In 1999, I had the opportunity to live with the Hanonoo Mangyans of Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, as part of my course in Theology.
Together with two interns, we stayed in the Mangyan village from April 19 to May 4. My previous post, “Learning with the Mangyan,” provides some details of that internship.
On April 29, Amâ Anghel invited us to his farm way up the mountains. He guided us to Sitio Lumboy, an hour’s walk from Sitio Amaga.
He wanted us to witness the worship gathering of born-again Mangyans held in that place.
There I saw a unique experience in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Their church building is made of bamboo and cogon grass thatched roof. The congregation sat on the bamboo floor.
I was very quizzical when two Mangyans deacons walked around the congregation with a branch full of leaves. It was a branch from a Mango tree.
As the Mangyan pastor read 1 Corinthians 11:1-13 in the native language, each worshipper plucked a leaf from the branch.
Then I saw them distribute pieces of” “Marie“ biscuits.
In the Mangyan language, I gathered that the pastor instructed the members to get one and wait until each one had a biscuit to eat together. The pastor read a Bible passage, and together they ate the biscuit.
The pastor bade everyone to be silent while he prayed. Then the two deacons went around again, each carrying a pitcher of water.
For a moment, I thought the people would eat the Mango leaves to represent the cup. I was naively wrong.
Each member scooped water from the pitcher using the leaves they formed into a cone as they went around. After everyone drank, they sang the hymn” “Break Thou the Brea” in the Mangyan dialect.
As they sang, the deacons gathered back the used leaves and placed them on the altar.