05 Jun2008

Kids at Play…

by Marketman


There is something so peaceful, hopeful and positive about listening to kids at play, the occasional unbridled shrieks of joy and laughter, the apparent innocence, the more likely masked mischievousness. And this is all amplified when it is observed on a beautiful beach on a remote island. A late afternoon walk on Malapascua yielded these selected snapshots of local kids at play. There is a part of me, that of a dad, that appreciates the miracle of having kids and raising one’s progeny. And I completely understand and respect everyone’s right to have them. But there is also a part of me that is growing so incredibly disappointed that population growth in the Philippines is so totally out of control. I realize population is a loaded topic, rife with personal opinion, but the FACT is that so many millions of Filipino kids are being raised with barely enough food to survive, barely enough shelter to feel safe, and such substandard educations, that we simply cannot continue to ignore this ticking time bomb.


It isn’t the kids’ fault. Full stop. But having laid my personal views out there, I would like to return to these simple but heartwarming photos. Up top, under a navy blue sky, and yes, I mean a spectacular navy blue sky at dusk, I ran across these 4 kids playing on a banca on the beach. They were such hams. And when they realized I was taking their picture, they really got into it. I showed them some of the photos on my diital camera and they were STUNNED to instantly see their faces on the screen, and in such vivid color. I particularly liked this second photo of the girl with “Chanel” earrings. How much more distant could she be from Coco Chanel’s Rue Cambon atelier, yet in her own way, so beautifully garbed in island attire, ready do the walk down the sand runway… :)


These kids, earlier in the afternoon playing in the fine sand, one of them insisting on burying his pet dog under sand! The dog was accommodating but shook off the sand when it got to his neck. What I would have given for a bag filled with water pistols so two dozen of them could squirt each other from behind their sand bunkers…


And elsewhere on the island, I spotted some kids playing on their homemade billiards table, in miniature, using marbles instead of the larger billiards balls. Ah, where will they all be 20 years hence, and how many progeny of their own will they add to the Philippine population… sigh.



  1. Quillene says:

    Ah, the joy of childhood!

    Carefree, “perpetually sunny” with not a care in the world….

    What blessing! What bliss!

    Jun 5, 2008 | 7:07 am


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  3. Edwin D. says:

    The innocence of having no care at all… except for homework.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 7:26 am

  4. thelma says:


    Jun 5, 2008 | 8:18 am

  5. kasseopeia says:

    A few of my childhood memories: weekends on the beach, cooking and eating lunch in the garden on some Sundays, my siblings and I rushing for my dad’s slippers when my dad comes home from work in the evening, raiding my parents’ book collection, catching garden toads and dragonflies, listening crickets at night.

    It’s sadder that the large families are usually from the lower income brackets – those who could LEAST afford to raise many children. Some people I know have actually said that these people need another diversion aside from…err… procreation. Condoms aren’t the answer, said my pastor friend. Buying each poor family a TV might even slow the population growth, suggested a Socio professor of mine.

    The saddest of it all is that these children are usually not aware of these problems (lack of food, shelter and education). But at least they’re enjoying their childhood. For some, it never even happens.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 9:28 am

  6. The Jolly Jetsetter says:

    I am trying to find the article that mentioned we needed 20 billion to end the food crisis, dont’ quote my specs but the total amount is really not that much when you put it on an international scale.

    As always, when you have food problems in a world with more than enough for everyone, it is a matter of priorities and agendas, not resources.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 9:32 am

  7. Rachel Sweets says:

    The J J, I think that billions of pesos worth, supposedly alloted for the Hunger and Poverty Mitigation Program and launched by the government was shoved in the pockets of ?*!%@&* for political propaganda…. What’s worse, the enormous amount could even be partially lost to corruption that has reached meteoric height…

    I heard someone say, “to eradicate poverty, strong leadership committed to welfare is necessary to ensure investment in social services, agriculture, and asset reforms…” hhhmmm… O…K… So, i wonder how in heavens name will this ever be implemented!

    Parents (and not) offer mixed views on whether the right kids are getting the right services, with many saying too many special-needs children lose out because parents are not aware of what’s available.

    True enough, “not resources, it is a matter of priorities and agenda…” Clearly, identifying problems and crafting solutions.


    Jun 5, 2008 | 12:02 pm

  8. maddie says:

    I love that billiards table! To create something sooo cool with the limited resources that you have, that’s genius! I wish that can be turned into real opportunities for that kid someday. *Sigh*

    Love the Chanel girl!

    Jun 5, 2008 | 12:23 pm

  9. sunset says:

    The growing population in our country makes me so sad. Just think of what lies ahead for the kids of those not so fortunate families. What and where would they be years after their childhood. I just hate those parents who can’t help themselves but bear a child every single year regardless of the fact that they can’t even feed themselves. (Especially those asking for alms along the highways with a baby clutched in their arms! Do they even think of the future of their kids? *sigh*) No wonder many of these kids soon commit themselves to illegal acts at early age like prostitution, theft, and every single crime there is, all that simply because they need to eat. Gone are those days where making a kid happy is just for a 5 centavo ice cream and a playground of moon and stars.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 2:11 pm

  10. sunset says:

    On second thought, based on your pictures, a playground of just moon and stars can still make some of them happy. (I would too if I’m at the beach *grin*) But go to the city and the thing that can make some of them really shriek in laughter are Play Station and Barbie… (It gets pretty expensive to raise kids now a days, I panic just thinking how I would do when I get myself to have one someday!)

