La Verdad Christian College – Quality Education at No Cost

The man in front of the computer was whistling a happy tune, but Brandon’s heart wasn’t pumping a rhythmic beat. As the man handed him his printed papers, Brandon felt his heart drop as he looked at the amount printed in bold, black ink at the bottom of the page. It was enrolment day; he had just got his subjects assessed and validated by his college. The paper handed to him was the form for payment which displayed his total tuition fees for the semester.

What an amount to pay for just a couple of units, he muttered to himself. He was studying in a public school were tuition was subsidized by the government but the fees he pay were still too high for what he can afford.

He makes his way to the cashier’s office, counting and recounting his recently withdrawn money to make sure they were enough and exact for payment. Upon reaching the office and finding a stream of students, his eyes wandered to a huge plastered sign sprawled to his side, directing students like him to the miscellaneous queue. Underneath the bold print were words like dorm fees, lab and library fees and more, screaming at him and making his heart sink even lower. His mind were occupied with thoughts about daily transportation fares he’s going to have to pay, the food he’s going to eat, the school supplies he’s going to provide. And buying a uniform too, he thought.

As he takes his spot on the long line to pay his tuition, he looks back at the miscellaneous fees queue and thinks to himself with a resigned look, “Is education now a privilege?”


Brandon’s experiences are something unrare. These situations and stories happen more often than we believe, prompting the debate as to whether education in our country is a right or a privilege.

It’s June once again, the month of weddings, of Father’s days and beginnings of school. School commencing would mean enrolment and enrolment would also mean money.

High Cost of Education = Out of School Youths?

According to recent figures by the National Statistics Office (NSO) and Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS), a steady growth of percentage of out-of-school youths was listed from 2000-2011, with over 6.24 million youths out of school, or 16% of the country’s 39 million Filipinos in the age bracket between six and 24.

Aside from geographical and temporal reasons, one of the most cited reasons for this increase was the high cost of education. Moreover, the NSO’s 2014 Report of the Country’s Figures listed more than 23 million of the population as no more than elementary undergraduates, with 3 million having no education at all.

That is why in these times, government bodies and non-governmental organizations have conducted programs to help. Various scholarships are now made able to deserving youth, offering several chances for qualification. But there is one non-governmental organization that has taken steps higher than the others.

Free Education through LVCC

The Members Church of God International, through UNTV 37, the country’s public service channel, has established a college wherein free education is one of its services.

With campuses in Pampanga and Caloocan, La Verdad Christian College (LVCC) leads as the country’s first private institution wherein aside from free tuition, other expenses such as uniform, food and lodging fees are shouldered entirely by the school. This is inspired by Bro. Eli Soriano and Kuya Daniel Razon’s advocacy of helping poor but deserving students to earn their college degrees.

La Verdad Christian College is the first private institution in the country that offers free education along with free meals, uniforms, books and even lodging.
Video Courtesy: youtube.com/untvweb

“It’s a very good feeling to know that God has given us instruments in doing good — those who help the youth like me to be able to study. That is wy I thank God for Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel for giving us the chance to go to college despite the lack of our financial ability,” says Kim Santiago, a Second Year AB Broadcasting student from LVCC Caloocan Branch.

“Here in La Verdad, aside from availing of the free services the school offers, we are being taught to excel academically and spiritually,” says Maryjane Largueza, a recent graduate of AB-Broadcasting in LVCC Caloocan Campus. “LVCC not only aims to produce capable students but also good citizens of the country. I am proud to be a LaVerdarian, and I am grateful to God and Bro. Eli and Kuya Daniel, because without them, this will not be possible.”

Aside from offering kindergarten until secondary schooling, LVCC also offers Bachelor degrees in nursing, computer technology, mass communications, culinary and many more. Moreover, extensive training and career opportunities are also given to students during their stay at the college with help of partner groups such as UNTV.

LVCCA shot of one of the main buildings of La Verdad
Christian College in Apalit, Pampanga.
Photo Courtesy: Rovic Balunsay of Photoville International

First established in 2009, the two campuses are always being improved and maintained by its administration. Citing Bro. Soriano in a speech during the inauguration of the LVCC Branch in Caloocan, he says, “We have spent much to establish this school, and much is to be spent still to sustain it. But we do not look at the amount, just as it is written in the Bible,” adding that, “This is our mandate from knowing the truth in the Bible. Students do not owe this to us. They owe it to God.”

On Being Filipino: Bro. Eli as Pinoy Pride

“Pinoy Pride.” What comes to your mind when you hear it or its variation: “Proud to be Pinoy”?

