On October 14 and 15, 72 exhibitors gathered at the Metrotent Convention Center in Pasig City for Tzu Chi’s third annual Fiesta Verde wellness and vegetarian food fair. The event showcased various products such as vegetarian food and house necessities. Proceeds from each exhibitor, either part of or in full, will go to the foundation’s Mission of Education.
Despite heavy rain, visitors flocked to the exhibit. With every purchase of the exhibitors’ goods, they help the foundation’s educational programs for the underprivileged.
On October 30, exhibitors grateful for the privilege of participating in the event receive their checks containing their total net income at Jing Si Hall in Quezon City.
Jan Noreen Tan, a first-time exhibitor from Happy Eats Corporation, has enjoyed the experience of selling and promoting their food products at the exhibit. Knowing her money will go to a good cause, she donates 20 percent of her earnings and promises to join the exhibit next year.
“When we receive blessings, we should also reciprocate. So, by my own little way, I choose Tzu Chi to donate to so I can also help others,” says Tan.
This year’s Fiesta Verde gathered the most number of exhibitors compared to the previous years. The first event in 2015 gathered 51 exhibitors, while the following year gathered 65 exhibitors.
First-time exhibitor Brennan Lim, who sells organic Korean beauty products, is touched by the exhibit’s mission because education, for him, is one of the most important things in life.
“It’s good to know that organizations like this help a lot of people. They also teach about healthy living as we only live once and have only one chance to take care of your body and health. And we here are happy to also teach others about a good lifestyle,” shares Lim.
Christian Sowongo from The Vegetarian Kitchen has been a regular exhibitor since the first Fiesta Verde. He feels fortunate to know that Tzu Chi Foundation shares his vision of promoting vegetarianism.
“What drove us to join Fiesta Verde is knowing all these nice people from Tzu Chi that they have the same mission to influence people to have a vegetarian diet. And we know that when we joined this event, we are also donating to Tzu Chi for them to be able help impoverished kids to study and improve their lives,” says Sowongo.
Tzu Chi volunteer Molita Chua, Fiesta Verde head organizer, shares that some of the first-time exhibitors even asked for a reservation for next year’s exhibit.
“This year, some new exhibitors already told us to reserve a spot for them next year, so we can see how happy they are and how they also make good business,” says Chua.
The exhibit is also a way to introduce Tzu Chi Foundation and its advocacies such as promoting vegetarianism.
“Most of our exhibitors sell vegetarian food and are vegetarians themselves. Visitors were surprised after seeing the food because they thought that being vegetarian was boring. I think most of them really enjoyed the food because we have the classic Filipino dishes like dinuguan and tocino served in a vegetarian way,” says Chua.
Chua adds that the proceeds from Fiesta Verde will go in expanding the foundation’s Mission of Education. Among its projects involves repurposing a building at the Great Love Campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila as a vocational school. It plans to expand its livelihood programs to cover welding and English communication among others for the benefit of the less fortunate who want to learn new skill and work for a better life in the future.
“Our brother from Taiwan already told us that they want to hire at least 50 of our students and the salary would be more than Php100, 000 per month,” shares Chua.
Tzu Chi volunteers make sure that the receipts and cheques are complete before the Fiesta Verde exhibitors arrive for the distribution.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Fiesta Verde head organizer Molita Chua fills up the receipt to be given to an exhibitor. It indicates the total sales of the exhibitor’s booth.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Jan Noreen Tan, a first-time exhibitor from Happy Eats Corporation, promises to participate again in next year’s Fiesta Verde after finding out that the amount she has donated from the sales of her products will go to a good cause. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Brennan Lim (center), seller of organic Korean products, feels happy that he is able to promote his products and to help send impoverished children to school by being part of Tzu Chi’s Fiesta Verde Wellness and Vegetarian Food Fair. 【Photo by Luisa Cabato】
Christian Sowongo is a regular exhibitor of Fiesta Verde Wellness and Vegetarian Food Fair. He shares with a Tzu Chi volunteer how happy he is for the opportunity to promote Vegetarianism to the public during the annual event.【Photo by Luisa Cabato】