July in Manila is school season, which means most everyone the girls want to see won’t be free until late afternoon. We also traveled with a total of one puzzle, one coloring book, a rainbow loom (and a ton of Kumon worksheets), so by the second full day at home, both girls were bouncing off the walls (and off the beds). We’d hoped to fill our mornings with swimming lessons, however the weather also didn’t cooperate.
And so began the search for activities the girls could do while visiting Manila. Just as I always do, I asked them what they wanted to do over the next two weeks. We made a list of people to see, (Girl Scout cookies to distribute), and fun places to visit.
Jamie wanted to dance ballet. So in the first week, we spent time in Steps Dance the girls’ old ballet school reconnecting with friends and teachers and attending class. Thankfully the ballet school we found in California followed the same Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) curriculum, so it was as if the girls didn’t miss a beat in terms of lessons at the studio, and they were both able to keep within their grade level.
Jamie was also happy that she was old enough to join the tap class with Sam and their cousin, a wish she’s had for a while now.
While Sam enjoyed ballet and tap, her request was to try Art. In the last month, Sam has shown much interest in the subject. We even enrolled her in some trial sessions in California and she thoroughly enjoyed them. She loved every minute of it and asked to go back. But in the meantime, I thought it might be nice for her to continue it here.
I’d heard of My Little Art Place from a friend who sent her kids there last year when they spent a few weeks visiting Manila. She had many good things to say about it, and her girls produced instant masterpieces. I called and asked about a trial class, and Teacher Grace was nice enough to accommodate us one morning.
My Little Art Place isn’t hard to find. Coming from Ortigas Avenue, you turn onto Wilson and drive past Cardinal Santos Hospital. It will soon show up on your left side a few streets later. Parking looked like a challenge (thankfully my mom lent us her driver), but since there was no one there at that time we made it without much of a hitch.
The girls walked into the cozy studio and eagerly awaited instructions for the day.
The ambiance was that of a true art center, and apparently I’m told it functions as a little gallery too for up and coming artists.
It was Jamie’s first art class too — and while she was nervous about it, she was also very excited. Given their age range and level of experience (read: zero to very little), Teacher Grace said that they would stick to acrylic as the main medium for the morning.
At one point a teacher sat with Jamie her to outline the teapot, the subject of the day’s lesson. She then had to follow it and put in the other different colors.
Granted that there were 2 teachers and 4 students, I liked the level of attention that was given to both my girls. It seemed like just enough guidance mixed in with a little bit of free expression and form. After all as Sam says, “we need to respect everyone’s interpretation of the art.” Quite so!
Sam was old enough to try to draw her teapot on her own. It turned out alright, as she was able to use what she knew from previous art classes and apply them here. Teacher Grace said that for a six-year-old, she seems to have quite the steady hand.
The three hours passed quickly, and the girls even got time to snack in between. They got to take home their work and proudly showcased it to us.
A trial class at My Little Art Place costs P950 per student, however they do offer an 8-class course for ages 4 and up using different media. That would’ve come out cheaper on a per class basis, except given our hectic pre-wedding schedule, it wasn’t something I could commit to. I’m glad we found it though, and gave it a try! It’s something we’d definitely put back on our list during our next Manila visit.