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MASS NOW ON ITS 25TH YEAR
You may not believe it but the monthlymass of
Damayan-Buluseño, Inc. is now on its silver anniversary this
month of August 2006.
“Parang kahapon lamang,” said some of the elders
in the organization when they realized they have been attending
their monthly mass consistenly for the past 25 years.
Many have been wondering how this small town organization
could maitain such monthly activity which entails expenses for the
use of church facilities, stipend for the officiating priests, and
others – when the organization has only limited funds. In fact,
it is the only town organization based in Metro-Manila that holds
monthly spiritual gathering.
Some organizations of bigger towns had tried but failed to
But, what is more intriguing is the story that this
organization and its monthly mass came into being in a very
strange way. It started with a mass in the afternoon of August 5,
1981 at the Holy Trinity Church in Balic-Balic, Sampaloc, Manila
sponsored by Mrs. Nena Gonzales-Fabic of Barangay Sabang, Bulusan.
Officiated by Rev. Fr. Antonio Pura, then the newly
assigned parish priest in Bulusan, the mass was attended by a
handful of Buluseños only. During the merienda y cena at Mrs.
Fabic’s residence, Fr. Pura signified his plan of a monthly
prayer meeting in residences of Buluseños in Metro-Manila. But,
Mr. Rogelio Fuentes who was among those present, suggested that a
mass be held instead in a church for a much bigger attendance. He further suggested that before doing so, they should first
visit a young Buluseña housewife then detained at the Manila City
Jail for a parricide case for the death of her 72-year old
In their first visit, they promised the detainee that as
their moral and spiritual support to her, they will arrange for a
monthly mass at the jail’s chapel for the duration of her
detention. On August 30 at 4:00 p.m., a mass was celebrated by Fr.
Pura. It was followed in two Sundays of September and October
after which they had to move out with the promulgation of her
They continued with their monthly mass at the Manila
Cathedral the following month and stayed there until December
1996. For reasons
known only to then newly assigned rector of the Cathedral, the
group was evicted and had to move to nearby Knights of Columbus
Clubhouse in January 1997 and stayed there until October 2005. Due
to financial constraint, they had to move from one venue to
another where they can use the facilities with less expenses.
Until they finally settled in a chapel at the Pamantasan ng
Lungsod ng Maynila in April this year where they were warmly
welcomed by its administration. Thanks to Rev. Fr. Aris Bajao of
the San Agustin Church who went out of his way to negotiate in
behalf of DBI for the use of its facilities for the monthly mass.
Fr. Bajao became close to the Buluseños having regularly
officiated their monthly mass for more than a year now.
The group hopes that this stay at PLM Chapel will last long
– but as to how long this monthly mass will last, only Heaven
knows. Most of them
though firmly believe that if it has existed for 25 years, then there is no reason really as to why it should not go on
until the next
Now, you might be asking how such a tradition, or how this
organization for that matter
- could stand firmly on its feet despite its limited
resources; how such could still face various odds and ends in
sustaining not only this monthly spiritual gathering but also its
various project and activities.
Devoted members have this to say: “It’s perhaps with
the intercession of the town’s patron saint, St. James the
18-inch tall image is enthroned at the
altar every mass).
Most of all, God Himself -
who put us together, seeing our sincere devotion and
dedication to serve our hometown and townmates in a manner that is
When asked as to what his most
unforgettable moment is during all these long years serving
as head of DBI, Mr. Fuentes first explained that he have had met
many challenges since the early days of the association until his
retirement in December 2004.
According to him though, what could be most unforgettable
was when he first stepped into the office of the Manila Cathedral
to reserve its facilities for the monthly mass of the Buluseños
in November 1981. When told of his purpose, the clerk, who turned
out to be quite an arrogant old lady, asked him: “Kaya
bang punuin ng mga taga Bulusan ang Manila Cathedral ng alas dos
ng hapon? Bakit, gaano ba kalaki ang Bulusan?”
Although insulted by her sarcastic remarks, Mr. Fuentes
kept his cool and politely replied: “Maliit
lamang po ang aming bayan pero, pipilitin po naming punuin. Saka,
kung hindi man po namin mapuno ay babayaran din naman po namin ang
dapat naming bayaran.”
accepting the reservation as requested by Mr. Fuentes, still the
clerk had these parting words to him: “Kayo ang bahala.
Sayang lamang ang mahal na ibabayad ninyo. Kung ang malalaking
bayan nga, hindi napuno ang maliliit na chapel sa tabi, kayo
Fuentes took her words as a challenge to strive and encourage more
Buluseños to attend the mass just to prove to the Cathedral clerk
The following month, when he went back to have it reserved
again, Mr. Fuentes was surprised to see her in an exceptionally
good mood who even courteously asked him: “Totoo
po ba ang balita na napuno daw ng mga kababayan ninyo ang simbahan
noong nakaraang buwan? Hindi ako makapaniwala, titingnan ko nga sa
Linggo para mapatunayan.”
