Play is Cool at the Joy Schools

Why Mondelez Philippines believes in Play and Why You Should Too

Iring-iring is a game where the players sit in a circle with their hands behind their backs. The “Taya” or “It” drops a handkerchief behind one person and he/she must catch the “Taya” before the latter sits in his vacated spot in the circle or else he/she becomes the new “Taya.”

Younger generations will never know that “around the world” has a different meaning outside of the conventional one. Back in the days when “Patintero” was one of the few things kids did at 4:00 pm, you were powerful if you were the “around the world” – meaning the only player who could walk on all the lines and tag players. Many happy memories were created by this game, which certainly deserves to be brought back.

It’s not even about nostalgia or wanting to relive the golden moments of youth. Play is much more than a game. It is a learning avenue too. One that Mondelez Philippines hopes the adopted students of its Joy Schools program will re-discover through its “Play is Cool” challenge.

Joy Schools is a three-year adoption program of Mondelez Philippines, the company formerly named Kraft Foods. As a maker of delicious snack products like Tang, Eden Cheese, Cheez Whiz and Oreo, the Company is dedicated to helping promote balanced nutrition and active play among its six adopted public elementary schools. The Joy Schools is implemented together with partner the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

To energize students for learning and play, a 9-month daily feeding program for undernourished students is also part of the Joy Schools program.

To complement its ongoing daily feeding program for 1,200 undernourished students, the Company has been similarly helping them become stronger and more active through play. The World Health Organization cites the benefits of doing physical activity such as play to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact children aged 5-17 years old are recommended to have at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity everyday (WHO. 2015). Together with a balanced diet comprised of a variety of foods to provide nutritional needs, physical activity is one of the keys to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Play is not Laru-Laro Lang. The Ateneo Center for Educational Development (ACED) has long been a partner of the Joy Schools program and Mondelez Philippines by providing valuable learning to teachers of the adopted schools. This time they’ve used their experience in promoting excellence in education by facilitating the “Play is Cool” challenge.

Shares ACED Executive Director Carmela Oracion: “We have seen the benefits of both academic learning and those that come from interaction, including play. Having regular active play opportunities does not only help promote strong bodies. Regular active play also helps develop the students' brains and contributes positively to a child's ability to learn. Additionally, it also teaches children the value of fair play and team work. We’re very happy to be working with Mondelez Philippines in this endeavor to help children love play more and as an added benefit, re-learn seemingly forgotten Filipino games.”

Kadang Kadang and Iring-iring. “Play is Cool” was a play competition among five adopted Joy Schools in Manila held last October 1, 2015 at the Padre Zamora Elementary School in Pasay – one of the adopted Joy Schools. Students re-learned the Filipino games of their parents’ youth and at the end engaged in a friendly competition against each other. “This does not stop with the event though,” adds PBSP Executive Director Rafael Lopa. “The Joy Schools is a sustainability program to empower students, teachers and even parents to avoid future barriers to nutrition, education and a better life. Thus we have asked for the commitment of the schools to ensure the games continue to be played even after the event, to become part of their daily academic and physical education.”

Bulong Pari was one of the games played during the Joy Schools “Play is Cool” event. In this game, teams must pass one message to each other by whispering it, ensuring the message doesn’t get lost along the way. Thereby promoting the value of listening.

Here’s an educational rundown of the games the students played – which even adults could benefit from re-learning. There was “Kadang Kadang” a relay game where competitors try to complete the race first while wearing coconut shell stilts. “Iring-iring” is a game where a circle is formed and a “Taya” or “It” is chosen. The “Taya” goes around the circle and drops a handkerchief behind one person. That person must pick up the handkerchief and tag the “Taya” before the latter is able to sit in his vacated spot in the circle. Otherwise he becomes the new “Taya.”

The intriguing and hilarious “Bulong Pari” and the more commonly known Agawan ng Buko, Tumbang Preso, Sipa, Pabitin and Basagan ng Palayok were re-learned and played as well.

Mondelez Philippines aims to create joyful centers of learning where children’s nutrition and well-being are given focus. This deep-well and roundabout playground in the Company’s adopted Joy School in Tacloban aims to encourage kids to play more – all while pumping water to the school every time the kids play.

The “Play is Cool” challenge is one of many activities under the Joy Schools program to promote active play among students. A deep well pump seesaw and roundabout currently provide students in Panalaron Central Elementary School in Tacloban - the sixth adopted Joy School, avenues for fun and water to the school for washing and cleaning purposes.

This and many other initiatives aim to create joyful centers of learning for the students. Where their nutrition, education, well-being and future are being taken care of.

For more information on Mondelez Philippines’ Joy Schools program, visit