January 4 – 14, 2014 – Greeting the New Year with energy, Fr. Edgardo ‘Edong’ Dumaual, OFMCap packed his bags and flew to the tribal mission area of the Capuchins in Caburan at the southeastern tip of the Philippines. It was a beautiful gesture of solidarity by Fr. Edong who volunteered to provide priestly ministry for the people for two weeks so that Fr. Leny S. Escalada, OFMCap., current administrator of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Caburan can seek medical consultation in Manila. The first time Fr. Edong was in Caburan, Jose Abad Santos, Davao Occidental was about a year ago when the Province was looking for brothers to spend two weeks each in the area to assist the apostolic ministry there.
Hiking up and down the rain forest trails was a cinch for Fr. Edong who happened to be a retired military chaplain of the Philippine Army. This second tour of duty by Fr. Edong was very colorful as he became the first catholic priest who has ever set foot on the tribal village of Kibanoot, Marabatuan. Kibanoot is a tribal village with the greatest number of religious sects in Jose Abad Santos numbering more than thirty denominations.
Fr. Edong was also part of the Capuchin Medical Mission (cMm) Team that went to Kibanoot. The cMm, a member of the Franciscan Health Care Crossing Borders (fhccb), was the first medical team to reach the village. It plans to return to the place with other members of fhccb to provide further medical and nutritional assistance to the people not only in Kibanoot but further inwards to the hinterlands of the said area.
We find inspiration from brothers like Fr. Edong, who help keep a wonderful tradition of the Capuchins alive: The tradition of going to places where no one else would want to go and spread the Gospel of our Lord through the example of their lives. (see more photos)