23 Dec2012


Her name is “Happy” (not her real name, but close enough, and this is absolutely a true story). Zubuchon/Mamou’s co-sponsored feeding programs in Cebu had their Christmas lunch prior to school break last Wednesday, and our staff and managers were at the school in full force, myself included . Almost 120 kids were present for lunch that day, and at the kids’ request, we cooked up huge platters of spaghetti and fried chicken and served it with lots of rice. We added juice packs and “dirty ice cream” carts… Not exactly the nutritionally balanced meals we normally strive for, but what the heck…


As the kids lined up and got their food, I noticed one of the girls in the group. I am not sure WHY I singled her out, but I suddenly wanted to know more, and to hear what her story… Over the years, I have heard many of their stories, and they are often quite similar and all very sad. One of say 6,8,12 children, parents unemployed, living in horrific conditions, and often going days without meals or eating only rice and noodles. They attend school whenever they can, but it isn’t a top priority. They often have no money for paper, pens, shoes, etc.


One of our managers had heard bits of the story, and we asked school administrators for more information. “Happy” is 7. She was raped a couple of years ago. And hasn’t been totally herself since. She sometimes fabricates fantastical stories and rarely opens up and talks to anyone at school or in class. I was UTTERLY and COMPLETELY SHOCKED. After a few minutes, I approached, and tried to find out more. Where did she live? A forty+ minute walk up the mountain, no roads to her family home. How many siblings? Four of them in total. What do her parents do for a living? They have no jobs. Frankly, I simply couldn’t hold it together. I had to step away, “photograph” the student vegetable gardens to mask that I was wiping away tears. This was just horrific. I don’t often choke like this.


I returned, determined to give her at least a moment of joy this holiday season. With the help of one of my employees, who is fluent in Cebuano, I asked, if “Happy” could have anything she wished for for Christmas, what would it be? Her answer? Food. That’s it. Just food, because they had so little to eat. When I pressed that if she assumed she had all the food they wanted, what little Christmas goody would she pleased to receive this December 25th? Her answer, clothes. Because they had no shoes, and only a shirt or two that she and her siblings shared so that it looked like they had more than they did. That was all she wished for. Given the Genie’s two wishes, she wanted food and clothes. I had to go inspect the potted onions again…


I’m sure my staff noticed something was going on, and I suspect they realized the Genie’s third wish was not something to waste, so they continued to converse with Happy, hoping to get a glimmer of a “goody” — in Marketman’s parlance — and teachers watching from nearby were amazed that Happy was talking and smiling and watching so intently. Finally, she said, she wanted a “cellphone”. My first thought was, yipes, you asked, so you must come through. But then she followed that request up with a and I translate loosely “the kind of cellphone that you can press the buttons and it lights up, and maybe it has music…” — in other words, a toy cellphone. I smiled. The Gods that be realized this was just an earthbound Genie wannabe…


So I asked one of my managers to talk to the school administrators. Happy’s parents were to be summoned to see us the following day. And I left instructions. I don’t know about you, but I can get caught up in the Christmas hubbub and forget just how darned lucky we (all marketmanila readers with access to a computer) are. Period. Somehow, despite all the parties, dinners, gift-giving, etc., there is something more to the holidays.


So on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2012, Happy’s mother has promised to come to one of our Zubuchon restaurants to pick up, courtesy of Marketman and the entire marketmanila family, an entire Christmas Eve spread. Lechon, pancit, vegetable dishes, desserts, etc. The works, Zubuchon style. There will also be sandals and clothes for all four children in the family. And yes, we found those flashing toy cellphones, and I asked my manager to get several other toys. I know, it’s a tiny little gesture, a little drop in the bucket of a story that is far more common than we wish to believe. And I know, it seems unfair to do this for one kid, and not all of the 120 in the feeding program. But better one than none.


I have material for dozens of posts and will eventually get to them, but I thought this was the best post to have tonight. The lunch went very well. We had a whole cart of dirty ice cream so the kids could have their fill… I think up to 250 kids got ice cream! And we brought toys for all of the kids in the program as well.


From the Marketman & Zubuchon family to yours, we wish you a Blessed Christmas 2012! To Mamou and other donors over the years, a huge thank you for your support. And no, this is not a plea for more donations, I can’t actually accept any more at this point in time…


For “Happy” and the millions of kids in similar straights, impoverished, hungry and malnourished, say a prayer or two. And if you can this holiday season, think about how much you have, and share even just a little bit to make someone else’s Christmas a brighter one. Thank you. Did you need any kleenex? :)

POSTSCRIPT: It is now early Christmas morning, Manila time. Our crew in Cebu confirms that “Happy” and her mother, and youngest baby brother, came to our Escario Branch (early) to pick up their goodies. I think Artisan Chocolatier also happened to be there by chance and saw them… They managed to have a few “fast meals” while waiting for their dinner to be packed up. They also got their clothing, sandals and toys. There are several WONDERFUL photos of “Happy” at the Christmas Tree, or at their table, but in the interest of keeping her identity private, I can’t publish them. So the story, at least for this one evening, ends well. :)



  1. Suzette says:

    You are an angel, MM! God bless you, your family, and staff. Merry Christmas!

