Philippines

It has been an annual tradition to have a special Easter Issue featuring photos, both serious and not so serious, of the annual Holy Week retreat held in Malaysia (Hotel Equatorial, Malacca), Philippines (Benilde Retreat and Conference Center), and Thailand (Redemptorist Center, Pattaya).

Special thanks to the retreat facilitators this year: Br. Aidan Kilty, Br. Jorge Gallardo, and Br. Vincent Pelletier. Kudos also to the retreat coordinators: Brs. Andrew, Alex, and Francisco. Thanks to Br. Ranier for collecting these photos and posting them online. Happy Easter and enjoy the photos! (More photos in this link: https:// bit.ly/2XLfYR5)

With faith in the resurrection, the Lasallian Family in the sector of the Philippines and in the Lasallian East Asia District [LEAD] announce the passing of Sr. Corazon Manalo DC, AFSC at 3:11 am today. For more than two decades, Sr. Cora served as a dedicated faculty member at De La Salle University, trustee of several Lasallian school boards and the National Mission Council of De La Salle Philippines, Spiritual Director, mentor and dear friend of many Brothers and Lasallian Partners in the Philippines and in LEAD. She was presented the Institute Letters of Affiliation on 28 June 2013 and continued to be actively engaged in the reorganization and renewal of the Lasallian Mission.

Her remains will lie in state at the Daughters of Charity Provincial House in Parañaque starting at 8:00 a.m. on 28 May. Interment will be on 31 May at 10:00 a.m. in the same DC compound.

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The Brothers’ Communities are requested to offer masses for the intentions of a beloved FSC Affiliate. We enjoin our Lasallian Partners to remember her in your intentions and prayers. May Sr. Cora find much comfort and peace in the boundless charity that flows from the heart of Christ.

Fraternally yours,

Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC
Brother Visitor

On 23-27 May 2019, 67 Aspirants and Contacts gathered at the University of St. La Salle (USLS)-Bacolod City for the annual Vocations Summer Camp (VSC) 2019. The National Vocations Directors, namely Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC and Br. Ranier Guillergan FSC, organized the annual event. Br. Irwin Climaco FSC and the Aspirants and Contacts of the Bacolod Community, who were the hosts for this year’s event, also assisted them in preparing the event. The participants came from 13 Communities and 15 schools around the Philippines, which is most likely the largest number of participants in the history of VSC. Present during the event were Br. Abet Pia FSC, Br. Cliff Sy FSC, Br. Marvin Sipin FSC, Br. Eugene De Luna FSC and Br. Vince Paildan FSC who assisted and also accompanied their respective participants from the schools that they are assigned in.

This year’s hosts Br. Irwin and the Aspirants and Contacts of the Bacolod Community organized the opening ceremonies. The event started with a short but very meditative prayer. After the prayer, a very festive and joyful atmosphere welcomed the participants.The USLS Drumbeaters sounded their drums as the participants were led to the venue for the opening dinner. Br. Sockie De La Rosa FSC, the Community Director of the Bacolod Community, gave the welcoming remarks. After which, Br. Kenneth Martinez FSC the President of USLS shared his inspirational message. During the dinner the A7 Band, composed of high school students from USLS, serenaded the students.

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The themes of the 3-Day event were based on Faith, Service and Communion. In the morning of the official first day of the event, exploring and deepening the value of “faith”, the group started with a recollection facilitated by Br. Kenneth Martinez FSC. And in the afternoon Br. Ranier Guillergan FSC gave a Workshop on Visioning and Planning for Vocation Promotion. And the last activity to cap off Day 1 was the Orientation session for their Community Exposure for the next day. This session was facilitated by Ms. Terai Barcoma, the Program Director of BALAYAN Social Development Center. After the sessions, they headed to Diotay’s Restaurant and tasted the different variety of seafood, which is one of the specialties of Bacolod when it comes food. 

