It was a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city — into the serene and muffled surrounds at the foot of the mystical Mt. Makiling in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna.
The Sola Gratia Foundation (SGF) Board Of Trustees (BOT)-Scholars Annual Meet-up was held last Apr.22, at Casa Buena Suerte Resort, a quick 50 kilometers or so hop from the metro; where the members of SGF BOT and Scholars (with their parents and pastors) gathered together to get more acquainted and casually interact.
The activity began at lunchtime, with lunch served at 12:30pm. It was a simple sumptuous meal of Beef Kaldereta and Pork Barbecue served with abundant rice, and seasonal fruits.
At 1:30pm, after a break from lunch, Rey Seveses gathered the entire group in a half circle, at the spacious open-sided pavillon by the swimming pool; him at the center opposite the group, for the sharing of God’s word. It was a windy afternoon despite ambient temperatures registering in the upper 30s — everyone was comfortable and at ease. Rey gave a 20-minute meditation on 2 Cor.5.14 15, on ‘The Love of Christ that Constrains us.’
After the meditation, Rey then gave the floor to Pastor Toni Hermano, Board Chairman/President, to preside over the Acquaintance Event; where all participants — BOTs, Scholars, Parents, and Pastors — introduced themselves and shared personal thanksgivings, experiences, thoughts, or prayer requests.
The period ended with Pastor Toni’s closing remarks on 1 Tim.6.20, “Keep that which is committed to your trust.” Then Group Prayer was led by Arnel Carreon, Pastor Jorge Gumop-as, and Pastor Toni.
After a short break, Rey led the Games — some Trivia Questions and “Bring me” (where items saved on smartphones are allowed) — and gave away small but useful practical items (mostly related to the Trivia Questions and the “Bring me,”) like, ballpens, scissors, a memo pad, and Gatorade, to name some. After the games, Amor Perdigon asked the Scholars to huddle in a small group and get more acquainted with each other by asking more personal information from each other.
The rest of the daylight was spent in Free Recreation and Swimming; while Ate Vilma, the mother of Scholar Beverly Estosane from Maricaban Gospel Outreach (MGO,) was preparing afternoon refreshments — Pancit Bihon-Canton Guisado w/Loaf Bread. Most of the Scholars with their parents and pastors took a dip in the pool, while the others — the non-swimmers — took turns belting out their favourite ballads on the free videoke machine, hoping to get discovered for the next talent search.
It was evident on everyone’s faces and candid words of appreciation that they had a fun and fruitful time at the Annual Meet-up; as they departed for home.
By 6:00pm, the Scholars, their parents and pastors have all gone home; all the noise had died down; and only Pastor Toni, Amor, Arnel, and myself were left at the resort, where hours later, we would huddle together to discuss Financial Reports in an Executive Committee meeting.
Present in attendance were Pastor Toni Hermano, Atty. Amor Perdigon, Nonoy Sornillo, Arnel Carreon, (SGF Board of Trustees;) Rey Seveses (SGF Administrative Staff;) Jom Balaoro and father, Mar; Girlie, mother of Diway Armando, and Alfred (brother;) Pastor Jorge Gumop-as; Leslie Martorillas and her father Jimmy; Earl Camara and his mother, Ethel, and father, Pastor Steve; Ivy Ann Malabayabas and her father, Pastor Larry; Beverly Estosane and her mother, Vilma; plus Jennifer who assisted in the kitchen.