A Report on Our Trip to the Philippine Islands

Roy E. Cogdill
Orlando, Florida

On May 12, Brother Cecil Willis and I left Los Angeles for Honolulu. We preached four nights in Walpahu where Brother Ben Shropshire has labored for about seven years. He started this congregation when he went out there and it is now almost entirely self supporting. They have a nice piece of property adequate for their needs now and are making splendid progress in spite of the bitterest opposition from the liberals from the beginning. About half of this congregation is made of brethren who came to Hawaii from the Philippines. They are strong in their convictions, faithful in their devotion, and together with the American brethren who help to constitute the congregation give great promise of growing into a strong and fruitful congregation in the Lord's, work. Having preached for them before, renewing acquaintance with them was a pleasing experience.

On Sunday morning, May 17, at 1:30 we left Honolulu for Manila and arrived at 8:30 A.M. Monday morning, having dropped a day when we crossed the International Date Line. We were greeted at the airport by 20 or 25 brethren who had come, many of them, by bus from some distance away to greet us upon our arrival. They made us feel that our coming was of great importance to them and welcomed us in the very warmest way.

We were also met by Felipe and Rodi Tan, sons of Mr. and Mrs. Amado Tan, and nephews of Dr. Levy Maravilla of St. Louis, who is a native of the Philippines, but now residing in the United States and a medical doctor. He is a faithful member of the Lord's Church at Spring and Blaine and being concerned about our welfare had written his sister's family in Manila to meet us and take care of us while we were over there. This they did in a moot complete fashion and never in my life have I been accorded more generous hospitality or shown more genuine kindness and thoughtfulness than this family extended to us during our stay.

The Tan brothers, Rodi and Felipe, took us in their car everywhere we went on the Island of Luzon. They saw to it that we were conducted safely on the entire schedule the brethren bad arranged for us on Luzon. They supplied our every need and at their very kind insistence, we spent six days in their home. Every kindness and possible consideration was given to our comfort. We shall always be grateful to this good family for their very great kindness to us and to Dr. Maravilla for writing them about us. Mr. Tan, the father, is engaged in the wholesale grocery business and came to the Philippines from Peking, China. He was reared a Buddhist. Mrs. Tan and the other members of the family are Catholics but they could not have been better to us, and it not only made us feel that they became our very close Mends but it makes us hope and pray that they may all learn about simple New Testament Christianity and accept it and we want to do what we can to bring it about. We also met the aged parents of Dr. Maravilla and were entertained in their home with the most generous hospitality.

The ~ Philippine Archipelago consists of some 7,000 Islands, a great number of which are volcanic in origin and very small. Many of them are uninhabited. We visited three of the larger ones, Luzon, Mindoro, and Mindanao. The first two days of our visit was spent in Manila and northern Luzon. After leaving the airport and telling most of the brethren that had met us there good by, until we had a chance to visit with them again, we were the guests of the Tan family at a very excellent Chinese restaurant and. had a delicious meal. Brother Victorio Tibayan had arranged for me to have a talk with an attorney who is associated with the Philippine Security Exchange Commission about a problem faithful and independent churches of Christ have in the Islands because of a provision in the Philippine constitution.

We then left with Brother Tibayan and us for a visit to other brethren accompanying various places of worship in the Manila area and to get acquainted with the preachers, their families, and some of the brethren by whom we were greeted at each place. Brethren at Manila worship at three different locations that we saw, all of them rented and none of them, as American brethren would consider, very well situated or favorably located. Yet they are carrying on the work of the Lord under severe handicaps and without discouragement or dismay. I could not but wonder how many Christians in America would attend services and faithfully worship God under such conditions. Their place of worship must be accessible by public means of conveyance to the members for none of them have cars or private means of transportation.

