Do They Know It’s Christmas?


The year was 1984. I was a sophomore in college. The song was “Do they know it’s Christmas?” and it raised millions and millions of dollars for the starving in Africa. Organized by Bob Geldof and sung with, among others, Sting, Boy George, Bono, Simon Le Bon, Tony Hadley, Phil Collins, George Michael, etc… it was an example of how a few people, with a lot of help from others, can do something incredibly positive. And for those who are much younger than me, check out the video here to listen to the song and smile at all the outrageous haircuts and outfits of the 1980’s!!!

Now we may not be literal rock stars, but marketmanila’s readers and friends provided nearly 20,000 (twenty thousand!) meals for undernourished grade school students at public schools in Manila and Cebu this year!!! An unexpected donation from the restaurant Mamou during the year contributed roughly 4000+ meals out of the total 20,000. Poverty and a lack of basic nutrition are some of the most likely reasons why so many young kids don’t make it to school at all, and if they do manage to get to class, a huge percentage of them sit there hungry, unable to concentrate or learn much. I know, I know, a longer term solution is to limit population growth; but for the kids already here, these supplementary feeding programs might be just a drop in the bucket, a flimsy band-aid, but it’s better than doing nothing at all… Both schools that sponsored this year reported much higher attendance, more active class participation and a positive weight gain for the students involved. But funds will only last until to the end of this year. And I just couldn’t let the feeding programs end without checking with you all to see if you are game for more…


I know times are tough in the Philippines and in many places around the world. And they must be even tougher for the segment of society on the verge of, or in the thick of, poverty… So what do you think? I picked up my order of Christmas ornaments the other day from a wholesaler/exporter, and was stunned by the beauty of some of the ornaments. Then I thought, it’s time to make another pitch for those who need it far more than we do. If you donate at least PHP500 to the sponsored feeding program 2008, I will give you one of these glass ornaments as a token gift. It is locally made, by hand, and worth just a teeny fraction of your donation, but let it be a symbol of sharing and caring on your Christmas tree this year. Folks can even consider getting many of them and give them out to your friends or clients with a simple note that reads something like “In lieu of a Christmas present this year, a donation to feed undernourished public school children has been given in your name. Hang this ornament on your tree and know that (nearly 2 dozen) meals will be provided for children who will truly appreciate your generosity…Merry Christmas!”


I have checked if I can accept transfers or cheques from donors abroad, and sorry to say this, but realistically, I cannot. I do not have a foundation status and any donations must be made straight to the schools involved. Even if I set up a joint account with the schools for donations from abroad, each individual donation will be charged a remittance fee in your home country (e.g., U.S.) plus a minimum acceptance fee on this end of $7-10. So that option isn’t practical or economical. I am still trying to see if I can set up local accounts for readers based in the Philippines who want to simply transfer a donation… At any rate, this is just the first salvo. I just want to know if there are enough folks out there who want to participate… then I have to order the ornaments, set pick up dates in late November and early December from the Salcedo market (or other Makati location) and possibly one location in Mandaluyong and another in Cebu.


So this is all I am asking of you now… Would you like to help support the public school feeding program? If yes, leave a comment here, with the approximate number of ornaments you might want to “reserve” and after two days or so, I will see if we manage to get up to a minimum of 500 ornaments (PHP250,000) and if I can organize everything in time, I will pursue this year’s fund raising program. I promise that 100% of your donations will be coursed to the two schools that we have supported in the past. The ornaments are a gift from Marketman & family to you, and I will underwrite the cost of the ornaments. Each PHP500 donation will pay for roughly 20 meals for the kids. The choice of ornaments will only be red or clear glass, as shown in the top or final photo above. No special orders for colors or shapes as that will just get too complicated to handle. The ornaments come in a small simple box that can easily be wrapped. And no, I am not at liberty to divulge the manufacturer’s name on this blog. I am going out of town for the next two days for some much needed rest and will return to count the comments on this post. I will understand if you think this is all just too much given the tough times all around. But it certainly is worth the effort. Thank you very much for your continued visits to marketmanila!

