Thursday, February 4, 2016

At Mano Amiga, “We Heart Art!”

They say you know what genuine love is really like if you know how to love like a child. We at Mano Amiga believe that #EveryChildCan and that children are also the ones who can express love in the best and most creative ways.

Last January 30, 2016, Saturday, Mano Amiga's 5th grade students enjoyed a Valentine-themed art workshop wherein they got to make Valentine’s Day cards for their friends and loved ones. Helping them out were the volunteers who generously shared their time and creativity to the Mano Amiga kids. Some of them included, Filipino print medium artist, Lenore Lim. 

The afternoon was filled with bliss as the kids and the volunteers spent their time cutting paper hearts and sticking them onto their handmade cards. Written on the cards were their heartfelt notes to their loved ones and friends. Aside from this, the kids also got to enjoy learning how to do paper mosaic.

One of the 5th graders, Carlos, made a card especially for his friends who were also part of the same art workshop. Immediately after making the card, he asked, "Can I give it to them already?" And he approached them with much excitement and joy.

(L-R) Gr. 5 students Carlos, Benz and Arzel posing with their
Valentine's card from Carlos

This is the sort of love you know is genuine and unconditional. One that longs to be expressed. One that does not expect anything in return.
It is this same kind of love, we believe, that has propelled our volunteers to take time and be with the kids that day, albeit for just a short while.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was when the kids were given the chance to draw their dream school and dream playground. It was inspiring to see these little ones dream extraordinary dreams for their future school. These dreams continue to inspire Mano Amiga to work harder so that when it’s finally time to transfer in the new Mano Amiga campus, these dreams will beautifully come to life.


We love having volunteers join the kids during various activities in Mano Amiga. Join us in our upcoming volunteer Activity - TEACHERS' DAY OFF!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Volunteer Call Out! - We heart ART

Be an Art teacher for a day! Help us facilitate a Valentines Day- themed workshop for the Mano Amiga 5th grade students. Activities include making Vday cards and decor through crayon melting, paper mache and paper mosaic, using recycled paper and old crayons.

Volunteer fee: None. But volunteers must bring some materials, water and snack.
To reserve a slot/ For Inquiries:

Frequencies: Giving voice to the youth through Art

One of the canvasses on display at the 2015 Venice Biennale, as part of Oscar Murillo's Frequencies Project. Photo courtesy of

“What if I tell you that from now on you can write on your arm chairs? In fact you can draw on them, color it, do whatever you want using the canvasses we just installed? Would you like that?”, asks Frequencies Project head Clara Dublanc to a group of wide-eyed 5th grade Mano Amiga students. 

“The only rule is, there are NO DESIGN RULES. All we want is for you to tell us what you’re thinking of and what you want to say, using these canvasses.”

Frequencies is a long-term project conceptualised by Colombian-born and London-based artist Oscar Murillo, as a collaboration with students aged 10 to 16 from schools in different parts of the world. Every year, they install canvasses in schools and just allow students to express themselves using their preferred tools. The resulting canvas is a very telling snapshot- not just of the student's imagination, but of the collective consciousness and popular culture of the youth living in that city. 

Clara Dublanc orienting the students about the Frequencies Project
Last October, Mano Amiga Academy was chosen as one of the two schools to represent the Philippine youth in the project. With the help of Art Enthusiast, Rocky David, Clara Dublanc and the Frequencies team visited the school and installed canvasses in the arm chairs and tables. The canvas will remain in the school until the end of the school year, after which it would be gathered by the Frequencies team along with the works of students from other parts of the world. Selected canvasses were presented as part Oscar Murillo’s exhibit at the 2015 Venice Bienalle, one of the most anticipated art exhibits in the world. 

At first, the Mano Amiga students were hesitant to partake in the project. This was counterintuitive for them, specially after hearing rules against drawing on their armchairs. Soon enough however, curiosity and imagination took over. After just three months, the canvasses are now filled with colourful drawings, written tributes to their favourite pop stars, and collection of their favourite quotes. 
Joshua Dave, a Science enthusiast, chose to draw the solar system on his canvas
“The stream of consciousness approach of the project is a wonderful opportunity for students to harness their creativity and explore the bounds of self-expression,” says Mano Amiga Executive Director Eleanor Pinugu. “These illustrations give us a rare and fascinating insight into what our students love, and what they feel strongly about.”

