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Sydney Consulate General features Filipino folk songs and tales on Children’s Week

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In celebration of Children’s Week in January, Filipino folk songs and folklore were featured at the Philippine Consulate General in Sydney. This occasion is being observed on the fourth week of January each year pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation No 190, s. 1964 declared by former President Diosdado Macapagal. Jinky Marsh, an advocate of promoting the Filipino language, culture and traditions to our young generation was invited to present a Filipino story during the Bigkas Serye event at the Sentro Rizal, Consulate General in Sydney in celebration of the Children’s Week. Jinky, who often brings children on her performances and initiatives, involved two Filipino-Australian youth on the occasion. 

Benjamin Zachary Paulino, with his violin, promoted the traditional Tagalog folk song, Bahay Kubo. Benjamin is a Year 7 student in a Sydney selective school and has been playing the violin since Year 2. At Year 5, Benjamin became the lead violin player for violin 2 at his primary school’s Junior Chamber Orchestra. He is also a member of the Broken Bay Diocese Youth Choir. “It wasn’t any different from any song I play. I play the song by ear first and then I make the music sheet so I do not need to memorise,” Benjamin commented on how he learned the song.

Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago with Benjamin Paulino and Cameron Marsh
Consul General Ezzedin H. Tago with Benjamin Paulino and Cameron Marsh | Photo credit: Philippine Consulate General Sydney

Cameron Joshua Marsh, on the other hand, played the traditional Ilonggo folksong Ili-Ili Tulog Anay with his flute. Cameron is a Year 5 student who was a SPECTRA (Science Program Exciting Children Through Research Activities) Awardee. He finds music soothing especially with wind instruments. He is also a Junior Youth presenter of the community radio youth program Generation HOPE on Triple H100.1FM.  “I like learning Filipino songs. Some words can be funny to hear and say because some are fast and repeated but my mum explains what the words mean and how to say them. I have known Ili-ili Tulog Anay since I was young. My mum sings it to me and my younger brother before we go to bed,” Cameron said.  

The valuable message of Juan Tamad was re-told by Jinky to an audience of children aged from 3 to 14. “Working with children is a great privilege. Encouraging their participation in community events that make them appreciate their roots and identity teach them the values of open-mindedness and adaptability. Providing them opportunities to channel their abilities and energy will assist them in being whole-rounded individuals. When one sees another having such enjoyable and positive effects, that’s when inspiration ignites to emulation,” Jinky explained.    

Cameron Marsh with his flute playing Ili-Ili Tulog Anay | Photo: Gina Paulino
Cameron Marsh with his flute playing Ili-Ili Tulog Anay | Photo: Irene Gina Paulino
Benjamin Paulino with his Violin playing Bahay-Kubo | Photo: Gina Paulino
Benjamin Paulino with his Violin playing Bahay-Kubo | Photo: Irene Gina Paulino
Kirch Caparino (left) and Ysabella de Lara (right) | Photo: Gina Paulino
Kirch Caparino (left) and Ysabella de Lara (right) | Photo supplied with parental consent
Jinky Marsh | Photo: Phoenix Media Arts and Production
Jinky Marsh | Photo: Phoenix Media Arts and Production

The Philippine Times is pleased to share the commentaries of two adolescents who witnessed the program:

TPT: Do you like learning stories from the Philippines and why?

Kirch Caparino: I like learning stories from the Philippines because each story gives an interesting point of view of the culture of the Philippines and each story shows its folklore and passed down stories.  

Ysabella de Lara: Yes, I like listening to Philippine stories because they teach good morals with fascinating stories and illustrations. 

TPT: With the story of Lazy Juan, what could have been the good character of Juan instead of being lazy and delaying things to do?   

KC: If Juan was not slothful, he could have helped his mother with their arduous life. Juan could have actually been independent and learn new things

YDL: Instead of being lazy, Juan could have attended to his tasks sooner and used his time more productively.

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