Neither high winds nor turbulent waters could dissuade Augustinian collaborators from ferrying relief goods to survivors of Typhoon Ursula (International name: Phanfone) in Kinatarcan Island in Northern Cebu on February 1, 2020.
With grace of the Santo Niño, the volunteers toiled under the heat of the mid-day sun oblivious to missed breakfast and lunch in the spirit of unity and charity with island residents.
From morning until afternoon, members of the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc.(SNAF) and the mandated organizations of the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, helped haul 2,368 packs of 5-kilo rice in 270 sacks from the Philippine Coast Guard ship “Capones” into pump boats, which brought the much- awaited cargo closer to shore. In the beaches of Barangays Langub, Bitoon and Hagdan, local tanod (watchmen) carried off the sacks of rice on their backs from the pump boats to their respective distribution points.
The distribution in the three barangays were supervised by their own Punong Barangay who mobilized health workers and staff even as the Augustinian volunteers monitored the process and distributed bottled water from Nature’s Spring Foundation. Merlina Plasencia, Punong Barangay of Barangay Langub, confided to this writer the gratitude of her constituents whom she said were overwhelmed with joy by the arrival of the much-needed assistance.
“Daku jud ilang kalipay sir. Lipay kayo ang mga tawo nga natabangan nato sila. Nakatabang jud ni pamawi sa damages sa bagyo…Lisud ang panahon karon. Naa pa jud bagyo,” shared Plasencia.
Around 7,208 residents of Kinatarcan Island (2015 Census) were affected by Typhoon Phanfone when it made landfall in Northern Cebu on December 24, 2019.
In its rapid assessment on December 27, 2019, SNAF recorded 350 totally damaged households and 581 partially damaged homes in the island. It also noted 43 totally damaged fishing boats and gears, and 90 partially damaged fishing equipment. The number is expected to increase though as reports poured in by yearend.
According to the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, the typhoon brought heavy rains and strong winds that also partially damaged 7,671 houses and totally damaged 3,919 in the town of Daanbantayan. In the town of Medellin, 2, 327 houses were partially damaged and 90 houses were totally damaged.
In spite of this, fisherman Renato Baranggan of Kinatarcan is optimistic the residents will be able to recover soon.
“Sa inyong tabang, makabawi ra ning dagat. Kabawi ra man gani human Yolanda (Typhoon Haiyan). Pero tabangi jud mi,” urged Baranggan.
By 5PM, all the relief goods have been disposed to representatives of 2,368 families who went home praising God’s Name.
Lora Manigos, Coordinator of the Santo Nino@500 and of the Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management--of which SNAF is a member, summarized the hopes of collaborators, thus: “Dako kaayo nga tabang ang pagtinabangay sa mga tawo sa tulo ka barangay. Ug, hinaut unta na bisan walay kalamidad, magtinabangay gihapon ta isip usa ka komunidad.”###By Dennis Abarientos
Augustinian friars, lay collaborators and youth leaders successfully convened the Third Augustinian Pastoral Congress with the theme, “Revisiting Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) Towards a more Effective Augustinian Pastoral Parish Ministry (with Special Emphasis on Youth Empowerment),” on August 7 and 9, 2019 at the Sto. Nino Spirituality Center, Brgy. Tolotolo, Consolacion, Cebu.
Steadfastly treading the path towards a “renewal of community life for new evangelization”, the Congress reaffirmed and strengthened resolutions and recommendations enacted in the First and Second Augustinian Pastoral Congresses as foundation of its trajectory in realizing the pastoral agenda by 2020 and the establishment of the Revitalized Basic Ecclesial Communities in the immediate. It reiterated the need to enliven a more dynamic pastoral ministry in the Augustinian parishes through the BEC wherein a pastoral plan integrates evangelization, liturgy and service as core areas in the Augustinian parish life. To do this, the participants renewed their appreciation of the substantial aspects of the BEC. In the process, they reviewed implementation of past programs and identified gaps and challenges along the way. Finally, they drew up concrete and doable parish pastoral plans for a more well-coordinated BEC.
