It’s easy to feel hopeless in this time of crisis. The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus continues to spread in the Philippines and claim lives, and has turned everyone’s lives upside down. But in the darkest hours, it is also when the unlikeliest heroes rise up. It is a time when kindness, selflessness, and empathy shine through, providing light amidst these trying times.
Here are 24 brands and businesses that are giving back to the community and are providing selfless service for Filipinos in this time of need.
1. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, showing support for medical workers
The multinational coffee chain, CBTL, was one of the first big commercial brands that initiated what turned out to be a heartwarming outpour of support for Filipino frontliners helping fight this battle against COVID-19. The brand offered free cups of coffee to health workers from some of Metro Manila’s busiest hospitals during this crisis—Makati Medical Center, St. Lukes Hospital, and Asian Medical Hospital.
2. Popburri, a popsicle shop which turned their store into a homeless shelter
In a massive act of generosity, this small business in Quezon City, a popsicle shop called Popburri, turned their store into a shelter for the homeless. And more than just giving a roof over their heads, Popburri also provides food and a bathroom where the homeless can bathe.
3. The Cabangon family hotels, providing free accommodations
According to a Facebook post by Joel Pablo Salud, the Cabangon Family—who owns a group of hotels in Metro Manila—has opened the doors to their hotels for medical frontliners who need accommodations during the Enhanced Community Quarantine. Salud mentioned the hotels in his status: “For PGH, the Citystate Tower Hotel in Manila; for Pasig City, the Dahlia Hotel; for Mandaluyong, the Bermuda Hotel; for Manila City, the Citystate Palanca Hotel and the Vista Hotel.” Salud is a columnist at BusinessMirror, which the Cabangon family also owns. One of his replies to comments on the post says, “I’m proud of my bosses, man. Extremely proud.”
4. The Standard Group, distributing more than 2,600 free meals
The company behind some of Manila’s favorite resturants, Yabu, Ippudo, and Elephant Grounds, The Standard Group performed an incredible, generous task when they prepared a total of 2,622 meals and distributed them to 25 hospitals in three days. They wrote on their Facebook page: “Thank you again to our frontliners working long hours for our protection and caring for our communities. We take after your bravery as we fight this fight together.” More reason to love Yabu, Ippudo, and Elephant Grounds!
5. Wildbreads, with their “pay it forward” campaign and free bread
Wildbreads, a bakery in Los Baños, is doing what they can to help in this time of crisis. With their “pay it forward” initiative, they are asking those who are able to, to pay for someone else’s bread in advance so those who currently aren’t able to afford them can take one or two loaves of bread home for free. At the same time, with the money they raise, Wildbreads has taken it upon themselves to provide bread to student dormers of University of the Philippines Los Baños who are currently stuck in the campus because of the community quarantine.
6. Chowking, and their helping hand extended for the homelesss
A yoga teacher and blogger from Pasig City, Ferdz Decena, posted a photo of a Chowking staff outside the restaurant, manning a table stacked with Chowking meal boxes and some glasses of drinks. Hanging from the table is a sign that says “Free food for homeless for 20 pax” — a heartwarming deed by the fast food chain, looking after Metro Manila’s most vulnerable. Decena wrote in his caption: “Nice of Chowking Rotonda to give out free food to homeless. #pasigcitynatin”
7. St. Luke’s Medical Center, and their exemplary actions to take care of their own
A viral “appreciation post” by St. Luke’s nurse Geraldine Biron, that was shared by the hospital’s Facebook page, reveals that the hospital has gone the distance to take care of their employees during this trying time. St. Luke’s apparently provides their staff free meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks), free accommodation, free shuttle services, free vitamins, free medical consultation and medications, additional compensation (hazard pay), and more.
8. Ate Rica’s Bacsilog, which also sends a message: “all of us can contribute something”
The bacsilog (bacon +silog) chain has shared that they have been giving out meals to frontliners even before the announcement of the Community Quarantine in Metro Manila. So far they’ve covered hospitals beyond the Metro, reaching as far as Pamanga, Laguna, and Cebu. They wrote on their Facebook page: “Hindi ito pagmamalaki bagkus isa itong mensahe na lahat tayo maaring may maiambag upang mairaos at makatulong sa mga bayani nating frontliners.” [This is not to brag, but to send a message that every one of us has something to contribute to overcome this and support our frontliners who are heroes.]
9. Coca-Cola, receiving applauds from netizens for their big announcement
On March 20, the corporate giant took it to social media to announce a big move: Coca-Cola and all its brands in the Philippines will be putting their advertising on hold to redirect all efforts into fighting the pandemic. As a result, they will be re-allocating P150 million to provide protective equipment to health workers, food packs for vulnerable families, and support for small retailers.
10. Rue Bourbon, looking after our hardworking nurses
The restaurant sent boxes of pizza to Perpetual Help Dalta Medical Center and St. Luke’s BGC, writing on their Facebook page that they “will try our best to send food to different nurse stations for the month of March.” The hospitals are grateful for the gesture!
11. Kanto Freestyle, and their generous efforts to help hospital workers
An affiliate of the restaurant, Vincent Juanta, wrote on his Facebook post that has now gone viral: “With all the help and sacrifices that they are doing right now, the least that we can do is to show our appreciation and express our gratitude”. They are sending food packs to different hospitals in Metro Manila as a way to support doctors, nurses, and hospital staff.
