Some people celebrate their birthdays with a quiet dinner with friends and family. Others go wild by erecting an indoor ferris wheel in Las Vegas (we’re looking at you, Jho Low). But a teacher from San Fernando, Pampanga decided to do something a bit out of the ordinary for her b-day: handing out sacks upon sacks of the Philippines’ favorite fast food to the homeless — and getting a lot of public attention in the process.
Photos of Mary Ann Cunanan, 22, appeared on Facebook on Friday showing her posing with a table laden with Jollibee before handing it out to the town’s numerous homeless people.
“The guests during my birthday. God bless you all. Happy birthday, self!” she wrote in the post, which has been shared almost 25,000 times.
In a Facebook interview with Coconuts Manila, Cunanan said she always wanted to celebrate her birthday this way.
“I just wanted to share [what I have] to those who have nothing in life,” she said in English and Filipino. “It really felt good to be able to do that. It was the first time for me to be able to do this.”
She said her boyfriend helped her pull it off, and that she was grateful her family was supportive of the idea.
“We just walked around the town center of San Fernando” and gave the food away, she said. “I want to do that again next year because it just feels really good to help people.”
One of the more memorable moments of the charity spree, Cunanan said, was handing out food to three Aeta children. The Aeta are an indigenous tribe from Central Luzon who have suffered centuries of poverty and government neglect, driving many to beg for survival.
“We just saw them playing, then when we gave them the food, they became so excited to show what they had to their parents,” Cunanan said.
Netizens, meanwhile, praised Cunanan for her generosity, with one woman tagging several friends and saying she wanted to do the same thing: “Something like this, but the elderly should be the priority,” she wrote.
Have you heard of people celebrating their birthday the same way? Tell us by leaving a comment below or tweeting to @CoconutsManila.
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This article, Teacher goes viral for handing out Jollibee to Pampanga homeless for her birthday, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!