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:25 pm


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  3. Gtec2002 says:

    hay grabeh naman napaluha naman ako nito! A friend just gave me a box of enseymadas this afternoon and it was really plenty, thanks marketman for the inspiration, tomorrow I will give all those yummy enseymadas to those poor children staying outside the church where I usually go to mass after simbang gabi. Just a thought, how many of us churchgoers would actually care to give to those people who are actually in dire need of our abuloy outside? They are the people who absolutely deserve the offertory we give during masses. There is really an insurmountable amount of joy when one gives to those who really deserve the gifts.. May the essence of Christmas, Christ the greatest gift of God to mankind be the reason for the season! Pay it forward! Merry Christmas! :)

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:32 pm

  4. Monique says:

    You are blessed with all that truly matters!

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:43 pm

  5. Zerho says:

    Aww, my heart just went out to Happy. And it’s true we get caught up in our little problems and not notice there are people who have it worse. Christmas is the time to let others feel how blessed we are. Keep it up Sir MM, family and crew you are my inspiration :). Merry Christmas!

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:44 pm

  6. la_vick says:

    Mr. MM you make me laugh and you make me cry too, in this blog, yes we are very lucky indeed..

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:54 pm

  7. Jessy says:

    Having narrowly escaped similar conditions, this makes me ache in places I’ve long hidden away. Heartbreaking.

    Dec 23, 2012 | 10:56 pm

  8. marilen says:

    Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy……..Paradoxical indeed what Christ asks of us to be.
    Bless you, MM and crew for being good stewards of God’s blessings. Bless you all.

    Dec 23, 2012 | 11:27 pm

  9. Grace says:

    MM, thank you so much for writing such a wonderful post! I am trying to teach my two kids the meaning of humility, being grateful and most of all being selfless when one comes across a situation like this. We live in Canada and too many times I hear the occasional rumbling of “I wish I had an iPod / Cell Phone / whatever latest game comes out on the Xbox … I often think back to the wise words of my Lola (or as I called her “Lolay”) who reminded me that there were always people who were worse off than we were and that we not only should be thankful for everything we have; we should also give back to those in need as much as we can. You are truly and angel and I know you will be rewarded ten fold for everything you do! Have a wonderful Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

    Dec 23, 2012 | 11:51 pm

  10. Rochelle says:

    I sure did need a kleenex! *sniff* sniff* kudos to you MM, Mamou and all your staff at Zubuchon. Have a merry Christmas!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:06 am

  11. Constant Reader says:

    Definitely a 3 Kleenex post. God bless you. And if you plan to do more for Happy or for other kids just like her, let us know. We’re ready to help!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:18 am

  12. Antonette Collado says:

    May God bless continue to bless your good heart, MM. Same
    wished for your family and staff. It is a Merry Christmas
    indeed. The meaning of this Holy Season is very much
    alive. : )

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:19 am

  13. rhea says:

    just wiped a few tears off my face…

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:27 am

  14. greens_blossoms says:

    Yes, needed Kleenex..and how…It makes us pause and reflect on the reason for the season…May you MM, your family and staff continue to be a blessing for others…a Blessed Christmas to you too!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:49 am

  15. J says:

    Bless your heart, Marketman. This moved me to tears. Thank you for the work that you do.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:50 am

  16. Tisay says:

    Merry Christmas to you MM, your family and crew…makahilak man pod ta ani…

    Dec 24, 2012 | 1:11 am

  17. Guits says:

    A blessed Christmas to you, your family, and your crew, Mr. MM.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 1:37 am

  18. karr says:

    god bless you mm. May we all be like you in generosity

    Dec 24, 2012 | 2:05 am

  19. Gigie dela cruz says:

    Happy holidays to all and to Happy too!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 2:57 am

  20. Lei says:

    i’ll say a prayer for Happy. hug her tightly for me please if you can or anyone from your staff just so she knows that there are still a lot of caring and loving adult persons in this world.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 2:58 am

  21. Rie says:

    brought tears to my eyes. Merry Christmas MM to you and your family. A blessed New Year too, may you have abundant year ahead, for being so generous to others. Glad that you now have an option to share or twit your posts this is worth sharing.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 3:10 am

