Laro. Likha. Saya.

Monthly Archives: September 2015

By Mikaela Capati

“How does it feel like to be a kid again?” — Primarily the question being asked in every engagement, the Philippine Toy Library volunteers, or collectively known as Tropang PTL, answer this question simply: “To feel like a kid, you must be one.”

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Mikee (wearing white PTL shirt) with the kids of Javier Central Elementary School

For the kids in our partner communities, being one is a luxury. At an early age, these kids are exposed to poverty and labor, limiting them from becoming a real kid  — a kid entitled to play, without worries…a kid who is just a kid.

The Philippine Toy Library provides avenues for kids to enjoy the wonderful world of play. Engagements traverse the different islands of the country to provide opportunities for kids to express themselves through toys and stories. Just a shot at being happy, ecstatic, rowdy and euphoric, that is what PTL hopes for these kids.

I, together with Jesha and Jessie (PTL volunteers), eagerly flew to Eastern Visayas for a two-day storytelling and free play activity for the kids of Javier, Leyte and Basey, Samar. With the help of local partners, AKMA-Resbak and SSEAYP, the organizers wore their respective kids hat in the hope of giving the kids an event to remember.

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At Basey I, Mikee tells the story of Popong who hates to take a bath.

The kids of Basey I Central Elementary School started off with a fiesta of colorful music and twirling batons as they welcomed the visitors from the different organizations. As the kids from Basey entered the newly-inaugurated toy library, sparks were seen flying from their eyes as they ran towards the different toys and books ready for their company. The kids were given time to run around and play freely in their new library.

The kids of Javier Central Elementary School also greeted the organizers with big smiles and eager hands. Kids ages 4-8 gathered around the carpeted mat and silently waited for the go signal to play to their heart’s content. Toys and books from different donors have filled not just the toy libraries of both Javier and Basey, but more importantly the hearts of the kids from our partner communities.

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One of the teachers of Basey I Elementary School applying the storytelling techniques she learned from the workshop.

Enhancing room for creativity was also one of the goals of PTL for this engagement. The kids participated in an arts and crafts module where their skills to draw, color and imagine were showcased. As seen in the arts and crafts activity for the kids, the sea of colors from their rainbow clouds looked as bright as the smiles gleaming from their faces.

The kids of Basey and Javier were told a story about a kid named Popong, who resented taking a bath and just wanted to play all day long. It may seem like a normal children’s story with a valuable lesson at the end, but what made it so special was the manner of delivery and the processing that PTL ensured to teach the partner communities. A workshop facilitated by Jesha taught the community organizers to internalize and engage themselves, immerse their hearts and minds, without anything to hinder true expression, in telling stories and their purpose. Committing themselves, through their facial expressions and vocal impersonations, were just few of the non-negotiables in storytelling the PTL way. In this way, it would be possible to let the children understand there there is more value to the story than what is written on the paper.

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Jessie (left, wearing white) and Ate Dang (right, wearing white) together with the kids holding their rainbow masterpiece.

To let the volunteers and the kids be immersed in the stories and activities is the main goal of each PTL session — not just tell the story to a kid, not just teach them different modules, but to remind themselves of the stories of one kid, and later on realize that they, too, have their own stories to share. With every ounce of commitment poured in every engagement, PTL only seeks to have a burning heart and compassion to let the kids be kids again, despite any condition.

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PTL volunteers Jessie and Mikee, together with the AKMA-Resbak and SSYEAP group, and toy donors from Singapore, posing with the kids before they do their free play.

Mikaela Capati, or Mikee as her friends call her, is one of the first members of Tropang PTL. She is a young professional working at a private corporation. Previously a government worker, Mikee makes it a point to keep herself involved in development work, thus, committing her weekends to Philippine Toy Library.

Tropang PTL is the official volunteer arm of Philippine Toy Library, a non-profit organization that aims to bring happiness to the children through play. Aside from giving a structured play module to the kids, Tropang PTL also gives a 3-to-4 hour Guardians On Training (G.O.T.) for the teachers, parents and local volunteers of the community, teaching them how to manage play, how to do storytelling and arts & crafts activities for the kids. Help us to bring Tropang PTL in our Toy Libraries all over the Philippines! E-mail us on info@toylibraryph.com to find out how.


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PTL’s first group of Tropa, Mikee, Mac and Anna (left to right wearing white shirt), with the children of Brgy. San Carlos, Mariveles, Bataan.

