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Part 17: Araw ng Pagpapahalaga sa Mga Pastor o Gaanong Karami Ang Puwede Mong Kalinin sa Isang Araw

Philippines 2019 Chinese food

Araw ng Pagpapahalaga sa Mga Pastor o Gaanong Karami Ang Puwede Mong Kalinin sa Isang Araw

Pastor Appreciation Sunday (or How Much Food Can You Really Eat in One Day?)

Philippines 2019 WeddingWhat a joy it was to return to Banga to visit our brothers and sisters in Christ (my third time).  We arrived on the afternoon of September 28 at the Aqua Vista resort just outside of Banga.  When we arrived we were informed that there was a wedding celebration going on, so when we entered the grounds we were greeted with the sight of 150 or so Filipinos celebrating outdoors!  Quite the spectacle to behold and it was a wonderful backdrop to the dinner we enjoyed in the outdoor restaurant.  After dinner we unpacked and got an early night’s rest in preparation for the monthly Dawn Service that Banga Evangelical Church (BEC) has at 5:00am!  The guest preacher was none other than Pastor John Mahaffey!  An added bonus was the fact that this was Pastor Appreciation Sunday at BEC as well.

We arrived bright and early while it was still dark just before 5:00am to a church that was approximately ¾ full.  Now that is commitment!  After singing worship to our great God, Pastor John preached on 1 Timothy 3:1-7 & Hebrews 13: 7-8, 17 and exhorted the people to appreciate the Pastors that are working so hard to serve God and the church.  By the way, October is Pastor Appreciation Month in Canada, so please be sure to show your appreciation to our Ministry Team.  At the end of the service, their Pastoral Team came forward and received gifts and greetings from members of the congregation.  All in all, a wonderful time together.  The sun came up partway through the service at approximately 5:30am…..what a great way to start the day.

Philippines Banga BreakfastLittle did we know that when we walked out of the church there would be a breakfast feast!  We were encouraged to sit down with a number of BEC members and were treated to a wonderful breakfast of rice, eggs, beef and local vegetables.  It was great to enjoy a time of fellowship with several members of this church and a delicious meal with them. This was only the beginning of a major, mouth-watering gastronomic extravaganza.

We came home for a snooze after the morning service – partly due to jet lag and largely due to the huge breakfast we had just eaten!  Before our morning siesta, our hosts at the Aqua Vista informed us that we were invited to their niece’s 8th birthday party in the banquet hall for noon.  Approximately 150 guests would be in attendance for this special event.  As noon rolled around, we entered the banquet hall and were greeted by a celebration we had never seen for a young girl.  The hall was decked out with beautiful tablecloths, the stage was decorated with colourful balloons decorated with a unicorn theme.  At the beginning of the celebration, the birthday girl walked herself up the aisle singing a lovely song.  All in all, quite a spectacle! 

Philippines 2019 Birthday Girl

Philippines 2019 Birthday cake

Philippines 2019 Birthday party kids

Philippines 2019 Birthday dinner

After the birthday program, we launched into feast #2 of the day – rice, fried chicken, fish fillets, local vegetables and, of course, lechon (or roasted pig).  Before we could join the lineup for the buffet, our hosts brought plate after plate of food to our table – we felt like royalty!  First of all, we were invited to a party with 150 complete strangers and then given guest of honour treatment.  Even though it was Pastor Appreciation Day, all of us felt very appreciated.  Oh, and did I mention the delicious coconut ice cream for dessert, along with fresh pineapples and watermelon?  Somewhere around 2:00pm we staggered out of the banquet hall in varying states of food coma and some of us vowed never to eat again.

Well, that didn’t last long as we were informed that we were invited to a 6:00pm dinner at a Chinese restaurant in a nearby town.  A few members of BEC were taking the Pastoral staff to dinner and we were invited.  Feast #3 was on the horizon……

Arriving at the restaurant we sat down and watched in amazement as plate after plate of delicious food was brought to our table.  Bird’s nest soup with crab, rice, dim sum, fish, chicken, noodles with chicken & vegetables, and, of course, lechon.  A feast fit for a king! 

Philippines 2019 Chinese food

Pastor Dave has been providing me with great advice – essentially saying that just because the food is there, doesn’t mean you have to eat it.  Wise counsel for sure, but it only works if you take heed and apply it to what you do……maybe when I get back to Canada.

I tell you, Filipinos know how to throw a party and they know how to eat.  I continue to marvel at an entire country who can eat so much and still be so slim!   The hospitality displayed to us has been amazing and we feel so blessed and appreciated by our brothers and sisters here.  What a great way to kick off the week of training in Banga.

- Paul