  22. Laine says:

    My face is all wet with tears now. I am crying because I know of a similar story. Mine. Even up to now, When I see innocent children blissfully enjoying their childhood I feel a tinged of envy and with the nagging question what life would have been or at least how would I have viewed the world had it not happened. Because the truth is, one would never see the world the same way again after such a tragedy.
    But then again, one should count her blessings. I got myself educated, I found a wonderful husband, two brilliant kids and the opportunity to migrate in another country among many things. I’m sorry MM readers, I couldn’t help myself. I don’t mean to be melodramatic amidst the holidays, but I guess it takes to hear of another’s story to fully appreciate yours. I hope you all enjoy the Holidays.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 3:19 am

  23. Cyrus says:

    God bless you MM, and you will receive more blessings.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 3:37 am

  24. Toping says:

    Thank you for making a difference, MM, and thank you for making us a part of it. God bless you and Happy!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 3:57 am

  25. faith says:

    Mr. MM, the small things that you’re are doing can make a big difference to other people. Continue to be a blessing and more blessings to you, your family and staff.

    Let me hug you too #Laine.. Everyone of us has our own story, we have to be strong though and let us always remember that we are never alone. Blessed holidays everyone!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 5:16 am

  26. kurzhaar says:

    Unfortunately there are many stories like Happy’s around the world. But there are ways to help. I HIGHLY recommend the book “Half the Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (and the related 2012 PBS documentary film which is available on DVD). This is a book which like Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains” will change your life.

    Mr. Kristof’s column in the NY Times is also worth following: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/nicholasdkristof/index.html

    Apart from local charities we support two organisations specifically to help empower girls and women–which has positive consequences for families, towns, and the larger society beyond. Shining Hope works in the largest slum in Africa and among other projects runs a school for girls (1 out of 3 of these girls are survivors of rape). Heifer International works worldwide, including in the Philippines.

    http://heifer.org/ (earmarked specifically for their projects with women)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 6:29 am

  27. linda says:

    MM, you’re heaven-sent! A very touching story indeed!

    Thank you, MM. for making this world a better place and making all those children happy! Thank you for making Happy happy! And thank you for this sharing this wonderful blog of yours! We have learnt so much from you throughout all these years. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

    Wishing you and your family and crew and very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous and Blessed New Year! Btw, the Zubuchon trucks looks impressive:)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 6:44 am

  28. JB says:

    Sitting at the breakfast table, having just read this post to my wife, we’re both wiping tears away from our faces. God bless you Market Man.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 7:10 am

  29. Guada says:

    May we all be inspired to follow your example ,MM. A blessed Christmas to everyone!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 7:53 am

  30. 3C says:


    may your LIGHT continue to shine, so others may know JESUS through you… bless you & your family!


    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:02 am

  31. bearhug0127 says:

    Requesting your permission to share this on my wall. Thank you so much, MM.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:07 am

  32. Marketman says:

    bearhug, yes of course, go ahead. I don’t have a personal facebook, so I am guessing that sharing it on your wall is a good thing… :)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:14 am

  33. dianne says:

    Awww… made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside… definitely not a drop-in-the-bucket type of thing. for your kind gesture will certainly make a difference in their lives. thank you for inspiring us to do the same :)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:50 am

  34. EbbaBlue says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    I having second thoughts sharing this..but as I read thru your post today, I realized that I just have to tell the MarketManila family of the greatest gift I received this Christmas. Its a gift of love, presence, and manifestation of God.

    I had a colon cancer surgery last Dec. 12…and the surgeon got it all! Praise God. It is really a miracle.. out of 48 lymph nodes, only 2 got affected, and those too were taken. And the cancer has not spread to any location pf my body. Liver is clear, so is my lungs. Another miracle is that an unknown Charity Foundation approved my request for help and had allocated enough funds that paid for my hospitalization and procedure! this after I was turned down by other institutions including govt. groups. Employees in the company that I work contractual (some I don’t know) donated big sum of money which I am now using while recuperating (and out of paycheck). And to top it all..my former director informed me that they extended my working contract till March, so in January,, when I am ok to work..I still have an assignment, and can come back to work with them.. in another new department.

    Isn’t God awesome? This is indeed my greatest Christmas ever. Even though my tree is halfly lit, no decorations in the house, and no big gifts, no shopping, and no cooking, I am filled with appreciation and greatfulness.

