Saturday, November 27, 2021

OBITUARY of Dr. Alfonso G. Pablo, Sr.



Alfonso “Alfon” Granadozo Pablo, Sr., 82, went home to be with his Creator, Savior, and Master on November 24, 2021, at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City.

Alfonso was born September 29, 1939, in Camiling, Tarlac, Philippines to Bartolome Pablo and Antonia Granadozo. Alfon is focused and determined. At a young age he was familiar with farming and helped in their rice fields. He learned early the value of planting seeds and hard work. One of his favorite childhood memories he frequently talked about was caring for carabaos (water buffalos) and having them fight while he and his friends rode on them, unaware of the dangers.

His ungodly, self-centered youth days were spent in the beautiful and bustling town of Marbel in Koronadal, South Cotabato. A natural athlete, he played for gamble and competed in volleyball and high jump. God intervened and called him to a life transformed by His grace and to dedicated service in the ministry. For this purpose, he finished his Bachelor of Theology at Wesleyan Bible College in Kabacan, Cotabato, Master of Divinity at Asian Theological Seminary in Quezon City, Doctor of Ministry at Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary in Baguio City, and Doctor of Philosophy at Alliance Graduate School in Makati, Manila.

Rev. Dr. Alfonso G. Pablo, Sr. is an ordained minister of the Wesleyan Church of the Philippines and served as General Superintendent for sixteen years. Before that, he served in various Wesleyan Church ministries as church planter, pastor, Bible College faculty and President, General Secretary of Educational Institutions and Sunday Schools, and Assistant General Superintendent. He also served in various para-church organizations, Bible Colleges, and seminaries namely Philippine Association of Bible and Theological Schools (PABATS), Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Philippine Relief and Development Services, Inc. (PHILRADS), Philippine Association of Christian Education (PACE), PACE Graduate School of Christian Education (PGSCE), Wesleyan Graduate School (WGS), Philippine Bible Society (PBS), Overseas Missionary Society (OMS), Holiness Association Philippines, Philippine Crusade, Every Home for Christ Philippines (EHCP), Asia-Pacific Nazarene Theological Seminary (APNTS), Asian Theological Seminary (ATS), Asia Evangelistic Fellowship Philippines (AEFP), Discipling a Whole Nation (DAWN), Global Transformation Ministries Inc. (GTMI) and the Wesleyan World Fellowship (WWF).

His retirement years were spent on being a resource speaker and adjunct seminary professor, helping organize a group of retired ministers called Capacity Assistance League for Elders’ Best (CALEB) with the mission of encouragement and mentorship, spending time with his children and grandchildren, tending his garden in New Tanza, and writing his four signature books: Transforming Leaders, Transforming Households, Transforming Believers, and the last one Transforming Faith which is still in his own handwriting form.  This one he fervently crafted daily for long hours and sacrificed sleep to get it done and hopefully published before God calls him Home. God decided it was time for him to rest, so with the family’s pledge to get it done, he went into a deep sleep and his spirit returned to his Maker.

He is survived by his wife and best friend of 53 years, Filipina “Fely” Arciaga-Pablo of Antipolo, Rizal; four children and their spouses Shinar Fe and Jofre, Alfonso Jr. and Alma, Alvin Wesley and Sheila, Aldean Wayne and Jessica; twelve grandchildren Shekinah and Josh, Alfonso III, Ava Raphaella, Alijah Faith, and Alfonso IV, Zygfryd Jon, Neome Eilah, and Alshley Jia, Eleazar Wayne, Gabriel James, and Ephraim Silas; and his sister Consolacion Pablo.

Memorial services will be held at The Haven of Angels in Antipolo, Rizal on the following dates: November 26, 27, and 28. The final memorial service will be held at Rosales Wesleyan Bible College Pangasinan this November 30.

Dr. Alfonso G. Pablo Sr, a Brief Eulogy


Another hero of the Christian faith has gone home at age 82. He was regarded as a man of holy character, a visionary leader, a mentor, a preacher, a theologian and a servant. 

The first time I heard him preach and teach in the mid-90s, I thought if there is a man of integrity I like to emulate; it would be this man.  When I got married, I asked him if he’ll do the ceremony and become of my ninongs. He, the General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church of the Philippines was kind enough to travel by bus from Manila to Sinipsip, Bakun Benguet. That was about 12 hours of travel.

