Friday, February 11, 2011

Filemon Mamon

Do you intend to educate children about the benefits of healthy living?  This is one of the best books to read to them!

Filemon Mamon is an overweight child, loved by his parents and friends.  He was called as such because his body depicts that of a “mammon”:  round and soft.

Filemon aimed to be Andres Bonifacio, the main character of  their school play.  Though he was able to get the role, he couldn’t get through the practices because he easily got tired and couldn’t catch his breath.  When he was replaced, it finally sunk unto him that his overweight body is a big disadvantage for him.  This is when he finally got into exercise enjoy  health diet.  He was also joined by his overweight parents.  In the end, even if he was still not able to get the lead role, he became healthier and fitter individual.

When I read this book, I explain to the children that more weight is not translatable to an increase in health.  I discuss the different illnesses that they could get if they become overweight.  Moreover, I also explain that they could not physical activities, which comes off as the best motivation for them.

Alamat ng Ampalaya

One of the ways I entice children to eat vegetables is to read, “Alamat ng Ampalaya” (The Legend of the Bitter Gourd).

When I read the story, I introduce or familiarize them with the different kinds of vegetables available.  I ask them to name the vegetables in the pages of the book.  I also understand that one of the most difficult vegetable to eat is “ampalaya” and so this book proves effective.

Here’s how the legend goes:

“Ampalaya” was once a tasteless, colorless vegetable, unlike the other vegetables from “Bayan ng Sariwa”. This made him an envious, grumpy vegetable.  To solve his problem, he stole the colors, tastes, and beauty of the other vegetables.  But as all wrongdoings come with punishment, he was cursed to have all the colors, tastes, and beauty that he stole!  This may come off as a “weird” punishment but what happened was that all of them fought with each other.  When white, red, green, purple and yellow shouted at each other, dark green came about.  When sweet, sour, salty shouted at each other, bitterness emerged.  Hence, the “ampalaya” that we know now is bitter and dark green.

The story further encourages children to “forgive” ampalaya by at least tasting him when he is served on our tables. 

Fortunately, most children nowadays have come to eat “ampalaya” because of its health benefits.  Some parents have also learned to lessen its bitterness by soaking it in water with salt prior to cooking.  Others create different dishes with “ampalaya”: omelette, “ginisang ampalaya with bihon”, etc.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alamat ng Sibuyas

One of my favorite books is “Ang Alamat ng Sibuyas”.  The children also request this book from time to time.  It is indeed a fun book to read especially when I instruct the children to “whine and cry” with me like Sibuyan, the main character in the story. 

Sibuyan is a little girl who gets what she wants by crying.  She cries so much that as the story claims, the roosters do not crow in the morning for even they cannot sleep with the loud whining of Sibuyan.  She cries because this is the only way for her to get what she wants. 

But alas, the fairy of tears, Dumilat, cannot withstand her crying anymore and cursed Sibuyan.  She cannot anymore cry.  So even when Sibuyan was filled with sadness or hurt, she cannot cry, as much as this time, she really needed to.  Whenever Sibuyan tried to cry, she grew rounder and rounder until one day, roots grew on her feet and leaves from her hair.  Her parents tried to find her but what they saw is a plant that is round, and as if wearing a red malong, just like Sibuyan.

This is what they believed to be the first onion, or  "sibuyas".  So whenever we chop onions, it is as if we are releasing Sibuyan’s tears.

I end this story by asking the children what Sibuyan has been doing throughout most of the story, to which they reply that she cries a lot.  I also ask the children if they think crying is good or bad.  Most would say it is bad--- they brave or already old enough to cry.  Some would say that it is OK.  It is normal to cry especially when one is hurt or in pain.  “Mahirap naman po itago ang nararamdaman.”.  But I clarify that what makes crying wrong is when a child uses this to get what he/she wants.  I further processed by asking them what they wished from their parents last Christmas.  I got surprised that they replied, “PSP, laptop, cellphone, etc”.  Really?! Those are what children ask for these days?  What ever happened to “simply new clothes and shoes, mommy?”  I had to reiterate that as it is, their parents are spending so much for their medicines, fare (especially since most of them came from the province), and other basic needs so it is such a bonus to get these luxury items.  I am not sure if they understood it but I hope I saved mommy and daddy from another whining child like Sibuyan.