Photo by Gladys P. Mangiduyos, UMNS

Alexis John Caguingin holds his trophy after winning the senior division of the National Bible Quiz held in Manila, Philippines.

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National Bible Quiz winner plans to keep studying

By Gladys P. Mangiduyos
Jan. 20, 2015 | MANILA, Philippines (UMNS)

The first-place winner in the senior division of the Ninth National Bible Quiz plans to keep studying the word of God.

“I am so blessed, really, and it will not end here, we will start in small groups,” Alexis John Caguingin said.

He emphasized the phrase “Don’t be afraid” in his verse exposition during the quiz. He noted later that the phrase is mentioned 365 times in the Bible.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, so don’t be afraid,” he said, adding that the message is “the Lord is with us.”

Caguingin was among 29 finalists from all over the Philippines who competed in junior and senior divisions in the Jan. 17, 2015, grand finals at the Philippine Bible Society Auditorium.

The four rounds of the competition include two rounds in which they answer questions about the Bible, and a third round in which contestant recite a Bible verse. In the fourth round, the top five in each round do verse expositions – comprehensively explaining and describing Bible verses.

The theme of the quiz, held every other year, was “Sharing God’s Word, Empowering the Poor, Transforming the Land.”  The United Methodist Church Board of Christian Education and Discipleship sponsors the quiz in partnership with the Philippine Bible Society.

The national competition was started in 1997 as part of the build-up for the celebration of the centennial of Methodism in the Philippines in 1898-1999. It was the brainchild of Baguio Area Bishop Daniel Arichea Jr., who was then assigned to the Board of Christian Education and Communications and was also the chairperson of the Philippine Bible Society.

The partnership between The United Methodist Church and the Bible society has used the quiz to “generate support from the churches and develop interest in Bible reading and study, especially among the youth and children,” said Judge Benjamin Turgano, chairman of the quiz program.

He said the national quiz “aims to raise awareness of Biblical truth among the youth and strengthen the conviction that God’s Word is the basic foundation of a happy and peaceful life in this world.”

Nora Lucero, general secretary of the Bible society, expressed her joy and thanksgiving for the quiz. “By sustaining it consistently for 18 years, I believe we will be able to make it until God’s Kingdom comes,” Lucero said.

The Bible wizards

The winners at the junior level were:

  • First place, Erica Aurelle Arciga, Tarlac Philippines Annual Conference (PAC).
  • Second place, Natasha Gazelle Sico, Pangasinan PAC
  • Third place, Lia Jemimah Gregorio, Central Luzon PAC

The winners at the senior level were:

  • First place, Alexis John Caguingin, Bulacan PAC
  • Second place, John Clarence Pera, Quezon City PAC East
  • Third place, Billy Joe Fortes, North Central PAC

The Bible quiz provides great experience and opportunity, said contestant Jason Mark Dado from Visayas Philippines Annual Conference.

“We will encourage others, we will share our experiences, we will persuade other young people to help them develop their faith in God,” Dado said of his group, which included

Avegail Rose Montecillo and Devorah Grace Garcia, both from Mindanao.

The Coaches

The Rev. Teresita Takot, a coach from Mindanao, said the quiz was a great challenge that needed to be emphasized more.

“Our annual conference shall pay attention on this, not just for the church workers but for the young people,” Takot said.

Coach Rebecca Kathleen Vidal from Pangasinan said the quiz was empowering for the young people. “When we go back to our place, we will help revitalize the local church.”

Nina Arciga, the mother of Erica Aurelle, said her daughter was an accidental participant.

“She was a nanny to her younger cousins and other young people, but when a participant is missing, she took over,” she said.

Bishop Arichea thanked all those who have sustained and supported the program for 18 years.

“We can evaluate and improve this, and probably offer new ways of doing it. We are moving on to perfection,” Arichea said.

Mangiduyos is a correspondent for United Methodist News Service and chair of the United Methodist Church Board of Christian Education and Discipleship.

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