Earlier posts on the feeding program:

It started with a simple question “What t-shirt would you wear?”
Then reader Lee helped with unsolicited and terrific designs for the t-shirts…
…while another reader suggested tote bags that we had made in cacha.
Then, a moronic interlude with EMILALVA, who thought Marketman had gone commercial and was selling t-shirts and totes instead of trying to feed undernourished children
I did a post on the first feeding program done in Cebu…
…followed up by photos of the Cebu feeding program here.
Millet, from Davao, offered a pick-up point in that city
An update of the feeding program, this time from a school in Taguig
Another update of progress of the feeding program
The restaurant Mamou, generously offers to help the feeding program
which results in 4,000 more meals provided


114 Responses

  1. Sure hope you can still find a way to accept donations from abroad…maybe there is a local foundation that can act as the conduit/processor for the funds.
    I know Gawad Kalinga has ANCOP here in the US; and while ANCOP does take a fee; it is still worth it because US donors can donate more since the full amount is tax-deductible. Good luck MM!

  2. Hi MM,

    Please “reserve” 4 clear ornaments for me.

    Thank you for leading such a good cause.

  3. Hi MarketMan,

    another option might be to partner with Ayala Foundation USA. i think it’s similar to the set up that flip4ever mentioned with ANCOP. I know of schools from back home who’ve raised funds from US based donors this way; however, I’m not sure about how much they take as a percentage.

    by the way, at the risk of dating myself, i do remember this song, especially bono :)

  4. jadedfork and flip4ever, I think their take is some 20-30% of the donation, and smaller amounts could mean a larger percentage… that’s just too big a cut and too involved an approval process to raise the amounts we do here… :(

  5. Hi Marketman,
    Count me in for 1 Christmas ornament. Merry Christmas even if it’s still 50 days away :)

  6. MM, I sometimes send small dollar bills inserted in a package (kept in inside pockets of light clothing or inserted in documents i mail home)thru Johnny Air Cargo. so far it’s always been safe…maybe i could do the same thing. let me know- i’ll email you my pledge.

  7. and in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy. Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime!

    Now I’m singing the song…

    And I would love to support the program!

  8. I am sure that a lot of your readers here in North America are willing to contribute to your noble cause. It is a matter of trust. I for one trust you, even if we haven’t met before. All I need is a bank account number or an address.

  9. I’m in! Though times are hard (Hubby lost his job due to closure of his US-based company), I am still happy to share, albeit on a smaller scale now. 1 red ornament, please. Will add if finances will allow. Bless you, MM and all the generous MM fans as well.

  10. The glass ornaments are beautiful, and MM’s commitment to the feeding program more so. Artisan Chocolatier, is it too presumptuous if I leave the donation at your Suki shop? I’ve always wanted to check it out and this will be a perfect opportunity as I’ll be in Cebu two weeks from now.

  11. MM, to go around bank charges, would it be possible for US-based readers (and other readers overseas) to send their cntributions to a US bank account, e.g., yours, if you have any, or Sister’s?

  12. cumin, in theory, that gets into tax issues as I am not a U.S. citizen or resident, even if the money is going straight to a public school beneficiary. What can be done is for one trusted reader in the U.S. to act as a consolidator, then one bank transfer made to an account in the Philippines, but let me work on that in the days ahead. At this point, it looks like one of our banks has agreed to a peso account and has WAIVED all incoming fees for local transfers so that means anyone in the Philippines will be able to send a transfer to this account with no incoming charges…. :)

  13. Maybe Betty Q maybe willing to be a consolidator since she is coming home for the eb? Let me know betty q and i will transfer some money to your account, thanks in advance if you’re willing ;-)

  14. I’ll definitely support the feeding program…but I’ll have to get back to you on the colors :) I haven’t figured out my, uh, “theme” for Christmas yet :)

  15. MM, if it is an interbranch bank deposit, there really is no charge. If it is a wire transfer then there is usually a charge. So for local deposits of the same bank, it really should be free of charge. 2 ornaments please, one red and one white. =)

  16. two ornaments for me please, one red and one white. i will be in cebu on dec 20 to pick them up and pay them.

  17. Those are beautiful ornaments. Too bad only red and white available, but totally understand how complicated it can get if you offer too many choices. Let me count the people on my list, but will definitely buy more than a few.

