Students enrolled in other ACU courses may be eligible to take this study tour for credit. All ACU students are required to get the permission of their course coordinator as part of the application process. This will ensure that the study tour will count towards your course.
The study trip is on Catholicism, Catholic education, and social justice. It is aimed at increasing the participants’ knowledge and understanding of the character and role of education, particularly in Catholic schools in a developing Asian country, as it is influenced by social inequalities and the socio-religious culture of the society. The social justice and Filipino (folk) Catholicism dimension of the study-trip will provide an experience of religion as the “sigh of the oppressed” and theology “from the heart of the people.”
Saturday 26 September to Sunday 4 October
THEL645: Theology Study Tour
This study trip will take place in the Philippine metropolitan capital of Manila and the regional area of 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.
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.
- San Agustin Church (and Museum), the oldest church in the Philippines. The church is on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
- Central sites of Filipino Catholicism: Quiapo (Minor Basilica of Black Nazarene) in Manila and Manaoag (Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary) in Pangasinan for an experience of Filipino popular piety, particularly the idea of religion as the "sigh of the oppressed."
- 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.
- Visit to an elite Catholic school in Manila and a struggling Catholic school in a regional area to have a sense of the gifts and challenges of Catholic education in the Philippines in urban and rural contexts.
- Stopover at a popular site, the half-sunken San Guillermo Church - a church half-buried by lahar (volcanic ash) during the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the 1990s.
- Immersion in a public primary school in a small barangay (village) in a regional area. Activity highlights include feeding program for underweight students and experiencing village life by walking the schoolkids to their homes.
- Immersion in the festive spirit of Filipino culture through a "boodle fight meal," cultural performance featuring dance from different parts of the country, and dinner at Singing Cooks and Waiters.
Topics covered will include:
- Contemporary social issues in the Philippines
- Liberationist theologies and the relationship between faith, hope and praxis
- Theology of struggle and key theological themes in the Philippines, e.g. resilience and hope
- Education and the faith that does justice
- Character and role of Catholic education and the Catholic faith, particularly in relation to the struggle for social justice
- Catholic Education and the Catholic Social Teaching principle of option for the poor
- Pastoral perspectives and approaches to popular piety