#Hack4PH: Taking Another Step of Courage towards a brighter future

According to the event’s page in Facebook, and i quote

The National Government Portal (GOV.PH) and its partners invite everyone to join Hack4PH: The 1st Philippine e-Government Innovation Challenge. Hack4PH is a nationwide competition that aims to co-create innovative and citizen-centered solutions of the future. The event will be held from November 23-26, 2018 at (to be determined). To prepare participants for the event, a Pre-Hackathon Workshop will be conducted on November 10, 2018.

I signed up and I never expected that I would be one of the participants. Not until the National Government Portal posted a note of the qualifiers last November 8, 2018.

PICTURE EDITED FROM THE National Government Portal Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/national-government-portal/

The chance of meeting like-minded people was always been my desire. It fulfilled my goal of upgrading myself with knowledge and skills I’ve gained during the three-day hackaton.  The fact of sharing ideas and pulling off an app in less than 3 days to help Filipinos in a way were the main core of this event, I think.

It was a surprise that Mom and Dad allowed me to go because they have been so protective of their lil girl.  I already knew that they would not allow me but through prayers, they became supportive. I did all these calculated risks because we needed the money for my dad’s medication. Yes, He is still fighting Chronic Kidney Failure and undergoes dialysis 3 times a week.

Although we did not won, God gave opportunities. A lot. As in.

Back to the blessing of being one of the qualifiers, I had a lot of fun learning a lot from my groupmates, my co-qualifiers, and our mentors. Aside from that, I gained new friends and learn from them.

This blessing of being one of the participants wouldn’t be possible without National Government Portal, CIOF Foundaion, NEDA, Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training,  DICT – Luzon Cluster 2, DICT, Mayor Arman Dimaguila and Ate Des Dimaguila.

As we move forward with the development of our mobile app, we are certain that we can make a different perspective on sharing food.

Here are some of my experience caught in photos:

more pictures on my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/racquelsarahcastro/

Met one of the mentors too after the event. Mr. Gideon Ponio. I gave him my book and encourage him to write a book too.

We had a chance to pitch our solutions to CIO Conference last December 6, 2018 at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Quezon City!

From the note of National Government Portal, i quote

George Kintanar, chairman of the CIOF Foundation, explained why the Foundation supports Hack4PH and the DICT. “We want to harness the best of Filipino brains to have the best solutions for the Filipino,” he said.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/notes/national-government-portal/hackathon-winners-pitch-solutions-at-cio-conference/2052455655046021/

Special thanks to Ms. Lou, Mr. Christian, Ms. Aaliya, and Sir Florante for the assistance they gave me.

To my team, thank you for the memorable times. we will surely have more moments to nurture our friendship. Thank you

I want to join again next year if that would be possible.


Seed of Faith: Sharing my graduation speech

Seed of Faith

Once there was a girl, living the dream she aspired to accomplish. she had rough times but she trusted God.  Graduation Video. Be blessed and thank God after watching this. God bless you!

Trust God in all your endeavors. Pray and move mountains with Him.

From Bliss to Continuous Battle

Dad has been suffering from Chronic Kidney Failure. He started his dialysis merely two years ago. I know we had financial struggles but through the help of kind-hearted people, we breakthrough that. Last year, merely July, we started paying in cash because Philhealth covered 90 sessions only. The fact that Dad had been hospitalized, the 90 sessions were reduced.

Dialysis is life. We just accepted and turned to a solution. We have to have 10K per week. That doesn’t include injections, medicines and other expenses.

I started wondering what can I do to make it a lessen burden for my parents. I enrolled in Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training. I participated in the first Hack4PH through RIS.

We, MOM, Ate Sheng and I, conceptualized ways for fundraising not just for Dad but for the Dialysis patients of B-Braun Dialysis Center for the meantime. IT WILL BE LAUNCHED SOON. I hope everyone can support and participate in this kind of cause.

I guess this is the start of a long time advocacy for Dialysis Patients.

With dialysis, there is life beyond the disease!


Be a Viral Hope


Some of us enjoy watching viral videos online… Instead of sharing viral videos, why not share a viral hope.

I recently graduated a rigid technical training sponsored by the Department of Information and Communications Technology with the City Government of Binan. During the time that they were insearch of trainees, I signed up without  having any second thoughts. I never regret because Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training changes my destiny.

Being in the public service as a government employee is a challenge for me. I think I am destined to work at the City Government because I never thought I am going to meet Ms. Des Dimaguila; I just wanted to have a Persons with Disability ID. But God really prepared my heart for this.

Years back, I handled in planning for medical missions, concerts, fund raising drives for my church, JCRBCC. I was trained to handle budgeting, organizing events. God is so wise that before He gave me my answered prayer, He prepared and trained me first. I thank God for all my mentors in Jesus Christ Rules Bible Christian Church.

