Table of Contents
2015 Yearly Report
Friends Peace Teams in the Philippines
October 2014 – October 2015
A year after the Alternatives to Violence Project was introduced to the Philippines with the help of Friends Peace Teams – Asia-West Pacific and AVP Queensland, Valerie Joy, one of the facilitators of the first workshop series in 2013, visited the Philippines again to help conduct another series—reinforcing the support she gave a year earlier and contributing to the broadening of the insights and experience of the country’s young team of local facilitators.
During her visit, some historic milestones were achieved. Among them were the first workshops in Tagaytay, Cavite in Luzon, the country’s northern island. We kicked off the peace team trip with a workshop there sponsored by the Student Catholic Action of the Philippines, a Catholic group that advocates action for social and climate justice in the country and around the world. We had two workshops there, back-to-back, with eight participants each and a facilitating team of three people—Valerie Joy, Kins Aparece and Ludwig Quirog.
After these workshops, we travelled to Bohol and held an open-to-all workshop at the University of Bohol, where Kins is Dean of Planning and Development. Besides the three facilitators previously mentioned, we also had Melanie Ticong in the team—a young graduate from the T4F held in 2013. This workshop saw participants from all walks of life—including faculty and staff from the same university, people from the city, as well as a judge. Valerie and Ludwig then visited the Golden Link Preschool to read stories and play games with children who studied there.
Following this, Valerie, Ludwig and Boni Quirog travelled by boat to the province of Cebu to conduct a workshop for 17 professors from the School of Business and Economics at the University of San Carlos. It was the first workshop held in that island. Then the three travelled back to Bohol and were joined by Kins and Melanie for an advanced workshop where 18 participants, by consensus, chose the focus topic: “Managing Conflict through Effective Communication.”
Timeline of Activities for 2014
8 – 10 Basic AVP Workshop, Student Catholic Action of the Philippines Office – Tagaytay, Cavite
13 – 14 Basic AVP Workshop, Student Catholic Action of the Philippines Office – Tagaytay, Cavite
17 – 19 Basic AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
20 Visit and story reading to kids, Golden Link Preschool – Cortes, Bohol
28 – 30 Basic AVP Workshop, University of San Carlos – Cebu City, Cebu
3 – 5 Advanced AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
In March 2015, AVP facilitator Kins Aparece and AVP Advanced graduates Siarol Divino and Frence Boiser, forming a Philippine FPT delegation, travelled to Indonesia. Their first stop was at the Peace Place in Pati Regency, Central Java, where they joined other travellers from different parts of the world as well as from other parts of Indonesia to attend an AVP and Trauma Resiliency workshop series.
The following month, Frence and Siarol returned to the Philippines after their time in Pati, while Kins travelled with Nadine and others to Barak Induk in Langkat, North Sumatra to visit a Javanese refugee community, as well as to Aceh Province to conduct a community workshop. All this was made possible with the help of our dear Friend and friend Valerie Joy who spoke to many groups in her locality and elsewhere in Australua, showed the FPT-AWP video made by Blaze Nowara and held barbecues in her backyard to help raise money for the Filipino peace team delegation to be able to receive advanced training.
In May and early June, for the first time in the Philippines, basic workshops were held facilitated completely by Filipinos. The team, led by Kins, was joined by two apprentices Siarol Divino and Sofilah Gantalao. The workshops were huge hits among its participants as they were able to speak in the vernacular without feeling like they were leaving anybody out of the conversation when they shared something with the big group.
In Late June, two foreign facilitators came to help out with AVP workshops again. Valerie, who was on her third AVP trip to the country, was joined by Sally Herzfeld this time. Together with Kins and Ludwig, they formed the four-person facilitating team that would conduct all workshops but one in the series that followed. They kicked it off with a basic course at De La Salle University in Manila. It was the first AVP workshop in the country’s capital, attended by 14 faculty and staff members of one of the Philippines’ most prestigious academic institutions. The one that followed was held at the College of the Immaculate Conception in the City of Cabanatuan in the Province of Nueva Ecija. It had 19 participants, all faculty members of the institution.
