As written by Frank Schuengel for When in Manila:
For most people, eating dinner is an enjoyable experience and one we hardly think of as being dangerous or life threatening. For a small boy called Marco, it was to be the last thing he would ever do. In his legacy, and to help prevent another tragedy like his, Project PEARLS has now started a daily soup kitchen for children in Tondo. Getting involved and making a real difference is easier than you think.
Marco could have been anything. A fireman, a doctor, even president. Like for most children, the world was his oyster and his opportunities – in theory – limitless. Sadly, life, or whatever higher power may control our existence on this earth, had other plans. One evening earlier this month, Marco, who lived in the poorest part of Tondo, ate “pagpag” (recycled food from garbage) for dinner. His small body could not handle the toxins that were hidden in this particular batch of re-cooked food and he didn’t wake up to see the sun rise the next morning. All efforts by doctors to help also proved fruitless and Marco became another innocent victim of poverty and unsafe living conditions. He was just two years old.