Assembly time for the 52 Grade 11 students at the Ceres Bus Terminal for Dao, Antique was 7:00 AM on Saturday, September 17, 2016. Exactly at the agreed time, the two buses started on their way to Dao (now called Tobias Fornier town) with their mentors, Mrs. Mariviluz Legayada and Mr. Michael Sales. In the school van filled with supplies and other materials for the two-day exposure were Srs. Emma Quinquero and Georgita Hormillosa, as the three vehicles took the road in a convoy.

Why the “exodus” of the CHJ group to Barangay Abaca, Sitio Igcabagti, Dao, Antique? It is a combined plan of their teachers – Ma’am Marivi, Sir Mike and Sr. Georgette to have one exposure experience for the students’ required performance task in each subject (World religions, Culture, Politics and Economics, and Theology), and they would spend the day with their assigned indigenous people “families” there I(34 households in all). Armed with their questions and attitudes for their interviews, off they went to meet their IP families.

Lunchtime came, and the students were at a loss while talking with their new families. Why? There was no movement at all on the part of the family to prepare their food for lunch, while the students have their own prepared packed lunch! Down they raced to the roadside to look for the teachers: What should we do? The answer was: make your choice; either you give everything of your lunch to the family and go hungry, or you eat your lunch and let them watch you! And they all made the right choice – giving everything, including their drinks and loaves of bread to the family, and the reverse happened: they watched hungrily as the family enjoyed the offer! It was a strong eye-opener for the students who then truly experienced what it was to be really hungry, even if rarely… and there was no place to buy food even if they wanted to!

To end the day, the students walked with their families to the barangay hall – a two-kilometer trek – where they had some socialization activities and finally the giving of gift bags filled mainly with rice and coffee (the staple food of the families). To console their weary bodies, the students had a swimming break at a nearby resort, after which they proceeded to the formation center of St. Nicolas de Tolentino Parish, where the kind priests headed by Fr. Jomar Baldevieso warmly received them. accompanying the group all throughout were Mr. and Mrs. Jerry and Mylene Ventura who facilitated all the preparations of the exposure.

It was no surprise that dinner was abundant BUT lacking! Nobody wondered, since the students were making up for two main meals of the day! After dinner, Fr. Jomar did the processing of the experience, and everyone went to prepare their sleeping bags and had a sound sleep with the rich experience in their hearts.
Sunday was wonderful with the Mass with Fr. Jomar and then the goodbyes… Going back to each one’s home, many said, “Life is never going to be the same again!”.

By Sir Mike, Mrs. Marivi and Sr. Georgette (Iloilo, Philippines)

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