Philippines

Our Hideaway is a venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul.

 

Passion is the Key

by Stephen Virtudazo Tabal

 

 

The author teaches physics in Lanao del Norte National Comprehensive High School (LNNCHS), Baroy, Lanao del Norte.

 

‘Teaching is not a profession but a passion’, it has been said. I didn’t realize this until I was employed in a public high school. It is totally different from the schools where I used to teach. It seems like I’m in a parallel universe and I feel that I need a lot of adjustment to before I can teach well.

One day I assigned my students to bring candles for our optics activity in physics. Fortunately it went well and the students enjoyed it much. After the activity, a student named John (not his real name) approached me and said, ‘Sir, may I have the candles used in our activity?’ I paused for a while and asked, ‘Why?’ With head bowed down he answered, ‘I will use them to light our house so that I can work on my assignments’. I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. Up till then almost every person I met on the street had a smartphone and tablet. But there are still areas in our country left in the dark not because of blackouts but because of extreme poverty.

What Comes After Dusk

By Anne Gubuan

The author, assistant editor of Misyon, writes about Kwaderno, a project that the editorial staff of the magazine and friends of theirs initiated to buy school notebooks for children in impoverished areas. ‘Kwaderno’ is a Filipinized form of ‘cuaderno’, a Spanish word for ‘notebook’. The project was inspired to some degree by the involvement of some of the group with a school that was devastated last November by Super-typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. You can read more about that in Misyon in the May-June issue, In the Midst of a Storm.


Marvin in pensive mood.

His Children’s Hero

By Richelle H. Verdeprado

The journey from the hinterlands of barangay Sanke, Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental, to the village proper by the sea, was like a Sunday get-together for the Layan family. Tatay Hermenio was with five children, his wife, pregnant with their eight child staying at home. Our Kwaderno team was set to have notebook distribution at 9 am that 25th day of May but Tatay Hermenio was already there before 7am. To get there, the Layans had to pass by several mountains, cross a river and then walk about an hour.

It wasn’t just for the notebooks that his children would be receiving that day. Tatay Hermenio had a deeper purpose, I could sense it in his eyes. I could see that for the education of his children, he would do anything.

The family of Sanke’s barangay captain served breakfast to the Layan Family, knowing that they had had a long and difficult journey. Eleven-year-old Chona, the eldest among them was interviewed by Irene, one of our volunteers. Chona was shy but she responded to the questions politely. There was a certain glow in her eyes when she shared that her happiest moment was when she received a service award in their school this last year. In June this year started in Grade Five. She was excited to start the school year as she has recognized that there are so many things to be learned in school.

Where is Home?

By Beth Sabado

The author, from Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, is a nurse by profession and has worked as a Columban Lay Missionary in Taiwan. She is currently based in Hong Kong as Coordinator of the Lay Missionary Central Leadership Team (LMCLT).


The Sabado Family home, Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur.

I had the chance to watch a stage play in Birmingham Repertory Theatre entitled ‘Refugee Boy’. A story about a fourteen-year-old boy born of an Ethiopian father and Eritrean mother and because of a violent civil war back home his father made a heartbreaking decision to leave him in London. The boy woke up one morning and his father was gone. As described, ‘Refugee Boy’ is a story about arriving, belonging and finding a home.


Back: Telesforo, Pacita, Felix and Gondee. Front: Beth and Patboone (died 1981).

‘A home is a place where I can unpack my luggage down to the very bottom’. This is how one of the refugees in the play defined a home. Her definition stayed with me from then on.

When Dad passed away on March of 2008 I remember consoling myself with the thought that Mum was still around. However on one gloomy afternoon of February 2013, I received that dreaded phone call from my brother telling me, ‘Beth, Mum is hooked up on ECG but the traces are a flat line’. After a few minutes, with the convenience of modern technology, I was connected to my sister in the USA and my brother in the Philippines at Mum’s bedside praying the prayer of commendation online! Virtual and posh, I thought, but Mum passed into eternal life with God in whom she believed passionately and wholeheartedly.

Keeping Father Niall’s legacy alive: After 10 years, now and beyond

By Richelle Verdeprado

The author is Editorial Assistant of Misyon

We are not immortal beings. In as much as we would want to do amazing things unceasingly and never leave the people that we love, we cannot live forever. Perhaps this is how it really goes in our human lives. We will have years of celebrating our birthdays until one day others will be starting to commemorate our death anniversaries instead. While still breathing we can have moments of learning, enjoyment and discovering until one day we can no longer do them again.


Fr Niall O’Brien.

But I think too, it is that same mortality that can make our lives even more precious. It is that same mortality that will give us enough time to bring joy and hope, to make choices and changes that can go beyond our own lives and have an impact on one individual or even on the entire community and the world. Likewise, it is that same mortality that can cause some people meet each other while others never get that chance. There is a time element in life.


The Kibbutz on Tall Grass Mountain, which shows one of the major initiatives of Fr Niall O'Brien, was produced by the Columbans in the USA in the 1970s, during Martial Law in the Philippines.

My Father

By N.A.V

Our Hideaway is a venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul.


