7th People’s Congress: Spreading the Flame

The celebration of the 7th People’s Congress held at the Oval Plaza, General Santos City on November 11, 2010 was mind-blowing and awe-inspiring! This year’s theme is Pagliwanagin ng FRAME ang Pamumuhay sa Gensan.

The Family Resource Allocation & Management Enhancement (FRAME), a poverty alleviation program of the city, started with only 23 members in 2003 and have tremendously grown to 32,000 members (and counting!) in its 7th year.  The 6th People’s Congress in 2009 was held at the Lagao Gym with almost 10,000 in attendance. Last year’s membership has more than tripled in just a matter of months!

As early as 2:00 pm, members from far-flung barangays like San Jose and Batomelong started to gather at the venue. At 3:00 pm, the police enforcers re-routed the traffic to pave the way for the historical event.At 5:oo pm, the members started to take their spots.

Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio

At 5:45 pm, everyone was eager to get the celebration started. At 6:00 pm, Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio started lighting the first torch at the Plaza Heneral Santos.

A few minutes after, the flame started moving simultaneously into two directions: Pres. Roxas Avenue and Pendatun Avenue converging at Oval Plaza.

The torch lighting was a symbolic gesture that declares the city’s commitment to dispel the darkness of apathy, mediocrity and poverty. It was also the physical manifestation of  the power of synergy.

The Hosts: Elvie, Glenn & Joana

The event served as a reunion of sorts for the “Today With The Generals” production team: Direk Egai CadienteGeneral Glenn Gonzalez, General Elvie Eullaran-Albano and I.  Hosting with the two other top-caliber Generals has always been an enriching experience for me. Sharing the same platform with them is a privilege!

While the torch light was being passed to both directions, I joined General Glenn and General Elvie in  mounting the motorbikes of the Traffic Enforcers assigned to transport us from the starting point to the Oval Plaza. We felt like we were filming  another version of our Today With The Generals MTV.

Direk Egai Cadiente and the technical team

When we arrived at the Oval Plaza, we made sure that we passed by the technical booth to inform Egai that we were done with the preliminaries at Plaza Heneral Santos.  He cued the Centerpoint Band to get ready for their part.

Thousands of torch bearers from Pendatun Avenue entering the Oval Plaza

Our childlike demeanor was heightened a few minutes after we mounted the Oval Stage to formally open the celebration. With goosebumps, we savored the sight of about 20,ooo torches being lighted .

Thousands of torch bearers finding their way to their assigned spots at the Oval Plaza

It was like watching thousands of fireflies converging at the Oval Plaza. It was like a sea of flame engulfing the darkness. It was like blinking Christmas lights spread all over the area! What an enriching experience!

"Ang Alab Gagawing Umaga ang Gabi"

As the contingents from the 26 barangays of the city inch their way to the venue, the CENTERPOINT BAND performed their original composition aptly titled Sa Liwanag. The impact of the experience was intensified!

Production Team with Centerpoint Band and RMMC Teatro Ambahanon

The Liberal Arts students of Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges provided the necessary support to the production team. Jai-jai Alonzo readily said yes when invited to be the Stage Manager (SM).   Sir Bing Cariño made sure that the RMMC Teatro Ambahanon will be available to add color to the celebration. As volunteers, the students did not mind the long hours of preparations.

With Masscom Seniors whose minds were stretched and hearts were touched

It is always a joy working with my children from the L.A. Department. My Production Assistant, Gwen Sumabat, was all-out in providing necessary support. She made sure I succeed in my hosting by keeping me hydrated. She even found my NuSkin Lip Tint which I thought got  lost while I was in transit from one stage to another. Marilou Consad, Karla Ocaña, Reggie dela Rosa, Mia Rocacorba, Reinna Pico and Deejay de Vera provided much-needed help. And not to be outdone is Niña Grace Urdaneta who is bent to finish what she has started.

It's always a joy working with Direk Egai, Gen. Glenn and Gen. Elvie!

The students consider it a privilege to be trained by Direk Egai who never fails to bring out the best in everyone he works with. General Glenn, General Elvie and I consider it a joy to partner with him. Thank you, my dear friend, for your passion for excellence! 

