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The Journey continues.....

in the Land of Lights and Shadows



"The journey goes on.." so goes the theme of the Visayas O.Carm. Regional Convention
that jumped with awakening sound effects onto the screen projection on June 3, 2003. A
multimedia projection system directly hooked into the computer system of Mount Carmel
College spiced our Regional Convention with high tech artistry. Tony dela Cruz pointed out that
this is to taste the fruits, .."lami kaayo!" (so tasty). It was a triennial assessment and clarification
of issues and concerns regarding the School Ministry, Parish Work, Formation, Associateship,
Community Life and Ministries. Fr. Marlon and Noel Valencia pointed this out while facilitating
the convention attended by 38 participants from Negros and Cebu. The participants were from
the clusters of the Friars, Associates, TOC, Parish Pastoral Council, Parish workers, youth, SFIC
sisters and lay co-workers. It was one a very well prepared conventions considering the use of
computer powerpoint and other media in presenting points for discussions and clarifications. The
June 4 culminating day saw the presentation of 3 movies made locally "2004 Ping - Gloria
Showdown", "The Hiding Place of Saddam?" and "What is Escalante without MCC?" The
productions were directed by the Friars and acted by the Friars, Associates, TOC, the sisters and
co-workers. An instant film festival was organized by Manoy to award the best movie, script,
actors and actresses and directors to illustrate that we have many local talents. Also shown on the
screen were the ambush interviews by Vermont and Lino. Everything is on video and can be
ordered. The evening of July 4th was capped with videoke when Tim belted out a song even if
the number is not for him. No complaints were made from the Carmelite Family of Escalante.
The Fraternal spirit soars high for the "journey goes on", whatever that means.


After a year of combined wins and losses, of struggles and challenges, comes the
evaluation and assessment.

Last June 12-13, the Luzon Regional Convention was held at Titus Brandsma Center.
This became the vehicle from which different issues, recommendations and plans of action were
brought to light.

Attendees were friars from the Teresa, Spring and Elisha/Elijah communities, student
friars, novices, TOC representatives and co-workers. The second day was attended only by the
friars and select co-workers.

Committees who took care of the preparations were: Secretariat – Normie Lacanilao,
Jackie Losala and Jofti Villena; Socials/Ice breaker – Bro. Alain Balasabas and Fr. Christian

Buenafe, O. Carm; Liturgy – Bros. Eugene Horca, Jerry Cañas and Rico Sabanal, O. Carm;
Before/After Care – Bros. Rhenz Caculitan, Rodrigo Bautista, Edwin Magbago and Nonoy
Zaragoza, O. Carm; Timekeeper – Bros. Jude Caballero, O. Carm; and the Steering Committee –
Noel Valencia, Frs. Marlon Lacal and Anton Hoogland, O. Carm.

The one-and-a-half-day convention was themed, “The Journey the Land
of Lights and Shadows.”

The direction of the discussions was in line with the priority areas: center-building as
strategy and as way of life, apostolate, viability of the school as apostolate, GKK/BCC
development, parish ministries, TBC (and its programs), JPIC, formation and economic base.

Immediate concerns as identified by Fr. Tony dela Cruz, commissary provincial were:
building up of local communities, initial and ongoing formation and the establishment of the
economic base.

Long term goals were specifically focused on developing and strengthening of Carmelite
ministries to be able to contribute to the Philippine Church continuously, inter-religious dialogue,
contributions to the international Order, unifying Carmelite Spirituality and its core and the local
community as base of our Spirituality.

Some of the difficulties mentioned revolved around organizational, multi-tasking and

personal limitations. Proposals and recommendations were given to unravel these difficulties.




In Manila


May 31, 2003 the student friars joined the entire Carmelite family in the Philippines for a
walk for a cause. This walk was for the seminary formation. Early morning around 4:30 they
started walking ‘til Quezon Memorial circle with some of their friends. At the circle the two
groups (the other from the novitiate) met together and did some exercise.

The student friars were joined by the members of the novitiate community who
participated in M 40, walk for a cause. They left at 4:30 am. Altogether, they and a few friends
walked 127 km.

In the evening of that same day, the Student friars took their dinner at the CMSSTCJ
house in Quezon City stemming from an invitation from the sisters and at the same time an
integration with them.

In Escalante


At 4:00 AM on the 17th of May, 146 young people gathered in front of the Parish Church
of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Escalante City. They fixed their banner and with a lot of
enthusiasm and smiles they marched to Old Escalante which is about 7.5 kilometers away. They
had as a theme for this walk for a cause, “Alay Lakad para sa kalinaw, maayong panglawas ug
misyon” (Walk for a Cause for Peace, Good Health and Mission). Then, at the Parish Church of
St. Francis of Assisi 40 energetic young ones started to congregate at around 4:30 AM and
marched to Escalante City. When the youth arrived at Escalante City, they went to the convent
and got some hot coffee and snacks to warm their spirits. Likewise, the youth from Escalante
City were also given some early morning snacks when they arrived at the Monastery. This
activity is to raise funds for the formation program of the Carmelites - O.Carm. in the
Philippines. This walk for a cause is originally scheduled for May 31 but since this is too close to
the City Fiesta of Escalante which is on May 30, so this is moved earlier so that many more can
participate meaningfully.


