Pinoys hold prayer vigil for Korean ferry victims

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at May 01 2014 10:38 AM | Updated as of May 01 2014 06:38 PM

The Filipino community gathered for a prayer vigil for the victims of the Sewol ferry disaster at Hwarang Park in Ansan City, South Korea. Photos by Zel Kim

MANILA, Philippines - The Filipino community in South Korea gathered for a prayer vigil for the Koreans who died in the April 16 ferry disaster.

More than 250 Filipinos flocked to Hwarang Park in Ansan City for the "Kaisa: Day of Prayer for Korea" last weekend.

Pastors Levi Arnan led the group of Filipinos in praying for the families and victims of the "Sewol" tragedy, most of which were students from the Danwon High School in Ansan.

"It was a prayer vigil for those who suffered in the sinking of the Sewol ferry two weeks ago and for Korea... We had around 15 different communities gathered representing different Evangelical Christian churches, the Catholic church, students, professionals, workers, multicultural families and others,"Arnan, one of the event organizers, said.

The ferry sank on a trip from Incheon port to Jeju island last April 16. More than 300 people on the ferry have died or are missing, most of them students and teachers from Danwon High School who were on a field trip. The confirmed death toll stood at 187 as of Sunday.

The Filipinos, who wore white, gathered to pray, sing hymns and light candles for the victims.

There was a makeshift shrine at the Hwarang Park, where people can leave flowers, messages of support and yellow ribbons. Yellow ribbons have become a symbol of hope and solidarity for Koreans in this time of national mourning.

"The aim was to show solidarity and support to the affected families of the tragedy and to show that the Filipino people are one with the Koreans in this time of great sorrow, thus the name: KAISA," Arnan said.

Aside from Arnan, the organizers of the prayer vigil were Pastor Ariel Bernardo of the Diaspora International Christian Ministry, Mary Anne Campos of Global Mission Church, Gladys Figueroa of the Onnuri English Ministry, Pastor Maluh Abendan of Jesus Shepherd Ministry and Consul Roderic Atienza from the Philippine Embassy.

The Philippine Embassy, led by the Consul General Iric Arribas, was at the prayer vigil to lend their support.

Other groups that participated in the event include Ansan Filipino Catholic Community (Father Jun Perez), Hyewa Filipino Catholic Community (Father Alvin Parantar), Global Mission Church (Pastor Manuel Abendan), Ansan Filipino Church Soojung (Pastor Henry Arce), Blooming Hills International Church (Pastor Inrico Orbe), Jesus is Lord Church (Pastor Floyd Bautista), PIKO- Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea, Ansan Filipino Taekwondo Association and FILIPOS- Filipino Photographers.