My Observations: Another Highly Productive Weekend by the BFSK

This past weekend, the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) proved itself to be very productive yet again.

On Saturday, the BFSK (led by its chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang) organized not one but two seminars inside the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City. The seminars, which were attended by one hundred and seventy youth from around the local communities, focused mainly on the topics of early pregnancy and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), STD (sexually transmitted diseases) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). For the lecturing, some officials from the barangay health centers as well as from the health department of the City Government of Parañaque arrived.

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A view of one of the seminars.

Right from the start, the youth were engaged over a series of issues relevant to the main topics. They were asked questions about puberty such as when did they each notice pubic hair first growing on them, when did their voice change, how they dealt with sexual arousal, what where the bodily changes happening and the like.

With regards to HIV and AIDS recorded cases, official statistics from the City Department of Health – Epidemiology Bureau showed that from 1984 to present, Parañaque has 275 cases of males who had acquired HIV or AIDS due to having sex with males and females, 138 cases of male-female sex only, 594 cases of males having sex with females only, 2 cases of mother-to-child and 3 cases labeled unknown. Parañaque has a grand total of 1,012 HIV-AIDS cases recorded.

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Registered nurse Glovie Marie Nunez of the hygiene clinic under the City Government’s Health Department explains STDs.

When it comes to transmission of HIV, AIDS and STDs, it was explained that using condoms does not guarantee 100% protection. It was stated that abstaining from sex is the safest way one can protect himself or herself from viruses. For the record, contraceptives and condoms are still made available through the local authorities for local residents to use even though such products are being sold through several retailers.

During my talk with her, registered nurse Glovie Marie Nunez confirmed that the City Government’s Health Department closely follows the standards of the Department of Health (DOH) and that contraceptives and condoms distributed by the high department are all imported from overseas sources.

More on the topic of STDs, there were graphic images of infected body parts – including the male and female organs – showing what they look like when infected by diseases acquired through sexual contact. I personally noticed some youth participants showing signs of discomfort from seeing the images. The others, meanwhile, were focused as they wanted to learn. Unsurprisingly, some advice was given so that they will know what to do so they can avoid STDs.

By the end of the seminars, the youth participants were enlightened and the guest speakers Glovie Marie Nunez, Markneil Santos and Richie Dayto were ceremoniously acknowledged by BFSK chairperson Tumang, the SK Kagawads and the SK officers.

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The guest speakers, as well as a few other guests, showed the certificates they received from the BFSK after the seminars ended.

“We are happy that we had a good reception today as the turnout was within our targets. What is more important, however, is that the youth will apply into their respective daily lives what they learned,” Tumang said during my interview with her.

The next day, Tumang and the SK kagawads and officers went to Masville, Sampaloc Site II. Clinicville and Lagoon to organize the latest edition of their special project called Waste for Rice 3.0

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The BFSK kagawads and officers with a portion of the many eco bricks they collected from local residents. (contributed photo)

The project was a trade between the BFSK and the local residents. It goes like this: a resident gives a 1.5 liter bottle filled with silver-coated sachets (this is called the eco brick) to the BFSK which in turn gives the resident one kilogram of rice grain. Under their rules, a resident can give away a maximum of five eco bricks to receive 5 kilograms rice grain.

You must be wondering how chairperson Tumang, SK kagawads Alma Galindo, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Corre, Stephanie Sebullen, SK secretary Darrenz Fabros and SK treasurer Jefferson Ching performed with their project.

The result: two thousand eco bricks were received from the residents and two thousand kilograms of rice grain were given to the residents. These numbers were confirmed to me by BFSK chairperson Tumang.

The numbers, however, does not even include the eco bricks and rice grain exchanged at schools according to Tumang. She said there is still an amount that has yet to be counted as of this writing. That should translate to going beyond 2,000 eco bricks and 2,000 rice grain.

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For each eco brick they collected, they gave a kilogram of rice grain. (contributed photo)

The next Waste for Rice activity of the BFSK will be held some time this December.

Overall, the weekend of September 28 and 29 was indeed highly productive for the BFSK whose officials really worked hard and performed their tasks independently from Barangay BF Homes (led by Captain Paolo Marquez who supports the BFSK).

No doubt about it. The BFSK is really performing its public service tasks, engaging the youth of Barangay BF Homes and literally sowing the seeds on developing the local communities with their projects and activities (with the youth in mind). The BFSK’s 2019 Linggo ng Kabataan event attracted more than 300 youth participants and their previous seminar (about suicide awareness) was also successful. They also proved to be compliant with the January 2019 Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) Number 1 which is no easy feat to do. Clearly Tumang and the SK Kagawads/officers are showing what the Reformed SK system of the nation is meant to be.

