Feb 8, 2015 – This day was filed for my favorite preoccupation of traveling, spending it through backpacking. 5 a.m. was the time set by our principal to leave going to Tagaytay. The night before, I was so excited to the point that I had a hard time sleeping early and so the next day… arghhh!! For lack of suitable description, I’ll just describe my first time in the morning experience as simply – EPIC!! I depended on my alarm clock which bullies me every morning but not on that day when I really need to wake up so early for the day out. In other words, I woke up at exactly 5 a.m. Isnt it exciting? Teacher Lourdes, one of my co-teachers, called and texted me to ask where am I? Oh I was like “ewan”, cramming, running all over the house, don’t know what to do and crying na din thinking I will miss a wonderful day. Sad part pa, people in our house laughed at me when I cried! (Oo na, it’s all my fault!). In my mind, pag ako nakasama wala kayong buko pie! But of course, lakas ako kay Lord ee. It was indeed a favor because even though I decided not to go with them, our principal said that they could wait for me, thus, with all my might, I took a bath as fast as I could, put on my clothes and there I was on the way going to Tagaytay. Haha. (wala pa man, feeling tired+buhok na prang hndi pinunasan+parang napadaan lang sa shirt na suot/ thank you nalang sa sweater na red. Weehoo!!)
Arriving at Tagaytay preceded by a week characterized by stress, the chilly air cooled our agitated heads on the spot. I guess this is the mark of any teacher suffering for some stressful days from our “kind and lovely” students to forget all his/her worries just by experiencing a noticeably cool temperature, lush greens and fresh air. Not to miss the point, our main reason in visiting this cool place is to attend Focolare’s Open City.
The term Focolare Movement (“focolare” means fireplace) since its beginnings, was applied to the Movement by the people of Trent because of the “fire” of Gospel which was initiated by Italian Chiara Lubich.
I made a bit research regarding this. I knew that the founder, Chiara Lubich emphasized that the Movement “was not thought up by a human mind but that it is the fruit of a charism which comes from Above. We try to follow, through circumstances, the will of God day by day”.
The event took place at Terra Moy Village, a place which I can describe as a sloping ride of ups and downs where you can see houses of all sizes, erected, landscaped and furnished in various imaginative themes. The time we arrived, we were welcomed by very nice and approachable people, mostly Chinese. The first part of the program was a mass where people sang songs, some with Italian parts that touted the highlight of Focolare’s Open City, where community members, people from various countries and Tagaytay residents come together for cultural presentations, spiritual sharing, and fellowship.
Various workshops were offered at the event. We, teachers, specifically teacher Lourdes, Rosalie, Janice, Jennifer and Melissa chose to join Dance for Unity workshop whereas Teacher Madelyn and Rachelle chose to try cooking I mean “tasting” Korean dishes. Teacher Marvin chose to join art workshop and our principal Ma’am Ning, who is also fond of dancing, chose Myanmar dance workshop.
During the workshop, we practiced a contemporary song, Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran with my partner, a 16-year old boy named Paul. We also danced Shake it off by Taylor Swift. During the afternoon program, each workshop group showed their wonderful presentation and of course, our group really performed well. The experience was really meaningful. With the right balance of fun and the right musical blend of the singers and musicians, we call the event one huge success.After the event, we went at the cemetery to visit and pray for the brother of Ma’am Ning, Mr. Pablo Santos who is a Focolarino.
A visit in this countryside will not be complete without pulling off the road and shopping for the freshest and sweetest fruits. Roadside fruit stands offer various kinds of fruits such as sweet pineapples, two or three for a hundred pesos, bananas of every kind, mangoes, both tart unripe green ones and sweet ripe orange ones; papayas; jackfruits; and grapefruits. It was a treat to experience these roadside fruit stands.
After our fruit trip, we stopped by at Laguna to visit Teacher Rosalie’s sister. She prepared for us a very scrumptious meal, kare-kare and fried chicken (my all-time fave!). After the dinner, sadly, it was time to bid goodbye as we headed off back home.
Even though it’s my first time to join in this wonderful focolare community. It was there that I got to meet people from all walks of life, social ranking, races, culture and religion. It was indeed a wonderful experience.
Now, I want to spread the good news about this community. They regularly conduct Open City and do different workshops for visitors so they can spread the meaning of what it’s like to love a community. Looking forward to visit there this May. 🙂
A DAY WITH FRIENDS. A DAY WITH EVERYONE ELSE.
ALL IN ONE DAY. ALL IN ONE PLACE. A TIME WHEN EVERYONE CAN BE ONE.