Thank you, Pastor Andoy Docena (DBC Senior Pastor) and Ma’am Rebecca V. Magante (CSWD Department Head) for giving us the privilege to work together in this event.

Everyone was bursting with inspiration! Let’s keep the flame burning in our hearts!

All photographs in this post (except this one taken by Binoy) are courtesy of Mosler Paul Lapore.

Thank you, my Piao, for capturing the moments.

67 thoughts on “7th People’s Congress: Spreading the Flame

  1. Carmela Vega says:

    ANg ganda ng view lalo na dun sa torch. Amazing.. Sana andun ako ng panahong iyon. Sobrang nakakainggit! COngratulations sa staff and crew…

  2. jai says:

    ww00Aah! a perfect event f0r all of the generals!
    a night that will last forever in our memories…^_^

    it was a very amazing night, and first time ever that the black oval turns t0 a yellow light!:D
    and we’re s0 thankful for being part of this!

    thank you m0mi j0anna and sir egai!♥

  3. jai says:

    sir paul!!!!!!

    watta’ perfect pictures!!!!
    w000w! i l0ve how you took pic over the yellow flames!!!ahaha!♥
    ang ganda tingnan!!^_^

    m0re pics pra mkita ng lahat!:)

  4. Janeth says:

    it have been a successful celebration and hoping for another celebration to encourage Generals for the change…

  5. Sharon says:

    What a great celebration! Awesome photos! Sana nakapunta kami 😦 Next time, sasama na kami! God bless our city. Thank God He is the God of our city! Praying for our purok, barangay, and city leaders…

    • Sharon, see you in the next People’s Congress! For sure more than 50,000 members na ang FRAME by then. I wonder where the next celebration will take place… For now, let us keep praying for our purok, barangay, and city leaders. Glory to God!

  6. rEg:) says:

    I was definitely amazed with the LIGHTING OF THE TORCHES. It really symbolizes how the FRAME started; with just 23 members, it became 32,000!?! WHEW! This is a manifestation of what imagination, trust, honesty, unity, and faith in God can do. I’m so thankful for being a part of this historical event! 🙂

  7. Froi Morales says:

    My mother is also a member of FRAME and i am very happy for that local government created/made this… its really a big help specially to the poor people of GENSAN… Mahubay ang FRAME at mga OPISYAL nito….. Thank you so much…..

  8. rEg:) says:

    Thanks for sharing this mom. ❤

  9. glenville n. gonzalez says:

    the best performance of my life ever, and the most significant and memorable event for me!

  10. rem herceda says:

    astig!!!…..galing galing naman……..

  11. Raymond D. Balucas says:

    “I wish I was there,watching over thousands of FIREFLIES (torch lighting) flying (spreading) around the Oval Plaza of General Santos City!” 🙂

    “I know that People’s Congress will shine and grow as the year running and I believe the 32,000 members will be growing larger and larger.”

    “Thank you Ma’am Joana Grace Banting-Lapore for making this website availabe. I know God will give all the Christful blessings in life!”

    “I Love It!” 🙂 🙂 🙂

  12. Hannah Nissi says:

    well written te.. so proud of you! the whole world must know this!

  13. ~wOw!! NICE PICTURES!! dAmi pA lAnG mga MyeMbRo ng FRAME..
    mY mOthEr is oNe oF thE mEmBeR in that organizattion..



  15. Vinna Pagbonocan Boholst says:

    This article was great..now my questions last Thursday (11/11/10) [why is that there’s so many people wearing blue and bringing torch with them at the Plaza Heneral?] was answered.I was Informed.

    Thanks for the information ma’am..I learned a lot from you..
    I love you nay..:)

  16. sheryl capecio says:

    wow!…its hard to say beautiful or amazing..cause its more than that… on how to describe … specially when you look from the top… a great formation of light… a night to remember not for me but for all general’s who witness the event and for the people who watch this pic…thanks for our mother mam Banting Lapore..

  17. romarie says:

    wow! so proud and happy for you maam! 🙂 more posts to come!!

