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U.S. West Coast Regional Unity Games Pt. 2

Nine ecclesiastical districts... various states along the U.S. West Coast... hundreds of athletes... united in one purpose, to let the Unity Games begin and continue in unity! In part two, meet an ambitious young black belt from Phoenix, Arizona— both a champion in the sport of taekwondo and in her faith.


U.S. West Coast Regional Unity Games Pt. 2

Richie Ferrera: Welcome back to INC News World as we continue this very special episode, where we’re covering the Regional Unity Games happening here in the US!


Jonel Corpus (Mountain States): They are, we are, the future of the Church.

Arianna Llamas (Hawaii-Pacific): I’m thankful because the Binhi and Kadiwa organization and the years that you spend as a Binhi and Kadiwa are probably the most memorable.

Leinan Arreola (San Diego County): Being a part of this type of occasion and event, it’s really memorable.

Sean Carlos (San Diego County): Even in a sport that divides teams, it really helps us connect to each other and show our love for sports and our love for each other.

Brother Hanzl de Dios (Supervising Minister, Ecclesiastical District of Orange County, California): It’s different from the way we see it outside the Church in which they do whatever they can do to win. Even though they probably have to resort to hurting others, in the Church, it’s different because we’re bound by the laws and commandments of God. And we’re so thankful to our Almighty God and the Church Administration for always guiding us.

Brother Serginio Bayani Jr. (Supervising Minister, Ecclesiastical District of Washington State): The unity and that love that we felt throughout these two, three days, is something that I know our young brothers and sisters will never forget for the rest of their lives.

LJ Inocencio (Mountain States): We’re commemorating the 50th anniversary of the AKadiwa and Binhi organization. There are nine districts here gathered in OC, just to be able to compete, just to be able to have fun, in the love of brotherhood, especially in a sporting environment. This is huge… it’s a great blessing.

Casey Emory (Washington State): Definitely to be thankful that we have this opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Binhi and Kadiwa, and it’s a very eventful occasion, and I’m glad that all the Binhi and Kadiwa are able to participate in this type of activity.



Richie Ferrera: Michelle, it’s been an eventful past few days.

Michelle Peredo: It has Richie and actually if we take it back, this three day event started with a worship service, after there was a chance for everyone to socialize. And it’s been inspiring to see everything play out. And to reunite with so many people that we haven’t seen in a while.

Richie Ferrera: And to reunite in so many because there are so many different kinds of sports and events that are bringing even more people together. Speaking of those events, I think one of them is martial arts, which you kind of know a little thing or two about?

Michelle Peredo: I do Richie. It takes me back to the International Unity Games that was held in the Philippines in 2015, and I got a chance to participate in the sport of Taekwondo.

Richie Ferrera: That’s so cool.

Michelle Peredo: To say the least, but that takes us to our next story, where I was able to meet an inspiring young woman, and how she was able to participate in the sport of Taekwondo. Let’s check it out.

Olivia Bondoc (Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): I’ve learned how to really protect myself, especially because I’m a teenage girl.

Michelle Peredo: Side kicks high above her head, Olivia a 13 year-old black belt from Phoenix, Arizona, was among competitors at today’s regional Unity Games, where I was fortunate enough to be one of the other competitors alongside her.

And says she was excited when she heard that this sport would be an event for the first time in the region.

Olivia Bondoc (Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): I’m really in love with it, like martial arts. Well, I normally don’t compete. I was like well I’m going to try it, this has never been a thing for Unity Games.

Michelle Peredo: Competing in the Poomsae, or forms of event, a sequence of defense and attack moves, in the martial art of Taekwondo, and where other athletes put their best feet forward and high. Others present were those like Nelson, a martial artist currently working in the film industry in Orange County.

Nelson Trinidad (Professional Martial Artist, Regional Unity Games: Taekwondo): I’m a black belt in Karate, and right now I’m doing my Kali, which is “CATS”— it stands for Combative Arnis Tabak Society. And most of our movies are mixed with all martial arts. So much fun because as a martial artist, we do apply that in the movies.

Michelle Peredo: And today as a judge for today’s competition, he’s excited that the Church continues to move forward, especially in events like these.

Nelson Trinidad (Professional Martial Artist, Regional Unity Games: Taekwondo): We’re heading in the right direction, all these activities now, it’s progressing right now.

Michelle Peredo: And for MJ, a convert, he attests this event as the perfect opportunity for him to participate in his passion.

MJ Toreja (Martial Artist, Northwest California): Number one is being able to unite with the Church Administration, because this brings me closer to a lot of brethren. It’s good camaraderie and as well, strengthens our faith together.

Olivia Bondoc (Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): I was just really happy that Binhi and Kadiwa could do activities like this. Makes us more connected with the Church and all the brethren here.

Michelle Peredo: But an activity that Olivia and her family, as her father Ryan tells me, almost didn’t make.


Ryan Bondoc (Olivia’s Father, Phoenix, Arizona): We lost my father last week through a battle of cancer. We were like maybe we just shouldn’t go to the Unity Games.

Michelle Peredo: But they decided to move forward with their presence at the Games.

Ryan Bondoc (Olivia’s Father, Phoenix, Arizona): You know, in my head, it was just, “Keep moving forward”. Glad that we did, even though we’re still transitioning and processing. We’ve ran into so many happy faces, also received a lot of condolences and knowing that support is here, in the Church– it’s been helpful. We also want to show the kids that even no matter what happens in their life, even if we have plans, we always put God first.


Michelle Peredo: Putting God first– a value as parents that Ryan and Alona have always tried to impart to their children.

Alona Bondoc: Even if everything’s going great in life, you’re still doing the activities that are planned out. Even when there’s bad things going on in life, you’re still going to do it. And that’s what the kids are going to see.

Michelle Peredo: And with her parents as role models, Olivia continues to prioritize her faith, as a Binhi officer in her local congregation.

Olivia Bondoc (Binhi Officer, Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): We have a lot of Binhi [members] in my local. I want my faith to be strong, so that for the Children’s Worship Service [members] and little kids, I can just give that to them, so that way, they can grow in their faith, too just like how I did.

Michelle Peredo: Winning gold in her division, Olivia is more importantly a champion, in her faith. And as the Bondocs continue to grieve the loss of their father, his legacy lives on as another example of faith to their family.

Ryan Bondoc (Olivia’s Father, Phoenix, Arizona): We’re not sad but we’re happy he’s finished his race. And he was one of our, you know, my role models in regards to his faith in Church, and his duties. My dad always told me, God first, and now I want to instill that into my kids.

Olivia Bondoc (Binhi Officer, Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): God has just always been there for me, especially with a lot of hard times. God being there for us and being there for the family just helps us cause he’s always there for us.

Michelle Peredo: While Olivia’s faith continues to progress as she grows, the Church will also continue to progress, adding more sports, including lesser mainstream ones to be featured in activities like Unity Games, bringing even more members together.

Olivia Bondoc (Binhi Officer, Martial Artist, Phoenix, Arizona): It makes me more excited like, “What will the Church add next?”

Michelle Peredo: Michelle Peredo for the Iglesia Ni Cristo News Network.



Michelle Peredo: Catch the continuation of this special coverage of the West Coast Regional Unity Games in part 3. We’ll see you there!

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U.S. West Coast Regional Unity Games Pt. 2