A joint initiative of the Commission on Parish Lay and Youth Ministry and the Commission on Justice and Peace through its social development arm Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF), the event put the youth at the helm. This took off from the topic “Understading the Youth of Today” in which synodality requires that a sense of belogingness accompanies each inter-generational strides and learning processes.
In response, the young lay collaborators shared vibrant and vivid testimonies that bespoke of the pivotal role of the youth as future of the Church. Be it through their engagement in the Creative Arts Ministry of the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino, the Augustinian Vocation Promoters, or the Kan-anan ni Nino Program of SNAF, the youth exemplified the nurturing spirit of volunteerism as aptly marked this year as the Year of the Youth. To channel this youthful vivacity towards pastoral works in Augustinian parishes, Msgr. Manuel G. Gabriel, STD, elaborated on the topic “BEC in the Philippines: A Shared, Unified Vision of BEC in the Augustinian Pastoral Ministry”.
As Executive Secretary of the CBCP-BEC, Gabriel emphasized on the importance of engaging the ‘local’ in this era of global mergers, supermalls, and digital communication. He underlined the challenge posed by Pope Francis to make the identity of the local visible and resist being gobbled up by world giants. He also discussed the challenges of modernity and their impact on the youth, even as he called on the adults to embrace this interaction and on the young priests to be in touched with the youth.
The event served to assess the level of growth of pastoral approach in the Augustinian parishes and, at the same time, to renew its appreciation by Augustinian pastors, lay collaborators and the youth. It also rekindled the youthful enthusiasm of all participants in their role in the parish pastoral ministry in light of BEC as an approach.
In the end, the Congress set action plans responsive to the situation of each Augustinian community. These “Ways Forward” can be categorized into benchmarking, information-sharing platform, and resource sharing. These could include parish visits, monthly in-service training, establishment of online information-sharing platform, and sharing of best practices, and resources of parishes.
They are aligned with the Augustinian mission “to respond to the needs of the Church”, and in inculcating an ecclesial movement that fosters the “vision of the Church as communion, participation and mission…, the Church as priestly, prophetic and kingly people, and a Church of the poor, that is a renewed Church” (PCP II 137).By Dennis Abarientos
Hundreds of students, teachers, church people and other environment defenders poured into the streets of Cebu City on Monday (09/02/2019) to mark the opening of the Season of Creation which internationally starts with the Day of Prayer on September 1, 2019 and culminates on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on October 4, 2019.
Dubbed Eco-Walk 2019, the march gathered close to a thousand faithful from different walks of life in a singular intention of amplifying the call of Pope Francis to Care of Creation in face of what he referred to as a “climate emergency” that gravely imperils all life in all parts of the world.
Marching from Fuente Osmena to downtown Colon Street for a short program and a Eucharistic Celebration at the Santo Nino Pilgrim Center, the participants gleefully collected plastic garbage along the streets and deposited them to a waiting garbage truck deployed by Barangay (village) Santo Nino at the end of the route. Afterwards, a program commenced wherein representatives from the St. Theresa’s College, People’s Multi-Purpose Coop, and Cebu Archdiocesan Commission on Social Advocacies shared their discernment on the plight of mother Earth and the responsive role of their sectors: Academe, Civil Society, and Church.
In his homily, Fr.Aladdin Luzon, OSA encouraged the participants to engage in prophetic actions especially in appealing to government officials at revising laws inimical to the integrity of life and rights, particularly of the marginalized and excluded—like the indigenous peoples.
Eco-Walk was organized by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Philippine Augustinians through its social development arm Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF), chaired by Fr.Luzon.By Dennis Abarientos
In a motion unanimously approved by the Sangguniang Bayan of Dumanjug, SNAF was officially approved as representative of the civil society organization (CSO) in its Municipal Development Council (MDC) on July 17, 2019.
