The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Chris McDaniel
The Courier 

America Through the Eyes of a Foreigner

Despite COVID-19, USA Doing Well


September 1, 2021

Courier Photo by Chris McDaniel

Alvicher Penido, a native of Manila, Philippines, is a missionary traveling the United States to spread love and joy. He is seen here with trinkets he made to fundraise for the International Leadership Training Program.

While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, the United States is in a much better position than other countries, says one recent visitor from the Philippines.

"I think America, compared to the Philippines, is very far [along in beating] COVID," Alvicher Penido, a native of Manila, told The Courier wall walking along main street last week. "Everybody in the Philippines is panicking. You can't go out without masks. You cannot go out without face shields. They will take you to jail."

Penido has been in the United States for the past three months. He is a member of The International Leadership Training Program (ILTP), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving in the United States since 2001. The mission of ILTP is to develop "conscientious leaders who can contribute to peace-building efforts around the world," according to the ILTP website.

In America, "everything is normal already," Penido continued. "The recovery has been very fast here in America. You are a very blessed country, compared to other countries. If you travel, you will see the difference. I see the difference. If you go to Africa, or India, it is a big difference when you come here. Most of the people have a car, a house. In the Philippines, if you have a car you are considered rich."

Penido, a member of ILTP for the past decade, has visited 12 countries thus far. This is his second time visiting the states.

"Some people don't recognize they are blessed, because they take it for granted," Penido said. "When you go to other countries, there are a lot of people suffering more than here."

So far, Penido, a martial artist, has visited China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia, among others. He was last in the United States in 2018, and had intended to visit again last year for a mission project, but was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions on foreign travel.

ILTP "invited us to come here to do a mission trip to help America through volunteer works like activities, workshop seminars and reading programs," Penido said. "This is program originally came from South Korea. We are from different countries all over the world. It started in 2001 here in America, in New York."

Love Thy Neighbor

As a Christian nonprofit, ILTP missionaries focus on spreading love and joy, Penido said.

"We are promoting peace through service projects, or anything that can help the community."

Compared to his last trip in America, folks - for the most part - seem to be friendlier, Penido said.

"Everywhere you go you can always meet good and bad people, For me, based on my experiences in America, most of the people I have met were good, very nice and approachable. The people are more kind to me. People are in crises so they want to give more."

Still, there are some rude folks to be met.

"We are used to it," Penido said. "We just try to love them because this is our goal, to love everybody. No hatred. Just love. Spread love."

To support the mission financially, Penido and his fellow missionaries walk from business to business to sell hand crafted trinkets. He has walked through several communities, starting originally in New Jersey.

"We went down to Tennessee, South Carolina and then up to North Dakota and now Montana," Penido said.

His next stop was in Billings, where a mission project awaited.

Father Country

Ever since the United States invaded the Philippines during the Spanish American War in 1898, the two countries have had close ties. Penido said he and his countrymen still see America as a "father nation."

"America is a great nation because you are helping a lot of countries with the military and things like that. America is like a father nation, especially in the Philippines because you really help our country. That is why we are really thankful to Americans because you are helping us. But now, with COVID, there are a lot of challenges going on, even in America. People are fighting each other here. That is why we are here. We want to spread peace."

For more information about ILTP, visit


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