Teach Kids Their Filipino Heritage, Says Tel Aviv PE

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photo330 August 2013 Tel Aviv, State of Israel. Philippine Ambassador Generoso D.G. Calonge spoke of the value of going back to one's roots as more than forty kids, along with their parents, listened to his speech during the Closing Ceremony of Bata Batuta Summer Camp 2013, which was held on 30 August 2013, at the Community Education Center (CEC) Campus, Tachana Merkazit. In his brief message, the Ambassador also encouraged immigrant parents to teach children about the Philippines as knowing their heritage will strengthen and complete their identity while living in a far and culturally-different country.

The Bata Batuta Summer Camp is an annual program held for four consecutive Friday afternoons, between 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM, usually in August, to promote awareness of the Philippines among Filipino children, who were either born in or brought photo4to Israel at an early age to join their parents who are working or have settled in the country. As the term "bata batuta" connotes, the program seeks to educate children on Philippine culture and values through a fun and playful approach, using games, arts and crafts, songs, dances, food, stories and other activities that will easily capture their interest.

This year's program opened in one of Tel Aviv's beaches where the children enjoyed learning and playing traditionalphoto5 games such as "tumbang preso" and "patintero." Sessions for the remaining weeks were later held at the CEC Campus. The other modules included a basic Filipino language course, storytelling, folk songs, playing the musical instrument "gong," and lectures on Philippine history, geography, culture, festivals and tourist destinations.

Considering that all lectures had to be delivered in Filipino and most of the children were only conversant in English and Hebrew, the voluntephoto6er teachers faced the challenge of channeling their ideas to the kids, thus resorting to creative ways such as songs, dances, leaflets, illustrations, and photos, among other tools.

The Bata Batuta Summer Camp is a much anticipated event, especially among Filipino children in Israel. Since the program was first introduced in 2009, it has recorded a steady increase of participants over the years. Its success is made possible through the support of the Filipino Community, especially the participants' parents, and Western Union. -- END --