JPIC-IDC staff held their midyear assessment and teambuilding activities at Calawag Mountain Resort on May 22-24, 2019. Calawag Mountain Resort is located in Tibiao, Antique, a small rustic resort built along a river. The cottages and other structures are all made of bamboo. No doubt, for nature lovers, the ambiance would easily give them a feeling of being one with nature. It could also be a good hideaway for those who are tired of the noises and hassles of the city.

The staff arrived at the venue in the afternoon of May 22, after an overnight boat trip from Cebu City to Iloilo, and a 4-hour long drive from Iloilo to Tibiao. Needless to say that everybody was tired. But after settling in, they frolicked in the clear water of the river.

Before dinner, the staff had  a ‘getting to know you’ activity. This has allowed everybody to know the new staff; and for the new staff to know the older members of the organization.

The morning activity of May 23 started with reports from the different projects. It was heartwarming to know the successes of the projects in spite of the challenges encountered. Then, an input from the CRM team about Coastal Resource Management followed. They highlighted the importance of strictly and religiously implementing the policy of solid waste management and, protecting and caring of our marine resources. Equally, they strongly proposed to adapt a ‘no plastic policy.’

In the afternoon, the staff had teambuilding activities. They were divided into four groups. The first activity was a ‘river tubing.’ Needless to say that it was indeed very challenging. No team has managed to arrive at the finish-line together. The other activity planned that afternoon was rock piling; but because of the rising water level of the river, it was canceled. However, everybody enjoyed the ‘Kawa Spa’ for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

On May 24, as part of the teambuilding activities, the staff went for an eco-adventure and forest trekking in the morning. On the way to Bugtong Bato Falls, each group had to identify the different species of fauna and flora they would see along the way. We did realize that we don’t know that much of the Philippine fauna and flora. Perhaps, it’s because we just take them for granted.

Bugtong Bato Falls is a three-level falls which is about 1.5 km from Calawag Mountain Resort. And it can only be reached on foot. Climbing from one level to another is quite challenging that only the brave would dare to do.

The afternoon was left free.

The staff went back to Iloilo on May 25. On their way, they passed through the Tibiao Museum where the biggest pearls of the world are to be found. Then, they also visited the Garin Farm. In spite of the ‘foul odor’ from poultries, it seems to be a popular destination for tourists and nature lovers alike. They also visited some churches built during the Spanish colonial time. And finally, in the evening, except for some who stayed behind and who opted to take a plane, they took a boat back to Cebu.

There were challenges, but all in all, the midyear assessment and teambuilding was successful.

© Romeo Q. Cagatin, SVD