Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chronicles of Carmel Cebu

2008 - 2009

july 1-2 the friar community of Cebu had its meeting in Carmel Ormoc to assess the damage of the storm Frank. We also discussed the upcoming feast day on July 16. There will be series of celebrations in Cebu Carmel like Search for Miss Teen Carmel, Seminarians' Concert, Invitational Games, Ballroom Dancing and many more. In Ormoc, there will be novena Masses in the Church of Ss. Peter and Paul, procession and culmination Mass in the Parish of Simangan (San Lorenzo).

july 16 – the Eucharistic celebration in Ormoc was attended by hundreds of Carmelite friends and confraternity members. Due to the hospitality of Fr. Fabian Mariano, we were lucky to be allowed to say this Solemnity Mass in the San Lorenzo Parish of Simangan, Ormoc. After the Mass, hundred went to share the lunch at the shrine. Before the meal, we had a prayer before the statue of the Lady of Mount Carmel. We are very grateful to all the donors and sponsors of the celebration. In the evening, Pete and Toto with Fr. Rey Caigoy who came to visit proceeded to Cebu for the Solemn Mass and also the coronation of the Hara ng Carmelo. It was a joyous celebration. Fr. Rey in his inspirational message told the crowd of the beauty of the moon and of the closeness of the star which is a sign of Love between Lovers... Mary is the model of love for all of us. Fr. Pete welcomed the crowd to the culmination activity which is the coronation night. Fr. Toto talked about beauty in his concluding remarks quoting Thomas Aquinas, “Beauty is admirable because it stimulates theoritical thinking. Beauty is pleasurable because it satisfies desires.” He thanked the most beautiful Lady of all, not by her physical look but by her beautiful soul, Mary, the Lady of Carmel.

july 19 - We had the first extended community meeting. Present were Nol, Angging, Hein, Moring and Jopacs with the friars, Pete,Toto and Rhen. After the day one meeting we had a celebration of the feast of Prophet Elijah. The college seminarians dramatized the life of Elijah. We then had a recreation after the show.

Prior to the meeting, we had a dinner ala "eat-all-you-can" it was a night to remember for the extended community of friars and associates. This meal was a celebration and thanksgiving for all the blessings we received in Carmel in honor of the Father of the Order, Prophet Elijah.


august 4 - Friars Pete, Rhen, Toto and Commissioner Jose Pacatang, carrying with him his hundred cans for Batang Pinangga, of Cebu left by plane to attend the Carmelite Spirituality Forum in Quezon City, Manila. We were supposed to leave at 1:50 pm but were delayed due to late arrival of turnaround aircraft. Our schedule for takeoff was changed to 4:00 pm "tentatively".

Carmel Milagro was happy to welcome the co-workers from Manila for their recollection and staff development last August 24, 25 and 26. The staff tasted how to walk for 2 kilometers going up the shrine. Normie Lacanilao observed, “it was not just far, it was very far.” Though the distance is near, the uphill climb took the breath out of the staff who arrived late on August 24. The next day, they beheld the beauty of the shrine and the mountains surrounding Carmel Milagro. On the last day, the co-workers took a swim in the picturesque Lake Danao, once a volcano crater now turned into a gargantuan lake. The Ormoc experience was indeed a nostalgic experience for the staff.

Last September 5 and 6, the community of Cebu with the Associates went to Carmel Milagro, Ormoc, Leyte for the first community study. The topic was centered on the book of Sanny Bruijns, “Journey with Mary” (Weg Van Maria). Nol Van Vugt, the English translator of Weg Van Maria, gave the extensive discussion on the topic, providing the theological and biblical foundations of the women of Bible that included Mary, the mother of Jesus. After the community study, the group had the occasion to visit Lake Danao, thanks to the generosity of the Claretian Fathers who allowed us to borrow their L300. Together with our caretaker and two working students, the group had a fun riding the raft and crossing the lake. The boys despite the cold, took a swim and had a boating in the lake. On our way home, the vehicle of the Claretian Fathers ran out of gas, lucky we were already downward towards the city. Passing thru the gasoline station, we had it filled immediately. Upon our arrival in the city, the Benedictine sisters treated us to a sumptuous supper in the Villa Hotel. The group left for Cebu at 10:00 pm, nostalgic of the memories of Carmel Ormoc.

