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Dusit Thani Manila Awards the Winners of the Christmas Tree Contest Year III

Makati, Philippines – Dusit Thani Manila, in partnership with Esquire Financing, Inc., awarded the cash prize of P200,000.00 to Divine Healer Academy, a school based in Cabid-an, Sorsogon, for winning the first place in this year’s Christmas Tree Contest Year III with a theme that focuses on children, the world’s hope for the future. Dusit Thani Manila also gave P100,000.00 to Mahatma Gandhi International School for winning second place and P50,000.00 to MGC New Life Christian Academy for winning third place.

Dusit Thani Manila invited esteemed educational institutions represented by its Grade School Students to join in this Christmas endeavor and unite in the spirit of the season through their creative, young hearts and minds and the use of recycled materials. Other grade schools which participated include De La Salle Zobel, Everest Academy Manila, German European School Manila, Miriam College Grade School and Paref Southridge School.

The grand winners in the past years include Ms. Tessa Prieto-Valdes (Unity in Diversity, 2010) and The Cruz Family (The Family Tree, 2011).

In the spirit of giving and of Christmas, the three winning Christmas Trees’ cash prizes will be donated to their chosen charity, as follows:

1st Place: PUNO NG PANGARAP (Tree of Dreams / Full of Dreams) by Divine Healer Academy

Featured Recycled Material: Bamboo

Puno ng Pangarap is a tree in flaming red, the color of the aspiration of the school children to fulfill their dreams. The three bamboo poles that form the frame of the tree represent the school pillars—the administrators, teachers and yes, the benefactors who untiringly support the school. Inside and outside the frame are stars made of bamboo branches; these stars symbolize each and every pupil of the school. Hanged around these poles are Christmas balls that carry the wishes of the school children—“to have a simple umbrella,” “to have something for Noche Buena,” “to see Manila,” “for their benefactors to have a good health,” “for their parents to continue to love them,” “for Santa to take care of Papa Jesus.” On top of the tree is a bigger star, representing the bigger dreams of the students that they wish to attain. Once fulfilled, their dreams will give light to others.

Like the proverbial bamboo, the school is pliant to the tests of times. And so is the spirit of the students and teachers. They are filled with hope. They are showered with love. They are rich in dreams. With Puno ng Pangarap, the students, teachers and administrators of the Divine Healer Academy aim to bring to the consciousness of the people that they need every possible help they can get to sustain the operation of the school. Included in the academy’s vision board is to increase the number of its students to 500 by next school year. It is in this respect that Divine Healer Academy chooses itself to become its own beneficiary.

2nd Place: THE GIVING TREE by Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS)

Featured Recycled Materials: Shoe Boxes, Aluminum Tabs and Soda Cans

The Giving Tree is a 10 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide Christmas tree made up of shoe boxes covered in green and red wrappers, individually and creatively designed by the Primary Years Programme (PYP) kids, and piled up to the shape of a triangular tree. Inside each box is a special gift by the pupil for a chosen beneficiary. The Christmas Tree design has sprung out of the realization that international school MGIS being an inter-cultural community with students of different backgrounds and religions, acknowledges that the Christian concept of Christmas is all about the universal values of love and giving. In general, Christmas in MGIS is being observed all-year round.

Beneficiaries: Tahanang Walang Hagdan and Barangay Day Care

The MGIS Tree is ecologically friendly as no used material (from top to bottom) will be wasted. Everything will be purposely utilized for a worthy cause. The round base will be transformed into a table, and donated to the Barangay Day Care afterwards. The aluminum tabs and aluminum soda cans will be donated to the Tahanang Walang Hagdan where they are being used in making canes, wheelchairs, etc.

3rd Place: 3T: TREE, TECHNOLOGY AND TRUTH by MGC New Life Christian Academy

Featured Recycled Materials: Compact Discs and Electronic Wastes With the 21st century lifestyle, the fast is sidelined by the faster. Even the very young have their fair share of technology consumption. In the process, tons of e-waste is amassed and their disposal is already considered a societal problem.

Glitz and gadgets may come and go, but the true message of Christmas will never be outdated. The newborn Babe whose life on earth ended on Calvary’s Cross for sinners’ salvation still rings true through centuries passed. As a school, MGC New Life tries to ride the tide of technology, but the dictates of modernity will never change the very reason of the school’s being. Everything starts and ends with the Cross — the TRUTH. In everything that they do, be it in class, co-curricular, or extra-curricular activity, the Cross and its truth is constantly in full view.

Beneficiary: Center for Community Transformation, Inc. - Visions of Hope

This is carried out through the fusion of social development initiatives and evangelical mission in a uniquely Filipino context. It serves urban and rural poor communities throughout the Philippines, in pursuit of its desire to see changed lives, strong families and transformed communities centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.