Volleyball Heroes

by Nitz Nicolas

“We are Heroes.” This is the oft-spoken mantra of campers and clients of Heroes Volleyball Program (HVP), a sports program based in Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI).

One might find it weird that they would repeatedly verbalize the expression. But to them, it was the most natural thing in the world because each of them experienced how it is to be a hero first-hand. Hence, they feel like heroes, act like heroes, and live heroic lives.

Paolo Liwanag, one of HVP campers in his FB account said, “Volleyball has been a source of happiness for me. It has boosted my confidence and gave me a sense of fulfilment… HVP made volleyball not just a game, but a source of inspiration and a place to share joy.”

According to Ken Silverio Ucang, the head coach of HVP, their office offer various programs and services to improve the life of every ordinary individual not only their skills, but their character and attitudes towards the sport and teammates.

Thus, even the life of a boring person, when they join HVP, their lives become meaningful and hopeful. Their boring moments would turn colorful and hopeful.
Again, Ken added that HVP’s mission is not only to hone the volleyball skills of every client and camper. It aims to improve and help discover their God-given talents and skills and make them better individuals.

The HVP wants to foster camaraderie and family spirit among clients and campers. Even with KKFI staff, HVP is not remiss of showing we’re family. Family spirit is manifested by the coaches and leaders of HVP, especially Ken Silverio Ucang. They treat KKFI staff with respect and dignity.

The HVP has been using the KKFI gym since 2013. Ken and the leaders of HVP found a family and partner with KKFI. Thus, in September 2018, they rented two rooms inside the KKFI gym.

Ken emphasized that “Heroes Volleyball Program (HVP) is an institution specializing in volleyball which provides professional coaching services to its respective clients. It aims to provide every single player the opportunity to improve their skills and personality as a whole through awareness and continued participation in volleyball for the sole purpose of promoting and contributing towards the furtherance of the sport in the Philippines.”

Now, HVP has many clients and campers. They are now planning to expand their volleyball programs and services to inspire and give hope especially to ordinary person who wants to improve their volleyball skills. For those who wants to know more about HVP, please go to HVP website and Facebook.

As an economic partner, HVP dream that someday, KKFI would put up a new building so that they can use the new facility to better serve their clients and campers.

Ken said that KKFI has been their home before HVP came to life. All his dreams and aspirations started in the four corners of the KKFI gym. KKFI has opened its doors for them, giving way to their biggest home based now.

HVP staff and their clients feel secured when inside the KKFI compound aside from its accessibility, and having situated at the heart of the university belt.
Ken and his coaches consider their partnership with KKFI as a blessing. As HVP grow bigger, they would always look back to their humble home. The KKFI gym holds the biggest part in their hearts.

With a common mission of transforming the lives of every individual and community, both KKFI and HVP hopes that someday, this individual and community would become heroes of their own selves, of their own families and communities respectively.


‘Para sa Akin, ang KKFI Dorm ay Isang Tahanan’

Ni Darlene A. Robante

Nag-stay ako sa KKFI Dormitory nang tatlong buwan—mula ika-24 ng Hunyo hanggang ika-29 ng Setyembre taong 2018, matapos akong kumuha ng Medical Technologist Licensure Examination.

But I’m getting ahead of my story. Magpapakilala muna ako. I’m Darlene. I was 20 years old when I first started residing in the KKFI dorm.

Modesty aside, gumradweyt ako ng elementary at high school with honors. Nagtapos ako ng kursong Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology noong May 2018 sa Holy Name University sa Bohol.

Kinailangan kong mag-review sa Maynila para sa board exam kaya nag-search ako online ng pwedeng matirahan na dorm. That’s when I came across the dorm of KKFI.

Pinili ko ito kasi marami akong nabasang positive feedback tungkol sa dorm ng KKFI and highly recommended ito ng mga previous board exam reviewees. Ewan ko kung dahil ba affiliated ito sa isang church, ang United Methodist Church, kaya naging blessed ako sa pag-stay dito—naging 10th placer ako sa licensure exam na kinuha ko noong Setyembre 2018.

