January 29, 2023

The winners of the “500 Years: Sing to Heal Online Challenge” which generated 39 entries all over the Cordillera and one from Bulacan were announced at Mount Carmel Church in Sagada, Mountain Province on March 16.
The winners were awarded at St. Michael Church in Banao, Bauko, Mountain Province hosted by the Banao Basic Ecclesial Community. It was indeed a beautiful celebration of giftedness in the Risen Jesus through creativity particularly music.
The online competition was an activity to celebrate our 500 years of Christianity. We were gifted with faith that was not spared from test, challenge, disappointment, and doubt but proved God’s might, mercy, and love. It is proper to praise and thank God for his unending guidance and shepherding that protected our faith and nurtured it.
The event was our creative way to celebrate the gift of faith at 500 years amidst the pandemic and was our way of thanking the early missionaries for bringing Christianity to the Philippines.
It was our humble way to spread positivity through creativity. Music, dances, and arts are gifts that must be shared, as the motto says, “Gifted to give.”
The pandemic has proven its evil impact to the whole world, but it made us ponder deeply about life and about God. We need to spread positivity to overcome negativities of life and to strengthen our faith through creativity. Devastating it may be, the pandemic cannot stop us in our constructive battle against the social issues that disturb peace.
Different forms of vices have crept into our communities and homes.
The event has also encouraged people, especially the youth, to be engaged in creativity against illegal drugs, gambling, vices, anxiety, and depression leading to suicide and accomplished suicide and left leaning ideologies.
Boredom, anxiety, and depression are alarming. Music is one of the most doable and healthy ways of overcoming the evils of these pandemic.
The youth is a vulnerable sector of the community. They can be the best playground and experiment of vices and crimes. They can be its instrument to spread if their energy and creativity are not properly guided. Hence, we need to involve the youth in our advocacy against vices and depression, but through creativity.Music and arts are beautiful elements of life and are very attractive to the youth; hence, we use them in our battle to defeat social illness.
Creativity will not only attract the physical eye but will move the heart to its message. Creativity in the midst of pandemic will surely impact in our life to conversion and to love peace.
The event incited interest of winning. Nevertheless, it transcended sheer competition since its intention was purified to affirming fellow entries and together winning over the pandemic.
The higher purpose of this online activity was felt among the young participants and by those who watched through Facebook. It animated the young people to hone their talents.
Another objective achieved through the activity was the promotion of positivity through the proper use of social media.
We are all winners because we are using our talents and creativity to praise God and to sustain peace. We also lead each one to a common understanding that we are all morally responsible in promoting peace in our communities as our way to glorify God.
To all the winners and other participants, be inspired and be a daily reminder of faith, hope, charity, and peace through our talents. God bless you.
The judges came from the different parts of the world: Lucia Afidchao from Hong Kong, Ingrid Payaket from Baguio City, and Carlo Florendo from Manila. We thank them for sacrificing their time, talent, and treasure in the online activity.
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