Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MRTC has New Meeting Hall, Three New Dorms

Each of the five dormitory buildings at the Malungon Retreat and 
Training Center can sleep 36 persons. 
Enjoy natural beauty and birdsong when you come to the Malungon Retreat and Training Center. Located on 72 wooded hectares in Sitio Lao, Barangay Nagpan, Malungon, Sarangani,  the retreat center can now accommodate 180 overnight guests with the recent completion of three new dormitory buildings.

MRTC is the perfect setting for youth camps, couples' retreats, Bible conferences, planning meetings and weddings.

The dorms have six rooms on three levels, and each room can sleep six. Bedroom amenities include three bamboo beds with pullouts, and a hot and cold shower.  Each dorm building has a function room at ground level, with sound system, LCD projector and screen, water dispenser, and common restroom.

The new meeting hall can seat 150 and is also equipped with a sound system, LCD projector and screen, water dispenser and restrooms.

Other MRTC facilities include a bamboo multi-purpose building, a dining room,   dormitory buildings, a basketball court, and four parallel mini zip lines.  

For booking information, please get in touch with Lalaine Naquita at 09258846711,, or with Pastor Flor Soler at 09154617250,
MRTC's  meeting hall can seat 150.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Four New Buildings at MRTC Dedicated to the Lord

Above, two of the new dormitory buildings at the
Malungon Retreat and Training Center, and below,
the new meeting hall. 
Board and corporate members of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries, local government officials, Sarangani businessmen and pastors, former Visions of Hope-sponsored children, members of the B’laan community, and construction workers who helped build the facilities gathered on December 12, 2014 for the dedication of the Malungon Retreat and Training Center (MRTC) grounds and four new buildings on the property. 

In a colorful and moving event, beneficiaries of Malungon-based CCT projects and services spoke of how their lives were changed by the Lord, and construction workers told of life transformation through song.  

CCT has been ministering to the B'laan community in Malungon since 2002 through such programs and services as microfinance, children's education, livelihood training, evangelism and discipleship, and savings mobilization after it acquired 72 heavily wooded hectares of land in Sitio Lao, Barangay Nagpan, Malungon, Sarangani. Former street dwellers being ministered to by CCT's Kaibigan Ministry in Manila were brought to Malungon in 2011 to help construct a multi-purpose bamboo building, the first major building on the property. The two-story bamboo building houses a clinic, offices, and a worship hall. In April 2013, work was begun on what was to become the Malungon Retreat and Training Center. It opened in April 2014 with two dormitory buildings and a dining hall. 

MRTC is a lovely and serene setting for such activities as mission conferences, youth camps, couples' retreats and other ministry events, as well as weddings. The new buildings are three dormitories and a meeting hall.

For booking information please get in touch with Lalaine Naquita at 09258846711 or, or with Pastor Flor Soler at 09154617250 or
Left to right: CCT  Corporate Member Dick Ang, 
Sarangani Governor Steve Solon, CCT Malungon
Peer Servant Lalaine Naquita,  GenSan businessman
Jan Ced, and  Architect Daniel Lim. 

CCT staff Sarah Sobrino reads the
history of the Malungon Retreat and Training
Center and tells of  changed lives among the B'laans
ministered to. Changes include 
purchased, houses built, children
 educated, and food on the table everyday."

Members of the Brigada Bata, a program of the
Visions of Hope Christian School, bring in the

Here and in next photo:
Guests are led in praise and worship by CCT's
GenSan worship team and B'laan dancers.

Businessman Jan Ced  who
is also chairman of the CCT 
GenSan and Sarangani Regional Board  
 welcomes  guests.

The CCT GenSan Choir, led by Jun Gregorio, sings
"He Was There All the Time."

Guest speaker John Gaisano, chairman of the board of
the Davao Chamber of Commerce and chairman
of the CCT Davao Regional Board, says
MRTC is a place where God will be honored and

Pastor Nerie Jomento, receives a plaque
of appreciation.  As the first worker
assigned to the Malungon property back 

in 2002, he
courageously spread God's Word
amid hostile actions of residents opposing
CCT's presence. 

Workers of the Kaibigang Maasahan Multi-purpose
Cooperative Construction Services unit sing
Ako'y Isang Dakot ng Kanyang Himala."

