by Mayong Rodriguez
Sometime in 1995 BCBP Mactan, then a 2 year old Outreach of BCBP Cebu Chapter was very excited to open an Outreach to continue spreading the good news in the marketplace. They had several places in mind but during one prayer assembly Doris Oliva, wife of Ted shared a vision of Mactan servants crossing the seas and catching a lot of fish. Thus they started looking at Ormoc. Ted Oliva, then became part of the original mission team as he knew many people in Ormoc as his late father served as bank Manager of PNB Ormoc and so Ted spent a lot of time here in his younger days – ‘not so long ago’.
So in October 28, 1995 Mactan brought the BCBP breakfast to Ormoc in Pongos Hotel. The harvest was abundant with 50 first timers during that first breakfast. Ate Janet was among the first breakfasters that morning (first couple sharer was Jun & Neri Gula ) while I went out to play tennis thinking the ‘breakfast fellowship’ would just be a waste of my time. However, the breakfast would affect Janet so much that there was no way she would let me miss the 2nd breakfast 2 weeks later. She would eventually turn to my mother to add more pressure for me to attend and so I did with the agreement that I will only attend one breakfast and that’s it.
ONE breakfast that would change my life forever and I would keep coming back. On March 16, 1996 Mactan held the first CLP in Ormoc. Course Leader was Orly & Sarah Manuel with Chief Servant Ted & Doris Oliva. That CLP group graduated 31 brothers and sisters ( 6 couples who would also be the first to attend the BCBP marriage retreat – Jun & Mila Capahi, Goito & Celing Tan, Tito & Flor Noya, Vince & Judy Rodriguez, Ric & Ping Nepomuceno, Me & ate Janet ). There were also 3 married men who came into the brotherhood first before their wives did (Mando Apoderado, Ansing Malazarte, Boy Ocampo – all their wives readily followed them in CLP 2), and some singles – Ray Tan, Jun Malazarte, Mike Tan and the NPC singles Shaddai, Wheng and Ping. Many of these “originals” are still around assuring us that ‘community life’ could indeed be for ‘life’.
I would also like to make special mention of the Mactan servants who bravely crossed the seas every weekend with the then ‘slow boats’ thus ‘wasting’ their whole weekends here in Ormoc instead of enjoying it with their families in Cebu. Their servant’s heart would be our inspiration, personally I wouldn’t be here in community without their examples of true Christian service – Monching & Eva Pitogo (our music man who would serve Ormoc for more than a year and let us all offer a silent prayer for the soul of Monching who died a few years ago) Casi & Emma Nadela (Ormoc’s Lolo), Nelson & Baby Dauz, Hector & Edna Tina, Wilbert & Girlie Ang, Danny & Ching Sagarino (lets offer a prayer too for Danny’s soul who died a few months ago), Leo & Hanna Alcoseba, Joe & Norma Caminade (my tatay – DGL), music man Dodi & Lucy Arrofo, music man Ricky & Jojo Pacson, Arlene & Lita Tan, Jess & Baby Atoc, Leo & Sid Limjenco (lets pray for the soul of Leo too who died last year), Frank & Lydia Robles. Cebu’s then CH Larry & Didette Veloso, mission man Sadi & Ester Saguisag, Cebu members (from Ormoc) Coloy & Liza Aviles, Happy & Carmen Sto. Domingo also served Ormoc in so many ways.
CLP 2 Ormoc followed on August 1996 with Ted & Doris Oliva as Course Leader with Janet and I as Chief Servants. This CLP would graduate 54 bros and sisters. I would then serve as CLP 3 Course leader with Vince & Judy as Chief Servants in early 1997 thus giving Mactan the satisfaction of seeing its baby, BCBP Ormoc Outreach ‘stand on its own as a community’. CLP 4 would follow in late 2007 with Vince & Judy as Course Leader.
In December 2007 Ormoc boldly took over the then 2 year old BCBP Baybay Outreach as its mother chapter. BCBP Maasin was finding it quite difficult to continue supporting Baybay. The ‘missionary’ service in Baybay would really put the heart of BCBP Ormoc Outreach to the test and it would pass the test with flying colors. Baybay would grow to become Leyte’s 4th BCBP Chapter (after Ormoc, Tacloban & Maasin ). Ormoc had passed on the torch of evangelization that Mactan brought to Ormoc just 2 years earlier.
In October 1999 BCBP Ormoc Outreach at only 4 years old was installed as the 22nd BCBP Chapter at the new Ormoc Superdome. 600 bros and sisters from the Visayas came to celebrate with Ormoc with 105 bros and sisters coming from its proud mother chapter, BCBP Mactan.
The BCBP ‘Way of Life’ has indeed taken roots in Ormoc.