Pastor Apollo Quiboloy is not only a trailblazer—breaking the record of being the first to have live TV broadcasts from Mindanao to the world—but is also turning the tide of history by waging a different kind of revolution from Mindanao, the land once known for wars and bloodbath. It is a revolution that gives life and spreads hope – The Revolution of Love.
Good news finally comes from the Land of Promise, Mindanao, and it reaches as far as the Soweto slums in the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. “One man from the Philippines is going to treat all of you to a big birthday celebration for one whole day at the theme park!” the school director announces to the wide-eyed Kenyan pupils clad in their brown uniforms. Loud cheers and stomping on the floors erupted. It is an overwhelming sight.
The cold April wind blows, but Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s team of volunteers from the Philippines feel a sudden shot of warmth piercing their hearts. Such a sight of innocent joy. Such a common vision of pure bliss every 25th of April for the past 13 years since Pastor Apollo Quiboloy has launched a massive celebration solely dedicated for destitute children.
The spirit of giving spreads like wildfire
The power of kindness has spread from one to a million children all over the world. Pastor Apollo Quiboloy often talks about the kindness of the Chinese merchant who helped his family in their need by allowing them to get rice and goods from his store on credit. He has never forgotten that act of kindness. He promised to the Almighty Father that if he will be blessed, he would share his blessings to the poorest of the poor.
Now, his promise has been fulfilled through the ACQ-International Children’s Day, a day when the spirit of kindness and giving is evident and exponentially greater than any act in the world as the gates of Sonshine Land opens to thousands upon thousands of poor children, allowing them to have a day of abundant food, rides, amazing sights, fun and games — unlimited and free to the beneficiaries.
Quiboloy believes that an act of kindness when given to a child in need touches his life in immeasurable ways, grows in his heart, and is passed on to touch others when he is older and able to give back.
The idea behind Sonshine Land
In October 2006, Children’s Joy Foundation Founding President Pastor Apollo Quiboloy personally toured a group of 15 children (his foundation’s scholars) to Disneyland Hong Kong. He couldn’t believe the joy that he saw in their faces, and it moved him deeply. From that moment on, an idea was born in Pastor Quiboloy’s mind that if he could only bring Disneyland to the Philippines, even poor children could experience the same joy.
On April 25, 2007, Pastor Quiboloy upped the ante and expanded the Children’s Day celebration he initiated back in April 2005. Together with hordes of volunteers, he created a mini theme park in Davao City he called Sonshine Land where indigent children could have a day of free unlimited rides, food, drinks, toys, and a view of colorful float parades featuring cartoon characters, princesses, heroes and mascots – something that only the rich could afford. “Bisan sa isa ka adlaw, at least matilawan sa mga batang pobre ang ingon ani nga experience na dili na nila makalimtan sa tibuok nilang kinabuhi,” Pastor Quiboloy explains.
The biggest so far
Ms. Lanie Quirante, in charge of the ACQ-ICD 2018 registration booth, is in awe and shock, as she checks the total number of registered beneficiaries at around 3:30 p.m. Long lines of walk-in attendees reached even the entrance of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport. “We didn’t expect the walk-in guests to be this numerous. Children are accompanied by family members and as of this time, we have 76,000 registered children beneficiaries. Add the family members to that and I think by 7:00 o’ clock tonight, there will be a total of 110,000 inside the Sonshine Land. This is the biggest so far. It’s record-breaking.”
In the International Children’s Day celebration in Davao City, there are too many good things for the indigent children and their families to enjoy for free. The Sonshine Parade is the highlight of Sonshine Land; a vibrant showcase of fantastic floats and energetic dancers along with cartoon characters, princesses, and superheroes fascinate every child who would lay their wonder-filled eyes on them. It’s basically a dream come true for all the children to personally see their favorite characters on TV in front of their very eyes.
The overall performance took hours, days, and weeks to perfect. Each step, each position, and each formation had to be flawlessly executed. But above all this, the Sonshine Dancers are dedicated to present such a memorable gift for all the birthday celebrants. Pastor Quiboloy himself supervised the day-to-day rehearsals even personally handing out meals to the volunteers.
The same festivity in Sonshine Land is replicated every year in Quiboloy’s birthplace, Tamayong, where a mini theme park is also put up every 27th of April and where more than 10,000 upland kids could enjoy a whole day of unlimited treats.
An international celebration of Love
This year as in the previous years, ACQ-ICD is not only celebrated in the key cities of the Philippines but also all over the world in Asia (Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nepal) in the Middle East (Dubai, Qatar, Kuwait, and Israel), in all the 50 States of America, in all the cities and provinces of Canada, in Europe (Sweden, Greece, Spain, Belgium, United Kingdom, Scotland and in Ukraine; in South and Central America (Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru), in Morocco and Cyprus, and as far as Kenya, East Africa. Wherever in the world, whether in the orphanages of Cambodia, in the refugee quarters of Greece and Sweden, in the slums of Brasilia, in the depressed areas of San Jose, Costa Rica, and in the dark alleys of Soweto, Pastor Quiboloy’s Love Revolution brings a powerful message that is beyond a day of celebration. It leaves an indelible mark in the heart and mind of every child, just as the kindness of the Chinese merchant has left a permanent mark in his heart.
In the middle of an ecstatic celebration in a theme park in Nairobi where more than 1,000 African children came, a little girl stood in the middle and delivered an impromptu message, “Our dear Pastor Apollo, you are indeed what we have been waiting for! You came all the way from far (sic) just to come for us to rescue us from some misfortune. When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was naked, you clothed me. This is to say in short, when I was sad, you made me happy!” The crowd broke into a thunderous applause.
She is Asilia, 10 years old, and her message of gratitude represents the deep joy children all over the world feel when they are reminded that no matter how hard and bitter life could be due to poverty, there is someone who remembers them and is willing to go the extra mile just to reach them with the arms of love.