Speaking on behalf of other
 Visions of Hope-sponsored children,
Gemma Almarai tearfully expresses gratitude to
parents, VOH staff, and sponsors. She said
 VOH-sponsored children now include licensed
teachers, an engineer, licensed policemen,
computer programmers, electricians,
 an agriculturist and a pharmacy graduate scheduled 

to take the board exam soon. Gemma
is a teacher at the VOH Residential School in 
Malungon which has students from 
the B'laan and Tagakaolo tribes. 

VOH scholars and parents sing the hymn
 "Standing on the Promises of God" in both
the B'laan language and English.

Ruth Callanta, CCT founder and
president, says the MRTC is to
be a blessing to indigenous people. 
An elderly member of the B'laan
community tunes his faglong, a
two-stringed traditional instrument. 

Photos courtesy of Carol Ruth Tigdo 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Four Couples Wed in Traditional B'laan Rites

"You may now hug the bride," says officiating minister Datu Edmund Pangilan.
He explains that there is no such thing as "You may now kiss the bride" in traditional
B'laan weddings. 

Clad in colorful beaded B'laan wear, four couples pledged each other lifelong love in a ceremony that featured B'laan music and traditions interspersed with teachings from the Bible.  The wedding was officiated by Datu Edmund Pangilan, provincial tribal chieftain, and held at the Malungon Retreat and Training Center in Malungon, Sarangani.  

One of the grooms and the four brides are B'laan, one of the grooms is a former street dweller ministered to by the Kaibigan Ministry of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries, and the two other grooms are graduates of the vocational-technical course of the CCT Training and Development Institute in Magdalena, Laguna. The grooms are members of the Kaibigang Maaasahan Multi-purpose Cooperative Construction Services.  

The equivalent of a bridesmaid and a groomsman in
a Christian wedding
bring bamboo cups and rice bowls fashioned from banana
leaves to the altar.

Young bride Angelica  is escorted down the aisle by her
mother and father who beats out a 

rhythmic pattern on an agung, a traditional
B'laan percussion instrument. 
Datu Pangilan says, "This is not a joke or game or 
presentation  but a sacred event." 

Datu Pangilan feeds the couples a little rice and

...and assistant officiating minister Danilo Tolentino
gives each couple a drink. "The officiating ministers 

symbolize God 
in the  food and drink ceremony which 
tells us that God is our provider.  But just as the
bride and groom have to open their mouths to 
receive the food and water, so also  should  they work 
in order to eat," Datu Pangilan explained. 

The groom briefly rests his knee on his
bride's shoulder to symbolize that
she is to submit to him.
Senior members of the tribe provide
music played on the agung and faglong,
a two-stringed instrument. 

The newlyweds.

Newlyweds Carlo and Hazel Mae

Monday, April 7, 2014

B'laan Dance, Costumes Add Meaning to Retreat Center Opening

B’laan dance and colourful costumes added significance to the ceremony that marked the recent opening of the Malungon Retreat and Training Center in Sarangani province.  The B'laan are indigenous people of Mindanao known for their intricate bead work and brass work.   

CCT staff, beneficiaries of its microfinance program, and construction
workers who belong to the B'laan tribe worship the Lord through the
performance of traditional dance movements during the
praise and worship portion of the Malungon Retreat and
Training Center dedication ceremony..

Ruth Callanta, president and founder of CCT joins B'laan
staff and community partners (above) and B'laan
construction workers (below)in a worship dance. 

Here and in following pictures, B'laan housekeeping and kitchen staff
perform a traditional dance in which a childless wife
implores another woman to share the blessing of fertility. 

Music for the dance is played on a dhol, a B'laan percussion instrument.
The dhol above is owned by Flanek (B'laan for sister)
 Kinsay Tagnaan (left) who says the hollow log instrument
is older than her.

White designs on these women's blouses
are beads carefully sewn on so that
even when the blouses are worn
at events like these and handed
down to the next generation, not
a single bead falls off. 
The retreat venue is built on a 72-hectare piece of property where the Center for Community Transformation has been ministering to members of the B’laan tribe for more than a decade through children’s education, micro finance, spiritual development and other programs.   

For inquiries and booking information, please get in touch with Eva Lope, CCT partner development officer / guest coordinator at,, 09192933157, 09232497605, and 8066912.

