In Italy, the celebrations for Christmas and New Year have many similarities with how these occasions are celebrated here in the Philippines. We open our presents at midnight and put the baby Jesus in the presepe (nativity scene). During Veglia di Natale, literally the dinner of Christmas, Italian families usually gather around a hearty meal of gnocchi, polenta with salsiccia, and plenty of sweets.
The next day, Christmas day, lunch wouldn’t be complete without tortellini, a tasty soup made from meat and creamy base with some herbs. Finally, for veglione or New Year’s Eve, every Italian family’s dinner table has the cotechino with lenticchie (pork sausage dish with lentils). It is usual to wash everything down with some Spumante while waiting for the New year countdown.
The holiday season, however, is not just for celebrations; it is also the perfect time to share our blessings and reach out to those who might need our help. And yet we don’t have to wait for Christmas, of course. We can reach out to the needy any time of the year.
When the typhoons hit the country in November, I felt the need afterward to reach out. A friend helped me organize a relief drive for affected families in Tumana, Marikina. My company, Italpinas, supported the initiative, and we were able to distribute bags of basic goods to some of the residents in the community.
Their positivity and composure left a lasting impact on me as I marveled at how they could manage this so soon after their difficult experience. Everyone was cooperative, and the activity proceeded without snags. I realized I could do it more often and regularly—a small act of kindness that I can do for others.
Italpinas conducts a CSR event every month. During the lockdown months, we managed to launch CSR activities in Cagayan de Oro and Sto. Tomas, Batangas area. We were able to distribute meals to hospitals in Sto. Tomas and Calamba: Sto. Tomas General Hospital, St. Frances Cabrini Medical Center and Cancer Institute, and Calamba Medical Hospital. PPEs and medical kits were also donated to QualiMed Medical Hospital in Sta. Rosa.
In Cagayan de Oro, we partnered with the Philippine Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group-10 (PAF TOG-10) for the inauguration ceremony of the tribal hall or tulugan for the Higaonon Indigenous People (IP) in the upland village of Bayanga Lumbia. Aside from this, we recently worked with them to conduct a mangrove planting activity in Punta Bonbon. PAF TOG-10 has been our long time partner in serving Kagay-anons through various CSR activities.
In partnership with Damiani Property Management & Services Inc., we planted teak trees in Sitio Camarahan, CDO. We did another tree planting activity in August in Brgy. Sitio Burucan, Pagalungan Lumbia—this time with the City Local Environment and Natural Resources Office-CDO.
Italpinas has also been actively participating in several Brigada Eskwelas, working on the following City Social Welfare Development (CSWD) activities: Early Christmas for the benefit of Home for Girls; Christmas with the Residential Care for the Elderly and Differently-abled; Weekend with the CSWD Boystown; Weekend with the CSWD Tahanan ng Kabataan; Weekend with the CSWD Home for Street Children.
And in line with Italpinas’ mandate to support our chosen non-profit organization’s housing-related efforts, we recently turned over the last tranche of our donation to Habitat for Humanity Philippines. As a proud and avid supporter of the organization since 2012, Italpinas is honored to stand behind its outstanding work as a housing organization in building affordable homes for families. The partnership has helped 69 families to own new, safe, and decent homes. I wish to thank Lala Baldelovar, Chief Development Officer, and her team for representing the organization.
I would like to wish everyone a meaningful and blessed holiday celebration. Despite the restrictions and limitations this year, I wish that we can all find meaningful ways to celebrate the occasion. Let’s stay home and stay safe! Merry Christmas to all!
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