Thursday, June 20, 2013

iCelebrate, iReflect and  iRenew
A gathering of iHELP volunteers for sustainable and significant community engagement


At the 2011 biennial conference of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) the participants made a historic commitment known as the Clark Declaration. In this document, the leaders of PCEC responded to the Scriptural mandate for “churches to transform communities,” and specifically commit themselves to seek the alleviation of poverty. Thus they pledged to work to equip and empower our churches to be sensitive to the needs of our immediate communities.

And so given this framework of PCEC and DSWD’s call for partnership with its Pantawid Pamilya Program, the iHELP Tawid Pinoy program was born. Beginning April 2012, iHELP volunteers have been deployed into the communities to assist DSWD staff and walk alongside the poor family-beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya program. As of January 2013, iHELP has conducted over 62 training sessions with over 4,000 participants covering 54 municipalities/cities in 9 provinces from 6 regions. Out of these training, iHELP has deployed 2,116 volunteers who are actively engaged in 6,801 family-groups or a total of 262,936 families.

Given these, iHELP needs a venue where key stakeholders can celebrate the gains of the program, learn from each other, and further seek their collective thinking (and feeling!) on how to sustain, expand and deepen our current community transformation engagement.

Identified participants

Participants to this conference would be representatives from key municipalities/cities in the provinces and regions where iHELP is currently engaged with the DSWD program. Specifically, the following stakeholders:
1.       Regional iConnects                            6           
2.       Provincial/District iConnects        13
3.       Municipal/City iLinks                       54
4.       Community Facilitators                  16
5.       iHELP National Staff                          3
6.       Selected PCEC leaders                   10
7.       Other regional leaders                     8
8.       DSWD representatives                    6
Total:  116

The conference would also invite strategic leaders from other regions where iHELP is hoping to be engaged in the near future. Likewise, iHELP will also invite DSWD representatives (local and national) so as to significantly contribute in the conference objective.

The Conference Objectives

The conference aims to heighten the engagement of the participants for community transformation. Specifically, through the conference, the participants would have:
1.       Celebrated the gains of iHELP;
a.       Provided a venue to showcase the best practices
b.      Received affirmation for their initiatives
2.       Deepened their commitment for community transformation;
a.       Reviewed the Kingdom of God Framework
b.      Assessed the iHELP framework on Community Engagement
c.       Examined Integral Mission in the light of their current engagement
3.       Developed new creative initiatives to enhance the current engagement
4.       Strengthened partnerships within and among all stakeholders
5.       Given their comments on DSWD’s future plans

Conference Outcomes

Through the conference, it is hoped that the participants upon returning to their respective areas, and after a significant time (3 months), would exhibit the following:
1.       Renewed passion, zeal and energy in doing their work
2.       Increased solidarity among themselves and with other community stakeholders
3.       More focused and sharper engagements in the community
4.       Leveling up of engagement, from FDS to other relevant and practical engagements with the community.


June 26 (beginning Lunch) to June29 (ending after lunch), 2013 for a total of three full days.


Christian Development Center – CDC, Tagaytay City.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Societal Engagement: Being Salt

By Boyet Ongkiko
Printed at the May 2011 issue of the Evangelicals Today 

“Papa, who invented war?” asked my 9-year old son Jayjay. Not expecting such a question, I then gave him a litany of historical accounts of how wars started – of how most wars were actually “resource-based” more than “ideologically-based”.  He kept on nodding as I prod along. I am not so sure though if I satisfied him with my answer when he left. Whew! Then a thought dawned on me – certainly God invented peace.

Peace is not just the absence of war but as having the fullness of life as initiated by Jesus: that peace where everyone lives with respect and dignity as a human being, and able to contribute significantly to its community. Peace that manifests in the dynamic interdependence of every person in the community, even as the same community is interdependent with the rest of the community of communities.

While we are still far from this vision of peace, the church is called as God’s agent of peace. Like salt, the church is meant to delay, if not set free, the world from its decay. How much salt do we need for a kilo of meat? One kilo? Half a kilo or one-fourth kilo? Nah, all we need is 3% or 30gms for every kilo of meat! The bible-believing and God-loving faithful followers comprise more than 10% of our society and yet it seems instead our nation continues to decay. And when the meat continues to rot, there must be something wrong with the salt – or at least in the way the salt has been applied.