When put together, the artworks offer the world multiple perceptions and differing perspectives, freely and honestly expressed by children from around the globe. It is a wealth of insight, and at the same time, reminds us, what art is truly about.

To learn more about the project, visit
Three months into the project, students are still constantly decorating their canvasses.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Rock n' Recycle

As early as October, the school was bustling with Christmas spirit as the students worked like elves, preparing their own Christmas corners and rock band presentations.

The Mano Amiga team and students pose eagerly in front of the Gingerbread house made from recycled paper, candy wrappers and cardboard. 
In line with the holiday season, Mano Amiga announced a school-wide contest for Christmas-themed corners and rock band presentations that made use of recyclable materials. This challenged the students to use their creativity, imagination and resourcefulness in creating decorations and instruments. All the students gamely participated, eager to show their masterpieces at the school's annual Christmas party.

With a little help and supervision from their parents, the students collected various recyclable materials - bottle caps, used juice pouches, cardboard boxes, old CDs, scratch papers, newspapers, clam shells, tree branches and more - and pieced them all together to create wonderful works of art.
Plastic bottles were unrecognizable and given new life when used for a Christmas tree. Old tree branches and egg shells were uniquely transformed into winter lanterns. Old cardboard boxes were used as reindeer and Santa Claus figurines.
These works of art adorned the Mano Amiga classrooms and hallways throughout the Christmas season.

Grade 6 Rock n' Recycle Band

Recyclable works of art were also used as musical instruments during the Christmas Rock n' Recycle concert. The Mano Amiga community was treated to a musical feast from the different grade levels as each presented their own rock band. Rock stars emerged with drum sets made out of water containers, recycled glass xylophones and tambourines made out of ice cream tubs. Each showcased their creativity and talent in singing.

Grade 3 Rock n' Recycle Band

To end another fulfilled year, the whole Mano Amiga community came together in merriment. In celebration of all the winners and the year that was, the community gathered in the annual Mano Amiga Christmas Party. Smiles and sounds of laughter were evident throughout the community as we celebrated the Christmas together.

Mano Amiga Christmas Party winners with their Unilever gift packs

From the whole Mano Amiga Academy community, a Merry Christmas to all!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Peter Pan is Brought to Life for Mano Amiga Academy

Scenes from Ballet Philippines' Peter Pan. Photo courtesy of Spot.PH
"The curtain opened and everyone screamed in excitement!" Says Nicole, a Mano Amiga fifth grader, with wonderment after she and her school mates watched Ballet Philippines' most popular work -- Peter Pan.

The Mano Amiga students gasped loudly in amazement when they saw the characters fly. Scenes from Ballet Philippines' Peter Pan. Photo courtesy of Spot.PH
The sudents first met Peter Pan through the pages of the school's library book. Last December 12, his story came alive right in front of their eyes when they were able to watch the show at the CCP Main Theater. Together with their teachers, they watched in amazement as they followed his adventure in Neverland with Tinkerbell, the Darling children and the Lost Boys.

This opportunity came as an early Christmas gift to our students by one of our long-time partners. Together with Mano Amiga, they share the same vision of providing worthwhile opportunities to our students that enrich their sense of culture and compliment the learning they encounter in the classroom.

Mano Amiga's drive to provide its students with quality education extends beyond the learning they get from books. Their holistic development is also nourished with various enriching activities that are not just limited to music, arts and sports.

Mano Amiga students with their Peter Pan tickets.

The students, along with the entire audience, all sang and laughed with the energetic actors as they followed the story of the boy who would not grow up. They witnessed his journey beyond the second star to the right that took him flying around the theater and into fights against the evil Captain Hook.
They also saw his adventures,  through song and dance, with the Lost Boys and Darling children - Wendy, John and Michael.

All this coupled with the 3D background of the whole show created a window of learning for the students.
This allowed them to use their imagination and appreciate the value of creativity and the many ways it can be expressed. This also provided them with an avenue to explore different talents and other means to express oneself.

Mano Amiga Academy students happily converge for a photo after the show.

"I enjoyed watching Peter Pan in the theater and when they perform again, I hope to be able to watch. It was such a fun and memorable experience." Nicole says after asking for her view on the show.

Opportunities such as this create lasting impressions and memories for our students; ones they will carry with them and talk about for days on end.