You Think Santa is Hiring Apprentices?


We did a “Christmas” themed final trip to Northern Cebu on the 17th of December… But before I get to that holiday post, I wanted to show you what we prepared the day before we left for Medellin. Anyone with reasonable observation skills would notice that local groceries are groaning with two particular items around Christmastime… spaghetti and fruit cocktail. Gone are the days when folks had a roast (lechon, ham or even chicken)… with the country’s huge population and the vast majority of citizens living just above or below the supposed (ridiculously set) “poverty line” — a special meal at Christmas now means a hearty platter of spaghetti — it’s the new “festive” and it’s easy, economical and feeds a crowd. Italians would probably cringe at our sweet version of their national dish, but Pinoy spaghetti is here to stay. The same is probably true for canned fruit salads. So when we were deciding what to distribute for our last and holiday themed trip to Northern Cebu, we decided on these rather snazzy spaghetti filled plastic buckets. The makings of a large spaghetti and a free re-usable container to boot. We hit every supermarket until we assembled 1,000 of these packages, they cost PHP249 each.


Figuring we had saved hundreds of manhours of repacking by selecting the spaghetti, we turned our attention to the kids loot bags. We prepared nearly 1,000 loot bags to make sure that the kids had a memorable present after the discombobulation wrought by the recent storm. The budget for the loot bags was pegged at roughly PHP100. You might think it would be hard to fill a bag for that amount, but this selection in the photo above brought an incredible amount of glee to nearly 1,000 kids… 21 items in total, the loot bag had coloring books, crayons, lots of candy and sweets, jackstones, sipa, plastic balloons, etc. Some stuff would probably not pass “Red Cross criteria” for acceptable items, but bear with us, it was a tight budget and the loot seemed well suited to the target audience.


Thinking we had it under control, we quickly realized that packing 21 items for 1,000 kids would be extremely time-consuming… but had you been with us for the distribution, the effort was inconsequential and totally worth it…


Colorful hard shell coated candies… (please oh please let that be done with acceptable food dye)…


…hard candy…


…packs of marshmallows…


…nagaraya peanuts…


…packs of Milo…


…colorful jackstones!!!…


…stickers, pads and pens…


…more candy with sponge bob packaging(?)…


…those chemical smelling plastic balloons you have to blow up with a small straw. Trust me, we worried about giving this to kids below five, and warned their parents so… But honestly, I LOVED these balloons as a kid, and I was thrilled to see the crew had purchased and included them.


But the most nostalgic item were these (rather flimsily) crafted sipa… and of course I tried one, and managed to keep it in the air longer than you think! I didn’t even think they made this anymore! But the weight of the sipa wasn’t what I recall, and they needed to be a bit more substantial. But can you imagine a thousand kids in two barangays all futzing with their sipa at the same time?!






…and more cookies.


Coloring books with stories in English and Filipino. The crew divided these into boys and girls packages (though the Teen thought that sexist and wondered what if Juan wanted a Barbie and Maria wanted a Power Ranger… :)


Crayons, a HUGE HIT.


Lollipops… and there were a few other items I think.


The spaghetti and candy and other donated items filled yet another ginormous dump truck and took several hours to load starting at 3 am and get out of the city before that BLASTED TRUCK BAN kicked in at 6am or so. Now you know what was in the truck, soon a post on the actual distribution. It was just as good, if not better, than watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” late on Christmas Eve… :)

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28 Responses

  1. Thank you MM, Mrs. MM, The Lady and the indefatigable staff and crew at Zubuchon and other volunteers who are bringing joy and hope to our kababayans.

    It’s pure genius! – the package and the loot bag!

    A blessed Merry Christmas to all!

  2. Speaking of aid, do you know if the hospitals in the area will be looking for donated supplies? My mother (and I, sometimes) volunteer for an organization called International Hope that donates medical equipment and supplies to developing countries. So far we’ve done two shipments to the Philippines–both to the Visayas. We were talking the other day about trying to get sponsorship (the supplies are free, but shipping is not–the government of Negros Occidental sponsored the last shipment, the one we did before was sponsored by the Rainbow Foundation of Bacolod) for a shipment to Tacloban, but my mother seems to think they might have enough. Since you’ve been there, and probably know people who might have a better idea of what’s going on, do you think something like that is needed?

  3. Idol talaga kita MM , so generous…Merry christmas !! See you when i come home for a vacation.

  4. Good job. Merry Christmas. The kids will enjoy
    that…now I want those plastic balloons. I love how it makes a sound
    it when you pop it in your head…

    btw, where did you get those containers with the locking lids

  5. for sure folks you’ve visited were delighted when they received you’re Christmas themed goods…when i saw the plastic balloons…brought back a lot of fond memories…

    You and your crew definitely upped the Christmas in places you’ve visited… :)

  6. this made me laugh: “…what if Juan wanted a Barbie and Maria wanted a Power Ranger…” hehehe… Merry Christmas!!!

  7. Any kid who gets that Xmas bag will surely.jump with joy. Thanks for all the effort MM, and family and crew.

  8. More Blessings and Graces to you MM, Mrs.MM,The Teen and The Crew ….Maayong Pasko Kaninyong Tanan…

  9. @ Teen – don’t worry about it…the kids will likely trade coloring books with each other :)

  10. merry x-mas sir MM and behalf of ur family.thanks again to all blessings that i have now because of ur kindness and to ur so lucky that my employer is like so glad that u are my employer.billion times thank you so much sir.more x-mas to come and advance happy new year.

  11. This is what Christmas truly means…have a blessed christmas and New Year, MM and family and to all of your staff…

  12. God bless you, your family and staff MM. Your blog has already brought a smile to my face! Happy Holidays!

  13. I am sure the packages brought a lot of happiness this Christmas to both giver and receiver. Yes, the loot bag brings back memories of childhood. Thanks for your generosity.

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