Ingenious Celebration of the Lord Supper Using Mango Leaves

Central Philippine University Blog

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 Mangyans” 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, which was being held in that place.

There I saw a very 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.

Mango branches with unripe fruits

Mango branches with unripe fruits

I was very quizzical upon seeing a Mangyan deacon 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. There were two deacons who carried the branch around.

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 till each one has a biscuit for they will 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 will eat the Mango leaves to represent the cup. I was naively wrong.

As they went around, each member scooped water from the pitcher using the leaves they formed into a cone. After everyone had drunk, they sang the hymn “Break Thou the Bread” in the Mangyan dialect.

As they sang, the deacons gathered back the used leaves and placed them on the altar.

Remembering Miss Daisy

faith in God

Daisy Basiliano 2

“Amo na abilidad mo sa rural church ka lang naga-pastor?” was Miss Daisy’s statement I can’t forget when we met in May 2002 at La Carlota Evangelical Church.

We were attending the annual assembly (now biennial) of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC).

The statement means “With all your abilities you are pastor of a rural church only?”

If you don’t know Miss Daisy Basiliano, you certainly will have a lot of negative things going in your heart and mind.

I’ve known her as a brazen woman. She says what she thinks is true about you.

She could be “rough” at times but she had the best intentions for you. The tenderness and kindness are always there.

I met her when I was a teenager going with my father who was pastor of Astorga Baptist Church, Dumarao, Capiz. That was in the 80s.

All I know that her family supports the church and the pastoral work as well.

I learned through the CPBC community that Miss Daisy became a pastor, chaplain and teacher. She trained for Clinical Pastoral Education in the US.

We never had any close encounter until that day in May 2002.

After telling me that statement, Miss Daisy didn’t stop.

A few months later, I got a message from her that she had recommended me to speak at New Testament Baptist Church, Iloilo City in September 2002. This preaching assignment developed further.

On 20 October 2002, I started my work as interim pastor of New Testament Baptist Church, a city church.

Miss Daisy had a way of making people think outside of the box. Her statement to me made me think, “Why not?”

Actually, after that meeting in May 2002, I opened myself to working with city churches.

In fact, I got a call as associate pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Manila starting December 2002. I was already committed to work in Manila that’s why my interim appointment.

When my father suffered stroke on 16 November 2002, I decided to stay and continue working with New Testament Baptist Church for three years.

Our family and Miss Daisy became closer because we found ourselves pursuing together what is right, just and pleasing before the Lord God.

While teaching at the College of Theology, she came to live with us at CPU Campus for almost two years.

Those were blissful moments of hearing God’s miracle and goodness to her like her victory over cancer, near-death experiences and other life-changing experiences.

Finally, on 6 June 2012, she laid to rest her earthly body and be with the Lord Jesus Christ, her master and friend.

Love of God

Days before leaving Iloilo City for New Zealand, we took time to visit Miss Daisy at Roxas City. We were hoping it wasn’t our last. It’s not for we will see her beyond the sunset someday soon.

We will always remember you, Miss Daisy!

The “David” Who Knocked-Out Our Unemployment “Goliath”

Dr. Teodoro Robles Central Philippine University

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

I started working with Central Philippine University in 2005. After working for six years, I faced unemployment.

I took the risk of quitting my job at 43-years-old for the cause of justice and dignity.

I resolved to resign after experiencing harsh treatment of insults, intrigues, lies, and prejudices. These things manifested in many ways and the worst was when my wages were diminished.

With the paltry sum I was getting every pay-day, I told my wife that it’s time to go and look for better opportunities.

Prior to finally resigning on 31 March 2011, I filed a six-month leave without pay. Following my filing of case at National Labor Relations Commission on 1 October 2010, I submitted my application for a leave without pay for six months. I just wanted to avoid further persecution while my labor complaint was developing.

How will I support my family for six months without salary was a matter that our Almighty God resolved.

Creekside Baptist Church, a house church in Sambag, Jaro, Iloilo invited me as their interim pastor beginning October 2010. Their offer affirmed my pastoral calling and so I accepted willingly.

On the day after I accepted the invitation, I received three invitations for online writing and search engine optimization projects through oDesk. What a blessing and affirmation of support.

One of them was the “David” who knocked-out my worries of unemployment. He offered initially 30-hours a week of work, then adjusted it to 40-hours a week after I decided to work solely for him.

Let me list how the God-sent “David” knocked out my unemployment “Goliath”.

I am listing this to boast of God’s goodness and how literal and real He does things to those who believe in His mighty power.

  • “Goliath” doubted my gift of administration
  • David appointed me Project Manager
  • “Goliath” diminished my salary and benefits
  • David offered me five times more than what I was receiving at CPU
  • “Goliath” removed staff members working with me
  • David assigned me to recruit and manage online staff workers from all over the world
  • “Goliath” criticized my management of Link and the Unigames 2009 assignments
  • David assigned me to manage as many as 14 websites, ten of them are big car dealers in Canada.

