Music & the Spoken Word: A tradition of goodness and faith

It’s the inspiring way the Filipino people deal with adversity — they are resilient, keep going when times are tough and are fueled by faith, Lloyd Newell observes

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This was recorded in the Philippines during the choir’s recent tour and will be broadcast on Sunday, March 17, 2024.

This unique and wonderful land of the Philippines is a crossroads of world cultures and races, a unique mix of East and West. Comprising over 7,000 islands in the western Pacific Ocean, this nation is known for its fertile soil, tropical climate and rich natural resources, earning it the nickname “the Pearl of the Orient.” The Philippines is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth.

One traveler wrote that the Philippines is “a most enchanting country, a land full of … surprises, of magnificent scenery and ideal vegetation, with an assortment of delightful people” (see A. Henry Savage Landor in “The Philippines: A Unique Nation,” by Sonia M. Zaide, 2nd edition, published in 1999).

Indeed, what makes the Philippines truly beautiful is the goodness of its people. Over its long history, this nation of over 100 million people has had its share of challenges and struggles — war, economic hardships, natural disasters. Of course, every nation, every person faces difficulties. That’s not what makes the Philippines unique; rather, it’s the inspiring way the people here deal with adversity.

You see, there seems to be a cultural pride among Filipinos about not letting the storms of life get them down. You can almost sense it in the air. Maybe that’s why the comparison to a pearl seems so appropriate. Oysters form pearls in response to adversity, as they protect themselves when irritants invade their shells. A pearl’s beauty is born of hardship, and so it is with the Filipino people. These are gritty and resilient people. They keep going even when times are tough.

How do they do it? Much of their resilience stems from their tradition of faith in God. The Filipino people love God, and they’ve learned to trust Him. You feel faith here in the Philippines, everywhere. Love, goodness, humility and quiet strength grow out of that faith as naturally as mangoes and sugar cane grow out of the rich soil here. The faith of the people continues to shape this beautiful land.

The same can be true for all of us, no matter the challenges we face. As we deeply trust in the Lord and center our faith in Him, He reassures us, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). That is His promise here in the Philippines and everywhere.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL News Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM (Ch. 143),, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Mountain Time on these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages
The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square’s world tour in the Philippines continues with a concert in the SM Mall of Asia Arena in metro Manila, Philippines, on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

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