Students from public elementary schools in Manila and Camanava, and children orphaned by the war on drugs, shout for joy at the “Batang Karapat- Dapat” festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines
The kids are all right
Artists join a gaggle of schoolchildren in ‘Batang Karapat-Dapat’—a festival celebrating the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Lawyer Gigo Alampay remembers it well. In the late 1980s, he saw a short animation film, “The Man Who Planted Trees,” based on a short story published in 1953 by French author Jean Giono.
“It was inspiring because it speaks of the power of one man to make meaningful change,” Alampay told Lifestyle. “He kept on planting trees, revitalized a community which led to the creation of a forest…”
The film won a number of awards including an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1987.
Alampay wanted to adapt it to the Philippine setting. In 2005, he asked writer Ogie Rivera and artist Romeo Forbes to collaborate on a book.
So far, Alampay has published 30 books as head of the Center for Art, New Ventures & Sustainable Development (Canvas).
In 2018, Canvas teamed up with Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) in “Karapat-Dapat”—a book that depicts the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child in a visually attractive manner. It includes coloring and drawing pages, mazes and puzzles. It is recommended for all kids 17 years old and below.
Artists from various fields joined a gaggle of schoolchildren in “Batang Karapat-Dapat,” a festival to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, held recently at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP).
The kids at the inaugural day were ecstatic over the presence of Yesha Camile, JM Canlas and Xia Vigor, cast members of the popular children’s television show “Team Yey.”
The best every day
The three danced, posed for selfies, signed books and shared words of wisdom on how to be “the best every day in your own way.”
During the four-day festival, various activities were held at different areas of the CCP.
The CCP Arts Education’s Batang Sining, Sining Alamin and Ang INK conducted dance, art, theater and music workshops for children.
From the Karapat-Dapat multiarts workshops, the kids also learned about their rights as children, which include the right to play, to learn, to be healthy, to grow and be nurtured in a safe environment.
Canvas gave away 250 books daily. Students from public elementary schools in Manila City and Camanava areas, and children orphaned by the war on drugs were part of the beneficiaries.
The highlight of the festival was a storytelling collaboration performance, “Mga Kuwentong Karapat-Dapat,” which combined three Canvas-published books, and featured the performance and direction of Abner Delina Jr., known as Kuya Fidel in the “Batibot” revival.
Images of a happy home unfolded in Anino Shadowplay Collective’s interpretation of “Tahan na Tahanan.”
The Daloy Dance Company expressed the role of society and the vitality of hope in “Nadia and the Blue Stars.”
Anima Tierra depicted the environmental tale of “Inang Kalikasan’s Bad Hair Day” through its percussive beats and enchanting vocals inspired by traditional world music.
Asked what’s the greatest thing he gets out of publishing children’s books, Alampay said, “It’s fulfilling. You learn a lot from children. When you go to the book-giving events, nakapila sila, kita mo mukha nila, masayang-masaya sila. The first thing they do is read the book aloud. There’s this buzzing sound, sabay-sabay sila.”