Where is the Love???


It’s in each and every one of the 11,000+ meals for undernourished public school children that Marketmanila readers have so generously sponsored. Here is a heartwarming update on the Marketmanila feeding programs in Taguig and Cebu. First up, The Tenement School, Taguig, Metro Manila. Since classes started in January 2008, Marketmanila reader donations have sponsored a feeding program that benefits approximately 120-130 students, three days a week. Instead of fixing the number at 100, the volume of the food from a given budget determines if they are able to feed more, and often, they make the food stretch to say 130+ kids. With 8,000+ kids total in THREE shifts of just four hours each, this physically small public school with no sports facilities or open grounds whatsoever, has an estimated 1,000+ kids considered undernourished, many from neighboring squatter areas and other very low income residential areas.


Mrs. Inojales, the Feeding Program Coordinator, is amazing. Not only does she teach, she helps out with the canteen and voluntarily manages the feeding programs. There are some people with confirmed First Class tickets to heaven, and I have to hope she is one of them. She speaks with such passion about providing for the kids who are hungry, and she markets, cooks and serves with the assistance of unpaid volunteers so that these kids get nice hot healthy meals three times a week. After just a few weeks, I asked if attendance had improved and she broke into a huge smile and said “Oh yes, definitely many more kids are coming to school…” I kidded with her that it must be her cooking and she just laughed. On the menu that day was a huge kawali of saucy menudo, rice, bananas and juice. The feeding program at this school shall continue until the end of this school year.


I cannot adequately describe to you the feeling of both incredible satisfaction and yet numbing shock whenever I see the kids in these feeding programs. Aged 5 to 13, they are often inches if not feet shorter than they should be, and very light and frail. Yet you can see such hope in many of their eyes and I debate whether to feel furious that their parents would bring them into this world only to have them practically starve or grateful that at least some of them may be inspired to claw their way out of their current predicament and do something wonderful in the future. It’s kind of hard to focus on schoolwork if you are hungry. At any rate, I want you all to know they are incredibly grateful and all of the folks who have generously volunteered to manage the feeding programs deserve recognition as well.


Meanwhile, down South in Cebu, we have increased the number of children in the feeding program at the Banawa Elementary School from 70 to 100 kids, with all 30 additional spaces given to pre-school/kindergarten aged children. Check out earlier photos here. That program is also proceeding very well and we are also feeding three times a week until the end of the year. All in all, I think we will manage to provide approximately 9,500 meals by the end of the school year. There should be just enough funds for a few more weeks at the start of next school year. Of course the problem now is how to sustain this… because it breaks my heart when I think we will have to cease the programs when the funds run out…


At the Banawa Elementary School, the meals are already plated and laid out before the kids get to the feeding room… that way there isn’t a long wait in line. The second time I visited the school, they had a soup, chicken and rice and banana for dessert. Mondays must be fried chicken day as I have come across this menu often. In Cebu, the kids are offered UNLIMITED rice and often second helpings of the viand or main course and it is really an incredible joy to watch them devour the food. Food prices are cheaper in the provinces so I gather that the volume of food is greater in Cebu.


The results in Cebu are equally encouraging… with student attendance up as much as 30% and the kids being described as more lively and active. So despite all of the horrible stuff that is going on in the Philippines (particularly on the political front at the moment), take heart that this teeny tiny little effort of ours does indeed have a positive impact on the lives of young children in Taguig and Cebu. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all of Marketmanila’s readers who contributed to the Feeding Program and while you may not get to see the kids who are the beneficiaries of your donations, trust me when I say they are most grateful… :)


44 Responses

  1. You must be the one that God sent into this world to make a difference. Keep it up. May God continue to bless abundantly without ceasing.

  2. I do hope people here in the Philippines do this more often not for political gain or a popularity stunt but because they really are concerned with the welfare of the children. Its really nice knowing that there are a few care and are able to help. God Bless.