On July 3rd, after having spent a night in the home of American Quaker expat, Charlotte Lapsansky, the four flew to Bohol where two more basic workshops were conducted—one at the University of Bohol and one in a coastal community, Loon, east of Tagbilaran City. The latter was held in a village chapel and was attended by young people from age 13-27. As a precautionary measure, posters and visual aides were translated into the vernacular, Cebuano, for better understanding, even if everyone in the group understood and spoke English.
After Loon, the second Training for Facilitators workshop in the country was held for 12 participants at the University of Bohol. It was followed by an advanced workshop for 9 people who, by consensus, picked the focus topic: “Managing Anger and Fear”.
In between AVP workshops in Bohol, we had other peace team activities such as a visit to the Golden Link Preschool, the same school Valerie visited in 2014. This time, Sally and Valerie sang songs with the kids and had a good chat with the teachers about transformative education. Sally, a teacher herself, shared her insights to them about her teaching philosophy, which was positively received.
We also visited two prisons in the city. First was the Tagbilaran City Jail, under the care of the city government, where conditions were less than ideal. Cells were cramped and prisoners lived in horrible conditions. Sally said it was a lot like the idea you’d get from television about what a prison in a developing country would look like. The next jail we visited was the Bohol District Jail, under the care of the Provincial Government, where prisoners lived in relative comfort compared to the previous one. It was located in the meadows—still within the city borders but close to the suburbs and the outskirts where there was almost no urbanisation and very few structures. The air there was fresh and people had things to do like make arts and crafts or play sports. It was where an AVP taster was held to celebrate the International Day of Peace in 2014, so some of the prisoners were familiar with Ludwig, who led the facilitating team for that mini-workshop.
On the 21st, following the two-day advanced AVP workshop, Valerie and Sally flew to Manila and began their journey back to Australia. We are very thankful for their presence and for the insights they shared with us about how to better run AVP workshops and how to become more peaceful people. They have a had a great deal of experience in their lives proliferating their advocacy of peace and non-violence and we are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them.
We are always grateful for the presence of Friends Peace Teams visitors who not only help us with AVP workshops but share smiles and stories with us as well. Visitors are always welcome to the Philippines, especially in our little island, Bohol, where the only group of Quakers in the country meets in Sacred Silence every Sunday. Anyone, Quaker or not, AVP facilitator or not, can come and spend time with us through Friends Peace Teams or otherwise. We are, likewise, grateful for the donations given to us through the efforts of Friends and friends who go the extra mile by raising funds in their own circles. They greatly help up do what we do.
We are in the process of broadening our scope of work and we will soon be extending our service to Mindanao, an Island in southern Philippines which, like Aceh, is an area of conflict where few foreigners dare go. We are partnering with grassroots organisations there who work in interfaith peace building, to bring word about AVP in their circles. Hopefully, this year, we may be able to bring the Friends Peace Teams there, whether to conduct workshops on non-violent conflict transformation or for other things.
Timeline of Activities for 2015
Kins Aparece, Siarol Divino and Frence Boiser travel to Indonesia to attend AVP and Trauma Resiliency training at the Peace Place in Pati, Central Java
Kins Aparece joins the Peace Team visits to Barak Induk, Langsa and Aceh Province
27 – 29 Basic AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
19 – 21 Basic AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
25 – 27 Basic AVP Workshop, De La Salle University – Manila, National Capital Region
29 – 30 Basic AVP Workshop, College of the Immaculate Conception – Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija
1 Basic AVP Workshop (Last day), College of the Immaculate Conception – Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija
4 – 6 Basic AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
7 Visit and singing with kids, Golden Link Preschool – Cortes, Bohol
8 Visit to Tagbilaran City Jail and Bohol District Jail – Tagbilaran, Bohol
10 – 12 Basic AVP Workshop, Napo Community Chapel – Loon, Bohol
14 Mini “Taster” AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
16 – 18 Training for AVP Facilitators, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol
19 – 20 Advanced AVP Workshop, University of Bohol – Tagbilaran, Bohol