To all the kids who were born in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s

Lito Parungo received this e-mail from a friend and would like to share it with all of you. It will somehow remind us of our own childhood and how things were so simple then. Here it is:

First, some of us survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us. (Sioktong ang inumin.)

They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, fish from a can (brand : Ligo), and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paints, pati na yung laruang kabayu-kabayuhan.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, no kneepads , sometimes wala ngang preno yung bisikleta.

As children, we would ride in car with no seat belts or air bags – hanggang ngayon naman, di ba ? (jeep)

Riding in the back of a pick up on a warm day was always a special treat. (Maykaya kayo pare!)

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle (minsan straight from the faucet).

We shared one softdrink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this. Or contacted hepatitis.

We ate rice with tinunaw na purico (dahil ubos na ang star margarine) , nutribuns na galing kay macoy and drank sopdrinks with sugar in it, but we weren’t overweight kasi nga …… WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. Sarap magpatintero, tumbang preso, habulan, taguan….

No one was able to reach us all day (di uso ang celfon, walang beepers). And we were OK.

We would spend hours building our trolleys or slides out of scraps and then ride down the street, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo’s, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms ………. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. The only rubbing we get is from our friends with the words ….. masakit ba? Pero pag galit yung kalaro mo ….. ang sasabihin lang sa iyo….. beh buti nga !

We play in the dirt, wash our hands a little and ate with our bare hands …. we were not afraid of getting worms in our stomachs.

We have to live with homemade guns – gawa sa kahoy, tinali ng rubberband, sumpit, tirador at kung ano ano pa na pwedeng makasakit …. pero walang nagrereklamo.

We made up games with sticks (syatong) and cans (tumbang preso) and although we were told it would happen, wala naman tayong binulag o napatay …. kahit paminsan-minsa’y may nabubukulan.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mini basketball teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment. Walang sumasama ang loob.

Ang magulang ay nandoon lang para tignan kung ayos lang ang bata….hindi para makialam.

This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and managers ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the government regulated our lives purportedly for our own good.

And while you are at it, share it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.


One thought on “To all the kids who were born in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s

  1. Erica Sugay Pineda

    just sharing …

    Pinoy Kasi
    Good old days?
    By Michael Tan
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 21:30:00 03/22/2011

    THERE’S AN article going around the Internet, entitled “To Pinoys/Pinays who were born in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.” It’s a nostalgic and, in many ways, delightful piece that tries to remind people about a time when children didn’t have Playstations and Facebook and cell phones, among other things.

    But I feel uneasy about the way the article suggests that we (I’m included, being born in the 1950s) were a tougher bunch. Pregnant mothers, the article notes, could smoke and drink San Miguel and syoktong (Chinese wine) and have manghihilot (traditional midwives) deliver their babies. Did mothers, the article rhetorically asks, have to bring kids to pediatricians for DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccines?

    We slept on cribs “covered with lead-based paints,” the article continues, and rode bikes without helmets, kneepads and sometimes the bikes didn’t even have brakes. We drank from the garden water hose, and shared softdrinks (and didn’t get sick), and there were no diet softdrinks but there was no obesity either among children.

    I can understand where the writer is coming from. I do get nostalgic too at times and recognize that not all of modern technologies and gadgets are blessings. But, having worked in public health since the 1970s, I also know what the not-too-ancient past was like, and they were far from being the good old days for children.

    4 births, 1 death

    I want to run through some Philippine statistics for child mortality rate, which is defined as the number of children who die before the age of 5. This rate is given as a ratio for every 1,000 live births. I’ve dealt with these statistics for years, but I was still shocked to discover that in 1903, the figure was 253. It’ll be easier to comprehend if we convert that into a percentage, which would be 25.3 percent. Put another way, for every four babies born, one died before the age of 5.

    I was startled as well to find that in 1904, the figure dropped to 94, which is still very high because that means one out of every 10 babies born died as a toddler. As I went through the figures across the years, I realized that there were spikes in particular years, and although I didn’t have the time to dig deeper into the causes of these sharp increases in child deaths, I am certain they were due to outbreaks of certain diseases.

    Cholera, for example, killed thousands of both adults and children in the years it broke out. Young children face many more deadly threats, for example gastrointestinal infections that cause severe diarrhea and, eventually, dehydration and death. When I was doing rural work in the 1970s in the Cordillera, I would see outbreaks of measles that would quickly spread from one household to another, stopping only because it had run out of children, and would move on to the next barangay.

    Let me get back now to the statistics. Through the first half of the 20th century, the child mortality rates were usually between 100 and 200 per 1000 births. For some reason which I still have to dig up, during the 1930s, the rate was higher, ranging from 200 to 280. I suspect that during World War II, these figures went even higher.

    In the postwar period, we continued to have child death rates between 100 and 150 per 1,000 live births. In the 1960s, we finally moved below the 100 mark.

    I don’t want to bore you with too many figures, so let’s look at the figures for the end of each decade. In 1970 it was 89. In 1980, it was 81. In 1990 it was 50. Today it is about 33.


    Now I suspect that some readers might scoff and argue that even if one out of 4 children died before the age of 5, that meant 75 percent of children survived. But it doesn’t work out that way. Each child death is a tragedy, and the numbers do add up. I still get to interview mothers from urban poor and rural areas who, when asked how many children they have, will still answer something like, “Walo—anim ang buhay” (Eight, six of them living).

    Also remember the figures are national averages. In poor communities, the death rates were always higher, as in the Cordillera areas I mentioned earlier. Even today, in many parts of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, the child death rates still hover above the 100 mark.

    Also, to give a better perspective on where we are, while our national average for the child death rate is about 33 per 1,000 births, neighboring Thailand has a rate of 14 and Singapore’s is 3, a rate that’s even lower than those of some developed countries.

    This is a long way of reminding people that nostalgia is fine, but let’s not romanticize the past. We survived, but thousands of others died from malnutrition, accidents and diseases preventable by vaccines and safe water. Many didn’t have a fighting chance, dying shortly after birth because they had very low birthweights, or had congenital problems, some caused by their mothers’ (and fathers’) smoking and drinking.

    We’ve come a long way with maternal and child care. At the same time, we do have a long way to go in making pregnancies safe and assuring mothers don’t die while bringing children into the world (about 11 mothers die daily in the Philippines because of complications in pregnancy). And of the two million or so babies that are born in the Philippines, more than 60,000 will die before the age of 5, from infectious diseases, from hunger, from parental neglect.

    Sports programs

    One thing I did strongly agree with in the article: the games children played in the past were in many ways healthier, physically and mentally. Kids could run, kids could shout, kids could learn fair play and team cooperation, all of which you can’t do with PlayStations (and Ipads).

    I know, many of us don’t even have safe streets for the kids to play in. Sports programs are an alternative. Xavier in San Juan has summer classes in badminton, baseball, basketball, chess, fencing, football, karate, shaolin wushu kungfu, street dance, swimming (also for adults!), table tennis, taekwondo and tennis. You can pick up copies at Gate 2 of the school or you can download the full schedule from:

    You might also want to check out dance programs, which are not just for physical fitness but are great for kids to learn to coordinate with each other. Julie Borromeo’s studio has been around for years (on S. Laurel Street in Mandaluyong) offering ballet, jazz, hip-hop and Flamenco (as well as adult fitness programs).

    Unfortunately, these are programs you have to pay for. The government really needs to find ways to support such programs for low-income families, many of which will have their kids out in the streets, playing the many games we miss from our own childhood, but the streets, even in rural areas, are no longer as safe for kids.

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