Sunday came, she had no choice but to watch in astonishment as
Buluseños started coming in in groups.
The pews were already filled up and the mass was yet to
start. Many were standing behind and more were coming in.
Approaching Mr. Fuentes, she told him: “Ngayon,
naniniwala na ako. Hindi ko akalaing ganito karami ang mga
kababayan ninyo na dadagsa sa misa.
‘Kapagtataka, marahil may Holy Spirit na gumagabay sa
Fuentes himself could hardly believe how the handful of Buluseños
who attended their first mass at the Holy Trinity Church, have
turned into a huge crowd that overflowed the Manila Cathedral.
TO REACH PLM CHAPEL
Buluseños who wish to attend their monthly second Sunday mass at
the Chapel of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, you may follow
these instructions on how to get there:
If you are in Quiapo or Sta. Cruz, take a jeepney bound to
driver to drop you off at the Round Table along Palacio
Street. Walk towards Gen. Luna Street.
On reaching Muralla Street, turn left and walk until you
reach Sta. Lucia Street. Then
turn right at the corner and you will see the gate leading to the
If you are coming from Pasay via Taft Avenue, drop at
Lawton, then take a jeepney bound for Mabini-Harrison-Pasay. Request to be dropped off at the Round Table, then
follow the rest of instruction no. 1.
If you are from Pasay via Mabini-Harrison, drop at the
corner of Ma. Orosa and P. Burgos Streets at Luneta.
Then cross P. Burgos Street towards Palacio Street, and
follow the rest of instruction no. 1.
a more detailed information, you may call on Engr. Pablito Freo,
DBI President , at 912-9141; or the Secretary, Mr. Ulping Sorra at
tel. no. 929-0848.
a few meters before the main gate leading to the Parish Church of
St. James the Greater in Bulusan, there now stands an imposing
structure called castillo or alleluyahan by local
residents. This tall
and sturdy edifice was a dream-come-true to the late Rev. Fr.
Domingo “Inggo” A. France and a lasting legacy of the Halum
family – the children and grandchildren of the late couple Don
Ramon Halum, Sr. and Doña Salvacion Gaylon.
When Fr. France assumed his assignment as his hometown’s
parish priest in July 2004, his cherished wish was to put up a
permanent castillo. According
to him, of all the sixteen towns in the province, only Sorsogon
and Bulusan had no castillo then.
By the grace of God, his prayers were answered when members
of the family came home from the US with the remains of the late
Martin G. Halum. With
them came members from Metro-Manila who were there also for their
kin’s interment at the family mausoleum.
In them, Fr. France saw the fulfillment of his wish.
In their courtesy call to the priest at the convent, Fr.
France hinted to them his plans for the parish foremost of which
being that of the castillo. The group was composed of Dr.
Rogado G. Halum and his spouse; Atty. Alden & Alice Gajo; Dr.
Ramon, Jr.; Engr.Trason and wife Tagay; Ellen, now Mrs. Cuevas;
and other members of the family.
Realizing the need for such a structure for religious
purposes, they readily pledged to finance its construction.
In January 2005, the work was started and was ready for the
Easter Sunday rites that year.
Aside from being an additional landmark in town, it is a
great relief to the parishioners especially to the Hermanos
who had to put up a temporary castillo of light materials
every year in the past.
Five years before passing away, the late Martin sponsored
the scholarship of Salvacion Gardon through Damayan-Buluseño,
Inc. Fortunately, before his illness turned serious, Salvacion had
already graduated with a degree in education. When he was finally
laid to rest, his scholar was already employed as teacher at the
town’s Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
Now, Salvacion is with the Makati City High School.
Earlier, nobody knew that he was Salvacion’s benefactor
except Mr. Rogelio F. Fuentes, then
the president of the association, and Martin’s igsoon
whom he asked not to reveal his identity.
It was only when he was too ill that he consented to be
identified. If he had
lived long, he could have sponsored more scholars in college as he
wanted so much to see more professionals from the less-privileged
sector. That was what
he confided to Mr. Fuentes.
Unknown to many, other members of the family have also
their way of sharing their blessings with others especially to the
needy but they would rather keep the matter to themselves than
flaunt about it, a source close to the family said.
Some Buluseños are of the opinion that if only well-to do
Buluseño families would have such benevolence in their hearts,
instead of squandering their wealth in dirty politics and
worthless vices - Bulusan could have greatly improved by now, and
could have truly been an example of a community of caring people.
YOU, DR. FRANDO, OTHER BULUSEÑOS
In behalf of Damayan-Buluseño Foundation, Inc., Mr.
