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CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

This is not about running for public office.

It is about a man, a Pastor, a friend who upon turning 50 years old decided to bundle everything that he loved to do and do something that made sense. He decided to run 50 kilometers for 50 days and just like in the movie “Forrest Gump” he is still running up to now.

Yes @50 Pastor Ferdie Cabiling a.k.a The Running Pastor of Every Nation Ministries (Victory Christian Fellowship) has decided to run across the Philippines from Sarangani to Aparri aiming to generate one thousand pesos in contributions for every kilometer to raise P2.5 million for the scholarship fund of Real Life Foundation.

Aside from his love for running, and his commitment to supporting Real Life which gives scholarships to poor students, Pastor Ferdie will also use the time to pray for the Philippines and the provinces that he runs through. In fact he has even visited local officials at various stops, shared the gospel to elected officials and prayed for them and their constituents. Rounding off passion, prayer and funding, the Running Pastor also hopes to inspire and give hope to people who are unable to run, or parents who like him, have a son or daughter who maybe impaired or have special needs. Pastor Ferdie’s son named John Philip was born with Sturge Weber syndrome and is in need of special care or supervision.

To achieve his goals, he has been going to bed at around 5 p.m. while most of us are just winding up at work, crawling home along C5 or EDSA or deciding where to have a meal, drinks or pass the time. Then just when we are all entering our deep sleep, he gets up at around 1 a.m. puts on his gear which consists of his running shoes, a pair of freshly washed shorts he laundered in between runs along with which ever shirt is available for the day and a few very important things that he will be needing for the day’s run.

Unlike international athletes or celebrities, the Running Pastor often runs like Forrest Gump: alone. From time to time there would be a handful of friends, local members of Victory Christian Fellowship in the area, members of other churches who see him off or welcome him to a town or city, but often he runs alone. It has even become a point of embarrassment among us when we realize this and like crazy air force generals, people scramble a team to meet him or run with him.

The day which starts at 1 in the morning will see him covering an average of 50 kilometers a day along the major highways of the Philippines starting from Sarangani Province. Average 50 means there are days he runs as far as 65 kilometers and there are days that he stays below the mark depending on the weather: humidity, heat and or rain. In the first week, I heard he covered 350 kilometers and he has run through Sarangani, GenSan, Davao, Butuan and last I heard people were preparing to meet him when he heads towards Leyte then towards the Bicol region, Quezon, Laguna, Metro Manila, going north.

As I monitor my friend’s progress, I have to admit that his effort is truly inspiring. The idea of subjecting one’s body to the challenge of 50 kilometer runs daily for God, country, and others is enough to make any caring person wonder what we can or should be doing in the same light. After compressing three nerves along my spine and no longer being able to jog, Pastor Ferdie certainly inspires me to at least meet him somewhere on my grocery bicycle and pedal alongside maybe somewhere in the Bicol or Quezon stretch (schedule permitting). If that proves difficult, I’m already committed to cover one scholarship grant to honor his sacrifice but also to help a student get through college.

But the real reason I’m writing this story is because it shows how one person, doing what he loves the most and aligning it with God’s will and God’s love for others can make a difference. It shows us that the simple act, like running, by one person can generate millions of pesos to help send 250 kids to college one step at a time. Follow the story on #RunAcrossthePH.

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She is 40 years old.

They say it is never polite to mention a woman’s age in public. But there are exceptions to the rule and anyone who achieves a status of elegance, excellence and class at 40 certainly deserves recognition for being “so young yet so grand.” To add to all that, “she” has also been busy helping women with breast cancer as well as helping victims of Typhoon Yolanda put a roof over their heads.

Most people don’t realize that it was on September 14, 1976 that she came into being and that she was 46 years in the making before she even saw the light of day in the Philippines. I speak of course about an institution and not a person, but, on second thought, it is actually the people or the persons behind the institution who are responsible for attaining so many accolades and achievements as the country’s longest reigning and successful 5-star luxury Hotel: The Peninsula Manila.

Yes, The Peninsula Manila is coming into her 40th year anniversary and in the same manner that Filipinos celebrate the longest Christmas season in the world, The Peninsula Manila will be hosting a year long series of events featuring among others the ground breaking for the Breast Care Center at the East Avenue Medical Center where all the funds raised during their Pink Ball will go to, the formal opening of their “Hope for the Philippines” housing project for victims of Typhoon Yolanda in the town of Tanauan, Leyte (a joint project with Gawad Kalinga). For the arts, the hotel will use the occasion to commission the restoration of their “Ang Kiukok” paintings as well as launch their version of the heritage Jeepney and heritage tours for guests wanting to discover the true Philippines.

GM Sonja Vodusek who has personally been pushing for those CSR projects, also announced that their Ruby anniversary will once again feature the much awaited Christmas time “Concert at the Pen” on December 12 and the always jam-packed New Year’s Eve ball, then for the actual anniversary date, there will be a 40th anniversary gala on September 14, 2016!  So as the saying goes: “See You at the Pen!”

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