13-year-old Mangyan boy transforms useless rubber slippers into toys

Instead of throwing them away, a promising Mangyan teen recycles old pairs of rubber slippers and transform them into toys.

The young artist, Jupel Batobato, is a 13-year-old student of Casillon Elementary School in Baco, Oriental Mindoro. The craft, on the other hand, is inspired by his own life story. See, this talented kid was born into an impoverished family, thus his incapacity to afford tricycle and jeepney rides on his daily commute to school.

Ironically, Batobato also can’t afford even a pair of rubber slippers. Therefore, he’s forced to thread through a rugged pathway for 20 minutes barefoot just to make it to class and back to home.

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Despite his situation, though, Batobato has big, big dreams for himself—exactly how his project came to be. Using only sticks and old rubber slippers he randomly picked up on sidewalks, the Mangyan handcrafted his rubber toys shaped into jeepneys and tricycles. And while it isn’t as polished, it shows in his work that the 13-year-old craftsman has the artistry.

According to Mindoro News, Batobato sells his unique rubber toys not only for his cause, but for his school’s as well.

“Ang kaniyang paaralan ay nangangailangan ng pondo upang makapagtayo ng comfort room at isa si Jupel na maisakatuparan ang adhikaing iyon. Nakakatuwang isipin na kahit si Jupel ay puno ng kahirapan sa buhay, ay mas iniisip niya pang makatulong sa iba nang higit pa sa kaniyang sarili.”

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It turns out that Batobato has previously appeared on TV, particularly “Little Big Shots“, as the “13-year-old Toy Maker“.

“Tularan si Jupel. Mga mahal naming mambabasa, tulungan nating ipahayag ang kamulatan sa ating kapwa Mindoreño sapagkat nasa ating mga kamay ang kapangyarihan upang paunlarin ang ating lugar.” 

Meanwhile, because of his passion for his craftsmanship, Batobato has won thousands of supporters online.

Kudos to you, Jupel!

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