I was born on October 12, 1980 in Kalibo, Aklan, Philippines as the second and youngest child of Mr. Ernesto Melgar Carpio and Gemma Teodosio Gallardo. I have one sibling who is a dentist, Dr. Jenny Rose G. Carpio. The Karol in my name is in honor of St. John Paul II. He was newly elected and installed as Pope in that time. I have many nicknames. Some would call me Ernie, Jun but many called me Nonoy especially in my family, friends and relatives. My earliest memory as a child is we always pray as a family. We are a devout Catholic family. We live in Jugas, New Washington, Aklan, Philippines. It is a remote barrio and in fact the last barrio of New Washington, Aklan, Philippines. My parents were all elementary teachers in Candelaria Elementary School. Most of the time of the day, they were in the school.
Who influenced you most?
I was left with my grandmother at home. Her name is +Salvacion Teodosio Gallardo. She is the most influential person in my childhood as well as my journey towards priesthood. She was very devout catholic. She had a big box full of novena prayers to the saints and religious stuff. She spent her time praying to God and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints. I was with her so she introduced me to her world as a child and taught me how to pray the rosary, led the novena prayers to the saints and told me Bible stories.
I had a happy and normal childhood with simple lifestyle. We were living in the middle of rice fields. My father was not only teacher but a farmer too. I had fun playing kite during summertime in the rice fields, looking forward to eat ‘halo-halo’ (our local ice dessert in the Philippines) during harvest time as well as playing in the mound of rice straw after the harvest. I had a nanny too, her name is Militona D. Perucho, whom I love dearly, who would bring me to the river to swim and harvest seashells. I learned from her to be a down-to-earth person and enjoy the simple things in life. My first pet that I cannot forget is a shih tzu dog. I named him ‘Gamboha’. I literally cried when he died and gave him a ‘catholic burial’.
How would your parent(s) describe you as a child?
My parents would describe me as intelligent, talented and precocious as a child. They were very academically strict. We were raised to excel in school. My father is a mathematician and would teach me advance math concepts during that time. That’s why, I excelled in my elementary years. I was first honors of my class from grade one to grade five but graduated as Class Salutatorian. It was a controversial and a disheartening experience during my elementary graduation especially for my parents, but it taught me to be gracious in times like that.
Most unforgettable moment
My most unforgettable experience when I was a child is that when my school chose me to represent in a singing competition in our District of New Washington. There was miscommunication that happened regarding the time of the competition. I arrived late in the venue with my mom. The last contestant just finished the song. There was a commotion from the organizers whether I had to be permitted to sing and it seemed that the board of judges already began to tally their scores. Eventually, the organizers decided to let me sing since I came from a far-flung barrio of the town. To my surprise, I was the one who won the first place. The Chairwoman of the board of judges became my musical mentor and trained me for the next competition. I only know her as ‘Maestra Edad’. She was gracious and very talented. I officially represented the district in the Unit Meet competition and still won the first place. I reached in the Provincial level and got the bronze medal. I was so happy. I cannot believe that I reached that far.
What is your strongest image of your father and your favorite memory of your mother?
My dad was strict, disciplinarian, but loving and responsible. He was academically strict. One time, he brought me and my sister to our rice farm. He instructed us to plant rice as well as to pick up the shell pest (kuhol) in the rice fields. He told us that we have to study well and be successful in life or else we will end up as farmers. He told us farming is good but we deserve a higher calling in life. My greatest memory with him as a child was when he would carry me in his shoulders from our house to the school. It was about 3 kilometers one way. It lasted for how many years.
My mom was very religious, supportive and loving. She was strict and disciplinarian too. We were both active in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal Community. She was the elder and I was the Music Minister. She was very supportive in all my endeavors.
Our parents were tough but taught us to dream and reach our goals. They sacrificed for our education. They sent us to the best schools in our province after our elementary years as well as to study in the best universities in Manila for our college years.
I spent my elementary years in Candelaria Elementary School in Candelaria, New Washington, Aklan, Philippines. I was first honors from grade one to grade six and graduated as Class Salutatorian.
I entered Sto. Nino Seminary for my high school education. I had a lot of friends. I am still in touch with them now. All of us are settled in our own chosen path. My favorite subjects were Filipino and Science. My most favorite sport was volleyball, but I excelled in scrabble and boggle. My most unforgettable teacher was Mrs. +Sylvina Centina for she was like a mother to me. She was loving, supportive and inspiring. I was an outcast in my class sometimes for I did not conform in their pressure. I graduated as Class Valedictorian and received First Honors in Moral Excellence. Our class was composed of highly intelligent people being honor students themselves from the schools where they came from. Our class topped (No. 1) the National Secondary Achievement Test in our time in the whole country. It was a glorious achievement. The seminary community was so happy that we had our Class Graduation at the newly renovated Kalibo Cathedral.
I stayed in the Sto. Nino Seminary for my college to obtain the Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy Minor in English and Catechetics. I decided to stay in the seminary because in my discernment I felt the calling of the Lord towards priesthood. My family was supportive of my decision. I have no regrets why I stayed.
After graduation, I took a year of regency. This was the time that I spent to discern more on my vocation to the priesthood. It was a purification year for my vocation to the priesthood. I served as the Secretary to the Rector who was Rev. Fr. Jose Gualberto Villasis that time.