12. Ligo Sardines, and their generous pledge of help
Ligo Sardines Philippines has announced on their social media that they will be re-allocating their entire advertising budget for 2020 to help fight COVID-19. They pledged to deliver food to affected families and communities, provide assistance to health workers and other frontliners, and help assist in supplying them with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
13. Globe Telecom, providing free and unlimited internet at hospitals
One of the largest networks in the Philippines, Globe, has announced it will be providing “free and unlimited wifi” in selected hospitals—from Luzon to Mindanao—to help both patients and healthcare workers stay connected in this time of need. Globe has also been raising funds for the Philippine General Hospital through their Globe Rewards program (as of writing, they’ve already raised over 9 million pesos) and announced that they will be giving a 0ne-month extension on their users’ payment due dates.
14. Zark’s, which gave out burgers to healthcare providers
The restaurant chain sent burgers to frontline healthcare providers at some hospitals in Metro Manila “as a way to thank them for tirelessly and selflessly”, they wrote in their Facebook page.
15. Pino Restaurant, serving unlimited coffee to people in the medical field
Pino Restaurant and Bar, together with its two sister companies, is offering free and unlimited coffee to people in the medical field. The best part? The offer is on the table “until this situation plateaus,” they wrote on their Facebook page. Just bring your valid ID!
16. Yardstick Coffee, sending love to medical workers in the form of cold brew
Image: @YardstickCoffee Instagram Stories
You won’t find an announcement of their good deed on their Facebook page, but doctors and nurses of Medical City received boxes of cold brew coffee, with a sweet hand-written letter to boot, thanking them for their service “during these tough times.”
17. Starbucks Philippines at Medical City, and their free coffee for frontliners
A Medical Laboratory Scientist from Medical City, Rex Rumpon, posted a photo of a cup of Starbucks coffee on his Facebook page, sharing that the coffee chain provided free cups of coffee to all employees of the hospital. A note was written on the cups, saying: “Thanks for keeping us safe.”
18. Healthy Meals PH, providing hearty meals for frontliners
A meal planning service based in the city, Healthy Meals PH extended their service by sending meals to frontliners working in hospitals. They also have an ongoing fund-raising to help them continuously supply meals among frontliners at a lower price.
19. T-Hub Co-Working Space, showing appreciation to all frontliners including the police
A co-working space and cafe based in Angeles is also doing what they can to help. T-Hub has been distributing smoothies to PNP officers who are on patrol, writing on their Facebook post: “Let’s not forget our PNP officers who are also part of COVID-19 frontliners.” They shared that they are also reaching out to hospitals, police stations, and checkpoints to send love there as well through their drinks.
20. Koomi PH, which sent their drinks to hospital frontliners
A netizen, Benjie Lord Naval, shared the news on his Facebook page, revealing that yogurt drink shop Koomi PH sent their drinks to employees of Cardinal Santos Medical Center and The Medical Center. He also wrote: “Sana po napangiti namin kayo sa munting regalong bigay namin, dahil bago ang lahat, kayo dapat ang pinakahealthy.” [We hope we made you smile with our little gift, because more than anyone else, it is you who should be at your healthiest.]
21. iVegan Restaurant, with their healthy vegan meals sent to hospitals
This vegan restaurant in Makati, iVegan, showed support to hospital frontliners by delivering free, healthy food to different hospitals in the Metro. Want to contribute? They’re calling out for sponsors so they can provide more complimentary meals.
22. Macao Imperial Tea, and their delicious milk teas sent to the AFP and hospital workers
The milk tea chain sent drinks to AFP officers stationed at community quarantine checkpoints in Metro Manila, and to hospitals like Philippine General Hospital, St. Lukes Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, and San Juan De Dios Hospital. Macao Imperial wrote on their Facebook page: “Thank you for your selfless service and sacrifice. You are our modern-day heroes in this fight against COVID-19.”
23. SM Group, pledging P100 million to combat COVID-19
The corporation behind SM malls and other SM brands, SM Group, has pledged P100 million to help combat COVID-19. They will be providing supplies and kits as an aid to our frontliners. Their subsidiary, SM Markets, also gave out free merienda to doctors and nurses last March 13 as a thank you for their hard work. Medical practitioners just needed to present the brand’s announcement along with their IDs to any SM Markets within the Metro to avail of its famous turon, plus a bottle of water.
24. Via Mare, which offered complimentary merienda for medical practitioners
Last March 14, Filipino restaurant chain Via Mare announced that they will be providing complimentary merienda and drink that weekend to doctors and nurses, writing on their social media: “We appreciate your hard work, and we are with you on this fight.”
25. And lastly, the Ayalas, showing every Filipino business tycoon how it’s done
In an announcement posted on the page of Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of the Ayala Group of Companies last March 17, the business tycoon shared that the company has adopted a “COVID-19 emergency response package” worth P2.4 billion. This package, Ayala wrote, will be allotted for “wages, bonuses, leave conversions and loan deferments primarily for the extended workforce of our partner employers so they may continue to be paid for the duration of the quarantine period.” They are also waiving this month’s rent of their tenants in all Ayala Malls to provide them “financial relief”. Netizens are applauding the company, with some dubbing the tycoon “Employer of the Year.” Read the full post here.
To all these brands and businesses, including those we have yet heard of but are also providing selfless service, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. By taking care of our frontliners, the homeless, the workforce, and other members of our community, you take care of all your Filipino kababayans as well. Kudos to you all, and more power to your businesses!