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I was born in Barangay Padre Zamora, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental on February 6, 1949. I am the eight of 20 children of James Jesus Mercado, 37, a Filipino mestizo, and Lesair Kiana Klaws, 37, an Irishwoman. My father was a civil engineer and my mother was a doctor.

I am the only natural-bearded half-Filipino in the Philippines with the name Santa R-Kayma Klaws, or Santa Klaws, which is nearly identical to the name of the popular Christmas icon Santa Claus. I am also the only half-Filipino in the Philippines who has played the role of Santa Claus every year for the past 54 years, and the only one to have set up a company, Pacific Santa’s Inc., that is devoted to spreading Christmas cheer throughout the Philippines 365 days a year.

I first publicly portrayed the role of Santa at the age of 15. It was during my visit to a leper colony on the island of Cebu that I realized that I could make a difference in the lives of others, especially children and the poor.

I completed two master’s degrees in child psychology and business administration at University of the Philippines.

I have 15 children: eight by my first wife, who was killed, along with seven of our children, in a car crash; five out of wedlock and the last two by my second wife, Edelin Toquero.

I created Pacific Santa’s Inc. on February 6, 1964.


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