Indeed, what happened was proof that God sends His “David” to fight and defeat our “Goliath”. He never fails His promise of deliverance and He never runs out of noble deliverers.

Today, 31 March 2012, marks the date when I terminated my work with CPU but I would rather think of it as an anniversary of my liberation from a leadership that wreaks of injustice, pride, and jealousy.

I worked with David’s company for a year. Thank you dear God for sending us “David”. We will always remember your goodness as long as we live. Later, his company issued a certificate of employment to credit my year-long service.

Indeed, King David is right in praying, “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.

Photo Credit: Examiner

God Never Runs Out of “Davids” to Defeat Our “Goliaths”


“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
1 Samuel 17:47

From Worry To Glory

The story of David and Goliath is a very popular story in the Bible from which Christians (even non-Christians) are taking inspiration. I heard it when I was attending Sunday school as a boy, read it in Bible story books and even until now, I would read it again from the Bible when I face big trials in life.

The story is so familiar to us that most of us would readily refer to big trials gravely affecting our lives as “Goliath”. Then we would pray to God to send us our “David”, anchoring our faith on God’s promise of strength, courage and deliverance as He had empowered the shepherd boy, David.

Isn’t David’s prayer in 1 Samuel 17:47 seems to give resounding echoes as we imagine ourselves being in similar situation? “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Does God really send His “David” every time there are “Goliaths” challenging our faith and existence? Well, I believe so. God always sends His “Davids” to rescue us from every precarious situation that we are in.

Let me share you my life experience.

In the last quarter of 2009, I faced the grim possibility of quitting my job at Central Philippine University. I found myself the focus of harassment and persecution by no less than the university president himself.

When I began as Director of Communications in 1 June 2009, I discovered that the work students assigned in the Information Office, which was under my stead were not honest with their daily time record. I reprimanded them and filed a complaint to the Work Student Service Program office for investigation and possible disciplinary action.

Then I also questioned why these work students got the yearly outstanding rating despite the irregularities they are doing in their work and daily time record. I was surprised that in two occasions, the president confronted me, telling me to go “slow” with these work students. My formal complaint was never responded to. Ironically, three of these dishonest work students ended up being assigned in the office of the president the following semester.

One very heavy straw that was placed on the camel’s back was when my salary/benefit was diminished. They said I don’t deserve to receive honorarium because I was transferred from director to assistant chaplain, a position that does not have monthly honorarium.

However, the straw that broke the camel’s back was when after bearing receiving a meager diminished salary for several months, I got a very insulting text from the president one Monday morning, telling me “we need chaplains who do their job”.

Realizing that it’s about time that I do something to redeem my dignity, I filed a case with the National Labor Relationships Commission, which included among others, complaint for illegal diminution of salary and benefits.

My journey to search for justice wasn’t easy. It was a “Goliath” in itself. There were some who commented that I will never win the case. There were two noted Centralians who talked to me and told me to give up the case because I was fighting a “Goliath”.

Those who have wisdom to know what’s just and unjust encouraged me to be strong and pursue my fight for justice.

Remembering the story of David and Goliath, I prayed and asked God to send me His “David”.

To be continued…

In my next post, I will share the two “Davids” that God sent to defeat my “Goliaths”.

Timaru Port Breakwater

No Doubt in the Power of Jesus


March 10, 2011

I am a Petra Fan since 1985. Among my many favorite Petra songs, “No Doubt” is very relevant to my current situation.

We are embarking on several big projects for the family, projects that we pray would be very successful.

Also, beginning April 1, I will be on a new journey.  I resigned from Central Philippine University effective March 31.  I have started my freelance venture, starting a virtual company, Online Writing Niche.

I am looking forward to establishing an SEO Training Center, the Online Writing Niche Training Center where I will be sharing my online experiences to those who are interested, willing to study, and learn Search Engine Optimization.

Indeed, when you trust and have no doubt in Jesus Christ, all will be alright and everything will work together for good.

Play the song above and as you listen, meditate on the lyrics below…

There are times when you feel like you can’t go on
There are times when you feel like giving in
And there are times when you feel like you can’t try anymore
There are times of trouble in believing
This test of your faith will last
As long as it takes to pass
Till you have no more doubt you’ll endure
And your faith will emerge true and pure

No doubt it’ll be alright
With God it’ll work together for good
No doubt in the end it will be understood
No doubt it’ll all work out
With faith He can move any mountain for us
No doubt in the power of Jesus
And after all is done we find out
All we really need to have is no doubt

There’s a time to take a reckless leap of faith
There’s a time to be cautious and to wait
And there’s a way of learning from the past
That this time of trouble won’t last
And sometimes we want to think we know
The ways He will choose to make us grow
But it’s never the way of our choosing
And we can’t always see what He’s using

There will be winters in the seasons of our soul
With a cold and bitter wind that chills our lives
But our faith can be building a fire
That will warm us till springtime arrives
Read the full lyrics below and take the blessings…


January 3, 2012

After resigning from CPU, the Lord God Almighty provided me a wonderful job as Project Manager of an Internet Marketing company based in Canada.

