Ang Watawat Kaninong Sagisag?


June 12 – Philippine Independence Day

Young boys from the neighborhood had been planting monggo sprouts in the big planters right beneath our volunteers’ room. All through the month of May they had been watering and watching its growth. Whenever sprouts came up and proliferated they became loudly excited and boastful.

Inspired by this street scene, volunteers for the Bahay, Emil, Lore and Rene, who are experienced with art and history-integrated activities for children, came up with the idea for a core activity for Araw ng Kalayaan event for our young neighbors– Incorporate history and its symbols and link it to what the children had seemed to be interested in—planting.

Plastic soft drink bottles were collected by Eddie, our neighborhood street sweeper. Half coconut shells, garden soil, malunggay and talong sprouts along with water-based paints (red, yellow, blue and green), multi-sized paint brushes; crayola and recycled paper were gathered from here and there.

When the doors opened that morning on June 12 a bit of discipline had to be put in place because of the children’s eagerness. But the day started right when they sang the national anthem, loud and clear, with their right hand cupped over their hearts. The much younger children were lead to the children’s room where they had kuwentuhan with Ate Sandra and had their choice of books to read. Those 7 and above were given short talks using visual aids showing the evolution of the national flag and their meaning. This seemed to inspire the children. They first sketched their designs by crayola on drawing paper, then transferred these directly by paint on their recycled items. It was fun and frenetic as they dipped and mixed to draw their bandila.

But the amazing part was that there was a stampede when it came to the planting part. They could not wait to put in the soil and get their ration of malunggay sprout sticks from Mang Rene, and water them to make sure they won’t die.

When there were no more sprouts to go around, each one hung their containers under the palmera trees in the sidewalk planters. It then became territorial underlined by excitement, with some kids anxious about their plants having little water or too much sun in the coming days, or their containers or their sprouts getting stolen. Actually, I had the same apprehensions. The following days they poked, rehung them higher or lower in the planters, or switched them about.

But here we are two weeks later. All their bandila containers, are still hanging so colorfully and so very proudly, filled with water and hope for growth.

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