflects on the attitude of Filipinos. The struggle to fight for the country’s independence and the long slave years have tested the endurance and industry of the Filipinos. Today, the Filipinos have been known to be industrious to the world. As evidence, other countries want to hire Filipino employees. BPO companies grow in the Philippines and at the same time, many Filipinos travel across the globe and find jobs.

The country continues to battle but not anymore for independence. It’s a battle against poverty. And for a country which faces economic crisis all the time, Filipinos learn to be happy in whatever they have. The Department of Tourism says: “It’s more fun in the Philippines because of its people.” Filipinos can always find simple joy. Hence, anywhere is a fun place as long as there is a Filipino. To withstand hardship and be happy is an admirable trait of a Filipino

Beyond perseverance of Filipinos lies great a wealth of talent among Filipinos.
An international director spoke to Audie Gamora, a theater veteran of the country, “ Talented people grow like coconut trees in the Philippines. They are everywhere.”

If one is part of skillful, industrious, talented race, will he not be proud of his race? Filipinos find joy everywhere. They may be nurses overseas who painstakingly care for foreign patients. But when they send their children to school and eat rice, they become the happiest people on earth.

A Filipino is someone who is proud of his heritage. He loves his summer skin color. He cares for his family deeply and for his Filipino brothers too. A Filipino is a product of cultural assimilation. A Filipino is a Filipino wherever he goes and regardless of how he looks. If there’s fun, it’s either one is in the Philippines or is with a Filipino.