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MVP Tulong Kapatid celebrates Christmas with Aeta community

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Tulong Kapatid, the CSR consortium of the MVP Group of Companies, reached out to over 200 families in Porac, Pampanga last December 20, 2019.
By Katrina Mallari

There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than by spreading the joy of giving. Tulong Kapatid, the corporate social responsibility consortium of the MVP Group of Companies, reached out to over 200 families in Sitio Villa Maria, Brgy. Inararo in Porac, Pampanga last December 20, 2019.



Led by the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) under the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, their annual Pamaskong Handog is an outreach program for the Aeta Community in Porac, Pampanga. According to Barangay Captain Benzon King, the Pamaskong Handog by NLEX and SCTEX has been ongoing for 15 years now.

“Nagpapasalamat kami sa walang sawang pagsuporta ng NLEX at SCTEX sa amin. Kahit wala man kaming maibalik na anumang bagay sa kanila, patuloy pa rin nila kaming pinapasaya,” King said. (We are thankful to the relentless support of NLEX and SCTEX to us. Even though we cannot reciprocate what they give us, they still continue to bring us joy.)

PLDT-Smart Foundation gives away Sack of Joy bags to Aeta kids in Porac, Pampanga.
PLDT-Smart Foundation gives away Sack of Joy bags to Aeta kids in Porac, Pampanga.

Other participating companies from the MVP Group included the PLDT-Smart Foundation (PSF) and the One Meralco Foundation (OMF).

Making smiles

Tulong Kapatid surely made the kids smile as they prepared a lot of games, giveaways, and surprises for them. It was a sea full of smiles as the Aeta children actively participate in games and excitedly win some of the prizes. It’s a child-like wonder all-around as the kids remain in awe by the power of magic as magician Kuya Carlo entertained the kids.

Close to 300 kids received special goodies and loot bags from the NLEX-SCTEX and PSF. On the other hand, parents and guardians took home some family packs and light lamps from NLEX-SCTEX and OMF, respectively.

Joy and contentment

The Aeta Community in Brgy. Inararo holds a special history — one etched with stories worth-telling. Barangay Captain King and an aeta elder named Nenita Cosme shared why their small town Inararo is truly a place where resilience grows.

Parents and guardians in the Aeta community also receive a family package and special giveaways from NLEX-SCTEX and One Meralco Foundation.
Parents and guardians in the Aeta community also receive a family package and special giveaways from NLEX-SCTEX and One Meralco Foundation.

According to King, their little community was relocated to what he calls as the ‘New Barangay Inararo.’ The old one, he says, is the one that was only eight-kilometers away from Mt. Pinatubo. The ‘Old Barangay Inararo’ was gravely affected by the eruption. Residents of the community were then asked  to evacuate and are eventually relocated. This, he says, is where they currently are — the ‘New Barangay Inararo.’

But their history, as a people, is never forgotten. In the course of their relocation, they stayed for two years in Barangay Caballero in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. Since 1994, they’ve lived in the ‘New Barangay Inararo’ in Sitio Villa Maria — their home for 15 years now. To remember where they’ve been and their countless experiences, they take Inararo with them wherever they may be.

50-year-old Cosme, a joyful woman who dances to the beat of her own drum, is a true Inararo resident — one with the a spirit filled with so much courage and resilience. Cosme has nine kids but only two remain. Seven of them all died at such tender ages during the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

In photo is 50-year-old Nenita Cosme and her grandchild.
In photo is 50-year-old Nenita Cosme and her grandchild.

Cosme paints a picture of a simple yet contented life. “Nagtatanim po kami ng ube, saging, at kamoteng kahoy,” Cosme said. (We plant yams, bananas, and cassavas.)

King said that for about ten years now, some farmers from their community would go back to the ‘Old Barangay Inararo’ to plant root crops. For Cosme, she shared how every 25th of December meant something fruitful — a moment where they go back to their old town of Inararo and plant things anew.

"Masaya kami," said Cosme, "Dahil laging may mga taong gustong tumulong sa amin. Salamat. Maraming, maraming samalat (We are happy because there are so many people who want to help us. Thank you. Thank you so much).