2 events: Baguio, Manila
Baguio, Philippines: report by Mario Fungo
An SOPP ceremony was held at Villa Romana in Baguio City, organized by Ms. Genevieve Balance-Kupang and the Mandala Peace Arts Initiative (MPAI). A large banner for the venue was made by MPAI resident artist and photographer Gabby Medina using textile paint on Katya, a thin type of canvas. The banner bore a large image of Mount Fuji, the logo of the Fuji Declaration, and the five statements at the end of the declaration.
Welcoming remarks were given by the owner-proprietress of Villa Romana, Ms. Maela Jose-Liwanag. Gil Reoma of BIG, Orland de Guzman of MPAI, and Roy Kamura also shared a few words. Next, participants enjoyed a “harmony of sacred sounds” from musicians playing a Tibetan singing bowl, horns, bells, flute, drums, gansa, kulintang and other bamboo instruments. Following this, Orland de Guzman led participants in an exercise in spiritual breathing and a wordless prayer for the peace and awakening of all humanity.
Before our prayers for peace, we first addressed the four directions of the Earth. Then, people from different religions and groups offered prayers for a world free from conflict, and prayers for peace on each continent. The prayer leaders were Muslims, Buddhists, Hare Krishna, Brahma Kumaris, Baha’i, Christians, and others, but they were all united for peace. Indeed, religions may divide us but spirituality unites us all.
Next, a participant from Japan explained each word on the Japanese side of the peace pole (Sekai jinrui ga heiwa de arimasu you ni—May world humanity be at peace). After this, Rosario Lagadia of MPAI initiated the reading and signing of the Fuji Declaration. Participants lined up to sign the declaration by signing their names on the large banner created by Ms. Medina.
Participants also prayed for peace and harmony in countries with border disputes, and for harmony between humanity and nature. They prayed for an end to human trafficking, sexual slavery, drug victimization, and religious extremism and violence. One of these prayers was led by a little girl in Igorot attire.
The ceremony ended in celebration, with dancing, singing and lighting of incense in front of the peace pole. After it was finished, participants moved to a large room downstairs where food and drinks were waiting. There, the celebration continued with songs, music, dancing, and picture taking—such a joyful experience! As we left, hosts Maela and Sonny told us that Villa Romana will always be our home in Baguio City, and will be waiting for us. Until the next SOPP!
Manila, Philippines: report by Mario Fungo
An SOPP gathering was held at the ISIS International Women’s House in Quezon City, Metro Manila. The event was coordinated by soon-to-be new core group members of the Mandala Peace Arts Initiative, Gino Camacho and Jojo Hubo. Sr. Vida Cordero joined and supported the event as well. A group of about ten participants gathered around a table where the flags of the world (on small cards) were laid out in rows. Together, they offered prayers for peace throughout the world.