  18. The song was actually “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and the motley group was Band-Aid. Gee, my age is showing…

    I’ll have five of those trinkets, MM. Anything that keeps kids in (and attentive at) school gets my full support.

  19. being also involved with a school, i realize how much we all need to pitch in. heartwarming to see people like you initiating and supporting noble causes such as this.

    count me in for 2 reds and 2 purples please.

    maraming salamat.

  20. bsg, only reds and clears… thanks everyone, it’s nice to see such a hearty response… let’s see how it all adds up over the next couple of days… off on brief holiday without my computer…

  21. Yay, a reader has just emailed me with a good lead to get a conduit for donations from the U.S. I will explore this in a few days, and maybe readers in the U.S. will be able to participate in the feeding program (though I can’t get ornaments to you as a thank you…) Stay tuned for more info in the weeks ahead.

  22. Hi MM!

    I’m so happy you’ve started this early.

    How do I send my little contribution to you? You know where I am from so I can’t pick up the beautiful ornaments you are offering but it does not matter. I will “pass on” my share to the next donor. I’m just too happy to help.

    Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  23. MM, you indeed have a pure and unselfish heart…

    1 red ornament for me.. i hope i could give more to your program but i’m still a student… bawi ako next year pag may work na ko..

    happy christmas to your family and to all the readers..

  24. Much as I would love to go home Ted for the EB, I reget to say that I would have to postpone it for another time…Hubby already has flights booked for his travelling commitments till the end of this year. I am just sending my contribution to MM via my nephew (he is a Regional guy for Air Transat and an immediate relative of Goldilock’s, Phil….in other words, Ted, I trust him with my life!)

    MM, Zena mentioned an interbranch bank deposit. …In 19 kopong Kopong, my dad worked as one of the Directors for Royal Bank there. Is there still a Royal Bank there? If there is, I will ask our Financial Advisor at Royal Bank if there is a way of doing this.

  25. What a wonderful idea! This is what I’m giving all my Godchildren; I love them all dearly but methinks they’ve lost the message of Christmas in the blur of techie gadgets and ultra-hip clothes.

    Ten pieces please.

  26. MM, i can remit online thru PNB’s web remit to any Phil. bank there although PNB branch would be preferable so the transfer fee will be lower. I just need the account name, branch and account number. I would love to donate kahit minimal amount lang. Although i’d love to have those ornaments on my xmas tree medyo imposibleng mapadala yan dito sa north america where i am. Just advise whether this idea is ok with you or not.

  27. as always, will be more than willing to support this feeding program. How can we not have a soft spot for kids? 4 RED ornaments for me please… Thanks! =)

  28. hi MM,
    have you ever tried setting up a Paypal Account? They can send $ there and you can withdraw thru a linked Peso account. Minimum withdrawal is 5000 pesos, para walang charge. I hope this helps.

  29. Hi MM, i can tie-up our csr program with yours so you don’t have to spend much. we can provide additional meals or whatever you think would be workable for you. if you’re open to discuss this, you can e-mail or call me. we would like to be of help. have a good rest! you deserve it!

  30. MM, if you could provide an account number and an account name at any metrobank, alliedbank or pnb branch, my family will be happy to send in in our small contribution.MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND ALL MM READERS AND FRIENDS.

  31. 2 red and two whites for me. Uyab or Mom can pick it up for us, as I will be here in Seoul until late this year.

    Have a good rest, MM!

  32. Although I am in not in the Philippines, I will request that my brother donate on my behalf. Will wait for the pick-up venue in the Mandaluyong area. Kindly pre-order 4 pcs – 2 of each colour. Thank you!

  33. Thanks again for this wonderful effort. I got an idea from you and am trying to launch a similar project in Puerto Princesa, Palawan but would include an ongoing Montessori based preschool learning program with an organizational support of course.

    I will have my sister in the Philippines contribute for me for this great project you are spearheading and have passed on the word to my classmates here in the US for their support.

    Have a nice rest MM.

  34. MM,pls.let us know where to remit the money and where to pick up the orna ment in in the US but a neice can do it for me,she`s working in Cebu.pls.reserve 2 ornaments,clear and red

  35. MM, I am here from Houston, but my hipag there can get it for me, besides I wanted to put it in the Christmas tree (1st time) in the Children’s Mission House I had set-up in Quezon Province. Please reserve 1 clear and 1 red for me. I wish I can order more, but this is what I can do for now. Thank you very much and God Bless.

