NEW MISSION April 8, 2013Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Mabuhay, Mission Anecdotes, OMG!, Pastoral, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Catholic Education, Dr. Eusebio Momo, Fr. Manuel Mijares SVD, Fr. Tony Salas SVD
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Since time immemorial, the Catholic parents of Olutanga Island have been dreaming of Catholic prep and kindergarten. For several years already, they had no choice but to send their children to the Protestant Montessori in all three towns. They are captive clients.
When Fr. Manuel Mijares and I arrived in the island three years ago, we shared the dream of these parents. I remembered one time while I was in a birthday party, I was introduced to a parishioner named Jill Dulam who, according to what I heard about her, was very efficient in her work in an NGO specially alternative learning system. She told me Fr. Joseph Audiencia, SVD (the former parish priest) planned of putting up a children’s school for the parish.
“Gotcha!”, I exclaimed. “You are the one we are looking for!” Together with Fr. Manuel, we reawaken the dream. But we were groping where to start, what to do, and how to do it. We have in mind that this school will cater to our Catholic children but at the same time it will also accept Muslims, Subanen indigenous children and other faith and tribal affiliations. So, this is not just a prep and kinder school but also a school molding our children to be builders of peace – a school that will teach our young generation to respect, understand, show compassion and learn to love other people of various cultures and traditions. It made me remember Pope Francis’ message to the journalists on March 16 after the conclave: “Since many of you are not members of the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I cordially give this blessing silently, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each, but in the knowledge that each of you is a child of God. May God bless you!”
Several Catholic parents also expressed their support and shared in our dream until March 30, 2013 came. Holy Saturday. The dream saw its light. Fr. Tony Salas, SVD, came and gathered all those who expressed their support for the realization of the project. Together with them, we came up with the vision and mission of the school which has no name yet. Those invited were already called owners of the school by virtue, not because of their profession, but by being parishioners and members of the Christian community. They are the following:
- Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD
- Fr. Manuel B. Mijares, SVD
- Dr. Eusebio Momo
- Prudencio Anota
- Rico Caloňge
- Marlyn “Bebeth” A. Caloňge
- Jesus A. Arnoco
- Mina M. Berdin
- Flora A. Esmanel
- Jill S. Dulam
- Emma A. Rabon
- Carlos G. Magdula Jr.
- Romel A. Rabon
- Marigen C. Rabon
- Lourdes F. Ozarraga
- Princess Hazel Tolorio
- Annabele Tolorio
- Emilyn Sabornido
- Melinda S. Adlaon
- Mamerto B. Pagar
- Ronald B. Zarate
- Val Samonte
- Diosdado S. Omamalin
- Julieta C. Degumbis
- Zenaida G. Dumapi
- Maria Q. Rosal
Also invited during the meeting are Bro. Roland Pontevedra, SVD and Kiking Lim from Talusan. During the selection of the Board of Trustees, the following are elected:
Chairman Eusebio Momo
Vice – chairman Val Samonte
Secretary Jill Dulam
Treasurer Lourdes Ozarraga
Members Emma Rabon
Fr. Felmar C. Fiel, SVD
I am actually very amazed at all the happening! We built the concept of the school within two hours, complete with its mission and vision. It was like riding a car that immediately zooooooooomed in less than a minute. We had no money yet, no building yet, no teacher yet. And we were so ambitious to start the classes (of at most 25 pioneer children) this June. At the back of my mind, I actually worry about this project, but I lift it all to God. We will work all things out, knowing that we are not doing this for own, but for God’s glory and his beloved humanity.
If you want to contribute to this project, please pm me @ my facebook page: FELMAR’S MISSIONARY JOURNEY
So, help us God.