  18. carlito says:

    tnx for sharing the event through photography grace..its beautiful indeed :0

  19. joon ruiz says:

    what a memorable event….

    ganda mo ma’am ..hehe…

  20. jayson says:

    i hope that this kind of activities will mark the history of

    GEnsan….not only in our city but also to the world history…

    nay your so BEautiful in the picture i realy2 lyk it!!!!

    hehehehehehe 🙂

  21. Denden says:

    Very Well Said! Wow! Awesome talaga si Lord.. Honestly, di ko napigilan ang sarili ko at that moment…Napaiyak ako because I was Amazed on how the FRAME program and the people brought light into our city. More than 32,000 people’s lives changed including that of their families. The best talaga maglihok atong Ginoo!

  22. Cidy says:

    superb! Dapat isali ito sa Guinness World Records =) I can’t believe ganun kadaming tao, huh!

  23. bernardo d. deatras says:


  24. donna olan-olan says:

    wow!!! what an exciting experience…
    i hope i could be one of the volunteers..

    maam,,i learned a lot from this article,,
    thank you and god bless…

  25. Novie Joy Biñas says:

    galing!!! ma’am joana, is the People’s Congress an annual event here in Gensan?? hope we can also join…

    • Novie, this celebration is an annual event here in Gensan. This early, we are getting ready for the 8th People’s Congress. We are expecting that next year, we are going to increase to as many as 50,000 members or even more. I will keep you posted.

  26. Marilou Consad says:

    I can’t forget this great event happened in Gensan and I’m so blessed and honored to be a part of it. Even until now, I can still capture in my mind what happened that night. We’re having goosebumps seeing thousands of people unitedly lighting their torches. Who will expect that 23 people can be multiplied into a thousand and can even reach the number of 32, 000? Truly, God is working in a very amazing way. We were so blessed with the worship specially with the word that we have heard, all the effort was worth it. It will forever remain in my memory wherever God brings me, and I’m thanking my co-seniors for making it more joyful by working with them, Sir Egai Cadiente, for being his P.A., he taught me wonderful things even in simple ways, and most, Mom Joana Grace Banting-Lapore, for a life-changing insights, advice, encouragement and enlightening words, her life is a blessing and an inspiration to every person she touches. Lastly, I thank God for the lessons I have learned, I am learning and I will learn in the future. May all of us will continue to share our light specially to those people who are experiencing darkness. Be blessed and be a blessing. (:

  27. Mosler Paul says:

    God in His marvelous way took full control of everything:
    the Organizers,
    the Preparations of the Event,
    the Sounds and Lights,
    the BIG Screen,
    the Weather,
    the Host, and
    the People of FRAME!

    Whoa!!! The best event ever happen to Gen. Santos City that I will never forget in my lifetime next to our wedding. It broadens my horizon of endless possibilities!

    I’m so proud of you Love Ko!

    I Love You!

  28. lyod says:

    i salute u ma’am,,,, galing nyo!!!!

  29. ormanganda says:

    nakahilak ko jo! kaines!!! i love gensan! i love life! i love God!

  30. Mark cornell Terante says:

    what will I say? They mentioned all the words that describe this… haha… I’m going to use a Filipino term… “galing”… 🙂 hehehe….

  31. Delfin cuevas says:

    that’s the beauty to have a younger mayor…. with the talents shared…. eggay & joana you did a good job….

  32. nova ascaño says:

    Wow!!!its very nice !!!.Hope i was there to witness that great event here in gensan.hehehehe AMAZING!!!!!

  33. nice pictures sir paul. . . wow, that was so amazing. . .

  34. >. .wow,good job maam. . . nice pictures sir paul .. < WOW that was so amazing ]

  35. Mark cornell Terante says:

    defintitely! hope the leaving of a comment for a new blog would be auspicious for me the next time I’ll check it out… hehehe… basta, “ASTIG”…. o, akin lng yang word n yan ha? walang mnggagaya? hehehehehe… take care Ma’am… 🙂

  36. raselyn says:

    wow..amazing! MAGANDANG GENSAN TALAGA! THANK GOD FOR THIS WONDERFUL EVENT AND BLESS US ALL. Good work ma’am joana and all the people who participated this event…LONG LIVE PEOPLE OF GENERALS.