As reported by Fr. Peter Krammer

Early morning 4:30 we started walking from the novitiate to the campus of the University
of the Philippines. From there we went to Quezon Memorial circle there we met also our
Carmelites from Teresa Community and Student Friars and the aerobics center. Each group went
home in opposite directions (South and North). All together we were 25. At the same time there
were other groups moving in Escalante (146 persons from Old-New Escalante), Our four
partners in Agusan del Sur, who altogether (254) joined in Barobo, where they started with a
liturgical celebration in the parish church and from there walked for about 3 hours to the beach

on the Pacific. In Cagayan de Oro 72 walked 20 kms. almost like Cebu, where they were with 71
and walked 20 kms.

The total number of participants in the different locaties was 568 and they walked 6488
kms. The results were sent to the organization of Origin: 40 MM in Venhuizen (the Netherlands).
This group took the initiative in 1973 to support missionaries from their wide environment,
Catholic and other Christians. The walkers look for their own sponsors and give this to the
organization 40MM.

Already since about 1983 I have received an annual donation from 40MM and it is
always for the support of our seminary-program.

Venhuisen is the center from where every year more than 2000 people walk along the
same route, which is altogether 40 km. Long, perhaps but people can also make shorter

40MM is sponsoring Missionaries (religious and lay) in various countries. They extended
the organization in 1993 by inviting the receiving missionaries to also walk in their own places.
And to organize the people and the 40MM in Venhusen would look for sponsors.

It is a fortuitous development, which it is picking up so very well in various places. And

serves a variety of purposes:

 Support for our Carmelite formation

 Rallying certain concerns like “Love Mother Earth” (Agusan)
 “No to War, Yes to Peace” (Cagayan)
 An enjoyment for many people, especially the youth
 Building community between Carmelites and the people around




Like nature welcomes a budding butterfly out of its cocoon, the Carmelite community
joyfully welcomes the entry of the seven Carmelite brothers to a new stage in their religious

With a nature-inspired atmosphere, the celebration began in the morning of June 7, 2003
at Titus Brandsma Center as the seven Carmelite brothers made their simple profession: Bros.
Junnel Ryan Denolo, Gerald Flor Gutierrez, Domingo Beato, Jr., Allan Hagoriles, Jerry Cañas,
Realino Hermo and Eugene Horca, O. Carm. While Bros. Emman Vallega and Rico Sabanal, O.
Carm made their solemn profession. The ceremonies were officiated by Fr. Antonio dela Cruz,
O. Carm (commissary provincial) with Fr. Christian Buenafe, O. Carm as the homilist. In the
afternoon of the same day, the deaconate rites for Bros. Emman Vallega and Rico Sabanal was
held with Bishop Socrates Villegas, DD as the ordaining prelate.

The coming out of the butterfly from its cocoon meant new challenges, re-birth and
growth likewise in the stage ahead and the tougher responsibilities to be faced by the new
Carmelite brothers and deacons. Thus, paving way to the strengthening, growth and development
of the Carmelite charism and mission.



Fr. Aristarco Escobal, O.Carm., M.A in Education major in Guidance Counseling at

Philippine Normal University in Cebu

Bros. Emmanuel Vallega, O.Carm., and Rico Sabanal, O.Carm., Master of Arts in
Pastoral Ministry, from ICTC – ecclesiastical graduate program of Our Lady of Angels Seminary

Bros. Rhen Caculitan and Rodrigo Bautista Jr., for finishing the Clinical Pastoral
Education at St. Luke's Hospital, last June 6 and Bros. Edwin Magbago, Benedicto Zaragosa,
Arnold Alindayu, Aries Jude Caballero and Dave Vios at Makati Medical Center.



Third Regional Formators Training Seminar & Fraternal Visit to Visayas-Mindanao

From April 30 to May 15, Sis. Nimfa C. Tangcuangco, TOC National Prioress and Bro.
Joe Generoso III, TOC NFC Director made their annual fraternal visits to the TOC communities
in the Visayas and Mindanao. The TOC National Council had previously decided to hold
separate Formators Training Seminars for the two (2) regions (one each for Mindanao and
Visayas) to encourage more attendees to participate unlike the past two (2) when the Annual
Training Seminar was held in Dumaguete for the two regions. They also chose to hold it
simultaneous with the annual fraternal visits to save on travel time and expenses.

On April 30, the two National Officers took the PAL flight bound for Butuan City on
their way to Agusan del Sur for the first leg of their journey. Rosalinda Moreno, Mindanao
Regional Coordinator met them at the airport.

The third Regional Formators Training Seminar-Mindanao took place at the TOC lay
formation center, Sacred Heart Carmelite Parish in San Francisco, Agusan on May 1-2 with Fr.
Aris Escobal, O Carm as resource person. They were accommodated at the Carmelite Parish
convent through the courtesy of Fr. Eddie Albino, O Carm, Parish Priest.

Twenty-one (21) officers of the three (3) Communities: San Francisco, Rosario and
Bahbah participated in the seminar with the theme: “A Committed Formator is an Effective

The dialogue with the three (3) communities transpired on May 3, Saturday during the
District Assembly. The National Prioress took the opportunity to dialogue with the newly
established Confraternity of the Brown Scapular at 4:00 in the afternoon of the same day. In her
talk she exhorted the Confraternity members, numbering 67 in all, under the able leadership of
Fe Tan-Cebrian, that their primary mission in the Parish was to promote devotion to Our Lady of

Mount Carmel and propagate the wearing of the Brown Scapular. Sis. Nimfa during the meeting
clarified the difference between the TOC and the Confraternity membership.

A fellowship at the recently acquired beach-front property somewhere in Surigao del Sur,
was organized by the three (3) local communities the following day, May 4. Unfortunately Bro.
Joe wasn’t able to attend because he was feeling ill.