The author, who is known to the editorial staff, recently graduated from college.

I remember one night when my father came into my room and cried. It was a rare sight, seeing the man of my family break down in tears. Papa had always been a strong man, no challenge he met undefeated. He knew the game of life and how to play it well. But when he lost to fate he didn’t show it to his children.

But as the youngest son I know the things that my father has gone through, and to the game has been no easy feat. He almost lost his marriage when he discovered my mother had another man, but soon forgave her for our sake. He lost his job once. And in 2003, he lost my mother to cancer.

I’ve seen him face his battles, and I’ve seen him stand tall again. He still wakes up to laugh, as if to say he can still carry on, that he can tolerate more pain, because he’s been tested and proven, because his children need him to be strong. He has always been like that.

Resurrection after Yolanda

By Kurt Zion Pala

The author, a frequent contributor to Misyon, is a Columban seminarian continuing his studies in theology after two years on First Mission Assignment in Fiji. He is from Iligan City. Here he writes about a visit to areas ravaged by Super-typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) on 8 November 2013.

Before heading home for the school break, I decided to spend some time in Tacloban City, which was heavily damaged by typhoon Yolanda on 8 November. It took me almost 30 hours to get there by bus from Cubao, Quezon City, through the national highway and crossing the seas by ship from Matnog, Sorsogon, to Allen, Northern Samar, and eventually crossing the San Juanico Bridge into Tacloban City, Leyte on 24 March.

I could see the damage caused by Yolanda in the landscape – the hills and trees were bare. I was told that in the days after the typhoon there were only three colors, if you could call them such: black, grey and brown. There wasn’t much life left except for survivors. I was dumbstruck by the extent of the damage – large infrastructures like churches, mills, schools and buildings were all destroyed. Buttresses of mangled steel and mountains of scrap metal and roofs were everywhere.

In the Midst of a Storm

By Anne B. Gubuan

The Philippines has 7,107 islands of which about 2,000 are inhabited. When typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) struck the country, all eyes were on Samar, where it first hit, and neighboring Leyte. You could just imagine how many other islands in the Visayas were affected that people hadn’t heard of. My officemates and I were privileged to get to know one of these islands when Malta-Filcom, a Filipino community in Malta, chose our office to help facilitate the rebuilding of one school in Barangay Barangkalan, Calagnaan Island, Iloilo.

Headed by their president, Veronica Ugates, Malta-Filcom members shared their little savings having in mind how their fellow Filipinos bore the brunt of Yolanda. ‘It makes us feel better somehow knowing that we have become instrumental in bringing hope to our fellowmen’, shared Estrelleta Gatt when she and her husband came to visit us in the Misyon editorial office during their short vacation in, Bacolod City, Philippines.

In the Midst of a Storm
In the Midst of a Storm
In the Midst of a Storm

In the Midst of a Storm
In the Midst of a Storm
In the Midst of a Storm

It took us three hours to reach the town of Estancia and from there a pump boat took us to the island. We had to hire two pump boats, one for the 180 pieces of galvanized iron roofing we had bought with the money donated by Malta-Filcom and another one for our small of group of about 20 composed of Misyon staff, and the parish pastoral council of Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City, of the Philippine National Police, headed by PNP chaplain Fr Ronilo A. Datu. It was the same group we went with last year when we brought relief goods to typhoon victims in the towns of Sara and Estancia, Iloilo.

Pulong ng Editor


Shahbaz Bhatti شہبازبھٹی
(9 September 1968 – 2 March 2011)

‘I want to live for Christ and it is for Him that I want to die.’

The Church in the Philippines is engaged in a nine-year preparation for the celebration in 2021 of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christianity in the Philippines in 1521. The first year of that preparation was the Year of Faith, 2013, observed throughout the world at the initiative of Pope Benedict XVI. The bishops of the Philippines have declared 2014, the second year of preparation for the celebration in 2021, as the Year of the Laity in the country.

Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel (EG), calls each one of us to share that joy with others.

In EG 102 Pope Francis writes:‘Even if many are now involved in the lay ministries, this involvement is not reflected in a greater penetration of Christian values in the social, political and economic sectors. It often remains tied to tasks within the Church, without a real commitment to applying the Gospel to the transformation of society.’ 

Mission Limasawa

By Fr Hector Suano

It was about ten in the morning and the sky was gray when I descended from the road to the shore. The sight and sound of big waves lashing the shore opened before me and the strong cold wind blowing against me made me adjust my feet for greater balance and stability. Beyond the waves not far away in the distance, I saw my destination island, emerald in color against the washed-out horizon. Knowing that boats would not travel in this stormy weather, I gave up my plan to visit it that day; crossing the sea was simply ‘Mission Impossible’.

The day before, I had gone to see Bishop Precioso D. Cantillas SDB of Maasin. I told him that I was interested in visiting a mission area of his diocese. He suggested Limasawa Island.  

You would never think that after almost 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, Limasawa Island, where the first Mass was celebrated, would still be a mission area. But, for whatever reasons, this historic island remains very much a mission destination today.

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