The youth council also has upcoming events people can look forward to such as the Smart-play Mobile Legends Tournament on October 6 at the Phase 1 gym. P17,500 in cash prizes are at stake. On October 19, they will organize the Mutya ng BF Homes also at the Phase 1 gym. This local beauty pageant is currently open to local residents who are willing to participate and to do so, they need to attend the pageant screening of candidates on October 5 at 1PM at the conference at Barangay Hall.

If you want to approach the BFSK, visit their office at the Barangay BF Homes hall along Elsie Gatches street.

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Another view of the venue during the Saturday events.

In ending this piece, here is a scripture from the Holy Bible.

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 19: 14 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

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Christian Music Appreciation: The Stand (September 22, 2019)

Hi everyone! I got something nice to share to you in this latest edition of my Christian Music Appreciation (CMA) series.

Recently while attending Sunday worship service, our church musicians (who are very blessed by God with great talent as each of them is faithful to Him) performed a song that really engaged me and my fellow Christians. That song was The Stand.

Written by Joel Houston and released in March 2006 as part of the United We Stand album of Hillsong United, The Stand is a lively reminder that each of us was created by God. As His creations, we truly have a purpose to honor Him, serve Him, worship Him and keep on being faithful to Him. Along the way, the Lord loves us and He is so generous and merciful to us. Don’t forget how long and how much God has blessed the faithful. God is the source of all prosperity, opportunities and progress!

For your reference, here are the lyrics of The Stand.

The Stand

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll walk upon salvation

Your Spirit alive in me

This life to declare Your promise

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

What could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

So I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

(So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

And I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours (Oh Lord I will stand)

So I’ll stand

With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours

So I’ll stand

(With arms high and heart abandoned

In awe of the One who gave it all

I’ll stand

My soul Lord to You surrendered

All I am is Yours)

So what could I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

Before the song was played during Sunday worship, the Passion Translation of Romans 12: 1 was displayed on screen and emphasized by the lead singer of the service. It read:

Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship.

This particular holy scripture is related with the lyrics of The Stand. Truly, we should humble ourselves and submit to Him. We who have been saved should not let ourselves be dominated by religion and its idols (note: do not worship people, images, those carved figures and many other elements that keep you away from the Lord) so that our respective personal relationships with Him will not be affected negatively. Each and every one us should be mindful as to why God created us and we really have a purpose to live in holiness under Him.

Those who are unsaved (or even lost as souls) can be saved and the good news is that there is still time for them to willingly decide to be born again. Anyone who has sinned a lot before can still surrender themselves to the Lord directly for His forgiveness and acceptance. Anyone who does not want to remain an unsaved or lost soul anymore can still reach out to Jesus and make the major decision to accept Him as Lord and Savior. Truly to be born again means becoming a new creation of the Lord with a purpose to live in holiness.

If you are already a saved soul living with the Holy Spirit in your heart, try to reach out to the many unsaved souls out there and invite them to your church to the best you can. Saving the unsaved and the lost souls is a goal worth achieving again and again all for the Lord. Those who will be saved will not enter religion (which itself is unnecessary and deceptive) but have a genuine personal relationship with God. There is more to the relationship with the Lord than religion.

Back to the song, there is a clear message about gaining salvation through God who sent us His begotten son Jesus to save us all. We all struggle with sin, temptation, frustration, darkness and challenges before realizing that we were all created by the Lord who had been watching us all the time. These were emphasized in the first three paragraph of the lyrics of The Stand.

You stood before creation

Eternity within Your hands

And you spoke all life into motion

My soul now to stand

You stood before my failure

And carried the cross for my shame

My sin weighed upon Your shoulders

My soul now to stand

So what can I say

And what could I do

But offer this heart O God

Completely to You

As I mentioned previously, Adam’s rebellion towards God recorded in the Book of Genesis marked the fall of humanity and in the many generations that followed, people struggled and sinned until Jesus came to spread the good news (as well as God’s love), died for everyone’s sins and returned from the dead. Jesus ascended to Heaven with a promise that He will return to us.

Clearly, as creations of God, we are destined to be saved and that can only be realized by believing in the Lord willingly and by practicing faith by the heart (not the mind). As I learned from our pastor, we have free will (which God gave us) and we can decide to authorize Heaven on Earth.

There is still time and hope for any unsaved soul to be born again (refer to Jesus’ words in John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses) to become a child of God, to stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the Lord, and truly be His. Now that you’ve read this, I encourage you to read the Holy Bible and apply what you learned into your life, listen to The Stand and let its holy lyrics flow in you, reach out to the Lord, pray to Him always and follow His plan for you!

In concluding this article, embedded below are YouTube videos of performances of The Stand. Enjoy these and move forward the Lord! 😊


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

Suicide Awareness Emphasized in Seminar

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Resource speaker John Santos led the discussion about suicide awareness during the seminar of the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK).

