Our 5th annual at-home Pinoy Camp started on Monday! Yehey! 😉
Instead of our usual format of indoor activities though, the kids begged to stay outside in spite of the hot humid weather. Fully expecting at least one of them to beg to come in or pick a fight with a sibling within the first 15 minutes, I was surprised when neither occurred. And so, considering all this a minor miracle, I relented.
Outdoors it was for Day 1 of Pinoy Camp 2015! Besides, what better way to begin immersing oneself in Filipino culture than to first experience Philippine-like weather?
The first order of business (and for most of the day) was of course, play.
A bunch of plastic cups emerged from the pantry, and a tower was built just like Tito Randy’s at the picnic the day before. But after the wind promptly knocked this down, the cups were nested to make a single cup (no tin cans could be found), and the thrilling game of tumbang preso began.
Since it proved quite difficult to “tumba” (knock over) the cup, the kids played a simplified version, with no taya (“It”) chasing the rest of the kids as they tried to knock the cup over with their shoes. They simply drew a line on the ground, stood behind it, took off their shoes and just basically took turns trying to knock down the cup with a shoe.
I’d forgotten how much fun can be had with some plastic cups and a bunch of shoes!
Peals of laughter rang through the air for at least a half hour straight – amazingly uninterrupted by any whining, yelling or crying. The blackened soles of their feet from running back and forth barefoot on the driveway was a small price to pay.
Breakfast that morning had been simple – rice and some “Tender Juicy” hotdogs from a friend – so for lunch, the plan was to make empanadas with the kids. I had hoped they would be excited as usual to help roll out the dough, fill and seal empanadas with me. But not this time.
They were more interested in playing “bahay-bahayan” (play house) outside with a pop-up tent – a freebie from a Duty Free shop back home once. And so while I made a quick version of turkey empanada (using some leftover puff pastry and browned ground turkey meant for lasagna), the kids set up house.
A few chairs were put to use and a cooler served as a table, housing a pitcher of ice water as well. Fortunately, empanadas are perfect for picnics, and so lunch was served inside their little “bahay“.
Outdoor play likely would have continued until dinner, were it not for another scheduled activity elsewhere. As we had no time or ingredients to make halu-halo, the kids enjoyed some banana berry smoothies instead for merienda (snack), before showering and heading out the door.
The only “formal” lesson the kids received on Day 1 was the Tagalog translation of the Sign of the Cross – “Sa ngalan ng Ama, at ng Anak, at ng Espiritu Santo. Amen.” Easy enough. But used daily before grace at every meal, the kids will hopefully soon be fluent at it once again.
Did the kids learn anything else from Day 1 of Pinoy Camp? Likely not enough to pass any written test. But I would dare say that the Filipino culture interwoven with the memories made on that day will certainly be remembered far readily and for far longer than anything I could have taught them with books indoors.
Perhaps more importantly, all the Pinoy games and food they had on Day 1 of Pinoy Camp nourished not only their bodies but their hearts and minds as well – with happy memories of enjoying Filipino culture and fun together.