For boxing fans, the name of world-renowned boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao could immediately ring a bell.

For singing enthusiasts, the likes of Jessica Sanchez, Charice Pempengco and Lea Salonga may pop up in their minds.

Manny Pacquaio (right) and Lea Salonga (left) are both icons in their respective fields and are symbols of Filipino pride. Photo Courtesy: underdogboxing.wordpress.com | broadwayworld.com

Manny Pacquaio (right) and Lea Salonga (left) are both icons in their respective fields and are symbols of Filipino pride.
Photo Courtesy: underdogboxing.wordpress.com | broadwayworld.com

But people aren’t the only sole symbols of Pinoy pride. Even cultural things like customs, food and clothing also make it to the list of things which Filipinos are proud of.

We always hear these phrases often, something we might even say ourselves. But what do they really entail?

What is Filipino Pride?

Filipino pride or Pinoy pride can be defined as the symbols that bring good, international recognition to the Filipino race. Like the examples given above, and to name a few, persons like Manny Pacquiao and Lea Salonga have given good name for Filipinos in the world of their respective fields.

Only this previous month, Filipino “Miss Saigon” actor Jon Jon Briones had made rounds on the web for being the Best Actor nominee of the prestigious Olivier Award in British theater.

These are positive outlooks on Filipino pride, because these are really something to be proud of. These Filipinos have attained their status through talent and hard work — something that we, as a nation, naturally acquire.

Meanwhile, our hospitable culture is also something unique that defines us as a people. This quality of Filipinos being hospitable is also something that the world looks up to.

We Pinoys, are known to be warm and always willing to offer what is special, what is new and what could be their everything, just to make visitors feel comfortable and accommodated.

The Other Side of Filipino Pride

Looking at my abovementioned points, it would seem that Filipino Pride is something genuinely and solely good!

But too much Filipino Pride also has its downsides, and for me, it starts with the word “overkill”. Well, as the Filipino saying goes, “Lahat ng sobra, masama.” (Everything in excess is bad).

The urban dictionary defines overkill as, “More than what is needed. In gross excess of what is reasonably expected. An excess of something beyond what is required or suitable for a given purpose. “

"Overkill" as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

“Overkill” as defined by the Urban Dictionary.

There are countless examples of Filipino pride overkill and this serves as a reminder that even things intended for good can also be bad in excess. Riding in the bandwagon to claim famous people with little to no traces of Filipino blood or culture as Pinoy pride symbols is overkill. This kind of paradoxical “Filipino pride” will not bring appreciation to our country, but may seem more like a “confidence booster” and earn backlash from critics.

What I Am Proud of As A Filipino

What makes me proud to be a Filipino? Aside from some recognized personalities in my list, unique food and good customs, here are some:

(1) Close Filipino family ties (i.e. We are known to not abandon our elders in nursing homes, and make it a point to care for them in their old age)
(2) Honesty and morals (i.e. Good deeds like returning money that aren’t ours, debt of gratitude concept)
(3) Hardworking Overseas Filipino Workers (they are our modern day heroes!)

Then another person who remains under-recognized excels in the field of religion and spirituality. He is today making rounds across the world through preaching and changing lives.

 Bro. Eli Soriano.

Bro. Eli Soriano is a Filipino preacher making rounds across the globe for preaching the words of God in foreign lands. Photo Courtesy: facebook.com/Eliseo_Soriano

Bro. Eli Soriano is a Filipino preacher making rounds across the globe for preaching the words of God in foreign lands.
Photo Courtesy: facebook.com/Eliseo_Soriano

Hailing from the provinces of Pampanga, Bro. Soriano has been unrelenting in preaching the gospel for more than five decades.

Despite earning numerous accolades for his work and the great number of people who have found the truth through him, Bro. Soriano is also one of the most slandered men of all time, with the internet spewing all sorts of lies and defamations against him.

But what strikes me the most is his unfeigned attitude to continue to help, his glaring humility for those who malign him, and his God-given courage that strives to point out the errors of the mislead and the misleader.

It makes me proud to know that I came across this man in my life. With God’s help, through a simple man like him, I and many others have found truth in our lives.

That is one of the things that I am truly proud of. I am proud to be Filipino because of Filipinos who know how to look back to their roots, of Filipinos who do good deeds without asking anything in return, of Filipinos who work hard for their families and their country abroad. But most of all, I am proud of these Filipinos who work hard for the Philippines to be recognized and appreciated by the world. Filipinos like Bro. Eli who are proud of their heritage and their country even in foreign lands make me truly proud to be like them — a Filipino.