On the afternoon of September 14 at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City, a seminar focused on the top of suicide awareness was organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) for fifty local youth (aged 15 to 30) who attended.

John Santos, who serves as the head of Information Technology (IT) at Paranaque City Hall, conducted a lecture about suicide awareness and engaged with the attendees directly. BFSK chairperson Mariel Angela Tumang and SK Kagawads Alma Galindo, Roselyn Regis, Jerry Dalmero, Kelly Haboc, Irene Juanico, Anne Gabrielle Corre and Stephanie Sebullen were present to closely observe the lecture.

Early on, Santos mentioned factors that contribute to leading young people into thinking and even losing their lives by means of suicide such as peer pressure, broken hearts (due to the end of a romantic relationship with someone), confusion, fear, depression and the like. The resource speaker recalled during his youthful days when he had one friend who tried to take his own life but he ended up in the hospital due to a miscalculated attempt. That friend of his made a personal decision for suicide due to a heartbreak over an ended relationship and, as such, he did not go to his family for guidance.

“Real life incidents of suicide that happened from my past motivate me to speak out and help prevent youth suicide from happening,” Santos said.

Santos added that running away from the family and the community will not solve personal problems at all. He also advised attendees to be cautious when talking to troubled young people who are already leaning towards suicide as a final option of their lives. Even jokes or lighthearted words can push the troubled one to proceed with suicide.

With regards to the wide popularity of social media, Santos shared that he noticed that the youth are very expressive on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. At the same time, the vast amount of information, images and videos that the youth are exposed to make them vulnerable to being distracted and being influenced. Bad influence online can worsen the suicide situation.

“This seminar related to mental health awareness is our latest project in our effort to prevent youth suicide from happening as well as to keep suicide off the minds of our constituents,” BFSK chairperson Mariel Tumang said.

Before the seminar was conducted, the BFSK organized the Zumbarangay which was a series of physical exercise (with stretching) that include dancing to music. Pretty much the same people who exercised attended the seminar.

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Youth wearing blue t-shirts (provided by the BFSK) follow the moves during the Zumbarangay session.
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A view of the youth attendees from the other side.

Before the Zumbarangay started, BFSK chairperson Tumang announced local events happening such as the Satellite Voters’ Registration process (to be done by COMELEC) on September 21 at the Pergola Mall, a seminar on pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on September 28 and the 3rd quarter Waste-for-Rice activity on September 29. Tumang announced that 400 kilograms of rice grain has been released throughout the local communities via the Waste-for-Rice project.

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Barangay BF Homes SK chairperson Mariel Tumang with the SK Kagawads on stage.

The Zumbarangay and the seminar were special projects of the BFSK supported by Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Idolaters Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God Unless They Repent, Disregard Their Idols and Submit To Him Willingly

I am a faithful Christian who got saved by Jesus through His Holy Instrument just over a year ago. I am no longer a prisoner of religion and no longer am I a lost soul. I am free to worship Father God and His Son Jesus. I left behind the useless acts of worshipping people, worshipping man-made objects, following rituals (that have little or nothing to do with the Holy Bible) and doing repetitive prayers.

Truly, the Christian life specifically requires reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons in life, praising the Lord, seeking and following His plan which was written even before the beginning of time.

We live in a screwed-up world. A world so divisive, there are many people who drifted so far away from the Lord and the sad news is that those people do not even realize they are spiritually lost. I’m not just talking about the non-believers but also the people who are trapped by religion.

Religion is mean and frustrating. It comes with a whole bunch of rules, traditions and rituals that truly hinder a person from establishing true faith and a true relationship with the Lord. Among the many hindrances that come with religion is idolatry.

Idolatry, in its simplest form, is the act of worshipping an idol. In the context of the Holy Bible, idolatry is the worship of an image or a created object or someone (a person). Truth behold, idolatry is a sin and no matter what religious leader would say to defend it, it is truly a sin and there is no exception for it!

The people who commit idolatry are idolaters. You worship a picture or a statue or a person you find charming? That makes you an idolater and also a sinner in the eyes of God whom we should all be worshipping directly and trust fully. Consider the following scripture.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, not covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 (NKJV)

Now this is not the first time I discussed how idols hinder people from establishing faith and trust in the Lord. The purpose of this article is to go even deeper about idols and why they are not only worthless but are elements that lead to sin.

In this messy world we live in, there are still many people who are trapped by religion and its rituals and that means they believe that God is not approachable. These unfortunate people have been misled and oriented by their religious leaders into believing that worshipping idol (be it a handcrafted object or an image or a person who is supposedly holy) is necessary to connect with the Lord. It’s simply not true!

The worshipping of a statue, or a painting or some man-made object is unnecessary. And then there is the religion-based belief imposed on people that they should see God in their worship leader which requires them to worship that particular mortal person just to connect to the Lord. This one is also unnecessary.

