Sep 23, 2017
Celebrating the International Day of Peace
Location: University of Bohol, Tagbilaran (city), Bohol (province), Philippines
My Vipassana and Theosophical Society friend, Ludwig, invited me to celebrate the International Day of Peace at the University of Bohol with various community and international organizations who will be sharing talks on what they do to foster peace and harmony.
In attendance were people representing the Golden Link College, Bohol Preschool Campus teachers, AVP (Alternatives to Violence Project - Philippines), Theosophical Society Philippines, SIFCare (Science of Identity Foundation Community Assistance for Responsible Existence) and a few unaffiliated individuals (like me). Surprisingly, I have already met most of them!
Golden Link College and Bohol Preschool Campus teachers
Golden Link College is an education system in which individuals can discover the core values of their lives for themselves, free from fear, coercion and prejudice. The faculty made their presentation about their methodology being the non-competitive nature and consensus-building cooperation they instill on their students. The students are trained to do their best and become the best version of what they can be - regardless of who's ahead of the game. It's not a first-to-the-podium-finish where the goal is simply winning over everyone else.
I believe this method instills a paradigm of connectedness instead of separation. Students grow up seeing themselves as an integral part of a bigger whole...part of the nation-building process, part of an organization working towards a common goal, etc. In my pedestrian outlook, they will not counterflow traffic thinking they are special - they will respect the line knowing fully well counterflowing will only ensnarl traffic further. IMHO.
Theosophical Society (TS)
Theosophical Society is a refuge for seekers who pursue higher evolution through the study of comparative religion, philosophy, and science without regard to race, creed, sex, caste, or colour. It's a healthy exchange of ideas and insight by participants who attend its weekly meetings. Although not a member, I often attend the meetings whenever it's held in any destination I'm in.
The talk was done by Cora, whom I've met last time I attended a Theosophical Society meeting in Bohol. She elucidated the tenets of the society which were already familiar to most of the attendees as they were likewise members.
Science of Identity Foundation Community Assistance for Responsible Existence (SIFCare)
I am confused because they are also known as International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I don't know where the difference lie, but to cut the long names short, they are more popularly known as Hare Krishna - I don't know why they have refrained from using that name.
I already met the representing couple, Rad and Rjhun, at the recent coastal cleanup in Bilaong Beach, Panglao. Rad talked about peace, harmony and spirituality which is common to all the orgs in attendance. I was hoping to learn what unique offering they have to make people follow their persuasion. Rad also touched off on yoga and collectively, we sang a meditative chant.
Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)
AVP is essentially a conflict resolution movement with its genesis dating back to the Vietnam war. Attendees participate in a multi-day workshop where they resolve conflicts without resorting to manipulation, coercion, or violence. Now, AVP is an international organization with its annual gathering slated in Nepal this November.
Ludwig and Sharol(?) made the presentation. AVP is not a lecture format but a participatory workshop. Ludwig took us to play constructive games to show first hand how AVP works. As Kins (AVP and Vipassana member) said to me, "it's Vipassana in action".
I wasn't representing any organization but I was asked to talk about Vipassana Meditation. Gladly, I did. Vipassana is very powerful and has been transformational in my journey. I briefly talked about what it's not (it's not a religion, it's not worshipping a deity, there's no guru, no rites or rituals) and talked about what it is - no more than a meditation technique...that's all. I touched off on the empowerment and independence it gave me, being able to clear the cobwebs of reality that often cloud our judgement.
There is no one absolute path to peace and spirituality. This gathering underscored that. Some pursue the goal along the lines of conflict resolution, some through a more inclusive format of education, some through spirituality. I walk my path by being a renunciate, a nomad and letting the wind take me where it takes me - Vipassana is one of many 'holds' I anchor myself to.
Much like rivers, creeks and streams are different, but all leading towards the sea, we are all unique and follow the path that resonates to our uniqueness. Collectively, we give peace a chance.
Next stop: Talk on Philosophy and Spirituality to 12-Graders at the University of Bohol
Bohol FYI / Tips
- the tourist area where most of the hotels, restaurants, ticket offices, tour operators are, is located within the Alona Beach area
- the tourist attractions in Bohol are far apart and spread-out. It would be difficult to visit them all using public mass transit. Better hire a van (P3500/day) if in a big group, or rent a motorcycle (P400/day + gas)
- Bohol relies on its tourism for revenue. As expected, everything they can capitalize on from tourism is extensively used and developed
Tagbilaran Port to PanglaoYou can charter any tricycle from the port all the way to Panglao (~P300), but if you want to do it on the cheap,
- don't take the tricycles lined-up inside the port. Walk past the port gate and immediately outside, you'll see many tricycles. Take one to the bus terminal in Dao (~P15)
- in Dao, take the jeep that plies the Panglao route (~P20)
Tagbilaran (Bohol) to Cebu City by boat** schedules and rates keep changing, call for latest schedule
- Weesam Express - departs 6:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 4:00 PM
one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
- Ocean Jet - departs 6-7:05-8:20-9:20-11:40AM, 1-2-3:30-4:20-5:30-6:30PM, 2 hours, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
+63(32)255 7560 / +63 (32) 255 0115 / 0917 638 0000
- SuperCat (2GO) - departs 5:50-11AM, 3:45-5:25-8:15PM, arrives Pier 1 in Cebu
+63 32 233 7000
Things to do, Places to go in Bohol
- Chocolate Hills - this is a clustering of more than 1200 hills within a 50km2 area. They range in height from 30-50 meters. What's unusual is their near-perfect conical shape resembling an individual chocolate chip. No one knows how they were formed. Entrance is P50/pax.
- Tarsier Conservation Area - located Upper Bonbon, Loboc. The tarsiers are no longer being played at by tourists as circus props, but instead, visitors now view them in cordoned-off areas in their natural 6ha habitat. As they are territorial and nocturnal, they are predictable on where they can be viewed. P50/pax.
- Alona Beach (Panglao) - Alona Beach is the tourist hub of Bohol. It has 1.5 kms of white sand beach lined-up by bars, hotels and restos. Alona is also the jump-off point for Balicasag Island, a world class dive destination.
- Danao Adventure Park - located in Barangay Magtangtang, 72 kms (2 hours ride) from Tagbilaran. Adventure activities include river trekking, tyrolean traverse, rappelling, bouldering, rock climbing and ziplining.
Carlos P. Garcia Island
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