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The 2nd Day of the event is their Community Exposure in Gawad Kalinga (GK) Lopue Legacy Village in Dulao, Bago City. GK Dulao is about 30-40 minutes away from Bacolod City. It is a farming community being taken care of by the BALAYAN Social Development Center of USLS. The Community Exposure started with a getting to know activity where both Aspirants/Contacts and Residents gave different presentations. The VSC participants were then separated into different groups for interaction with Kids, Youth, Mothers and Fathers. Time was spent engaging in different sessions like faith sharing and recollections. They also went around the village as the residents shared with our participants how a regular day is spent. After the activity they were also divided into the different houses of the residents. Our participants joined them for lunch thus allowing them more time for immersion and interaction.

The activity concluded with the Aspirants, Contacts and the Brothers giving school supplies to the children of the residents as form of thanking them for warmly accommodating the participants in their community. In the evening the participants joined the USLS Community for the Mass. They were also introduced to the community as a way to also encourage more young men to join Contact/ Aspirancy Program. After the mass, they went to Aida’s Chicken for dinner where they enjoyed the famous Bacolod Chicken Inasal. The group returned to USLS after dinner and the evening continued with a session that processed their experiences of their Cultural Exposure. Br. Irwin facilitated the session and sharing of each group.

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On the last leg of the event, the participants were again divided into new groups for their Cultural Exposure. The goal of the Cultural Exposure is to allow each participant to explore and have a taste of the culture of Bacolod City and the Negrense people. Their goal is to be able to integrate their own experiences the past few days to the culture of Bacolod. They have to visit places and discover something new and unique about Bacolod and the people. Bacolod is known as the City of Smiles, and their output is to create a VLOG that exhibits Brotherhood and Happiness which is connected to the current Vocation Campaign “Happiness Is a Habit”. The participants should be able to finish and submit their VLOG before the start of the Culmination Night, where these will be judged and awarded.

Br. Abet and the Discerners organized and hosted the Culmination Night for this year. The hosts were able to draw attention and excitement in organizing different games and presentations. After all the VLOGS were presented and awarded, they had a Closing Prayer to officially end the Camp. To end on a happy note and before all the Aspirants and Contacts bid their farewells, all participated in a Community Dance to the beat of the Tercentenary Song.

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The event was really a blast and left an impact to the participants. It was truly a celebration of our Lasallian Vocation and Brotherhood with all the festive and positive vibe that was shared by the Aspirants, Contacts and the Brothers.

With a large number of participants and a very successful event, we felt that our Founder St. La Salle and God is truly celebrating with us as we also currently commemorate our Tercentenary Celebrations and the Year of Lasallian Vocations. Thank God for more Vocations, Live Jesus in our Hearts, Forever!

Acknowledgement. The organizers of VSC 2019 would like to thank Br. Kenneth Martinez FSC and the USLS Community, Br. Sockie de la Rosa FSC and the Bacolod Brothers Community and Br. Irwin Climaco FSC and the Bacolod Aspirants and Contacts for warmly accommodating us and providing us with all our needs during the whole duration of the event. Madamo Guid Nga Salamat! (Text & Photos: Br. Ranier R. Guillergan FSC)

About the Official Logo of the Vocations Summer Camp 2019

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This year’s Vocation Summer Camp is happening in Bacolod City, “Home of the Masskara Festival”. The logo takes cue from this fun and festive celebration. The image on the left is a deconstructed face of St. La Salle, forming a figure of a Brother enjoying the festival’s revelry. Inspired by Electric Masskara, the vibrant colors of the logo exhibits the continued vitality of vocations in the Philippines.

