Article by: Alice Ye
Photograph by: Lunkhin Tian
Since the end of October, malls have been playing festive Christmas music; brightly-coloured Christmas lights have adorned trees; and houses, streets, and pots of bright red poinsettias have been brought out. After all, in the Philippines, it is well-known that Christmas starts as soon as Halloween ends! Through the extravagant decorations and palpable excitement, it is clear that Christmas is almost here, and in true spirit of the giving season, ISM clubs are starting to host activities to commemorate the yuletide joy.
For example, the KASAMA (KApamilya SA international school MAnila) student-run service club, which aims to give back to the service staff of ISM and strengthen the relationship between them and the student body, is holding a special Christmas-themed Saturday Service at ISM on November 22 for the children of ISM’s contractual employees. In collaboration with the Grade 10, 11, and 12 Councils, KASAMA members planned many activities such as making Christmas cards and other crafts. They have also organised a present drive to donate Christmas presents and other supplies for the kids.
The French Honor Society (FHS) also has a long, 4-year tradition of hosting an annual Christmas Saturday Service. This year’s service took place on November 15 when kids from one of ISM’s service partners, Berdesaco, visited the school and participated in various art and sport activities. The element of Christmas was incorporated when Jeongmook Lim, an FHS member, dressed up as Santa Claus and gave the students gifts donated by other ISM students. Adelle Dimitui, president of FHS, says that it was “a chance for the students from a local school that Berdesaco supports to participate in activities that they normally don’t participate in, in commemoration of the special occasion.”
However, these students are not the only ones on the receiving end; these services are always “filled with joy” and are also “fun and rewarding” for the FHS members themselves. Madame Bailey, the FHS advisor, says that ISM students also benefit from Berdesaco and emphasizes that the relationship goes two ways, as the children “like to come to ISM and enjoy the facilities” and ISM students also benefit by “interacting with the children”.
Through these two examples, we can see that for ISM students, Christmas is not only about receiving gifts, being with family, and enjoying a long, much-anticipated (and well-deserved!) three week break, but it is also about giving back to the community. Since Christmas is such an important and anticipated celebration in the Philippines, it is especially important to help others enjoy it as much as we do, to share our spirit and festivity and do our part to make their Christmas a fun and memorable one.