Marck Lester Esto: “Exemplary Young Leader of the Millennium” Nominee


I feel so happy and proud that my cousin has been nominated for the 4th Asia Pacific Luminare Awards as “Exemplary Young Leader of the Millennium”.

The Asia Pacific Luminare Awards is an international organization based in Vietnam. It aims to recognize the achievement of individuals and companies in various fields in the Asia-Pacific region. Its fourth awarding ceremony will be held at the Grand Ballroom of the Okada Manila (Manila’s Grand Icon) on 31Mar2021.

Lester is the Executive Director of a cause in Sto. Domingo, Albay in the Philippines. He leads “Project Tarabangon”, a youth organization aiming to help those who are greatly affected by all kinds of crisis. More info about the project and how to support them can be found here:

I am praying he wins this prestigious award for the betterment of his organization and its beneficiaries. I can already feel the huge impact this award would make towards his beloved Domingueños.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!


Charities You May Consider on Your next Donation


God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) and charity covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Besides donating to local chapels or parishes, My wife and I committed to help other charitable institutions that are very close to our hearts. It’s a culture we want our children to see as they grow up. After all, we are taught to love our neighbor especially and particularly those who are in hard living conditions. It is impossible to help them all but all of us are invited, by the examples of Jesus and the apostles, to help those who are in need.

My wife and I follow these four rules when donating or helping:

  • The donation should cause us happiness because God loves a cheerful giver.
  • Charity covers a multitude of sin. We make sure our donation comes with a prayer and including a petition from God for the forgiveness of our venial sins.
  • Our family’s needs first. If something comes up, then we pause or minimize the amount until we can recover financially.
  • The charity institution should promote moral values.

Because of this, and other reasons too, we are not very consistent with the amount (and the frequency) of help we give but these four organizations are the first ones we think of every single salary day. We love these charities because of the fruitful works they are doing. We can see their dedication as they offer their lives working full time with their beneficiaries whom they consider to be Jesus himself (Matthew 25:31-46).


World Villages for Children

I am a graduate of the Sisters of Mary (or World Villages for Children). I was provided free secondary education, free clothing, free clothes, free spiritual direction, etc. Like myself, only selected (the poorest in local communities) can be admitted to the school. Currently, the Sisters of Mary takes care of about 20,000 High School students in seven countries. And when I say “take care” it means everything including healthy meals three times a day. The program aims for their graduates two things: that (1) with the vocational skills they learned, they can help their parents and siblings financially, and, (2) with the spiritual formation they have, they may be able become witnesses of Jesus Christ in the world.

Missionaries of the Poor

The Missionaries of the Poor started in Jamaica by a diocesan priest Father Ho Lung. He found an absence or lack of family life and a sense of community so he founded the “Brothers of the Poor” in 1981. They aim to build family and community among the poor and disadvantaged. Currently they have 12 mission sites of which three are in the Philippines. For those who want to experience their charity works and their spiritual life one can opt to be a volunteer for few weeks in one of their missions. An experience I have been longing for years!


Caritas Manila

Caritas Manila is very responsive to the urgent needs of Filipinos whenever there are calamities, natural disasters, pandemic, etc. They are also the closest NGO to prisoners. In 2014, close to 8,000 parolees and jail residents benefited from their Pa-Release-Me program which includes paralegal, religious, educational, livelihood, and medical services. Like the Sisters of Mary, they also take care of the educational needs of youths through their YSLEP program. One can sponsor a student for 3,000 pesos a month.

Angat Buhay

This is a new organization led by the current vice president of the Philippines, Leni Robredo. The stories of those who benefited from Angat Buhay are so inspiring. Many have been lifted from extreme poverty to a living that provides sufficient income to support a family. They also have many other programs that benefits lots of people in many different sectors and areas in the country. I hope the program continues with or without her.

Right-minded people feel happy and inspired when seeing posts about charitable works. So, I hope this post inspires you to continue to do your part in helping Jesus in the person of the poor. He is in the homeless, naked, prisoners, sick, hungry, and the thirsty.

Let us serve Christ and the Church in all circumstances!