    Jun 5, 2008 | 2:39 pm

  11. quiapo says:

    I am reminded of a cartoon years ago which shows 2 old friends lying on an island beach, one saying to the other, ” This island was not enough for me, I knew I could be more than a fisherman, so I studied hard, got a scholarship to the big city, and now that I am a high powered executive and work really hard, I can afford to take a few weeks off every year and lie on the sand with you”.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 3:05 pm

  12. Katrina says:

    Totally agree with you about over-population! Our government hasn’t done nearly enough to stem the tide, and it’s one of the top problems this country faces. Most of the Phils.’ challenges (poverty, underemployment, crime, etc.) could more easily be overcome if there weren’t so darn many of us. And with the worldwide crises of global warming, food shortages, drought, and wars, I just think it’s irresponsible to have lots of kids, no matter how wealthy you are. My belief is, have two at the most (so that you just replace the two parents for the next generation), and if you still want more, adopt. With all the unwanted and uncared-for children around us, it’s a shame more people don’t adopt. Wanting to raise one’s “own flesh and blood,” while understandable (I admit to the same desire) is, in the end, just vanity.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 3:10 pm

  13. quiapo says:

    Britain had similar pressures onits food resources in the period from 1750 – 1850, when the population doubled. Malthus forecast inevitable doom, pointing out that the population was increasing faster than food resources could increase. Thre was also social dislocation, a old strip farming methods of traditonal farming were displaced by enclosures of large tracts of land, with the dispossessed peasants no longer having a source of income.
    However, Malthus predictions did not occur (some people say they have only been delayed) because the factory system with the coming of the Industrial Revolution increased productivity to keep pace with population growth, and also provided work for the former agricultural workers. There was also the escape valve of the colonies, where excess population could be shipped off to the US or Australia.
    Now we are facing a similar situation, but tere is no escape valve as International Borders are no longer permeable. However we have the overseas worker phenomena, as unsatisfactory as it may be, and there is our own diaspora where we go overseas to make a new life for our childen as painful as it may be ( we are the “lucky” ones), Hopefully our domestic productivity is also growing, with profits staying in the Philippines, so the country can benefit from Rostow’s “takeoff” stage.. I have now been away for 37 years, with rare trips back, and there is sadness and some guilt for those left behind, as well as fear for the future of our much loved country.

    Jun 5, 2008 | 4:12 pm

  14. connieC says:

    On a recent trip to the Caribbean islands, where life is laid back and people rely mainly on tourism, (with the exception of Barbados and another island which have natural gas as added resource) the inhabitants appear to have regulated their population.They surely have more time in their hands for romancing , but education and health care are free for all and are likely very important factors in making life choices along with availability of the means to practice birth control. Now, how do we do that with a population of nearly 90 M and still counting? Besides, in the eyes of the Catholic Church, the C word is still taboo!

    Thank you MM for keeping us “entertained” while you are on holiday and bringing social issues to our attention. Now we also get food for thought. I love you MM!

    Jun 5, 2008 | 9:21 pm

  15. lyna says:

    these are the things our children are missing now – getting dirty, playing in the sand, bathe in the rain, climbing fruit trees, playing patentero or piko…. Now they stay indoors with computers, play station and other techno gadgets. Ayah! the price of progress

    Jun 6, 2008 | 6:48 pm

  16. Ipat says:

    Sunset, I actually haven’t seen a kid playing playstation or barbie and shrieking with delight. It’s sad but these types of entertainment may be addictive but not quite as fully enjoyable as the other stuff. And Rachel Sweets, I agree but what really irks us is the stealing, not the concept of welfare. http://ipatluna.multiply.com/links/item/24 I suppose the question really is why are we leaving it to the hands of government? Why will we trust them with this when we know they rob us blind? Could it be because that way, we ourselves do not have to do anything? And if we had a chance to do anything about population as concerned citizens, what would that be?

    Jun 9, 2008 | 12:50 pm

  17. leticia says:

    I can only sigh viewing those pictures! Thanks MM! I made me reflect for a moment

    I was born and raised by my fisherman father and my plain housewife mother in a very humble beach house in one of the 7,100 islands of our beloved Philippines.

    At 15, i have to go to the big city to enter the university.

    Now at 55, i am still working, for maybe another 5years more, and will be going back to my beach house where i can do the things i missed doing in the last 45 years.

    God bless us all.

    Jun 11, 2008 | 9:19 pm

  18. Bing says:

    Giving children their childhood matters. I recall the joys of catching dragonflies, cracking pili nuts open with flat stones, playing basketball with our neighbors (they had a half court in their backyard), balancing on and walking the fence around the house, playing games in our “clubhouse” (actually a shaded portion on the roof of the pool’s pump shed of another neighbor), piko with colored chalk, biking, skateboarding, and always running off to play. Everything was play! And yes, outdoors!

    Whatever one’s station in life, I believe that each and every adult must feel compelled to contribute to a child’s joys. It makes for a better world, definitely.

    Jun 12, 2008 | 7:18 am


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