In a province favored by typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters, something great happened earlier this month. The first-ever Bicol Summit was held November 9-11, 2018 at Legazpi, Albay, Philippines. Only a dream to earlier converts – witnessing about 800 people coming together to worship God and rekindle our hearts for the mission in this region of the country – is a feat we can only give full credit to the one and only true God who is forever praised, amen.

The opening night was held at Albay Astrodome, one of the biggest venues in Legazpi City. The program opened with prayers in different Bicol dialects and the Filipino language followed by cultural presentations from participating Bicol city churches – ICOC Daet, ICOC Naga, and ICOC Legazpi. Norberto “Bong” Aquino III, our South Luzon Geo Region Leader delivered the opening message, “Light Reveals God’s Vision.” The lesson focused on the importance of growing as disciples and in our practice of discipling so that we can go out and make disciples who in turn would also make disciples thus fulfilling the commission of Jesus to see the nations evangelized. There was also a five-minute part of the message where disciples prayed in groups of three. It was truly faith-building as every single person in that dome was an active participant in the event, not just a member of the audience. The program closed with the theme song “Omawon An Liwanag” (Praise the Light) written by ICOC Naga’s church leader, Arch. Oliver “Bong” Gulapa.

Different classes were held on the morning of the second day, November 10, at Ninong’s Hotel. Church leaders of participating city churches (Ramir Bodigon, ICOC Legazpi; Oliver “Bong” Gulapa, ICOC Naga and Ferdie Elnar, ICOC Daet) talked about Bicol missions. Rolly Pasoquen led the men’s class while Thess Aquino and Marie Pasoquen led the women’s class which again focused on the importance of discipling and the need to be involved in each others’ lives. The Admin & Fin Com class entitled “Oil in My Lamp” were led by Emil Medina, Mon Eusebio, and Jessie Ibay. The last class was divided into two groups: “The Dawn of Light” for those baptized within the last five years was led by Marvin Adel, church leader of ICOC Batangas, and the “Fan into Flame” class was led by Edwin Edulzura. The afternoon was all about tours. Participants were able to choose between Tour A– a quick tour to some of the nearest tourist attractions in Legazpi City such as Quitinan Hills, Sumlang Lake, Cagsawa Ruins, and Legazpi Boulevard – and TourB, an adventure tour on ATV rides amidst the majestic Mt. Mayon as the backdrop. Closing out day 2 were the amazing fellowship nights. the youth/Campus and Singles Night had an attendance of 129 people wearing costumes, while the Marrieds Night had 126 in attendance with Koko and Faridah Enrile conducting a mini-married workshop to inspire the marrieds ministry. The whole day was a blast!

The third and last day was definitely not the least! As the host of the Bicol Summit, ICOC Legazpi also celebrated its 22nd anniversary with the theme “Silyab” (meaning sparkle). With a current membership of 64 disciples, a total of 803 people (771adults and 32 kids) came and worshiped God with us. Other disciples coming from different ICOC churches (Calapan, Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Lucena, Daet, Naga,QC, Las Pinas, Manila, Pasig, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and Tacloban) joined and supported our dream in evangelizing this part of the country. Francisco “Koko” Enrile, the senior evangelist of ICOC Philippine Family of Churches, a Bicolano himself, was the keynote speaker. With his message entitled “Light Shows God’s Glory”, he inspired us Bicolanos to continue being the light in our city through our good deeds. He challenged us to find one good deed for our city so that people will be drawn to our light and be eventually led to God’s sovereign light. Before the worship service ended, two women named Janne Pearl Rana of ICOC Legazpi and Rosa Alma of ICOC Naga, both singles, surrendered their lives to the lordship of Jesus. Truly, no other purpose is more meaningful than that of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we, the ICOC Bicol churches, declare with all faith and gratitude – Bicol 4 GOD! To him be all the glory and honor!

Thank you to our South Luzon Geo Region Family for their support and encouragement to make this event a successful one. We are looking forward to our next conference five years from now. Our prayer is by that time, we will have churches in Sorsogon, Catanduanes, and Masbate, so that every province in the Bicol region will have a vibrant and growing church for the glory of God!