    I have my life, my family, and I have HIM!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:56 am

  35. KC says:

    MM, is this a regular volunteer opportunity? I and some classmates are going to be in the Philippines for a couple of weeks in April and would love to be able to participate in something like this.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 9:02 am

  36. Marketman says:

    KC, we do feeding programs at two different schools, one in Manila, one in Cebu, three times a week for the entire school year. Have done so for 6 years straight now. But April is the summer holiday, so schools are not in session… Ebbablue, so happy the operation went well, have a wonderful unChristmassy Christmas, if you know what I mean. But as you say, it will be the best Christmas ever! :)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 9:06 am

  37. bearhug0127 says:

    MM – thank you for your approval.

    @ EbbaBlue – we mortals will never understand the wisdom of God, but I know that God loves each one of us. Yes, every single one of us.

    A Blessed Christmas to all!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 9:18 am

  38. Netoy says:

    This post brought back memories – I once visited an orphanage in General Trias where we have sent a balikbayan box before that trip. While we were there, we were given a tour of the place. It was clean, children that we met gave us smiles and said hellos. I was ok with the tour until we were shown the children’s sleeping quarters. Inside this room were several double-deck papags made of wood, no mattress, all they had was a blanket and a pillow neatly rolled and placed at the top of the bed. I had to step out and just like MM, admire the plants outside as tears rolled down my eyes. I made a promise to myself that I will visit and provide for that place whenever I go home and I am fortunate enough to have kept that promise.

    MM – may you and your family continuously be showered with blessings for all the good things that you have been doing to our less fortunate kababayans. Merry Christmas and a Joyous and Bountiful Year ahead…

    Dec 24, 2012 | 9:32 am

  39. millet says:

    this post made me look out to my garden many times. yes, let us not be overwhelmed by the enormity of all that needs to be done; instead, let us do whatever we can, in the little ways we can. merry christmas, everyone!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:12 am

  40. Jade186 says:

    Were the perpetrator/s of this heinous crime punished, MM? He/she/they should rot in jail and possibly have chemical castration. Unfortunately, the rapist/s can be someone close to her like a family member or friend. I really get furious whenever I hear of such stories, especially abuses done to minors. This poor girl will be needing psychiatric help as well, otherwise she won’t be able to live a normal life anymore. Prayers are not enough.

    Anyway, thank you for your kind gesture, MM. Atleast you’ve done something for her, whereas I’ve done none but shed a tear.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:13 am

  41. Natie says:

    This pulls heartstrings and tear glands…we are indeed blessed! Merry Christmas to MM and Family, and to all Market Fans. It seems we are now extended family………

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:26 am

  42. iampandora2 says:

    Longtime lurker here MM… I want to thank you for this inspiring story. My family and I are experiencing hard times now (first time in our lives) and it pains me not to be able to provide all that I wanted to my husband and kids. But reading this story has reminded me to be thankful for what I have, be strong and learn from this experience. I hope when things pick up for us again, I will be able to pay it forward and do the same as what you have done. Thank you so much and Merry Christmas!

    P.S. With your permission, I would like to share this on my Facebook wall too.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:45 am

  43. Josephine says:

    A blessed Christmas and thank you to all readers and our beloved MM, for the gift of community, tears and laughter, nourishment and sharing and wishing you all a happy New Year. May we all continue to hold out a hand to those who need us, and in gratitude for our own blessings, hold those we love closer.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:50 am

  44. eustressor says:

    Thank you for your generosity. Made me cry reading this post. Merry Christmas MM, Family and Crew!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 11:01 am

  45. Trish says:

    Thank you for sharing- it just goes to show that even with all the evil in this world there is always someone out there willing to help! Thank you for reminding us the true meaning of Xmas! Stay blessed!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 11:57 am

  46. Thel from Florida says:

    Everyday, I am very grateful for our great big blessings. I’m very happy to say that I shared $1,800 to four scholars I’m supporting at UP. Then throughout the year, I cooked for some senior citizen members of our church who are 89, 80, and 77 years. One 62 years old lady just want a house coat for Christmas so I bought her a nice one. It feels so great to be able to give especially during Christmas. Have a Blessed Christmas and Properous New Year to all.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:10 pm

  47. EbbaBlue says:

    KC: I have an ongoing Children’s Ministry in Quezon Province, wherein we have a mini bible class and then we feed the children. I have been doing this since 2003, once a month – 3 villages, and totalling 150 kids, with 10 teachers/helpers.

    Every summer (May) we have a “graduation” celebration for the students plus the other children in the neighborhood. Games, prizes, food, baloons, toys.. even the parents participate. In Manila, we sometimes do it also, but only when I get to go there in the Philippines. We walk the streets of Sampaloc, distribute pencils, baloons, toys, candies, and cookies. Next day, we have a party (bible class service), and then we serve the usual spaghetti.There’s dancing and singing. It’s fun, volunteers get to wear pre-printed t-shirts designed for that specific year, worn during the walk.. and if you want, you can dressed up like clown, which I usually do.