Some articles I’ve cited on Pinoy Pride and its cons:

https://stonegrenades.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/what-is-pinoy-pride/

http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2014/01/mistaken-beliefs/

http://remarkablyweirdsyndrome.blogspot.com/2012/06/pinoy-pride-what-hell-does-that-mean.html

Cult: Good or Bad? Dissecting the Meaning of a Misunderstood Word

As a student who majors in languages, we were taught to be aware of words that have connotative meanings which differ from their original definitions. The word “gay” for example in our time, would refer to people who are homosexuals or people who have different sexual preferences. However, back in the day, people who were feeling happy and overjoyed were described as gay.

Last Friday (May 9), while I was participing in the Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition, a guest from Dubai wanted to confirm if the Members Church of God International was a cult. The Bible Exposition held by the MCGI is hosted by Bro. Eli Soriano, who is popularly known as the host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, “Ang Dating Daan“.

The visitor exclaimed that he had heard many rumors that the said church was a cult, and that particular information hindered him from affiliating himself in the Church.

Indeed, the word cult nowadays is being interpreted negatively. Citing the Merriam-Webster free online dictionary, a cult is defined as…

(1) a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
(2) a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
(3) a small group of very devoted supporters or fans

When most people hear the word “cult”, what immediately comes into their minds are weird, creepy-looking people wearing masks who practice some sort of insane, devilish ritual. This is emphasizec by numerous references in popular media like movies and books, wherein cults are portrayed as groups who seek out virgins and sacrifice them to demons, for example. This would explain the first definition.

The first definition holds true to certain organizations that indeed practice these extreme and dangerous rituals. An example of this would be the People’s Temple cult. Founded by Indiana-based leader Jim Jones, the People’s Temple is a :religious” movement most famous for their mass suicide in 1978 which resulted in 914 people dead from cyanide poisoning, 276 of which were children.

Image

 The mass suicide committed by the followers of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple cult resulted in 914 total deaths caused by cyanide poisoning. It is also known throughout history as the Jonestown Massacre.
Photo from: cbsnews.com

Secondly, extreme devotion to someone or something isn’t entirely new. Popular franchises like “The Lord of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Doctor Who” and even famous celebrities and phenomena have gained cult followings.

On the contrary though, Bro. Eli, in response to the guest’s inquiry, stated that there is another meaning to the word “cult”. This other, more rightful meaning, however, is nowhere near today’s devilish definition. He said that in the Spanish and Portuguese versions of the Bible, Romans 12:1 has this to say:

“Así que, hermanos, os ruego por las misericordias de Dios, que presentéis vuestros cuerpos en sacrificio vivo, santo, agradable a Dios, que es vuestro racional culto.” (Romanos 12:1 ; Las Sagradas Escrituras) 

“Rogo-vos pois, irmãos, pela compaixão de Deus, que apresenteis os vossos corpos como um sacrifício vivo, santo e agradável a Deus, que é o vosso culto racional.” (Romanos 12:1 ; João F. Almeida Atualizada)

Both translations used the word “culto” when referring to “reasonable/rightful worship or service ” as stated in its English translation.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1 ; King James Version

When traced back to its original Greek counterpart in the Bible, the word “culto” came from “latriea(pronounced la-tri-ah) which means “worship; divine service. In fact, the Filipino word “kulto” is derived from the Spanish and Portuguese version. It is also defined by the UP Filipino Dictionary as,may natatangi o pinong pag-uugali, pag-iisip, o panlasa (having unique or refined demeanor, thinking, or taste)”, a definition that Bro. Eli agrees upon.

Bro. Eli implied that being called a cult isn’t something really bad. If it means being extreme devotion to something, brethren from MCGI are surely proud to be extremely devoted to God. If being a cult means having unique, specific and distinct qualities which makes us different, then MCGI members would be proud to fully adhere to the Bible’s doctrines regarding any matter in life, be it clothing, practices and lifestyle — something that other religions don’t do.

Similar to the word “gay”, the word “cult” also has its preconceived notions now, confining the word in such negative meaning that it’s other definitions become overlooked or forgotten. It is important that we recognize how to use its rightful meaning in rightful context to achieve clarity of thought and avoid misconceptions.

For more information about Bro. Eli, MCGI and the cult issue, read more here.

