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I am a Bicolano by birth and choice. By any standards, I am a slow runner but I like it that way. I look at running as a healthy and exciting way to make a difference. Together with my fellow runners from our family, school, office and the community, we use running to give back..

December 25, 2015


"Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin
We wish you a Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year"

This is the joyful refrain of the popular English carol - "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." Certainly the dozen or so row5runners brought good news and good cheers to the families they visited this December 24 in some of the impoverished areas of the Concepcion barangays of Naga City.

What they did was reverse caroling. It is called as such because donations are normally made to carolers.  But in their case, the row5runners sang Christmas carols, prayed and gave each family a Christmas package filled with goodies (like lechon manok, pansit canton, bread, softdrinks, apple, candies and chocolate) that will help the families have a good meal on Christmas eve.

The row5runners of Naga City gathered at 2pm.  Present were Sherrylou, Shie and son Tom, Bem and kids Ajani and Baligi, Juritz, Joji, Naddy, Mafe, Au, Cyril and Allen together with their son Jako. At 2:30 pm they started. They were  guided by a barangay kagawad to the makeshift shelter(s) of poor families. They had to pass thru ricefields, canals and iskinita alleys to reach the beneficiaries.  By 6 pm, the row5runners have visited  and touched the lives of 10 families. 

The families were nicely surprised, some cried with joy, some were so touched by the singing and the unexpected visitation.  The families really thought it was a real caroling and one family even tried to give Php 20.  There was a widow who just had the 9th day of her husband's passing away. Cheers and joy were what the row5runners shared generously and unexpectedly.

The row5runnin participants to this Christmas outreach expressed joy that they were able to bless and touch others. Here are a sampling of their thoughts:

Sherrylou: "Tears of joy kasi sobrang happy sila sa konting bigay namin for them...Sobrang na appreciate nila lalo na yung mga bata."

Mafe: "I feel sorry and sad to the family watching the situation(s) inside their house.  Grabe po nakakaawa but we made them happy and saw the tears of joy in their eyes after the singing of the Christmas songs dahil po may food po kaming dala para sa kanila.  Very grateful po ako to witness everything and I feel very thankful and offer myself to God for giving me and my family a good life and be a blessing to other people."

Shie: "We been doing Christmas feeding here in our place for many years already, but the one that we did "reverse caroling" is a different experience.  It teared my heart when we saw each of the family - how they were so thankful for the little food we gave them.  We can see the joy and excitement of their children to taset the food for their noche buena.  There is so much to thank for after seeing those families and giving can be done anytime we have the opportunity to help.  I remember there is this one family that gave us Php 20 and I almost cried when the mother hand it to me because we knew the Php 20 counted a lot to them.  And I realized that is how giving should be."
Au: "Maogmahon po sa pagmate maski po diit na oras asin diit na bagay naitao mi sa mga pamilya na napili mi..Napa ogma mi sinda.  Iba iba po ang mga reaksiyon kang mukha ninda po.  Igwa naghihibi dae na nag gigirong.  Igwa man nakangirit  habang sige ang kanta mi.  Pagnahali na kami sa mga harong na pig carolan mi and nasabi mi na lang - hirak man. Kadakol mga aki.  Sana po next year madagdagan pa ang bilang na pamilya na mapa-ogma kan row5runnin."

It is quite evident that though they were the ones who did the outreach the row5runners were in fact being outreach to.  Talk about reverse outreach.

Good job by all. 

P.S.  Photos taken from the facebook pages of Bem Bolante Baret and Aura Reduta.

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