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Gary Valenciano Reintroduces Traditional Filipino Games To The Younger Generation Through Music And Arts



‘Tara...Laro Tayo!’ was the rallying cry led by Gary Valenciano as this year’s Awit at Laro, launched at the Greenbelt 5 Gallery on a night that had special significance for Tukod Foundation’s Bambi Mañosa-Tanjutco. As UNICEF’s national ambassador, Gary is one with Bambi in this Awit at Laro campaign that hopes to reintroduce traditional games to a new generation of children through music and the arts.


Gary Valenciano welcoming us to Awit at Laro.



Drawing inspiration from traditional Filipino songs of yesteryear, and children’s games, this project aims to raise funds for UNICEF, Tukod Foundation, and the Valenciano’s Shining Light Foundation. A wonderful songbook with lyrics and special artwork highlights how this project brought together more than a hundred of the country’s top musical performers, arrangers, and songwriters to reinterpret 20 songs. From Ryan Cayabyab (National Artist for Music 2018) to Lea Salonga, to Yeng Constantino and KZ Tandingan, a unique code found in the songbook will allow you to download the music, and discover who else collaborated musically on this joyful project. 




And how these funds would be raised for the advocacies came in a very special manner. A very original art sale featuring the likes of Leeroy New, Tad Ermitaño, Daniel de la Cruz, Ramon Orlina, among others, was organized. They were basically asked to turn doors into Art. The message being, Let’s step out and play!


National Artist for Architecture Bobby Mañosa with his family. His philosophy to life inspired Tukod the Mañosa Group Foundation. 

Basti and cousin Andi Mañosa, posing beside the set of doors created by their Lolo, National Artist for Architecture Bobby Mañosa.




There will be Awit at Laro Mall tours with an initial grand concert launch on November 3 at Glorietta. Subsequent to this, mini-concerts every weekend in 22 Ayala Malls nationwide will continue up to December. Art installations depicting the songs will happen in January of the new year, created by selected student groups from different universities, supervised by an artist/mentor.  Among the participating schools are De La Salle-College of St. Benilde, Far Easter University, Universty of Santo Tomas, Philippine Women's University, and Universoty of the East. A bike race led by Gary happens in February 2019.


Ramon Orlina beside his ‘door’.

Andi and her mother, Kat Sandejas-Mañosa, beside the door of Michael Cacnio.


These are grand and extensive plans for making Awit at Laro be felt by the public; and it was great hearing both Bambi and Gary be so enthusiastic over what they have in store as the activities of the year. Tukod is literally the wooden strut that supports the structures of traditional Filipino homes, and it also refers to the act of helping others rise from adversity. Through Awit at Laro, the organizers hope to inspire and delight the youth, promoting love of country, and pride in Philippine art and culture. 

We can only wish the best to both Bambi & Gary as they invite us on this musical and artistic journey of play.


Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng

Lead images from @awitatlaro