Our Hideaway

Our Hideaway

A Step at Ground Zero

By Cesar Jay-R Ramirez

Jay-R, from Barra, Cagayan de Oro, is the assistant vocation animator for Mindanao.

Filthy things were everywhere. Remnants of missiles scattered. Bullets were all over the place. I got teary-eyed at the heartbreaking scenario at Marawi Ground Zero.

Our Hideaway

Presence, A Source of Healing

By Elbert Balbastro

The author is a Columban seminarian on a two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA) in Pakistan. Here he shares about his pastoral experience while in the Philippines. Both FMA and Pastoral Ministry form parts of the formation program for seminarians preparing to become a Columban missionary priest.

Elbert Balbastro (front) and Jerry Lohera (back) in Pakistan, March 2018

“I want to be healed. Please help me.” This is a very common petition by the patients at San Lazaro Hospital, Manila. My pastoral experience there for eight months visiting Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS patients opened my eyes to see how these diseases had affected them. Through this ministry, I saw the “poorest of the poor” in them because aside from poor health, most of them were also deprived from material and financial resources.

Our Hideaway

A Privilege and a Pleasure

By Ma. Criselda A. Mendoza

Crissy started working with the Columban Missionaries in Singalong in 2013.

“Didn’t you do Creative Writing?” – A question Fr. Patrick O’Donoghue, aka Boss #1, asked me while coaching me on writing a letter for him.

The big thing about working as a Secretary to the Regional Director is that, not one day is the same as the last day or the day to come. It is an aspect of the job that I love and, on the really bad days, detest. There is always something different to do, someone new to meet. Sometimes you get surprises, like you get asked to write an article for Misyononline and you find yourself picking up old, rusty skills, talents or tricks, and it gives you a bit of a thrill, a touch of risk. I’m not really complaining, though. I have expected this unpredictability from the start, when I accepted the job. And I wouldn’t really have it any other way.

Our Hideaway

Knowing God in Life’s Circumstances

By Hazel Angwani

Hazel is from Bontoc, Mountain Province and is currently undergoing the Columban lay missionary Orientation program with Ma. Fe Corazon Arienza.

I have always believed that life is full of choices, and that the circumstances that surround us in life are not for us to suffer in agony but to learn about ourselves and God. I had a very beautiful and enjoyable childhood, and I can still vividly remember some of it. But there comes a point in life when in a blink of an eye, we are forced to grow up, consciously or unconsciously, not entirely forgetting how to be childlike but we begin again to learn how to adapt to life’s circumstances.

Our Hideaway

The Man in White Garb

By Gregorio O. Pelaez III

The author is a nurse from Cagayan de Oro City and hopes to be in Ireland in October to practice his profession.

The author

After graduating from high school I had nothing in mind but my ambition to become a lawyer and I was ecstatic about it. It was a grand plan that I laid down for my future, and I was convinced that going through four years to get a bachelor’s degree and another four for law school is never a pick-and-shovel undertaking. I was young, full of vigor, and was up for the challenge. With my parent’s backing, I was certain of the steps to take ahead to become a lawyer. But, the inevitable adverse event unfolded on May 11, 2003 when my father died of Hemorrhagic Stroke just a month before the school year opened. Consequently, my dream of going to law school remained just a dream and the financial constraints and hard choices that followed were the biggest impediments I had to endure throughout my college years.

Life’s ingrained beauty

By Christian John V. Camorahan

The author

Christian John V. Camorahan is a student at Liceo-de la Salle Senior High School, Bacolod City. The photos are his.

Life is beautiful because everything that we see and experience has some form of innate beauty crafted in the tender hands of God himself.  Life is full of moments of bliss, success, comfort, pleasure, and jubilation, moments also accentuated by grief, sorrow, failure, and adversity.

Reflections of a Beauty Queen

By Kristine Alonso

Kristine is affiliated with Carousel Productions Inc and is currently working at a call center in Bacolod City.


‘And so it begins’, I said, as I ‘flipped through the pages of my life’.

Nine years ago a new chapter began in an unexpected turn of pitfalls and ruin. I had to permanently move residence and stop school for financial reasons and had not yet recovered from the recent deaths of my grandparents. But in the midst of all this God spoke a little madness, and that was where my journey began.

Forgiving enemies is not so easy

An interview with Christina Shabo

This article was first published in the 21 August 2016 issue of Sunday Examiner, the English-language weekly of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong edited by Australian Columban Fr James Mulroney.

Pope Francis at World Youth Day 2016 [Wikipedia]

KRAKÓW (SE): ‘I asked Jesus for the grace to forgive every time I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet. But instead of praying “For the sake of his sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world,” I prayed “have mercy on the Islamic State and on the whole world”,’ Christina Shabo, who was born under a tree in a refugee camp after her family fled the bombing in Iraq in 1991, said in a testimony on 29 July at World Youth Day in Kraków, Poland.

When Church Means Home

By Fr Kurt Zion Pala

Father Kurt is from Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, and was ordained priest in November 2015. He spent two years in Fiji on First Mission Assignment while still a seminarian and a year in Malate Parish, Manila, first as deacon and then as priest. He is currently based in Cagayan de Oro involved in vocations work and mission promotion. He will be taking up an assignment in Myanmar early in 2017. You will find links to previous articles by Father Kurt here.

Father Kurt with altar servers in Malate Church, Manila

Just after I had celebrated Mass in Our Lady of Remedies Church, Malate, Manila, an altar server came up to me and told me that a youth who had decided to leave home wanted to speak to me. I saw a bag in the guard house and I got nervous thinking the story must really be true. I knew the boy in question and when I found him his eyes were red from crying. So I invited him to one of the counseling/confession rooms in the convento. He sat down and started to sob.

After an argument with his mother she told him to leave the house unless he stopped being an altar server. He explained that he had done everything his mother had told him to do but could not leave the church or stop being an altar server. He said, ‘Ang simbahan po para sa akin ay tahanan hindi tulad sa bahay’ (‘The church is like a home to me, unlike the house I live in’). He felt at home and free to be himself in the church.  I tried my best to calm him down and asked him to go back home. After a little more convincing he told me he would.

By Ramil Caporas

The author has been a member of the Philippine Army for 18 years now. He is married with four children. The article is based on an interview made in Hiligaynon through Facebook with Assistant Editor Anne Gubuan.

I was recently tasked to help in the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) held last 20-31 January in Cebu, Philippines.  IEC is basically a gathering of Catholics from around the world but doesn’t limit participation to Catholics only. Though I am a Baptist I didn’t feel hampered in any way in the name of religion. I was privileged to be there and to experience the event.  It made me understand more that faith doesn’t depend on labels and classifications; it is all about what our hearts contain.