These are the words (though not verbatim) that Fr. Alex Balatbat said in his homily during the Holy Mass on the last Feast Bay Area session of 2016. Here’s the story of how I found the Joy of Christmas.
Jomar Hilario came up with many Christmas Parties for virtual professionals last December. He had several virtual or online parties. (I was even one of those who answered questions and shared a Facebook tip in one of the parties.) For the live, he organized an orphanage visit then lunch at a nearby mall.
I did not decide to join the live party until the weekend before the event. Not because I did not want to go to an orphanage. (I think I haven’t been to one in two decades!) My concern was I could not find the orphanage in Google; it was giving me two locations.
Giving up on Google, I called my usual Motley Crew. They were the virtual professionals who were with me during the Doing Nothing Outings last year (also organized by Jomar). When I found out that they would come, too, I set myself on joining the live party.
Elena Solon was so kind to fetch us from Sucat Highway to her family’s abode. The detour was capped by that wonderful chocolate drink. Now I am hyper!
Jomar, his family, and the other virtual professionals (check the pics courtesy of Eleazar Jose!) were already there when we arrived. We were introduced to Saint Rita Orphanage Director Sis. Cynthia Camuta. The children were completing puzzles and coloring. They were age 4 and up – except one child.
This child was supposed to be in the toddler’s ward, as she is only one year old. But according to Sis. Cynthia, the child insisted to go down as she likes to be around with people. Kid, you got a great future ahead of ya.
I noticed that this child kept of putting the crayons into her mouth, so I kept on taking it out of her mouth! I didn’t know that slowly, she has come closer to me (she was just walking around when we arrived). Later on, I carried her so she could sit on my lap.
Well, what do you know? A few minutes later, I saw here turned around and put her tiny arms around me!
As you will see in this video, people around me were joking me as the child created a lock on my neck with her arms. They were giving me tips on how to take care of the child while working on my online tasks! Hahaha!
In between those laughter and banters, I found myself hugging the child even tighter. And with my eyes closed, I said, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Jesus. I found You at the embrace of a child.”
After spending time with the children, Sis. Cynthia gave us a briefing about the orphanage. The orphaned children came from the simplest (parents left them there because they could no longer support the children) to worst (flushed in the toilet after giving birth to them). That is why she and the other people at the Saint Rita Orphanage are very conscious about hugging and talking to them; everybody should be given attention because deep inside them, they long for love.
I saw the one-year-old kiddo again after half an hour or so, this time sleeping on her crib with her feet up. Yep, she has great future ahead of her.
I capped the day with lunch while talking with the event’s Motley Crew, plus tons of advice from Jomar (sorry, can’t tell you what they are). Of course, we had to leave before the rush hour. If you’re a virtual professional, you’re scared of those things.
I bring with me the Joy that I found the past Christmas. I hope you found yours and you keep it with you always.
Saint Rita Orphanage is located at Dr. A. Santos Ave., Sucat, Parañaque City 1700 (After SM BF, go down at gas station near 7-11 and Metrobank. You may ride a tricycle or walk to the orphanage.)
They would prefer cash donations instead of in kind to answer the immunization and hospitalizations of the children. And don’t forget to buy polvoron when you visit.
Ann Kristine A. Peñaredondo is a Facebook Marketing Strategist who has managed and grew Facebook Pages of top shopping malls, lingerie, and dairy brands, as well as authors and experts in business, food, health, and education. Ann's podcast show, Pin To Top, is listed in Growth Mentor and Feedspot as one of the top podcasts for Facebook and marketing for 2020. Ann is also one of the Manila Workshop’s resident speakers and facilitators. She’s been featured in Jomar Hilario’s Online Show and book Virtual Careers, Wazzup Pilipinas, Astig.PH, Prime Influencers, Marketing in Asia, Thrive Global, and The Manila Times. Email her at email@example.com