In a resolution, Kagawad Rainero Asentista moved for the approval of accreditation and membership of SNAF with the MDC after a review of his committee of the organization’s track record in the municipality. His motion was seconded by Kagawad Vicente Fernandez. Asentista chairs the Committee on Trade, Commerce and Industry.
As CSO representative, SNAF is mandated to help address governance and policy gaps in implementation of programs and projects. It shall be directly involved in activities pertaining to delivery of basic services and other forms of assistance to marginal sectors.
Based on its record, SNAF is also expected to contribute in addressing climate change threats and environmental concerns through participation in programs on disaster risk reduction and management as well as solid waste management.
Dumanjug is third class municipality in southern Cebu. It is primarily an agricultural economy with micro-scale industries.
It has 37 barangays, one of which is the mountainous Brgy.Kan-actol where SNAF operates.By Dennis Abarientos
On June 18 to 21, 2019, heritage stakeholders from across the Philippines gathered in a rare occasion to level up their knowledge and capacity as frontline guardians of the country’s fragile cultural patrimony amidst increasing risks of worse impact from severe disasters. The event was organized by the Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF), the social development arm of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Philippine Augustinians, in pursuit of the Augustinian cultural legacy to promote knowledge production from the conservation of both tangible and intangible cultural treasures for the good of future generations. It was held under the auspices of the Philippine government’s National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) at the Santo Nino de Cebu Spirituality Center, in Brgy.Tolo-Tolo, Consolacion, Cebu, in whose tranquil ambience participants discerned of improving preparedness and response, as well as mitigation and rehabilitation in times of disasters.
The occasion provided a platform for enriched dialogue among the Church, government and private sectors on preservation of cultural properties and enabling their human resource at disaster-risk reduction and management. Administrators of religious heritage sites discussed vulnerabilities to various hazards, evaluated challenges and identified solutions to achieving resiliency and managing risks. Curators and focal persons of heritage museums and historical sites managed by parishes, schools and local government units shared their best practices and accepted better alternatives. Representatives from environment-focused and heritage- thematic programs of the Archdiocese of Cebu, and tourism-oriented departments of the government at the municipal, provincial and regional levels provided unique vista.
The four-day Seminar-Workshop dubbed, “Creating Resilience on People and Cultural Properties towards National Well-Being,” strove to merge resiliency impetus in the context of preservation, protection and rehabilitation of heritage sites, objects and resources, including population-at-risk. It sought to institute principles of disaster risk-reduction and management to heritage conservation and rehabilitation. Beyond objects, however, it wanted to address gaps in the knowledge, skills and technical capabilities of heritage stakeholders at responding more effectively to their specific concerns.
It concluded by achieving this and more. It enhanced the understanding of disaster preparedness framework and disaster response through warning and evacuation systems. It also improved on knowledge of damage-needs-and-loss assessment process, especially recovery planning for funding requirements. Thus, it was able to facilitate the formulation of specific plans and desired goals responsive to corresponding needs in prevailing local conditions of a particular cultural property and historic site. It also fostered bonds of solidarity among stakeholders to better promote Filipino heritage by protecting our common home for the common good.By Dennis Abarientos
On June 12, 2019, the Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF) took the time off to joined a coterie from the Province of Santo Niño de Cebu–Philippines in the groundbreaking ceremonies of what would be known then on as the Monte Maravilla–Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) property in Brgy. Kang-actol, Dumanjug, in southern Cebu.
About ten hectares of the 40-hectare lands are dedicated for the envisioned climate-smart village complex of SNAF. The village promotes climate-smart systems beneficial to the local self-sufficient farmers long tilling the lands. It will showcase learning sites for organic farming and other approaches to sustainable farming methods. It will also feature nature’s park, wellness walk, via crucis, and products display center.
Its central element, however, is the establishment of a community composed of its itinerant beneficiaries from the Kan-anan ni Niño program. As of now, the program draws in the homeless from around the Basilica Minore del Santo Nino every Tuesday for a nutritious dinner and communal activities. Each session prepares them for their eventual relocation to the newly-opened Monte Maravilla-OSA property.