I left CPU with a bad feeling because after six years of hard work, instead of getting a promotion I was demoted both in position and salary without any valid reason.

However, God raised me up. He provide me a job, promoted me to manager’s position and raised my salary five times the rate that I was receiving from Central Philippine University.

Every time I recall what happened, I smile and give thanks to God because I have seen and experienced how the Mighty Power of Jesus Christ defeated the force of injustice and folly.

Victory is always yours as long as you firmly believe.


The Day I Let Go of Ted

The sound of the alarm from my cell phone awakened me, telling me that it’s already 6:00 o’clock in the morning.

I had fallen asleep after doing my usual early morning chores as online writer. I had worked full-time as search engine optimization specialist for almost six months now. Early morning is my favorite period to work.

I had written articles and built links since 3:00 o’clock in the morning. After almost two hours of pounding on my laptop’s keyboard and finishing my second article that early morning, I decided to stretch on the rattan sofa and catch some sleep.

When the alarm sounded, I stirred, quickly got up, and shut down my laptop. I had to wash and clean Ted. Somebody wanted to see him at 7:00 AM that day.

Meet dear old Ted

Ted came to stay with us in September 2009. For over a year, we enjoyed his company, an ever trustworthy and loyal companion. Despite his old age, Ted never ever let us down except for some few occasions beyond his control.

Who’s Ted? Before you become too puzzled, I would like to introduce Ted to you.

Ted is the name of the Blue Gray 1992 Toyota Corolla that we bought from Dr. Melvin Mangana. It’s not hard to name our first family car because the license plate number reads TED 862.

How Ted joined our family

From Worry To Glory

Ted and I posing in front of the Vaflor's house at CPU compound.

Our daughter, Jadyn Joan started going to Nursery class in 2009. We observed that almost every month she had bouts of asthma. Then we learned that she’s allergic to pollen and dust. Also, she was quite affected walking under the noonday sun. Their Nursery class dismissed at 12:00 o’clock noon.

One day when I and Melvin were talking, he mentioned in passing that he’s selling his old car because he is getting a newer one. When I heard him saying that, I expressed my need for a car to ferry our daughter to school and home.

Melvin recalled how he had difficulty bringing his children to Kindergarten because he was driving a bike. He told me that he is happy to let me have Ted so that I won’t experience what he went through.

From Worry To Glory

Dr. Mangana used to bring his kids to school using a bike.

Realizing my need and his concern for my daughter’s welfare, he and wife Mila agreed to sell their car to us. The great blessing is that I got Ted from them through a “payable-when-able” scheme.

I was just an employee of Central Philippine University and my meager salary could only afford to buy an old car. I and my family are grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Melvin Mangana for sharing Ted to us.

Ted came to us at the right time

He became Jadyn’s service in going to school and attending Kid Zone at the University Church. Ted provided comfort and safety for Jadyn and the rest of the family.

Ted played a major role in building our family life

For over a year that Ted stayed with us, he played a very important role in building our family. He would take us to places where our family could fellowship and bond together.

Ted also bore witness to our family dynamics that are just common to any family. These included arguments, quarrels, and scolding. Whenever things are intense and stressful, Ted’s facility enabled us to drive around to find a better place to chill out.

When my younger brother Ivan died, Ted served us faithfully as we went about arranging a lot of things for the burial. His fully tinted glass windows provided the needed privacy for sadness and tears.

The many long road trips to Ajuy, my wife’s hometown, were great time for us to be together. Imagine being inside Ted’s four-door compartment for two hours.

More than the laughter, the food, and the countryside scenes that we share along the way are the sentiments and dreams that were hatched. These trips with Ted are valuable and memorable.

Despite his old age, he never had any major mechanical failure. He simply carried us through any trips, be it near or far, light or heavy.

From Worry To Glory

This photo would always remind us that we had once a household member named Ted.

We love Ted but we have to let go of him

After wiping the last wet part of Ted’s hood, I summoned my wife and daughter to come. We took time taking pictures with Ted. Ted’s new owner is coming that morning and he is taking Ted with him.

We love Ted but we have to let go of him because we need a bigger vehicle, possibly a wagon, to carry our family belongings. We were leaving CPU and we had to vacate the Vaflor’s house in the campus where we stayed for six years.

I and my wife resigned from Central Philippine University because we cannot bear anymore the persecution that we were going through.

My wife who was hired as Assistant Professor in August 2007 was reclassified as staff member through a mere personnel action notice of the Human Resource office.

In my case, the administration under the leadership of Dr. Ted Robles diminished my salary without prior information or explanation at all.

We love Ted but we have to let go of him because we are moving to a better place, a place where truth and justice prevail.

Thank you, our dear old Ted for serving us faithfully for over a year.

As our first family car, Ted will forever remain in our memories.

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