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Christmas in the Philippines is never the same without the exceptional generosity of Filipinos and what better way to celebrate the season than sharing gifts of joy to children of Yolanda-damaged Leyte, Hospicio de San Jose, the war-torn Marawi City and the children of soldiers who fought for its freedom. This was the mission of the first ever Christmas By Manila Bay celebration.

Organized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), Automobile Association of the Philippines (AAP) and the International School of Sustainable Tourism (ISST), the three-day affair brought Christmas-themed activities in Manila. “In this activity, we incorporated the different Christmas activities of the nation, DOT’s current campaign, “Bring Home A Friend” to celebrate the holidays in the country and most importantly, the answer to the call of #BangonMarawi,” DOT Asec. Maria Lourdes Hapson said in an interview with MB Life.

A Christmas Market promoting local crafts and products from exhibitors all over the country also served as a drive to collect gifts that will be given to the beneficiaries. In a ceremonial gift-giving at the Quirino Grandstand, these were handed over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for distribution.

“We realize that there are so many who want to give, but they cannot give so much. I think by giving a small gift like this, the families can actually share their graces with the children of Marawi and Leyte,” former DOT secretary and ISST president Mina Gabor said.

Hundreds of visitors in Luneta were also gifted with a Christmas parade highlighting distinct holiday celebrations across the country with a parade of float and performances of contingents from Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite and Negros Occidental. Take a look the festive floats and performances spotted at the Christmas Parade:

Big, colorful smiles graced the parade through the famous Masskara Festival from Bacolod in Negros Occidental.
Famous for its kneeling carabo, Bulakenyos urged viewers to celebrate Pulilan power.
Students from GSIS Vilage Elementary School Drum and Lyre Band flaunted a champion-worthy routine.
From the City of San Fernando, Pampanga came this glistening Parol Garden.
Nayong Pilipino brought Filipina beauties into the spotlight aboard an electric bus.
The Department of Tourism’s ‘Bring Home a Friend’ float encouraged everyone to invite friends and celebrate Christmas Pinoy style.

Christmas By Manila Bay 2017 became a merry yuletide festival with a purpose and its organizers assured attendees that it will certainly not be the last. See you at the next one!

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