Indeed, Katipan has become a symbol of solidarity among pastors. It bespeaks of the realization of collective faith and action. The KATIPAN Hall also stands as monument of the gains in networking. Pastors have exhausted their linkages and network in order to complete the project. But it was not merely another successful infrastructure project. It has become a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground as icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. Its presence has attracted other organizations to resume retreats, seminar, conferences and other religious activities. But there is more to the Katipan legacy. It has brought our association to the door step of the CPBC leadership and politics.
Never did it occur in our wildest dream that our association would engage in an infrastructure project. More so, under my term as president. My social work orientation and past organizing experience taught me to be people-centered in approach to development, not on infrastructure. However, circumstances led us to this new challenge.It started from an invitation of the Pastors’ Kids (PK) Association to hold our National Assembly at Camp Higher Ground in 2006 for free. At that time, they were starting to develop the Camp Higher Ground after the mandate to manage this neglected treasure of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo. Few months later, the Convention leadership rescinded their action, forcing the PK to cancel its goodwill.
Having set our preparation on the venue, our Association decided to take matters in our hands. With the projected cost within our reach, we undertook the project. Only to found out later, there was an overly underestimation of the cost. Upon expert advice, we opted to improve the design with permanent materials due to susceptibility of the area to termites. Exhausting our own resources, we engaged in various fund campaign and use our network, both personal and organizational. Concerts, dinner for a cause, solicitation, loans were but a few of the strategies we undertook.
Like the boy in the parable of the feeding of multitude, our initiative, though viewed with reservation, soon gained support. Touched by our commitment to share meager means, other organizations followed suit. Soon the spark got the fire burning. The Pastor Kids’ commitment to develop the Camp Higher Ground was rekindled. Our NGO network was also tapped, as well as linkages with the government officials in the city and province of Iloilo. The Gilopez Kabayao Foundation showed support by making our association the beneficiary of their concerts. But the bulk of the donation came from pastors.Pastors abroad sent their contribution. Rev. Danilo Borlado mobilized the church in Hongkong to shoulder the painting cost. The rest is history. After fours year, the collective faith and action was realized. The Katipan Hall was finished- a monument of gains in networking.
Beyond the construction issue, the Katipan Hall was transformed into a spiritual warfare in reclaiming the legacy of the Camp Higher Ground. The place, which serves as venue for camping, conventions, retreats, conferences, has been a living witness to transformation of lives brought about by past experiences in the Camp. It is considered an icon of serenity, spirituality and renewal. However, the place had been abused and neglected for the past decades. Seldom was it used for the aforementioned purposes. Through the project, pastors were able to reclaim the spiritual heritage of the Camp. Thereafter, its beauty and usefulness has been gradually restored.
Moreover, Katipan has brought our association into the mainstream of politics in our denomination. While some pastors have been involved in the CPBC politics, seldom does our association, as a whole, directly participate. But things have changed because of the Katipan project. There was a shift in my personal stand to dissuade pastors to leave the CPBC politics to lay leaders and focus in our association. Every time we were confronted with difficulties in sustaining the project, I recalled the culprit. The leadership flaw, as manifested in the rescindment of the Board in their approval of Pastors Kids management of the Camp on flimsy ground. We could not have experienced the suffering had the Pastors Kids continue.
I then decided to enter the CPBC politics during the May 2006 election running as independent. The pastors did not fail me, some crossing group lines/affiliations. I won in that election which was a show of force and money of organized groups within the CPBC. It was marred with block voting and boat buying, if not vote buying. Thereafter, I advocated for the pastors cause resulting to some significant changes beneficial for pastors.