The groundbreaking ceremonies was graced by Fr. Andres Rivera, OSA, Provincial Prior of Province of Santo Niño de Cebu. He led the symbolic planting of coconut seedlings together with other stakeholders.
A huge chunk of the Monte Maravilla–OSA property was donated by the family of Señorita Candida Mercader to the Augustinian friars.By Dennis Abarientos
The National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) provided the Santo Niño de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF) an adequate platform for dialogue on archival developments by holding the 6 th Archives Congress on October 18 to 20, 2018 with the theme:“Archives Links. Archives Connects.”
Under the leadership of Fr. Harold LI. Rentoria, OSA, Commissioner of the Sub- Commission on Cultural Heritage and Head of the National Committee on Archives, the Congress was held in Cebu, where rich Filipino heritage is preserved amidst the challenges posed by an ever-modernizing world.
By taking stock of the practices from Japan and Cambodia, the Congress aims to provide transect for archival works and archivists in this globalized digital era. By supporting archival studies, it strives to spur production of knowledge and the development of indigenous theories from the accumulated trove of Filipino experiences. As such, the occasion opens discourse beyond materiality of objects and into peculiarity of their meanings. It reaffirms the significance of accumulating symbols for reestablishment of intangible foundations of Filipino culture.The celebration of nationhood will be an oft-repeated theme not only in the formal program and but also in the side events featuring the exhibit of extant Spanish-era architectural designs, night of Visayan dances, songs, and foods, and day tour of cultural sites.
The affair will not be a success without the unfailing support of Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, Cebu Provincial Governor Hilario Davide III, and Augustinian Provincial Prior Fr. Andy Rivera, OSA.
The conference adjourned with the resolve to continue enriching the trove of Filipino indigenous knowledge embodied in vibrant archival materials for the preservation of Filipino heritage and patrimony.By Dennis Abarientos
The “Kan-anan ni Niño” Soup Kitchen & Drop-in Center for the Needy is a community service project provided by Santo Nino de Cebu Augustinian Social Development Foundation, Inc. (SNAF) for the homeless families in the vicinity of the Basilica del Sto. Nino. It offers a hot supper meal free-of-charge and bath with washing once a week. The guests will also be engaged in values formation, sports camp, skills trainings, tutorials and other developmental or capacity building activities. It will also offer case management and referral services as needed. To promote self-reliance and care for the environment, the bath and wash will be availed through exchange of plastic scraps.
Under SNAF’s Children and Family program, the project has goals of enhancing opportunities of children and families for their holistic development. The soup kitchen’s guests are envisaged to become possible beneficiaries/partners of SNAF’s planned climate smart shelter and livelihood projects. Those guests who are willing to give up life in the city and live through organic farming.
The project’s general objective is to achieve a better quality of life for the homeless families, older persons and children within the vicinity of the Basilica del Santo Nino.
Its specific objectives are as follows:
To achieve its objectives, the “Kan-anan sa Niño” Soup Kitchen & Drop-in Center for the Needy Homeless Children & Families offers the following services:
Guests of the kitchen will be offered hot and nutritious meal preferably supper for their sustenance. This is free of charge to identified homeless children and families.
Shower and laundry services will be provided once a week on a scrap exchange-deal. Depending on availability, surplus clothes and hygiene kits will also be given to guests on the same scheme of ex-deal with scrap.
The soup kitchen and drop-in center will also offer capacity enhancement programs to its guests. To be offered are age-appropriate values formation sessions, life skills, tutorials and other developmental activities meant to enhance or even to harness their capabilities.
Night Walk – one of the strategies in knowing the needs of the target guests of the soup kitchen is to adapt the Night-Walk where we will journey with them at nighttime starting at around 6 to 9 p.m. when most of them occupy their spaces and occupations.
Case Management – the individual needs of the kitchen guests will be taken into consideration when identifying interventions to help them solve their problems in social functioning. The Client Intake Form will be used as a tool for referrals and case management.
Participation – guests will be part of the whole process of development. They will be involved in organizing the meals and other services. Potential leaders will be identified among them to help facilitate the activities.Get involved
Kinatarcan Island, also known as Guintacan, Island is an island of the Municipality of Sante Fe located at the southern part of the Visayan Sea nearest to the island of Bantayan, Cebu. It is one of the Bantayan group of islands. As to the ecclesial jurisdiction, it belongs to the Catholic Church Sto. Niño Parish of the said town.
It can be reached from the municipality of Daanbantayan, 136 kilometers from Cebu City. Kinatarcan island has three barangays, Bitoon, Hagdan and Langub which are connected with each other by a circumferential road. Being a small island, it will take around two hours to finish walking the entire stretch of the road. Its total land area is 10.6 square kilometer. It is 16 kilometers away from mailand Sta. Fe and 11.5 kilometers from Daanbantayan municipality.Public transportation within the island is through motorcycles (called habal-habal) which travel through the circumferential road. Travel from the island to the mainland becomes difficult during bad weather.
Kinatarcan has approximately 1,600 household or around 9,500 residents. A study done by A2D Project in the first quarter of 2014 revealed that 41.2% of the residents are engaged in fishing while 36.3% are into farming. The other source of income varies from formal/informal work, livestock raising, marine culture, sea weed farming, among others. As the residents rely primarily on fishing and farming for income and daily sustenance, meaning, they depend on the island’s natural resources for food. However, many parts of the island are still uncultivated and unfarmed while the seas are overfished. In response, SNAF has introduced organic backyard gardening that eventually, in the long-term, will provide a sustained supply of organic produce in the island, and commercially, additional income for the farmers.
It was in the year 2008 that a certain Maria Elvira Paglinawan Kessler donated a portion of her property in the island with the condition to establish a pastoral work there. The Augustinian Province of Santo Niño de Cebu accepted the offer through the leadership of Rev. Fr. Eusebio B. Berdon, OSA, the Prior Provincial during that time. The Kinatarcan missionary work then commenced with the approval of the late Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, the then Archbishop of Cebu, and later on, same approval was confirmed by Archbishop Jose S. Palma, D.D. The Augustinian ministry is more of a chaplaincy and its directly reporting to the Catholic parish of Sta. Fe, Cebu. Our ministry includes the celebration of the Eucharist and other sacraments. Catechetical instructions are usually integrated in our community organizing sessions.
The major faith denominations in the island are well represented in the dominant denominations present in the three baranggays: the Roman Catholic in Hagdan, the Iglesia Filipino Independent (IFI or Aglipayans) in Bitoon and the Seventh-day Adventist(SDA) in Langub. Iglesia ni Cristo. Born-again groups form part of the minor faith-denominations. A survey conducted in 2014 revealed that among the inhabitants in the island the Roman Catholics comprised the 56.6 %, 29.9% for the IFI, and 7.4 % for the SDA.
In the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in November 8, 2013, SNAF has been active in the relief and rehabilitation of Kinatarcan island that was also severely affected. Most of the houses, public infrastructure, agriculture and fishing boats and equipment were damaged. With the assistance of several non-government organizations, funding agencies and solidarity groups and benefactors here and abroad, houses have been rebuilt, buildings and schools constructed and repaired, fishing industry revived, and livelihood programs provided to the people.
With the active participation of the residents and NGOs working in the development of the island, the SNAF has initiated the Kinatarcan Island Integrated Development (KID) Plan. The Plan envisions that the Kinatarcan Island community will attain an enabling environment for sustainable growth with emphasis on improving the quality of individual and community living conditions through diversifying livelihood options, ecosystems rehabilitation, biodiversity conservation, and addressing the socio-economic issues on food security, water scarcity, and access to energy, infrastructural services, education, and health care.
It was in 2015 that the Kinatarcan Island Development Plan (KID Plan) was undertaken primarily to address the gaps and challenges in recovery and rehabilitation in the island. SNAF partnered with different agencies both from the government and non-government organizations. SNAF’s leading or primary partner was the Southern Partners and Fair Trade Center, Inc. (SPFTC). Up until now, SPFTC has a big role in the implementation of the KID Plan, most specially in the development and market access of the products of the island.
The Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE) recognized the importance of the post-Yolanda ecosystems rehabilitation for a disaster resilient and sustainable island community. It funded the conduct of Baseline Data Gathering and Ecosystem Damage Assessment, the essential components for the island-wide integrated development planning. Then, to commence the planning, the Kinatarcan Community Summit was held, where the data from the surveys were taken as primary references. During the summit, the local and provincial leaders (captains, the mayor, the governor through the Provincail Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO), the three major faith-based denominations (IFI, SDA, RC though the Order of Saint Augustine (OSA) of the Roman Catholic Church), SouthernPartners and Fair Trade Center,Inc., and Alternative to Development Project, Inc. (A2D) collaboratively united their effort to craft a comprehensive and integrated development plan. Special components of the plan included DRR and CCA through risk assessment and planning workshops.
Out of the result of the KID Plan, the Kinatarcan Sustainable Integrated Area Development(KSIAD) Project was born. Personally chosen as a loving project by Ms. Gina Lopez through the funds from ABS-CSB Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., KSIAD aims at providing assistance to Kinatarkan Island for its recovery, rehabilitation and resilience-building. SPFTC is taking on the lead along with SNAF in the implementation of the project. Since it is a community-based undertaking, a people’s organization in the island is the direct beneficiary, thus, the HAKILAPO (Hagdan, Kinatarcan, Langud People’s Organization), is born. This project is a living testimony that a community development undertaking is possible as long as people with hearts of gold will join their forces for one common cause. Thanks to the efforts offered by the Local Government Unit and other government agencies (DOT, DOST, TESDA), the United Architects-Metro Cebu Chapter and other volunteer engineers KSAID.Get involved
Thousands of homes were destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda.
Unknown to many, however, one of the communities severely affected was Kinatarcan Island, which lie in the direct path of the storm in Northernmost tip of Cebu. As a result, the fishing community was battered by four-meter storm surges and gale winds of up to 315 kph.
Miraculously, there was no fatality in the island. Still, the resiliency of the Kinatarcanons will be tested in the days that followed with heavy rains and sluggish government interventions.
Local and international humanitarian aid groups provided tents and emergency shelters even as some engaged in repairing homes for the typhoon survivors.
Three years later, shelter projects in the island remain seemingly stuck on the same pragmatism. In this period that requires greater “disaster risk reduction” and preparedness, the universal clarion call for “Building Back Better” must be answered.
The “Safer Shelter” project is the Philippine Augustinian’s response to the Build-Back-Better campaign of international humanitarian aid groups engaged in the rehabilitation assistance in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. It is a shift from the short-term emergency-shelter framework to long-term sustainable safer-home paradigm that is humane and adaptive to local weather climes. It addresses the peculiarity of needs of families and communities devastated by Yolanda, especially in the Augustinian mission area of Kinatarcan Island
The Safer Shelter project showcases the Balay Bao housing model, a resilient house ingeniously-designed by the Philippine Augustinians as next generation proto-type of Safer Shelters for its disaster-prone Mission Territories. Aside from better structural stability, Balay Bao also provides indoor sanctuaries (life corners) against storm surges, tsunamis, and earthquakes.
Safety did not give up on comfort as Balay Bao remains adaptive to shifting tropical weather. By tapping on indigenous technology, Balay Bao keeps the interior cool and serves as an oasis from blazing sun and parched sand in the height of El Nino Phenomenon in Kinatarcan Island.
Its defining feature is its dome canopy that renders it virtually impervious to the elements, much like the lowly and self-effacing turtle from which it got its name.
The Safer Shelter with Rainwater Tank Project provides three housing units that are humane sanctuaries from most common, nature-born hazards in islandic climes. It supports not only lives, but also existing livestock and organic garden.
With a safer haven, recipients could spend more time in self-empowering, socially-engaging and economically-alleviating endeavors.Get involved