STORIES OF FAITH, TALES OF HOPE 

Listeners’ feedback is always a source of joy and encouragement to the broadcast work. Feedback comes in two kinds, namely, reception reports and content feedback. 

Feedback on program content gives the producers an idea as to how the programs are received. These letters have effectively served as chronicles of beautiful and profound stories of faith and hope. 

In war-torn Zaire in the ‘90s, a Rogationist missionary wrote and expressed his gratitude for the program. Amidst the desolation and the anguish of war, he found the broadcast a form of consolation. He was grateful for the daily news that was aired since the whole country has been isolated from all forms of media resulting from the ongoing war. 

A Filipino carpenter working in Eritrea, East Africa expressed his gratitude for the Filipino Service broadcast, especially for the spiritual programs aired. He said that the religious programs have helped him to remain faithful to his family. Noting that in a foreign land where it was so easy to be lured to infidelity, he expressed gratitude for the spiritual programs that consistently guided his moral life. 

A Pampangueña seamstress working in the Middle East found the program as her psychological lifeline as she constantly poured out in her letters the suffering and heartaches she went through. Going hungry and being locked in the house when her employer left were just a few of her travails in a foreign land. When she finally got home to start a new life, she paid RVA a visit and expressed thanks for the support that was given her during those most difficult times. 

Another contract worker based in the Middle East gave assurances that RVA is definitely her station even though she listens to the short wave radio of the Philippine government. She notes that while information and other features could be similar, RVA programs are distinct because of its religious orientation. At times confused with the conflicting concepts of diverse religions, she often writes to the section to get clarifications regarding faith matters. 

Many overseas Filipino workers work right in the heart of the Middle East desert. One listener employed with a Korean consortium based in Libya said that the place has become a good place for soul-searching and that the programs have brought them closer to God. Many listeners have likened the program to an oasis and a refreshing cold drink in the midst of a dry, hot desert. 

Similarly, many seafarers tune in to the Filipino broadcast as they spend months and months in ships. 

As the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People cited the positive role of some 250,000 Filipino seafarers in evangelization, Bishop Ramon Arguelles, chairman of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI), noted that seafarers are known to search out the Filipino broadcast through their powerful radio equipment. Truly, the broadcast has served as a shining beacon in the vast, open seas. 

Feedback of seafarers gathering together in their cabins to hear Holy Mass on Sundays touched the heart. One crew wrote that since his compatriots are on duty and cannot listen to the broadcast, some of those who listen tape the programs, then share it with their fellow crewmembers. 

Another feedback letter shared an interesting anecdote. Since the other Filipino seamen were on duty, what a fellow did was to put the ongoing program in the ship’s loudspeaker. Every Filipino heard the program. 

One listener who has been in detention for five years in Saudi Arabia wrote the Filipino broadcast, seeking for help. He was sentenced to the maximum penalty of death. Consequently, the Filipino Service referred his case to the ECMI as it was in a much better position to render effective assistance to the distressed listener. One year later, this same listener came to visit the producer of the Filipino broadcast who gave him guidance. He is now a free man. It is significant to add that another listener wrote to the section saying that all Filipino inmates in a Riyadh (KSA) jail were all listening to the program. 

A Filipino scholar and agricultural scientist and researcher working in Thailand has faithfully followed the programs of the broadcast. She expressed gratitude for the rich mix of the magazine format of the program. Working alone in her tiny office hut set amidst hectares of rice fields, the Filipino broadcast served as her faithful companion in what seems to be a solitary, lonely job. 

Not all listeners, however, speak positively of all the programs. A Filipino consul based in Vietnam has been critical of the Church’s policy vis-à-vis state matters. He exalted the relationship of the Church and State in socialist Vietnam where the government has a strong say in the religious affairs of the country. 