The FSC’s Internat ional St rategy Committee (ISC) had its quarterly meeting at Hotel Benilde, Manila, Philippines on 13-14 July 2019. The ISC is the committee commissioned in 2017 by the Superior General to develop strategies to achieve optimal financial management of the Institute and the sustainability and vitality of the mission. Below are the members of the committee:

Br. Ambrose Payne FSC (AU)
Mr Nestor Tan (PH)
Br Armin Luistro FSC (PH)
Br Michael Quirk FSC (US)
Br Martin Rocha FSC (MX)
Mr Julio Gordillo FSC (MX)
Mr Pierre Damiba (BF)
Mr Alessandro Lombardi (IT)

This is the second time that the Philippine Sector has hosted the meeting. The last one was in January 2018. (Text & Photos: Mr. Ian Saulog)

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The LEAD Team 2019-2023: 1st Row (seated from left to right): The District Council members - Br. Dennis Magbanua FSC, Br. Andrew Loke FSC, Br. Nicholas Seet FSC, Br. Joseph Klong FSC, Br. Lucas Thein FSC, Br. Michael Broughton FSC

2nd Row (standing from left to right): Mr. Jyron Raz, Br. Francisco Chadang FSC, Br. Mikey Cua FSC, Mr. Jay Gervasio, Br. Patrick Tierney FSC, Br. Ricky Laguda FSC, Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Br. Gus Boquer FSC, Br. Antonio Cubillas FSC, Br. Felipe Belleza FSC, Br. Sockie de la Rosa FSC, Atty. Carlu Fernandez, Mr. Ferdie Fernandez

21 July 2019 was an auspicious day. Salle de Toulouse Function Room in Hotel Benilde, Manila, became the venue of the first District Council meeting (DC 31) of the new LEAD administration headed by Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Visitor of East Asia. This was also the first time that the whole 18-member LEAD Team was complete.

The morning was optimally utilized by discussing the LEAD Map 2019-2023 - the plans for the District for the next 4 years. The Map consisted of 7 LEAD Goals (Mission, Formation, Vocation, Leadership, Sustainability, Linkages, and Organization) and its corresponding Key Priority Programs (KPP).

There was also a soft launching of the LEAD Mobile App, which the District Council used for voting on the 33 KPPs and other Resolutions. A simulated e-meeting was conducted via video-conference in the afternoon. These technological tools will hopefully shape how the future meetings of the District happen.

After the meeting, the team had a sumptuous dinner at Barbara’s in Intramuros. (Photos: Mr. Andrew Pamorada)

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Br. Antolin “Butch” Alcudia III FSC professed his final vows on August 10 at the newly-built Holy Infancy Chapel of La Salle Academy, Iligan City.

The celebration commenced with the blessing of the chapel by the celebrant Most Rev. Severo C. Caermare, D.D., Bishop of Dipolog and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Iligan and concelebrated by guest priests.

Br. Armin A. Luisto FSC, Visitor of East Asia, in his reflection shared “...this is a unique gathering - almost unrepeatable - where we interweave the blessing of a school chapel, the rites of final profession of vows for a La Salle Brother, the feast of the martyr St. Lawrence, the Muslim feast of Eidul Adha and the visit of our Brother  uperior General. It’s La Salle Iligan’s version of halo-halo or palapa - take your pick. It could be a veritable nightmare for the liturgist (as well as for the homilist).

Luistro attempted to capture the seemingly divergent threads into one yarn that could all hold on to for coherence and meaning by proposing to simply remember three B’s: Bethel, Butch, and Bethsaida. He expounded “Bethel awakens us to the awesome presence of God. Butch inspires us to live in God’s presence - pound for pound - all the days of our life. Bethsaida beckons us to gather in church as a community.”

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LEAD Visitor recalled that Br. Butch texted him two week ago with a shout out “How awesome is this time! When Br. Mario celebrated his 25th year as a Brother, I became a Postulant. He is also 25 years ahead sa ako sa LSA. Batch sila ni Papa... When I moved to Sabah, nag-celebrate ng 25th ang Asrama Butitin Nabawan... When I moved to Ozamiz, 25 years celebration ng LSU...” Luistro added that when he received the approval from Brother Superior for Br. Butch to take final profession, it was on the day of Br. Butch’s 39th birthday - on July 10.

