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In Cebu’s Naga City, children learn about a gift that keeps on giving

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | December 13,2019 - 09:30 AM

The procession of the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary for the feast of the Immaculate Conception made a stop at the Saint Francis Ocean Park in East Poblacion, Naga City in time for the opening salvo of Pasko sa Naga 2019. | CDND Photo / Gerard Francisco

NAGA CITY, Cebu — Vanz Manubag, 5, arrived at the Saint Francis Ocean Park in Naga City on a Monday evening, December 9, holding a red box close to his chest. 

Lights sparkled everywhere with 28 nativity scenes inside the park featuring different tourist destinations around the world.

Vanz was there with his father, Venerando, for the gift-giving activity of the City of Naga Government as part of the opening salvo of the Pasko sa Naga celebration.

Venerando, who works as a planning engineer of the city government, brought his son with him to teach him the values of love and sharing.

Vanz was not there to receive a gift for himself; he was there to give a present to another child who comes from an underprivileged family.

Vanz is only one of 200 children who participated in the gift-giving activity.

Inside the red box he was holding were boys and school items, which he handed to another boy of the same age.

“Ako siyang gipaapil para makat-on siya unsa ang pagkamanggihatagon samtang bata pa siya,” Venrado tells CDN Digital.

(I enlisted him to join so that he will learn how to become generous while he is still young.)

The first 100 children are relatives of the City Hall employees, while another 100 are children of marginalized families residing in the city determined by the City Social Welfare Services Office (CSWS).

The children, who are relatives of the City Hall employees, gave presents to the children enlisted by the CSWS. 

They say Christmas is for children and so the City of Naga in Cebu province organizes a Christmas event that brought together children from different barangays for an evening that emphasized the values of giving and sharing. | CDND Photo / Gerard Francisco

Venerando, the 39-year-old father of Vanz and his older brother Vince, hopes that his sons will learn to extend help to other people whether or not they are blood-related.

For him, love should always be at the center of every Christmas celebration.

It should be a primary value that every parent should teach their children as they grow up.

“Kun mahigugmaon sila, makahibalo sila unsay sakto ug sayop. Makat-on sila nga higugmaon ang isig ka tawo ug ang pamilya,” Venerando says.

(If they learn how to love, they will know what is right from wrong. They will earn to love other people and the members of the family.)

Watching children giving away gifts to other children was a heartwarming sight.

It was an uncommon experience for 37-year-old Edglyn Regis to witness her child receiving a gift.

The look on her face mirrors her daughter Hannah’s glee as she received her first Christmas present that night.

“Lipay na kaayo ko para sa akong anak nga nakadawat og pinaskohan bisan og wala mi kaila aning mga tawhana,” says the resident of Barangay Tuyan. 

(I am so happy that my daughter received a Christmas gift even though we really don’t know the givers personally.)

Highlighting the value of sharing and love, the gift-giving activity last December 9 kicked off the City of Naga’s Christmas celebration, according to Vice Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong.

Chiong says the gift-giving activity serves as channel to show the goodness of people to strengthen the bond of the people in their community.

City of Naga Vice Mayor Kristine Vanessa Chiong delivers a message in front of children and parents on December 9, 2019 during the gift-giving activity of the City of Naga Government as part of the opening salvo of the Pasko sa Naga celebration. | CDND PHOTO / Gerard Francisco

Chiong says goodness is best exemplified by the innocence of the children.

“Ang kaayo nirepresent gyud sa mga bata because of their innocence.  I hope nga kitang mga taga-Naga, mag-continue ta nga magkahiusa ug mag-extend ug pagtambayayon,” Chiong said.

(Goodness is best represented by children because of their innocence. I hope that we, people of Naga, will continue to unite and extend our hands in helping each other.)

That night, Vanz went home with his father with no red box to hold.

And yet, he went home with a gift that is more valuable than any treasure: the gift of loving others and sharing with them what you have.

It is the kind of gift that keeps on giving. / celr 

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