Salt is meant to be out of the Saltshaker

Perhaps the church has kept herself isolated in the four corners – preferring a spirituality that revolves primarily around church programs, traditions and activities. Hence a typical family would find its members scattered in all the age levels – where the youth usually is busy with “music and worship” related ministry; the mothers are kept busy during events as the MARTHAS who see to it that everybody is not without food to eat; performing to the delight of the camera-frenzy crowd are the children who mimic the latest music video of Kids Praise; and the men serving mostly as gatekeepers who decide on what is acceptable given their theology, culture, and tradition as a church.

At best the “church-gathered” is able to extend “pockets” of peace through its annual gift-giving in a slum community during Christmas, medical mission programs in a rural community and occasional relief work during calamities. But other than these programs, the majority of time, resources and energy are spent mostly for their own. There is an appearance of peace inside the church as every one seems comfortably settled with the way things are year in and year out. However, the “church-scattered” are left on their own, unengaged with their community, and instead wishing and hoping for the next “church-gathering” opportunity.

Out of the Saltshaker but only to a few?

One barangay, which was hit by mudflows of Mayon, found hope when news of coming relief is on its way. And so early that day, the people organized themselves and lined-up as they usually do – being “veterans” of natural calamities. As anticipated the organization arrived with a truck-load of relief items. However, their compassion was to a selected few as they asked their “beneficiaries” to form another line.   The organization handed them relief goods in the midst of stares from majority of those who are as devastated as they were. Sadly, while natural calamities are often referred to as an “act of God”, this approach to relief distribution is often the “act of the church”.  

Salt is meant to be scattered

Whenever our presence brings blessings to a selected few and at the same time heightens the hopelessness of the majority, I feel that an overhaul is needed in our faith. For at the core of loving God is to love our neighbors as we would ourselves. Using the lens of communal faith, “ourselves” would refer to the local-faith community, and “our neighbors” to the rest of the local community. Certainly Jesus’ dictum “to love your neighbor as yourself” was written that way to set OTHERS as the priority over SELF. This is sacrificial love which Jesus demonstrated many times. Consider these two examples:

  • The disciples of Jesus. Jesus, after prayer and breaking the bread and fish, instructed his disciples to distribute the meager food to the people. At this point, the disciples had no idea that what they have would be enough for such a great crowd, more so have such an excess! And yet the disciples obeyed, and sought the welfare of others before their own. For as the disciples moved (and scattered themselves!) among the sea of men, women and children, carrying only 12 baskets of bread and fish, their load never got lighter – it remained as heavy (perhaps even heavier!) as when they left Jesus. In doing so, they witnessed the unfolding of a miracle – 5,000 men ate and had their fill (not counting the women and children which could easily reach a total of 15,000!).

  • The Macedonian Church. Christians in Macedonia were particularly poor and had experienced some kind of relentless trial. Yet upon knowing of the famine in Jerusalem, saw that as an opportunity to help. They who have more reasons to beg, sought the welfare of others first than their own, and release the little yet significant resource that they have.

Abundance or Scarcity of salt

There are three ways of giving – surplus, contentment and sacrificial.  When we give out of our surplus – that which our hands can no longer hold – in effect we are saying, “I have more than enough; now you can have what I don’t need.”  And when we give out of our contentment – that which our hands prefer to hold – we say to the other, “I can live with a few; here take some from what I need”. However, when we give sacrificially – perhaps even the little that our hands can hold – we declare to the other, “Your needs first before mine.”

Surplus is never a prerequisite to be a blessing –Selflessness is. And the key to selflessness is for us to preoccupy ourselves with the power and presence of Jesus Christ.  
When we actively seek out the welfare of others before ours, we enter into the spiritual realm – into the territory of God – and in a sense “challenge” him according to His rule. We get in a “competition” with God in the game – “Who out-blesses the other”. The more we become a blessing to others; the more God is “compelled” to out-bless us. You see in this game, God is always the winner. Just as He did for his son, when Jesus gave his life for others (us), that God blessed and exalted him. Lived as a servant – now reigning as King!

And that explains the surplus of the disciples and the commendation the Macedonian church received – the power and presence of Jesus manifest!

Never lose your saltiness

Last May 21 was supposed to be “Judgment day” – the End of the world according to Harold Camping of Family Radio Network. While there was no one who openly expressed disappointment, many were quick to pass judgment on the group who perpetuated such belief. From harsh words of rebuke to sarcastic remarks, the many was like a symphony – united and in harmony – in disapproval over such reckless claim. But when I reflected on this, I can not help but see a similarity with this group and the majority of the so called faith community.  Isn’t it possible that when we have chosen to live out a spirituality in the confines of church programs & within its four walls, we essentially identified ourselves with those who prophesy of a "known" judgment day? That though we have not made such claim of “KNOWING THE DAY”, we nevertheless lived most of our lives in isolation and prefer significant engagements with our selected HEAVENLY COMMUNITIES? At least these people have been honest in openly abandoning our world with their declaration. 

