Jollibee 18th Maaga ang Pasko - the Kick Off at SM City Calamba

9:27 PM

The Jollibee 18th Maaga ang Pasko kick-off at SM City Calamba signaled the start of the longest running toy and book donation drive for the year 2012.  Founded by actor Aga Muhlach and formally launched by Jollibee in 1994, "MaAga ang Pasko" continues to be one of the most awaited yearly events particularly in the holiday season.  Today, the event made a stop-over in Southern Luzon to bring cheers and hope to children who are not particularly expecting a "merry" Christmas.

Maaga ang Pasko

For the most part of its existence in the Philippines, the Maaga ang Pasko traditionally made its  kick-off in Metro Manila alone.  Starting last year however, as the program expanded its purpose and coverage, the event has seen action as well in several provincial areas.  This year, the Laguna area is one of such places that have been pinpointed for this year's celebration.  The other events are expected to happen or have happened in Metro Manila, Bacolod, Tarlac, and General Santos.

From its small beginnings as a personal initiative to give gifts to children during the Christmas season, Maaga ang Pasko has transformed into a program that involves Filipino families sharing their blessings to the less fortunate.  By being one of the Jolly Family Toy Scouts, families as well as partner schools and companies in the region will find a way to be a positive part of the lives of children in need.

The Consumer Launch

Mall-goers had their chance to be part of the event by presenting new or old toys or books exchanged for tickets to join.  The event featured fun games, family themed booths, and a special magic show.  Prior to the formal consumer launch in SM City Calamba, volunteers known as the Jolly Toy Scouts took their oath to support the program.

The partners were introduced by host, Bettina Carlos and were asked about their respective pledges in support of the program.  Each partner hung ornaments on the Christmas tree to signify their commitment.  The focal point however was the Jolly Toy Scouts Oath-taking which was headed by Ms. Bambi Bejo, Jollibee's  Regional Business Unit Head for South Luzon.

No event will be complete without some entertainment.  Kapuso star, Crystal Reyes and Protege Grand Winner, Krizza Neri gave a couple of song numbers each to the delight of the audience.  As the choir formally ended the event with the singing of the Maaga ang Pasko theme, everyone was again enjoined to support the program.

It is hoped that Maaga ang Pasko donation boxes such as the one shown above and placed in designated areas all over the country will overflow once again not only with books and toys but also with genuine love and concern for others.

My Say

The true essence of giving is said to be measured by how much it hurts the giver.  We are said to be truly giving if the act gives us a pinch.  Thus a one peso donation from a needy person can be comparable to a million peso donation from an affluent person.  

That said, the Maaga ang Pasko program does not require us to give to the point of hurting.  It simply encourages us to give away our surplus or things that we no longer use but can still be useful to others.  Whether used or new, the things we give will go a long way towards seeing the twinkle of hope in the eyes of needy children.  The nobility of its purpose is probably the reason why Maaga ang Pasko book and toy donation drive has managed to reach its 18th year.

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