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