The Libreng Hiram Project lends free games and consoles to gamers in need


If there’s a silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that we can finally play more games from the comfort of our homes. However, not everyone has had the luxury of affording such happiness. For those who have lost their jobs or had their wages cut not thanks to the pandemic, it’s no exaggeration to say that many games now cost an arm and a leg to play.

And that’s when a good Samaritan came to the rescue. His name is Darryl Ong – whose project, Libreng Hiram, helps gamers in need rediscover the joys of gaming. How? He lets them borrow his consoles and games.

Behind Libreng Hiram

Darryl Ong is a proud husband who cares for his daughter and his wife. Like any other kid of his generation, he was introduced to video games through a home computer. He grew up playing classics such as Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Kage.

“Like any kid growing up in the Philippines, my first introduction to video games was through Family Computer with games like Punch-Out!!, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Kage, etc.” he reveals.

Darryl’s impressive collection would surely make any fan geeky.

Darryl is also an avid collector of all kinds of gaming memorabilia, comics, and all kinds of toys. His collection of PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch games is what he uses to loan people out for the Libreng Hiram project.

“Today I play a lot of PS4, PS5 and Nintendo Switch games. I just finished Horizon Forbidden West (where we did 2 freebies for this game) and Pokemon Arceus (which we just included in our Hiram library ),” Darryl said.

how it started

With only Darryl and his wife, they launched Librang Hiram at the height of the pandemic in August 2020. They turned Darryl’s hobby of collecting consoles and games into a generous endeavor by loaning it out to gamers in need. .

“We started in August 2020, at the height of the pandemic. We turned to my hobby, which is actually collecting video game consoles and games, and started loaning out video games for free,” Darryl said.

However, Darryl discovered some difficulties early on. The pandemic affected their business like anyone else, which initially proved detrimental to the cause.

“At this time, everyone is struggling and like any other business, ours has also been affected. So even if we want to help other people during this time, there was a financial limit.

They also discovered that there was also a huge number of people who didn’t own a PS4, which ultimately led them to get a unit for the project.

“High demand and the realization that not many people own a PlayStation unit prompted us to purchase a PS4.”

Darryl’s wife bought two PS5 units: one for personal use and one for the project.

These days, they work with a PS5 console, two PS4 units, and a Nintendo Switch, with the Nintendo Switch only debuting from November last year.

“We want to be helpful during the pandemic and the best thing we can do is share.”

Libreng Hiram: a library of games and consoles

True to its namesake, Libreng Hiram (which literally translates to free borrowing) is a project in which a library of PS4, PS5, and Nintendo Switch games, sometimes along with the consoles, are loaned out for free. Announcements for which games and consoles are available for borrowing are posted in the PlayStation Philippines Facebook group.

Although they started in 2020, they recently resumed operations last month while on temporary hiatus due to COVID concerns.

“We went on a temporary hiatus due to the spike in COVID cases in January, but started operating again last month.”

Libreng Hiram is allowing people to borrow the two PS4 units for 30 days, the PS5 unit for 7 days, and the Nintendo Switch unit for 15 days. The project hosted over 150 people and gave away 15-20 giveaways ranging from digital games to codes for game items.

In order to enjoy the games and consoles presented in the project, Darryl had certain requirements for those who wanted to participate. The following list below are the requirements:

  • A legitimate Facebook account created before 2017 (previously 2015)
  • An image of an ID (with an option to omit other important details besides their name, address and photo); They also encourage them to put a watermark on it so they know their credentials won’t be shared with anyone else.
  • Must be willing to get the item personally or book a courier to get it to Cubao, Quezon City and be willing to return it the same after

Darryl also revealed that they had a former borrower who turned out to be a lawyer who offered to do a waiver for Libreng Hiram. However, they ultimately turned it down as they put their faith in humanity.

“We had a borrower in the past who turned out to be a public attorney. He made us a waiver document for the project but we decided not to use it. It beats the faith in humanity that we are trying to promote with the project.

Fortunately, no one has stolen their consoles and games from them since the start of their project. However, they were recently put on the hook because both of their PS4 units were accidentally damaged by a recent borrower.

“I am currently dealing with a borrower who may have broken our PS4 units. I sent him another one [after the first one had troubles] but then the same problems reoccurred. Either he plugged it into a bad power source or caused it to overheat due to poor ventilation (like putting it in a carpet).

Libreng Hiram in the Philippines

Libreng Hiram: the gift that keeps on giving

As they continue to serve the gaming community, Darryl hopes his actions will pave the way for other similar projects.

“Our goal right now is to expand the project by getting more people doing the same thing. We have people inspired by the project in Puerto Princesa, Sta Maria Tarlac and Nueva Ecija doing the same. We have requests as far as Mindanao.

He admits that logistics would be one of the hurdles for projects like Libreng Hiram. However, he also thinks doing it on a smaller scale would also be a good thing.

“One of the limits of the project is the logistics. If we encourage more people to do the same, [perhaps doing it] even on a smaller scale it will be fine. I mean, we all know someone who complains about their PS4/PS5 gathering dust in their house. These same types of people won’t have to spend to do their own Libeng Hiram project.

That said, Darryl will offer advice to anyone who wants to do the same projects as him.

“We can help them set it up in an advisory capacity. [Like give tips on] how we choose our borrowers, etc.

For those interested in borrowing from Libreng Hiram, you can check out the posts on the PlayStation Philippines Facebook group. For those who wish to help with the project, you can contact Darryl Ong directly from the same Facebook group.

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