IPIL MISSION NOW A DISTRICT December 5, 2012Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Diocese of Ipil, Mabuhay, Mission Anecdotes, Pastoral, SVD, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Fr. Danilo Noval SVD, Fr. Exequiel Mahinay SVD, Fr. Felmar Fiel SVD, Fr. Isagani Ehido SVD, Fr. Jingjong Rocha SVD, Fr. Sherwin Aromin SVD, SVD Ipil District
The Ipil Mission Team at the Diocese of Ipil in Zamboanga Sibugay was recently elevated to the status of a district. Fr. Exequiel Mahinay, SVD was appointed as the first District Superior while Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD was elected as his assistant. Rounding up the new district team are the following: Fr. Sherwin Aromin, SVD as the District Treasurer while Fr. Danilo Noval, SVD is the District Admonitor.
The election was held last October 12 at Dr. Momo’s Residence, one of the parishioners of Parokya San Miguel in Mabuhay. Present during the election was Fr. Jingjong Rocha, SVD , the Provincial Superior of the SVD Philippines South and Fr. Isagani Ehido, Provincial Treasurer. It was the Provincial who announced that Fr. Mahinay is the appointed leader of the newborn district.
The following day, the elevation of the team into a District was celebrated through a Holy Mass together with the Parishioners of Parokya San Miguel –Mabuhay. The District Officials were also presented to the faithful. More power to the new SVD District of Ipil!
A BEAUTIFUL GIRL October 3, 2012Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Diocese of Ipil, Love Story, Pastoral, Subanipa Diaries, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Cecellen Cenes, Fatima Soriano, Special Children
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I first met her two years ago. She confidently sang during a program and from that time on, I always think of her. She reminded me so much of Fatima Soriano, the blind girl who speaks like an angel.
She is Cecellen Cenes, a 22 year old hydrocephalus girl in Fama, Olutanga Island, Zamboanga Sibugay. Her father already died and she is left under her aunt’s care because her mother already has another family. I was so surprised when I visited her once. Their house was a very small nipa hut, covered by sulirap, a string of woven coconut leaves.
Her aunt has a small kamanting/cassava garden at their backyard – that is their source of daily sustenance. In fact, they have camanting for their lunch. Her mother had not visited her for several years already. She has three step-brothers but she could no longer remember the last time they visited her.
“What do you do when you are alone?”, I asked her. She proudly said that she can cook, do the laundry, clean the house.
A nurse told me that for a hydrocephalus person to reach 22 – that is already an extraordinary case. She must be very special! And oh, did I tell you she is still studying? This girl is very inspiring. She related to me last June how excited she was for the opening of the classes. She is already in grade 5. At that time, she has no bag yet, no notebooks, pencils and paper. However, she believed before the classes start, her aunt will be provided by God the necessary amount for her school expenses.
I highly admire her for her faith. So bubbly, so full of hope, so inspiring and so convinced of God’s love despite her seemingly hopeless situation.
God loves her. God bless her+
A.T.O.M. February 7, 2012Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Diocese of Ipil, Mission Anecdotes, Pastoral, Priesthood, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Alicia, Bishop Julius Tonel, Brother Roland Pontevedra, Fr. Aleksander Gaut, Fr. Bobby Brillantes, Fr. Ferdinand Alfante, Fr. Herman Suico, Fr. Isagani Ehido, Fr. Jingjong Rocha, Fr. Loreto Estomo, Fr. Manuel Mijares, Fr. Mike Mahinay, Fr. Ruel Lero, Zamboanga Sibugay
The Diocese of ipil finally turned over the Immaculate Conception Parish of Alicia, Zamboanga Sibugay to the Divine Word Missionaries last February 5, 2012 in a Sunday ceremony graced by the Bishop of the Diocese, Msgr. Julius Tonel, DD. It was also the day of the installation of the first SVD parish priest, Fr. Loreto Estomo, SVD.
This action was a response to the SVD’s request to have a mainland parish. Few years back, the missionaries actually asked for a parish along the highway since the travel from Zamboanga City to Ipil to Imelda to Olutanga Island was very difficult. It is ideal that before proceeding to the island, a parish near the highway is a suitable and convenient stop-over.
The Immaculate Conception Parish of Alicia is the nearest parish northeast of Olutanga Island, where three of our parishes are located. This is our fourth parish in the Diocese. In June 2005, upon the arrival of the pioneer Divine Word Missionaries, we only have two parishes – the Parokya San Miguel in Mabuhay and the Nuestra Seňora de los Remedios in Olutanga. Last January 2010, San Vicente Ferrer Parish of Talusan was erected, our third parish.
