Annual Christmas for the Kids in Bantayan Island Philippines 2015
(Some Photos and Videos at bottom of this page)
This year I am reaching out to all of my friends to share in this experience. For the past two years, myself along with a group of friends have all been working together to buy Christmas presents for the children in my village.
Each year, we have been able to provide presents for over 800 children who would otherwise receive nothing during this time of giving.
If you are interested in participating in our Kids Christmas Toys Fund, feel free to send a donation via Paypal, for whatever you can spare to Santa@island-enterprizes.com
If you do not have a paypal account and would like to send something by check, or use your credit card please email me.
Even just a few dollars buys another Toy for a child that would not get one for Christmas.
There is so much more to this story, but to keep it short I will just go over the cliffs here as I really want to share this Great Story with you!
This all started in 2012 when a friend of mine Rob and I were talking at (TheVetteBarn an online Car Forum) about how the kids here in our village don't ever get toys for Christmas as their family's are poor and they just can't afford it.
He wanted to chip in right then to buy some toys for some of the kids, but at that time It was already Christmas Eve, and all of the stores were already closed.
I mentioned to him that maybe next year we could do something, and quite a few other Guys & Gals from our Car Forum also said that they would be happy to chip in for this when the time came!
I also mentioned of how I had asked my wife if she believed in Santa Claus when she was a kid growing up in the Philippines, and she told me that yes she did believe in Santa...
But she just didn't believe that he ever brought Toys to the kids... :(
Rob said that the next year he was going to do his best to make sure as many kids as he could help have toys he would, and stated "This sounds like an opportunity to me!".
Later in the following October in 2013 Rob bumped the thread and decided that it was time to start raising funds for the kids.
We really were not sure how many kids there were here in our village at that time but was guessing about 400 so we set the goal at $1200 ($3 each) but it turns out there are well over 600 kids now just here in our village alone.
With the help of all of the great Guys and Gals at TheVetteBarn we quickly passed our original goal and raised well over $2000
And we ended up giving away over 800 Toys that year in 2013.. and also again in 2014 as what was left over we took to another village and gave them away till we ran out.. and additional funds that were left over in 2013 went to help some of the people rebuild their homes after Typhoon Yolanda
Here is the forum thread for anyone who would like to read more on how this all came about, and there are also lots of photos here from the 2013 Christmas
Miracles do happen!
After a few weeks went by I mentioned to Rob that maybe he should try to borrow a Santa suit and come over to help give the toys away to all of the kids.
He told me that he did not need to borrow a Santa suit as he already owned a few, but due to late flight bookings during the Holidays Season, it was going to be a very expensive flight that time of the year.
While he did not say he wouldn't come, he did say it would take a miracle for it to happen, "but sometimes miracles do happen"
Not much longer after that.. the electric went out here one night, so being bored I decided to head over to town to one of the local expat bars for something to do.
While there I got to talking to a guy, who had heard about what we were trying to do for the kids here and asked me more about what was going on.
I explained that due to the high cost of the flight.. Santa could not make it, but we still had plenty of toys to give to the kids.
As it turns out.. that guy I had just met was a 747 Pilot for Kalitta Airlines and had a lot of frequent flyer miles saved up.
Capt'n John Shepard offered to donate his miles to get Santa all the way to Manila.... WOW!
So I made a new thread at TheVetteBarn to let Rob know that "Yes Miracles do Happen!"
(I have often wondered that if the power had not gone out that night... I would not have gone to town and Met Capt'n John)
Then on November 8th 2013 Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda The strongest Storm ever recorded in History to make landfall... struck the Philippines and Bantayan Island was hit directly with the eye of the storm.
Most all of homes here in our village were completely wiped out, and about the only ones left standing were the homes built from concrete.
It was almost like a higher power had been at work behind the scenes to bring a bit of Joy to the Kids that year for Christmas during a time of despair, as this was all in the works even before the storm.
And not only that... little did he know, but Rob was also about to meet his future wife who is now with him in the USA and they now have a baby on the way.
When Rob first arrived I met him in the city and we did a small shopping for 30 kids there that lived on my In-laws street, and had a smaller Christmas party that night, we had a few left over so we gave them to some kids that were just walking down the street the next day with their mother, while we were standing at the Highway waiting for a bus to head north to Bantayan.
Rob also made a Facebook page "Bantayan Claus"
Rob could not make it here last year for the 2014 Christmas, but since he had left his Santa suit I wore it myself last year, and glad I did!!!... as there are no words that can describe seeing all of the smiles.
We have started raising funds again this year and still do not have enough yet, so asking everyone if you have anything at all you can donate.. to please do so for the kids.
This years Christmas Toys Fund thread at The Vette Barn.
Also a quick side story of a good use of some of the funds donated already this year
To each and every one fo you that have helped to make all of this happen I want to say...
Thank You Very Much!
Here are some more Photos from Christmas 2014
Also the link to last years Christmas 2014 thread with many more photos including some to the other Village we went to.
The kids in line to get their toys from Santa Claus Christmas Day 2014
It was a rainy day but they all had fun!
Some of the kids singing Jingle Bells