    If you want, we can get together online and who knows.. you may want to join us in Manila.

    MM, thanks for caring. Your generosity will be paid ten fold in some ways that you can’t imagine.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:18 pm

  48. MindanaoBob says:

    God Bless you, MarketMan. Merry Christmas.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:35 pm

  49. cusinera_althea says:

    Tulo po luha at uhog ko…what a wonderful post to inspire people to share what they have to others. Christmas is not for just opening gifts but also for giving to others who are less unfortunate. I do my little sharing/giving everyday as much as possible…a little gift,help or just a listening ear….so many things we can do to create a difference to someone’s life. Thank you for sharing your encounter with Happy, sana with what she received from MarketMan it will at least make her realize that there are still good people around and wishes do come true!

    Merry Christmas to your Family & Staff, MarketMan =)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 12:59 pm

  50. Dita says:

    Thank you for letting these children feel what the essence of Christmas is. I know how much it means to all of them. I cried after reading this article, wow ,did it really tug at my heart! May we all do our part to help others all year round, even if sometimes even we ourselves are going through rough times. Sharing of time, prayers, support, and items are always appreciated by others. I know that God will bless you and your loved ones for loving His people. Merry, Merry Christmas, Marketman! I’m sure not only their stomachs were full, but also their souls. All the best for you and all the MM readers.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 1:52 pm

  51. Mimi says:

    What a wonderful Christmas for Happy and her family! Unfortunately, there are countless “Happys” in the Philippines. Hopefully your gesture will bring joy to her horrific life. I wish and pray that all the children of our world be safe and protected as they sleep every night. Have a blessed Christmas to MM, the Family and all marketmanila readers!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 2:15 pm

  52. Joey in Dubai says:

    I lost some money inside a bag that I left in a taxi last week and it has been bugging me till now. I’ve been to the taxi company to check whether the driver has returned my bag but no success. They can’t locate the bag nor the driver. But reading your post today made me realize that I’m still better off than “Happy”. She who has to suffer indignity at such an early age and whose parents can’t feed her properly due to lack of job. At this time, I’m about to give up on my bag and pray that the money could “help” the driver or whoever found my bag in some way. I can recover the money thru my job or, hopefully, God will give me something bigger in return. And that’s my wish for “Happy” too—that God gives her continued strength and help her recover from a nightmare and lead a normal childhood. God bless you, Marketman, for making her happy–no matter how fleeting it may be. Thank you, too, for lightening my own burden. I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 2:29 pm

  53. Anna Banana says:

    This made me cry :-( God bless you for your good heart, MM.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 3:19 pm

  54. Sanna says:

    The story is heart breaking and heart warming at the same time. I have been following your blog whenever I run out of ideas to cook :). And I have never ever posted any comments in any blogs that I’m following. This is the first!
    Merry Christmas! and may God bless your good heart!..i’ll be praying for the little girl…

    Dec 24, 2012 | 4:35 pm

  55. ying says:

    Thanks for reminding us MM, that when we partake of the blessings on our table, we must think of all those who have nothing to eat, and offer a sincere prayer for them. Blessed Christmas to you and your family!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 5:01 pm

  56. La Emperor says:

    Halfway thru the post and I was already grabbing a kleenex.

    It just shows us that despite all the news of how progressive our country has become, and with all the efforts of people like you and other similar organizations, churches, charities and the likes, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to eliminate poverty. Hopefully combined with strong political will, it may happen in our lifetime.

    I pray that “Happy’s” story will have a happy turnaround.

    This is such a beautiful Christmas post. I can see why you are so blessed, MM.

    Anyway, here’s wishing you and your family, Zubu staff and everyone else who follows this blog a Merry and Joyous Christmas!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 5:38 pm

  57. Marvien De Leon says:

    Merry CHRISTmas everyone! :-)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 6:02 pm

  58. jakespeed says:

    An inspiring post indeed. Thanks for sharing the spirit of Christmas.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 6:17 pm

  59. sophie says:

    Thank you MM for sharing this post. Merry Christmas to you, your family and to the whole Zubuchon staff. Grab a Kleenex already before I finished reading the first paragraph.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 6:36 pm

  60. KUMAGCOW says:

    An absolutely good thing to read, thanks MM :)

    Dec 24, 2012 | 7:16 pm

  61. ConnieC says:

    The greatest joy is the one that comes from giving, especially to those less fortunate than us. I am sure everyone will agree that in sharing , something transcendent truly happens.

    Thank you MM and the other commenters for sharing.

