2010 is really a banner year for the LiP Christmas Giveaway! For those who are new to the site and don’t know about the LiP Christmas Giveaway, I will start out by giving a bit of history. For 8 years now, Feyma and I have been spreading the Christmas Cheer around Mindanao by giving out food and treats to the poor in areas in and near Davao City. In the beginning, we did this on our own, using our own money. As the years went by, and this website got bigger and more popular, we decided to invite LiP readers to join us in the giving by donating money to the event, and we would use the money to give out food to the needy here. LiP readers have been supporting this event for 3 or 4 years now.
This year, the number of contributors to the drive was down a bit, but I am very happy to say that the average amount of each donation was up significantly. There were a lot of contributors who pitched in $100 or more, in fact, more than half of those who contributed sent at least $100, which pleased me a great deal! Thank you to all who lent us their considerable support on this project.
This year, the LiP Christmas drive took an unexpected turn that really will, in my opinion, have a significant impact on future LiP Giveaways, and really for the better. Today, I will not be telling about that, but rather will focus on the “regular” LiP Christmas Drive in this article. On Wednesday morning (Philippine time) I will be reporting on the twist that occurred, what happened, and how it will affect the future of the LiP Christmas Drive.
We started out a few days before Christmas, with Feyma spending an entire afternoon at the grocery store buying all of the items for the giveaway. I was surprised at how long she was out buying the stuff, which only indicates that there was a lot to be given this year. After returning home, the entire family got together and started preparing these items for the giveaway. They actually spent two days preparing everything!
We always do the giveaway on December 24, Christmas Eve. In past years, we usually did it in the afternoon, but this year we decided to go out in the morning of December 24. Why the change? Well, as I said earlier, there was a twist this year, and it would keep us occupied for much of the afternoon, so we had to get the regular giveaway done earlier in the day this time.
Every year, we try to choose a different area for the giveaway. We do this for a number of reasons. Firstly, we want to spread the cheer to new areas. Secondly, we feel that if we went to the same area yearly, the people there may get to the point where they expected the giveaway, and we don’t want that. There is a lot of joy in simply surprising somebody who is totally unsuspecting. So, after a lot of thought and reflection, this year, I decided to take the Giveaway to Langub. Langub is a small community in the hills that surround Davao. It had been a couple of years since I had been up to Langub, but it is a place that I always enjoyed visiting. The people there were mostly like farmer types, and were always very friendly whenever I visited there.
So, by 10 am on Friday morning, we had packed up our pickup truck and our SUV with Christmas gifts, and were headed out the driveway, headed for Langub. I was a bit worried, because it had been raining heavily the night before, and the roads going up to Langub were all dirt roads, and often were difficult to pass if they were muddy. But, I decided to give it a try. As we headed up the mountain, and toward Langub, I was in for a surprise. At least 90% of the roads were paved now! The parts that were still dirt were actually in good shape and obviously had been well cared for. As we continued through Langub, we were quite surprised at the improvements in the area. In fact, we were having a difficult time finding many people that we considered poor enough to give the gifts to! That was quite shocking, because in the past this has been a very poor area.
Finally, though, we did come across a poor lady who was walking a Carabao along the road. We stopped and talked to her, and gave her some food for her family’s Noche Buena celebration, and also some extra bag of goodies for her kids. So, that kicked off the giving, and we were very happy, because the lady was so thankful for what was given to her.
We finished in Langub, having given only a small amount, since the need was simply not there this year. We proceeded to New Carmen and to Tugbok too, and we found lots of people along the way who needed a little extra help this Christmas, and we gladly gave it to them! In New Carmen, we came across one family who lived in a bamboo structure right on the highway. They were badly in need, so we stopped to help them. When we stopped, we found that they had a 14 year old girl who was celebrating her birthday on Christmas Eve! I was surprised as I learned something new when I saw her. She had blood on her head, and I worried that she was somehow injured, but I learned that out in the province like this, if it is your birthday, they kill a chicken and they rub the blood from the chicken on your forehead! Wow! That was an eye opener for me, as I had never heard of the practice. You can see the girl in the video below. Speaking of the video, I am sorry that it is quite short this year, but we forgot the main video camera at home, and the one that we did have had only limited battery capacity. There will be another video to share on Wednesday, though.
In all, we spent several hours out in the Province giving out food and other goodies for Christmas. As always, a lot of fun was had, a lot of good cheer was spread, and we met a lot of new friends who were very friendly to us. We had a great time on the 2010 LiP Christmas Giveaway. I would like to thank all of those who made this year’s giveaway possible, and helped feed a lot of Filipino families!
But, the best is yet to come in this story. As I said earlier, an unexpected twist happened this year, and you will want to check it out on Wednesday when I tell about that. It is, in my opinion, the most exciting part of this year’s giveaway, and will undoubtedly remain in future years as an integral part of the LiP Christmas Giveaway! Don’t forget to check it out.
Merry Christmas to all LiP Readers! I value your friendship, and am so thankful for your support in this Giveaway, and so many other aspects of my life here in Davao!