Ptr. Bhem from Faith Bible College (FBC) went to Sakahan a few years ago with their students and he told himself that every year, after the graduation of their Bible school students, they will bring them to Sakahan to rest and reflect to their next journey. It was 2 to 3 years ago since the last time that he went to Sakahan, and we’re happy that he was able to do it again this year after rescheduling their retreat. Ate Mariben and I (Condrad) facilitated a Bibliodrama Retreat for the team using the story of Moses’s Calling, where God gave a lot of signs to him to prove to the Egyptians and Israelites that he was sent by God.
And the response most of them shared to us is that they’re really interested in how Bibliodrama works. It’s not intellectual, it is really their story, feelings and emotions that they get to share, and they appreciate that it’s not a performance and that they were able to connect to Moses’s story. Ate Jerily, from what we perceive, is a very intelligent and passionate lady, who always speaks what’s on her mind. And we’re really happy to read her response that she posted on her Facebook account.
This one of a kind retreat we had at Sakahang Lilok situated in the out skirts of Tanay, Rizal- I’d cherish for the rest of my life. There have been a lot of good memories but below were my favorites:
They restrict the use of plastic, and all garbage you bring has to go back to Manila with you. They have such huge love to preserve the natural resources. Salute!
They promote everything organic even the shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and dishwashing liquids they use, primarily because they want to preserve the natural mineral content of the water.
Water has always been gold to them, they do not have an ample supply, they only rely on natural rain water (which they have a machinery to gather with to water their plants especially during summer) and to their pump ran by solar power. So conserving the supply has always been a must. Every time we wash our own dishes we have to be very sensitive with the amount of water that spills, which we always gather to water the nearby garden. They really taught us to be matipid (conservative in the use of resources).
They do not use electricity, but they use solar power, which also needs to be conserved, so there were no electric fans, but mosquito nets to combat our insect friends during sleep.
They make their own organic food for the pigs, which is the reason why their piggery had no foul smell. We made tambay (hung out for a while) around the piglets and unbelievably, the care taker even has his bed on a loft where he stays at day time to oversee the pigs.
They have the friendliest staff and dogs too.
We danced as each session had rituals- I’ve always despised dancing, it scares me to death, no joke. But I never expected to be enjoying and looking forward to the start of all the sessions, to learn new steps. Well, they were only simple gestures but I really had such a grand time dancing for the Lord.
We did Bibliodrama sessions, though I wasn’t successful in buying calmness in exchange of sipag (referring to the magic store, where participants are invited to exchange what they have for qualities they desire; she wanted to exchange her diligence for calmness), nonetheless I was so happy to be learning and speaking to God in a theatrical and creative way. Cute!
We trekked to Calinawan cave, where we braved the zero visibility and the tiny passages that we had to pass through to get to the next stage. Literally, we were like soldiers on training, crawling whichever way possible. If you have claustrophobia, then you’d surely pass out but I suggest that you still try. By the way, our guide’s first name was Thor, so we call him Thor Guide. Kainis (an expression of amused exasperation), but in fairness his antics were funny.
We trekked to the secret lagoon where I had the chance to jump into the water, challenging my risk-taker self. Thanks to my classmates, who assisted me to get out of the water! We had so much fun swimming and feeling the cold water of Batlag falls, and as I was staring at it, I was amazed with the magnificence of God’s hand in creating such beauty.
But above all, my favorite was being able to survive “ambag” . In Lilok, they make sure to value almost everything, so they thought of re-using even human waste. Imagine a comfort room, with a big depository hole with a bowl on it, where their guests eliminate their waste. There has to be no water, to make sure that all the wastes will remain dry until it gets harvested after three months, which they process and lay aside for some more months until it becomes a pataba (fertilizer). Only tissue can be used to clean up and some sawdust to hide the waste. But extra vigilance was a must, because at times some friendly lizards visit the bowl! And in fair hindi mabaho (to be fair, it doesn’t stink), I swear.
Partida (an expression used to boast of a competitive handicap), I am always constipated and namamahay (unable to use toilets outside of home), but I was awarded by my classmates as the top ambag-er, as I did it 3x. It could have been four, but we had to leave na. Maybe because all that we ate were leafy, native and fresh.
Thank you, Pastor Bhem for spearheading (this retreat). Siyempre ang saya (Of course, I’m happy) to be with my batch mates for the last time. What a very perfect way to end my FBC journey. Well, at least for now, haha. God has spoken to me so mightily, He affirmed and strengthened me, that He who called me is faithful. Excited for the days to come.
Please pray for:
- That Lilok’s Administration and Staff will adjust well as they undergo a leadership transition.
- That Condrad will be able to obtain a visa for his trip next year. He will be going to Germany and Switzerland to share about Lilok.
- That Sakahang Lilok will be able to select potential new Volunteers for as Myra is leaving to prepare for Cambodia.
- That the processing for the title to Nanay Laleng’s land may go well, so that she can receive her land title and so that Sakahan can purchase it to utilize for its projects.
- The new batch of Certificate in Wholistic Ministry and Certificate in Youth Work participants, that they may grow wholistically and mature in wisdom and love throughout this training year.
- That the Pastor’s Retreat for 20 pastors and church leaders from 8 churches of the Ang Nagkakaisang Iglesia (The United Church, or ANI) Network will be fruitful and spirit-filled.
Blessings to all our co-journeyers,