Monday, February 25, 2013

Mommy Mondays: learning trips

Sibika is hard enough for Noah because of the language barrier. So imagine how hard it is for him to memorize practically-alien terms as well as understand the terms' meaning or significance in Filipino. Last December, his Sibika lessons had to do with places in the Philippines. It started with Mga Magagandang Tanawin sa Pilipinas (Beautiful Places in the Philippines) like Bulkang Mayon, Pagudpod Beach, San Juanico Bridge, Banaue Rice Terraces, Pasonanca Park & Talon ng Maria Cristina. He had to memorize the places' names in Filipino, as well as a description of the sight & the province where they can be found. Then they moved on to a lesson on Mga Makasaysayang Pook sa Pilipinas (Philippine Historical Places). There were a total of 6 historical places in his lesson, 4 of which were found in Metro Manila (unlike the places in his previous lesson). So on the Sunday of that week, I decided to take Noah on a learning trip. I figured a real experience would make it easier to recall the new set of difficult-to-remember places.

First stop was Luneta Park. 

Noah got to see Rizal's Monument in full color vs the small black & white photo in his book. I told him this was where Rizal was shot and that it used to be called "Bagumbayan". He of course had to ask why we couldn't go near it (it was cordoned off), why the guards didn't move, and if the guards would move if tickled.

Second stop was Fort Santiago. 

Noah enjoyed Fort Santiago. He got to ride a kalesa (horse-drawn carriage). He even sat in front with the kutsero (carriage driver).

He had fun literally following the footsteps of Rizal. We just went the wrong way so Noah was walking in the opposite direction.

He did enjoy comparing the size of his foot to Rizal's.

And even his height vs. the Jose Rizal statue in his jail cell.

I think this is what helped with Noah's lesson best. He got to see Rizal in a jail cell. How easy will it be now to remember that Fort Santiago was where Rizal was imprisoned?

My Lola (my grandmother from here & here) was actually imprisoned in Fort Santiago as well. So Noah kept asking where Lola's jail cell was. He was obsessed with finding it, searching the place, until we found the dungeons and assumed that was where Lola was imprisoned.

I thought Noah would be eager to get out of the sweltering heat after going through the Fort Santiago gate. But he was still interested to explore the plaza (Plaza Moriones) between the ticket booth (first gate) and the real Fort Santiago gate. He even ran to this Jose Rizal monument in the middle of the plaza and right under the hot sun.

I was horrified when I saw this photo because I thought he was pretending to pee - a signature photo op pose of the hubby. But Noah was genuinely observing the monument. Ooohh, real learning!

He got a photo taken as a cardboard guard and with a real-life guard!

Noah pretended to smoke General MacArthur's pipe. It was only when I saw the photos that I realized his mouth actually touched the pipe. Horror!

He also (eeep!) tugged at the cross of some priests.

Noah played in this shaded area for a while. The Fort Santiago map says these were American Barracks Ruins. He pretended to fire the canon...

And tried to pull this (is-it-called-a-)bullet? 

After tugging on a few more bullets, we finally left Fort Santiago.

The last two weren't actually stops... because we just drove past them. I just told Noah to watch out for them through the window. We passed Espana going home so Noah could catch a glimpse of the Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas, where Jose Rizal studied. 

We also drove by Ortigas Avenue so Noah watched out for the EDSA Shrine (where today's historical event took place), the last on our list of Manila historical places.

Noah scored very well in his Sibika test. I don't know for sure if it was because of our little learning trip. I do know the learning trip has turned out to be a gift that keeps on giving. You see, before heading to UST that Sunday in December, since we were already in Manila, we also drove by the Intramuros Walls, Binondo Church and the Bonifacio Monument. Last week, Noah's Sibika lesson was Philippine Heroes and when we got to Andres Bonifacio, I asked him if he remembered the Bonifacio Monument from our learning trip. He did! And now, with that vision in his head of the monument with people fighting with swords and the KKK flag, it is easy for Noah to remember what Andres Bonifacio did for our country.

Turns out, tutoring need not be limited to worksheets. Real-life experiences are a fun way of tutoring your children. 

Photos are all my own.

Click here for previous posts from the Mommy Mondays series.


  1. I viewed this with the little girl and we want to go too!

    1. Go go T! A DIY you can't fit into a drawer. Hehe. Have fun!