A day before the major solar eclipse of 2017, the sun was full orange as it brightened up the landscape of downtown Toronto. A good day for the ANCOP Walk at David Pecaut Square. ANCOP is an acronym for “Answering the Cry of the Poor” and its mission and vision is to give hope and dignity to the poorest of the poor and alleviate poverty by providing shelter homes and through child education. Ancop Walk started in Vancouver 14 years ago.
It has gone global and in the walk in Canada is done in 18 walk locations. Two walk locations were added this year; Brandon in Winnipeg, and Central Alberta. The mission areas of ANCOP International Canada Inc. include the Philippines, India, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. Work in Ethiopia may begin next year.
More than a thousand happy people mostly with their families came early and busied themselves preparing and decorating the place. Tents were set up; flags, banners, signs and slogans were unfurled, colorful hats and props were brought out and fixed, sound equipment were tested, and then the group gathered and practiced their chants. It is good to shout out their short messages in chants, song and music. The morning was cool and it is a good feeling to be out.
There were about 20 participating groups in the 5 kilometer walk on Sunday of August 20, 2017. The walk was joined by representatives of the walk sponsors; Greatway Financial, the national sponsor, Domics, the regional sponsor, Scotiabank, LBC, PNB, GMA Pinoy TV and Rogers, GTA Silver Sponsors.
Members of the Couples For Christ (CFC) faith group from different chapters across the GTA comprised the majority of the walkers. Ryan Diongco and Tyne Collado of the Singles For Christ (SFC) ministry were the program coordinators and the Kirk Simon and Giselle Victorino emceed the morning program. Francis Baladjay of Brampton led the body tuning exercises with some Zumba music.
The BLD group came in with a strong presence with their own slogans and a large banner. Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF) came with their beauty queens; Carers Ark group was there to show that they care. The winning Canada 150 logo designer, Ariana Cuvin, sang the Canada’s anthem and was enthusiastic in her support of the walk for the poor. Jeline Mauricio sang the Philippine national anthem. Other notable person that came were Senator Tobias Enverga, Deputy Consul General Bernadette Therese Fernandez, MPP Raymond Cho who gave a strong message of support for ANCOP’s work for the poor and his admirations of the hardworking Filipinos, Eddie and Marita Lee of the Atin Ito newspaper also showed up to be counted.
After the exhilarating walk and waves of alternating chants by the participating teams along College and Bay Streets, the group converged back at David Pecaut Square and was served lunch and Halo-Halo by the Crane Express Food Truck; ice cold Cott’s Colas courtesy of Cott Corporation, LBC raffled off a 40” TV., GMA Pinoy Star Glaiza de Castro entertained the audience with a couple of songs.
This was followed by donation cheque presentation by PCCF group and Julienne Candelario, Grade 12 student at Francis Liebermann CHS of the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), who was able to raise thousands of dollars in a gofundme website by wearing a hotdog costume to her prom for the benefit of the poor.
CFC continued the fun with games and music numbers in the afternoon as part of their 23rd anniversary celebration.
Everyone is enjoined to prepare and participate in next year’s 15th anniversary ANCOP WALK. Sponsors and all community group from different cultures are welcome. Please visit ancopcanada.org to know more about ANCOP and it mission to help the poor. Mabuhay!
Submitted by Dan Gutierrez
Photos by July Anopol