By Kish Quintano
It was a much anticipated occasion…what was supposed to be a land trek turned to a plane ride (a first for many of us). But amid all the confusion of who was and wasn’t going, what to and what not to bring, and of deciding what reasonable budget can be for the food expenses of the group, we all found ourselves at the Cebu Pacific lounge all set to board a plane to Davao, home to the famous Philippine Eagle, durian and of course Mt. Apo. Yes, from April 13-17, 2015 some 22 employees of RCBN plus Bishop Tobias and Msgr. Rañada had their annual staff R&R in the Durian capital.
The trip, though admittedly expensive, proved to be worthwhile, for it became not just recreational but educational, spiritual, social and a formative experience.
The learning part came immediately on our first stop which was the People’s Park. We were face to face with life-size statues that depicted everyday scenes in the lives of Davaoeños. Then came the Museum where we were informed of the city’s rich history, including how it got its name plus we were shown small samples of the different houses of the eleven (11) tribes that comprise the original dwellers of Davao. After learning about its people and history we then got to know of the city’s flora and fauna, some endemic to the province while the others found all over our country. Topping the list was the visit to the Philippine Eagle Center where we saw some of our monkey eating eagles bred in captivity and were treated to a bonus of having our pictures taken while having an eagle in our arm. The Crocodile Park was a misnomer for there were a lot of animals there too like snakes, birds, ostriches, orangutans, and a lot more. Eden Nature Park was heaven for flower enthusiasts for there our eyes feasted on varieties and colors of flowers and plants most of which we have seen for the first time. The Island hopping was source of learning still for there we were informed of how the islands got their name plus being shown a giant clam (Taclobo) right in our midst.
For the spiritual part, we had the opportunity to hear Mass at the San Pedro Cathedral right on our first day and then again as we visited Fr. Danny in his parish where Bishop Tobias, Msgr. Romy and Fr. Hernan concelebrated the mass which was timely for it was his birthday too.
The social aspect was visible in the teambuilding games we had where everyone eagerly participated in, including our two nuns and in the fellowship we shared as we ate our meals in different venues. Each one got to mix with other staff members he/she rarely had the opportunity to talk with while working.
Of course the recreational side was the time we got to go to places where we could just sit back, relax, enjoy the view and the company, eat foods we don’t normally have in Manila, and sleep and wake up without worry of being late. All these at no or let’s say minimal expense.
Lest we forget there was the formation side too when Msgr. Rañada gave us a talk on working together as one team towards achieving our Bishop’s vision. He made us realize the strengths of our group but at the same time think of ways on how to remove the obstacles that inhibit us from working towards our goal of working as one team-the RCBN Team.
As a bonus to all that, here in Davao, I got to see our Bishop truly enjoying the place. There were times you’d see him dancing as others sang at the karaoke. As we played games he slept or watched as the mood struck him. But best of all I saw him truly enjoying and savouring the food. He would take seconds and say “ang sarap ‘no”.
In hindsight the Lord was very good to us. We were all just after the rest and recreation but He gave us more, so much more.