The genesis of a Los Osos ministry

judysalamacha@gmail.comAugust 26, 2013 

Judy Salamacha

If ever there were a time for people to come together to celebrate family, peace and love, it is 2013. 

One group doing just that is the Maharlika Vocal Society, which will provide the musical entertainment at the sixth annual Old Goats & Little Kids celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8 at Baywood Elementary School in Los Osos. 

Grandparents and children are encouraged to come out to enjoy music, barbecue and activities at a celebration of the generations. The free event is produced by the Los Osos Rotary. 

But here’s the rest of the Maharlika story. On Sept. 15 at 6 p.m., members of the same musical group will sing again, with the music changing from nostalgic Americana tunes to hymns. Members will celebrate the installation of Pastor James Erwin Estoque, Assistant Pastor Elmer Magbitang and Worship Director Jesse Caluya — the first official ministry for the Maharlika Christian Fellowship, which meets at 1236 Los Osos Valley Road, Suite E.

Estoque says it has been a life-altering journey. 

“Both my mother and my adoptive father are ordained pastors for the Assembly of God church, but I never thought I would be called to serve,” he said.

Estoque studied graphic design at Eastern New Mexico University after Pastor Lloyd Francis adopted him at age 16 and brought him to the United States from the Philippines in 1991.

Francis was eventually transferred to Grover Beach. Then, in 2006, Estoque’s birth mother, Elizabeth Estoque, was transferred from the Philippines to become Francis’ assistant pastor. 

“My mother wanted to reach out to other Filipinos,” Estoque said. “She started in Los Osos with a Bible study class on Sunday evenings at Ocean Pacific Church. She asked me to come and provide the music and help her translate. She is a dynamic speaker, but more comfortable in the Tagalog dialect. 

“We have been meeting for four years, and our fellowship has grown from seven to sometimes 60. We always hoped someday someone would step up to pastor the ministry.”

When Estoque started teaching Sunday School, he realized people responded to him, so he decided to study for ordination. This will be the first ministry he knows of where Tagalog and English are alternated during the service.

“Dick and Emma Pacaoan have been important to our growth in Los Osos,” Estoque said. “We continue to reach out to the Filipino community, but we welcome anyone to join us Sunday evenings, especially Sept. 15 for potluck, music and the installation.”

Life is good for Estoque. Besides his new ministry, he loves his graphic design work for Burdine Printing in Arroyo Grande and spending time with wife Krystal and baby son Jubal.


Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at or 801-1422.

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