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Saturday, July 20, 2019

A grassy place to play

THE place has been there for the longest time, mostly neglected. Today, approximately 8,000 square meters of land, at the back, and partly to the side of Fort San Pedro, is now a playground, not just for kids but also for adults.

Entering the grassy expanse, one sees the colorful playground equipment for kids, donated by the Gaisano’s Vicsal Foundation. It is properly fenced off so no child can enter without adult supervision. Towards the back of the children’s playground is a stage, which still needs rehabilitation (the funds are available but the plans for it have not been approved).

Beside it is the start of the section of the playground called ”Duwa.” It is dedicated to native games and funded mainly by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Incorporated.

There’s a row of sungkaan, some 10 of them firmly fixed on the ground with concrete.

A grassy place to play
REST. The walkway has benches where strollers can take a rest. (Allan Defensor)


The rest room is worth noting because from the outside, it looks like a spa. Trust Dr. Ado Macaraya, commissioner of the Parks and Playgrounds Commission, to save something—this case, stones from the walkway of Plaza Indendencia that had been replaced—and reuse them. Beside this is another row not of sunkaan but of nine damahan, dama tables that can also be used also a chess tables (provided people bring their own chess sets) or use as picnic tables.

At the expanse fronting these native games is the beach volleyball training ground for the Philippine (not Cebu) team. Beside it are two courts for tubig-tubig. Then around an acacia tree are four mini-circular concrete courts for takyan games.

Dr. Macaraya says the takyan game actually has rules but most children who play it do not know about it. (The game is to be played within a circle, eight meters in circumference. A player who steps out of the circle loses his points. A player whose takyan lands outside the circle loses half his points.)

Other native games can be played in this venue. The emphasis on native games is to preserve the culture of play in our heritage, before it loses out entirely to computer games or TV watching and other modern forms of entertainment. And before children lose their need for interactive play, their need to compete, socialize and to bond with their peers.

The path lining the far side of the playground can be used for a bit of jogging. The rest of the place can be used for picnicking and for whatever other games the playground visitor fancies. Or they can just stroll around, enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful scenery around them.

Incidentally, Dr. Macaraya says the mowing of the lawn will be partly “helped” by two goats that will feed on the grass, and whose droppings will lure birds to come to the place—all this for sound ecology, which will also make the playground more interesting with birds flying about.

It has taken quite some time to finish the playground. Now that it is there, go and enjoy the place. And please, please, keep it as clean and as green as it should be.
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