The Idyll of picturesque Kota Beach resort in Bantayan Island belies the underlying struggle of its residents to rise above the crushing difficulties wrought by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan. Headquarters to a party of 4 from Jesuit Mission Singapore for 6 days from 24 to 31 May 2015; Fr. Mark Aloysius S.J., (Jesuit candidates) Andre Theng, Perry Yeo, and Jasper Ong, were joined by Fr. Gil Donayre S.J. (who flew in from Zamboanga City); for a community immersion which involved painting houses donated by Charis Singapore, planting fruit trees, repacking bulk school supplies into individual folders for distribution to students, and celebrating Flores-de-mayo mass for the children, concelebrated with Bantayan Island Santa Fe Parish Priest Fr. Roy Bucag. Throughout, Community organizer Anne Claire Ortega was on hand to "put the guests through their paces".
Hosted by Kota Beach Resort owner Honeybee Hubahib with friends Christine Ybañez, Bebot Ramas, Joy Regner and Amado Go; they ensured the Singaporean guests were well fed, (to the point they begged-off from any more food), and amply rewarded with venue for daily mass, good rest, sight-seeing and swimming time.
In Cebu City, enroute (back home) to Singapore after 6 days in Bantayan Island, the party of 4 from Jesuit Mission Singapore were housed at the Sacred Heart, Ateneo de Cebu School thanks to the kindness of Fr. Manny Uy S.J. and Bro. James Lee S.J.. But before they could rest their weary heads to sleep, they were feted yet again by Sacred Heart Parishioner Ms. Grace Gotiong and Nelson and Emily Uy and family, with Sacred Heart Parish Priest Fr. Vid - Vidal Gornez, S.J. as host.
Now nearly dazed and bewildered from the heady mix of (oftentimes challenging) community immersion and relentless Cebuano hospitality, the party of 4 from Jesuit Mission Singapore lay their weary heads to sleep, relishing, to be certain, their next-day trip back home to Singapore.
It took a thread of 113 group emails, (not counting individual communications) to coordinate this trip from Singapore-Manila-Cebu-Bantayan. The party of 4 from Jesuit Mission Singapore: Fr. Mark Aloysius S.J., Andre Theng, Perry Yeo, and Jasper Ong; had now to report to Singapore Charis. If their collective thank you email, (in form of the accompanying report from Andre Theng), is anything to go by, it will be a very good report indeed.