Rural Impact Sourcing Technical TRaining (RISTT) is a project of DICT to train Filipinos to engage in Online Jobs. We are introduced with Social Media Marketing, Blogging, Web Designing, and E-commerce which I am very familiar with. As a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology graduate, I wanted to learn the latest trends are in terms of Digital Marketing and SEO are concern.

That rigid training… It gained me confidence that I can teach… Hope for the persons with disability sector that we can excel inspite of and amidst of adversities.

This friday, I was in a duty for an event of Persons with Disability Affairs Office. It was the time when the Department of Information and Communications Technology shared my video intended for our graduation last Sept 17, 2018.

Attached was an article that makes me want to pray for opportunities to inspire more people that though I have cerebral palsy, I can do what is asked for me to do; to train more OFWs or Online FILIPINO workers.


Let us be a VIRAL HOPE… Amidst all… Everything is possible with God who gives us wisdom, love, and blessings.

This wouldn’t be possible if Ma’am Lourdes and Our beloved Mayor Arman Dimaguila put their trust on us, persons with disability. We may be limited in a way, but that limitations will be our asset to inspire and be a VIRAL HOPE to our country and to the world as well. Thank you for the trust!

GOD Bless you.

What we say in Binan, “Sa lungsod ng Binan, mamamayan ay maaasahan!”

Task 28 of Rural Impact Sourcing Technical Training

photo from DICT

Eventhough I didn’t made it to my goal of finishing all the tasks YET, I met a wonderful freelancer, Liza Gonzales Balosca. She’s one of my inspiration. It has been an honor and privilege on my part in meeting Ms. Liza… I mean, Liza.

grabbed from Liza’s Facebook account

She’s one of the graduates of RISTT. She’s nice by the way. And I’ve learned so much from her. Thanks sir Jay for this task. It added a new friend on my list.

I was asked by my trainor, Mr. Jay Balan, if I could interview someone instead of me practicing my own interview. Challenge accepted!

Here’s the scenario: I was in the event on my Day job and i planned to go to the TECHFORED center (our classroom for 10 days where I met new friends and new beshies as well.) But the Lord has blessed me with free wifi where we could video chat. The event was finished around 2pm.

I immediately relayed the questions to Liza.

Here were my questions back then:

1. Tell me something about yourself po
2. What is your niche as a free lancer
3. What are you doing before the rural impact sourcing
4. How did Ristt help you
5. What is your first free lance job? Is it easy?
6. Can you share tips on how to get jobs easier?
7. What are your challenges in submitting proposal to a prospect clients


8 last na po ito… Can you share the lessons in dealing with clients?


She immediately called and we talked for about 20 minutes.

I requested her to send me the text of her answers because the cellphone was owned by a friend. I can share it with you by the next few weeks ahaha

Here’s the text version with the Title To the Beautiful, Racquel (Thanks)

My name is Liza but I’d prefer to be called Liz. I am a mother of three kids who strive to earn from home because of this very reason. To be able to participate in the RISTT is an honor for me since not everybody is given a chance to be a part of this once in a lifetime training. Most importantly, with the intention to be financially independent and to alleviate are what fuels me to carry on even though the training is tough.


Being aware and knowledgeable of the modern digital marketing probably is the best lesson RISTT has taught me. I knew that there was more to social media- in terms of literacy, the tactics for setting up a website, providing great contents, how to market a product and how to optimize it. I mean, it’s more than meets the eye to be exact! But one more thing I am truly proud of is the camaraderie that the whole team has. It was an awesome experience.


With all the hustles and bustles of the social media, despite its loudness, it caught my attention since I knew this place isn’t just mainly for socialization with friends and family, but a good platform to sell stuff and services. It also has its own algorithms that’s kinda unpredictable and that even makes it more exciting to me! And recently, along with having a good social media strategy, one must also know how to optimize a page, content, blog and an image! So, I thought Search Engine Optimization is a must skill for me to showcase what I can do on social media and show everyone who’s the boss!! (lol kidding)


I had my very first client just recently. The interview was very brief and short. Clients just want what you can do for them- that’s to solve their problem.  They don’t care how you do it, just as long as you finish the task then you will be paid! Caching! As of now, I am currently running my first month with them, still need to do more learning although, through time and practice, I will be able to master it.


Freelancing has never been this so good: you set your own time, prioritize tasks according to your preference, not having to spend the everlasting hours of traffic, to stay at home with your loved ones and lastly, having a good amount of income. I mean what more I can ask for? I can’t thank The Provincial Government of Cavite spearheaded by the mighty Kuya Gov. Boying Remulla, the DICT, Mr. Melan Mamalateo for facilitating our training with all his might, Ms. Janette Toral for being our Principal and last but definitely not the least, our Mentor Mr. Jeremiah Balan, for his never-ending patience and wisdom towards the whole team Imus.