Until we see that our purpose as salt is to significantly engaged society towards God’s agenda of peace, we can not point fingers to the doomsayers. And until we see that despite our poverty, we have so much to give and be a blessing to our communities, God’s invention of peace, will continue to linger.

The pattern has been laid before us. Jesus – emptied himself – was God who became a mere man; and gave his life for us. We are now God’s agents of peace and the church is being called to empty herself and give her life for her community.  We can not wait for surpluses to come before we can be a blessing. Nor can we draw a line to define our contentment level. Sacrifice is God’s language then for the world through Jesus – and Sacrifice remains God’s language for our nation now through Jesus’ bride – the Church.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

of Edges and Balance

· PCCI – Passionate Community for Christ Inc.

I continue to serve in the Board as one of its founding members. I also serve as program consultant to the PCCI group in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. The work there has expanded to include Quirino, Isabela, Ifugao and Sanchez Mira. The growing involvement of the professionals and students in that area is slowly transitioning the group to become autonomous from and yet interdependent with central Manila. Here in Manila, we continue to develop and offer initiatives to engage the professionals. Aside from the “Nurturing Passion as a Community” retreat which we have been offering since 2009, I developed another follow up retreat and christened it – Beyond Balance: Living by the Edge (BBLE). We ran three batches last 2010 in Silang, Cavite at Kuya Del Sta Ana’s Kubo Camp. Here is my major learning about the BBLE-

The Edge

An unknown place of risk/uncertainty where adventure is the norm. As such, the edge draws us to trust no one, yes not even ourselves, and thus focuses our attention only on God and His grace. By the edge, we face people in their world and value them as they are. Here we learn to incarnate and be one with them, even as we are one with God. The edge is where we are called to be - living out Christ!


A state / position / conviction a person assumes where his current environment and/or significant relationships will not be compromised.

To be balanced is to move (or not move) according to culturally / institutionally / socially set norms. In short, to be balanced is not to have a mind of our own. Interestingly, a person only achieves a state of equilibrium when he is dead. Hmmmmm….

We find our ability to STAND and MOVE in Christ. He is our model of a God-centered life. He modeled EDGE-LIVING while being in the center of God’s will – something the Pharisees criticized. He had more time with the marginalized –tax collectors, prostitutes and the poor – because that was where he was needed most. He was passionate about prioritizing his God-centered moments that he would wake up early morning to be with God or forego of his lunch just to spend time with the Samaritan woman. Edge-living is never a comfortable place to be with, but this is where we are called to be – and must be.

My involvement with ECCD in 2010

· ECCDC – Early Childhood Care and Development Council. Composed of the secretaries of the social welfare, education and health departments, and president of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (Ulap), the ECCDC was created to provide support to children aged six years old and below by promoting their rights to survival, development and special protection with full recognition of the nature of childhood and its special needs, and support parents in their roles as primary caregivers as well as their children's first teachers.

Currently there are 42,000 plus (public) barangay day care centers nationwide tasked to meet the preschoolers’ needs. However, only less than 30% of the 0-6yrs old have access to this service. No wonder we have a very high drop-out rate in grade one! In October 2009, I served as one of the training consultants for its 6-month pilot training program for community implementers of Home-based Early Childhood Care and Development program of HB-ECCD. Home-based ECCD is an alternative parent-led initiative designed to meet the early childhood care needs of majority of the kids who have no access to the center-based day care. We piloted this program for the cities of Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela and the municipality of Baler, Aurora Province. The participants of our training were the Barangay Health Workers and Barangay Nutrition Scholars – BHW & BNS. They were tasked to organize and mobilize parents for HB-ECCD.

I had a wonderful and fruitful time with the BHW and BNS. One batch of trainees gave me a mug as a gift. Ako lang ata ang nakatanggap sa tatlong trainors. Once in a while, I still receive text messages from some of the participants J eh paano ba naman, I managed the closing program in such a manner that they are able to symbolically commit themselves to their work and God. Quite emotional with the participants very engaged. You see, BHW and BNS are volunteers who usually receive an allowance of P500/ month despite being the major work force in the barangay level. I am greatly inspired by their sincerity and dedication to their call.