  36. I know there are some of you living here in Houston, if you want to pool our resources and send 1-time to Manila, you can contact me at 281-988-8959. It will save us transmittal fee.

  37. So if any of you guys here in Vancouver, B.C. would like to send your donation to MM via my nephew…let me know either by or phone me at 604-552-3875. He is leaving on Nov.28th….so if could let me know by NOV. 25th…that would be great! I will try my best to ask him to hand carry those beautiful ornaments…..a favour MM if I may, he doesn’t know his way around Manila and he will spend most of his time in Bohol…but most important of all, would it be too much to ask you if you could pack it for him so it will arrive here in ONE PIECE? No offense to you guys (male) but I know I have to do the packing for my husband SO FRAGILE THINGS DON’T GET BROKEN!!!!! please let me know how and when would it be convenient for you to connect with him…Thank you!!!

    Hey EbbaMyra….please go check the Talisay post…you asked for a recipe, right?

  38. Cumin, if MM says its ok to drop your donation at Suki, then it will be ok with me.

    MM, if you have some of the ornaments ready, you can also leave them at the store, and we can pass them on to your donors.

    It will be my pleasure (and honor) for Suki to be a drop-off/pick-up point for Marketmanila’s Christmas Fund Drive.

  39. I do not celebrate Christmas, but would love to donate P1000. Anything for the kids. I can send it through Metrobank or any bank in the Philippines, will have my assistant in PI deposit it. I’m US and South America base.

    You’re kind hearted, MM.

  40. bettyq, ang bait mo talaga. I think maganda ka rin. Got the recipe, salamat ng marami. Last weekend, I saw unripe langka in a vietnamese grocery store here. Next day wala na, nabili siguro agad. 1-question, all parts of the langka is used. I mean, di-ba pag-hinog, meron yung some parts na hindi kinakain? MM, thank you talaga dito sa naisip mo. I remember my american sister in law, in her christmas tree, the decoration has a story each. Akala ko baduy ang ganuon, pero this time, I magagaya na rin ako sa kanya. I will also have a story, and it will be a good one. Imagine your cause is for the children, eh ganuon din ang ministry ko. Clowning for the Pinoy Kids. Pagpalain ka ng Panginoon!

  41. Ebba…You know how some kids are so BLUNT that they say anything? When my son was just about 4 or 5 years old, he saw a kid who had skin pigment anomaly and whispered to me and asked me how come he looked like that…So I told him that what is INSIDE that matters MOST and not what the skin looks like….I told him that GOD didn’t create anyone “pangit” and I told him to look into that kid’s eyes and tell me what he sees..and you know what he told me?…”…a little boy just like me…” SO WE ARE ALL MAGANDA, EBBA!…got sidetracked again!…YUP, all the parts of the UNRIPE langka is what you use.

  42. Thanks bettyq, galing ng wisdom ninyong mag-ina. MM, time will come siguro my staff ministers and I can come to your adopted school and do a Christian Clown Service. I will be a big hit for my group. I know they will love that. Also, the red color decoration really is great, my 2010’s ministry’s color theme kasi is Red. Its like being a fighter for the Lord. 2008 naman is purple – Majesty. Thanks for your site, not only you bring all the Pinoy together, its also exciting and very interesting… with a cause.

  43. hey Marketman,

    Do you have a Western Union Branch near where you resides? Please let me know. Thank you for all the lechon blog. It’s more than what I’ve asked for.


  44. ebba and betty–i’m enjoying your exchange here..still on topic since it’s all about the food drive for kids. i’ll give either one of you a call since i’ll probably just send my $$ thru you. should we wait until MM comes back though? maybe he’d have figured it all out then…

  45. Hi MM, pls let me know how to send donations through any local bank. Will spread the word around to my e-circle, see what we can come up with.

  46. Hi MM! I can donate for 2 of the red ones. Will just ask my brother again to do the drop off/pick up of the money/ornaments. Thanks for sharing this with us again!

