Hello, It’s Micaela here with a special post. So this post is quite different to anything else that we feature on the site. It’s not about weddings or about honeymoons but it is about love, for our fellow humans. Not all of this post is going to be easy or comfortable to read but I really hope that you do read it all as there is also a lot of light and positivity.
I love to travel and I am very blessed that I have the means to do so fairly frequently. One of the places I visit more regularly is the Philippines. Before my first trip to the Philippines, my partner’s mother had told me about a refuge that they support over there called Marillac Hills. This refuge is for girls, from infants to teens, who have been rescued from abuse – mainly sexual abuse and sex trafficking. The majority of the perpetrators are family members or people known to the victims.
At Marillac Hills, the girls are provided with shelter food and an education. For many of them, this is the first time they have attended school. However the most important thing that Marillac provides them is safety. Each girl and each case is different but most don’t return to their families; those that do only get to return once their perpetrator/s have been imprisoned. This means the girls are raised at Marillac and stay as long as they need to. Next-door is a shelter for women where the girls can move if necessary once they turn 18. However, the aim is to make them strong, independent women who can navigate the world on their own.
On my first visit to Manila, I was able to visit Marillac. Generally they don’t allow visitors and security is very tight, but with the help of the volunteers and supporters of the refuge, they allowed me to visit, for which I was extremely grateful. Our family friend Babes is a regular volunteer, and she came with us. From the moment we arrived, it was clear that the girls adored her. It was overwhelming to see so many girls with huge smiles on their faces greeting us, knowing why they were all there.
The reality set in even further when, after meeting some of the girls, Babes would quietly explain to me why and how they had come to be at Marillac. There are so many stories too awful to recount and they aren’t my stories to tell. I was only just holding it together when I saw two girls standing together, the bigger girl with her arms protectively around a smaller girl. Babes explained that they were sisters and whispered in my ear a brief version of the horrific abuse they had endured.
I stared at these beautiful young girls and couldn’t fathom how anyone would want to hurt them. That’s when I broke. Even writing about it now, I do so through tears. I had to take a walk while I cried. One of the girls even asked if I was OK! It was both beautiful and made me feel incredibly guilty. So it was in that moment that I knew I had to help in any small way that I could.
Every year there is an amazing Christmas party at Marillac. Our family is heavily involved with organising this special day that includes local celebrities appearing, food, games and performances. They also receive presents, and I wanted to make this past Christmas one they would never forget. I wanted the girls to all have brand-new, fun, luxury items that most of us take for granted, like new clothes and our own toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner.
I told my mum about what I wanted to do as she had already offered to buy new clothing for all of the girls – on a side note, my mother is the most generous person I know. She literally gives every homeless person she sees money, and if I even have one ounce of her generosity I know I am doing something right. I then contacted some of my amazing friends in PR and brand owners to see if they had any products they could donate.
To say that I was blown away by their response is an understatement. I was hoping for a few products – what I received was a mountain of items ensuring every girl at Marillac would have a bag full of goodies at Christmas. Below are all of the amazing products we were given. These brands and their PR reps are amazing, so we wanted to share our love for these brands and showcase some of their amazing products and hopefully you’ll love them too!
These are the brands and products that we were so generously gifted
Colgate – toothpaste, toothbrushes, Lady Speed Stick, Palmolive Body Wash
TÄNDA Modern Candles
Glamourflage - Vera Vamp Body Cream, Luscious Lucy Face Cream, Perky Pam Talcum Powder, HOLA 0-Gravity Sunscreen, Jaunty Jess Soap Sensation, Bella Blaze Lip Balm
Supre – brand new clothing
Carmex – lip balms
Scunci – hair accessories
Rimmel London – nail polish
Here are some products we love from these brands and think you will too!
Here I am with the boxes being sent off to the Philippines...
Here are the amazing volunteers packing each Christmas bag for the girls!
For the protection of the girls we are unable to share pictures of them, however they were all delighted with their gifts and when I visited a month later they were all wearing their new clothes and having a typical girlie time with their beauty products and other gifts. I want to thank everyone who supplied us with products it means more than you realise. Thank you also to my mum Kathy and some of her work colleagues who purchased clothes for the girls, Jake and Lizia Centenera for packing the boxes and sending them to Manila and for all of the work you do for Marillac, my partner Jeff for all of your help and assistance packing the boxes and letting us store mountains of product in our place until we eventually required a storage unit, and then taking everything to the storage unit which was no easy task. Thank you to everyone who has supported this great cause and if you want to be involved in helping Marillac please email me hello@lunaandhoney for details.
Love, light and happy travels
Colgate - Supermarkets nationally
Palmolive - Supermarkets nationally
TÄNDA Modern Candles - www.tandamodern.com/yang
Carmex - www.mycarmex.com/international/australia
Scunci - www.scunci.com.au
Rimmel London - au.rimmellondon.com
Glamourflage - www.glamourflage.com.au