Sadly the change in leadership affected this program. ECCDC is directly under the office of the president and is subject to the president’s discretion. I am still in touch with the people in ECCDC and I’m just waiting for their notice anytime. We were suppose to roll-out the program in June of 2010 L

Other highlights:

o I stayed several days in a hotel during the training. Got bored with hotel food so I had my dinner packed and given to street-dwellers during my 5pm brisk walk time along Roxas Blvd. The sunset view by the bay captivated me each day.

o Baler has an allure of its own – with its fantastic sceneries. And the food! Simple, fresh, but tastefully prepared. I think I gained so much in less than a week! I especially enjoyed the “lato” or fern salad with shredded smoke fish. Hmmmmm….

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Welcome 2010!

To everyone,

Louder than the firecrackers I can hear outside our house in Lamuan, Marikina, our family welcomes the year 2010 with a bang. This year, instead of just the six of us, we celebrate the New Year with Lola Ave who came back to the Philippines this September 2009 from New Zealand, where Tita Archie and Zach are now living.

Though we are still all pretty much the same, there have been some changes too.

Papa still has the longest hair in our family. He still travels all over the Philippines conducting seminars and workshops. He enjoys playing with his new toy—his big motorcycle which he use more often because typhoon Ondoy disabled our car. His latest involvement is with the HB-ECCD Pilot program (home-based early childhood care and development) which will run till March of this year. The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and Passionate Community for Christ (PCCi) continue to preoccupy most of 2009 and predictably most of the days of 2010.

Mumsy is still working in Metrobank but is looking forward to study in the University of the Philippines Open University this coming 2010 to take up a degree in Education. She still enjoys blogging, watching foreign films, reading good poetry (for example, Pablo Neruda) and her love for classical music is still as strong as ever.

Chiara is an active high school senior student who has been involved in various extra curricular activities. She hopes to study Business Administration or Visual Arts in UP Diliman and so stay with the rest of the family in Marikina. She still loves to draw anime characters and watch anime shows.

Jayjay gained a lot of weight this year because he stopped his badminton classes but he plans on playing sports again this 2010. He is only eight years old but already very active in the online world (Facebook, computer games, etc.) He is always on the honor roll and recently became a Pupil leader. A Pupil leader is assigned to serve as a “kuya” to younger students.

Bea remains to be the girly and kikay little lady in the family. She is consistent in their class as one of the Best English Speaker awardees. She enjoys drawing and playing computer games as well. She has a very big appetite when it comes to rice, soup and her favorite—tuna.

And finally me, Regina. I am now a junior in college. Aside from being part of the UPLB Devcomsoc and the student council, I also joined a sorority this 2009 and during my second semester, I became an officer. 2009 was also the year I started living in an apartment which is good because it is so near the devcom building. I am planning to extend my stay in college and take up another major—journalism.

And that’s the six of us. Plus Lola Ave, who enjoys spending time with us as she makes her crafts and artworks. 2009 was a year of many blessings despite the calamity that has befallen us.

And so we hope that more blessings will come our way this 2010, even as we continue to be an avenue of His blessings for others.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Two Tears / Seeds in Augusts

He came home despite threats to his life. And as soon as his plane landed, he was escorted out and led through the tarmac .....and bang! He never got to set his foot on our soil but as he was falling, he made sure his lips kissed the ground. That was August 21, 2003... the first tear / seed.

She was a simple wife who was rushed to widowhood. She was calm but determined to get justice for her husband. In the process, the nation found someone who signifies the cause of democracy. The reluctant widow gave in to the voice of the people. The justice she sought for her husband has been given a new meaning. It's making sure that what he believes in - that the Filipinos are worth dying for - will not be in vain. Now it's about the welfare of a seemingly orphaned nation.

She and the people prevailed. The wife, widow, became the president. And she did not only govern but led with integrity, compassion and servitude - a complete opposite of her predecessor. Even after she governed, she continued to lead because what we fought against somehow slowly found its way back - a zombie that mutated to something far more corrupt, greedy and destructive.

After the presidency, she became closer to our hearts. Beloved Tita by many who never give up on her nation and one who walks the streets to be the voice of the people. It was not a surprise that despite her illness, she continued about her work - being the voice...inspiring many to fight on... to live on.

PAGASA said that AUGUST has the most rain among all the months. No wonder she had to "go" and leave us now. Like a seed planted, what she stood for will hopefully grow along with the seed of her husband 26 years ago. This is the second tear...and it continues to be poured out... by many.

We love you Tita Cory and Ninoy. And we thank you for your lives. Now its time for us to live our own, guided by your life and what you stood for, we hope the next generation will experience the fruits of our labor that traces back from this two seeds of August.