PTL launches its new volunteer arm, Tropang PTL, to deepen engagements in the different PTL sites all over the country. Recently, the Tropa visited PTL Brgy. San Carlos, Mariveles, Bataan. The Tropa, all young professional volunteers, retold and acted out the story of Si Langgam at Si Tipaklong to thirty (30) children on a Saturday morning.

Kuya Mac assists one of the children in identifying the contents of an emergency bag.

Kuya Mac assists one of the children in identifying the contents of an emergency bag.

Highlighting the story’s importance for preparedness in times of calamities, the kids were asked to identify several items needed to include in an emergency bag. To conclude the day, the kids drew how happy faces would look like in order to shoo away the bad weather.

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The kids showing off the smiling faces they drew on a paper plate.

For Lavinia Grace, 9 years old, and Earl Joseph, 11 years old, regulars of the Toy Library, their most favorite part of the day’s activity was making their happy faces. As Lavinia Grace puts it, “Maganda at maayos po rito sa Toy Library. Maganda po na nakakapaglaro po kami  rito para hindi lang po kami tambay sa bahay. May natututunan din po kami.” Mahalaga po ang laro para sa aming mga bata,” says Earl Joseph, “dahil nagiging masaya po kami rito”.

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Tropang PTL is the official volunteer arm of Philippine Toy Library, a non-profit organization that aims to bring happiness to the children through play. Aside from giving a structured play module to the kids, Tropang PTL also gives a 3-to-4 hour Guardians On Training (G.O.T.) for the teachers, parents and local volunteers of the community, teaching them how to manage play, how to do storytelling and arts & crafts activities for the kids. Help us to bring Tropang PTL in our Toy Libraries all over the Philippines! E-mail us on info@toylibraryph.com to find out how.


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The road to Brgy. Mostro, Anilao, Iloilo.

Two hours away from the ​c​ity proper, in the midst of the wide rice fields stands a humble community that gives primary importance to children’s rights​ in Iloilo​. Through the Educational Research and Development Assistance (ERDA) Foundation’s Learning Resource Center (LRC), children in Brgy. Mostro, Anilao, Iloilo are able to find their space for learning, and now for play, with the opening of the Toy Library.

Brgy. Mostro has been identified to have a high incidence of child labor in Iloilo, among other barangays such as Brgy. De La Paz in Banate, and Brgy. Vista Alegre in Barotac Viejo, by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). ​As part of ABK3 LEAP (Livelihoods, Education, Advocacy & Protection to Reduce Child Labor in Sugarcane Areas), ERDA supports the education of the children in sugarcane areas to keep them away from working in the tubuhan. ERDA’s LRC in Brgy. Mostro ​serves as the venue where children can keep themselves busy, and not in the tubuhan.

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Together with Jesha (left) of Philippine Toy Library are Rosalyn, 9 years old, Herme, Inday and Krizia, all 8 years old (2nd to the left to right) who are very happy that they can now play with the toys they only dreamed of before.

​Now, ​through the LRC program, most children are ​able to go back to school​. Barangay Children’s Association (BCA) leader and ERDA scholar Jazmel Divino, 15 years old, expresses his delight at the opening of the Toy Library in Mostrol. “Sobrang saya po namin ngayon na may Toy Library na kami dahil ​i​y​o​ng mga pangarap naming gawin para sa community ay matutupad na,” (We are very happy now that we have a Toy Library because our dreams for the community will come true) muses Jazmel. Aside from the existing activities they are already doing for Brgy. Mostrol such as storytelling and arts & crafts programs​, Jazmel wants to explore more possibilities to involve the whole community in taking care of their children.

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ERDA ensures that the children of Brgy. Mostro are aware of their rights. The LRC is filled with artistic outputs created by the children themselves about their rights.

Philippine Toy Library

From a Facebook status, a national advocacy was born. The Philippine Toy Library (PTL) is made up of volunteer-friends who hope to provide the experience of play to our Filipino children, especially those who live in cramped and congested areas. Idle spaces in barangays, schools or parishes are turned into fun and educational PTL areas to keep kids off the streets. Currently, PTL has 105 sites and more are being put up, to bring joy to the next generation of Filipinos.

For more information, please visit the following:

Website: http://www.philippinetoylibrary.org
WordPress: https://philippinetoylibrary.wordpress.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/PhilippineToyLibrary
Twitter: http://twitter.com/PhilToyLibrary

For further inquiries, you could email us at info@philippinetoylibrary.org.