Mere Coincidences or God’s Will? CLSU Grad Student Enlightened by Biblical Answers of Bro. Eli

In life, are there really things such as coincidences and/or chances?

Bro. Eli Soriano, host of the longest running television program in Philippine History, Ang Dating Daan, replies no, as a guest from Munoz, Nueva Ecija asks him that question in last Friday’s (March 7) Worldwide Bible Exposition.

Image

One of the Ang Dating Daan Mobile Coordinating Centers was stationed in Central Luzon State University for last Friday’s Bible Exposition.
Photo Courtesy: Sophiya Baluyot, PVI

Wilson Concepcion, a graduate student of Central Luzon State University was reviewing for his board exams when he happened to pass by the Ang Dating Daan Mobile Coordinating Center stationed in the campus as he was going home.

Having been heard Bro. Eli before and interested with his manner of teaching, he stopped by to listen.

As Wilson was given the opportunity to ask a question to Bro. Eli, he recounted his mixed feelings of wanting to be part of the Church yet doubtful of his readiness. He asks Bro. Eli if it was just mere coincidence that he happened to pass by the mobile coordinating center, having been wanting to attend that night’s Bible Exposition but was hindered with his belief that the nearest local was far away.

Bro. Eli answered that things that happen to us are not coincidences but work together for the fulfillment of the will of God. For those who love God, things aren’t just trivial chances or coincidences; he cited Romans 8:28.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 (King James Version)

A teary-eyed Bro. Wilson listened to Bro. Eli as the preacher remarked that everything that has happened to him is supportive of God’s cause to call him to serve the Lord.

Bro. Eli implored him to attend the Ang Dating Daan Mass Indoctrination, wherein he would hear the true doctrines of Christ, especially now that he is being called into the Church. Also, in his listening will his confusions and doubts be removed, added Bro. Eli.

Image

Bro. Wilson Concepcion recounts the events that led to his attendance in the Bible Expo.
Photo Courtesy: Sophiya Baluyot, PVI
Interview Courtesy: Jerlo Rialp

Indeed, all the things that happened to Bro. Wilson aren’t just coincidences. As what the organizers of the Bible Exposition Campus Tour could testify, the Mobile Coordinating Center was in CLSU for a reason. As what a fellow organizer and blogger once said, it wasn’t just Bro. Wilson who got his question answered back then. The people who are asking for explanations for happenings they don’t understand were also taught to trust in the Lord and acknowledge that all things happen for a reason, and those things that happen are for the good of those who love God.

Bro. Wilson is currently attending the Mass Indoctrination being held by the Ang Dating Daan. For inquiries, guests may visit the nearest Ang Dating Daan coordinating centers for more information.

Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition Turned Debate, Rouses Students of PH Universities

The regular monthly Bible Exposition held by the Ang Dating Daan deviated from its usual format, with a debate aired lived in its stead last February 7, Friday.

The discussion, which revolved around Christ being the true founder and owner of the Church, was defended by Mr. Eusebio Catarinen, a pastor hailing from the province of Negros. Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to Members Church of God International (MCGI) took the opposition.

One of this month’s remote points was the Polytechnic University of the Philippines. The remote point was connected via satellite through the Ang Dating Daan Mobile Coordinating Center.

ImageThe Ang Dating Daan Mobile Coordinating Center (pictured above) is being set up by its organizers for the upcoming debate to be held later on in the evening.
Photo Courtesy: Wisdom U. Ison of Photoville International

Parked along the Freedom Park and near the Main Entrance Gate, onlookers and passersby couldn’t help but stop, stare and listen at the sight and sound of the debate. The visitors varied from students coming from various colleges as well as university professors and staff alike.

Throughout the debate, Bro. Eli continuously showed his expertise in debating.

“Bro. Eli presented his arguments clearly. Based on what I’ve heard, I would side with Bro. Eli. I was more enlightened with his explanations and I am much more convinced that God is the true founder and owner of the Church,” says Ralph Lobrigas, a Business Administrations student of Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Techonology.

Mr. Eusebio, on the other hand, earned some rants about his manner of debating.

“I think Mr. Eusebio needs to learn more about what he is saying. I think he also needs to learn more about the process of debating, [especially] in a technical perspective,” says Irving Penano, a Third Year, Broadcast Communications Student of PUP.

All in all, the ADD Debate held in PUP co-organized by Bread Society International – PUP Chapter, was a success with God’s help, with its attendees tallying up to more than a hundred.