    A blessed Christmas to everyone.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:03 pm

  62. ami says:

    Kudos MM for knowing exactly what Christmas is all about. :)

    Merry Christmas MM & family and everyone!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 8:28 pm

  63. yeni says:

    i was holding my breath waiting for the identity of the rapist. i was scared that it was her dad. thank you MM for sharing. merry christmas to you, your family, your staff and the kids of the feeding program.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:00 pm

  64. gezel says:

    It is never unfair to help one out of many Marketman, if you could lift one heart to heaven then it is so worth it. I often tell my white friends here that unless you have live in a 3rd world country you will never know the meaning of what it is to be poor.

    A Blessed Christmas to you and to your family.

    Dec 24, 2012 | 10:28 pm

  65. amy says:

    Thank you for doing your good deed once again MM. I got so choked up last night when I read your post and I just couldn’t write a comment because my screen looked so blurred, for some reason… maybe I got a whiff of those darn onions! Happy’s Santa finally came and he was a genie, granting three wishes and then some! Merry Christmas MM family!

    Dec 24, 2012 | 11:27 pm

  66. Maricar says:

    Thanks for sharing what the season is all about,may the Good Lord bless us all…merry Christmas to MM and your family,your staff and everybody here!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 12:12 am

  67. psychomom says:

    the real and original meaning of Christmas is the giving of oneself to others! thank you MM for sharing that story. Merry Christmas to all!!

    to Ebbablue-we serve an AWESOME GOD who can do exceedingly wonderful things and has a wonderful plan for us. May His face continue to shine upon you!! have a speedy recovery!!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 12:46 am

  68. betty q. says:

    A Blessed Christmas to you MM, your family and your crew!

    To all the “Happy’s” world wide…may The Lord BLESS you and keep you safe and protect you from all harm and from all evil…May HE keep you under his wing!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 1:24 am

  69. Jhordan Kee says:

    Most of the time we doesn’t realize how lucky we are compared to these children, who only wishes for foods and clothes.

    Dec 25, 2012 | 2:00 am

  70. Dragon says:

    Thanks for the reminder of what the true spirit of Christmas is supposed to be:

    beyond random acts of kindness is the act of good without any expectation of payback, other than you could (and should) be kind and good.

    Wishing everyone, including all the Happys of this world, a peaceful, joyful, healthy, prosperous Christmas and 2013!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 2:09 am

  71. JoAnne says:

    Now this is Merry Christmas, :)

    Dec 25, 2012 | 4:40 am

  72. Marketman says:

    POSTSCRIPT: It is now early Christmas morning, Manila time. Our crew in Cebu confirms that “Happy” and her mother, and youngest baby brother, came to our Escario Branch (early) to pick up their goodies. I think Artisan Chocolatier also happened to be there by chance and saw them… They managed to have a few “fast meals” while waiting for their dinner to be packed up. They also got their clothing, sandals and toys. There are several WONDERFUL photos of “Happy” at the Christmas Tree, or at their table, but in the interest of keeping her identity private, I can’t publish them. So the story, at least for this one evening, ends well. :)

    Dec 25, 2012 | 6:37 am

  73. kristin says:

    Kleneex on hand now.. Happy Christmas MM and Family! the essence of the season: of joy, hope,love, and faith has manifested in the story above. And May we all learn, that by helping one person, and paying it forward will definitely make a difference. And any random act of kindness to anyone are always appreciated by the reciever, may it be a smile, a hug, a helping hand, etc. Let us all start paying forward in small or big ways!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 8:50 am

  74. Ellen says:

    Flowing tears. Your Christmas story puts things in proper perspective. Thanks you. Happy Christmas to you.

    Dec 25, 2012 | 9:33 am

  75. NidaFe O. says:

    Thanks for sharing. A good reminder for all of us to share our good fortune. I gifted through Love With Food this year: it ‘s a subscription and the recipient receives a box of gourmet bites envy month. The best part is, for every box sent, the company donates a meal to a hungry kid. For those running out of gift ideas, please consider them. Heard abouth them through a tweet from Andrew Zimmern.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours, MM, and wishing you even more good fortune in the coming year!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 9:38 am

  76. edee says:

    Maligayang Pasko sa lahat!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 10:41 am

  77. pits, manila says:

    you’re a good man, MM … happy holidays!!!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 11:52 am

  78. jaycee1026 says:

    a very touching Christmas story, MM you true are a great human being. Another example that you don’t have to run for office if you truly want to help others less fortunate. Kudos to you and the entire staff of Zubuchon. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays MM

    Dec 25, 2012 | 1:46 pm

  79. Mike De Guzman says:

    I’m one of your regular readers and I rarely comment… but this particular post moved me… brought tears to my eyes on this over-cast Christmas day… My over-all mood has been under the weather for the last two years… Coping with chronic depression is a struggle… but stories like this one you shared fill me with hope, and the impetus to be thankful for what little I have that kind of gets thrown under the rug when I feel depressed… For that alone I thank you for sharing this child’s story… Happy Christmas to you and your family!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 2:05 pm