With the inclusion of the Immaculate Conception Parish of Alicia in the Ipil Mission, the four parishes are now abbreviated A.T.O.M., after the initials of the four towns (Alicia, Talusan, Olutanga, Mabuhay) where our parishes are located.
Present during the occasion were Fr. Jingjong Rocha, Fr. Ruel Lero, Fr. Aleks Gaut, Fr. Ganie Ehido, Fr. Ferdie Alfante, Fr. Felmar Fiel, Fr. Manuel Mijares, Fr. Mike Mahinay, Fr. Herman Suico, Fr. Loreto Estomo, and Br. Roland Pontevedra.
PLACERES FESTIVAL IN MY PARISH October 7, 2011Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Diocese of Ipil, Mabuhay, Pastoral, Tourism, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Brother Roland Pontevedra SVD, Joy Omamalin, Kim Caloñge, Mabuhay Agro-Industrial High School, Mabuhay National High School, Mayor Restituto Caloñge, Municipality of Mabuhay, Parokya San Miguel, Placeres Festival, Xavier High School
Last September 29, fiesta sa aking parokya. I was very excited because it was the first time I celebrated a fiesta as a parish priest here in Parokya San Miguel, Municipality of Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay. Lubos akong natutuwa sa overwhelming support ng aking mga kaparokya at mga ka-isla. This year’s theme is KAISLA: Managlahi Apan Managhiusa. Special ang situation namin sa Olutanga Island during fiesta. Hindi lang mga Catholics ang mga nagdiriwang, kundi pati na rin ang ating mga kapatid na mga Muslim, Subanens at mga Christian denominations ay nakikiisa sa amin. Wonderful! The town of Mabuhay is indeed a picture of world peace! Unity and beauty in diversity, ika nga.
May festival kami sa fiesta na tinatawag naming Placeres Festival. Ano nga ba ang Placeres Festival? Ano ang kaugnayan niya kay St. Michael na patron ng aming parokya. Let me explain….
Placeres Festival refers to the annual celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord for protection and guidance through the intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. This festival is observed in Parokya San Miguel (Diocese of Ipil), Municipality of Mabuhay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Philippines every 29th of September.
In the 1970s, the people of Mabuhay survived an attack from lawless elements who wanted to bring chaos in the island. These bandits did not push through with their evil plans when they saw the hundreds of soldiers surrounding the Church and the parochial school (when in fact, there were none). The people believed that it must have been St. Michael the Archangel who protected them.
The Placeres Festival is a reminder to the people of the island that in the battle between good and evil, the good always triumphs. Placeres, interestingly comes from the word “plaza” — the place where people gathers. In every Placeres Festival, the people gathers at the town plaza to collectively celebrate the memory when once upon a time, the angels came to their rescue.
My Pet Cat Does a Manny Pacquaio! August 29, 2011Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Mabuhay, Pastoral, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Tags: Municipality of Mabuhay, Olutanga Island, Parokya San Miguel, Pets
I love my pet cat Mingming so much! She carefully guarded my another pet mother duck at the back of our parish convent. Mother duck is now in her last stage of hatching her eggs. One day, a snake invaded the house of mother duck but the invasion was not successful. My pet Mingming fought bravely ala-Manny Pacquiao with the aggressive invader. The bout was caught on video!
KITA-KITS SA PAROKYA SAN MIGUEL! August 1, 2011Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Pastoral, Priesthood, Zamboanga Sibugay.
Ito na ngayon ang Simbahan kung saan ako assigned. This is the Parokya San Miguel which is located in the Municipality of Mabuhay, Olutanga Island, Zamboanga Sibugay.
I will be installed as a parish priest this coming August 6, 2011 at 9 am. This is my solemn entry as a pastor of souls in the parish.