Maraming facilities ang KKFI na nakatulong sa pag-rereview ko, lalong-lalo na ang library. Very conducive na lugar ito para mag-aral, especially sa mga katulad kong mas effective na nakapag-aaral kapag tahimik ang environment.

At saka ‘yung rooms sa mga dorm kasi ay very spacious. Tig-iisa ng bed at malalaki ang mga cabinet.

The best ang staff ng KKFI. Pagpasok mo palang, ngiti na ng security guard na si Kuya Jigs ang madadatnan mo. Every night din nagtse-check sila Ate Sheng Dingcol, Ate Judith Ramirez, Ate Malou Angoluan, and Mommy Fath Leoncio sa mga rooms and isa-isang hinahanap ang mga dormers.

Wala akong alam na dorm nakilala ng mga staff members ang bawat nakatira dito at concerned sila sa bawat isa sa kanila. Sa KKFI lang ‘yan dahil iisang pamilya kami dito.

Nagustuhan ko yung mga activities nila kasi you get to know and mingle with other people. Very friendly ang mga staff ng dorm at mabilis silang umaksyon kung may concerns kaming mga dorm residents.

Sumasali ako sa mga activities ng KKFI gaya ng acquaintance party, All-Day Gig, at iba pa. Super saya at the best talaga! Magandang therapy ito sa aming reviewees na kung minsan ay nakakaramdam na drain na drain na sa pagre-review.

Pero dahil sa mga fun activities ng KKFI, may time na makakapag-break at makapag-relax kami sa aming mga aralin. Sana nga, dagdagan pa nila ang mga ganitong activities kasi very creative ‘yung mga nag-o-organize ng activities para sa dorm residents.

During the orientation part ng acquaintance party para sa mga bagong residents, napag-alaman namin na ang kinikita ng dorm ay ginagamit sa mga program at service para sa mga mahihirap, lalo na sa mga batang walang access sa formal na pag-aaral. Lalo akong bumilib sa KKFI. Ibig sabihin, mura na ang ibinabayad namin ay nakakatulong pa kami sa mga beneficiary ng Foundation.

Sana nga ay magpatuloy ang KKFI sa pagsuporta at pagbibigay ng tulong sa mga nangangailangan.


by Nitz Nicolas

The KKFI staff and volunteers bonded
Last August 2-3 at Mt. Makiling
Re-Creation Center in Batangas

The venue is surrounded by mountains,
Tall trees, and green, well-manicured grasses
It’s a joy to appreciate nature

Team-building activities remove masks,
Fears, and hesitation in every staff member’s mind
Thus, it builds confidence in every heart

Open communication fosters better understanding,
And paints sweet smiles on every face while it
Regains trust and improves relationships

Camaraderie is found and regained,
Sharing the bounty together is wonderful
Truly, everybody is a blessing

Morning devotions and prayerful nights
Make everyone feel closer to God
We thank Him for a family we call ”KKFI”

Gilead Center: A Balm for Every Soul

by Juanita “Nitz” Nicolas


Almost two decades after its acquisition, the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) is now undertaking a major facelift of Gilead Center, the former’s 1.2-hectare property in Barangay Tibag, Pulilan, Bulacan.

Gilead Center, then a plot of land planted with assorted fruit trees, was purchased in year 2000 which was the vision of Mrs. Nellie Lacson-Mercado, KKFI executive director, who retired in 1996. The following year, a three-story building was put up by the successor of Mrs. Mercado, Mrs. Priscilla Athuel.

Fast forward in 2012, the KKFI, now under the leadership of Mrs. Nancy Caluya-Nicolas, built a multi-purpose hall using a fund donated by Mr. John and Mrs. Jean Davidson of the United States and their friends.

Then, four nipa huts (“bahay kubo”) were placed in 2015 and 2016 to accommodate campers and participants of small-group trainings and seminars.