  80. Lourdes says:

    Touching… pinaiyak mo naman ako Marketman…

    Dec 25, 2012 | 5:36 pm

  81. Cora says:

    Yes, please pass the Kleenex. The best Christmas morning read to start my Christmas day 2012.
    Best said, “Better one than none.” Thank you MM for sharing and most of all thank you for your generosity. Merry Christmas to you and your beloved family!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 5:54 pm

  82. rex says:

    I shared this wonderful Christmas story in Facebook too. I hope you don’t mind. Merry Christmas!

    Dec 25, 2012 | 6:50 pm

  83. Avid Thinker says:

    Thank you MM for sharing such an inspiring story. May you and your family be blessed more this season and in the coming years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Merry Christmas everyone! :=)

    Dec 25, 2012 | 9:36 pm

  84. cumin says:

    Bless you, MM. The true spirit of Christmas.

    And EbbaBlue, I’m so happy your operation went well and you got the support you deserve. I’ve always enjoyed reading your comments, you add such warmth to the online community. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us.

    Dec 25, 2012 | 9:41 pm

  85. Datingpulubi says:

    Merry Christmas marketman. My God a five years old baby girl. Was the perpetrator jailed? Sana ay may tumulong kay Happy na makamit niya ang katarungan at maparusan ang may kasalanan. PAO lawyer I guess. MM please lubusin mo na ang pagtulong kay Happy.

    Dec 25, 2012 | 10:01 pm

  86. Jody says:

    This hard core New Yorker was absolutely staggered by the ‘Happy’ story .(particularly the part to do with the toy cell phone). I do not count my blessings every day and the story reminds me to “put gratitude in my attitude” as I go about my daily affairs.

    Dec 26, 2012 | 1:00 am

  87. Jo Santos says:

    Hi MM. Its Christmas day in NY and my tears are flowing. Thank you for sharing.

    Dec 26, 2012 | 5:25 am

  88. kulasa says:

    Thank you MM for this inspiring story. Happy’s simple wishes makes us all pause and realize how blessed we are. You are one amazing person, one with a generous heart at that.

    A Blessed Christmas to you, Mrs M, the Teen and the crew.

    Dec 26, 2012 | 7:46 am

  89. butch says:

    Can I request permission to post it in our yahoogroup. It is this kind of story that shows the essence of Christmas. It not only brings tears to our eyes but also gives us the window to show how blessed we are. Merry Christmas.

    Dec 26, 2012 | 8:40 am

  90. Marketman says:

    butch, yes, of course, go ahead…

    Dec 26, 2012 | 8:54 am

  91. jazzie says:

    Now I don’t have a vegetable garden to turn to just to wipe away my tear. I am now in the office, and after reading your story, I can’t hold back my tears realizing how simple other people’s wishes are in contrast to ours who already have enough. A wonderful and inspiring post. Thanks for sharing. Merry Christmas to all.

    Dec 26, 2012 | 9:23 am

  92. Marga says:

    God bless you, MM! Merry christmas :)

    Dec 26, 2012 | 9:24 am

  93. Cherryl says:

    The want to do good for others i think is innate to us all. Christmas heightens that feeling i think. Your post about the little girl is very sad but at the same time has snippets of the funnies.It made me chuckle when you kept on pressing her as to what else she wanted and she said a cell phone and you went “yikes”. It kinda reminded me of what i tried to do years back for our newly hired rehab tech at our Christmas lunch in a steak house, knowing she was “fresh off the boat” and was making just minimum wage i had offered to pay for her lunch and she happily orders a surf and turf..whereas i happily ate my $7.50 Greek Chicken! Keep up the good work! And as always, i love reading your posts! Merry Christmas!

    Dec 26, 2012 | 9:46 am

  94. rosa says:

    Merry Christmas, MM, and to Mrs. MM and the Teen as well :)

    Thank you for inspiring us not only to have the good and beautiful life, but to share this with others as well :)

    Dec 26, 2012 | 9:46 am

  95. gensanite says:

    God bless you and your crew, MM!!! Merry Christmas…

    Dec 26, 2012 | 10:33 am

  96. Annie in l.a. says:

    its christmas evening and i got so choked up reading this post…i so admire your feeding program and charity…merry merry christmas MM and family as well as your staff…god bless…

    Dec 26, 2012 | 12:20 pm

  97. MiMac says:

    Thank you for sharing, MM. Sob. Sob.

