What did I do in Palanan Valley? More specifically, in Dubungko, a village tucked away on a hill beside Palanan River.
Palanan is difficult to reach. There are two ways you can find the village we went to. One is by taking a 10-minute boat ride after flying on a 20-seater plane for 40 minutes from Tuguegarao City to Palanan Airport. Tuguegarao City is 10-14 hours from Manila via bus.
The other way is by taking a 5- to 7-hour motor boat ride from somewhere in Quezon Province’s docks (I think), East of Luzon. Quezon is around 3-5 hours from Manila by bus.
(Read more of our travel and arrival at Palanan here.)
My friend Duane had been visiting Dibungko and its nearby villages one to two times a year for the past two decades. Duane lives in the US. He has patiently sown and gradually reaped for God in that place that now has a network of churches that pastors the villages.
He works with a Christian couple there that pastor Dibungko’s community of lowlanders and Agta families not only by sharing God’s word but by helping them improve their lives–teaching them how to farm, and make and sell handicrafts. They also helped them see the value of, and have access to, education.
The Agtas especially have gone a long way from not having access to education, to having two of their very own, graduate with degrees in education so that they are now the ones who teach their fellow Agtas in Dibungko.
Going back to the question… What did I do in Dibungko? Well, they didn’t really need me to teach them how to farm or weave. I think they have to be the ones to teach me that. I came there to teach at a youth camp. 🙂
As far as I recall, I had only been invited to speak to young people four times in my entire life. I am not exactly a preacher girl, or your resident Bible teacher. So I was surprised to have been given this opportunity to speak in a place this far.
Here’s our team of 5. Ate Ruth was the one holding the camera. The room behind us is the church hall where we had our youth camp teaching sessions. To my right is Masui, the main camp speaker. We split the number of sessions between us two. Masui is a missionary who leads a mission base in Canada. It was an honor to serve God and the young people alongside him. He would be your preacher-missionary type. I happen to be your ordinary gal from church. What an honor, really. More on the youth camp on the following blogs… 😉