Summer Escapade to Inner Calling, from Beaches to Mountain Falls, from Cities to Provinces

After a long time of resting from blogging, I finally made this entry again with a smile on my face, knowing that so many experiences transpired that are worthy to be shared with all the readers.

My day started with a statement and housework, “Hiwalay na kung hiwalay!” I learned the lesson of separating the colored clothes from the white ones; yes, I wash my clothes   I learned from my mother long before I reached secondary school; lesson number one: paglalaba   I just came from morning Eucharist to start the day right for it was another day of outing: visiting one of the tourist spots here in South Cotabato, the Lake Sebu.

The culmination of Summer Class, the beginning of the new semester

Last night was the culmination of our modular classes here at Notre Dame of Mabel University (NDMU). We finished two modules: Educational Technology with Ms. Laila and Ms. Victoria, and Dialogue: our Mission Today by Fr. Edgar Javier, SVD, of the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia. Last night was also the beginning of the new academic year at the Marist Asia-Pacific Center in Marikina; I’m now graduating that’s in five months! (By October, I am expected to be back here in Mindanao). Some of the administrators of NDMU and Champagnat Community College together with the Brothers of Marbel community, attended the gathering of thanksgiving, singing, and dancing, in other words: a party.

Summer Escapade and Solidarity

We have been to many different places here in Mindanao for three weeks. First, we visited the Ad Gentes Brothers who are preparing for missionary work, and went to Samal Island in Davao City, particularly Paradise Island and Beach Resort, and spent almost the whole week of rest and recreation; I enjoyed water skiing on that resort.  And also last week, we spent our weekend with the kids of Marcellin Home Foundation in Gen. Santos City; one of the apostolate of the brothers being led by Br. Crispin Betita, FMS. Spending quality time with these least fortunate kids was one of many ways of being in solidarity with them. We stayed for a night in their place. The next day that was attending the Eucharist at the Trappistine Monastery in Landan-Polomolok. It is located at the foot of Mt. Matutum, thus it is called Our Lady of Mt. Matutum. The place was very serene which helped me to contemplate during that day.

“Helos Ye,” Welcome to Lake Sebu

Today in Lake Sebu, we first visited two of the many projects of NDMU, one was the BEAM or Basic Educational Assistance for Mindanao; a collaboration between AUSAID and the local government of Lake Sebu through NDMU extension programs. Sixty children will be accommodated by the trained instructional managers for one-on-one tutorials in a newly built classroom for them.  The local government promised to give financial aid for the sustenance of the program through a resolution to be made by the town government. The other one was the Center of Learning for Indigenous People where the children are trained to waive and learn primitive handicrafts of T’boli, the major tribal group in Lake Sebu. All these projects are intended for the said indigenous people for their livelihood and formation. The most exciting part we visited today was the Punta Isla Lake Resort, the most visited tourist destination in Lake Sebu. We had a boating experience around the lake before our sumptuous lunch was served;  tilapia (St. Peter’s fish) prepared in many different many ways, vegetable salad, and highland rice called “dinurado,” were served. We traveled by a motorized boat passing the different islets and fish pens while a tour guide named Che-che accompanied us. She is a true-bloodied T’boli, she looks beautiful and admirable in her native costume; wearing traditional T’nalak (woven Abaca threads) with dangling brass bells around her waist and colorful beads as a headdress and necklace. During the meal, we were entertained by the company of Che-che; a group of talented young T’boli boys and girls.  They played different indigenous musical instruments and danced meaningful movements, from war dance to courtship dance, and even monkey dance- the T’boli, they believed monkeys as one of their ancestors. I was invited to dance with them and I tried my best!   Well, not so bad that it turned out to be a nice experience for me   Our visitation at Punta Isla Lake Resort became a culmination of our module class Dialogue. It became a dialogue of culture, with the primitive religion of the people in that place. It was like a calling for me to recognize the innate religion in me, to recognize the passion to be with the ultimate reality; transcendence… Beautiful!   There was another destination we visited today: the Dongon 7 Waterfalls.  It is less than two kilometers away from the town proper of Lake Sebu. Some parts of the place are under construction and pathways are still being made going to the waterfall itself. I left one memory there: designing one of the path walks with a primitive design according to my interpretation and contemplation at that very moment. The zigzag waves signify mountains and there are figures like men, the people of the mountain being with the creation, the protectors. We only visited the second waterfall after walking up and down through the hills; tiring but fascinating. It was another experience of a summer escapade.

After the election next week, another assignment for me is to be in Cotabato City, passing by Shariff Kabungsuan, formerly Maguindanao province. Will be attending the first profession of vows of young brothers in Tamontaka, Shariff Kabungsuan before few days of vacation in my native hometown with my family   and finally, be back to Manila before the end of May. What a summer escapade we had: studies and recreations as one! 


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