Photos: Harold Nacis and Myra Gaculais del Rosario 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Malungon Retreat and Training Center Dedicated to God in Colorful Ceremony

The Malungon Retreat and Training Center is now open!

Members of the B’laan community, construction workers, local government representatives, and Sarangani pastors and businessmen joined CCT management and staff in a colorful and heartwarming ceremony dedicating Mindanao’s newest retreat venue to the Lord. 

The retreat center, located about half an hour from General Santos City, is on a 72-hectare piece of property owned and managed by the Center for Community Transformation Group of Ministries in Sitio Lao, Brgy. Nagpan, Malungon, Sarangani.

Already built are two six-bedroom dormitory buildings and a dining hall.  Architect Cris Celeste of the General Santos and Sarangani Local Advisory Council said that still in the works are more dormitory buildings, camping and team building facilities and a zipline. 

In one of the dedication prayers those attending the ceremony prayed,  "Bless, O Lord, all the ministries and services that will be housed in this place.  Enable the training and retreats conducted here to produce humble hearts, keen minds, and skillful hands.  Cause all those who visit this place to experience Your gentle loving care.  May You inculcate love in the hearts of all those who will serve, use them to bless those whom You will draw to this place.  Make this place display the wonders of your creation.  Cause the plants and the trees to grow, flowers to blossom, fruits and crops to ripen in their seasons.  May those who tend to this place enjoy the works of their hands."

Ruth Callanta, CCT president, acknowledged microfinance community partners, Visions of Hope-sponsored children and other members of the B'laan community who were part of the vision of and prayed for a community center dedicated to the B'laan tribe. She also acknowledged the important role played by the construction team led by Engr. Jun Diaz and Zaldy Lugay, head of Kaibigang Maaasahan Multipurpose Cooperative Construction Services, in making this vision happen. The team is composed of skilled workers who are transformed street dwellers initially ministered to in Manila by the Kaibigan Ministry of CCT, alumni of the Training and Development Institute in Magdalena, Laguna, and laborers from the surrounding B'laan community. 

Lalaine Naquita, community center coordinator, said "We pray that God will make this place a blessing to churches, schools, government organizations and other groups in  General Santos, Sarangani, the rest of the SOCCSKSargen region, and all of Mindanao.”

For more information about MRTC facilities, please get in touch with Lalaine Naquita at 09258846711,, or with Pastora Flor Soler at 09154617250,


Members of the Brigada Bata (Children's Brigade) of Malungon Visions of Hope Christian School carry the
Philippine flag and CCT flags to the stage at the beginning of the dedication service. 
Marifi Sayon sings the introit, Dakilang Katapatan.
The GenSan praise and worship team (above) and
B'laan staff and community partners (below) lead the
guests in worshiping  the Lord through songs and native dance.

Architect Chris Celeste speaks of his joy at seeing a dream for a 
retreat center in Sarangani fulfilled. He said that part
 of the property development plan involves 
sports facilities and a prayer mountain.

B'laan community partners in CCT's micro finance program
and kitchen and housekeeping staff  perform a traditional B'laan dance.. 

Pastor Ed Tuazon preaches a message on Jesus and the miraculous catch of
 fish in John 21. He said,  "Success is not dependent on expertise, experience,
equipment, or imagination but on dependence on God." 

The CCT GenSan Choir sings Your Grace Still Amazes Me

Here and below: construction workers composed of B'laan men, former Manila street dwellers,
and graduates of the CCT Training and Development Institute in Laguna.

CCT President Ruth Callanta speaks of a long-held vision for a 
retreat venue in Malungon  finally coming true in God's right time. 

Daisy Dosado, OIC  regional peer servant,
and Pastor Jun Castillo cut the ribbon
at one of the dormitory buildings.
Dr. Mian Tan (left) and Dr. Russell Gonzales of the VOH health team
cut the ribbon at the kitchen and dining hall. Also in photo are Pastor
Peter Ligaya (2nd from left) and Dr. John Tabije (2nd from left).

Part of the sumptuous lunch served by
Chef Harlequin Boloron and crew.

Photos:  Harold Dacis, Jasmin Servito, Edna Panuncio,
Noelyn Bayno, Anter Sapnu, Myra Gaculais del Rosario