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Luistro added how two young Brothers, who lived with Br. Butch in community, described God’s temple embodied in him: Brother A says: “Big Brother to his Brothers in community whom he will defend against online bashers, unfair comments and fake news. Big Brother to the people whom he works with and to his colleagues who would confide with him on personal problems and other work- or love-related matters. Big Brother to his students especially to the most memorable 4A and 4B [sections of USLS]. Big Brother to his family who consults him on all major decisions.”

On the other hand, Brother B says: “Big Heart for the poor as he was a CFC missionary to the different communities particularly in India. Big Heart for Lasallian Partners whom he inspires. Big Heart for God’s creation as he often takes time off for day trips to the beach, mountains, and hot springs. Big Heart for the country and its citizens, for integrity, justice and good governance.”

Luistro, the former Secretary of the Department of Education, added “Kung sa DepED pa: MakaDiyos, Makatao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa. Tiunay, si Butch usa ka masaligang Daku nga Kuya natong tanan! (Truly, Butch is a Big Brother for all!)

Br. Robert “Bob” Schieler FSC, whom Luistro described as “the first Filipino Superior General” accepted the profession of final vows of Br. Butch.

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The Holy Infancy Chapel was designed by Architect Jojo Gutierrez, a Lasallian who is behind De La Salle Lipa’s Capilla De La Salle. The pews in the chapel are made of wood harvested from Mt. AgadAgad, planted by Br. Jaime “Jimmy” Dalumpines FSC 20 years ago. The central figure in the sanctuary is the captivating image of the resurrected Christ - a metal sculpture by another Lasallian alumnus, Daniel de la Cruz.

Br. Butch is current assigned in Ozamiz Brothers’ Community as Brother Director and at La Salle University as college instructor and Director of Lasallian Animation in charge of adult formation. (Text: Br. John David Ong FSC; Photos: Mr. Marc Reil Gepaya)

Acceptance to the Postulancy, Profession of First Vows, Silver and Golden Jubilee Celebrations

On 17 August 2019 at the St. Benilde Gym in La Salle Green Hills, the Lasallian community witnessed God’s love and generosity with gift of vocations through four events: the Acceptance to the Postulancy of 10 Postulants from the Lasallian East Asia District (LEAD) and 3 from the District of Vietnam, the Profession of First Vows of Br. Carlo Rementilla FSC and Br. Raphael Miguel Crisostomo FSC, the Silver Jubilee of Br. Jose Mari Jimenez FSC, and the Golden Jubilee of Br. Narciso Erguiza, Jr. FSC.

In his shared reflection, Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Visitor of East Asia, reminded us that there is but one true Archer that not only asks us to follow in His footsteps, but, most importantly, calls us unto Himself. Br. Armin invited Br. Carlo, Br. Miggy, and the 13 Postulants to surrender themselves to the Divine Archer, whereas Br. JJ was asked to “take a break” after thriving afire without being consumed. Meanwhile, Br. Armin recalled the flourishing moments of Br. Jun in the most challenging environments, especially when he would erect school buildings and facilities, and open seven programs at the same time, to name a few.

These men have witnessed, first-hand, the Divine Archer’s Love in their daily lives. Now, as they continue their journey in seeking the Divine Archer, we pray for our Brothers and our Postulants that they may remain to be authentic and genuine witnesses of the Divine Archer’s Love to the people they will be encountering.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided by Archbishop Socrates Villegas, D.D., together with three priest-concelebrants. The altar servers were the Aspirants from the Dasmariñas Community. (Text: Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC; Photos: Mr. Marc Gepaya)

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06-20 July 2019 @ Krisalis-Benilde Retreat and Conference Complex

Excerpts from the Article:

Coming together and by association on a common threshold It was July 7, Sunday when the program officially welcomed the coming together of Brothers and an affiliate member who are participating in the two-week program entitled, “Life Transitions”. The participants numbered 28 coming from the different countries belonging to the Pacific Asia Regional Conference namely, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri-Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.