The truth is God is approachable and He does not require believers to worship an object nor a person just to connect to Him. Worshipping the Lord should be direct (with the guidance of a worship leader who does NOT require worship of him) and free from the obstruction of idolatry!

Apart from worshiping the Lord, people (whether they trapped by religion or unbelief) are vulnerable because they easily get charmed by people whom they find charismatic, heroic and capable of making reforms happen for their benefit. A person trapped by religion who thinks he’s worshipping God through idols, can always fall for the charm of another person whom he perceives to be a carrier of hope and change that would feed his selfish desire. Above it all, these acts of idolatry make one a sinner in the eyes of the Lord!

If you are someone who had to look up to idols to worship God, be aware that you’ve been moving down the wrong path all this time. Learn from the following scriptures from the Holy Bible.

Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. But then, indeed, when you did not know God, you served those which by nature are not gods.

Galatians 4: 3-8 (NKJV)

You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Exodus 20: 3-6 (NKJV)

Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 19: 4 (NKJV)

Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Isaiah 45: 20 (NKJV)

Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.

Jonah 2: 8 (NKJV)

See? The holy scriptures I just shared above are clear and definitive. We don’t need idols at all! We don’t need to do any idolatry! We don’t need to worship people to connect to God who is truly approachable and we are truly free to not only worship Him directly but also repent to Him directly, thank Him directly and converse with Him directly.

On the topic of idols, an idol is not limited just to man-made objects, images and people. Even things like alcohol, drugs, sex, a relationship, a vehicle, a computer, a smartphone, a very immersive video game or computer software, a highly interactive artificial intelligence and a home can also become idols in the sense that they will take you away from the Lord. You prioritize playing a very immersive video game like Fallout 4 (where you create a character and literally live a 2nd life within the game) over praying to the Lord and reading the Holy Bible? That is offensive already to Him. As God Himself said, He is indeed a jealous God and that means we must prioritize Him with our time and attention!

To understand this, take time to read this scripture.

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘You have seen all the calamity that I have brought on Jerusalem and on all the cities of Judah; and behold, this day they are a desolation, and no one dwells in them, because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke Me to anger, in that they went to burn incense and to serve other gods whom they did not know, they nor you nor your fathers. However I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying ‘Oh, do not do this abominable thing that I hate!’ But they did not listen tor incline to their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense to other gods. So My fury and My anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as it is this day.”

Jeremiah 44: 2-6 (NKJV)

Those were God’s words above. That was His anger against His own people because even though His prophets did their best, the people refused to listen and ultimately, they disobeyed God. God’s wrath is not to be taken lightly and we can all avoid it by destroying the idols! No more worshipping objects and people! No more spending ourselves on vices or hobbies that take us apart from the Lord! We need to reform ourselves, change our lifestyles, repent to God for the idolatry committed and then dedicate ourselves to Him.

Along the way, there is the need for each and everyone of us to be born again. To learn about becoming born again, read the words of Jesus in John 3: 3 and follow the subsequent verses. Take note that in order to receive the Holy Spirit from the Lord and become a new creation, becoming born again is essential! You can also refer to the prayer on becoming born again at the end of my previous article about trusting God and disregarding idols.

So it is clear once again that we do not need religion, we don’t need idols and we don’t need rituals. Idols are clearly unholy! What we need is faith and a relationship with the Lord who is truly approachable. To be born again, one must willingly accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Along the way, reading the Holy Bible and applying its lessons on our respective lives is essential.

The path with the Lord is clear! Idolaters will not inherit the kingdom of God. The saved souls will.


Thank you for reading. If you find this Christianity article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

My Observations: Participants Educated at Youth Forum in BF Homes

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A youth group discussion.

For the entire day of August 31, over sixty youth from varied developing communities of Barangay BF Homes had fun, worked together and got educated during the Youth Forum (full title: Edukasyon Para sa Lahat – Kaeskwela Youth Forum) held at the Phase 1 gym along Pilar Banzon street, BF Homes subdivision, Parañaque City.

Under the watch of Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino (in-charge of the education committee), youth from Masville, Sampaloc and a few other developing communities formed seven groups and their respective members not only bonded but also learned new things. For fun, they took part in a series of games and contests.

In the afternoon, each group took on the challenge of getting their members together to discuss what issues they see affect the youth of their generation today, express what can be done to not only survive and progress, and express their suggestions on how the local authority – namely Barangay BF Homes – can help them through service.

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Barangay BF Homes Kagawad Rocel Espino talks to the youth.

During her address to the youth, Kagawad Espino announced that the Barangay BF Homes Youth Camp is already being prepared and soon they will announce when and where exactly it will be held. Espino told me that the Youth Forum served as a prelude to the Youth Camp.