December 1999, GMM Chapel, Sinipsip Bakun Benguet

Being the bishop of the Wesleyan church of the Philippines, I sat in many of his lectures and listened to many of his fiery messages. I consider him to be one of the best Filipino preachers I've ever heard. You cannot sit in his lectures without being inspired and motivated. You cannot listen to his passionate preaching without being convicted and challenged. Yet, if there was a man who epitomized a holy character it was Dr. Alfonso Pablo. His integrity was unquestionable. His visionary leadership was undeniable. His thirst for knowledge was unextinguishable and his passion for God was unmistakable! He has inspired and mentored many. I am one of the numerous lives he has touched and this cannot be over emphasized. He had left an indelible imprint in my heart; the man he was. While many leaders were falling by the wayside, he remained a clarion of the holiness preaching. 

In his message posted on Facebook, Dr. Jun Vencer, the former General Secretary of the Philippine Evangelical Church (PCEC) writes,

 "Dr. Alfonso Pablo, Vice-Chairman of Global Transformation Ministries Philippines, author, theologian, and leader. He was a devoted husband and a godly father. Personally, he was a dear friend and faithful co-worker. He was a thinker and deeply rooted in the evangelical faith.  He had a transformational vision for society and a passion for souls. His commitment to the local church and church planting was central to his mission. Hours of discussion on various issues had helped shape my own worldview for which I am indebted. We will miss him but his legacy will continue to influence many evangelical leaders into the future."

Dr. Pablo will be missed greatly. But because he had lived his life to the fullest, even though he was not present from the body, he is present through his legacy. 

Dr Pablo earned two doctorates; Doctor of Ministry in Practical Theology (1982) and Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Theology (2019). He has published 3 books since 2010. Transforming Leadership (2010), Transforming Households (2014) and Transforming Believers (2020). He was working of his fourth book, Transforming Faith. Hopefully this will be published soon.  If there’s a fifth book I would want him to write, it would be Transforming Preachers. That is no longer an option but perhaps one of his protégés can make that possible!

Earning his doctorate in Philosophy at the age of 80, two years shy away from his death just prove his insatiable thirst for knowledge. I am 50 and I have not earned any yet. 

By the way, Alfonso G. Pablo Sr. was the first entry I made on Wikipedia in November 2011. The article has been edited since. 

I guess my only regret is that I penned these words after he is gone and he won’t be able to read them.

Thursday, November 4, 2021


In this post, I am going to share a true story of a relentless woman, I call Ms D who had lost her phone, a Samsung Galaxy A6 in a Grab Tuk Tuk in one of the streets of Phnom Penh. This happened this last few days.

On Thursday evening, I received a message from Ms D asking me to call a certain phone number. Upon inquiry, she told me it’s her phone number but was taken by a dishonest Grab driver.
Ms D lost her phone inside a Grab tuk tuk on her way to school on Thursday morning. Upon realizing it, she called her own number immediately but was unreachable. Someone must have taken out the SIM card right away. She called the driver and the driver denied seeing the phone in his tuk tuk. Ms D filed a complaint at the Grab office and arranged for a meeting with the driver. She also reported the incident at the police station in Bang Keng Kang, but the police officers refused to take any action because it’s only a cell phone.

As per policy, a police officer must be present at the Grab office during the meeting. Ms D’s TA (teacher assistant) found a police officer from another station and he appeared at the Grab office to help. At the Grab office, the driver adamantly denied seeing or getting the phone. That if he had seen it, he would have returned it. Without evidence, nothing was accomplished during that meeting.

Ms D told the grab driver outside the office that if he returns the phone she’ll pay him back. She was thinking of paying him at least $100 to redeem it. The driver still deny getting the phone. He told her that she should pay him instead for wasting his time calling for a meeting at the Grab office.
What the driver didn’t know was that Ms D won’t just give up easily. She’s a fighter. What's with that cheap cell phone anyway that she won’t just let it go. Her friends and relatives told her just to give up the fight, let the phone go and get a new one. Why stress or even endanger yourself? Well, she actually bought her a new one but giving up on her old phone was not an option.

Suddenly, she had an idea. She went online and tracked the location of the phone. The built-in GPS showed the last location of the phone by St 202. When I saw the location posted on her Facebook account, I thought it looked like it was taken to Kleang Romsiew. This place is famous for second hand phones where you can trade in phones. It’s also infamous for stolen ones.

On Saturday, Ms D went to look where the phone was taken to. After several attempts, she found the place and to her surprise it’s a phone shop. Pretending not being able to speak English well, she just pointed at the CCTV in front of the shop. At first, the people didn’t understand what she wanted; but she kept pointing at the CCTV. The owner of the place came, and after chatting with him, he finally agreed to show and give the CCTV footage to her.

