The Filipino family took centerstage on September 21 to 27 during the celebration of the 28th National Family Week (NFW). The National Committee on the Filipino Family (NCFF), which is the steering committee for the observance of the annual NFW, appealed to all public and private sectors to work together towards strengthening the solidarity and stability of Filipino families.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a long-time member of NCFF since 1992, joined and partnered with government agencies and civil society groups in celebration of the family.
With the theme set by the NCFF “Tungo sa Maginhawa, Matatag, at Panatag na Pamilyang Pilipino” (Towards a Comfortable, Strong and Peaceful Filipino Family), the Church organized the 3rd and first virtual Interfaith Family Forum.
Additionally, the Church observed the event with a series of virtual activities with the special theme #BFF or #BuildingForeverFamilies.
In the past, the Church would celebrate the National Family Week with kickoff parades and various weeklong activities. However, with the restrictions afforded by the COVID-19 pandemic, stakes (dioceses) of the Church held virtual events instead.
Below are some of the stakes to bring together families and friends of the Church in the celebration of the Filipino Family.
For their celebration, the Pasay Philippines Stake opted to hold an online family concert, which gave families an opportunity to spend extra time together as they prepared for their presentation.
The show featured a variety of musical numbers and performances, some of which were never before seen in the stake, which made the concert even more fun and enjoyable.
A Relief Society sister, 63-year old Alma Ahongon, opened the show by displaying her talent in playing the drums. The Diaz family featured their whole clan (including their grandparents) in a medley of dances.
Another interesting feature was a video that showed members of the stake who have moved out and reside elsewhere. The video ended with a short message from Elder and Sister Michael Teh, which was recorded in Utah, USA.
To add a little star value to the show, guest performers from the entertainment industry as well as members from other stakes were also invited to participate. Anton Antenorcruz, a grand finalist in Showtime’s Tawag ng Tanghalan segment season 2, recorded a song for the concert.
Award-winning singer-songwriter Odette Quesada recorded a greeting and sent in a recorded performance.
The Bonner Family, a well-known musical family from Provo, Utah also agreed to participate by sending a family video. Members from other stakes were also invited to perform while some watched the concert. The concert was broadcasted live on the FB page of the stake and via ZOOM for friends and relatives to enjoy.
In an effort to promote the strengthening of families in local communities, several members of the Camarin Philippines Stake visited barangays within their area, while following health and safety protocols, to give copies of The Family: A Proclamation to the World and other Church materials such as FamilySearch, Addiction Recovery Program, and Latter-day Saint Charities.
The barangay officials received them warmly and shared their appreciation to the Church for reaching out to them despite the challenges of the pandemic. Hon. Gilbert U. Rivera of Barangay 174, in particular, expressed interest in the Addiction Recovery Program of the church and was looking forward to being able to work with the LDS Family Services.
Additionally, members of the stake also participated in the family week activities through posting pictures of their activities on social media with the hashtags #BFF and #BuildingForeverFamilies and encouraged other families to do the same.
Meanwhile, the Lopez Philippines Stake held a stake-wide virtual family gathering dubbed as Ka-Zoom-A-Kita-Forever. The virtual activities included a kick-off ceremony on Monday morning followed by an online family home evening led by stake leaders. Members started their day with a pre-recorded Zumba class the next day.
Moreover, members and friends of the Lopez Philippines Stake enjoyed participating in the online family games, webinars that tackled topics on self-reliance and family history. The children and youth, likewise, enjoyed an online art contest and talent show.
To help improve family dynamics, the stake also held an online webinar on family relationships with the special participation of Pastor Lucino D. Saturay, in which he said, “Thank you, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for providing family-centered activities. Thank you also for encouraging your continuity to support the LGU.”
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cebu City held their National Family Week celebrations with a series of Facebook live events held in the evenings, starting from 21 to 28 September. The series of online events included live and recorded performances by members from two stakes (dioceses) in the city.
Their celebration kicked off with a demonstration of the Family Home Evening, a weekly gathering among members of the Church. The demonstration activities the families do on a regular basis, which included the study of gospel doctrines, play games, and hold family councils.
Cebu City Philippines Central Stake President Arnold Gorgonio formally opened the event with Hon. Franklin Ong of the Cebu City Council, as the guest of honor.
“Despite our trials this year, we are prepared to serve all Cebuanos,” Hon. Ong said in his native Bisaya tongue. “My family and I, along with the barangay officials, join in the hope for the peaceful and successful celebration of National Family Week 2020.”
The virtual shows included Polvoron Making, Family Talent show, and an animated Family History Tutorial.
Cebu City Philippines Stake President Dennis Dan Nunez culminated the event with a message to all families. In his message, he emphasized that the Family Week is a “year-long celebration” for members of the Church. Posters of ‘The Family Proclamation’ were presented to members of the Cebu Interfaith Society, where the combined Cebu City and Cebu Central Stakes are active participants.
In the neighboring island of Negros, Latter-day Saint families of the Bacolod Philippines Stake actively engaged in the celebration despite the pandemic.
Through valuable photos and videos posted on different social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, families were able to share positivity online, of how they enjoyed the daily activities and the things they have learned.
President Rossen Bon Escobar, Stake President of the Bacolod Philippines Stake, expressed his impressions on the celebration, “We are grateful to every family, particularly under Bacolod Philippines Stake, for taking part in building forever families. The pictures are so inspiring as they reflect the dynamic love for one another,” he said.
Activities such as Family Home Evenings, health and wellness, managing home finances, establishing own food source through the planting of vegetables and flowers, doing family history, a showcase of talents, worship at home, testimonies of Church pioneers and of the Area Presidency, and the family dinner reminded us of the great plan of happiness our Heavenly Father wants us to achieve,” President Escobar further added.
In his testimony, President Escobar shared, “If we continue to learn and strive to do these things, our pictures will paint the beautiful results of the Sacred Plan, because we all belong to God’s one big family.”
In Cagayan de Oro, Latter-day Saint families joined spreading love and positivity on social media by posting photos of their family-centered activities such as Family Home Evenings and their observance of Kaining Pamilya Mahalaga Day.
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