by Rev. Ernie Catanghal
Summer 1999, on an ordinary trip to Mindoro, it was the first time and an unsuspecting one. In the town of Paluan on the northern tip of the island nothing seems to amuse, but my attention was lured at the sight of the surrounding mountain ranges where the highest peak rests on Mt. Calavite. Knowing not why I found myself on a foot trail with some guiding locals due to my insistence.
Somewhere on that mountain, on a steep trail that heads to a tribal site called Hinugasasn I found a small hut that seemed to be abandoned. Driven by curiosity I walked towards it and to my biggest surprise there were two helpless children inside -all by themselves. One is a boy who’s about five or six years of age and the other still on the toddler stage, both looked very hungry and very aloof. I never even know their names nor anything about their parents’ or family’s whereabouts but what captured me most where their faces, not because they were filthy but because they took me to memory lane back on year 1996 right there on that San Lazaro Hospital bed, my suppose-to-be “death bed”. Why? Because on that near death experience I know I saw faces whom I do not know about, those faces which I thought were just faces.
And when I saw those two children I knew they were there, in that memory I called “dream”, they were there hiding behind behind those dew drop filled leaves… and I just cannot simply forget. At that very moment I knew that they were not just memories, not just faces, but visions of things to come -and there flashed before me the doorstep to a new journey that would change the course of my life, my family, and theirs as well.
The rest is history, it was eighteen years now and all I can say is that God you are just amazing! I admit it was a roller coaster ride working with these people they call Iraya Mangyan tribe, and reaching out from one community to the next I can see the hand of God in every detail, every corner. Well maybe the work is vast and there’s still so much to be done but one thing I know, when I saw those two little faces I am in for a mission and that I will not be alone for God is sending more to journey with me, and together we will be showering these people with His great love and it will make a huge difference.
Six years later, in summer 2005, when the work have established some volunteers from the city and with some local support we decided then to have a name to call ourselves. Taking it from the vision of “dew drops” covering the leaves where the little faces were we came up with the name that became a household name for those Iraya Mangyans… the DROPS OF FAITH CHRISTIAN MISSIONS or DFCM.