  3. Thank you for the update on your wonderful feeding program!
    Are you able to accept donations from abroad? I seem to remember reading that you couldn’t do it at the time but maybe things have changed?
    Anyway, I would love to contribute some money to the program if you can accept international donations.

  4. You have a good heart! May God bless you 10-fold so you can help more people. Happy Valentine’s to you and your family!

  5. Hey Marketman,

    2 questions: How can one donate to the program from abroad?


    Did you ever get the passion fruit jam? My mom, who is in Manila at the moment, said that it was delivered a while back.



  6. No! MM, you simply cannot let this program die. It has to have your help and it has to continue. You graduated from Business School with honors so I know you can do this.
    I didn’t get to go to college because I had to work to help the family and I know I’m not biz savvy, but it seems to me some sort of Not-for-Profit dealie would apply here.
    And you have all of us willing to help. Right here, Romina, Kim and I are just itching to send money from abroad. I know Maria Clara, Betty Q, Cecile J, Lee, and many others are ready. You cannot let the funds run out MM, you cannot let the kids go hungry! All that is needed is your smarts!

  7. Bless your kind heart for your generous support of this feeding program and everyone who contributed to this very worthy program of yours. No one can think right with an empty and crawling stomach regardless you have genetic pool of a scholar! Your feeding program brightens up and touches a lot of these young children’s life. It makes me sick to my stomach with the grassroots of our politics only certain individuals are benefitted in enriching themselves with Juan dela Cruz money. Our social welfare program for below the poverty level children is rotten like hell. No health/dental care provided by our government. Then, you read all the cash gifts the administration is and will be handing out to their subordinates. We live in a democratic and Catholic background climate where family planning is not part of our awareness program. So Juan dela Cruz has a free rein of how many Marios and Marias he can have! Some Juan dela Cruz is even engaged in promiscuous relationship and has an extended family with more children aside from his wedded wife. With a night bout of drinking Red Horse another child will be born in nine months! Those couple that live in a remote area where electricity is not available and I imagine their highest level of education was the Sixth Grade after the kerosene light goes off another baby is conceived. The sin of the father is not sin of the child!

  8. you too MM will have a confirmed first class ticket to heaven.
    i agree with silly lolo — you have the smarts to devise a way to continue with the program.
    your “report” comes at the most apropos time — we need even a glimmer of hope in these politically mired country.
    thanks MM

  9. Count me in, MM as you devise a way to sustain this program. I’m sure a lot of your readers will want to do so as well.

  10. I am thankful that my children never have to worry about food, and like many of your readers, I would give again in a heartbeat, with or without a t-shirt!

  11. Bless your heart MM.I would like to partcipate to your project. Please advise where i can send you my contribution.

  12. Looking at the kids happy faces had made me teary eyed. Thank you for sharing this with us MM and thank you for your initiative in this project. My family and I are willing to help you if you decide to further this cause.

  13. Kim, no unfortunately, I have not received the passion fruit jam. When I dropped off jam at your brothers? place he had already sent it to another blogger, but it was never forwarded to me, as far as I know… :) For folks from abroad, I have not set up a system for accepting foreign donations as there are legal and tax implications…

  14. Yes, it can be done MM! I say if there is a will, there is a way. I don’t have business sense like SILLY LOLO…that’s why I will never make it should I desire to open up a cafe…I will go bankrupt because I will just feel sorry for those who would like to buy my baked goodies but can’t afford so I will just end up giving them away! Here’s something to think about, everyone….You know how they some of us donate and have foster children in other countries? Maybe if we can give up what we DONATE to STARBUCK’S for even just 1 week and instead pledge that amount to MM’s feeding program on a continuous basis…it’s like adopting 1 child. I am POSITIVE MM that you and your lawyers can make this into a reality…it will become WORLDWIDE!!! Think about it…Now, you have nearly close to 250 people wanting to win your priceless jam. I am positive that SILLY LOLO, MARIA CLARA, LEE, ANONYMOUS PAUL, and a whole bunch of others can do without Starbuck’s (maybe switch to Tim Horton’s so as not to undergo caffeine withdrawal!!!) for just one week …What do you say?