“Why are we doing these activities? We have objectives set. While we (the barangay) cannot always build the future for the youth, we can help the youth develop ways to prepare themselves for the future,” said the Kagawad during her address. “Local youth can learn a lot to move forward through the activities organized by the barangay.”

During the group presentation of the Youth Forum, common issues that affect youth include Internet addiction, social media obsession, drugs, avoiding or cutting classes, depression, obsession with video games and computer games, bullying, peer pressure, gender confusion due to LGBTQ propaganda, exposure to sensuality and the like.

As I watched the groups express themselves, I noticed how much of an impact social media had on the youth. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, young people of today are so exposed to lots of random forms of information or images, videos and sounds which are clearly distracting to them. Some youth participants admitted they had trouble resisting social media use while others said they experienced temptations while online.

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Youth brainstormed together by group.

Compared to what I witnessed more than twenty years ago (before social media was realized), the new issues that affected the youth was the rise of Internet access as well as the rise of computer and video games. Back in those old days, there were lots of concerns and complaints from parents/guardians stressing that digital games and Internet addiction made educating and nurturing their children harder. There was also a wave of concern that young people will become violent and obsessive with digital content.

Going back even further into the past – specifically just before Internet access became available here in the Philippines – sexual and mature or violent content shown in movie theaters, television and print media were the hot issues related to the development of young people.

By today’s standards, those old issues seem to pale in comparison to the wide and powerful influence social media has on the current generation of youth who now enjoy better access to Internet due to the availability of cheap smartphones and the numerous WiFi hot spots around the communities. Such a high number of opportunities to connect online means more exposure to videos, images, verbal expressions that could influence users and even impact their behavior. Even worse, there could be potential victims by hackers among these young users. Imagine yourself being the parent of these youth.

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The young people brainstorming as observed by Kagawad Espino.
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A youth signs at a tarpaulin confirming his part as a participant.

Going back to the Youth Forum, the event ended with a positive and promising note. I noticed several participants were already excited about the upcoming Youth Camp which could attract a potential five hundred participants. What Kagawad Espino told me was significant.

“Today’s event is very successful as it has been very challenging to reach out and convince these kids to decide to participate. It was also challenging to engage them and maintain their attention all throughout. Regardless, the fact that they attended until five o’clock proves the success,” Espino said. “This Youth Forum was the result of requests by the parents of these youth and this serves as a prelude to this year’s Youth Camp. We received feedback from parents who noticed that youth seem disturbed and they requested for another Youth Camp to be held.”

Supported by Barangay BF Homes chairman Paolo Marquez, the August 31 Youth Forum was the latest youth-related achievement of Barangay BF Homes through the committee headed by Kagawad Espino. Prior to it, the Barangay BF Homes edition of the Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 celebration organized by the Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) became a major success attracting more than three hundred (300+) youth. Kagawad Espino congratulated the BFSK during her visit at the August 17 Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.

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More youth signed on.
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A large group shot in front of photographers.

For updates regarding the youth activities and developments of Barangay BF Homes, come back here soon.

While waiting, you can read my exclusive interview with BFSK chairwoman Mariel Angela Tumang here, my exclusive scoop on BFSK’s campaign against youth suicide here and my exclusive interview of BFSK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero here.

Let me end this piece with this scripture from the Holy Bible.

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,

To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

Psalm 14: 2 (NKJV)


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero

Meet Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero

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Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero.

To be a youth engaged in public service aimed at the local community is not a joke. For starters, youth here in the Philippines have their academics to prioritize. They also have to spend time with their respective families and obey their parents. As if that was not had enough, youth public servants have to do a ton of research youon participating in the democratic exercise (note: running for office and convincing voters to trust them), the legislative procedures and actual participation in projects and events.

Those are just some of the things that Barangay BF Homes Sangguniang Kabataan (BFSK) Kagawad Jerry Dalmero went through. The 20-year-old has been serving in the SK (youth council in English) of what is the largest barangay in South Metro Manila since late June of 2018. He is in the same SK leadership with six other SK kagawads and SK chairperson Mariel Tumang.

This is my feature interview of him.

A guy named Jerry

Barangay BF Homes SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero was born in 1999 in Masville which is a developing community within the said barangay in Parañaque City. He has yet to complete his academics. Apart from serving in the BFSK, he is also active as a coach in the Masville Elementary School Performing Arts Group where he teaches youth how to dance, sing, act and modeling.

Before even running for the BFSK, the Sangguniang Kabataan was reformed nationally through legislation in 2015. This made a series of changes on the SK system and as such the SK election (held per community nationwide) in May 2018 was the first of the reformed system. This makes Jerry Dalmero, his fellow SK kagawads and chairperson Tumang the pioneers of the reformed BFSK.

