Wednesday (November 27th 2019)
This is our second day in Mindanao. The OMI Brothers from Indonesia visit some places where the Philippines’ Oblates work their ministries. Bro. Gonie OMI is still become our tourguide. After one night stayed in Binuligan Retreat House (17 hectars), we go to Kulaman Parish for about 3 hours car driving. After two hours driving, finally we start to climb the mountaineous land because Kulaman is beyond the mountain.
It is really a beautiful trip, along the way everything is so green. The situations of Philippines are also very similar to Indonesia geographically, in terms of climate, seasons, plantations, kinds of animals, even many words/terminologies used by peoples in their daily lives. But there is something quite new for us to see what they call as ‘skylab’ or in local name ‘habal-habal’. It is a motorcycle with so many passangers (5-7 person).
The first station before we reach Kulaman is the Parish of Masiag. This is the Parish where 19 years ago our honorary Brother (Fr. Widi, OMI) ever stayed there during his exposure as an scholastic. He says that the situation now is very much changed, the road is already cemented and so good, not like before during his exposure time: muddy and waving road. Some parishioners welcome us with hot coffees, local snacks, and ‘buko’ (young coconut).
The second station of our trip is the Parish of Gapok. Father Alvin OMI, the assistant of the Parish Priest, is wow in welcoming us. Knowing that almost all Indonesians love so much on ‘nasi goreng’ (fried rice), he learnt from the internet on how to cook ‘nasi goreng’ and it become our menu for lunch. What a kind and generous heart of him!!
Finally we reach our final destination, namely: the Parish of Kulaman. Fr. John OMI the Parish Priest and also as the Director of Notre Dame of Kulaman schools (elementary school, junior high school, and senior high school) welcome us. Brother Gonie OMI was the man in charge of these all for 7 years before his recent assignment in Oblate Missionary Centre (OMC) – Quezon City. The students and the teachers are very very kind to us. They prepare for us some beautiful performances, especially from Manubok tribe (the Indigenous People). The Manubok dance tells us the summary of the life of Manubok tribe, since the very beginning (creation), hunting, planting, wedding ceremony, etc. Father Larry de Guia OMI (former Provincial) is the one now who serve the Manubok tribe. We learn a lot from his explaination on how we as Oblate Missionaries are called to walk together with the people and make them human, christian, and holy. Brother Mauritio OMI (87 years old) is also mentioned as the legend among the Kulaman peoples.
We are so grateful to have such kind of experiences during our two weeks stay in the Philippines. We note that the main charateristic of Oblate life is community. We will never live alone without community. In OMI Congregation, priests and brothers are in equal position, complementary each other, none is above others. We all, priests and brothers are sent by God to preach the Good News to everyone, especially to serve the unserved. The priests are in everything related to sacramental area, meanwhile the brothers are related to non sacramentals. As young brothers, we are motivated and strengthened to live out our identity as OMI Brothers. Thanks a lot to the Provincial of the Indonesian Province and his Administration which support us financially and morally so we can attend this experience. Thanks to Fr. Widi OMI (the representative of the AOFC, who is very formative and become a goodfriend to us) and Fr. Damianus OMI (the Superior for the Indonesian Brothers, who is really visioner, very systematic at work, and supportive to us).
Bro. Yakobus Juang, OMI