Philippines: An Overview
Led by Audrey Leong and Dolly Chua with Fr. Gino Henriques as their spiritual director, a team of 37 participants went to Pampanga (north of Manila), Philippines from 2- 9 December 2012.
The mission team carried with them old clothing, used handbags, stationaries and solar energy table lights from Singapore. These were part of the goodies bags (a hallmark of the ACTS mission) to be packed together with foodstuff and rations for the Aetas families, under the care of the Salesian Sisters. During the mission, the teams painted a community hall, taught and interacted with the kids as well as participated in a wedding and help the Salesian Sisters organize the annual Christmas party for 1,500 kids from the slums at Sta Mase in Manila. The Philippines mission ended with a beautiful Christian rite of matrimony for 20 Aetas married couples whose ages ranged between mid ‘20s to those in their ‘60s, and were received into the Catholic faith a year ago. Members of the mission team were paired to be the couples’ witnesses with the wedding mass held in Tagalog. Among those present were their tribal leaders, the governing officials and the benefactors of the Aetas community.
This was followed by another mission to Philippines in Manila from 11 - 14 December which was a very meaningful and joyful mission for the 10 participants. The team conducted classes with the business and electronics students from the Laura Vicuna Technology Center (LVTC) and helped paint part of the school. Participants also joined in the activities which the Salesian sisters and VIDES organisation which supports children below poverty level in various parts of Manila; interacted and conducted activities with the Vicunans.
To quote an LVTC student as well as a Vicunan:
"I just want to say thank you for supporting our school (LVTC)... and I want you to know that I really really enjoy all the activities you've prepared for us and I'm glad to say that I learned a lot!!! . . . thank you also for your continuous help for all the children of the Laura Vicuna Foundation."