Now a common sight in the metropolis come Christmas time, the 12-year Noel Bazaar was primarily organized not for profit but to help less fortunate Filipinos.
Dubbed the “Bazaar With A Heart,” this annual Yuletide bargain is a partnership with media conglomerates GMA Kapuso Network and the Philippine Daily Inquirer to share the spirit of giving while providing popular brands, entrepreneurs and start-ups opportunities to cash in on the holidays.
While the word “Noel” is synonymous to Christmas, it was actually named after the late medical student Noel Gozon who was electrocuted in a freak accident.
Rising from the tragedy, his elder sister Cut Unlimited president Mayose Gozon-Bautista organized the bazaar in the year 2000 for the benefit of less fortunate to help transform the tragic event into something positive.
And what can be a more fun way for Filipinos to celebrate the Yuletide but to engage in their favorite hobby of bargain shopping and help the needy at the same time.
Thus was born one of the country’s biggest benefit bazaars, which is now in its 13th year of celebrating the spirit of sharing and shopping with its biggest and longest edition to date.
Bautista said that the annual bargain features some 1,000 concessionaires ranging from home decor, food, fashion items, novelties and other unique and affordable gift items.
She noted that a good number of the merchants are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups who want to test the market with their new products.
A major beneficiary of the annual bazaar is the GMA Kapuso Foundation, which has been helping disadvantaged children by providing their medical and educational needs.
According to GMAKF chief operating officer Mel Tiangco, the proceeds from Noel have also helped rebuild the lives of the victims of typhoon Sendong that hit Iligan and Cagayan de Oro Cities last year. Hundreds died and thousands lost their homes.
She said among this year’s beneficiaries are the hard-hit communities of Typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.
Opening the 10-day sale was the GMA Celebrity Ukay Ukay led by celebrity couple Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez where quality-used apparel and accessories of Kapuso stars were sold. All the proceeds were donated to the Give a Gift: Alay sa Batang Pinoy Christmas Project and the Kapuso School Development (KSD) Project.
Tiangco said that last year’s Ukay Ukay helped build eight classrooms in remote public schools in the country.
Other beneficiaries are institutions such as the Gifts and Graces (G&G) Fair Trade Foundation and the Associate Missionaries of Assumption (AMA) represented by Philippine Daily Inquirer president and CEO Alexandra Prieto-Romualdez.
G&G aims to improve the quality of life of marginalized members of society by providing product development, technical training on enterprise management, and global market access, while the AMA assists the Archdiocese of Manila’s Campus Ministry Office, the Bahay Maria Kalinga Center and the Philippine Association of Volunteer Efforts (PAVE).
Other recipient organizations are the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, which honors the martyrs of Martial Law and the Noel P. Gozon Memorial Clinic of the Sts. Peter & John Parish Church in Malabon City.
The Bazaar, which runs up to Dec. 23, also features special entertainment events such GMA Variety Shows, Celebrity Auctions and Fashion Shows.
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