If you are very far from the island, ok na sa akin kung mag-offer kayo ng konting dasal para sa akin on that day. Kung within Zamboanga Sibugay ka, you are cordially invited. Don’t cha ever miss it. Yong mga nakikita mo sa fb album ko entitled “FOODTRIP”, matitikman mo lahat yun – and more!
SILIP SA BUHAY PARI (PHOTO EDITION) November 19, 2010Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Jokes, Pastoral, Subanipa Diaries.
Tags: Olutanga Island, Subanipa
Bilang isang misyonero, mapalad ako na malibot ang buong Pilipinas from A to Z (Abra to Zamboanga). Dahil dito, nahubog ang aking kamalayan sa kagandahan ng iba’t ibang kultura ng ating lahi. Naging mapagmasid din ako sa bawat lugar na aking napupuntahan. Isa sa mga kakaibang dulot ng aking paglalakbay ay ang pagkuha ng larawan ng mga hindi sinasadya ngunit nakakatawang larawan, kagaya ng lamang ng mga nasa ibaba.
Ang larawang ito ay kuha noong mag-umpisa na ako sa aking youth ministry. Minsan nagulat na lang ako noong kami ay may pagpupulong sa isang chapel, kakaiba ang kanila bulletin board.
Ito naman ay halong nakakainis at nakakatawa. Piyesta noon at sabi pa sa akin ng isa sa aming chapel coordinators na talagang pinaghandaan daw nila ang piyesta kaya binago nila ang painting ng kanilang patron. Pagdating ko — nakup — binago nga!
Ok, hindi ako ang judge sa main event ng street dancing competition na ito. Isa lamang ako sa mga mapalad na nabigyan ng VIP sa harap mismo ng stage kung saan andoon ang mga hurado. Ang ganda ng mga presentations, kaso nagkaroon ng costume disaster ang isa. Panalo sila sa audience impact!
Hehe, ito walang kokontra!
Ano ba talaga, pamisa o pamesa?
FIESTA SA OLUTANGA November 6, 2010Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Pastoral, Subanipa Diaries.
Tags: Fr. Joseph Audiencia SVD, Placeres Festival
Nito lang nakaraang buwan, ako ay naimbitahan ng aking kasamang pari sa kanilang town and parochial fiesta. Dito kasi sa Olutanga Island, dalawa lang ang parokya kaya pinaghandaan ko talaga ang araw ng kapistahan. Umaga pa lang, di na ako nag-agahan (ahem, naiisip nyo ba ang naiisip ko?). Sabi ko kasi, maaga pa naman.
Pagkatapos ng banal na misa, nag-aanounce si pader na mag-me-meeting daw ang committee ng street dancing together with the judges ng Placeres Festival. Nagulat na lang ako dahil bigla na lang niya akong tinawag at ako pala ay kasama doon sa mga magiging hurado (sample! sample! sample!).
At ang nakakatuwa doon — ako pa ang chairman of the board of judges! Hahahahahaha. Na-goodtime ako ng kapatid kong pari. Hayyyy…
First time kong mag-judge ng ganitong contest kaya na-excite din naman ako, hehe. Madami ng mga contests kung saan ako ay hurado ngunit ito yata ang pinaka-nahirapan ako. Walang maitulak-kabigin sa mga entries. Lahat magagaling, lahat gustong manalo.
Gusto ko ang history ng kanilang festival. Ito ay kanilang pagbabalik tanaw sa reconciliation na naganap between Muslims and Christians noong later part ng 1970s. Sa festival na ito, sama-sama ang mga Muslim, mga Kristiyano at ang mga indigenous peoples ng Olutanga na mga Subanens para ipakitang namamayani ang kapayapaan sa bahaging ito ng mundo.
At pagkatapos kong maghurado, saan pa ba ako pupunta???? Eh di sa mesa. Ang daming pagkain, yahooo! Kasama ko si Fr. Joseph. Nabusog ako sa handa niya. Kaya naisipan kong gumawa ng fan sign na may happy birtday. Para yan sa mga ka-fb ko. Kung may birthday, ita-tag ko na lang sa kanila ang picture ko na yan. Hehe, ok ba? Dahil pagkain ang last picture, let me end my blog post with a prayer…
Bless us o Lord
and these your gifts
Which we are about to receive
From your bounty
Through Christ our Lord.
