IN the 1990s, three young Filipinos were introduced as representations of “gifted children” through what is now considered a classic television commercial in the country.
Budding poet Kiko Galura, promising astronomer James Flores, and science whiz Shaira Luna hit the small screen and became the Philippines’ best-known young achievers.
All grown up now, the trio were reunited this month to lead the launch of the “2015 Promil Pre-School Gifted Movement” aimed to support and celebrate talented children across the nation. Moreover, the campaign hopes to gain the commitment of parents to take an active role in nurturing their children’s natural abilities.
Fittingly, a video presentation chronicling what has become of Galura, Flores and Luna through the years, served as an inspiration to both children and parents in the audience. Expectedly, they are all successful in their chosen fields but spoke about the struggles they encountered as everyone does.
Galura, the young poet, is now a publisher in one of the country’s biggest printing houses. Flores, who was noted for his genius in astronomy, is now pursuing his masters in clinical psychology, while himself, helping encourage brilliance in musically gifted children through outreach programs. Luna, who knew about science as soon as she could count, is now one of the most talented photographers of her generation.
Through the years, the country has also seen Promil’s succeeding batches of gifted children in young painter Hamzah Marbella, violin prodigy EJ Villarin, piano genius Hansel Ang, and the amazing Sage Araneta, who composed music at age four, while expertly playing piano, guitar and drums.
Responding to questions as to how parents can identify a gifted child from the start, Dr. Leticia Peñano-Ho, president of the Philippine Center for Gifted Education, explained, “A gifted child can be expected to learn faster than other children, show more varied interests, have a greater depth of feeling, and generally ‘be more’ than other children.”
She warned, however, that being a naturally gifted child does not necessarily ensure success for many reasons. The first is that gifted children in the Philippines have to struggle with the machinations of educational systems that are not built to support such young talents.
Environmental conditions, honing the child’s dedication to succeed, as well as providing good nutrition, are some of the factors that can affect the development of children either way, which is why the parents’ role in nurturing them to nurture their own gifts in turn is very vital.
As Promil product manager Dian Yu said, “Throughout the years, Promil Pre-School has been encouraging parents to keep nurturing the gifts of their children, and with this new campaign, encourage others to become advocates of giftedness as well in order to provide the right environment for children. As a catalyst for the Gifted Movement campaign, we put focus on discovering and bringing out the inherent talent of today’s youth, by way of providing the proper nutrition, and proper care.”
Renowned musician Joey Ayala who found his gift of music early on in life was also invited to share how he developed his talent in music.
“I grew up with a family of artists and it was natural for me to see my mother make her own dress. For me, she was a stand out, so that for me, being gifted is standing above the rest,” Ayala concluded.