After a year on the airwaves and 21 unforgettable episodes in the books, Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM’s fan favorite program, The Parable Café, finally marked its milestone first anniversary last November 9th.
Beloved by audiences for its lighthearted yet deeply profound ‘coffee table conversations’, Fr. Ro Atilano SJ’s Tuesday talkshow came at a time when many listeners were seeking much-needed encouragement and inspiration.
“At the start of the pandemic, Fr. Nono Alfonso asked me to have my own program at Radyo Katipunan. I asked him to give me some time to pray over it well,” recalls JesCom’s Associate Director of his brother Jesuit’s timely invitation.
“During our conversations, we thought that we needed something inspiring during the pandemic, something light and conversational.”
With the show’s concept already in mind, all it took was a little tweaking and a bit of creative assistance from helpful sources to eventually land on The Parable Café’s catchy title.
“He (Fr.Nono) came up with the idea of Modern Parables: Stories that Inspire. I thought it was good,” recounts the ‘Miracle of the Ordinary’ author.
“I then shared the idea with Justin Pontino of Radyo Katipunan and he liked it. He was the one who suggested the title of the program: The Parable Café.”
Since lockdowns were still in effect at the time of The Parable Café’s inception, Fr. Ro leaned on his imagination to redesign his bedroom and give it the look of a friendly, neighborhood coffee shop. The project turned out wonderfully, as it set the stage for a memorable pilot episode.
“I invited Ms. Sabrina Ongkiko as my first guest via zoom. It was a huge success, as a lot of people watched the first episode,” fondly recounts the former head of the Ateneo de Manila High School’s Campus Ministry Office.
“It was a confirmation that it was something that people wanted to listen and watch during this time of crisis.”
In the following months, The Parable Café would go on to host several memorable personalities, each with their heartening story to share. From lessons on life’s second chances, following one’s heart and holding on to hope, Fr. Ro’s guests have certainly made their mark on the program and touched his heart like never before.
“The episode with Ms. Hidilyn Diaz was definitely one of the best. I was starstruck of course,” he excitedly shares.
“But what made me cry during the show were the ones with the Deaf Ministry of Fr. Khim Caermare and the inspiring life story of Ms. Ellah Galon, the one who worked as a clown in order to finance her studies,” he warmly remembers.
“I also love the onsite visit to the Pawssion Project in Bulacan. That was memorable too.”
As more viewers and visitors flock to The Parable Café for their weekly cup of inspiration and hearty conversation, Fr. Ro reminds audiences of the uplifting insights and realizations behind each episode.
“Life is difficult but it is still beautiful. The human spirit is indomitable. Those are the life lessons that I have learned and continue to learn,” he affirms.
“I thank Fr. Nono for encouraging me to do this. I thank Justin for the same enthusiasm he has and for his creativity which continues to amaze me till now. I thank Teo and James for the technical assistance. I thank the featured guests whose stories inspired so many people,” he gratefully expresses.
“Most of all, I thank the regular audiences and loyal fans who continue to hope despite the many challenges in life and share this hope to the people around them by supporting the Parable Café.”
The Parable Café airs on Radyo Katipunan 87.9 FM every Tuesday, 3:30 to 4:30 pm.
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