Cebu Carmel welcomed the three student friars: Bal Ronato, Miguel Condes and Rommel Esmeria who are integrating in the community last January 17, 2009. They made clear to the community the purpose of the their integration program that is to experience the actual Carmelite community life with its ministries and to deepen one’s vocation while being guided by the members of the community. Rommel had a family integration for a month and for 2 months now he is in Carmel Ormoc for reflection and deeper integration with this new environment. Mike integrates with our Orphanage ministry in Batang Pinangga. He is learning how it is to care for the orphans amidst the difficulties of life. Bal is immersing in our Formation ministry in San Alberto, he wishes to experience solitude in the community setting. To take on some responsibilities in the community and in the College formation. The community meanwhile requested if he can help with the seminarians in their studies at which he gave an affirmative nod.

On the same date, we also had our extended community meeting with the Carmelite associates. We get to discuss the future of Cebu Formation House. San Alberto Formation Center as College Seminary will not be re-opened this coming school year instead the Seminary building has been considered to become a student center or a dormitory for students. The students who will be boarders will be given Christian formation while they stay with us. It is hoped that some of these students might proceed in the religious life.

We were also informed that Joselito Pacatang (Joepacs) is formally on his acquaintance program as announced by the Associates and the friar incharge assigned to co-journey with him is Fr. Pete Manilag while the Associate incharge to follow up on him is Nol Van Vugt.

Len was also our facilitator during our January studies. The community discussed on St. Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle and its relevance to our spiritual growth in a modern world.

Carmel Ormoc was visited by the community of Carmel Escalante last February 9 to 13. Carmel Escalante had their retreat in our house in Carmel Ormoc. They requested the help of Fr. Sirenio Jaranilla to assist them in their retreat. Fr. Jaranilla gave them the topics on "Perseverantes in Caritate", a document on our new blessed martyrs during the Spanish Civil War and shared on the way of the cross by Francisco Suarez, O.Carm. This became the community's jumping board on their sharings about their community life and for further sharings on the Commissariat's plans for every Carmelite local community. In attendance during the retreat are Friars Harry Bloem, Paul Medina and Eddie AlbiƱo. From the associates present are Linda Barairo, Rizalina Ombi-on, Inday Koerkamp and Frans Koerkamp. Frans celebrated his memorable and windy birthday in Carmel Ormoc.

Fr. Jaranilla also attended the 25th Jubilee Celebration of the Archdiocese of Palo. He concelebrated in the Mass by the Nuncio, Archbishop Edward Joseph Adams who celebrated the Eucharist attended by thousand parishioners, hundreds of priests and a number of Bishops led by Archbishop Jose Palma. The Jubilee celebration took place on February 14, 2009. Bishop Jose Palma expressed his gratitude to the Carmelites in opening their mission in the Archdiocese. Before the culmination celebration, Archbishop Dian (Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Palo) reminisce on the historical development of the Archdiocese.


Sinulog's Pit Senyor was an appropriate chant to begin the New Year. The community gathered for a meeting and celebration during the feast day of Sto. Nino de Cebu. It was the first meeting of the year. This meeting became a planning for the year-long activities of Cebu Center.

The program of the postulancy was implemented as planned. The postulants underwent a month's immersion with the sugar workers community Escalante City, Negros Occidental. They were inspired by the hospitality, the care and concern of Escalante community. Fr. Gilbert Sabado was the friar-in-charge of the immersion program. He present inputs on local and national situations. Ms. Cynthia Lakip facilitated the postulants week-long integration session. Fr. Pedro Manilag led the days of reflection. Fr. Sirenio Jaranilla gave a lecture about the Carmelite saints fearted in the book, "Carmelite Adventures." Bro Ken Ombrog shared his experiences and insights about "Consecrated Life" to the postulants.