Dalmero ran in the May 2018 SK election of Barangay BF Homes as a member of the SK candidates team under the group of Barangay BF Homes captain Paolo Marquez. I asked him how he became a candidate in the first place.

“A teacher recommended me to ma’am Zeny Pascual who was working for Barangay BF Homes. I was asked if I were interested to run for a seat in the SK,” Dalmero recalled. “At first, I really did not want to run because I knew that politics is dirty. I also found disturbing the idea for running which requires a whole lot of resources such as funds, campaign materials, on-site campaigns and others. My teacher told me that my candidacy will be supported.”

Subsequently Dalmero agreed to run under the banner of Team Paolo Marquez in the 2018 election. To his surprise, he and his teammates received a whole of support, sponsors and other supporters.

During the campaign period in the summer of 2018, Dalmero and his teammates had to endure the challenges of physically campaigning around Barangay BF Homes which is known not only for its very high population but also for the high density of community population and vast physical locations.

“It was very hard for me to campaign. I really did not realize back then that Barangay BF Homes is very large and wide. We visited not only a lot of places but also the hard-to-reach spots where there turned out to be lots of residents. I had to learn a lot as the campaign went on. I even missed some meetings with my family,” he said.

Dalmero had to learn new ways in order to communicate effectively with the voters. His teammates also happen to be good looking and he even wondered if he was charismatic enough to attract the voters.

The election campaign engine of Team Paolo Marquez turned out to be efficient. Dalmero admitted that as he and his SK teammates struggled to reach out to voters, then candidate for Barangay captain Paolo Marquez took time out to convince voters to support their youth ticket. Marquez even raised the arm of Dalmero to the voters. Eventually Dalmero won.

Before winning, however, the stress and anxiety went really high as the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) counted the votes of the SK election in May 2018. Dalmero and his teammates were at the Team Paolo Marquez campaign headquarters waiting for whatever updates would come in. As he was already exhausted from the campaigning and lack of sleep during the night of vote counting, he left to go home to rest. That was until something happened.

“I was on my way back home when I decided to ask someone for updates regarding the election results. Shortly after, I received an update that the counting was finished and that several of us had to go to the Phase 1 gym (along Pilar Banzon street) for the proclamation. As I was riding going to the venue, I was in tears as I was happy and felt very relieved to have won,” Dalmero recalled.

Even though he and others got proclaimed, Dalmero still could hardly believe his victory was real. He remembered that before even becoming a candidate with the team of Chairperson Paolo Marquez, a lot of youth were asked if they were interested to run. Considering the odds and challenges he went through, Dalmero’s victory was a hard-earned one.

As member of the BFSK, Dalmero handles the Committee on Culture and Tourism. The committee is in charge of organizing or sponsoring events dealing with culture and history, and engage the local youth to participate. Along the way, he served as judge in varied contests or special events in different schools within the barangay.

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SK Kagawad Jerry Dalmero watches along with a group of youth during the Barangay BF Homes SK’s Linggo ng Kabataan 2019 event.

For the near future, Dalmero announced that his committee will organize pageants called Little Miss Barangay BF Homes and Miss Barangay BF Homes. The latter will serve as the basis for Barangay BF Homes on selecting candidates to represent them in the annual Binibining Parañaque pageant which is held each time the City Government of Parañaque organizes its Cityhood Anniversary events. The final venue and schedules of the two said events will be determined soon.

Also coming is a talent workshop to be organized by BFSK designed to train participants to sing and dance. Also part of it is a recital concert. The committee is also involved in the cleanliness and beautification efforts of the BFSK.

Message to the Readers

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Dalmero and BF SK chairperson Mariel Tumang with many youth during the 2019 Buwan ng Wika celebration at Masville Elementary School. (source – Sangguniang Kabataan ng Barangay BF Facebook page)

“I express my thanks to the readers of this website and I hope that youth, both online and in the real world, will become inspired to be more productive and more meaningful people for they are the future of our nation. That being said, the youth who do well will eventually inspire many other people.”


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

 

 

 

 

 

To All Single Parents, Be Happy Because God Loves You And Has Plans For You! (Part 1 – Hagar the Single Mother)

Long ago here in the Philippines, I noticed there were negative vibes against single parents. Specifically I’m talking about the individuals who became parents without getting married and also those who became parents (having at least one child while being married to a spouse) who became widowed (losing the spouse).

Decades ago, I noticed that there is this expectation within many families that getting married and raising a new family is a traditional goal which is expected to be fulfilled by the children as they grow into adulthood. This expectation, in my observation, is for the most part the result of religion-based traditions and rituals that influenced Philippine society for many generations.

As a result, there is a side effect caused by those religious traditions and rituals that emphasize marriage – discrimination towards individuals who became parents without getting married.

For the people who became single parents as a result of losing their respective spouses, they (as widowed individuals) often encounter expectations or suggestions from others to get married again.

In my experience, I noticed single parents get questioned harshly, get viewed with skepticism, and even get discriminated by others because most people got indoctrinated by the religious influence and expectations related to marriage. Of course, I am not saying that marriage itself is bad.

I personally know people who strongly believe in religious views of marriage and carry in their minds the false belief that single parents and their descendants are cursed and will always be treated as lower-class people. This belief, of course, adds to the discrimination against single parents. As such being a single parent is often challenging not only here in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world.

If you are a single parent reading this, fear not about your status. Do not let others put you down because what many of them do not know is the truth that God loves, cares and has plans for all single parents! That’s right! God values single parents and for as long as they keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, they will be blessed by Him!

The good news here is that it is all recorded in the Holy Bible and in this article, we will focus on the true story of Hagar!

Let’s look back at the Book of Genesis.

Hagar the single mother

Some time after God established the first blood-sacrifice covenant with Abram (Chapter 15), his wife Sarai had no children with him (Chapter 16). She told her husband, “See now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” (Genesis 16: 2 NKJV)

Sarai took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to Abram to be his wife. After getting involved with him, Hagar conceived. Sarai dealt harshly with Hagar who fled from her presence. An Angel from the Lord found her by a sprint of water in the wilderness.

The Angel, who called her by name and her occupation as Sarai’s maid, asked her where she came from and where she was going to. Hagar replied that she was fleeing from Sarai.

“Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” (Genesis 16: 9 NKJV)

The Angel’s message did not just end there. He further said (Genesis 16: 10-12 NKJV):

“I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.”

“Behold, you are with child,

And you shall bear a son,

You shall call his name Ishmael,

Because the LORD has heard your affliction.

“He shall be a wild man;

His hand shall be against every man,

And every man’s hand against him.

And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”

It was made clear to Hagar that God really has plans for her and her son with Abram. As she was not married to Abram and her involvement with him was the result of Sarai’s intervention (which symbolizes the dangers of taking God’s promises into our own hands), Hagar was illegitimate but God did NOT abandon her nor cursed her.

God really cared for Hagar and even before the birth of Ishmael, He made a plan for him as well. Eventually Hagar bore Abram his son. Abram, who was already eighty-six years old, named the baby Ishmael. At this stage, Hagar became a single mother.

Some time after Sarah (formerly Sarai) gave birth to Isaac, her son with Abraham (formerly Abram), Hagar and Ishmael’s time with them came to an end.

According to Genesis 21: 8-21, Isaac grew and was weaned and Abraham made a great feast on that very day. Then Sarah saw Ishmael. She told Abraham, “Cast out this bondwoman and her son; for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, namely with Isaac.”

This displeased Abraham. Eventually God said to him, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight because of the lad or because of your bondwoman. Whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.”

In case you got lost, Hagar is referred to as the bondwoman. The single mother’s challenges continued but God still cared for her and Ishmael.

The fateful morning came when Abraham gave bread and a skin of water to Hagar, then he sent her and Ishmael away.

So did the single mother and her boy just get lost and died shortly after? Absolutely not! There definitely is more to the truth about them in the Holy Bible. As recorded in the Bible, the land promised to Abraham became Israel which was passed on to Isaac and Jacob. While Abraham’s line went on to become highly significant as God fulfilled His promise to him, this does not mean that Hagar and Ishmael ended up empty and abandoned by God. Now we go back to them.

Together Hagar and her son wandered in the Wilderness of Beersheba. Eventually the water ran out and she placed Ishmael under one of the shrubs.

Hagar went and sat down across from him at a distance of about a bowshot. She said to herself, “Let me not see the death of the boy.”

Then she sat opposite him and lifted her voice and wept.

The God responded to the voice of the lad and He sent an Angel to Hagar!

“What ails you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad and hold him with your hand, for I will make him a great nation.”

Then Hagar’s eyes were opened by God and she saw a well of water. She went to the well, filled the skin with water and gave Ishmael a badly needed drink.

As God had plans for him, Ishmael grew up and dwelt in the wilderness where he became an archer. He dwelt in the Wilderness of Paran and Hagar took a wife for him from her native Egypt.

Lessons learned

Hagar’s story in the Holy Bible clearly showed that God loves, cares for and made plans for single parents like her. This also means that blessings from God were extended to their children as seen through Ishmael.

While Ishmael did not inherit anything from his father Abraham, he still went on to live a life as an archer and as a husband as God fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham regarding his son with Hagar.

Along the way, God made clear to Abraham that He would establish his covenant with Isaac.

As recorded in Genesis Chapter 17: 18-20, Abraham mentioned Ishmael to God stating that he (son with Hagar) might live before Him.

