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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
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View the documentWII-FM (what's in it for me?)
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Open this folder and view contentsEnergizers
View the documentForming groups
View the documentCreative congratulations
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Open this folder and view contentsDrawing and chalk talk
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View the documentBody language
View the documentVisual gestural communication
View the documentShadow plays
View the documentEasy puppets
View the documentBasic theater skills
View the documentRole play
View the documentAnimated comics role play activity
View the documentFolkstorytelling: Stories come alive!
View the documentOral testimonies
View the documentLifeline
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Folkstorytelling: Stories come alive!

· 15 to 25 participants
· 3 hours to 2 days
· ample space for moving around

Folkstorytelling is community storytelling that draws its characters from familiar folktales. It allows the participants to recreate the story in their own way according to a common group or community issue.



· Reacquaint the community with their folklore and allow them to give the stories a new color and contemporary flavor based on a common issue.

· Have a documented collection of old and new folktales that can be shared with children and other members of the community.

· Encourage a fun way of working together to air issues.


· manila paper
· set of crayons, colored chalk or marker pens per group
· individual notebooks and pens

Suggested approach

This involves four linked activities (A-D).

A. Think of a folktale character

1. Divide the group into pairs.

2. Ask a participant to think of a familiar folktale character that s/he can associate with the other and state the reason.

3. After three minutes, ask each participant to share the character they feel is like their partner to the big group and explain why they chose it - in one sentence.


I think of Pagong (the turtle in the popular Filipino folktale. The Monkey and the Turtle) when I see her because she is a kind and clever friend who can get out of any problem in life.


B. Add to the story

1. Break a big group into threes, arranged in a circle.

2. Let two of each three link arms to form a "bahay" (house) and one stands as a "tao" (person) between them.

3. You, as "It", stand in the middle of the circle. Explain to the participants that you will start telling a story, but at some point during the tale, you will shout any of these three words: "tao" (person), "bahay" (house), "bagyo" (storm).

· Shouting "tao" means that all persons in the middle change places.

· Shouting "bahay" means that all persons with arms linked as houses, look for another partner in another place.

· Shouting "bagyo" means that everybody changes places and partners.


4. Start a story (e.g., "A long, long time ago, in a land not visited by the sun...) and continue with it by adding few sentences.

5. Mention any one of the three words in your story. If, for example you say "she came across an old, wooden house", all the participants who are part of the house must break up and find a new partner. Find a partner yourself.

6. The person left without a place is the next "It" and continues the story.

7. Continue the game until at least half of the participants have contributed to the story

C. Body sculpture

1. Ask the participants to return to their original partners.

2. Ask one of each pair to try and position their partner's body into a "sculpture" that depicts the folktale character associated with that person.

3. Ask the human sculptures to remain still. Then, announce to the participants that they are in an art gallery. Give a tour around the "sculptures" while asking the viewers what makes one different from the next.

4. Ask the pairs to swap over so the "sculptures" have a turn at being "sculptors".



Some people may feel uncomfortable about touching others or being touched. Verbal instructions could be used instead.

D. Group sculpture and storytelling

1. Ask each participant to select a folktale character of their choice.

2. Group them into fives or sixes and ask them to share their characters with the others in their group, focusing on their physical and character traits.


3. Ask each group to make a sculpture depicting the characters in a problematic contemporary situation, which the group agrees on.

4. Ask them to make another two sculptures -one showing the scenario BEFORE the problem and one showing the scenario AFTER the problem.

5. Ask each group in turn to present their story to the whole group, with one or more people narrating the story.

Note: The sculptures may move, or may be presented as a series of three or more still pictures during the storytelling.

6. Ask the other participants for their reactions to the story. This is to clarify the issue involved.

Note: You might like to suggest to change the story or to let participants change the story by altering the sculptures.

7. Ask each group to write their stories on manila paper (and in individual notebooks if desired).

Note: These papers and notebooks can serve as reference materials for future use (either in research or in actual storytelling).