Then she explained why she wanted the footage because her phone was stolen and that there are important documents and files. The CCTV footage show the grab driver di take the phone there at about past 10:00 on Thursday morning to have it reformatted, erasing all content. The driver stayed for 45 minutes trying to wait. The phone guy couldn’t unlock the phone easily so he told the driver to leave and come back in the afternoon. Another guy came back late in the afternoon to pick it up. After the phone was reformatted, its location was no longer traceable.

With solid evidence in her hand, Ms D called me up and asked me if a Khmer person can go with her as a witness at the Grab office. Because everyone was busy I decided to go. The grab office was closed because it’s a holiday. So we just stayed in front of the office as she began to tell me what happened. When she told me all that she did, I was impressed by her relentless effort and courage to get the evidence. She even told me that the owner of the shop is willing to come and testify if needed.
Ms D, however, was also concerned about her safety. What if the Grab driver will try to take revenge and will do something bad to her if he loses his Grab registration. So we devised a strategy; not to put shame on the driver if he was found out to be the culprit. Perhaps we can call the driver and tell him that we found evidence that he did take the phone. If he would return the phone, then we would drop the complaint. Ms D did not agree about this at first but she said, she will think about it. In the afternoon she called the driver through a Khmer neighbor to test the water and to arrange a meeting at the Grab office on Monday because she found evidence. The grab driver threatened Ms D that if she is unable to provide solid evidence, he would file a complaint against her at the police station instead. With the driver’s reaction, it is best to proceed with the meeting on Monday, but call the guy who reformatted the phone and the owner of the shop to come to the Grab office and testify.

On Sunday, Ms D went back to the shop and talked to the owner if he could come to the Grab office on Monday. He agreed to go but the other one was scared to go. He even told Ms D not to create a problem for just a cell phone. This reinforces Ms D’s worry that the driver might do something so she wanted to change house for security purposes. I said there was no need to move to another house.
On Monday, MS D wanted more evidence. She went to the salon shop near her school if she could get the CCTV footage when the driver dropped her off last Thursday morning. After waiting till 10:00 am, the footage didn’t show any relevant evidence.
I made it to the Grab office at about 10:30, but the driver wasn’t there. “Perhaps he is on a trip” the staff muffled. While Ms D was talking to the Grab staff, I talked to a rich-looking young man in a white polo shirt with black pants and black shoes. He was smartly dressed so I said, Sir, are you from the shop? “I am,” he said. “What about you, are you from the police?” he replied. “ I am not. I am a friend of Ms D.” “You must have been in Cambodia for a long time because you speak khmer very well”. I said, “only 18 years”.

While waiting for the driver, the man in white was called to show the CCTV footage to the staff and made some explanation. From a distance, I watch the footage while he's showing it to the staff. The staff told him if he could send them the footage, only a part of it because the guy stayed there for 45 minutes.

Sitting next to the man in white, I asked him, “so do you sell mobile phones as well? To show good faith, I thought I would visit his shop and check on what mobile phones he sells. He said, “no. I don’t sell mobile phones.” I was perplexed. And then he said, “I am the owner of the market.” I was speechless for a few seconds. “I owned 57 shops at Kleang Rom Siev." I replied, “You are a big guy.” “Not really,” he said.

Then I thought to myself, who is Ms D that she could command the owner of the market to come to the Grab office to testify for a lost cheap cell phone? I said cheap phone because the owner of the market told later that the price of that phone according to the seller is about $25-$30 only.

Even Ms D, didn’t know that this man in white owns the market. She thought she only owned the shop where her phone was taken to and reformatted. Still, no word from the driver.
Finally, the staff was able to contact and locate the driver. Unfortunately, it may take an hour before he gets to the office. So we were all advised to leave and come back within an hour. The man in white did his part and requested if it was okay not to return. Before we left, I told the staff, “all that Ms D needs is to have her phone back and she is willing to pay the driver as well. Please let your driver know this.” Then we all left. I went out and did some walking while waiting.
At 12:15, Ms D called me to return to the office because the driver had arrived. Upon arriving, I recognized the driver immediately. How did I know? It's a coincidence that he was wearing the same clothes and pants he had last Thursday, the ones I saw in the CCTV footage. How could he ever deny it.