Sunday, January 04, 2009


Dear Family and Friends,

We celebrate the New Year – 2009 with much hope – despite the seeming dark clouds that pervades the sky. God’s light continues to shine even brighter and we can only imagine how He will “make all things new.”

Rejoice with our family for the year that was – 2008:

We said goodbye to Town and Country Executive Village in Antipolo which has been our home for six years, and now live in Marikina at my sister’s place since she left for New Zealand last April. My kids now enjoy their grandmother – Lola Ave – as we share the same compound. Last December though Lola Ave left to spend Christmas with Archie and Zach at New Zealand. She will be back by May. Our new address: 7 Sampaguita St., Lamuan, Marikina City.

Chi ONGKIKO is on 2nd year at her new assignment as a junior officer with systems in Metrobank. She endures being a Commuter – leaves by 6:30am and gets home before 8pm and can still prepare most sumptuous meal whenever she can. She finds joy in Netlog community as she is able to express her thoughts through blogging and gain new friends from all over at the same time. Check her site –

Regina Mae ONGKIKO is currently 2nd year at UPLB and taking Development Communication. She recently joined Devcomsoc and now calls her papa – Brod. She is active

in school and was elected Student Council member of College of Development Communication. Reg, as she prefers to be called, sports a shorter hairstyle – and receives much compliment for it. She is so into digital photography and has been exploring this new found digicam.

Chiara Luz ONGKIKO transferred to Christian School International (Los Banos) as a 3rd yr HS Student. She is happy to renew ties with former classmates and teachers and enjoys being a choir member. She is into various arts-stuff, likes to draw and sketch anime. Chia, as she is fondly called, seriously considers going to Japan and learning its culture. For now, her thoughts are occupied on deciding what course to take and where to study in college.

Jayjay ONGKIKO is Grade One at Marist School. He graduated class valedictorian in his preschool and continues to get high grades. He is very active physically and took up badminton lessons, and articulated his desire to take up basketball when in Grade 2. Quite the OC in the family, Jayjay unceasingly offers corrections on some “inconsistencies” like – USA should really be USOA since its meaning is United States Of America.

Bea Marie ONGKIKO followed after her papa’s footsteps, and is now in Prep at Roosevelt College Elementary Department. She enjoys immensely chatting with classmates as she walks to and from school. For the UN day parade, Bea was supposed to wear a pajama-like costume as Ms. Thailand. But Chi saw a beautiful pink Korean gown and let Bea wear it instead instructing the yaya that if they are questioned, just say that they thought it was a Thailand outfit. Bea won first runner-up in costume wearing a cute Korean outfit with a well written diagonal sash that reads – Miss Thailand. Her infectious smile has been put to the test as she recently lost her two front teeth.

Boyet Ongkiko now has the longest hair in the family. Bea and Jay say they should call him Mommy instead. He discovered the joys of when he was able to sell our car and refrigerator through the internet site. Boyet is busy with Eklipse, IVPM and various projects where he effectively employs the Dialogue Education approach to learning. He has become a regular speaker on a Bible Study program aired over Marikina radio (DZBF 1674Khz). He is constantly on-line so he’s usually only a click away.

There you have it - all six of us. We enjoyed being together during the holidays... and just being family, something we seldom do since Reg and Chia are studying in Los Banos. Thankfully there is the internet - the wonders of technology!!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Called to shine in times of Crisis!

Eto ang panahon ng PAGMAMAHAL...

PAG MAHAL ng Gasolina...
PAG MAHAL ng Bigas...
PAG MAHAL ng lahat ng bilihin....

so with our income the only unchanging, makes one wonder how to live on...and yes for some, even survive!

We are meant to rise above our situations.
We are people meant to shine in times of crisis.
When the going gets tough, the faithful gets going;
when others would hoard, we take our cue from the Widow and his child in the time of drought who willingly gave all that they had - and from then on, never ran out!

We are committed to our calling - to be a people of blessing!
When cursing is the natural reaction, we choose to respond in love; we prepare our bread with fillings of love and we give them out -- yes even to those who threw us stones.
Our love will conquer them, even as we were conquered by His love.

We refuse to be controlled by the abundance or scarcity of our resources. Our Spirit is our major resource. And so we draw our strength from our inner resource who has abundantly provided for us -- not just meant to be enjoyed by us, but to be graciously shared to everyone especially the needy. In our weakness, we are made strong. And in our poverty, we are made rich.

This is our time.
In the midst of darkness, we will shine brighter!
For His Glory alone!

Truly this is the time for PAGMAMAHALAN in the truest sense of the word!