Our visit to Ormoc and Cebu-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Monday, March 31, 2014
LAST March 19, I made a trip to Ormoc to bring some relief and rehabilitation services to the people who were afflicted by typhoon Yolanda. I was with my wife and one of my sons.
We went via Cebu, where I met my daughter Liesbeth who is a volunteer worker of Balay Mindanao. Liesbeth has a boyfriend, Ruben Lardizabal, who is an experienced magician. He came along also to give a magic show to the children who were afflicted also by typhoon Yolanda. And then we met there also a niece of mine from Holland who together with her boyfriend had come to the Philippines for a visit and who wanted also to do some rehabilitation work in Ormoc.
Early morning the following day we took a fast craft to Ormoc and arrived there at 10 a.m. We took a room in the Sugarland Inn to stay overnight. In the afternoon my daughter drove us around through the city and to the barangays of the city. Most of the houses had lost their roof and people had covered it with a blue tarpaulin. The houses looked desolate; it was very sad to see.
In Barangay Margen, our magician gave a magic show. There were more than 300 children mobilized by my daughter. Together with their parents they watched the show and looking at their faces they were very excited. After the show my wife and my daughter performed some action-songs with the children and they organized many games. My son and the Dutch couple participated also in the games and the children had a lot of fun with them. Then all the children were lining up to receive a full plate of chicken arroz caldo. There was so much enthusiasm among the children and their parents which indeed gave them relief from the pain and sorrow they had suffered during the typhoon Yolanda. It was a wonderful experience I never will forget.
After this affair in the city, we went for a visit to the shrine of the Carmelites in Barangay Milagro. The shrine is located on top of a hill. The roof of the convent was blown off because of the typhoon and the friars had brought all their furniture down to the chapel at the foot of the hill. There we stayed for two nights and we had an outing to lake Danao. We experienced there another hurricane, a very strong wind and quite a downpour of rain. Despite that bad weather my companions went swimming in the lake and they had lots of fun in peddling around on an air-bed.
After our visit to Ormoc we went back to Cebu by fast craft again and in Cebu we had another wonderful experience with the Carmelite community of Cebu. As associates, my wife and I are members of the Carmelite community in Nasipit, Talamban.
The community had organized an outing to a beach in Mabolhabol. My daughter and son went together with the Dutch couple to another beach-resort in Oslob where they did some snorkeling and under water they could watch nearby that friendly whale shark the place is known for.
The members of our Carmelite community will all get a new assignment by next month. One of them is assigned to our mission in Papua New Guinea. So this was a kind of farewell party, and we had an open sharing about our experiences with the members of the community.
Since we are living-out members of the community, we see each other only once in two months. We had only positive experiences with the community but those who live inside the community shared their positive and negative experiences with each other.
During the celebration of the Holy Eucharist we reflected on the theme of the readings: ‘United we stand, divided we fall’. It is natural that we see a lot of divisions around us – in our family, in our Church, in our country and in our world. The Church is divided on certain moral issues.
Our community experienced also a division that started from petty arguments, envy or minor conflicts until it turns into full-blown fights that can be verbal or physical. This has caused much harm and pain. Whatever will be the composition of our new community we face the future with hope and trust in each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.
All in all, we had beautiful experiences during our visit in Ormoc as well as in Cebu.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 31, 2014.