Finally, I decided to answer the calling of the Lord for me to the priesthood. I continued my studies in the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines. I had my seminary formation in UST Central Seminary. I obtained my bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in UST in 2005 (Magna Cum Laude) as well as my Licentiate in Canon Law in UST in 2008 (Cum Laude).
After I graduated in UST, Most Rev. Jose Romeo Lazo, our beloved bishop of the Diocese of Kalibo that time, assigned me in Sto. Nino Seminary to teach Latin. He ordained me as a priest on August 6, 2009 and assigned me as the Spiritual Director for the High School Department of Sto. Nino Seminary as well as Member of the Team Ministry of the Parish of St. Joseph, Numancia, Aklan, Philippines. I served the seminary for six years as a formator.
I was appointed as Member of the Team Ministry in the Cathedral Parish of St. John the Baptist as well as being an Associate Judicial Vicar in 2014. It was further followed by being the Chancellor of the Diocese of Kalibo for two years.
I left the Diocese of Kalibo on September 1, 2018 and transferred to the Diocese of Beaumont. I was assigned to be Parochial Vicar of St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Beaumont, Texas in September 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. After that, I was moved to the Parish of St. Anne, Beaumont, Texas in January 1, 2019 up to present.
I am happy in all my assignments. I am a priest and I have no issue as regards obedience to my superiors. It’s not about money but ministry in serving the Lord and the church. I have no regrets in my ministry. My most significant accomplishment so far is seeing some of the seminarians I formed before in the seminary are now priests serving the church. It is also consoling to see that even some who did not become a priest are now successful professionals in their chosen career or field.
I am blessed that I never experienced to be fired in all my ministries. There is good environment for me in work if there is team play, support, love and solidarity with each other. The biggest influence in my ministry will always be my bishop. I do not believe in ideal job. There is no perfect job. What matters most is that you survive and happy in the workplace.
What is your definition of “happiness”?
Happiness for me is inner peace and presence of God in my life. I believe that the Beatitudes are the ways to achieve true happiness.
What celebrity would you most want to meet?
The celebrity that I want to meet is Josh Groban for I love his voice and his songs as well as Mariah Carey for I love her music and the lyrics of some of her songs.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
My most memorable travel experience for now is my Holy Land trip. It was special. I travelled to the place where Jesus was born, lived, ministered, preached the Word of God, crucified, died, resurrected and ascended into heaven. It also helped me as a priest in preaching the Word of God since I saw the places.
What’s the farthest from home you’ve ever been?
The farthest from home is being here in the USA. I only come home once a year and stayed there for only few days.
Which experience you always laugh about?
The funniest thing that’s ever happened to me was when somebody thought I was an altar server. The woman was clueless that I was a priest. She was mad that the priest was so slow to go out from the rectory and when I told her that I was the priest, she blushed and very apologetic.
What was your most rebellious moment?
I am not rebellious. I am very obedient. If I sense that I am no longer effective, I quit.
What is the one thing you regret about the way in which you’ve lived your life?
I have no regrets so far. I believe that things happen for a reason.
What is your happiest memory?
My happiest memory was when I was at the beach together with my priest friends. We were so happy, relaxed, calm and chilling the area.
And your saddest?
My saddest was when my father died. I was not with him when he died. My mother texted me to go home for he was dying but I did not. It was Wednesday of the Holy Week and I had to administer the Sacrament of Penance to a lot of penitents in Kalibo Cathedral.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud to all my accomplishments. I am most proud when my father told me that he was happy to the life I have chosen as a priest.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
If I could do it all over again, I could have spent more time with my family and friends and create more good memories.
How do you think people will remember you?
I like to think that people will remember me as happy, simple, sincere, friendly and down to earth.
Who is your biggest fan?
My mother I think is my biggest fan for she assures me always of her support.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to listen to music, exercise, read and talk to my close friends in my spare time.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
If I have loved somebody and my love story worked out.
What do you want the epitaph on your tombstone to be?
Life is Beautiful. Now I rest in peace.
After death, I will be rested in God peace and hopefully enjoy eternal happiness
What is your most embarrassing moment?
The most embarrassing moment that happened in my life was telling the faithful to pray for the eternal repose of the soul of this person and he is still alive and there present of the Mass. It turned out the secretary made an error and I was clueless.
If you could possess one super-human power, what would it be?
I want an impenetrable shield. That I will be shielded from all evil and will be safe from harmful relationships.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is when I will be the last one to die from my immediate family and from my closest friend and I will be all alone.
What is your greatest hope?
My greatest hope is to see my family, my friends and my love ones in heaven and have eternal life.
What are you really bad at that you’d love to be great at?
I want to be really good in sports like basketball, tennis but they are not really for me.
What place does religion have in your life?
Religion is very important for me especially Catholic religion since this leads me to Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Heaven is eternal happiness for me.
If you were re-born as an animal, what would you want to be?
I don’t want to be reborn. More so, to be an animal. I do not believe in reincarnation but resurrection.
If you could be anyone in history, who would it be?
If I could be anyone in history, I would be Abraham Lincoln.
Do you have any phobias?
I have phobias namely claustrophobia and acrophobia.
What’s your favorite joke?
My favorite joke is more on bloopers and mistakes.
What are the main lessons you’ve learned in life?
My main lesson in life is that never be a prisoner of your past. It was just a lesson not a life sentence. Enjoy life to the fullest because life is beautiful.