God responded, “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”

Going back to Hagar, the single mother in the Holy Bible symbolizes the person who has been unfairly treated, deserted, and cut off with little provision. But even so, the Lord intervened with provision (both spiritual and physical) for her. She and her son went on to live longer as God fulfilled His promise of making a great nation out of Ishmael.

When Hagar was desperate and struggling to survive in the wilderness, she called out to God crying. Even in the worst of times (being put down by Sarah, getting banished by Abraham and the like), she still believed in the Lord and trusted Him. From Heaven, God sent an angel to her and the well of water that suddenly materialized right there in the wilderness was only the beginning that led to the realization of His blessing for Ishmael. This proves that God will never abandon nor forsake His children. All it takes is having faith in Him and putting our trust in Him no matter how bad or how challenging life becomes.

To put things in perspective about God’s love and care for ALL of us (including single parents), here is a scripture from Deuteronomy 31: 6 (NKJV)

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

In John 14: 18 (NKJV), Lord Jesus (the Son of God) said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.”

In Isaiah 41: 10 (NKJV), God said, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

To put into perspective God’s love, mercy, care and plans for all of His children, heed this scripture from Jeremiah 29: 11 (NKJV).

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Going back to the topic at hand, it is obvious by now that for as long as we keep faith in Him and maintain personal relationships with Him, God will always love us, provide for us and accept us into His Kingdom. All of these apply to single parents and the story of Hagar and Ishmael is the biblical truth that can be lived with.

God’s love and provision for the single mother Hagar and her son easily kills the false belief that single parents and their children are cursed. If you know someone who still lives by that false belief and looks down at single parents and their children, tell that misguided person to read Genesis 21: 8-21 in the Holy Bible. The truth should set that person free!

If you are a single parent who has suffered a lot and you lived a life of religion or unbelief, and you truly want to establish faith and a relationship with God, then you must realize that you need to be born again because Lord Jesus said so (refer to John 3: 3 and the subsequent verses).

It is indeed true that by nature, religion is mean, it will frustrate you and prevent you from establishing a relationship with God. You may not realize it until now but you really do not need religion at all. What you need is faith and relationship with the Lord. I know! Religion and its believers frustrated me and kept me in prison (literally) and it even pushed me away from God and made me a lost soul for a number of years. After that, thanks to the Lord and His Instrument (my dearest friend in life) I repented, submitted myself to God and I willingly accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I have been saved and been blessed a lot, and my life has moved forward a lot in a short span of time.

You have the power to decide to be born again. This includes repenting to God for all the sins you committed, submitting yourself to Him and then accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It is never too late to be born again and never too late for you to break the chains of religion (along with all the idolatry, rituals and traditions it comes with) or unbelief that has hindered you and your child (or children) for so long.

Think of the truth in the Holy Bible. Apart from the truth of Hagar and Ishmael who got banished by Abraham, there is also the truth of Adam’s rebellion against God which caused chaos and brought humanity downwards. Even with all the chaos that happened, God sent His Begotten Son Jesus into the world to spread the good news, died to redeem humanity (caused by the Fall of Man and Adam’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden), came back to life, made His resurrected presence felt and ascended to Heaven with the promise of His return.

If you seek salvation right now by becoming born again, be prepare to repent to the Lord, submit to His authority, let go of all the elements that hindered you from connecting with Him (the idolatry, traditions and rituals of religion and other unholy elements) and be ready to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. No more worshiping people and idols in any form. It is only the Lord you should always worship from this point on.

Ready? Then pray this simple prayer in sincerity from your heart:

Dear God,

I believe that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty of my sins. I believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead and that He is alive! Right now I call on the name of Jesus. Jesus, come into my heart. I receive You as my personal Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sins and cleanse me by the power of Your blood. Thank You for saving me and giving me eternal life! Help me now to follow Your plan for my life. Amen.

Congratulations, reader! You are now a child of God! Praise the Lord and always be faithful to Him! The Holy Spirit is in you. As such, I encourage you – the born again single parent reading this – to read the holy scripture in Acts 16: 31. Grab the Holy Bible to read it as your first lesson and whatever new lessons you learned afterwards, do the Word of God by applying it in your life.

In the near future, another article about single parents and their situations in the Holy Bible will be discussed. Remember that God is not a tyrant and therefore nobody living in the flesh has the right to put you – the single parent – down. God is a loving, caring and providing father to all of us who believe in Him and have a personal relationship with Him. It is true that single parents like you who have faith in Him are welcome in His kingdom.

In closing this, here is a Christian music video for your reflection and faith in the Lord.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. Also my fantasy book The World of Havenor is still available in paperback and e-book format. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

With regards to Christianity, if you are within the BF Homes or Alabang areas of South Metro Manila and you are spiritually lost looking for someone to talk to or to join a Christian church that will welcome you, please feel free to contact me by mobile phone at 09053350831 or by email at Carlo.Carrasco@gmail.com to schedule a meeting.