EDUCATION program head StephanieOrlino of Smart Communications, singer and actor Aicelle
Santos, Sophia School principal Ann Abacan and the children pose with Koko Kwik-Kwak and Guyito
at the Read-Along session Saturday. KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ
‘Batibot,’ iconic kids’ show, returns at Read-Along
This was the concept behind the first Inquirer Read-Along session this year, which featured the comeback of “Batibot”—the Filipino version of the long-running American children’s television series “Sesame Street”—not on TV but on tablets and smartphones.
Some 25 children aged 5 to 9 joined the hour-long activity held at the Inquirer main office in Makati City yesterday morning, which featured “Batibot” stories of bravery and conservation as told by singer and theater actor Aicelle Santos and veteran storyteller and Sophia School principal Ann Abacan.
The session, held in coordination with Smart, also featured a hands-on introduction to the Batibot Android application.
Children danced and took selfies with Inquirer mascot Guyito and “Batibot’s” iconic bird mascot, Koko Kwik-Kwak.
“Batibot” is best remembered as the popular Filipino children’s educational TV program during in 1980s, featuring iconic puppets and animation that catered to the young.
Abacan read Tom Agulto and Rene Villanueva’s “Sina Linggit Laban Kay Barakuda,” about Linggit teaching other small fish to fight back against Barakuda, the predator.
Santos, on the other hand, retold a lively rendition of Villanueva and Lem Garcellano’s “Si Inggolok at ang Planeta Pakaskas,” which tells about the depletion of the character’s edible planet because of abuse and the gluttony of its inhabitants.
Santos said she felt the joy of the kids during the storytelling session and recalled a similar experience in high school when they would go to different daycare centers every month to teach kids.
“Seeing them enjoying the whole activity feels good and you can see that they yearn for learning,” Santos said.
Stephanie Orlino, education program head of Smart, introduced to the children and their parents the Batibot Android application, the first learning app in Filipino aligned with the Kindergarten curriculum of the Department of Education.
Amid the availability of other educational applications, Orlino said the mobile company team found the need for localized content, particularly the “Batibot” brand which used to be the learning partner of Filipino children in their homes.
The Batibot app, which may be downloaded for free on Android devices, features interactive games that teach the concepts of matching, sorting and grouping, including identifying shapes, colors, numbers, the alphabet and letter sounds.
The app also has a feature called “Kuwentong Batibot,” which contains over 20 animated stories that teach classic Filipino values.
“Even at school, we learn values through storytelling. In Batibot stories, parents and guardians can ask their children about the lessons they learned from the stories,” Orlino said.
For most of the kids, who came mainly from Metro Manila, Bulacan and Cavite, this was their first time to attend a Read-Along.
“Best day ever!” was how 6-year-old El-J described his first Read-Along experience. His parents, Victor and Malou Cuarto, who manage a reading tutorial center in Cavite, believe in the importance of teaching children how to read.
“Readers today will be leaders tomorrow,” they said.
While parents emphasized the importance of reading books, they said interactive learning apps such as Batibot complement traditional reading and storytelling methods.
Saturday’s session, hosted by Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega, was held in cooperation with Cyril Bonabente and Smart Communications.