  37. divine says:

    frame was very nice to read.
    it gives an inspiration to each one of us..

  38. ric says:

    friendship Joana, first and foremost, i would like to congratulate you and to all the people of Generals for a wonderful and amazing event that change and became of an eye openner of everybody; it is really a great leap forward; bringing the HENERALS into ONE! .Indeed, it is a giant leap-forward approach! and a change that assimilate into a next step forward of success…patuloy na isabog at ibahagi ang liwanag upang unti-unti nating makamit ang mithiing kaunlaran, kapayapaan at pagkakaisa! GENERALS support change when we relate to the vision,expect personal gain, give input,respect the leaders and believe the time is RIGHT! as Henry Ford said that coming together is a beginning,staying together is progress and working together is success! MABUHAY AND GOD BLESS GENERAL SANTOS CITY! i love you amazing grace. mwahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  39. JOED MARIANO says:


  40. JOED MARIANO says:

    ..HOnestly,ngayon lang me nkakita ng ganito kagandang unity!!!!!!!!!!!ang ganda pa ng pagkakuha ng mga pictures lalo na ung picture ng mga flames!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i salute!!!!!

  41. Lee Ann says:

    wow! sayang di ako naka attend.

    Go Gensan! Go God, move in Gensan!

  42. …wOw!!fantastico!!!..i can’t believe what i saw..it seems like there’s a fiesta in our cityhahaha.coz there are so many people who joined and enjoyed the celebration.talagang naging umaga ang gabi sa dami ng taong dumalo at may torch pang dala..Wala na akong masabi sa sobrang ganda at napakahusay na pagkakagawa!!.i hope makasali ako sa susunod na celebration..hahaha.ang gaganda ng mga pictures na nakita ko..

    TAKE CARE Maam!!God bless u always!!

  43. Ganda po ng pictures maam,ganda po ng view.Keep up the good work.May God bless you.

  44. princessmanato says:

    wow what a nice events. …ganda ng mga view shots

  45. diarrel says:

    wow.. .so remarkable. .ang saya.God bless

  46. manjo says:

    nice po xa… nong FRAME po yan?…

  47. A pleasant afternoon Ma’am. My mother is also a member of FRAME.
    Ma’am the pictures you posted reminds that in darkness there’s light. The pictures are awesome and excellent images of the congress.
    Good luck for all your upcoming plans and activities. God bless, Ma’am.

  48. batuampo says:

    it’s so nice pictures ma’am!!! sobrang ganda ng mga hosts , and it so great events!!!! sana nakasali ako sa parade nila, so very wonderful events on this night ! ! ! thank you and god bless all !!!

  49. sarah kate batilong says:

    GOD BLESS FRAME!! tears fell in my eyes as I see God’s miracle, this is really a big thing for me. when I was a kid, my father obliged me to save at least 5 pesos a week, it was such a burden for me, from a 10 peso allowance, -10% (1peso) and 1 peso for the savings… so 8 pesos/day.. what in the world can I buy for 8 pesos? but then, now, I realized, that was a God’s first move. God used our family to help millions of people, God answered our prayers, this is really what we desired for, what we cried out to God for years! what we kneeled for every morning at 5, what we talk about at dinner, what I was dreaming every night, this is God’s promise to us, to our family, and He did it! He did it His way! not ours, we faded in the background as He move and take over. from a family of three, then to the whole General Santos? WHAT A MIRACLE! GOD BLESS GENSAN!!! WHOOOO!!!!!

  50. Jun Bibiolata says:

    Overwhelming!.as i recall how FRAME started in 2003..it was just a dream of working with the LGU and its constituents. It was like dreaming of a “Transformed Generals”. I found it joy to be working with the CSWDO and the LGU…indeed i see my dreams become a reality after hearing and listening from the stories of these FRAM partners. Transformation!! is the key for a sustained community developement . I salute those Generals who journeyed with us in achieving the Vision and Mission of FRAME. Let us continue to be the light and models to other communities…

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