Rogelio F. Fuentes, chairman, wishes to extend his grateful
appreciation to Dr. Virgil G. Frando and his wife, Angie; and
other generous Buluseños for their donations to the foundation.
Dr. and Mrs. Frando who are now based in Texas, USA –
handed a check of US$500.00 to Mr. Fuentes when they came home for
a vacation. It was in
that meeting that the couple informed Mr. Fuentes that they will
donate five sets of computers to the Bulusan High School, which at
time of writing, are already in the said school.
According to Mr. Fuentes who regularly receives from them a
Christmas greeting card each year – Dr. Frando has, since his
bachelor days, been very supportive of the activities of
Damayan-Buluseño, Inc. He
even extended assistance to townmates in need of his services
particularly when he was still with the Philippine General
Hospital in Manila. This is not the first that the couple sent donations to DBI
and other entities in Bulusan, a thing that they would rather not
Mr. Fuentes added, Dr. Frando has many bright ideas and
plans for the progress of Bulusan especially on the aspect of
education that if realized would greatly benefit the community.
In the same light, Mr. Fuentes also appreciates very much
the concern of some Buluseños to the cause of the foundation by
sending in pledges/donations through e-mails although
two of whom preferred to hide their true identities.
They are: Binlopeep – P2,000.00 + P3,000.00, Lantoag
– P2,000.00, and Felicia Fortes – P1,200.00.
He is very grateful to all these fellow Buluseños for
their kind response to the needs of the foundation. He hopes other townmates would be inspired also to support
its objective of uplifting the lives of poor Buluseño families
through the scholarship of their talented children.
Mr. Fuentes said that those who wish to share may remit
their donations through the peso and dollar accounts of the
numbers may be obtained from Mr. Fuentes through his e-mail
address email@example.com or at tel. no. 929-5277;
or from the treasurer, Engr. Pablito R. Freo at tel. no. 912-9141.
Buluseño, Nagkaroon ng Bagong Liwanag
Marissa F. Fortes (III-A)
naman po bago sa ating pandinig ang Mataas na Paaralan ng Bulusan.
Isang hamak na paaralan na minsa’y may pagkukulang din sa
mga estudyante sa iba’t ibang aspeto.
Subalit hindi ito naging pader upang bitawan na ng mga bata
ang pangarap nilang umangat – ang hangaring kahit sandali ay
malasap ang bunga ng pagbabago.
madilim ang kahapong nagdaan para sa mga estudyanteng ito umulan
man o umaraw. Walang
patid pa rin silang tumutuklas ng karunungan sa simpleng
pamamaraan. Hindi man nga maibigay ng paaralan ang kanilang mga
pangangailangan ngunit patuloy pa rin silang nangarap na
balang-araw magkakaroon na rin ng tugon ang kanilang mga minimithi.
Nalagas na ang mga dahon pero wala pa ring nagbago sa
teknolohiya ng institusyong ito.
Hanggang isang araw ay tuluyan nang nalunasan ang kanilang
may busilak na puso ang nagmagandang-loob na tulungan ang paaralan
ng mga Buluseño. At
iyon ay walang iba kundi sina Dr. at Gng. Virgil Frando.
Dahil sa kanila, higit na tumibay ang hangarin ng mga
estudyante na magpursige sa buhay.
Napuno ng galak ang kanilang mga puso’t isipan nang
biyayaan sila ng ganito kalaking sorpresa.
Ito ay ang limang (5) set ng kompyuter.
Sa katunayan, hindi nila maubos-maisip na sa tagal ng
panahon, sa wakas ay nailalapat na rin nila ang kanilang mga kamay
sa kompyuter, mga kamay na matagal din naging uhaw sa bagay na ito.
Kasalukuyan na itong nagagamit at napakikinabangan ng mga
mag-aaral. Labis ang
tuwa ng mga guro lalong-lalo na ang punong-guro na si Bb. Ave E.
Mendizabal. Ayon sa
kanya, magiging tanglaw ito upang akayin ang mga estudyante sa
landas na tatahakin sa hinaharap.
Ito ang papawi sa hirap ng mga pasanin ng guro at mga
kabataan na kanilang nararanasan ngayon.
Tunay ngang sa bawat katanungan ay may kasagutan.
Kailangan lang nating maging matatag upang matagpuan natin
ito. Ang magsisilbing
susi ng ating bukas ay mismong kaugnay din ng ating dugo.
Kung kaya’t sa ngalan ng Mataas na Paaralan ng Bulusan,
malugod naming inihahandog ang abot-langit na pasasalamat sa inyo
Dr. at Gng. Virgil Frando at sa inyong pamilya. Asahan po ninyong ang mga ito’y iingatan namin tulad din ng
pag-iingat namin sa aming paaralan.
Nawa’y marami pang mga Buluseño ang katulad ninyong may