This study tour is an experience of “doing theology” in the context of immersion to key social challenges of the Philippines and the faith-related – as well as education-based – responses to these challenges. It is aimed at increasing your knowledge and experience of the relationship between theology, immersion and service learning and, in particular, the character of theology as “faith seeking empowering understanding” and as “a hermeneutic of hope”.
Through this study tour, you will experience theology “from the heart of the people” and the practice of “faithful citizenship” or faith-informed community and civic engagement among the “underside of history” in a developing country.
Tuesday 26 November to Friday 6 December 2019
THCP615 Theology, Social Justice and Mission
This study trip will take place in the Philippine metropolitan capital of Manila and the regional area of Zambales and Pangasinan, with a site visit to the regional area of Pampanga.
What you can expect
As an experience of doing theology “from the heart of the people” the learning for this unit largely takes place on the road and from/among peoples. That is, through site visits and interaction and volunteer work among the marginal(ised) in Filipino society. Debriefing sessions in the context of prayer and liturgy are also central to the activities for this unit.
Dr Gemma Tulud Cruz is a Senior Lecturer in Theology in the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy, based in Melbourne. Dr Cruz teaches units on social justice and Catholic Social Thought offered by the School of Theology in its various campus across Australia and overseas. She has been leading study tours to the Philippines since 2014.
Read more about Dr Gemma Tulud Cruz
Study tour highlights
- Tour of Old Manila (Intramuros) and Makati City for a glimpse of: Filipino history, culture, politics, religion and economics; the social inequality that plagues the country; and the juxtaposition of commerce and religion as well as poverty and affluence.
- A visit to Gawad Kalinga’s Lupang Pangako (Promised Land), an urban poor community in Payatas, Quezon City. Lupang Pangako is located in or near the Payatas dumpsite, which serves as the main terminal for collected solid rubbish or waste around Quezon City.
- Tribes and Treks Tour: Exposure in an indigenous (Aeta) community. Activities include village tour, archery and cooking with the tribe, lunch with the tribe, traditional tribal dance and music, trek to nursery via walking and/or riding water buffalo carts, tree planting to help rebuild a 3,000-hectare rainforest that will provide food, medicine, and sustainable income for the community and dinner at Chief Iking’s house.
- Stopovers at popular sites, including Hundred Islands in Pangasinan and the half-sunken San Guillermo Church – a church half-buried by lahar (volcanic ash) during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the 1990s.
- Immersion into the festive Christmas spirit in the Philippines, which holds the record for the longest Christmas celebration in the world, from city to country, malls to schools, churches to business centres. You will also learn a short Tagalog Christmas song that they will present to the host school community as a means of immersion into the Filipino Christmas culture and expression of gratitude to the school.
- Immersion in a public primary school in a small barangay (village) regional area. Activity highlights include volunteer work, eg feeding program for underweight students, and various cultural exchange activities, eg teaching an Aussie sport to local school kids and learning and competing in a Filipino rural “sport”.
Topics covered will include:
- Contemporary social issues in the Philippines
- Liberationist theologies and the relationship between faith, hope and praxis
- Filipino contextual theologies, particularly the Theology of Struggle
- Education and the faith that does justice
- Spirituality of Immersion and Service
- Service learning in the Christian, especially Catholic, tradition