The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

29 April 2011

ASP Summer Picnic

By: Kismette J. Cepe, ASP Bacoor Chapter

Summer had a whole new meaning for ASP members last April 8, 2011. Forty (40) children with autism together with their families and 7 therapists coming from Manila, Cavite and Laguna were treated to “A Summer-inator Picnic,” a day of outdoor play and discovery. The event was sponsored by Disney Channel Asia Outreach and Nuvali Eco-Living, in cooperation with Autism Society Philippines. ASP Chair Emeritus, Dang Koe welcomed participants at the Nuvali Evoliving Center, Sta. Rosa Laguna, together with “Summer-inator picnic” project coordinator, ASP Board of Trustee, Cristina Estampador. Canon Digital Cameras, donated by Canon Philippines for the ASP’s Colors of Autism Project, were lent out the members. This made everyone excited to document bonding moments of the unfolding of events.


The group was formed into teams named after Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb characters. Teams Phineas, Ferb, Perry, Baljeet and Doof were each given an itinerary for the picnic. The itinerary filled the teams with activities specially designed for children with autism and their families. Disney commemorative items such as caps were also distributed to shade them from the summer heat.

It was clear that the whole event was not about competing against other teams but more on enjoying each other’s company, appreciating the beauty of nature and engaging in fun events, something that most special needs families often forget because of daunting academic and therapeutic schedules the children have throughout the year. Som etimes, fun is just as a great lesson as any.

Nuvali’s Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary

Teams trekked along the 17-kilometer long natural habitat. Some children with autism (CWA) walked in pairs as they crossed mini bamboo bridges. Other CWAs were very confident and trekked without assistance. Everyone appreciated the beaut y of wild plants and birds in the area.
ASP Family during the hike

Nuvali Sustainability Tour, Evo-living Center

According to Paula Recto of Nuvali, the center houses the exhibit area where Nuvali’s master plan and its interactive exhibits are located. The exhibit displays the efforts of Nuvali to conserve water, segregate wastes and promote the use of alternative forms of transportation. Participants watched a fifteen-minute audio-visual presentation about Nuvali, Ayala Land’s 1,840 hectare premiere eco-city development in Laguna. Here, participants realized that an improved quality of life can be achieved through sustainability. All CWAs inside the venue were able to sustain their attention all throughout the film viewing.

Boat Ride and Koi Feeding

All CWAs enjoyed the boat ride from Evo-living Center to Solenad . They were excited on how some Koi gathered near the boat only to realize that there is a bigger surprise in the following activity.

After the teams alighted from the boat, each participant was given a small brown bag. The children were so amazed at the large number of koi that gathered around the dock. When the children opened the brown bags, they threw in the food pellets down the water and watched the koi opened their mouths. Some were even literally jumping in the air just to catch the pellets. Sounds of koi splashing water in the air and CWA’s laughter filled the midmorning air.

Lunchtime at Reyes Barbeque

Disney Channel Asia Outreach treated all the participants to yummy lunch treat at Reyes Barbeque. As the scorching summer sun challenged ASP’s picnic plans, making minor adjustments to eating indoors with friends was just as fun.

Frisbee and Kite Flying at Nuvali’s Baseball Fields

This 10-hectare facility covers 3 FIFA-sized football fields, 2 baseball fields, 3 sand volleyball courts and a multi-use reception facility. Teams were given Frisbees and kites. It was fun to watch parents fly kites with their children. All kite flyers never stopped experimenting with techniques on how to make their respective kites fly. After a few minutes, the sky is covered with colorful kites from CWAs and their parents. Some were throwing Frisbees while others were in the hall playing musical instruments.

It was hard to end the day as the children and even parents were really enjoying the “A Summer-inator Picnic” activities. Phineas and Ferb goodie bags courtesy of Disney Channel Asia Outreach were distributed to kids to end the fun-filled day. Phineas and Ferb is an original Disney hit show that has a huge worldwide adult fan base because of it’s intellectual, almost nerdy references. It follows the summer adventures of two genius step brothers who are constantly creating unusual gadgets, inventions and schemes way beyond their years, simply because it’s summer and it’s fun. If you’re a follower of Phineas and Ferb, there is wanna-be evil genius character in the show named Heinz Doofenschmirtz, and his ridiculous and “not-so” evil inventions always contained the syllables “inator”. He would make the “Ball Gown-inator” or even the “Mime-inator.” Clearly, Doofenschmirtz was the inspiration for the event’s name.

Everyone went home happy and fulfilled. And for the adults, the day was a reminder for us to be “young at heart”. “There were a lot of thank you messages from parents, therapists and teachers. It’s encouraged ASP to look into more projects like these. Next time, we’re going to make it more fun.” says Estampador with a wry and naughty smile.

Activities are indeed more meaningful if spent with the family. Moreover, with the support from parents and guidance/assistance from therapists, and of course, generous donors/sponsors, summer activities can become more meaningful for children with autism and their families.

Acknowledgements: Disney Channel Asia Outreach, Nuvali Eco-Living and Canon Philippines.


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