Alma Villacarlos

Personal and Ministry Background:

Baguio is a chartered city in the northern Philippines, on northern Luzon Island, geographically in Benguet Province. It has an elevation of 1372 meters (4500 feet) and with hot springs nearby. It is also the chief mountain resort and the summer capital of the Philippines. Baguio is also called the City of Pines. It is the center of the chief gold-mining region of the country. Many handicrafts are produced in Baguio, and the City Hall Museum displays artifacts of the local Igorot people. The city is the site of the Philippine Military Academy, the University of Baguio (1948), and Saint Louis University (1911). Baguio was designed in 1905 by the American architect Daniel H. Burnham. Today, the population has reached to 300,000 approximately.

Baguio is home to a significant number of students coming from neighboring Cordillera provinces as well as from other North Luzon provinces. The student population in colleges and universities totals to 65,000 to 70,000. The continuing influx of students only attest to the City’s stature as an educational center in North Luzon.

It was the year 1996 when, in obedience to God’s command in Matthew 28:19-20, to “Go, and make disciples…”, I packed my bags from Davao, Mindanao and headed off to Baguio City in North Luzon. I shared the Gospel to the students of Saint Louis University and University of the Philippines College Baguio. Since then, majority of the students God gave me to disciple with have graduated from college and are now working in Manila and in their provinces. It is a joy to see them leading a Christ-like life and showing integrity in their respective workplace. I continue to follow up these alumni through regular visitations and through text messages. And every year, new collegiate students are being evangelized and followed up through dischipleship Bible studies. Indeed, the Lord has been true to His promise to me in Isaiah 54:1 (given before I entered the full-time ministry), “Sing, o barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” Praise be His Name!

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