For most of us, birthdays are special days to celebrate. We prepare mouthwatering and belly-satisfying foods, we wrap precious gifts, we prepare surprises and whatnots. This is the day that many show gratefulness for the gift of life and so we make it extra special. But for the families who live in poverty, how do they make their birthdays special when they barely have anything at all?

In a small barrio in Barangay Riveride in the municipality of Tambulig, Zamboanga Del Sur, we met Lolo Isidro Cabasan. Despite his old age, he still has an active mind and could still remember his teachers back to when he was in Grade 3. Lolo Isidro has never blown a birthday candle and never had a cake on his birthday in his lifetime. How could he? For all his life, he has been living a meager life.

On the other hand, we met Cleo Grace Sunshine Sugue, a young entrepreneur who is quite successful in running a cake business in the province. Her passion for baking has earned her a reputation that sustained the Shinelo’s Cake Creations in Tambulig.

Cleo and Lolo Isidro have never met. They lived a very different life. But fate found a way to bring them together. With Cleo’s success in business and all the blessings that she received through the years, she thought that maybe it is best to give back to the community. In 2017, she started to provide cakes to indigent communities in the municipality of Tambulig. Their recipients range from Senior Citizens and children in far flung public schools.  Each month, Cleo personally delivers cakes to identified recipients. One of the first recipients was Lolo Isidro.

Cleo found a new purpose for her passion. The advocacy was such a success that it expanded to providing cakes for Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) in another municipality.

In 2019, Cleo partnered with the DSWD in providing cakes for 4Ps Senior Citizens every month.

Chances are, poor senior citizens will leave this life without experiencing blowing a birthday cake/candle even once in their life. I assure the DSWD that I will continue to provide cakes as long as Shinelo’s Cakes is here,” says Cleo.

Many netizens have commended Cleo for this gesture when pictures of the advocacy were uploaded online. For us, this reassures and brings back our faith in humanity. We salute individuals that show volunteerism and selfless commitment especially for the benefit of those who are in need.

Today, Shinelo’s Cake Creations continues to provide monthly birthday cakes for 4Ps Senior Citizens. It has also expanded its services and branched out in Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur.