EUNTES’ SUMMER PROGRAM 2010: Finding God in the Margins of Basilan


From Left to right: Titus, Bernard, Fr. Angel, Peter and Sundeep

With bated breath and mixed emotions, the participants along with Fr. Calvo, left for Basilan at 6:30 morning of April 8.  From the Basilan wharf,  they went straight to the Formation and Reconciliation Center in Isabela City.

Orientation at the Formation and Reconciliation Center . . .

Once there, Fr. Calvo gave a comprehensive history of Basilan, a place noted for kidnappings. According to him, the  Yakans are the original inhabitans of Basilan but were ejected from their ancestral domain by local and foreign colonizers. The Yakans on the other hand, struggle then and now to reclaim their  ancestral lands.

Likewise, the president of the NAGDILAAB Foundation  talked on their programs and projects emphasizing the intervention  of  the foundation to the marginalized of Basilan. She further commented  that though their lives are oftentimes at risk,  they still have to remain and continue their mission.  In support to her statement, Fr. Calvo added that six (6) pastoral workers were recently ambushed; five (5) killed while one (1) survived.

In the outskirts of Maluso . . . an experience with the  SAMAL-BAJAUS

The team proceeded to the San Vicente Parish in Maluso and met with the Parish Priest, Fr. Dennis. Moreover, at  the Claret Samal Foundation, Inc. (CSFI), lunch was served  and various Bajaus’ handicrafts were presented to them.

In a while, the participants headed off by footbridge to the Samal-Bajaus community. Beaming with pride and happiness on their faces, the bajaus  heartily welcomed the team  in the community hall  with  dances, song and  life sharing experiences.

Similarly,  Fr. Dennis imparted about the CSFI on-going programs and projects, history of the community and  the culture and life of the people.  Strikingly, he stated that the

A Bajau girl is singing the song which she composed about selling their handicrafts

foundation utilizes community organizing thus thru it, the community was able to negotiate a 25-year leasehold right of marine territorial property from the DENR to construct individual dwellings for the whole bajaus community.

Nuggets of Wisdom from some participants . . .

A day Trip to Basilan . . .

Coming in and out safe and sound!

. . . had kept us abreast with what is happening in the lives of those in the margins like the Bajaus.

It’s worthy, inspiring and be able to reflect the face of Christ in their suffering.  There is a sign of hope as long as it is sustained.  That preferential concern for the underprivileged work of the church is coming alive in Christ.

By Sr. Elsa, OND – Dumanjug, Cebu

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. . . Life is wonderful if you go deeply into yourself and the lives of others.

. . .  God’s love and mercy can be shown in the lives of people who are marginalized or excluded out of the society, when we are totally consecrated our life in serving them.

. . . There must be self – giving and adventure for the goodness of people and to do the will of God in our life.

. . . Finding God in our daily life is offering of individual’s life among the poor and needy.

By Peter, PIME

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I  have seen lots of Samal-Bajaus loiter the streets of Cotabato City begging for alms  and people avoid them.  But it is in Maluso, Basilan that I’ve seen them in their dwellings in small shanties exposed to the wear and tear by the open sea.

I couldn’t exactly say if suffering to the Bajaus is a choice or destiny but seemingly they are detached from the whims and caprices of wordly cares.  It seemed to me that they enjoy inner freedom from desires so that no desire, no frustration.

From the Bajaus, I learn a lesson. That is to desire less and to maintain only one desire: to serve God and humanity.

Thanks to Fr. Calvo for guiding us to Maluso, Basilan. Thank to the Parish Priest, Fr. Dennis who work for and work with the margins.

By Roberta

Our Lady of Holy Rosary Parish


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