It was a colorful journey, not perfect but it was full of insights which I will surely treasure in this lifetime. Thanks to everyone who made this possible. I will be forever indebted to you. Cheers!

[Excerpts] The Secrets that We Keep #heistclub #TheSecretsThatWeKeep

So proud and honored to mentor these talented people…. -Racqs


The Secrets That We Keep
Liam Blunt, Amae Dechavez, I.P. Lanz, Buñag Manlapaz, Celestine Trinidad, J. Guibone, Mark Manalang, Irene Recio, Yeyet Soriano

Genre: Crime

Release date: March 24, 2018

Compiled and edited by Georgette Gonzales & Yeyet Soriano

Cover design and interior layout  Porcupine Strongwill


Oh, we weave such a tangled dark web. Is it possible to disentangle oneself without inflicting damage, permanent damage, to one’s person?

When a person goes missing, how do you find her? Where do you find her? Does she even want to be found?

A vigilante targets neighborhood nuisances. But without any evidence, how will he be apprehended?

Don’t do unto others, lest they do to you what you did to them. In a manner more gruesome than you can ever imagine. Can you survive the retribution?

Dead bodies can’t go anywhere on their own, right? Or can they?

Buy The Secrets That We Keep on Amazon

Get The Secrets That We Keep on Paperback (PH Only)

Continue reading

Wala Bang Tayo?

Wala Bang Tayo?Racquel Sarah A. Castro
Sa tuwing makakakita ako ng magkasintahan…. Napapaisip ako

Kung mayroong tayo… 

Sa tuwing hinahawakan mo ang kamay ko… Akala ko may tayo na

Sa tuwing natingin ka sa mga mata ko… akala ko meron na

Kasalanan ko pa pala na umasa na may tayo talaga kahit wala
Sa tuwing nangangako ka, naniniwala ako

Sa tuwing tinatawag mo kong minamahal mo, akala ko ako na talaga

Ako ba talaga o may iba pa?
Ang tanong ko lang sayo… Meron ba tayo

O naniniwala lang ako na meron…

Pero sa totoo lang, wala…
Kung meron, bakit nasasaktan ako sa mga pangakong napapako

Kung merong tayo, bakit ako mag isa hanggang ngayon

Kung merong ikaw at ako, magiging masaya ako… Dahil sa loob ng tatlong dekadang pag aantay… 

Andyan na ang pangako ng May Kapal…
Tanong ko lang sayo… Kung mahal mo ako, bakit ka natatakot?

Bakit ka nag aalinlangan?
Hiling ko lang sa Diyos na Ikaw na hanggang sa huli…

Kung hindi, maaaring di na magmahal ang puso na pagod na mag antay sa mga taongh hindi kaya panindigan ang mga sinasAbi…
May oras pa… May oras pa para ituwid ang mga pagkakamali…

May oras ka pa para maiparamdam ang nilalaman ng puso 

Kung meron talagang tayo.

Miracles are real… We experience it daily

My dad endured nine(9) hospitalization; 5 of them spent in the ICU. I just want to take this opportunity to minister to all of you who are weary. God listens to all of our prayers. We just  have to trust His will and accept His gift of salvation. How? Trust Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Accept and live for Him and He will give you what you need; not what you want all the time but He will give you better options.

We are not complaining about our situation. We can minister for the glory of God who provided all our needs.

You know, we don’t have enough means but God touches people to give to Dad’s medication. Let me share what we have to endure each day and how God has been so faithful…

Dad is a pastor and an electrical engineer. He had been called by God to minister in Dubai where he ministered for 20 years. Last 2012, he retired and went home .

In my book, A Triumphant Detour, you could read the 1st three stays in Unihealth. That challenge made him minister more…

One dialysis session is a new hope for us. He has to undergo dialysis 3 times a week and given a chance, I wanted to be there every time there’s one. But I can’t do that. I thank God for all the B-Braun nurses…. they took care of Dad as if they are family. and they are now. I even had friendships to some of the beautiful souls of the B-Braun family. I am a fan… on how they take care of each patient; remarkable.

One of my prayers is to create a book for the dialysis patients. Maybe some other time.

I apologize for not blogging because I am an employee now. Will update you with my everyday one time. That’s a great gift for me through Ma’am Des and Mayor Arman Dimaguila. Their trust mean a lot to me. Thank you!

I pray that when you read this, you would thank God for a healthy body.

Every day, we are thanking God for miracles.. One time, when my Mom was talking about Dad’s journey… I stopped and said to myself, “How can someone in this situation take every thing as if nothing happens. IT IS GOD’S GRACE.”

We faced everyday challenges but we can choose how to face it.

Start smiling now… God is in control. 🙂

God bless you all.