  15. betty q and silly lolo, unfortunately the realities of charitable giving are not so easy or so straighforward. There is a reason that many charities only manage to get 50-60 cents on the dollar of donations to the end user. For this tiny program alone, I underwrote ALL expenses, and not counting time, that was roughly 30 centavos on EACH peso gathered. So it isn’t something that one plunges into without understanding completely. I understand the desire to help, but it takes a LOT of organization, resources and effort. As for the 250 people wanting the jam, I am flatered beyond words… but freebies always attract comments…heehee :) As for the “failure rate” of good intentions… despite extensive interest last year in the feeding program, I got stuck with over 120 shirts that I simply gave away to sukis and others over the holidays, and that is after having at least 6 pick-up points! I am not being ungrateful, I am just recognizing how difficult it is to do this on a sustained basis as a one-man show… sad, but ultimately so true.

  16. Thank you and may our God keep you and your family safe and sound always so you can do this often and always.Cheers mate!

  17. Then…here’s Option B., MM…Now, the Feeding Program that you have started, this is in conjunction with the school curriculum? Some of us donate to charities on a yearly basis like Red Cross, Children’s Hosp. Cancer Research, etc. Setting tax receipts aside for this cause (the feeding program) is it possible to send it directly to the school? I know that doing it bank to bank can pose a bit of a problem. What I am suggesting is wiring it directly to the Feeding Program of the said school thereby bypassing the administrative fee and whatever fees are usually deducted from charitable donations…Do I make sense? Bless your heart MM! …for giving up your time and undoubtedly using your own resources to make a difference…If only my Dad and my oldest brother were still alive, they would have taken your cause in a heartbeat and followed through.

  18. This program can’t die! Before I even read today’s entry, I had to smile at seeing that little boy’s very sweet face. How can I help?

  19. I hope you can find a way to accept international donations. I’m willing to help. I’ll forward this post to a friend of mine back home to spread the word about your wonderful program. Please keep it up. You and and your colleagues in this cause are a blessing.

  20. Thank you, MM for sharing posts about your (as well as your group’s) priceless contribution to our next generations. I also get valuable insights of how it is to manage the budgeting of such feeding programs. There really has to be a balance between sheer idealism and practicality. Or grounded-ness as my husband would always remind me.

    We all have our roles in this constant building and rebuilding of this our nation (or of our humanity) no matter how small compared to these gigantic political institutions. More of like the ant to the elephant :-) and there lies the rub…

  21. MM, you are a wonderful person and I believe that you too, together with your family will have confirmed first class tickets to heaven.
    When you have set-up a way to have people from outside US to contribute to your selfless acts, please inform us. We would like to contribute whatever we can. It’s the least we can do. Thank God for people like you.

  22. Wonderful news MM! I am touched by everyone’s generosity and their willingness to reach out to the needy. MM, we may be able to do something for overseas contributions and I am more than willing to lend a hand. US-based readers may opt to course through their donations to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in the US. I am fortunate to have worked with one, Feed the Hungry, Inc. and my organization acts as their conduit here in the Philippines to assist in project coordination, implementation and monitoring. We have been doing this since 1989 with the help of our overseas partners.

    Here’s the website of Feed the Hungry.

    And here’s our website.

    Sorry for the plug but I felt everyone’s so eager to help.

  23. We have found an angel in you, MM! God bless your heart indeed! I may not have the financial resources to help you with your project but I will be praying for you… please be assured of that! For your deeds, God will surely open the floodgates of heaven and pour His mighty abundance on you and your family! Maranatha!

  24. There is something priceless in the smiles of the kids who receive help. They find joy in simple things and they really give you a different perspective in life.

