Quezon City, Philippines, October 4, 2017. Fray Mike Plana, one of the founders and a most sought-after advisor of FSDPI (Filii Sancti Dominici Philippinensis Inc.) hosted a dinner party to honor one of Filii’s own sons, the newly ordained priest, Rev. Fr. Jestoni Porras. Fr. Jestoni was ordained priest on October 18, 2017, by His Excellency Bishop Paul Terrio of St. Paul in the diocese of Alberta, Canada, where he continued his priesthood studies after leaving the Dominican Order of Preachers. The event was held at the Plana’s residence in Loyola Grand Villas, Quezon City, Philippines, attended by Filii brothers, Dominican priests, friends and families of Filii. Among those in attendance were Fr. Arpee Urquico, from the diocese of Alberta, Fr. Rey Adalid, the revered “ama” of Filii who recently joined Filii North America’s biennial reunion in Canada, and fray Jimmy Cura, the most respected Filii advisor. Fr. Jestoni’s vocation to the priesthood is well founded on the following biblical quote:
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you” -John15:16
The joint thanksgiving-welcome-sendoff party started with cocktails served at around 6:00 pm. Fr. Jestoni roused the guests with his thanksgiving address speech and concluded by blessing the food. He thanked the Plana family for their generosity. “Mas grande pa ang handa ni Fray Mike kesa sa thanksgiving party ko sa Tulunan (Fray Mike’s party offered in my behalf trumped up the one I had back in Tulunan)” admits Fr. Jestoni, referring to the long table full of many varieties of food. Fr. Jestoni was born in Tulunan, North Cotabato, where he returned to celebrate his first thanksgiving mass following his ordination to the priesthood in Canada.
The occasion also served as the usual venue to a jovial Filii fellowship where members from as far as Bicol and other outlying areas in the greater metro Manila came to celebrate. A two-member band, Paul Sotto and his songstress provided live music and accompaniment for those who rose to sing live up front, ala videoke style. The band accommodated at least one to two songs per Filii members, most notably of which was the unofficial Filii theme song, “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, sung by all Filii members present.
The celebration finally eased to a conclusion, but not before the Filii brothers sat together to table the regular meeting agenda scribed by fray Neff Tamondong.