Headed by Bro. Ombrog, the postulants and resident-students of the Carmelite Student Center (CSC) parcticipated in the Vocation Jamboree organized by the Directors of Vocations in the Philippines-Cebu last FebruARY 27 to 28 at the University of San Jose-Recoletos Basak Campus. The O.Carm. booth was well arranged and decorated with tarpaulins, posters, frames, etc. There were around 10,000 young men and women who joined the affair.

Cebu Carmel of San Alberto continues to serve as the venue for broader community meetings and assemblies. Initiated by the Lay Carmel community, they organize the neighborhood of inner Nasipit area to respond properly and approapriately to the pressing issues of the neighborhood community. An ADHOC committee is being formed by the lay Carmelite, Joven as convenor of the group. Fr. Pete Manilag served as the group's adviser. There is now an ongoing processing of the drainage system and the road concreting project of the community.

Likewise, the Chapel of San Alberto becomes the place of worship of the larger community of Nasipit. The Lay Carmelite Community also serves as the Spirituality and Pastoral Council of San Alberto. They regularly organize liturgical celebrations and activities. Other planned activities include: pilgrimage to Bohol, Lenten recollections, outreach programs, study-formation sessions, and Carmel Fiesta activities.

MAY 2010

Summer time became meaningful because of the time allotted for retreat and recreation of Cebu Community. The community underwent a retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Malaybalay, Bukidnon last May 18 to 20. It was facilitated by Fr. Sim Sumpayco, SJ, who has been very much involved in BEC organizing for years. It was an occasion of deeper sharing and celebration of the life of prayer together as one community. It wass attended by the all the members of the community - friars and associates. Arnold and Lorna Van Vugt were the in-charge for the preparations. After the retreat, the community visited the Transfiguration Monastery of the Benedictine Monks and our very own Carmelite Nuns in Maramag, Bukidnon.

New members of the community were welcomed on different occasions because they arrived separately. They are Bro. Edgar Cayanan, Bro. Fernando Lopez and Bro. Billy Manguiat who is in his integration year. They are a new force to help strengthen the ministies of the community and they are given specific assignments. Bro. Cayanan ang Manguiat will hep in the management of the Carmelite Student Center and assist in the Postulancy formation while Bro. Lopez is assigned to Carmel Ormoc.

APRIL 2010

In April, four Carmelite Aspirants arrived in Cebu for their pre-postulancy program. Fr. Rhen Caculitan, the National Vocatio Director was the main in-charge. He arranged the whole program in coordination with the community. The members of the community helped in the implementation of the program through sharing, sessions and facilitating group dynamics. Positive remarks were highlighted at the end of the program. All the four aspiratnts were recommended to the Postulancy formation program. They are Marvin Diongzon, Renante Calomohoy, Paul Rey Senturais and Ri Acao. An outing in Bohol culminated the pre-postulancy program.

Paul Kaptain Pakao from PNG joined the group in Cebu in the first week of June. Because of his situation, Paul follows a revise program. He is now enrolled at the University of San Carlos in a bachelor's degree program and is still in the adjustment period to cope with the demands of the school. He has to be tutored and guided in many areas. This is another challenge to the postulancy dynamics.

When Carmel Cebu learned of the sudden demise of Fr. Christopher Exala it was greatly saddened. The community offered a Memorial Mass for Fr. Topi Exala who was assigned in Cebu Carmel for six years from 1996 to 2000 and 2005 to 2007. The mass was well attended by priests, religious, lay partners from the ministries in which Fr. Exala had been involved.

JULY 2010

Fiesta Photos

The Cebu CArmelite Associates and their children joined us also:

Papeng and Liesbeth even presented a Magic which was a hit to the children: