"Bata-Batuta" Summer Camp in Israel Teaches Pinoy Culture through Games, Music, and Food

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Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial talks to the first group of students (ages 4 to 6)
during the opening of the Bata-Batuta Summer Camp 2015.


13 August 2015, Tel Aviv, State of Israel – Almost 100 Filipino children are participating in the Philippine Embassy's "Bata-Batuta" summer program in Israel.

The annual month-long program aims to teach the children of Filipino migrant workers who have become strangers to Philippine culture, traditions, and values. Many children born to Filipinos in Israel speak only Hebrew and have never been to the Philippines.

First introduced in 2009, the "Bata-Batuta" Summer Camp is held for four Friday afternoons, between 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm, usually in August. Coinciding with the "Buwan ng Wika", the program seeks to educate children in Israel on Philippine culture and values through games such as "luksong tinik" and "tumbang preso", arts and crafts, songs and dances (tinikling), food, storytelling, and other fun activities taught by volunteer teachers from the Filipino community.

The Embassy is hosting two classes/groups for every session: Group 1 for children ages 4 to 6 and Group 2 for children ages 7 to 12. Around 23 and 73 children are enlisted for Groups 1 and 2, respectively. More children are expected to join in the remaining sessions.

Philippine Ambassador to Israel Neal Imperial reminded the parents of participating kids of their responsibility to help their children discover and imbibe Filipino tradition and values. "We do not want our children to grow up rootless and with a crisis of identity. It is our duty to bequeath to them our Filipino values and our heritage, even as they learn to adapt to Israeli culture," he said.

Many of the participating kids in the summer program are from the Bialik-Rogozin Public School in Tel Aviv where 45% of the 1,200 school enrollees are Filipinos. The school, which was featured in the Oscar-winning documentary "Strangers No More", caters to children of immigrants, foreign workers, and refugees from different countries. To help these Filipino students, the Embassy is working closely with Bialik-Rogozin on the possibility of incorporating a Filipino language and culture program for Filipino students in the school curriculum.--END--

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One of the much-anticipated activities of the Bata-Batuta Summer Camp 2015 is the session on Filipino games.