Overwhelming Hospitality in Community Immersion


LA TRINIDAD, Benguet  – A group of Grade 12 students from Assumption College, San Lorenzo, Makati, journeyed last Monday towards unfamiliar grounds in Upper Lamtang, for community immersion, albeit with understandably mixed emotion hidden from each pupil, only to realize to their delight that the well-knit community that took them enveloped them in a protective cocoon, like they were the community’s very own children.

Moved by the warm gesture of the families in Upper Lamtang, the students tested the power of their own personal conviction and their individual responsibility in social change.

For two days, they involved themselves in a “hands on” approach to the grinds that the community approaches every day.

For one, these students are neophytes when it comes to farming.  Farming isn’t easy.  And these students were born with a silver spoon. They were taught to plant.

If they had apprehensions, they kept it to themselves. Amazingly, they went to it (planting) , like fish takes to water. If at all, their apprehensions dissolved into thin air.

For the duration of their stay, they became farm hands or farmers –  one in concert with the soil. And all came out, distinguishing themselves.

There, in Lamtang, the all-girl students, with ages ranging from 17-18, analyzed for themselves what problems there are to be met, the community’s approach to ways in which they may be met, and with each student’s affirmation that, with faith, courage and imagination, they will be met.

Each family in Lamtang took in its share of students, about four or five, in their homes.

Marvin Tagoy, a Lamtang resident and looked up by the dwellers there as a community leader, was responsible in shaping up the activities of students. The students looked up to him as their own “father.”

Tagoy, a graduate of Benguet State University (BSU), formerly Mountain State Agricultural College (MSAC) and major in Soils, possesses this passion of seeing the day farmers in Benguet re-shape their outlook as individual farmers to collegial farmers.

As one student summed it up. They were emotional by the “overwhelming hospitality” the Lamtang residents gave to them.

In an interview by Herald Express, Carmen Abrahan, explained her experience that coming to Lamtang was a different reality from where she came from.

Still, she intoned, that she found out to herself that there is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely and act boldly.

Abrahan, who believes social responsibility must be grounded on faith and responsibility, so action brings with it its own courage, its own energy and a growth of self-confidence that can be acquired in no other way than to immerse one’s self to any task ahead.

As for what lies ahead for the students, Abrahan voiced their thoughts that they happily face the future fortified with the lessons they learned during their immersion in Lamtang. “That today, they can create a world of the future.”

The students – 44 in all – were accompanied by Sister Lourdes Roquino, Program Officer, Ana Mitra, Program Officer and eight other staff members from Assumption College.

Sister Roquino explained the immersion is part and parcel of the school’s Concrete Act for Social Immersion.

Ana Mitra also explained that the immersion in community life was highly important for the women of faith to bring about transformation at the local mindset and rooted to responsibility towards others.

Abrahan and Tagoy seem to have a similar point of view as to the immersion experience of the Assumption College students: They both hold dear a score that they themselves can make experience valuable when, by imagination and reason, they turn it into foresight, for the good of a community.

By Bony A. Bengwayan