How did having fun and being entertained drastically move from plain, holistic, and organic (like tumbang preso using slippers and an empty sardines can and making bubbles using gumamela flowers) to lazy, one-dimensional, patience-reducing technology such as Playstations and smartphone app games? Toys of today are colourful, yes, but made of plastic. I love fabric and wooden toys. They are, yes, organic and natural. In all my years of teaching preschool, people have made the assumption that I probably owned a lot of toys. But because of the way toys today are made, I sadly admit I do not. Plastic just does not do it for me. That is why I make my own teaching materials as much as I can help it. Anyway, just last week, during play time, I watched my students engage in a delightful game of Chinese garter. My co-teacher and I watched with delight and listened as they chanted “10, 20, 30, 40...” and wondered how they learned to play the game. Wouldn’t it be nice if kids today took a break from their game consoles and engaged in real play?
That is why Balik Bukid could not have happened at a better time. When one is used to the city rush, there is nothing like going back to the basics and breathing fresh air, wearing a hat not because it’s fashionable but for protection, feeding rabbits, playing in tire swings, rowing a boat in small lake, patting a pony and riding a horse, playing mud races, laying a blanket on the ground and having a picnic, and eating organically grown produce. Pure holistic fun.
I wrote about my first Balik Bukid here. Two years and four Balik Bukid Fairs later, my mom, dad, and I, along with my cousins and newest niece, trooped back to the farm to witness it all over again on its fifth run!
Balik Bukid is located at Sta. Elena Golf and Country Estate in Laguna. It’s so close to Manila and yet it feels like a world away. Shopping and dining options abound along with get-down-and-dirty entertainment options such as a mud race, horse and carabao rides, sprinkler playgrounds, obstacle courses, arts and crafts, and a Waldorf play pen. My mom and I breathed in fresh air despite the sweltering heat as we strolled around the farm which was peppered with inspirational quotes painted on wooden tablets.
Watching the play pen for kids was heartwarming. My late baby brother was a Waldorf student.
That doll's hammock!
Check out the lovely birdcage chandelier in the Pavilion.
Outdoor eating area
A lot of the items sold in the bazaar were homegrown products, handmade lovelies, and organic items. Lovely children’s dresses and women’s apparels, bags, home sprays and bug sprays, wooden serving platters, shoes, leather goods, and – my favourite – handmade toys! I was so excited and enamored by them that I forgot to take pictures. What I did take home with me, though, was two tubs of Happy Bubbles and a bubblemaker fashioned from two sticks and cheesecloth to make giant bubbles with! Can’t wait to let my students play with them during outdoor play! Real play, y’all!
One will never feel guilty about devouring the food offered in the fair because they were all healthy and organic. My mom and I shared a brick-oven Margerita pizza and fresh apple juice. I also took home a box of Bocaditos from Baked by Anita. The Wild Mushroom with Gruyere &Truffle Oil and Spinach with Goat Cheese & Pine Nuts varieties were wonderful company when I had dinner that night.
How fun was all that? I was born and bred in the city but my husband, my family, and my friends know that I will always be a provincial lass at heart. I like the conveniences city life provides but it can never give the joy farm living gives. And even though Balik Bukid happens only twice a year, it’s nice to know that there is such a pleasant and peaceful haven to go to to make my provincial heart sing.
P.S. If you want to see more Balik Bukid pics from other people, check out Instagram using #balikbukid. I swear, I’m missing it all the more because of other people’s happy pictures!