MANILA, Philippines — What started as a hobby more than a decade ago, has now turned into a cause for veteran ultra-marathoner Ferdie Cabiling.
Cabiling, concurrently serving as pastor at Victory Christian Fellowship, is taking his pursuit to the next level through his latest battle cry, ‘Run Across the Philippines’.
On Saturday, Cabiling, known simply as Pastor Ferdie in the Christian circles, will be celebrating his 50th birthday in Maasim, Saranggani.
There won’t be any lavish celebration on his golden year, though.
Instead, what he promised is a commitment to raise more than P2 million in funds for less fortunate college students through Victory’s Real LIFE Foundation.
“Why am i doing this? I’m doing it for the country because of Real LIFE Foundation,” declared Ptr. Ferdie, during his recent meet-up with bloggers and media at the Every Nation Building in Taguig, Global City.
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“In the Philippines, the main issue is poverty. And when you say poverty, you can define it as the lack of material possession,” he added.
“But the worst kind of poverty is the breaking down of hope in the hearts of our Filipino people because everyday, it’s like, it’s not there anymore. People would say, ‘Why stay here (in the country)? Let’s just go out of the country.”
Real LIFE Foundation, founded in 2007 by medical doctor Joey Castro, is a non-profit organization which is passionate in providing a better future for underprivileged Filipinos by giving them access to good education and transforming communities through community service.
Eight years since its establishment, the foundation is now supporting 250 scholars across the Philippines.
Pastor Ferdie, who has served as a full-time minister for over 25 years, hopes to inspire people to “Run Across the Philippines”, and challenging them to give P1,000 for every kilometer he runs.
Before embarking on this ambitious trans-country race, Pastor Ferdie has logged in several ultra-marathons under his belt, including the 2nd Bataan Death March (102km) and the 160km race in 2013.
Pastor Ferdie credited Catholic priest Fr. Amado Picardal for inspiring him to come up with the trans-country race, where he will be running 50 kilometers everyday, except Sundays from Sept. 5 through Oct. 26.
He is expected to complete his targeted 2,180-kilometer run across the country in Aparri, Cagayan.
Other than just racing funds for Real LIFE scholars, Pastor Ferdie said he will also take the time to pray and bless every city he’ll be visiting during his five-day running expedition.
“I run for the peace of the city by intercession, prayer and gospel proclamation for those in authority,” said Pastor Ferdie, who goes by his Twitter handles @runningpastor and @ferdiecabiling.