    The hardest part in helping is actually doing it. Good intentions don’t do much good until you actually do something about it. There are a lot of centers, NGOs, foundations that are looking for volunteers and I think the contribution of time and care actually outweigh donations of the material kind. I highly recommend it.

  25. Finally, a touch of good news after the heartache of the current events. God bless you MM! It is so good to see the bright smiles and the full plates of the children and knowing that at least they will not go hungry that day. The increase school attendance is also great!

  26. Bless your heart and soul MM…Just a suggestion – if we cannot send it to you due to many tax implications and what not, how about sending our donations to relatives and they in turn send it to you?

  27. Thank you too to MM and the kids, just the smile on the face of the little boy already makes one feel a little bit positive inspite of all the negative things going on around us.

  28. Betty q, you are heart melting. I can feel your eagerness seeping out of my monitor.

    MM, so sorry to hear about the failure rate, but please hear out the heed of the people abroad. The failure rate certainly has a direct relation to the fact that we can not send out funds remotely…

    We are so grateful for this opportunity you are creating for these wonderful kids, and would love to help, for sure!

    Do not fret. Have a strong vanguard for this cause and there will be a way, sooner or later… but I’m hoping sooner, rather than later.

  29. I feel so happy know that my little bit helped in feeding those kids. Would there be a way to continue this program MM? Even if there were no shirts I would happily donate again. Just give details and I’ll be there.

  30. Sign me up for the next volunteer program. I miss our Catholic school’s feeding programs back home in Cebu. Those kids are the FUTURE… and they need nourishment!

  31. Silly Lolo, thanks and, yes, I am still ready and willing to help, like I am sure so many of us are…with or without a t-shirt, tote bag or jam as incentive. Please, MM, count me in. Am not rich but can scrimp on some things or give my time and efforts. Our kids need a fighting chance so that they can grow up to be productive, and hopefully, incorruptible, citizens!

  32. well done MM. the program’s funds doesn’t have to run out. just continue an appeal for donations alternately with sale of the popular MM shirts & bags. with the popularity of the blog, can’t see why you can’t snatch sponsors from food companies. we all need to do our part indeed!

  33. hi MM! just a thought… can’t the people abroad just remit the money to you like most OFWs do to their families? I mean, there are many remittance centers they can use and you can just accept/receive them as “gifts” so i don’t think there will be tax implications on that… you in turn will use those funds to continue the feeding program. well of course, these actions will be based purely on trust but we or I can feel that you don’t have the heart to misuse the funds. also, it would entail A LOT of your time and effort but as you’ve said it’s heart breaking to just stop the program when the funds run out. now, we can’t promise to continue this forever but as long as there are people willing to share/donate, then let’s get the most out of it. sabi nga nila, hanggang maubos ang pisi :)
    i may be wrong or i may have missed some issues but i just want to voice this out….
    goodluck and God bless!

  34. it is us who should say “maraming salamat” for letting us participate in this worthy endeavor…….sana nga mag-patuloy ito…..just keep us posted and we’ll surely help as much as we can…….

  35. MM, I think Paypal is now available in the Philippines, why don’t you set up a Paypal account let us know and we’ll take care of sending the money there.

  36. Sign me up too for the next volunteer program. There’s always a way Mr MM. Just let us know how….

    God Bless!

  37. Hi,

    I’m sure you are tired of the same mails, however, could you kindly email to me (or place it on your site) some instructions as to how we can donate to your feeding program.


    P.S. Its a wonderful idea.

  38. I ahve a suggestion, how about a paypal – donation?

    Like you sign up on paypal and then you can make a pay now donation button and people can click on it and donate money using their credit cards, etc.

    You can withdraw the funds into your Philippine or US bank account.

    You can also put here on the blog – if you like my blog, maybe you want to donate to the child feeding program?

    The button can be set up that people can put in the amount they wish to donate…

    Just my 2 cents…

  39. what a great project mm! keep us posted when donations from outside the country will be accepted. am very interested in being a part of this endeavor…



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