We have one more problem to overcome. The Grab staff told us that a police officer must come as per policy. I thought another guy told us earlier that we can only go to the police if the driver will still deny even with the solid evidence. The good thing was, Ms D’s TA already mentioned to the same police officer who was there last Thursday to come to the Grab office again at 10:00. But he wasn’t there yet. So I had to call him if he could come or else we will have to look for another officer. He said he is on his way.

The police officer arrived in pure black uniform, with a gun strapped on his left side. He said, “I’m sorry for being late because we had to guard the streets while the Prime Minister was in a meeting and I could only come when the meeting was over.”

He sat down and read the police blotter. Then asked Ms D to present her evidence. He listened patiently through the interpreter and then turned to the driver and said, “what can you say about this?” The driver said, “I admit I went to that shop only to take a passenger.” The driver still adamantly denies taking Ms D’s phone.

Ms D took out a piece of paper from her bag containing more evidence. She has more evidence? She does. It's the phone's memory card and a Philippine SIM card that she had retrieved at the phone shop where her phone was taken into. Fortunately, the shop seller was able to retrieve it from the trash bin and gave it back to her last Saturday.

Again how did Ms D gather all her evidence, playing the detective role, and all by herself? It was pretty impressive. Even the police officer was impressed by how she was able to obtain CCTV footage from the owner of the market and to have the market owner come to the Grab office to witness.

At this point, the police raised his voice a bit and told the driver, “here is solid evidence of a CCTV footage with you wearing the same clothes and with witnesses that you took the phone there. How can you still deny it? With this evidence and witnesses, you can go to prison.

All of a sudden, the driver changed his tune and said “I admit I took the phone but I did not steal it on purpose because it was left in my tuk tuk. I didn't mean to steal it.” The police said, “Now that you admit it, admit it totally.” The driver finally confessed what he did in front of us all.

He added, "I don’t know why I did that. For 3 years I have had many passengers forgetting their phones in my tuk tuk but I returned them all. This is the first time I did this crazy thing. I don’t understand myself.” Then he looked at Ms D and said I’m sorry. He looked at me and the Grab staff and said the same thing.

Ms D replied, “I have forgiven you already. All I need is to have my phone back and I will pay you as well.” The staff said, do you really need to pay him? “It’s okay”, Ms D said.

The officer asked the driver where is the phone right now? All we know is that had sold it to someone at a cheap price. But he did not sell it and it's at his house. The question is where is his house? How far? Only 16 kilometers away.

Ms D said, “if you go and get it, we will wait." He was getting ready to go but the police told him to contact someone to bring it in order to save time. I handed him my phone and called someone who's at work to go to his house, take the phone and bring it to the Grab office. We had to wait for about 30 minutes.

While waiting MS D asked the Grab staff what would happen to the grab driver after this meeting. “As for me, as long as I get my phone back it’s up to the police and the Grab Company what they want to do to him.” Grab staff said that as per policy, the driver will be banned from Grab. He won’t be a part of them anymore. Ms D asked the staff if they can give him a second chance so that he will not lose his job. The staff said, “we cannot promise because we have another team who decides on this issue.”

The police asked MS D what she wanted about this case. She said “all I need is my phone back”. The police explained that if Ms D pressed charges, based on the crime committed, the driver could go to prison for 6 months to 1 year. Upon hearing this, the driver broke down and then wiped his tears. He came and knelt down in front of Ms D and begged forgiveness. MS D told him, "it’s okay. I have already forgiven you". Then she gave him a hug. In such a time as this, you will forget that Covid still exists. Well, everyone is fully vaccinated so it’s okay I guess.
While sitting, the police asked me series of questions. You’ve been here long, what do you do? I said, "I am a follower of Jesus. I work with churches. Have you heard about Jesus or Christianity?" One of the Grab staff interrupted and said, “are you a Christian? I said, “yes. we are”. With smile, the lady Grad staff replied, “I am a Christian too." The police officer again asked more questions whether or not Ms D was single. How old was she? Was she fully vaccinated? What about the booster shot? If she was not, he is willing to take him and get her booster shots.
The person assigned to take the phone finally arrived at the office. We asked the driver to hand the phone over to Ms D so we could take a picture as evidence that the phone was returned to the rightful owner. There was a display of emotion during this moment.
The effort Ms D exerted in all of these, the people she involved or bothered, the lessons learned and the friends made are memories to cherish. Perhaps not a cheap phone after all!

But what happened after this? Did Ms D pay the Grab driver? Did she press charges? Did Grab remove the driver from its list? What about the police officer? Watch out for part two.