Making Mindanao children’s “right to play” a reality

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“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Simple joys that create a huge difference in the lives of our children.

It started with a chance visit in the public school where I completed elementary education in Mindanao. I was actually thinking of putting up a library. I believe it is among those urgently needed. It still is, of course.

After a long-winded discussion about the needs in public schools, my sister Nanette and I narrowed down our conversation to … playgrounds! Yeah, we did not have one 40+ years back when I was there. How did we play?

We did hide and seek on trees and classrooms, “tumbang preso” using old tin cans that you need to kick or hit with a slipper so you can do a home run in water marked points.

The first time I saw a real playground – with swing, see-saw and slide – was when I went to Davao City and my parents took us in an amusement center. I was already 12 years old by then.

I went to college, got married, worked for over 20 years, raised three children and traveled to more than 24 countries. I was quite ashamed on that day this realization hit me – thousands of children were deprived because we forgot to lift a finger.

It’s not too late, is it?

I started the campaign by writing a blog here last September 2001 (“My 57yo school needs a playground”) and got a hearty response here and abroad. Gradually support from relatives, friends and alumni of the school trickled in.

My inspiring friend Stephanie Zito of the #give10 project, then based in Cambodia  and now back in the US, began egging me to make it a bigger project. Perhaps set sights on more schools?

She donated to the project and blogged for my cause. Some friends followed. Engr. Vernie Basilio of Marbel Universal Trading, Inc. (MUTI) donated a set of swing, see-saw and slide. Yeah, why only in my school?

When it opened in December 2012, the queue was long but the children waited patiently for their turn.

Just recently, I rounded-up friends to raise the campaign to the next level – the dream is fast becoming a reality. Rommel Fuerte came excited to help. A Mindanaoan, too, and a strategy expert, he would give the plan a direction.

Well, like maybe black and white spots gradually turning multi-colored. What did they say – a journey begins with a single step?

Are you from Mindanao? Or you have a heart for the children of Mindanao? Let’s join hands and do this!

Email me at for any queries, support or suggestions.

“Life is a song – sing it. Life is a game – play it. Life is a challenge – meet it. Life is a dream – realize it. Life is a sacrifice – offer it. Life is love – enjoy it.” – Sai Baba

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