Sis. Nimfa and Bro. Joe left Agusan on May 5 for Dumaguete via the Cebu Ferries from
Cagayan de Oro City. In Cagayan, Carmel Associates Arnold and Angging Van Vugt played
host for them while waiting for the boat to sail.

At the Dumaguete pier the next day, May 6, they were met by Tess Villegas, Visayas
Regional Coordinator. While there they were comfortably accommodated by the Carmelite Nuns
in their guest rooms. Fraternal meetings with the Sibulan and Dumaguete TOC communities
were held May 7 and 8 respectively.

On May 9, they left for Escalante together with the delegates from Dumaguete (Tess
Villegas, Aster Ablir, Lucy, Jacka Lagrito & Nanie Culi) for the Formators Training Seminar
which was scheduled to take place May 10-11at the Carmelite Parish in Escalante with Fr. Paul
Medina, O Carm as resource person. Roxas Community was not able to send any representative
but all the members of the Escalante community were asked to attend. At the seminar, Sis. Nimfa
took the opportunity to announce the appointment of Linda Tancinco as Regional Coordinator
for Escalante and Roxas. Sis. Tess will only be handling the Negros Oriental communities.

The fraternal dialogue with the Escalante members took place after the seminar in the
afternoon of May 11 and continued until late in the evening despite the brown out. While in the
city, Sis. Nimfa and Bro. Joe were comfortably accommodated by Sis. Toto (Gilda) Pintolo at
her house.

The National officers were treated to an R & R the following day, May 12 at the Bonista
Beach Resort where the dialogue and fellowship continued until evening. Before going home
that evening, Meren Llavore (Prioress) and Linda Tancinco (Formation Directress) presented Sis.
Nimfa and Bro Joe with tokens of appreciation.

The next day they left for Roxas City very early in the morning arriving at the Monastery
of the Nuns just in time for lunch. In the afternoon they met with the TOC members until
evening. May 14 was spent in dialogue with Inday Sonido (Prioress) and Joe Mabasa (Formation
Director) concerning problems of the community while touring the city. They left Roxas City the
following day for Manila.

As far as the National office is concerned, this 15-day trip has been very fruitful. “At
least this time,” Sis Nimfa reported, “we were able to spend quality time with all the
communities that we visited. In our own little ways we have been able to enlighten and inculcate
in them the importance of Formation in the life of a TOC. We know we have finally convinced
of the need to undergo this Back to Basic Formation program or why we have develop this new
approach to formation. I tried to explain to them that the initiatives regarding Formation that we
have introduced are for the purpose of helping them grow in Carmelite spirituality and truly live
the life of a TOC. As to why we require them to READ materials, I told them, I cannot imagine a
Carmelite not reading.”




From Holy Thursday until April 25 Fr. Peter Kramer was in the monastery of Tanay conducting
the liturgical services of Holy Week and after Easter. At the same time, Anton Hoogland was in
Agusan to attend the CPCC meeting.

The novices left early in the morning of May 3 for their retreat in La Salette retreat house in
Silang Cavite. Fr. Toots Buenafe facilitated this retreat as preparation for their simple profession.
Returning to Spring of Carmel in the evening of May 7.

On May 4 Fr. Anton left for Cebu to share a retreat with the Carm OL junior sisters preparing for
their final vows. Arriving back in Manila on May 12. The day before, the novices sang during
the final profession of Sr. Nimfa Mahilum of the Sisters of Mount Carmel. The following
Sunday, May 18, they sang during the first profession of two ACI sisters, neighbors to the

From May 14 to 18, Bros. Eman and Cocoy underwent a retreat in preparation for their solemn
profession in Baguio City. The facilitator was Gerry Sabado, O.Carm.

On May 17, the community celebrated the Eucharist on the Divine Mercy channel. Afterwards,
Sr. Mary Philip Surban, O.Carm. and Fr. Anton shared thought about Carmelite Spirituality.
Immediately after the television program, the novices and their formator proceeded to Lagro and
attended the first profession of the Carmelite missionaries.

After the study of Carmelite history facilitated by Frs. Peter and Anton, May 23 & 24 were set
aside for the evaluation of the novitiate program 2002-2003.

On May 26, the whole community had an outing in Eight Waves Resort in San Rafael Bulacan.
In spite of the fact that it was the first day of a typhoon week, the community still had an
enjoyable outing.

June 1 was a special day for the novices. Seven of the eight said goodbye to Spring of Carmel
and moved to the student friary in New Manila. Returning the next day to do a thorough cleaning
of the rooms they had occupied. On June 4, the new novices arrived and were given a short
orientation on the next day. The new novices are: Roy Tabamo from Mahinog , Camiguin, 38 yrs
old; Philip Rabosa from Medina, Misamis Oriental, 29 yrs; Jess Briccio Alesna fom Karaos, San
Francisco, Agusan del Sur, 27 yrs; Rey (Boyet) Agabe from Maramag, Bukidnon, 26 yrs; Joel
Comaling comes from Abuyog, Leyte and is 24 yrs old. The youngest one is Francis Reanne
(Jongjong) Galaura from San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. Jongjong is 21 years old. They spent
days afterwards acquainting themselves with Metro Manila. On June 7, the new batch of novices
attended the simple profession of the seven outgoing novices. In the same liturgy Bros. Eman
Vallega, O.Carm. and Cocoy Sabanal, O.Carm. made their solemn profession. In the afternoon of
the same day, Bros. Eman and Cocoy were ordained deacons by Bishop Socrates Villegas.
Followed in the evening by a special supper for relatives and Carmelites and a short program.

On June 12 the whole Spring community attended the Luzon Carmelite Regional convention.
Only the final professed members of the community returned to the Titus Brandsma Center for
the last part on June 13.

On June 14, all the novices were busy cleaning the house and preparing for their acceptance the
next day. Fr. Tony dela Cruz, the commissary provincial was the presider of the Eucharist and
homilist. A good number of Manila based Carmelites attended the affair. The afternoon
Eucharist was followed by a snack.

From June 16 to 18, the two formators of the novitiate, Bro. Cocoy and Fr. Anton, attended the
Initial Formators’ Conference (IFC) where they discussed a new psycho-emotional/spiritual
approach as proposed by Sr. Innocentia, SFIC.



Amidst the turbulence of the super storm Chedeng, the Commissariat staff and co-
workers journeyed to Laguna last May 29-30, 2003 for a relaxing dip at the Laguna Hot Spring
and exciting rides at Enchanted Kingdom.

Normie Lacanilao, Irwin Mejia, Jackie Losala, Jofti Villena and Edwin Paular with the
friars Marlon Lacal, Toto Jaranilla and Christian Buenafe shared the enjoyable bonding and staff


Summer was spent doing Parish Integration with different Carmelite communities
throughout the Philippines. Toto Jaranilla was in the San Francisco community from May 15 to
24. Within that short period, he gave recollections and renewed professions of the different
chapters of Carmel Youth. Including Prosperidad, Patin-ay, San Francisco and Ebro Housing. He
also gave a recollection and seminar on Carmelite spirituality to the Simon Stock Catechetical
organization in Agusan. For him, it was an opportunity to go back to his usual work, for he had
been assigned to this parish two years ago. Friars Marlon Lacal and Aris Escobal also integrated
with Agusan parishes from the first week of May until the second week prior to the integration of
Fray Toto. Martin Pierik on the other hand did his summer with the parish of Escalante. His
afternoons were spent visiting the parishioners and even swimming with them in the sea as the
parish of Escalante borders the shore. The convent of Old Escalante is the point of reference for
fishermen who come home late. They look for its light since there is no lighthouse in the place.

While in Escalante, Martin also gave a retreat to the sisters of Carmelite of Our Lady in
Dumaguete. Arie Kuil, our property custodian, continued to oversee the construction of the huge
church in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

Gerry Sabado accompanied the postulants to Cebu for two weeks. He was to take his
vacation but went out of his way to assist in the formation as the friars in Cebu were on their
summer classes and vacation. Christian Buenafe was busy helping with the retreat of the novices
before their profession accompanying the novices to Tagaytay City (one of the coolest place of
Luzon) where they had a reflected on our charism and vows. Tony de la Cruz assisted the Cebu
Formation Center during the month of May. Originally intended to be a visit to the community, it
turned out to be a “going back to his roots” experience. Tony was a formator for a long time in
Cebu before he being transferred to the parish apostolate later on becaming the Commissary
Provincial of the Order. Pete Manilag has started adjusting to the student friar community. He
made a few changes in the house of the students - converting the tv room, which has bigger
space - into the chapel and the chapel into the recreation room. This was necessary because we
have more student friars now than before. They are now 15 plus Pete living as one formation
community. Bernard Roosendaal had a busy summer at Titus Brandsma Center with more guests
and having to oversee the Manila Regional Convention, which took place at the Center. Bernard
excels in checking that visitors are accommodated at the center and food is served on time. In
addition to this, he continued to provide assistance to the Carmelite Missionary Sisters of St.
Therese of Child Jesus joining them almost every Saturday.


The summer program of the student-friars was successful. Even if there were times that the
student friars were bombarded with requirements in the CPE programs they managed to continue
and indeed they successfully finished the program last June 6. Rhen and Rodrigo from St. Luke's
Medical Center and Edwin, David, Arnold, Benedicto and Jude from Makati Medical Center.
Also, Alain finished his summer program in music at the conservatory of. Sta. Isabel College.

The new formator of the student friars arrived last May 7 from Cebu, his previous assignment.
Fr. Pete will be the head formator of a team which includes Frs. Antonio, Sirenio. Christian and
Aristarco. Fr. Pete was the rector of the college seminary of the Order in Cebu before coming to
the student-friary.

Under the leadership of the new formator, the student friars were busy preparing the house
especially with repairs and reconstruction for the incoming new student friars.

A day after, the new student friars arrived from the Spring of Carmel. Seven of them (Seven
Balls of Elijah as they call themselves) Jerry Cañas., Allan Hagoriles., Realino Hermo., Eugene
Horca, Gerald Flor Guttierez, Junnel Ryan Denolo and Benedicto Beato. They were warmly
welcomed on the night of that same day. The addition of the seven makes the student friars 15 in
all in one community.

The first-year student friars had a 3 days orientation to ICTC from June 9-11. They were joined
by 13 other first year student seminarians from other congregations, Franciscans, Redemptorists,
Sons of Charity, which was for them a foretaste of ICTC and in order to establish bonding
among themselves. The 2nd and 3rd year student friars took a break at Cuyab Pansul last June 10
with Pete and Tim. The day after, we attended the regional convention of Luzon held at Titus
Brandsma in preparation for the forthcoming Commissary Chapter. The convention was
participated in by all the Carmelite friars in Luzon, student Friars, novices, co-workers and
representatives from the TOC Sr. Nimfa and Bro. Joe. The convention was a presentation/report
on the ministries, in which the order is involved. The participants were asked to actively
participate in the discussions and in formulating recommendations and suggestions. The theme
of the convention: The journey continues…in the land of lights and shadows.

The student-friars held their own general assembly last June 14-15 at Titus Brandsma Center.
The assembly programmed various activities such as, getting to know each other, leveling off of
formands and formators, review of the VMG and the formation manual. The second day centered
on the structuring of the student friary by electing the student council and the establishing of the
four committees. Rhen Caculitan was elected as the Coordinator for this school year and the four
committee heads were the following: Gerald Flor for Academics, Jerry for Spirituality, Allan for
Sports and Cultural and Edwin for Finance/Household. In the afternoon of June 15, the student
friars attended the acceptance of the new novices in Spring of Carmel. Six of them were accepted
as novices for the year 2003-2004.

June 16 marked the beginning of the academic life of the student friars as students when ICTC
opens its doors for the SY 2003-2004. At 9 in the morning doors open with the celebration of the
Holy Eucharist officiated by Fr. Martin Pierik, O.Carm. After the break, the election of the new
ISEC for the SY 2003-2004. Alain was elected as the President of ISEC while 3 other student
friars Arnold as head of the Academic committee, Edwin for the Social and Cultural Concerns
and Rhen for the Pastoral Committee are all members of the ISEC. To all the student friars may
you have another year of wonderful journeying in the arena of ICTC.

As part of the plans and recommendations of the Provincials of OCD and O.Carm.. Alain and
Pete attended an initial joint meeting of the student friars and formators of both Orders at the
shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on Broadway. The meeting was intended to be a leveling
off on how to foster joint activities that can be a meeting point for both orders. Among the
activities named were Sports, Agape and common Carmelite studies. Expectations and objectives
were also presented. The next meeting will be on July 5 to be represented by the student council
of both Orders and their respective formators.




It has always been the tradition in Negros Occidental that the Labor Day Rally is in Bacolod
City. Now San Carlos City is fast becoming the center for mass action of the workers. Last May
1, 2003 around 3,000 sugarworkers led by the NFSW (National Federation of Sugar Workers)
held a rally in San Carlos City, the seat of the Diocese of San Carlos Borromeo. Workers,
displaced by the closure of San Carlos Milling Corporation were present to air their sentiments.
The sectors of farmers and the professionals were also represented. Mr. Mahinay, the National
Chairperson of the NFSW, gave a rousing speech and situationer of the sugarworkers. Fr. Paul
Medina presented the stand of the Church regarding the workers, especially the farm workers,
and the informal sector. Although most of the sugarworkers from Northern Negros travelled to
San Carlos City for the mobilization, some went to Bacolod City. In fact, Fr. Harry Bloem and
the people from Old Escalante went to Bacolod. In Bacolod, there were five groups who held
five different rallies and KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno) was only one of them; unlike in San Carlos
where there is only one group, which is NFSW-KMU.



Topi, Boy, Martin, Paul and Tim Jusayan went to Vito, Sagay City for the Priests' Night on the
evening of May 1, 2003. Bishop Mondejar and some diocesan priests of the Diocese of San
Carlos also attended the celebration. The sea-food, the uniqueness of the place, were offered by
Fr. Wilson "Embong" Mendoza, the parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Vito, Sagay and
Vicar Forane of the Vicariate of St. Anthony of Padua. Vito is famous for the "miraculous"
statue of St. Vincent Ferrer and many pilgrims come for the fiesta on May 2. It would have been
a perfect celebration if not for Tim who forgot to return the key of the L300 car of Escalante
when he left with his friend. The Escalante Community was then stranded in Vito because of the
key. All the members of the community tried to contact Tim by cellphone but to no avail because
of a weak signal for cellphones. The group waited till a text message got through. It was almost
midnight and the whole community was just too happy to be home.


On May 4, the different groups involved in Family Apostolate, such as the Christ Family
Mission (ChristFam), Couples for Christ (CFC), Marriage Encounter (ME) and others, gathered
together for a dialogue and levelling off on the Family Life Apostolate. There has always been
some confusion among the different groups and so Topi, Boy and Paul facilitated the dialogue in
order to have a Common Family Life Apostolate in the Parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
ChristFam is already involved in the parish and the group is handling the Pre-Cana Seminars but
the other groups do not yet have a clear role in the parish. A common program is planned and the
next meeting will be on June 6, 2003.


May 30 is the traditional fiesta of Escalante City. The original fiesta started when New Escalante
was created on May 30, 1958 and the seat of government was transferred from Old Escalante to
Balintawak, which is now a component city called Escalante City. The patroness is Our Lady of
Mt. Carmel and the novena started on May 21. The Lord's Night on May 26 was highlighted with
the Santa Cruzan which was well-choreographed but unfortunately spoiled by rain. The First
Band Competition of the city was taken by Fr. Paul who facilitated it successfully. The High
School Band of Dian-ay was the champion. Mt. Carmel College did not join the competition for
fear that the government school bands would be threatened. The main celebrant for the Holy
Eucharist on the feast day, May 30, was Bishop Jose F. Advincula, Jr. who encouraged the
people to make this feast in honor of the Holy Cross and July 16, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the
patronal feast of the City.


The 9th BCC Congress of the Parish of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was held on May 25 at the Mt.
Carmel College Gym. A celebration of the Holy Eucharist concelebrated by Topi, Boy, Rey and
Paul kicked off the congress. The Congress was attended by more than a thousand people who
were delegates of the different Basic Christian Communities and Family Groupings. A number
of issues surfaced such as the question of "tithing" or "love offering", "recommendations from
the BCC officers", "Pre-Fiesta Seminars" and other activities of the parish. The evaluation of the
Parish and the Worship, Evangelization, Services, Temporalities, Organizing and Youth
Committees were accomplished and the impact study of the Parish was presented. Another hot
item discussed was the Vicarial Summer Festival which was held in Escalante City. It turned out
that there was poor participation from the parishioners of Escalante Cit y and this city is the host
of the Festival this year. An election of new Parish Council Officers was held through secret
balloting. The counting of votes was completed only after a week.


Last May 26, 2003, Mount Carmel College started its College, Basic Education and Pre-school
enrolment for Academic Year 2003-2004. There are 717 college students, 291 High School and
131 Elementary students. Classes for all levels begin on June 16, 2003.
New courses for College offered are Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Information
Technology. Mount Carmel College also initiated the Grade Six level. The elementary
department has newly constructed restrooms through the effort of MCC Alumni Association,
Rev. Fr. Christian B. Buenafe, O.Carm. and the assistance of Rev. Fr. Anton Hoogland, O.Carm.
and Rev. Fr. Jan Mulder, O.Carm. Foundation. The blessing was on June 13, 2003 in the
presence of the PTA president, Mr. Ludovico Masellones and all the MCC personnel.

For the Academic Year 2003-2004, MCC has a new president - Fr. Reynold Caigoy,O.Carm.,
anew dean of college - Sr. Mary Paul A. Plasabas, SFIC, a new principal for basic education - Sr.
Grace O. Abejo, SFIC.and a new set of teaching personnel. Pre-service training of all teaching
staff on all levels from June 9-12, 2003 at the Titus Brandsma Audio-visual Room. The objective
was to unify all academic and non-academic personnel to the VMG of the school and strengthen
their position vis-à-vis the old challenges of giving Christian and quality education to the youth
of Northeast Negros.



Last summer, the community members were quite busy. Fr. Arnel took a short course at UST-
Manila. Fr. Max traveled around the Visayas and to parts of Mindanao to finalize the number of
the incoming seminarians for the School year 2003-2004. Fr. Toon Mol journeyed to Escalante
and spent a week long vacation.

Last May 25 the community welcomed forty old and new college seminarians, nine (9) from
Luzon, eighteen (18) from Visayas and thirteen (13) from Mindanao for the SY 2003-2004. A
week-long orientation followed by an outing to the beach. Their classes at the Rogationist
Seminary started June 2, 2003 of the current school year.

On May 31, Seventy-one people composed of Friars, Seminarians, Lay, and youth walked ten
(10) kilometers en route to Cebu Plaza participating in the annual "walk-for-a-cause" activity of
the Carmelite Order.

The Carmelite community of Cebu hosted the pre-postulancy program last April and May. Of the
eight applicants who expressed an interest to join the program only six are now in Agusan for the
postulancy program.



The farm at Magsaysay has been properly planned by the Department of Agriculture
representative. The plan was divided into a five year progressive plan in order to make the
project feasible. In principle, the local community of Agusan Carmel approved the idea to
develop it yet had some reservations about the issue of the land acquired through Fr, John M.

Gelio-ano, as the representative of the local community of Agusan. The suggestion is to continue
the task to title the land as soon as possible.

The Carmelite beach resort already has a general plan, Fr, Eddie, the local prior of the
community suggested a structure to cater to the needs of the community. The proposal needs to
be developed so as not to incur many expenses but at the same time practical for the immediate
use and leisure of the community.

Pisaan rice farm is in the process of being cleaned due to the tall grasses that needs to be cut
before the rainy season begins. People have been sent to prepare the farm for planting rice. At
the same time the land already has some occupants but did not realize that the land they tilled
was titled by a private person and used as collateral at the bank. The occupants need to dialogue
with the bank representative as the vendor of the land. Initial arrangements have been made
already through the efforts of the Barangay Captain of Pisaan, a farmer kaabag and the uncle of
Fr. Max Zapanta, O.Carm.



Last June 1, 2003 marks the beginning of the postulancy program at Karith Postulancy
Formation House, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur. Starting this year, the council decided to move
the formation house to Mindanao. This school year, the Order of Carmelites is blessed to have
six (6) enthusiastic and energetic postulants; 1 from Luzon, 2 from Visayas and 3 from
Mindanao. The following is a brief profile of the 6 postulants.

A Tagalog lad from Bulacan is Jaworski Linag. Joey, as he likes to be called, is the third sibling
of Mr.Crispin Linag, Sr. and Mrs. Lilia Linag. He is the eldest and as he insisted, the shyest of
the group. Finishing Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Bulacan State University. After four
years of working as a government employee, he opted to become a Carmelite through the
inspiration of the Carmelite nuns of Guiginto and Tarlac as well as the Carmelite friars especially
Frs. Tony, Toto and Aris. He believes that when he entered the order he brought nothing except
his faith that God loves him and he loves God, too.

From the bombing capital of the Philippines is Zacarias Mante, Jr. He is from Tacurong City,
Sultan Kudarat. Zak, 28, finished his second year in Theology. After he left the seminary, he was
a volunteer staff and researcher for the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP-ST) where he

met Fr. Gerry Sabado. Because of his ardent attraction to the Order, he decided to continue his
formation here. For him, nothing is impossible.

An ex-diocesan seminarian from Mati is Edwin Cañamo, Finishing his college formation at
Queen of Apostles College Seminary (QACS) in Tagum City, he took up a Spirituality
Formation Year at St. Francis Xavier Regional Major Seminary, Davao City. After spending 4
years of exposure where he was teaching for 3 years, he decided, though the help of Fr. Toots
Buenafe, to join the order. Edwin, 25, recalled that his life is restless until it rests only in the

One may ask, “who is this guy with the Ilonggo intonation?” This seminarian is Jonathan
Serofia. Bobby, 25, is from Dingle, Iloilo City. He finished his degree in Computer Science at
Cabalum Western College. He taught for 3 years at Mater Carmeli High School run by the
Carmelite Missionary sisters at Dingle. As a requirement before entering the Order, he was asked
by Fr. Toots to teach for a year at Mount Carmel College in Negros Occidental where he taught
computer subjects which served as his aspirancy program. For Bobby, life may bring many
things that are deeply distressing, but in God’s hand, a burden becomes a spiritual blessing.

Another postulant is prophesied to be the first Filipino Carmelite Scientist because he is a risk
taker. He is not afraid of trying anything as a challenge. He is Karl Reformina from Tagbina,
Surigao del Sur. Finishing his college formation at San Alberto Carmelite Formation Center,
Cebu Normal University. Karl, 23, the artist of the group, wishes to dedicate his life in service to
the poorest and the least. Karl believes that to love is not to see a perfect being, but to see an
imperfect being perfectly.

The youngest among the group is Rommel Esmeria from Balamban, Cebu. Melskiens, as he
wishes to be called, completed his Bachelors’ degree in Social Science at Cebu Normal
University. Like Karl, he also finished his college formation at San Alberto Carmelite Formation
Center in Cebu. This small but terrible guy is a music lover. He plays guitar, flute and piano in
addition to singing well. He hopes to become the first Filipino Carmelite Saint, virgin and
martyr, though serving the poor and the oppressed.

Though, we come from different backgrounds, yet we try to be attuned to one another to be one
in our journey towards Mt. Carmel with the furtherance of our Carmelite inspirations, the
prophets, saints and maytrs, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Welcome to the journey.




In search for a deeper understanding of Filipino Spirituality, the Center for Spirituality-
Manila (CFS) held a round table discussion last May 8, 2003, 2 PM at the Titus Brandsma

Noted people from the field of Spirituality attended the discussion: Albert Alejo, SJ,
director of the Research and Publication Office at Ateneo de Davao; Leonardo Mercado, SVD,
from the Episcopal Commission on Inter-Religious Dialogue; Rosario Battung, RGS, practicing
ZEN Spirituality, involvement in the Women, Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation; Virginia
Fabella, MM, from the IFRS; Mary John Mananzan, OSB, researched on Woman, Religion and
Spirituality in Asia, also a part of the Institute of Women Studies; Teresita Obusan, social worker
from the Bahay Nakpil Office; Grace Odal, professor of Arts at UP Manila and with a
specialization on pre-Hispanic culture and reinterpretation of old dances; Rebecca Añonuevo, a
faculty member of Miriam College who did a dissertation on “Ano ang GANA bilang banal sa
Panulaang Pilipino? (What is sacred in Philippine Literature?).

From the Carmelite camp, attendees came from the directing team of CFS-Manila: Frs.
Marlon Lacal, coordinator; Christian Buenafe, member; Rico Ponce, O. Carm, member; Ton
Danenberg of the Research Team of the project, Spirituality in the Social Movement; and Noel
Valencia, consultant.

Key points on the establishment, objectives and projects of CFS-Manila were identified
in the rationale given by Fr. Marlon Lacal, O. Carm. One of the objectives is to initiate and
provide venue/floor for the sharing of wisdom, thoughts, vision and expertise on Spirituality
realized by a round table discussion. This also facilitated reflection, dialogue and interaction
among those who specialized in this field called “Spirituality.”

Participants were asked to prepare a three-minute presentation based on the following: 1)

elements that should be highlighted in the study and promotion of a Filipino Spirituality and 2)
difficulties encountered.

Rebecca Añonuevo shared the difficulties and results of her dissertation: “Ano ang
GANA bilang banal sa Panulaang Pilipino?” (What is sacred in Philippine Literature?) She used
the word GANA (Tagalog word which point to the enthusiasm to eating, a word usually related
to food and taste) to refer to sacredness. In this study, she implied that GANA is more than just a
physical satisfaction resulting from eating. But GANA as focused more on the enthusiasm for
life, to live life, which is sometimes lost due to a crisis experienced resulting in sadness,

frustrations and suffering. She described twenty-five poems by twentieth century Filipino poets.
In the poems, she saw the presence of the concept of sacredness and creation, prayer, praise and
a certain connection to a supreme being (GOD). A connection of the body and soul, social
involvement/service to others (pakikipagkapwa-tao), which creates the real relationship and
closeness to God were also evident in the poems. However, she also observed that amongst
Filipinos that although the Philippines is a very Catholic country, it manifests hesitation in
speaking freely about faith, holiness and God.

Mary John Mananzan, OSB reflected on her struggle to distinguish Spirituality from
religiosity. She explained the “experience of transcendence” as the starting point of all religions
from which formation of an institutional Church, creed, rituals, ecclesiastical laws, scriptures,
clergy and hierarchy, mission and theology arises. There are those who conform to all these laws
but without depth of Spirit but there are others who have no religion or membership in any
church yet manifest depth of Spirit. She shared the meaning of spirituality, as defined by
Aurobindo (Hindu). Spirituality in its essence is an awakening to the inner reality of our being,
an inner inspiration, contact with the greater reality, in communion and union with it, a turning, a
conversation, a transformation of our whole being and a growth or waking into a new becoming
or new being, new self, new nature. An emphasis to another level of meaning of Spirituality was
also given. It is externalizing one’s own experience of transcendence into a certain way of life
that develops according to fundamental options and decisions we make at certain crisis points in
our life and which then shapes it into distinguishable characteristics.

“Filipinos follow the model of the holy with strong emphasis on the immanent.” This was
according to the paper submitted by Fr. Leonardo Mercado, SVD. He also pointed out the traits
of such a spirituality as: holistic, no dichotomy of the material and the spiritual and therefore it
has to be experiential; mystical, entails an image of God as non-personal; and, ecological, strong
linkage with creation and with the unseen. Another highlight was the explanation of the old and
new theology that Filipinos emphasize more the passion of Jesus Christ, which was the theology
brought by the colonizers; though, today’s theology focuses more on the resurrection. That was
one of the difficulties he considered. Another difficulty stressed was the absence of a direct
Filipino translation of the word “spirituality. As a challenge, he brought the idea of producing an
end-product, which is tangible and from which Filipinos can identify with or own.

Teresita Obusan of the Bahay Nakpil Office has long been working on bringing Filipino
Spirituality into the consciousness of others. Thus, she specifically emphasized the attitude
towards learning spirituality and how do we look at it as students and as teachers. Is it something
to learn about, something interesting, exotic or added to? She highlighted the complementation
of spirituality as a way of life and a way of trying to find one’s soul.

Professor Grace Odal emphasized spirituality as social, cultural and historical-based.

Social-based spirituality is evident on one’s social involvement (service to others,
“pakikipagkapwa-tao”). Culture-based is focused more on language and spirituality as historical-
based emphasizes more the traditional heritage of spirituality. Another interesting input was the
explanation of anti-religiosity as pro-spirituality and vice versa. Professor Odal claimed that the
radical definition of spirituality would be to prevent it from becoming fossilized or preventing its
preservation. Fossilized spirituality means resisting changes. Therefore, the need for radical
changes, within, is inevitable. She cited post-modernism as a great spirituality because it allows
changes and the shaking of foundations, which are the very key of spirituality and not the boxed-
type “religion.”

Sr. Virginia Fabella, MM presented the idea that spirituality does not really need
developing but must look into the elements important in studying it. Considerations must be
given to folk/popular religion, where does it come from, popular religiosity and Filipino
psychology, sexuality, how we feel as body, past and contemporary history and current
movements. Thus, she said, a person can trace roots and begin to understand one’s present
actions and conditions. Also, a discussion on the spirituality of the minority and majority or what
is known as indigenous spirituality and a study on the Philippine context would be necessary.

With her immersion in the grassroots, Sr. Rosario Battung, RGS gives strong emphasis to
the indigenous and Asian Spirituality, the spirituality of the way of life, inter-faith dialogue that
looks at different things from the angle of all religious and cosmic spirituality. She relates to
spirituality as ever-searching and contemplative. Her notable statement was, “to look into the
depths of our being, submissive tayo sa kaloob-looban natin, kaibuturan ng puso natin kung saan
natin matatagpuan ang totoong diwa ay makikita natin itong mga aspetong ito, tinatawag na

With the immersion area just a few kilometers away, Fr. Alber Alejo, SJ shared his first
hand experience with the indigenous and offered a reflection (analysis) guide. He did not tackle
“Filipino Spirituality or spirituality” per se but helped to give a new perspective and angle to the
discussion and to the exploration on “Filipino Spirituality,” if such really exists.


Participants proposed the following:


 Widen research and study specifically on: roots of an individual’s spirituality,

methods of studying Filipino Spirituality, concept of development (East), mysticism
and spirituality.

 Analyze the differences and experiences and put it on paper.

 Give emphasis to solid research.

 Suspend the labeling, naming of “Filipino Spirituality.”

 Flexibility and freedom in choosing approaches and methodologies to be used.

 End-product should be in tangible form like: formation, curriculum or publication.

 Change in the seminary.


As a whole, the following strong points surfaced from the discussion and which are evident in all
the inputs given:

 Spirituality is different from religiosity.

 There is a new understanding and another level of meaning of spirituality. It is more

in depth and which does not limit itself to the following of set laws, creeds, practices
and forms created by any institutional church.

 Spirituality comes from within, inner self and being, a realization and change.

 Spirituality does not dichotomize body and soul. It is holistic and experiential.

 The importance of history/roots and culture in the study of spirituality.

 Essence of social involvement/service to other is ever present in spirituality.

 The importance of the connection of body and soul in spirituality.

 Filipino Spirituality is clear if lived out but has no distinct meaning.

 Questions of “is there really a Filipino Spirituality and does this create a new



Carmelite, Busy Bees

James of Vitry has compared the contemplatives of Carmel to busy bees. Over the great moors
they fly in their quest for honey. Away from the dust and grime of life, in the cool and open
spaces, they collect their honey-store. For world lings it is an arid place and uninviting, but for
them the desert blooms as the rose. In early autumn every little sprig of heather on these moors
puts on its royal livery and the rough places glow from end to end in the purple symbol of
penance. Deep in those tiny bells the honey lies. Is not this is a perfect image of our lives? All
the myriad sprigs, the simple duties of our daily round, done in the spirit of love and penance,
bloom along the autumn moorland of our lives. They are rich with honey. So like the busy bees,
let us build up our spiritual store from the actions of our daily routine.

(The Beauty of Carmel, by Rev. Titus Brandsma, O. Carm, p. 48)



July 11-12: CP-CC Meeting in Teresa of Avila Building, Quezon City

July 16: Carmelite Fiesta

August 4: Center for Spirituality-Manila Academic Board Meeting, Teresa of Avila Bldg.
Q. C.

August 5-6: Sprituality Forum III, UST, Manila