By Fr. Arvin Abatayo, SDB
Provincial delegate for missionary animation
Cebu - Borongan, Philippines, 6 June 2019 -- bABBAd 2019 had finally come to an end. It is an three days immersion program for lay people. Seventeen (17) youth leaders, members, scholars and professionals from Salesian different houses. They were immersed in selected villages of Borongan and Maydolong, Eastern Samar and were given the chance to live with the host families from May 1 until May 10. Five (5) from Liloan, five (5) from Lourdes-Youth Center, two (2) from Pasil, three (3) from Lawaan and two (2) lay professionals. After their immersion, their awareness of social realities by experiencing community life in a rural setting was developed, their self-awareness through a deeper knowledge of self was increased, and an appreciation of documenting their observations and insights was instilled to them.
There were three parts of the immersion camp: pre-camp, camp proper and post-camp. The participants were given an orientation before sending them to the community during pre-camp. The image of Mary Help of Christians was entrusted to the homes of the foster families during the visitation and monitoring of the participants. The next day after the entrustment, the “Kamustahan” session took place to gather the participants for them to share their own initial experiences with the community, family and their livelihood.
During the post-camp, the host families expressed and shared their feelings, challenges and learning. All of them agreed that it was a great experience despite the hesitations and fears at first. In return for the hospitality and warm welcome, the foster families received their tokens as an appreciation and gratitude for their hospitality. On the last day of the post-camp, they enjoyed their remaining time and company by immersing themselves with nature at Minasangay, Balangkayan, Eastern Samar.
Before departing home, the participants prepared a short program for the Salesian community of Borongan. The youth of Don Bosco-Borongan also showcased their talents in return. It became an opportunity for an exchange encounter with the youth in Cebu and Borongan. It was concluded with a holy mass celebrated by Rev. Fr. Arvin D. Abatayo, SDB, on his homily, he challenged the youth to spread the good news to everyone: what they have learned, experienced and how bABBAd changed their perspective in life as they will reintegrate back to their communities. And the giving of certificates followed afterwards.