The Christmas song “When a Child is Born” begins as such:
A ray of hope flitters in the sky / A shiny star lights up way up high / All across the land dawns a brand new morn / This comes to pass when a child is born.
The metaphor of light as goodness is repeated over and over, and it is in fact a symbol and representation of such across many cultures. The Star of Bethlehem, in particular, is always referred to in Christmas story retellings and songs as the symbol that the Lord has come, that Emmanuel, God is with us, truly. The Star marks the stable where Christ was born, and serves as the guiding point for the Wise Men to visit him. Jesus is also called the Light to the Gentiles and calls for us to be like lamps illuminating the entire house, bringing the light of the gospel to all.
Although it was written with the context of the then-recent Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy), which caused record flooding in Metro Manila, 2009’s “Star ng Pasko”, the official Christmas anthem (or “station ID”) of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., has a timeless message that calls for all of us to be a light to others, using the helpful imagery of the ubiquitous star on top of a Christmas tree.
I even joked that we could slightly rewrite the lyrics and/or perform the song as part of this Saturday’s Sinag ng Pasko, the Christmas bazaar organized by the BPI Foundation for the first-ever iteration of Sinag, the social enterprise competition and network that I represented on behalf of Habi Footwear (and where I got the opportunity to inject TDY a bit as well). The lyric of “Star ng Pasko” does contain the word sinag, and the imagery is very similar, with different contexts in mind.
(Read: Some of my thoughts on BPI Sinag)
Sinag is a Tagalog word that means “beam”, and similar to the two songs above, we Sinangags (a Filipino garlic fried rice, but with a play on the word sinag) are meant to be lights through the businesses-with-social-missions that we represent. And that is the spirit behind Saturday’s event.
This Saturday, 5 December 2015, at the Green Sun hotel in Chino Roces, Makati City, Philippines, Sinag ng Pasko (literally “beam of Christmas”) will open its doors for the entire day to those who want to give gifts that keep on giving. Visitors will be able to shop either for themselves or for others things that are not only local and/or sustainable, but also have the deeply rooted duty of being a light to others through their very existence. In buying these as gifts for your loved ones this Christmas season, you are showing love not just for your gift recipients, but also for the people or cause that your gift represents.
(Read more: Going Christmas shopping? Buy local or sustainable)
(Read more: Shopping for a cause with EDC and SAP)
Take Habi Footwear, which advocates responsible fashion through socially- and environmentally-proactive shoes that also showcase Filipino talent. Habi was a finalist at said competition.
Or Kayumanggi Organics, which promotes healthy and organic even for sweet tooths with their all-healthy coconut sugar (or nectar) and cacao, among others.
The bazaar will also feature merchants that are Sinag not in name, but are such in spirit. My favorite is Tsa’a Laya, which promotes local agricultural goodness with their line of locally-grown and produced herbal teas, worked on by national housing beneficiaries.
The event isn’t just meant to sell: it’s meant to inspire not just the merchants but also the customers to be sinag to others. The BPI Foundation is doing this by holding a small panel discussion called “A Conversation with Change Champions” from 2:00 to 3:00 pm featuring three social entrepreneurs: Rob Crisostomo of Seed Core, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, and Sinag 2015’s champion, Paul Orpiada of Karaw Craftventures. They will be talking about their experiences, what drives them, and how you, too, can champion change.
So if you’re going gift-procuring, and want to buy something refreshingly different from the usual Christmas rush shopping, come visit us at Sinag ng Pasko this Saturday. We’re sure you’ll enjoy and be inspired to not just give the gifts that keep on giving, but also give yourself to keep on giving. See you there!
Sinag ng Pasko will open at 10:00 am and close at 6:00 pm. Green Sun is located at 2285 Chino Roces Avenue Extension, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.