||Balay Mindanaw: Dekada na!|
Balay Mindanaw culminated its year-long celebration of its 10th Year of Journey on May 8, 2006 with the theme, “Pagmalandong, Pagpangandam, Pagsaulog alang sa ika-10 nga tuig sa Paglawig sa Balay Mindanaw.”
Some 300 partner leaders, donors, families and friends and representatives from community-based organizations and local government units all over Mindanao converged at the Balay Mindanaw Peace Center in Cagayan de Oro City and joined the family celebration with thanksgiving, joyfulness and optimism for the years ahead.
The morning ritual was gathered by Datu Pignaoan of the Higaonon Tribe of Barangay Kalipay, Gingoog City; Pastor Camilo Baconga of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP); and Sultan Saidona Mansumayan of the Kolibugan Tribe of Rogongon, Iligan City. They were specially invited to administer the heartwarming thanksgiving while they represent the tri-people of Mindanaw: the Lumads, the Christians and Muslims of Mindanaw.
“Kaniadto, ang Balay Mindanaw usa lang ka payag. Karon, torogan na (It used to be that Balay Mindanaw was just a nipa hut. Now, it has become a torogan),” said Datu Pignaoan, referring to the royal house of Maranaos, as he described Balay Mindanaw’s growth from its humble beginnings.
A Partners’ Conference followed where the history of Balay Mindanaw was presented by its Executive Director Ariel Hernandez. He cited that even before its foundation in 1996, Balay Mindanaw was already a concept, a product of a long-time passionate commitment of its founder Charlito Z. Manlupig with the farmers in the midst of that “desert experience” that confronted him.
In the conference, a comprehensive presentation of the Community Stories consolidated as gains and victories. These were obtained from the series of sharing, meetings and fora at the community level conducted months before this foundation day. Much were achieved as per account but to a large extent, communities wanted Balay Mindanaw’s continuity of service to their barangays.
Before the conference ended, prospects and vision of Balay Mindanaw was humbly shared by Kaloy. “We are all authors of this story,” he said of the joint efforts of everyone in the organization.
In between the discourses, officers, staffs (who joined Balay Mindanaw for 5 and 10 years now), partners and donors were recognized. Even parents and families of staff were acknowledged. As a tribute to the founder of Balay Mindanaw, a plaque of dedication and distinction was awarded to Kaloy being the founder of Balay Mindanaw and “a unifying force, a faithful dreamer of Balay Mindanaw’s vision towards Equity, Development and Peace.”
The celebration was followed by a fiesta, an afternoon with local singers and a solidarity night presenting the newly composed songs for Balay Mindanaw.