Christmas Begins at the Ateneo

Christmas begins at the Ateneo today with the opening of the Christmas parks in an event dubbed “Paskong Salu-Salo Simula 2011″. The event took place at the Sacred Heart Pavilion at the Church of the Gesu.

The celebration began with a salu-salo slated at 4 p.m. and the official opening of the Christmas parks at 5 p.m.

The Christmas Parks is an initiative of the University which hopes to “foster community spirit among students, parents, alumni, faculty, non-teaching staff and administrators.” Areas in the University have been assigned to various units for the staff to turn into their Christmas parks. True to the University’s environment-friendly policy, the materials used for the parks include mostly recycled materials. Indigenous materials have also been used in the parks making the initiative quintessentially Filipino in nature.

What good way to show the spirit of bayanihan at the Ateneo than to attend the opening of this joyous occasion and usher in a meaningful Christmas season with this Filipino style salu-salo and Christmas parks opening.

The Christmas Parks also serve as the ending of the annual Lights For Hope program wherein 2,000 children aged 4 to 13 from communities where the Ateneo Gawad Kalinga, the Socially Oriented Organizations of Ateneo, and Jesuit scholastics do apostolate work. The communities are in Fairview, Novaliches, Payatas, Commonwealth, Loyola Heights, Cubao, Marikina, and Cainta.

This began with 300 to 500 children ten years ago. Each year, these children are fetched from their communities in rented jeepneys and buses, courtesy of alumni donors, and brought to the sprawling Bellarmine Field, let lose to run, watch a show, enjoy inflatable giant slides, participate in games, and win prizes. They are fed merienda and returned to their communities each with a gift bag, a full stomach, and a happy heart. This is the Ateneo way of bringing cheer and hope to children of indigent families at this special time of the year.

via Rosary Diane B. Maligalig – AdMU

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