8. Pin up the stories so they can be referred to after the presentations.


In lieu of folktales, the facilitator may vary the manner of storytelling through the use of:

1. folksongs; and/or
2. folkpoems.

The content of story may be adapted to the tune and rhythm of a folksong; or a recomposed folkpoem. Here, group sculptures remain as visual expressions during storytelling.


There is a need to document old folk stories as the tradition of oral storytelling is disappering due to old storytellers dying and younger people not continuing the practice.


· A collection of old and reinvented folktales that may be used for a book if desired.
· Continuation of the oral folk tradition.


· Permits the community to remember their folklore and tie this up with a relevant issue.
· Encourages creativity and problem solving in a community.
· Encourages appreciation of folklore and its dynamic role in a community.
· Popularizes folk literature.


Original folktale

Mariang Makiling

In the deepest part of the mountain forest Makiling, in Laguna*, there lived a beautiful and shining creature who was more spirit than human. Her name was Mariang Makiling.

* a province in Southern Luzon, Philippines.

She was the guardian of the mountain and was believed by many people to possess extraordinary powers. Most of all, she had a golden heart.

The trees and animals of the mountain always felt this because they could connect with her all the time. Even the folks living at the foot of the mountain knew her generosity. Sometimes they would find luscious and sweet fruits on their doorsteps. They knew it was her way of telling them she was one with them in keeping the mountain forest safe.

Reinvented folktale

Mariang Makiling, the guardian spirit, could not feel at peace in her mountain abode. She kept hearing the whimpering voices of children in her dreams.

One day she decided to go down to the city and find out for herself what her dream was all about.

In Manila, she could not believe her eyes. The streets were filled with children of all ages, and sizes. Some were sleeping on the pavement, some were playing in the open street, others were begging from commuters, or selling their wares, and still others were sniffing drugs.

Mariang Makiling cried from a broken heart.

Note: The reinvented folktale above served as a springboard for discussion during a series of workshops on children's rights. Workshop participants were public school children and street children from Quezon City and Manila.

This was followed by a tour of schools and institutions by the children who also learned how to make a streetplay out of their skits on children's rights.

Part of the script in their streetplay was the reinvented folksong printed on the next page which they themselves came up with after the workshop.


Original folksong

Tong, Tong, Tong, Tong" (Filipino)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Alimango sa dagat
Malaki at masarap
Mahirap mahuli
Sapagkat nangangagat


(English translation)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Crab from the sea
It is big and tasty
It is so hard to catch
Because it bites and bites.

Reinvented folksong


Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Si Mariang Makiling
Bumaba sa Maynila
Nagulat, nataranta
Ang darning street children na


(English translation)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Maria of Makiling
She went down to Manila
How amazed, how confused
There were so many street children

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Mga bata
May limang karapatan
Walang takot
'Di gutom
Sapagkat tayo'y tao


Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
All children
Have at least 5 human rights
Free from fear
Free from hunger
Free to speak
Free to believe
Right to peace
Because we're all humans


Original folkpoem "Ako'y may alaga"


Ako'y may alaga
Asong mataba
Buntot ay mahaba
Makinis ang mukha
Mahal niya ako
At mahal ko rin siya
At kaming dalawa
Ay laging magkasama


(English Translation)

I have a pet
A doggie that's fat
It has a tail so long
And a face so smooth
My pet loves me
And I love my pet
And the two of us
Are always together

Reinvented version

Ako'y may nakita
Pagong na mataba
Leeg ay mahaba
Masaya ang mata
Mahal ko siya
Mahal rin siya ng iba
Pero siya'y nawala
Dahil ilog kay bantot na


I saw something
A turtle that's fat
Its neck was long
And its eyes so glad

I loved it so
And so did others
But it disappeared
Coz the river smelled bad


Participants may get threatened by lack of folklore knowledge.


Facilitator may bring local comics, magazines and books to give participants a sample of folktales to start on.