Our Preaching Trip to the Philippines (IV)

Cecil Willis
Marion, Indiana

At 3:00 A.M. on May 27th Brother Cogdill and 1, along with our traveling companions, left for a preaching tour of the island of Mindoro. Rodi and Felipe Tan took us by automobile to Batangas where we took a boat for the three hour trip to Oriental Mindoro. At Batangas we were met by Victonio Tibayan and Castorio Gamit (and their wives) and by Brother Magbunwa who accompanied us on the Mindoro trip.

The bus was scheduled to leave Batangas at 6 AM. Brother Cogdill and I half-dozed during the three hour automobile ride from Manila to Batangas. The Tan brothers and their "cousin" Irvin (a mechanic who accompanied us on several long trips for mechanical safety) stopped to buy a sack of Balut (bah-LOOT). Now in case you do not know what balut i&-mit is a duck egg which has been boiled about four days before the duck hatches. The Filipino eats the young duck like it were nothing but a boiled egg. He eats feathers, head, feet and all! I might add that I saw no Filipino Christian eat balut, for fear it would violate the precept about eating animals strangled.

However, the Tan brothers ate much balut. As we rode along in the blackness of the pre-dawn, a sudden stop was made, and a U-turn was negotiated. We went back to find the balut-seller. It seems that Rodi Tan had, gotten an egg with no duck in it -- that's just what we would call a rotten egg. I wondered how he could tell the difference. The Tan brothers took our joking with them good naturedly, and did their share of it.

On the sea-boats, one rides with goats, chickens, dogs, ducks, and sometimes with a tied up pig. Its quite a ride! But we arrived on schedule at Calapan. From the boat dock, we took a horse drawn taxi vehicle to the home of Brother Diosdado Menor. The horses over there are quite small -- similar in size to a Shetland pony, or perhaps a little larger.

Counting the driver, there were eight of us to get into a small two wheeled buggy. Someone recommended that Brother Cogdill and I get into the rear seat, with our luggage. When we did so, I noted that a couple of men took hold of the buggy shafts - I think to keep the horse on the ground! I After we were all loaded in, I felt a little sorry for the small pony. On the way to Brother Menor's house, we went down a rather long hill. The load pushed the little pony into a full gallop. Not being able to see the pony myself, I asked Brother Cogdill if the pony were still on the ground. He replied, "He's hitting the ground every once in a while, but when he does touch ground, he hits it pawing."

Mindoro is divided into two large sections - Oriental Mindoro (the eastern side of the island) and Occidental Mindoro. All of our travel was done in Oriental Mindoro.

Calapan is a city of about 50,000 people. Brother Menor preaches in this city. He is one of the older Christians we met. He was baptized in 1932, and began preaching in 1933. He studied under Brother Asada, who in 1943 was beheaded (along with his wife, daughter, and mother-in-law). Some attributed the crime to Moslems, and others reported that some minority religious sect was responsible. Brother Menor also studied under H. G. Cassell.

Menor is an able preacher, and it appears that he has sustained the churches in Oriental Mindoro. There are about eight small churches in Oriental Mindoro, some of which are suffering greatly for lack of teaching.

There is no other full-time preacher at work in Oriental Mindoro. The churches are scattered over a 150 mile area. Brother Menor, now well into his 60's, badly needs some assistance in preaching.

Eliseo Sikat, a public school teacher for the past twelve years, is preaching part-time now, and has been ready to begin full-time preaching for six years, but support has not been available for him. Brother Menor recommends him highly. It seems that it is imperative that Brother Sikat be supported so as to devote all his time to preaching.

The church in Calapan meets in Brother Menor's home. A service was conducted there the first night we spent in Calapan. There were 40 or 50 in attendance. There is another small congregation about ten miles out of Calapan, but since none of the Filipino brethren own any means of transportation, it is impossible to consider consolidating the two congregations into one more substantial church. We visited this small congregation in the afternoon. They have erected a small concrete block building at the foot of a large and very beautiful mountain.

Brother Tibayan insisted that we try to take the long bus trip to visit brethren in Roxas. He had forewarned me that it was a very rough road. Both Brother Cogdill and I experienced some throat trouble while there. We each had spoken many times at M'lang. It was extremely hot (at least to us), and very dusty. As a result, Brother Cogdill completely lost his speaking voice and was unable to preach from Sunday night until the next Saturday night, when he spoke in Tonda in Manila, where Brother Magbunwa preaches.

Since Brother Cogdill could not speak at all, he did not make the long trip to Roxas. He probably would have done so, had we not insisted he stay. A bus was chartered, and we made the round-trip from Calapan to Roxas in one day - about 300 miles. We conducted about a five hour meeting with the brethren in Roxas, after which five were baptized in the Pacific Ocean. Brother Menor did the baptizing. I spoke in Roxas, after which a rather lengthy "Open Forum" was conducted. Some very practical questions were asked in each "Open Forum" session.

There is very little pavement between Calpan and Roxas, though it is called "The National Highway." Brother Tibayan had forewarned me about the roughness of the bus ride, though it turned out to be not as rough as the ride from Davao City to Cotabato City on Mindanao. But it was rough enough, I assure you. We left at 5 A.M., and returned at 10 P.M. That makes quite a day for a soft American preacher.

A book I have read since returning entitled LET'S TRAVEL IN THE PHILIPPINES aptly describes a bus ride there. It states: "There is nothing as informal as one of the country buses in the Philippines. The top of the bus is piled high with an assortment of baggage - baskets of fruits, crates of chickens, pigs forced to travel with their feet tied, squealing and grunting at every jolt. The natives who crowd the bus are gay and friendly... The chatter (lively conversation) is a godsend, for it will take your mind off the perilous curves and sharp turns of the mountain road" (p. 45). Some of the buses have signs in them saying not to travel if the driver is drunk, or to stop him if he goes too fast. They almost stop the bus when a passenger is to be discharged or a new one admitted.

Our chartered bus to Roxas was as comfortable as it could be made. About twenty broth ers and sisters accompanied us. Our meeting in Roxas was conducted in the home of Brother Adan, who had been baptized about 1927. He had been a Christian longer than any brother whom we met in the Philippines. The brethren in Roxa8 have a building lot secured, and could begin erecting a building, if the legal problems in connection therewith could be eliminated.

We returned by boat to Batangas after having completed our three day trip to Mindoro. The Tan brothers met us and conveyed us back to Manila in time for Brother Cogdill to preach on Saturday night for the congregation in Tonda (a section of Manila) where Brother Magbunwa preaches. Brother Cogdill also spoke Sunday morning at Pasay congregation (where Victorio Tibayan preaches) since he had not spoken there on our previous visit to Pasay. I preached to 60 or 70 people at another congregation in Tonda on Sunday night, which completed our preaching in the Philippines.

We returned home very tired, but very grateful for the preaching opportunities that had been afforded us. We also were very grateful for the extraordinary hospitality that had been shown us every place we visited, and thankful for our brethren in Christ in the Philippines. We pray fervently, that God might bless our efforts there to His glory.


August 20, 1970