The Holy Mass is the star program of the Filipino broadcast. In the restrictive Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Filipinos cannot openly worship. Hence, the Eucharistic Celebration on the Air garners the most number of listeners. Listeners write that even when the reception is choppy or is affected by interferences, they continue to tune in to the Sunday Mass. 

In Maldives, Filipinos based in the island congregate in one house to listen together in the Celebration of the Eucharist. 

These types of feedback make the hearts of the Filipino Service’s producers swell with joy and gratitude. Touching the lives of listeners is in itself a complete gift.

Messages through Text Message 

Hello Good Evening to everyone… Drivers of Almarai Farming Transport are very very happy hearing all of your programs… we learn a lot of things from your programs… that is why, right now, I am calling my family back there in the Philippines almost every day to express my love and care to them… and you are right in saying on one of your programs that, love and trust is the foundation of anyone’s relationship… a lot of changes happened to us here, especially my co-drivers here in K.S.A. when we started listening to your programs… take care always, more power and God bless you all R.V.A. 

Arnold Oraiz, Riyadh KSA

Good Evening RVA… more power to you and to all of your programs… a lot of us here are now listening to all of your programs especially here in our office… my colleagues are very happy especially when their names are being mentioned… I hope you will have longer airtime for us to enjoy more of your programs… OFW’s here are suffering from homesickness, but through your station, we are able to smile again even for a short time… thank you very much and God Bless Us All… 

Paul Melencion, K.S.A.

thank you so much to Radio Veritas Asia, for airing the Holy Mass every Sunday… its very refreshing every time we hear the Word of God… which reminds us about our faith and keeps us energized especially now that we are away from home… OFW’s here learns a lot from your programs… especially with our Catholic Faith… regards to everyone… and God Bless Us and RVA… 

Jose Choco, K.S.A.

Excerpts from Listeners’ Messages 

“How is everyone doing? This is Francis Masangkay of Riyadh, KSA. I’m a trailer truck driver and I always listen to your programs. It’s been a big hep for us OFW’s because it makes us happy while here in abroad.” 

Francis Masangkay, KSA

“A pleasant day to all of you at Filipino Service. I am Catherine Ressurreccion, 21 yrs. old. I’m here at Riyadh, KSA a domestic helper from Famy, Laguna. I was very happy when I found out about Radio Veritas Asia. Actually, I always write down everything that I learned from your programs. I record all the sad songs and I also feel that I am in the Philippines. Money can’t buy all the happiness that you did for us. It is so hard to be an OFW. We are far from our families but nothing is impossible to God.”

Catherine Ressurreccion, Riyadh, KSA

“I am an avid listener of Filipino Service. Thank you very much for always bringing us the Holy Mass every Sunday and also the other programs of Filipino Service everyday. Truly you can touch our hearts.” 

Carmelo Rios, KSA

“How are you? Your programs from Monday to Sunday are great and it always take away my sadness especially everytime I listen to the program Holy Mass. It lightens my mood. Thank you very much Radio Veritas Asia.” 

Donna Rebamonte, KSA

“To all the staff of RVA, how are you? I hope and pray that you are all fine. It’s cold here in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and maybe that’s the reason why sometimes there’s no signal. You know our days aren’t complete if we can’t listen to your programs. Ate Shiela you’re the source of our energy. You are our hidden hero because you ease our homesickness. Mabuhay!”  

Danel Joaquin, KSA

“Ate here I am crying because I was carried away by the drama. I remembered my father who cried because he was afraid to let me go and work here in Saudi. But he knows the reason why I have to this because this is also for them and for my future. I salute my father so much because he wouldn’t mind working even if he is sick just so we could got to school.”

Catherine Ressurreccion, KSA

“Ate here I am crying because I was carried away by the drama. I remembered my father who cried because he was afraid to let me go and work here in Saudi. But he knows the reason why I have to this because this is also for them and for my future. I salute my father so much because he wouldn’t mind working even if he is sick just so we could got to school.”

Catherine Ressurreccion, KSA