View from the common threshold The first week’s theme was “Human Development and Consecrated Life” with guest lecturers coming from Southdown Institute in the persons of Sr. Dorothy Heidershceit and Dr. Michael Sy. The sessions during the week were on Aging Gracefully, Fostering Resiliency and Creativity, Dealing/Struggling with Midlife and Facing Retirement Issues, Cultivating Curiosity and Paying Attention to the Gifts of Mid-life and Aging, Journey of Integration in the 2nd Half of Life and Healthy Sexuality and Well-being.

The second week’s theme was “Lasallian Spirituality and Integration” with Brothers Felix and Chuy as the main facilitators. The sessions include Transitions in the life of St. John Baptist de La Salle, The Fragile Hope of a Witness – The evolution of the Institute and its impact on the holistic development of the Brother, Community Living and Consecration and Creativity to the Mission. The last two days of the second week was a Retreat facilitated still by Brothers Felix and Chuy reflecting on the journey of transitions as a Pilgrimage where all of us are Pilgrims. (Text: Br. Vince Fernandez FSC; Photos: Mr. Andrew Pamorada)

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The PARC Educational Mission Assembly was held on 5th and 6th August 2019 at Hotel Benilde, Manila, Philippines. This was attended by the Superior General, Br. Bob Schieler FSC, the Preparatory Committee for the 3rd International Assembly of the Lasallian Educational Mission (AIMEL 2020), the PARC Delegation for AIMEL 2020, and other Brothers and Partners. The delegates were happy to share their views on the theme “IDENTITY-VITALITY-TRANSFORMATION” in the context of PARC’s realities. Evaluation of AIMEL 2013 and the review of PARC proposals for AIMEL 2020 were also discussed. The delegates, which is composed of 12 members from 10 countries, will work on the finalization of PARC proposals. (Text: Mr. Paul Tam; Photo: Mr. Andrew Pamorada)

The De La Salle Brothers of the Philippines had its Annual Corporation Meeting at Horacio Cebrero Hall, Central House, La Salle Green Hills last 17 August 2019.

The meeting started with the presentation of the amended articles of incorporation and by-laws, which were approved and seconded by the Brothers. It was then followed by the reports on the Philippine sector presented by Br. Armin Luistro FSC, Visitor of East Asia. He presented the Filipino Brothers’ Statistics (i.e. number of Brothers in the Philippines, status of FSC in studies, health of Brothers, vocations, and age group statistics). The new Age Group Moderators were also announced; Br. Mark Salvan FSC, Br. Kenneth Martinez FSC and Br. Vic Franco FSC for the Young Brothers, Middle Age Brothers, and Senior Brothers respectively.

Furthermore, included on the report were the affiliation of Dr. Romeo Ariniego FSC, the Legacy building of Sr. Corazon Manalo DC, AFSC and Br. Benildo Feliciano FSC, the Tercentenary Celebration updates, the reconstruction of St. La Salle Kalinga Chapel, the ZEP Program, Paghilom, and the Lasallian Mission Services (LMS) Programs (i.e. Youth, Lasallian Education Commission, Indigenous Peoples Education Initiatives, Lasallian Animation and Formation, Lasallian Justice and Peace Commission, Education in Emergencies, Lasallian Volunteer Program, and La Salle Botanical Garden).

Br. Alex Diaz FSC, DLSP Chief Operating Officer and DLSBI Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer, presented the Balance Sheet of DLSBI Finances and updates on the different funds that are lodged with DLSBI (i.e. Patrimony, Mission Capital Development, and DLSBI Employee Retirement). The current status of the Pooling Fund was also shown. (Text: Br. Carlo Rementilla FSC; Photo: Mr. Marc Gepaya)

Mandaluyong City, Philippines – the Lasallian Formation Center* welcomed 16 postulants for this formation year that began 17 July 2019.