    We usually “take for granted” food when it comes to children’s wish list – but like Happy and many others, food is as precious as wrapped gifts. Before, I used to get upset when I see kids we feed — not touching their food or eating only half of it. I later found out, the kids purposely do not eat the packed food because they would bring it home to share with their families. :,-(

    Dec 26, 2012 | 4:45 pm

  98. Carmina lurker says:

    This is the post that touched me most. Thanks for letting me realize how lucky i am despite….

    Dec 26, 2012 | 10:03 pm

  99. joey @ 80 Breakfasts says:

    What a wonderful story and yes I did need a kleenex! Bless your generous heart MM…a good reminder to all of us how lucky we truly are. Wishing you all the best this holiday season!

    Dec 26, 2012 | 10:35 pm

  100. Susan says:

    God’s hand at work. He shows His Love in many ways…good and bad. We don’t always understand why things happen but we must continue in faith, love, hope, and humility. What a wonderful opportunity you were given MM! Merry CHRISTmas to you and your family!

    Dec 27, 2012 | 12:37 am

  101. Meg Abalos Mationg says:

    Thanks for sharing this touching story MM. A Blessed Christmas to you, your family and your staff :-)

    Dec 27, 2012 | 9:27 am

  102. Debbie says:

    God bless you, your family and the staff of Zubochon, MM!

    Dec 27, 2012 | 2:33 pm

  103. Girlie says:

    Nakakaiyak naman ang story ni Happy. How I wish I am there to listen and lend them a hand. My family will pray for them – for good health, more blessings and happiness.
    Mr. Marketman – A Blessed Christmas and a Happy 2013 to you and your family. It is good to be a blessing to others di ba po? Iba ang pakiramdam – masaya sa kalooban. All the best.

    Dec 27, 2012 | 5:35 pm

  104. ConnieC says:

    Amidst the Christmas food fiesta, we need to meet the challenge of hunger among the country’s children. Urgent…..and MM is doing his share.

    500K school kids are malnourished ( DepEd)

    Dec 27, 2012 | 8:35 pm

  105. faith says:

    Can we join you on your feeding program in Manila?

    Dec 28, 2012 | 1:32 am

  106. Marketman says:

    faith, the Taguig feedings are done Monday/Wedsnesday/Friday on regular school weeks. But we have to advise the school in advance if there are to be guests, just so they can plan. Perhaps one or two folks attending is non-disruptive, but we don’t do it on a regular basis as it becomes a hassle to organize. But if you really want to see it in action, I can arrange a date whether or not I can make it that day…

    Dec 28, 2012 | 4:31 pm

  107. faith says:

    My friend and i are available every monday.. =)

    Dec 28, 2012 | 10:13 pm

  108. shiko-chan says:

    thanks for this, MarketMan. had i onion plants nearby, i would have inspected them too. but thank you for reminding me/us of, as they say on TV, “the true meaning of Christmas”. i’m also sharing this on my wall. :) God bless you and Happy New Year in advance!

    Dec 30, 2012 | 1:42 am

  109. Gabriela A. Igloria says:

    After reading this post, I’m even more convinced to tell people not to take what they have for granted. We are quite fortunate, while others have no jobs, food, money, clothes (etc). We have most of these things and are happy with our lives, yet still some people that have all of these things wish to not have them, or have more of something. Be grateful you have these things is what I say.

    Dec 31, 2012 | 6:27 am

  110. Mrs Froggie says:

    It is so sad when we are faced with realities like that. In our comfortable sheltered cocoon of a life we are oblivious of situations like Happy’s. It is so heartwrenching that even knowing what happened to Happy, we still do not know if the evil-doer rapist was ever brought to justice. Thank you, MM for giving the spirit of Christmas to Happy and her family. I had offered my New Year Holy Mass, Vigil and will continue praying for Happy and her family and all the less fortunate children.

    Jan 1, 2013 | 10:36 pm

  111. Trish says:

    Beautiful thing you are doing for these folks MM :)
    I wish you could visit Missionaries of Charity (in Pasil Cebu City, it is beside an edible oil plant of some sort) as well. They house abandoned children and the elderly permanently. All of these kids have special needs and I’m sure your programs would be much appreciated by them. As you know, my family is from Cebu as well. Do message me so I can tell you more about this and how you can help :)

    Jan 3, 2013 | 4:58 pm

  112. Zita says:

    Thanks for sharing MM. Pass me the tissue please? Hope you had a restful Christmas break.

    Jan 9, 2013 | 8:21 pm

  113. Marketman says:

    Trish, if I am not mistaken, we (a family real estate company, not Zubuchon) has supported that group before… I think it was during the Christmas holidays as well, when they caroled to raise funds…

    Jan 11, 2013 | 8:55 pm


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