On Tuesday morning we left Manila early and traveled northward as far as Uraeneta. We visited in Brother Castorio Garnit's home in Angeles City on the way. Brother Garnit is the preacher there and the saints meet in his home. This is the closest faithful congregation to Clark Air Force Base located just outside of Angeles City. There is a congregation located outside the gates of the base, made up largely of American service men, that is entirely liberal and who do everything they can to oppose brother Gamit in his work. Brother Gamit is a faithful and capable man. He accompanied us on all of our travels in the Islands and we had the opportunity to know him well. The location of the place of worship in Angeles City where Brother Gamit preaches is -- Castorio Gamit, 238 Sto. Entierro Street, Angeles City, Parnpanga C-201, Republic of the Philippines. Brethren should take notice of this and if you have any loved ones stationed at Clark Air Force Base who are Christians or you know of any members of the Lord's Church who are conservative who are there, you should put them in touch with Brother Castorio Gamit in Angeles City and give them the address where the saints meet for worship. We went on north to Moncada, Tarlac Province, where Brother Julian Felix preaches and visited with some of the saints that meet in his house. We went from there to visit in the home of Brother Javier and from there to Urdeneta. This is a good city in size and is a center of commerce in northern Luzon. They told us that it was the largest livestock trading center on the Island of Luzon. I do not know the population but I would estimate that it has probably 20,000 or more people in it. There was a liberal group that formerly met there. They have disbanded but the hall where they had met was still for rent and some of the faithful brethren were interested in starting to worship there to see if they could not teach some of the liberal group as well as others and establish a congregation. I "Paid a month's rent on the hall - 412.50 (American Dollars) - and intend to continue to take care of it until other arrangements are made to take it up. Brother Celso F. Soberano is going to take on the task of trying to establish the work in Urdeneta and he needs some help to do so. He has been working in Asingan, in the same province and not very far away. Both he and Brother Felix feel that he can do a good work in this important center as he is well acquainted there. The hall we rented is one of the nicer places of meeting that we saw and is well located in the heart of the city. This opportunity looks promising and I intend to send Brother Soberano $25 per month in addition to the rent to augment his support and partly take care of his needs and some of the extra expense until some church is willing to take over his support to work in this place fully. I will be glad to furnish any of those who are interested his address and what other information may be desired.

There is a wide open field on Luzon Island. The liberals operate two schools on this Island and are doing everything they can in opposition to the cause of truth and those who stand for it, as we will reveal in a later article, but they are not making too much headway even with all of their publicity and propaganda, and with proper strength behind the capable men who are willing to wage the battle for the simple New Testament pattern of doing things, it is my ,personal conviction that the native Filipino preachers are more than equal to the task of taking care of the "American Missionaries" and their opposition to the truth as well as their underhanded methods of trying to control the work. Some faithful and capable brethren are laboring there in word and doctrine that are not ashamed or afraid to contend for the truth against any opposition. The American brethren lack the courage for a fair and open confrontation with them, much less with us, as the facts will sustain.

Perhaps the leading influence and one of the most capable men among the native Filipino Preachers is Victorio Tibayan in Manila. This in no way casts any reflection on any of the others and their ability but I think they would all agree as to Brother Tibayan's ability. He has a thorough and clear concept of New Testament teaching, is a very capable speaker and an able defender of the truth. He is experienced in meeting error of every sort publicly and privately and only needs better facilities to work with to do an increasing amount of good.

We were not only impressed with the ability of the Filipino brethren but also with their knowledge of and a devotion to the simple principles of New Testament teaching and their willingness to defend and uphold it in the face of opposition from any source. Liberal opposition from the brethren, as is true here, ha* taken the course of circulating papers and literature, underground misrepresentation and opposition, vicious personal attacks, etc. Fellows like Robert Buchanan at Baguio City and Douglas Gunselman at Manila will be dealt with in a later article, but they are unprincipled in their attempts to destroy those who disagree with them and who will not go along with their idols. They, as most of the rest of the liberal brethren, are thoroughly familiar with the tactic, "if you cannot disprove the testimony, discredit the witness."


September 3, 1970