Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ongoing Work at Community Center in Malungon

Bamboo Building. The rafters are up, walls are being built, and the concrete ground-level  floor has been poured and  smoothed over at the CCT's  Kerith Ravine Retreat and Community Resource Center in  Malungon, Sarangani Province.  The building , to be made mostly of bamboo, was designed by Arch. Rosario “Ning” Encarnacion-Tan, an internationally renowned Filipino architect and a pioneer in applying the principles of traditional Filipino architecture to contemporary design, mainly through the use of bamboo and other local material.

Like the traditional Filipino bahay kubo, the community center will be raised from the ground.  It will have bamboo walls and a cogon grass roof.  Most of the silong or ground floor will be left open.

But why bamboo? In  an interview with Marge Enriquez of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Arch. Tan explained that bamboo is as sturdy as steel in tensile strength and strong as concrete in compressive strength.  She explained  that unlike some materials from the earth such as marble ,bamboo can be replenished, and compared with trees that take ten years or more to reach maturity, bamboo is ready to use for construction purposes in five years.  She also said that bamboo can thrive in subsoil. As for organizations like CCT that are involved in community work and job generation, bamboo is a wise choice as  building material because  during processing, the money goes mostly to labor rather than the material.

CCT Services. Kerith Ravine is one of 19 CCT branch offices that have been converted into community centers this year.  Each community center houses facilities for CCT services such as micro finance, pre-school education, basic medical check-ups, and skills training. When complete, Kerith Ravine will have a clinic,a pharmacy, a water station, and restrooms on the ground floor. A worship hall with a 160-seating capacity, a library, an office, and a classroom will be on the second floor. 

Although the architecture of the Malungon community center is Filipino, its name is Hebrew. The center was named after  Kerith Ravine in I Kings 17 in the Bible, the place where the prophet Elijah stayed for a few years while Israel underwent a drought. 

When complete, the Kerith Ravine Community Resource Center will look like this. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

First CCT B'laan tribal mass wedding

Couples perform a traditional B'laan dance portraying courtship as part of their wedding ceremony. 

Five B’laan couples were married in the first B’laan tribe mass wedding held at the CCT community center in Malungon, Sarangani.  The ceremony, which incorporated B’laan wedding traditions, was witnessed by about 150 guests.

Sarah Sobrino, Malungon community center coordinator, organized the wedding right after the couples responded to the call for marriage in application of a discipleship lesson. "They realized that living together without the blessing of marriage is not pleasing to the Lord, and so took the step to make things right before God," Sarah said.

The couples were :

     Sammy and Leni Osano
     Antonio and Gina Pandayan
    Christopher and Marlyn Gay
    Bobby and Julieta Bilala
    Renaldo and Jenelyn Artiaga

The wedding officiant  was Datu Edmund Pangilan, Sarangani provincial tribal chieftain. Everyone in the entourage wore the traditional B'laan attire. Music was played on an agong (gong) and the faglong (a two-stringed guitar).

 One B'laan tradition observed in the wedding had each couple eating from a single plate with their arms linked and drinking from a single bamboo cup. This symbolized their oneness. In another tradition a strand of hair on the groom's head was knotted together with a strand of hair on the bride's hair while both were on their knees. A male friend and a female friend then stepped between the two, over the knotted hair. This symbolizes faithfulness and fidelity. 

In a third tradition,  the bride knelt on a pillow  and the husband applied pressure to her shoulder with his knee, symbolizing her submission to him.  After this, each groom brought his bride before the altar, and they were officially declared husband and wife. The grooms then hugged their brides. Kissing the bride is not part of the B'laan wedding custom, Sarah explained. Sarah is herself a B'laan.

Visions of Hope children served as ushers and usherettes during the event. 

"This event is a CCT milestone. This is the first time that we have engaged our B'laan partners to follow God's verdict on marriage in line with their tribe's culture. This event serves as a celebration of our partners' freedom from the bondage of sin and an acknowledgment of a renewed relationship between husband and wife," Sarah said.
The newlyweds with Datu Edmund Pangilan (center),
officiating minister.

The grooms hug their brides after the
declaration of marriage. Kissing the bride
in public is not a B'laan practice.

In a special addition to the wedding ceremony, B'laan
children perform a traditional dance portraying the rivalry
of two male warriors for the attention of a young lady
that both of them wish to court. 

In a continuation of the love story, after one warrior wins
the young lady's heart, the whole community
celebrates their union.

