A Good Way To Celebrate The Holidays

Barely a couple of weeks ago, it was officially declared that the country (with the entire universe) is in economic recession. As expected, everyone’s tightening belts (as others are eating more to cope with depression).   The thought of it is sad and our most-trusted experts are consistently sowing the seeds of fear in us that the worst is yet to come.  I have my share of strict budgeting but I am optimistic that the “Grinch”, a.k.a, the lucrative “Wall-to-All” bailout series, the soaring unemployment statistics, the irrational price differential of gas and vodka, and the likes (that may be toying in your thoughts right now), won’t steal the holidays totally.

Last night, a fundraiser was held at The Sparks (Café) in New York City in support of the Global Youth Coalition on HIV-AIDS (GYCA).  Together with the dedicated officers and members of the organization, supporters, and friends, I was very pleased to be a part of the host committee for the event.  The evening was blissfully relaxed as the guests exchange greetings and updates over an open bar – bottles of beers (donated by Brooklyn Brewery) and wines (courtesy of De Bortoli Wines and a number of bottles from Park Lane Liquors and other individual donors) – while checking the silent auction of some interesting art pieces and other bestowed personal effects. Let it be known that 100% of the silent auction plus the ticket sales go to GYCA!

The hors d'oeuvres and desserts were very enticing but the conversation with friends and former colleagues who showed up to support the cause was more engaging.  Yes, I went home hungry for home-cooked dinner but I was so “spirited” to reflect on the unexplained (feeling of “high”) experience of kindness and giving.

Growing up, my mother, and some matter-of-facts in my life, made me believe that “the more you give, the more you receive”.  At church, people give discretely (or anonymously) as the collection box is being passed around because God sees it anyway.  The rich and the “profitables” make sure that they shed off some of their earnings as tax-deductibles. Some people give to impress and some are just happy to give, plain and simple.

My personal mantra about generosity is “to give is to cure, not to injure”.  It is very sound and fair to say that people should only give what is in excess of their pockets.  We could only give for as long as it doesn’t hurt since giving is an act – in fact, an act of love. Well, some people believe that love hurts; no doubt, it hurts if only and if you give too much to the extent of the “giving-it-all-with-nothing-left-of-me” drama.  Remember that Jesus Christ, the redeemer of our worldly sins, was crucified because He had nothing with him to equal (and bail himself out from) the costly betrayal of Judas.

The point of the matter of all these is, “Thank you!”  I am so grateful for the love in so

many people, friends and strangers alike, around me.  I see smiles everywhere.  Everyone has very personal stories to tell, the headlines are scary, and bank account accounts are bleeding dry, but the hope for recovery and a better tomorrow remains.

Yes, it’s the joy and hope that that keep us believing in the young people of the world – the future leaders – who are making a difference.  We believe in engaging the youth and organizers with the knowledge, skills, resources and opportunities they need to effectively carry out their work and change the course of the worst pandemic in human history, i.e., HIV-AIDS. Very nice these young people (sic), right?

It’s never too late to empower these young leaders to advance their initiatives on the ground.  You could still donate to GYCA by clicking this link.  You may also visit theGlobal Youth Action Network (GYAN) and extend your support to the youth movement around the world.


I remember Fr. Juan Sanz, S.J., a great teacher, a remarkable counselor, a very charismatic speaker, and a very dedicated soccer coach in my high school at Ateneo.  In his exact words at a mass sermon, he said, “Some men give love to get sex while some women give sex to get love.”  Obviously, he was talking in the context of (discouraging the sinful act of) pre- and extra-marital sex.  If the same words would echo in our thoughts, it would be an added “red flag” before making any “uneducated” judgments that may eventually lead to “unprotected” actions.

This holiday season, give, love, and hope.  For all the lovers out there, if you can’t be good, be safe.  If you can’t be safe, be good.  For Christ’s sake!!!

Did You Know?

40% of all new HIV infections occur among young people 15-24 years old.

Check out the latest survey from GYCA as part of the Link Up project. GYCA is asking you to speak to your experiences, hopes, and vision for realizing and claiming your sexual and reproductive health and rights. Click HERE to contribute your thoughts.

Yes.. #present at the debate Stephany Francisca making some difference on #WorldAidsDay and #EducationDay. Together we are the #weleadcuracao National Focal Points of the Global #Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS #GYCA. Thank you Steph for your valuable contribution. #leadership #education #difference #love #Curaçao #Punda #Debate #WAW #welead #givingism #amazing (at Punda)