IN line with UNICEF’s 25th anniversary commemoration of the “Convention of the Rights of the Child,” the Ayala Mall’s Alabang Town Center has been a bustle of fun and colorful activities this week as its joint project with Creative Kids Studio kicked off on May 12.
Aptly titled “Laro,” the month-long endeavor celebrates the Filipino child’s right to play through a return to traditional Filipino games and a host of related activities.
The collaborative event, which also has the support of Tukod Foundation, also aims to raise funds for Unicef Philippines’ projects, and the construction of a thematic, child-friendly playground in Calauan, Laguna for the benefit of some 7,000 children, most of whom are survivors of Typhoons Ondoy and Yolanda.
“We want to give these children a space where they can forget the ordeals they went through and be children again,” explained Creative Kids founder Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco.
Tanjutco, born to internationally renowned architect Francisco Mañosa and civic leader Denise Mañosa, grew up not just amid things of beauty. Having graduated as an Interior Designer from the Assumption College, she used to work in her father’s firm, Francisco Mañosa and Partners, where she learned, among other things of real value, the art of giving back.
It was in 2013 when the Consuelo Algiers Foundation approached Tanjutco to help refurbish three housing units in Calauan, Laguna. Located in a resettlement area, the units were lent by the National Housing Authority to Fr. Salvador “Boy” Pablo, and housed 30 orphaned children from Tacloban.
In one of her visits to the project, Tanjutco heard the Salesian priest lament how “hope was a rare commodity in the area.” The priest was looking for a way to inspire and encourage some 7,000 children under his care.
“At around the same time, Tukod Foundation had just finished constructing a playground in a resettlement area for the survivors of Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro. Built for the children of the resettlement area, the playground also attracted children from all over.
Some traveled for two hours just to play there. So we realized how important it was for them to have a facility where they can enjoy being children again,” related Tukod Foundation managing director Denise Mañosa.
Knowing how play can have a positive impact on children, Tanjutco sought the help of her mother’s foundation to design a playground for Fr. Pablo’s children. The priest thought the idea totally apt since playing is the spirituality of the Salesian order. It was then that Tanjutco, together with her daughters Natasha and Isabella, created “Laro” to raise funds for the playground project.
To raise funds for Project Laro and to help reiterate Unicef’s Rights of the Child, Tanjutco designed the ongoing Alabang Town Center event to integrate play and art as a means for the public to donate to a good cause.
Its activities include: “Paint It Forward” (running until May 26), an exhibit-sale featuring 100 artworks of the young artists of Creative Kids Studio; “Tara, Laro” (May 16 and 17), a game competition in various traditional Filipino games including Patintero, LuksongTinik, and Tumbang Preso in a mall setting; arts and crafts sessions for the community; “Interactive Storytelling” (May 23 and 24), using a theatre-like approach to bring Filipino children’s stories to life; and the culminating event, “Laro Fashion Show” (May 30) featuring the mall’s merchants, as well as pieces from fashion designers Rhett Eala, Rajo Laurel, Len Cabili, Elsie Standen, Ito Curata, and Ann Ong.
According to Tanjutco, “Laro” is her way of paying tribute to her father. “Most people know him as an architect whose pioneering works have inspired generations of architects after him. Very few know his playful side. When we were young, he declared it a vacation every time it rained hard. We would absent ourselves from school and he would come home early to play with us. He also designed toys for children that would bring us hours of amusement,” she shared.