The new facilities proved to be an irresistible attraction to local Filipino groups. Perhaps, the latter are unexplainably drawn to their cultural heritage, the nipa huts, which were the traditional dwellings of locals from decades, or even centuries, past.
And this attraction was not limited to local taste. Even the foreigners were intrigued by these unique structures that they insist on sleeping in them during their stay.

Care Group Leaders’ ‘Lakbay-Aral’

by John M. Jacinto

It was raining that day but the downpour did not deter the group of care group leaders from Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI) from pushing through with the “Lakbay-Aral,” a Christian educational tour initiated by the Pastoral Concerns Department (PCD).

The head of PCD, the Rev. Maricel Osias, was on maternity leave that day so it was Ma’am Nitz Nicolas, head of administration and resources department, who took over and led the activity, which took place last October 10.

The itinerary included visits to Knox UMC, the Philippine Bible Society and its Bible museum, the UMC national headquarters, the Central UMC and the National Museum of Natural History.

It was truly a memorable and informative activity that would help care group leaders in serving children, youth, families and co-workers through perspective of Christian values formation.

Emotions and Freezing the Moment

By Maria Abigail Ambay

I was invited by Ate Glenda Gutierrez, communication officer of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), to attend a free photography workshop. “A photography workshop for free?” I asked just to be certain and when Ate Glenda assured me it would cost me nothing, I blurted out, “Count me in!”

It was called “Photo-Voice Workshop” and it took three days to finish, from November 29 to December 1, 2018. The venue of the workshop was at Gilead Center, a KKFI-owned farm-cum-retreat-center located in the town of Pulilan in Bulacan. Little did I know that it would teach me a lot.

On the first day, our mentor, Prof. Allan Cledera, taught us the basic lessons we needed to know in photography, such as angling, framing, lighting and other simple things that I could hardly remember because, I had to admit, I wasn’t listening as intently as I needed to. I told myself that I already knew these things, so what’s the use?

I learned very soon after that answer to my “what’s the use?” when he ordered us to capture and freeze in picture moving ants, among other “simple” things.

How I regretted not listening! In any case, I learned to see ordinary things in an extra-ordinary way. The rules of photography “forced” me to look and listen into even the simplest things around me that I only ignored before.

I made sure I listened to the lectures of Mr. Cledera when the seminar-workshop continued on the second day. And, yeah, listening was really very effective. It gave me more confidence in taking photos and writing captions or photo essays. And the third and last day of the workshop went well, too. The key was listening, I learned the hard way.

There’s one word that stayed in my mind—focus. In taking photos, the photographer should not just focus on the subject but also on the story behind it. I also learned the importance of conveying emotions of moments frozen in time by photography.

The whole seminar made me realize that photography isn’t just photography. It’s saving a moment in order for it to be savored and enjoyed again and again in the present and future. Because things don’t happen twice.

Equipping Children Through Education

My name is Tapiwa Audrey Manyonga, I come from Zimbabwe and I am a Global Mission Fellow serving in the Philippines through the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI).

I was assigned in Pulilan Bulacan and I work in two communities—Tramo and Looban.
In these two communities there are different challenges which children face. Among them is a need for children to acquire education.

Every morning I attend to Supervised Neighborhood Play (SNP) class with other staff members and help in teaching lessons to children. In the afternoon, we have tutorials with scholars as well the little children from KMKK. The elementary students come for extra lessons once a week. Usually, we try to help them comprehend the school lessons they find hard to understand in order for them to pass their examinations.

It is a great accomplishment to equip children through education in order for them to have a bright future. In as much as children need education, they also love to be remembered, to know the importance of the concept of family, to have safe space and to have access to basic needs as other children. Thus, the organization also has the programs such as Family Fun Day as well as Wish of Wonderful Christmas (WOW Christmas) party that gives children a chance to celebrate Yuletide Season and receive gifts.

Being part of the KKFI and part of these children’s lives has made me realize that children need us. They have dreams they want to achieve. At this point, it is important for them to aspire for education so that they can more easily reach their dreams when they grow up.