At the reception one of the newlyweds
expresses her gratitude to all who made the
mass wedding a success. 

                                                                         Reportage: Keren Grace Tandico


Thursday, August 11, 2011

B'laan Beadwork Taught at VOH Christian School

Kinsay Tagnaan displays a traditional B'laan blouse intricately decorated 
with beads.  According to Sarah Sobrino, Malungon community
center coordinator of the Center for Community 
Transformation,  the bead work 
on  albongs like this is so durable that not a single bead falls off even
when the blouse is handed down to the next generation. 
Sarah is herself a member of the B'laan tribe.

Will B'laan beadwork ever become a vanishing art? No, not as long as women like Flanék (sister in B'laan) Kinsay Tagnaan faithfully teach younger female members of the tribe this skill. 

The B'laan, indigenous people of Mindanao, are known for the intricate beadwork worn by their womenfolk.  Flanék Kinsay helps preserve B'laan tradition by teaching beadwork to children and staff at the Visions of Hope Christian School in Malungon, Saranggani Province. The pupils worked on bead projects in the previous school year and beadwork will be part of the curriculum in school year 2012-2013.  

The Visions of Hope Christian School is run by the Center for Community Transformation, a non-government organization. 
Sarah Sobrino (right) gets one-on-one lessons on B'laan
beadwork from
Flanék Kinsay Tagnaan.
Allan Sobrino, property custodian at the Malungon
Retreat and Resource Center and pastor of the Kerith Ravine
Community Church, tries his hand at some beadwork.

Tiny white beads adorn the neckline of an albong, a blouse
worn by B'laan women. 
Flanék Kinsay doing beadwork on the sleeve of an albong.

Ulél – B'laan earrings
A swăt, B'laan headdress of beads attached
to a wooden comb.
B'laan children wearing albongs decorated with bead designs
they themselves helped sew on.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Bamboo Community Center Rising In Malungon

Light and airy.
This is what a bamboo house is like. And light, airy, cool, and maaliwalas is what the main building at the Kerith Ravine Retreat and Community Resource Center in Malungon, Sarangani Province will be like.  The 234-square meter structure, made mostly of bamboo, is expected to be completed by July this year.

Designed by Architect Rosario Encarnacion Tan, the building is stilted or raised from the ground. Seventy percent of the silong or ground floor will be left open.  The silong will house a clinic, bathrooms, a pharmacy and a water station.  A worship hall with a 160-seating capacity, a library, an office and a classroom will be on the second floor.

Twenty-three men composed of  five B'laan men, ten former street dwellers from Manila, and ten members of the Malungon community are working on the building. Before construction work began, workshops were held to train them on bamboo harvesting, treatment, and storage; bamboo growing and propagation; and bamboo design and construction.

Just-harvested  bamboo poles are made to absorb a borax
solution to prevent termite infestation
and the growth of mold.

 The bamboo used for the building is harvested from clumps of bamboo growing abundantly on the 77-hectare CCT property. It is treated on site.  The roof will be of cogon grass which also grows profusely in the province. 

CCT ministers to the B'laan community in Malungon to help transform and empower them to reach their potential as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. Aside from the building of the community center, ongoing projects include organizing of leaders, livelihood training, discipleship classes, and the feeding of children.

Friday, April 1, 2011

19 VOH Beneficiaries Graduate

Praise the Lord for 17 VOH-sponsored young people from General Santos City and Sarangani province who graduated this March from high school. One of them was valedictorian and three others were among the top ten students of their batch. The students are:

Czarina Poblete, valedictorian, Gen. Santos City High School
Jean Hope Piang, fifth honorable mention, Batotitik High School
Renlie Lauron, top 8, Malungon National High School
Charity Solania, top 8, Alabel National High School
Jowe Auman, medal for distinction in sports, Gen. Santos City High School
Ellaine Bueno, Gen. Santos City High School
Najma Bandoy, Ireneo High School
Augusto Ongcoy, Ireneo High School
Diano Leahne, Lagao National High School
Jaymark Tagnaan,Malungon National High School
Reinhart Tagusi, Malungon National High School
Michael John Insular, Malungon National High School
Jessa Mae Mission, Alabel National High School
Roy Mart Palawan, Alabel National High School
Ferdilyn Baton, Alabel National High School
Melvie Carangue, Alabel National High School
Leizle Geral, Labangal National High School

Christine Fae Genona and Alfie Balayo, on the other hand, graduated from trade school.