Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

Come and Meet the Unitarian Universalists of the Philippines in 2012

UU Partner Church Pilgrimage–March 9-22, 2011

I gave a sermon on April 10 about my heart-opening participation on this tropical trip in 2011.  Led by an experienced UU from Wisconsin (Lee Boeke Burke) and guided by the leaders of the UU Church of the Philippines, the 2012 trip will be an introduction to the people, programs and hopes of our UU family on the other side of the International Date Line.   Lee promises a “joyful feast for your mind and your heart.”

Pilgrimage Itinerary:  The first stop is Manila, where you will meet your American traveling companions—that is, your fellow UU pilgrims.  Together you will get to know the culture and history of the Philippines in Manila, then worship with UUs in the Manila district of Bicutan and meet young professional UUs in the suburb of Quezon City.

Next, you will fly to Negros Island.   You will be welcomed and celebrated at church headquarters and learn about the dreams and realities of the UUCP, tour the lovely coastal university town of Dumaguete City, where bikes and scooters outnumber cars and the vibe is gentle and sweet.

The heart of the journey will be a road trip for several days around the beautiful island of Negros, visiting 10 of the 27 UU congregations in its small fishing and farming villages, with spectacular views and cheerful hospitality.  The adults, youth and kids of their communities will welcome you with open arms and smiling faces.  They will sing with you, share food with you, and show off joyful dances and songs.

Partnership Possibilities:  There will be a chance to learn about partner church relationships by visiting congregations now paired with churches in San Diego, Montclair, Honolulu, Appleton, and Castine, Maine!  You will meet the charming folks (and the dog) at the UU Church of Nataban, which is interested in being a partner church with UUSS.

You will stay in clean, comfortable hotels throughout the journey, and have a restful break at a low-key beach resort.   In 2011, we enjoyed hikes, ocean swims, fresh food, visiting a fish farm, and a whale watch on a boat, even if the whales were absent that day.

Pilgrims will return to Dumaguete for a farewell ceremony at headquarters and return to Manila to fly home.  There will be opportunities for spiritual reflection on our learning and experiences.

Cost:  The trip costs $1,600 per person, double occupancy + a $150 registration fee. (Unfamiliar roommates on my pilgrimage became fast friends, but for a single supplement there is a an extra $300 cost.) The cost includes all in-country flights and ground transportation, hotels, meals, drivers, interpreters and entrance fees. It does not include your airfare to Manila and initial ride to the hotel, gratuities, alcoholic beverages, gifts, personal expenses, airport transfers as you leave the country.  (Beer is good and cheap, though.)  For a modest extra cost, pilgrims often choose to arrive a day or two early to adjust to the time change.

Registration can be made through or by calling the Partner Church Council office near Boston at 781-275-1710.  For more information, contact me by email or phone, or call Lee Boeke Burke in Appleton at 920-915-1667.

PS–Come to church on Sunday, Dec. 4 to hear from a Sri Lankan-Filipino UU minister who leads the Faith in Action Programs of the UU Church of the Philippines.  He’s making a coast-to-coat tour of the U.S. this fall.  (He was my roommate on the 2011 trip and our tour guide and companion.  After you meet him, you’ll be even more eager to make this journey.



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