The community is quite diverse as it weaves together various experiences, age groups and backgrounds. The formands are united in their aspiration to live and be exposed to the life of the Brothers as they journey through personal and communal discernment. LFC brings together the following Brothers and postulants:

Br. Ranier Guillergan FSC
Br. Rafael Reyes FSC
Br. Kelvin Tan FSC
Nabeel Pius, PK
Claysius Kongoi, MY
Joshua Aaron Miranda, MY
Benjamin Naw Ring, MM
Martin La San Aung, MM
Anthony Nguyen Ngoc Thuyen, VN
J.B Bui Van Duc, VN
Joseph Pham Van Anh, VN
Mark Francis S. Basan II, PH
Julius Christian B. Calingasan, PH
King Jarod I. Cruz, PH
John Myron A. Duque, PH
John Paulo Ferrer, PH
Milton Christopher B. Merto, PH
Lester John Nombrefia, PH
Reigner Dawn M. Sanchez, PH

Br. Ranier Guillergan FSC, their formator, led the community in prayer inspired by the encounter of Moses with God in the burning bush. As part of the prayer service, a ritual took place. The postulants were given a holding cross which they placed inside their rooms after the blessings were given by other community members. They were also asked to reflect on their personal sacred grounds and the things they need to “take off” as they start their postulancy program.

After dinner, the postulants gathered for a short getting-to-know activity where they enjoyed singing karaoke songs over chips and drinks.

“Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." Corinthians 1:26-27 (Text: Mr. Paulo Ferrer; Photo: Br. Ranier Guillergan FSC)

The Lasallian Justice and Peace Commission (LJPC) of the Philippine Sector held its 2019 Annual Assembly last 2-6 June 2019 at De La Salle – John Bosco College in Bislig City. Attended by the heads of the Social Action Offices of La Salle Schools, the Annual Assembly set the issue advocacies for the next school year. The LJPC identified advocacy issues on four themes which include Good Governance, Poverty Alleviation, Youth at Risk and Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM).

Through different activities organized by the Social Action Offices students from La Salle schools are made aware of important governance and development issues. (Text & Photos: Mr. Gladstone Cuarteros)

 

The House of Studies (HOST) Community in the Philippines had its soft opening on 27 May 2019, when the second-year scholastic Brothers – Br. Mico de Leon FSC, Br. Kino Escolano FSC, Br. Jeano Endaya FSC, and Br. Ivan Umali FSC – arrived in the house located in the Brothers’ residence in De La Salle University. The formation staff, headed by Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC, the formator, with the staff members, Br. Moris Tang FSC and Br. Aikee Esmeli FSC, welcomed the second-year scholastics with a feast to celebrate their coming. The succeeding months became an orientation and onboarding for the second-year scholastics of the new community environment and their school exposure, which began in June, in De La Salle Santiago Zobel School.

After more than two months, HOST Community finally was completed and had its full opening on 17 August 2019, when the first-year scholastic Brothers – Br. Miggy Crisostomo FSC, Br. Carlo Rementilla FSC, and Br. Zafar Dogra FSC – arrived after their Novitiate program. On this day, Br. Miggy and Br. Carlo also had their first profession of vows. These events together truly made the day extra special and worthy of celebration for a wonderful year ahead of the community. Changes also continue to happen in its structure as Br. Aikee left the HOST for his new assignment in Kagoshima, Japan towards the end of August. With his departure comes the arrival of Br. Dan Sanding FSC to the community for his Parmenie program in preparation for his profession of perpetual vows. Despite the changes in the structure of the community, and in the spirit of openness to the graces of the God of surprises, HOST community remained hopeful and committed to achieve its goal of nurturing the young Brothers with temporary vows who just got out of the Novitiate of their apostolic identity by preparing them for the exercise of their ministry. (Text: Br. Ivan Umali FSC; Photos: Br. Edgar Esparagoza FSC)

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