Mano Po: the Pop Up

Keeping in theme with August as the CSR month (and not as Ghost Month!), TeamAsia’s Pop Up of the month had us spending a rainy afternoon with the lolas of Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and Abandoned last August 9. The weather may have been wet and gloomy, but, being Bright TeamAsians, we brought warmth and sunshine with us to the delight of the lolas at the Home.

Mano po 1

Mano po 2

Mano po 3

The Content Team together with our Pop Up team took the lead for the program and we made sure that there was plenty of fun, games, laughter, and music for everyone. Raiza and Steph decorated the multipurpose area with balloons and crepe paper to set the festive mood. Ingrid and Tony, and through the kind sponsorship of Reserve Car Rentals who sponsored our van, made sure everybody had a ride from the office to and from the venue. Althea and Nina prepared the giveaways. Hans and Vbernie kept the energy up and the program fun as the hosts and entertainment. Vince and Thea prepared party games the lolas had fun with. They also enjoyed making their own rosary bracelets as one of their souvenirs from the day. Chef Jesse sponsored our snacks and early dinner for the lolas (they sleep early) and I, with the help of Bea, Pam, Lien, served up the yummy biko and pancit.

Takeaways

Mano po 4

Mano po 5

It was a memorable but bittersweet afternoon spent with the lolas. We all have (or had) grandparents. Whether we acknowledge it or not, they played a significant part in making us who we are today. “Home for the elderly and abandoned” pricks at my heart everytime I come across it. After all that they have been through, it’s sad that some grandparents could be left in the mercy and care of people they don’t know. But at the same time I’m grateful that there are people who have dedicated their lives in taking care of the elderly.

Mano po 6

Mano po 7

I’m glad we got to spend time with them for our Pop Up and got to hear their stories (even if I couldn’t follow the logic of some of them). They are always in my thoughts. I’m sure we all have a story to share from our afternoon with them.

The Pop Up was particularly memorable for me because I had to hastily rescue a couple of kittens and was tasked by Sister Venus to find homes for the other cats in the compound. I made friends with a lola who was looking for a home for her Bengal cat (Tiger has since been adopted by a friend of a friend). She and I got to talk about our shared love for animals and the people that she knew from my hometown. I still have to settle on the names of the kittens (either Teamy and Asia or Pop and Up), and they are now learning the ways of being a cat from one of my other rescues.

I also asked our team to share some of their thoughts and takeaways from the afternoon:

Nina:

As cheesy and cliche as it sounds, I learned that you have to live in every moment the best you can. Life’s too short to be overthinking about both the past and the future. What you have is now and what you can control is right in front of you. So, you have to make the most of it.

Steph:

I learned from pop up experience how important it is to spend time with the lolas. You can see in their eyes that they’re very happy whenever people visit them. They keep asking when are we going back and that makes my heart sad. I hope we can have another pop-up with them.

Ingrid:

Seeing as I’m a newcomer TeamAsian, I thought it was really cool that my second pop-up was an outreach activity, and co-organized by my own Content team, no less!

It’s nice to see my colleagues outside of an office setting, where the usual designations and rules were stripped away. It didn’t matter what age or department you were in, the Mano Po pop-up just gave off a warm, welcoming sense of family for all of us who participated. We all came together to give the lovely ladies of the Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly – excuse the pun – a grand old time. Everyone turned into each lola’s very own sweet and doting grandchild for the afternoon.

It was a heartwarming experience that I appreciate being a part of, especially as it is with my new professional home and family.

Thea:

My best memory from that afternoon was the stop dance! My lola was so happy swaying her arms even though she couldn’t stand.

Vince:

The afternoon with the lolas reminded me so much of my grandparents. Back in college, I lived with my grandparents who were living in Quezon City. During the time I was there, my lola took great care of me — always preparing my food, waking me up so I won’t be late, and making sure that I’m ready for the day. Back then I never really got to appreciate all of their efforts for me. My lola would always scold me whenever I go home late. She would always be waiting for me to be home, staying up until the wee hours of the morning just to make sure that I get home safely.

I realized that I took all of those for granted. I never got the chance to thank her for all the things she has done for me. Seeing the lolas there made me realize how lonely it must be for them growing old. I realized that the time I was living with my grandparents must have been meaningful for them — all the meals we shared together, and all the stories we’ve shared with each other — all of which made them happy.

I’m lucky because I still can tell her those things. I can still go back to her and care for her, the same way she did. This experience made me realize that we should always be thankful to our parents and grandparents, to never fail to appreciate all the things they do for us. I wouldn’t be where I am now if not for them.

Mano po 8

What are your memories from that day? We plan to visit the lolas again soon, let me know if you’d like to come with us!

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