As what Maya Angelou said, “each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” And for us, we didn’t only have a day, but three!
Last November 8th to 10th, we had a retreat at Caleruega Philippines, in Nasugbu, Batangas. It is a 3-day disconnection from the real world and reconnection to our friends and foes through allowing the dominance of our vulnerability and dormancy of our negative judgments towards each other. There was also a spiritual empowerment and a pause to see a bigger picture of our past decisions.
Our estimated departure time was 11 AM– but me being so excited about this I wasn’t even able to sleep— I arrived in UST at around 9:30 AM. It was very sunny, it was almost difficult to walk around UST to get some last-minute *~retreat letters~*. Before we board the bus we had lunch at Jollibee Asturias first because we will no longer be having any stopover for lunch.
At around 11 AM, we started traveling to Nasugbu, Batangas. We traveled for roughly 3 hours, but I was never able to sit down because I was very busy taking pictures, distributing retreat letters, asking payments for the mass offerings, and singing in the karaoke as well! In fact, I felt really honored to be a dispatcher– I even realized that I could be a good surfer because of my talent in balancing in a moving bus in a zigzag highway!
At 2:30 PM we arrived in Caleruega Philippines and upon entering, I automatically felt bliss because this place has been my jar of good memories. And I am very excited to make new memories with new people in the same place.
When we arrived we were just oriented about the house rules and then they gave us the room assignments and we went to our room to fix our things. I was also tasked to become the bell ringer and key holder.
I was excited about our rooms this time because when I had a retreat 5 years ago in this place, we were in a room good for 4-8 people with one bathroom. But now, almost 30 girls are in a very big room in Catalina Hall with almost 40 bunk beds and there is also a huge bathroom that sheltered around 10 toilet and 10 shower cubicles.
It just made our experience way better because it felt like we were in a ladies’ dormitory and we don’t need to knock on someone’s door because we can just go barge into their beds.
At 3:00 PM we had our snack: Spaghetti.
While waiting for our first session we decided to take pictures first. Hoping to find a picture that is decent enough for a profile picture for the Social Media accounts. lol
At around 4:15 PM we had our first session with Fr. Rafael “Pop” Lusuergo, OP. When we arrived in the Gazekubo there were envelopes with papers on our chair, and then after some talk, he told us to make an emblem describing ourselves, plot our life graph of happiness, and he also asked us to design the envelope where people can put the encouraging/kind notes and then we placed it on the panel board.
Conceptualizing the emblem, writing and coloring them– I really found them therapeutic. I was really having fun and I was putting enough effort on them.
Although I know it’s not really noticeable because I am not very good at these forms of art.
At around 6:30 PM we already had our dinner. Then, we took pictures and had some free time to read our retreat letters.
Our last session started at 7:30 PM and it was more of a sharing. In fact, I felt like I am the retreat master because I was the one facilitating the sharing! So many dream jobs getting unlocked today!
We formed a big circle, and we shared the reason why our emblem was designed that way and the story behind our life graph of happiness. We finished this until 12 midnight, and it was just relaxing because we were all just letting our emotions take over us, exhausting all the negativities that we have been concealing. We were very vulnerable and it’s just so beautiful how we are able to see the genuineness of each other because we are sincere with how we really feel.
The lights out was supposed to be at 11 PM but we were informed that it’s not really followed so we can just go on and finish the sharing. It was almost midnight when we were able to finish.
We finished with a group hug and a prayer, then we went back to our room (Catalina Hall) and we started preparing for sleep. But of course, no one slept until 2 AM.