Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier reads “A Story of Christmas” to the children. (Photos by Richard Ramos)|
As a mother of two growing boys, I am extremely particular on the adage that reading is a must for self-development. So despite going home from a busy day at work tired and wanting sleep, I try my best to have the will and want to read a book at bedtime.
My boys look forward to it. Not only do they learn things they also know their Mom, or Dad, loves them so much and wants to spend time with them reading.
Not all kids are as fortunate. Thus I felt great motherly warmth for Cebu City Marriott Hotel for creating a heart-tugging event dubbed “A Story of Christmas.”
One fateful afternoon at the posh business hotel, several kids from the Children’s Center of Cebu gathered at the Sampaguita Hall for a story-telling session.
I believe the kids had no idea who their grand story-teller was – none other than a renowned Cebu patroness and businesswoman Dr. Amparito Llamas-Lhuillier – but I believe to them, it did not really matter.
What mattered was that a lady of stature, poised and elegant, took time to spend an entire afternoon reading to them a story then sharing insights on the story’s messages and values with her own children and grandchildren with them.
About the Children’s Shelter of Cebu
You see, these children are orphans. Abandoned by their parents, who are either deceased or incapable of caring, these orphans were taken in off the streets and housed by the Children’s Shelter of Cebu – a center located at Banawa, Cebu City, Philippines.
From one house in 1979, the Children’s Shelter of Cebu grew to three houses this year. You can learn more about the center at http://www.cscshelter.org/.
I have always admired institutions who genuinely take enormous effort at helping street children. I meet so many of these kids every day on the city streets, tapping on my car window begging.
The city government penalizes people who give them alms and with reason. These kids are in danger as they expose themselves to being hit by speeding cars so giving alms encourage a wrongdoing.
Children should be home with their parents, or in school studying. But the sad fact is most of these kids are victims of abusive parents or individuals/groups who take advantage of their helplessness and innocence. They have no home, they have no parents.
Teacher Grace from the shelter advised that it might be good to give them food or drink instead of money whenever they tap your car window. But the best thing for you to do is to approach legitimate institutions such as the Children’s Shelter of Cebu and offer help.
|Basadours Cindie and Candie del Rosario moderate discussions with the kids.|
The advocacy of the Basadours
Another way to help is to volunteer with the Basadours, a group of dedicated young professionals who share a passion for reading and story-telling. They meet every last Saturday of the month from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Cebu City Library along Osmeña Boulevard to do story-telling for children from the barangay (village).
To quote their story “True Love Reads”, Basadours is “… a portmanteau of the Visayan word basa that means 'reading' and dours from 'ambassadors'—which literally means 'ambassadors of reading'…” You can learn more about them at http://www.basadours.org/.
The Basadours assisted the hotel staff in the story-telling session with Madame Amparito Lhuillier. I got to chat with identical twin Basadours Cindie and Candie del Rosario, who both work at a call center yet shrugged off sleepiness to attend the session between work and sleep times. Their dedication was apparent as they assisted the Lhuillier family engage in story-telling and sharing with the children from the shelter.
The Children try their hand at making gingerbread men –
a signature Christmas pastry at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel.
Christmas and Cebu City Marriott Hotel
“A Story of Christmas” was only one among many outreach projects that the staff at Cebu City Marriott Hotel initiated this season.
I wish to thank our good friend Cebu City Marriott Hotel PR Officer Nico Ivan Acebedo Velasquez for the privilege of witnessing the event and to Cebu City Marriott Hotel PR Manager Charlene Go for hosting this laudable story-telling activity.
It is great that businesses such as the Marriott take time to pause and give back – this time in a pleasant affair with the Basadours, the Lhuillier family, hotel personnel and the children.
For more information on Christmas at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel visit http://www.marriott.com/hotel-search/cebu-city.hotels.philippines.travel/.
|Twin Basadours Cindie and Candie del Rosario pose with A.T. Ramos, Nico Ivan Velasquez.|
|Cebu City Marriott Hotel PR Officer Nico Ivan Velasquez
and PR Manager Charlene Go |
pose with A.T. Ramos.