Reports, News & Travel Stories-1

SAN MATEO/ULAY: Philippines Journey  

by Carol Cook; Manila photos by Bob Guerrero  

This March, four San Mateo, California UUs (Carol Cook, Susan Grieger, Reeba Lynn and Ann Mason) had the good fortune to visit our partners in Ulay on Negros Island in the Philippines. Ulay is a community of families from farms scattered over a wide area—there is no Ulay village or town. So they come from near and far to attend services at the Ulay Chapel, and the children attend a variety of schools, some near and some far from their homes. A few who live by the highway may have electricity. Those who live more remotely do not. Water is carried to homes from wells, some of which are quite distant.

In March 2011, under the guidance of Dr. Richard Ford, a small group of men and women from local UUCP congregations learned how to facilitate community capacity building meetings. Four of them then led a 3-day workshop for the Ulay community. Dr. Ford’s report is on the UUPCC website: www.uupcc.org/communitydev/ulay_casestudy.pdf

This year’s trip was multi-purposed: 

  • To celebrate with a Water Blessing Ceremony the near-completion of the Ulay Community Capacity Building Water Project. (Photo 1—and next Travel Story also.)
  • To spend time with our Ulay partners.  (Photo 2)
  • To visit our Education Partner students and celebrate with the seven elementary school graduates. (Photo 3)
  • To spend a week in Dumaguete organizing the large donation of theology books given to the UUCP by former UUPCC Board president Rev. Richard F. Beal. (Photos 4 & 5)
  • And to visit UU friends in Manila! (Photos 6 & 7)

All of this was crammed into 12 days—and we filled every moment!

Or it may be more accurate to say that every moment filled us! We will always treasure our memories of those days spent together with our Ulay partners, with the children, with the gracious and talented UUCP staff, and with our UU friends in Metro Manila. It was a joyful experience!  ••

Photo 1: On our way to the Water Blessing site.Photo 1: On our way to the Water Blessing site.

Photo 2: Rey Minasalvas, Carol Cook, Helen Minasalvas, Susan Grieger, and Rev. Rebecca Sienes. Rey is the CCB Water Project Leader in Ulay. Helen is the Ulay Education Partner coordinator.Photo 2: Rey Minasalvas, Carol Cook, Helen Minasalvas, Susan Grieger, and Rev. Rebecca Sienes. Rey is the CCB Water Project Leader in Ulay. Helen is the Ulay Education Partner coordinator.

Photo 3: Each child received a chalice pendant and a paperback dictionary.Photo 3: Each child received a chalice pendant and a paperback dictionary.Photo 4: The Cataloging Team: Carol, Marife, Reeba, Ann, Rebecca, Susan, Angie. Ace cataloger and label-maker Efren is missing— taking the photo!Photo 4: The Cataloging Team: Carol, Marife, Reeba, Ann, Rebecca, Susan, Angie. Ace cataloger and label-maker Efren is missing— taking the photo!

Photo 5: So many books in so little time! Efren Piera.Photo 5: So many books in so little time! Efren Piera.Photo 6: With the Bicutan congregation.Photo 6: With the Bicutan congregation.

Photo 7: With the Quezon City Discussion Group.Photo 7: With the Quezon City Discussion Group.