  47. Hi, MM, count Felipe and me in for two ornaments. You know I’d love the purple ones, but I’d also be happy with the clear ornaments. :-)

    I’ve got to say, I was very pleasantly surprised that those are locally made! I’m guessing that you can’t divulge the source because they are for export only?

  48. one of each for me, MM. i’m coming home this december from australia so i can pick them up after december 17. thanks. and God bless your good heart.

  49. one red and one clear for me please. Thank you MM for making us a part of your feeding program. God Bless!

  50. Just a suggestion, I think a paypal account from a consolidator here in North America can receive all donations outside of PI, then he/she can then it to MM’s bank account, big savings in transaction fees.

  51. this has become an annual pledge for me.

    please reserve 4 ornaments: red, clear, purple and light green.

    bless you, MM and family.

  52. Hello, MM, please reserve 6 ornaments (they’re beautiful!) for me. Thank you. May you never cease to amaze and inspire readers of this blog! Stay healthy, stay happy.

  53. Hi everyone, thanks so much for the enthusiastic response… I still have to do a count on how many ornaments we are up to so far… Bernard, in Cebu it is the Banawa Elementary School. In Manila, it is the Tenement Elementary School in Taguig. Katrina, yes it is an exporter and yes, they have minimum runs for production… Artisan, thanks for the offer… if this pushes through, I may take you up on a Cebu pick up location! joan, will email you to see if this fits with your CSR program…

  54. Aside from the 2 that I ordered I would like to add 1 more… which makes it 3 red ornaments… I live near Banawa =) Great project and merry christmas

  55. Hi MM,i’m from CEBU and a friend of mine (Bernard) introduced your site for this cause you will be doing. Like the children you will be helping,i made it through college with the help of my friends also like Bernard and to pay it forward, please reserve 2 RED ornaments for me..Bernard will be paying in my behalf since i am out of the country, working. God Speed..May the feeding nourish not only their body but their whole being that their is still hope because of people like you and the others who ordered the ornaments that are willing to help…:)

  56. Count me in on this without any ornaments. My contribution is on its way through the kindness and generosity of Bettyq.

  57. Uh, Oh..MC: Don’t let Apicio know you’re back!!! I think he said he’ll never talk to you if you push for TINA FEY’S PARTY!…Apicio said he can tolerate Silly Lolo pushing for McLOLO!!!

  58. Marketman, please count me in for 4 ornaments – 2 red & 2 white. If you can work out a way for us abroad to send you the money, so much the better. Otherwise, I will just have to course the payment through family.

  59. Count me in for two ornaments please. Thanks for giving us a way to help with the feeding program.

  60. Count me in for 2 reds. Or pwede rin no ornaments na. Just let me know where to send the money, ok? Thanks for giving us this chance to help others :)

  61. hi,
    im from cebu. i would like to lend a hand pag andito na kayo cebu for the feeding program. can i?


  62. Hi MM,

    Been out for quite some time in Shanghai now for business trip. Four (4) ornaments for me and can I bank in the money from singapore? If not I can ask my sister to do it in manila. For the 4 ornaments please give it to the kids or organization that you want to support. you can email me the details. Thanks

  63. MM 2 reds for me please. God Bless You, Your Family and Your Crew for feeding these children and for giving us a chance to help in our own little way. Have a Great Day Always!!!!

  64. Hi MM,

    Two reds for me please…If possible the twisted ones?..hehehe….

    We’ll wait on the pick up or drop off points….Thanks!

  65. hello mm!
    you’re at it again! i don’t mind running out of ornaments but i hope i dont runout of the nice cards which you would have prepared to distribute cos it’s the perrfect person would complain about receiving a gift that helps kids stay in school (except for my inaanaks of course). as of date, please reserve me 2 cards, but hopefully by dec 6 i would have been able to raise 1k more. advance merry xmas!!!
    i have a cousin in europe who is getting married next may in vienna. and i have been bugging her to just do somethinglike this with social relevance instead of the typical useless paperweight giveaways. if i get to convince her, we will get to donate 50 cards worth more!!! im crossing my fingers she wont veto this idea.

    in that regard, mm readers, if you know anyone who has an upcoming wedding or event and they need giveaways, you oughtta suggest this donation thingee instead.



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