God-willing, the Ang Dating Daan will host its Bible Exposition at another PH university. The University of the Philippines Diliman will be one of the remote points for the Bible Expositon to be held in March.

For more information about the upcoming Bible Exposition, visit the official Facebook page of Ang Dating Daan.

Interview Courtesies: Emmy Borromeo

Watch True Founder of Church Debate: Eliseo Soriano and Eusebio Catarinen

The monthly Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition held by the Members Church of God International (MCGI) will host a debate on Friday, February 7, 2014.

Bro. Eli, presiding minister to MCGI will sponsor the technology and the venues for the live debate.

Video conferencing technology will make possible the debate between Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano of the Ang Dating Daan from South America and Bro. Eusebio Catarinen of the Church of Christ from Negros Province.

The discussion will revolve around Christ being the true founder and owner of the Church, wherein MCGI will be on the negative, while the opposition, the Church of Christ of Mr. Eusebio Catarinen, will be for the affirmative.

ImagePhoto Courtesy: facebook.com/AngDatingDaanTV

The regularly held Bible Exposition is usually composed with a question-and-answer type of format, where visitors from different remote points ask Bro. Eli any queries about faith or the Bible and receive their answers live.

Aside from coordinating centers and local chapters that cater to brethren and visitors alike, Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel have also launched mobile coordinating centers on wheels to reach far-flung places.

The Bible Exposition is also being hosted in baranggays and communities across the Philippines.

ImageBaranggays and other large residential areas may also serve as venue points for Bible Expositions.
Photo Courtesy: Photoville International

This time around, the Ang Dating Daan Bible Exposition will host a debate in its stead, and will temporarily deviate from its usual set-up.

The upcoming event will be accompanied by minute-by-minute updates tweeted by the official Twitter account of The Old Path and Ang Dating Daan, as well as its attendees. Those wishing to join the live mass tweeting may use the official hashtag of the event, #ADDBibleExpo.

BREAD SOCIETY’s The Great Debate – A Success, Tallies 100+ Participants

Students from the University of the Philippines Diliman were given the chance to hear God’s words through Brother Eli Soriano, in an event entitled “The Great Debate: Creationism vs. Atheism.”

Hosted by Bread Society InternationalUP Diliman Chapter, the event was part of the university’s ACLE or Alternative Classroom Learning Experience. The ACLE is a university-wide event where student organizations can hold symposiums, film-showings, and other similar programs to provide a day where UP students can learn new things in alternate classroom settings.

Held last January 16 in CAL 206, the event was jampacked with UP students and non-UP students alike, with the total tally of attendees reaching 140 participants.

ImageCAL 206 was jam-packed with students, some weren’t able to have any seats.
Photo Courtesy: Aileen Dorosan
UPD Bread’s Account

ImageBecause of lack of space inside the venue, students piled outside the room’s window areas to be able to watch the event.
Photo Courtesy: Aileen Dorosan
UPD Bread’s Account

Despite some misunderstanding about the event being aired live, it did not hinder fellow UP students to attend the said event. The video played was actually a former Bible Exposition video held in Nasugbu, Batangas last 2011, where Mr. Gerome Almodovar, co-founder of RDNA, Rationalists and Darwinists of Nasugbu, asked an atheism question to Brother Eli Soriano, host of the Bible Exposition. Spanning an hour and a half, the video details how the Exposition became an impromptu debate, when both sides started giving arguments.

“It was a good event, I saw the different arguments of both sides,” says Leo, a first year BS Economics student. “Having watched the event, it made me know which points to consider in atheism and creationism.” He added.

“My attention did not stray anywhere else, just on the video. Every moment, we were waiting [for] what’s going to happen next!” Exlaims Ian, also a first year BS Economics student.

“I like how Bro. Eli’s arguments were laid out. The other guy also had good arguments, but he wasn’t able to back up his claim,” commented Jaycee, a third year BA European Languages student.

ImageParticipants of the event had good things to say about the debate.
Photo Courtesy: Aileen Dorosan
Interview Courtesy: Emmy Borromeo
UPD Bread’s Account

In the end, UP BRead had achieved its goal of providing an excellent alternative classroom learning experience, judging by the feedback given by its event participants.

Come last week of February or the first week of March, UP Bread will once again hold an event geared towards promoting the Bible.

God-willing, UP Diliman will be one of the remote points of Ang Dating Daan’s Worldwide Bible Exposition, as hosted by Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon. Here, UP students, professors and staff are all welcome to ask questions and be answered by the Bible.

The upcoming event, unlike the previous one, will be LIVE.