Using the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (IPP) as its method of learning, the Ateneo Student Exposure Program (ASEP) of the Arrupe Office of Social Formation culminated the immersion of its sixteen participants (faculty included) at Baganga in Davao Oriental with a two-day reflection session in Manresa-by-the-Sea (MBS) in Talomo District. Through the expert assistance of clinical psychologist Ms. Lyra Verzosa of Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (a Jesuit-led nongovernment organization [NGO] that focuses on the promotion of good governance and disaster preparedness), the ASEP participants went through the process of narrating and reflecting on their nine-day experience after they immersed in four different partner communities and institutions in the municipality of Baganga.

Faith-Sharings, Reflection and Processing

The collective post-immersion processing culminated the series of faith-sharings which the immersees have undergone through their reflection sessions after each day’s exposure in their specific areas of assignment. These daily sharings were facilitated by the faculty companions who also immersed in the area for the whole duration of the program. At MBS, Ms. Verzosa utilized an integrative personal and collective processing method, exploring the lights and shadows of the immersees’ whole exposure/immersion experience, and applying creative reflection exercises inorder to bring about individual insights. The immersees were also made to explore contemplative silence inorder to discern the movement of where the spirit is leading them toward self-discovery and selfless service.

Deeping of Immersion Experience

With ASEP being acknowledged as one life-changing experience for the immersees, the program’s post-immersion sessions at MBS further provided an opportune time for the participants to deepen their grasp of social realities.  This was done through a thorough input on social analysis. This particular session led to further theological reflection which culminated in the planning/visioning, and eventually the ritualization of the commitment rite in the presence of the immersees’ parents and significant others. Prior to deployment, the participants were given orientation on the social involvement mandate of the Society of Jesus Social Apostolate (SJSA), authentic Christian humanism, orientation on ASEP as an Arrupe (SICO) program, Ignatian spirituality, social teachings of the church, social justice and the common good, eco-spirituality and journal writing. They were also oriented on the local situationer in Baganga, in view Typhoon Pablo.

Given that the program commenced at the height of the Holy Week celebration from 25th March to 7th April, the participants initially immersed themselves in the many activities in the parish and the Gagmayng Kristohanong Katilingban (GKKs).  After which, they formulated and implemented activities in their respective areas of assignment in relation to psychosocial intervention by working with children, youth groups, and families. Prior to fielding them in Baganga, Ms. Verzosa facilitated the skills training of the participants on matters pertaining to psychosocial activities and other forms of post-Pablo intervention.

Roster of 2013 ASEPians

The ASEPians were clustered into four specific areas in Baganga.  Allen Faith Cape (ABIS-ASST 3), Sarah Joy Reyes (BS BIO 3) and Kristoffe Milano Abellera (BS ECE 3) were assigned in Barangay Upper Mikit, accompanied by Ms. Janice Camanan as faculty companion.  Whereas, Patrick John Comoda (BSIE 3), Ralph Robin Tongcua (BSME 4), Daniel Dayao (BSBM 3) and Leendolph Lloyd Te (BS MATH 3) were assigned in sitio Marquez of Barangay Campawan, accompanied by Mr. Ian C. Parcon as faculty companion.  Both Mikit and Campawan are located at the foot of the mountain and can only be accessed by crossing the same stream. Jannabel Moya (AB PSYCH 3), Peter Paul Paras (BSA 3) and Kristoni Go (ABIS-ASST 3) [who was later advised to discontinue for reasons of health and was later on replaced by Daniel Dayao] were assigned in the tent community of Balay Mindanaw in the coastal area of Barangay Ban-ao, accompanied by Ms. Eufemia Faller as faculty companion.  Finally, Angelie Jane Robles (BSBM 3), Marie Claire Ruyeras (BS BIO 3) and Albert Mardione Mozo (BS-ME 4), accompanied by Ms. Gina Villagonzalo as faculty companion, were assigned in the Sacred Heart Parish in Lambajon proper.

This year’s ASEP is distinguished from previous years’ in the sense that this is the first time, in a very long time, that non-Arrupe (or non-SICO) volunteers were invited to participate in this summer program. With the coordination of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), the National Service Training Program (NSTP) and the Campus Ministry (CM), other student leaders and volunteers were given the opportunity to be part of the program together with the corps of Arrupe (or SICO) volunteers.

ASEP Partners

The Arrupe Office’s major partners in the implementation of this year’s ASEP were the following: the Sacred Heart Parish of  Lambajon through the stewardship of Fr. Darwey Clark; Barangay Mikit (Upper Mikit), through the participation of Mr. Gildo and Mrs. Ligaya Liwana; sitio Marquez of Barangay Campawan, through the participation of Mr. Dodong & Mrs. Mimi Reyes, and Mr. Camilo Mendog; as well as Balay Mindanaw in Barangay Ban-ao, through its administration/finance officer, Ms. Donna Banaynal, and its own volunteers and staff. The Arrupe Office also coordinated with the Incident Command Post (ICP) of Baganga, headed by Col. Krishnamurti Mortela, PA of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom).  (By M. Isabel S. Actub, Arrupe Communications & Advocacy)