FIL-AM October 16, 2010Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Blog Awards, Pastoral.
Tags: Expats, PEBA
Natuwa ako sa kwento ng isang kaibigan kong nurse na OFW. Nakapag-asawa siya ng isa ring nurse na Pinoy sa America. Habang lumalaki ang kanilang dalawang mga anak, kanilang napagtanto na mas maganda sigurong magbakasyon sila sa Pilipinas para makita at maranasan din ng kanilang mga anak ang buhay-Pinoy sa Pilipinas.
Umuwi sila ng Zamboanga. Pagdating nila ng probinsya, laking gulat ng kanilang mga anak noong makita ang mga bata sa paaralan na papalabas na para magsiuwian.
“Oh my God Mom! These children are not safe!” Sambit ng kanyang isang 7 years old na anak.
“Why?” Laking taka ni Nora, kaibigan ko.
“Mom, where are their parents? Why is it that no parents come to bring them home? Oh my God, Mom! They are not really safe!” Inosenteng sambit ng bata. “What if a lion or a tiger comes to attack them? Oh my God!” Patuloy nito.
Natawa si Nora. Oo nga pala. Sa America, sinusundo ang mga bata sa school. Sa probinsiya sa Pilipinas, naglalakad ang mga bata pauwi. Walang sundo. Walang yaya, walang mga ina o ama na naghihintay sa labas ng school para sa oras ng uwian.
Napahalakhak si Nora. Napaka-ignorante ng anak ko sa kultura ng Pilipinas, sambit niya sa isip. “Anak,” paliwanag niya, “iba dito sa Pilipinas. Independent na pumupunta ang mga bata sa school. Tsaka, walang tiger o lion na umaatake dito. Dati nga noong nasa elementary pa ako, pag may nakikita kaming asong ulol, hinahabol pa namin at pinagbabato. Kung naabutan kami ng ulan sa daan, ginagawa naming payong ang mga dahon ng saging.” Pagmamayabang at paliwanag ng ina.
“Oh my God!” Lalo pang nanlaki ng mata ng kanyang anak. “Talaga Mom?” Sambit ng anak nito in American twang.
Habang pinapakinggan ko ang kwento ng aking kaibigang OFW tungkol sa kanyang anak na tubong Amerika, lalo akong napahanga sa mga pamilyang Pilipino na nagagawa pa ring umuwi ng Pilipinas para iparanas sa kanilang mga anak ang kanilang pagiging Pilipino. Isa itong kahanga-hangang desisyon upang lalo pang tumibay, lumalim at lumawak ang kaalaman ng kanilang mga anak tungkol sa kulturang Pinoy at pagiging Pilipino.
“So, kailan kayo muling magbabakasyon ng Pilipinas?” Tanong ko sa aking kaibigang si Nora.
“At least once in two years!” Sambit niya.
OO nga pala, pangalawang taon na simula noong nagkita kami ng kaibigan ko. Ngayong December uuwi na naman ang pamilyang OFW. Excited ako, dahil magkikita na naman kami ng kaibigan ko. Ngunit mas excited ako sa kanyang dalawang anak. Uuwi na naman sila sa bayan ng mga magulang nila.
“Tito Father! Don’t tell ‘bayan ng mga magulang ko’.” Paglilinaw ng anak ni Nora noong nakausap ko sa phone. “Ang bayan ng magulang ko ay bayan ko rin. So, bayan natin,” pagtutuwid niya.
Oo nga pala. Bayan natin.
Ang simpleng karanasang ito ay nakakapagpangiti sa akin kapag aking naaalala. “Ang bayan ng magulang ko ay bayan ko rin.”
Ang blog post na ito ay simbolo ng aking pakikiisa sa taunang Pinoy Expats / OFW Blog Awards. “Pagtibayin ang Pamilyang OFW: Mas Matibay na Tahanan Para sa Mas Matibay na Bayan”.