The 4 days and 3 nights summit of the Youth of Asia and the Marist Brothers of the General Council concluded last September 25, 2007 at Mariapolis, Tagaytay city. It was an enriching experience for us to share, talk, think, and discuss about the Christian life and Marist vocation today. Purposely the activities was designed to get a clear picture of the Asian reality, and to understand how Asian Youth face the realities today and to share our role and commitment as young Christians within the Church in the Asian context and finally to share about Marist vocation as one way to respond to this Asian reality.

*I designed the tshirt printWe arrived one day ahead before the meeting at MAPAC and we were welcomed by the whole community during the dinner together with Bro.Sean Sammon, FMS, the Superior General. There I first met personally, Bro. Vince Celeste, FMS of the IamBalong blog. He was a good person, he accompanied us in Marikina.

We have explored the center of Marikina and bought some personal items at S Mall. Marikina was indeed a clean city, the colored pink fences and posts made the place more attractive. It was like a little Hong Kong in the Philippines.

The next day, after we had our lunch, we went to the venue of the summit. The Marist bus delivered us in Tagaytay, and It was a cold and wet two hours travel from Marikina. But we enjoyed the buildings and the backgrounds we passed by along the road.

29 youth from different part of Asia participated; 20 from Philippines, 4 from Malaysia, 3 from Hong Kong and 2 from Korea. Delegates from the Philippines were from Notre Dame of Marbel University, Notre Dame of Dadiangas University, Notre Dame of Kidapawan College, Notre Dame of Cotabato, Marist School of Marikina, Buda in Bukidnon and Marcellin Homes in Gen. Santos City. The activity was attended also by the Superior General of the Marist Brothers, Sean Sammon, FMS and his General Council from Rome; Brothers Luis Sobrado, Maurice Bequet, Peter Rodney, Anotnio Ramalho, Emili Turu, Pedro Herreros and Theoneste Kalisa.

The program started with a welcome mass. The message of the homily of that mass struck me personally. It was about Matthew the tax collector and God as the center of his life. It made me cry as I relate it with my experiences and my constant search of my self and happiness in life. After that, we had dinner and I was full and satisfied by the food served. We also had a getting-to-know activity and each one of us was expected to share something about ourselves and our country. Everyone is also encouraged to talk and express in English since the gathering is an International event.

That night was the start of my nose-bleeding experience. In some moments I prayed to have an out-of-the-body experience so that I can survive in that place. But language and culture difference was not really a factor that creates gap between participants in communicating to each other. In fact, the delegates from South Korea brought an Interpreter to convey their ideas and as well as to understand the talks and sharings in English.

The following days were great, we had shared about our own experience of Marist life and discussed about the Asian reality and the problems of faced by the Youth today and on how we respond to that reality. Also, we have talked about the Marist vocation and our ideas about it. Actually, they would encourage the young if they have a calling for the vocation but I personally told them that, This is not my world. I am to live a married life and to have a family. But I have a calling for it then I’ll discern for it. If God wanted me to be an instrument of His love for others then I won’t hesitate to enter in this vocation.

We talked also about how the Marist brothers influenced the Youth today and shared on our views of the life they lived. The summit was loaded also of mass, morning praises, prayers, and reflections. It was like attending a retreat in a relaxing and very perfect place. Also, on the last night, we showcased the diverse but rich culture of our country. We had this halo-halo cultural dance presentation. The delegates from Buda portray how Christianity was established in our country followed by a Muslim dance, Maskara festival dance, Kalilangan dance, Kembot dance and Kabataang pinoy dance which was participated by all delegates from Philippines. The Brothers from the general council was stunned and entertained by our performance. While the other delegates have their own presentations also. The delegates from Malaysia rapped and danced with their traditional music and also the delegates from South Korea. the Hong Kong talked about their tradations and sung a song in their langauage. They brought a Moon cake and they have shared it among the other delegates. It was my first time to taste that cake. The Brothers also gave us a presentation, they sung Santa Lucia. The entertaining night ended with never-ending picture taking.

On our last day, we had a light sharing and an open forum. This was the moment that we were about to say our Goodbyes to each other. Though it was hard but we have to, unless, we have extra money to stay. Parting was never easy specially if you established friendship and close relationship to each other. I will miss you all guys.

We stayed one more day at Taguig after the summit and before we went home. We went to MOA, Market Market, Baclaran church, and walked on the streets. I went also in Cubao for an invitational dinner at Dencio’s with Kuya Jay, Ate Ria, Ate Aya, and ate Emz, JVPs based on Ateneo de Manila University. It was also my first time to ride on MRT going to cubao and it was fun.

I met also Jehzeel Laurente, he waited at the Domestic Airport to see me. He was very thoughtful, he gave me a book of Bob Ong entitled, Mac Arthur. We did not talked long because we were late for our check-in. We were I rush because we might not meet our flight schedule. But only to find out that our flight was delayed for 3 hours. If I knew earlier that it would happen, I might be able to thank him and even talk to him formally. But anyway, It was very nice meeting him, he was a very good person. I hope we can talk more longer next time we’ll meet.

[I will be posting more pictures soon]


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