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Cebu City, Philippines (First Steps)
St. Joseph Calasanz
Lay Fraternity
Message Board

Frs. Jesus and Rafael arrive in Cebu City at 7:00 P.M. The Piarist Sisters are waiting for them and have prepared a magnificent welcome with garlands and songs. They take them to their house in Capitol for supper and since it is getting late, they go to sleep to Patria, a Diocesan priestly house in the Cathedral, where they are offered a room. While they find their own house, they plan to remain there. Actually they remain there only two nights: it is rather a noisy and small place where they are not at ease. They decide to accept the invitation of the Piarist Sisters and on the 16, they go to their house in Lawa-an, around 5 km from Cebu City, where they have a beautiful place and an elementary school, besides the formation house. 


The following day after arriving, early in the morning, they meet Mgr. Salvador, Auxiliary Bishop of Cebu, who was very interested in the arrival of the Piarists and he is always ready to help them, until he dies in a car accident in July 1996. M. Teresa, Sch.P., is always at the disposition of the Piarists accompanying them to visit the first houses and lots. Fr. Buñao, OAR, and a friend of the Piarist Sisters, becomes, from the first moment an available friend for everything. At the proper time, he became a member of the Juridical Corporation of the Piarists Fathers. Besides visiting different houses, without good results, they prepare themselves to start the studying of the Visayan Language in a Language School in Cebu City This is one of the first steps thought in the Roman meeting, in order to facilitate the inculturation.


They visit the City, the squatters areas or shanty zones, the religious and historical places. And many lots, thinking in the future construction, and also houses in order to rent one as soon as possible. They make contacts with real state agents and they leave them for different reasons: far away, expensive, big, small, not so well situated. It is the normal way for those who look for something definitive. At the end of May, with the help of some friends, they receive the offer of a house to let borrow in Molave Street.


Fr. Imanol arrives from Spain on June 2, in the evening. The Piarist Sisters from Capitol and Lawa-an welcome him. The following day, in the morning, go together to see the house in Molave. The owner, Mrs. Maria Paz Ramolete asks for their intentions: they want to remain there provisionally, while they find a definitive place. Then she makes them a generous offering: they can remain there to live free of charge, taking care of the maintenance expenses. They accept it immediately. Later on, they show the city to the just arrived. That same night, Fr. Imanol reads officially the documents of the General Congregation by which is officially constituted the Community in Cebu City, being nominated as first Superior Fr. Imanol Lasquibar.


The following days are used in showing to Fr. Imanol some of the offered pieces of land and in buying the necessary furniture to equip the Molave house. On June 6, they move to live there, while they continue putting in order the house. The Piarist Sisters lend them their car and any kind of help during these first days. With them, the Piarist Fathers of Philippine will always have a debt of gratitude.


The restlessness of the first moments, continue: looking for a cook, repairing the indispensable things in the house, getting the resident visa, connecting some people who could advise and help us and to start the Visayan studying. They start on June 13. Fr. Jesus goes to class in the morning and Frs. Imanol and Rafael in the afternoon.


The Molave house is very well centered and it helps the movements, especially the encounters with the young people that are interested in the Piarist Vocation. It is also an occasion for many beggars to knock at the door, looking for food or money. The owner of the house has an extreme understanding when she sees that all the plans of the Piarists to buy a house or land are becoming null. While they are in need, they can use the house. On the other hand, the house is becoming like new.

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