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.