The History of AFAS
FIRST 10 YEARS OF AFAS EXCHANGES – 1993 TO 2003
The first two AFAS exchanges in 1993 and 1995 focused on getting to know each other. At the request of the Augustinian Fathers in Cebu the AFAS group visited Divine Love High School in Talisay. A close partnership between the two schools was formed and an academic scholarship program was established. AFAS also funded scholarships at the University San Agustin in Iloilo and the Colegio San Agustin in Bacolod. During these early exchanges, Villanova College staff and students learnt much about the Filipino culture through music and dance performances and enjoyed making new Filipino friends. Thanks to Fr Eusebio Berdon osa and Fr Peter Wieneke osa for their support of this inaugural AFAS exchange.
The 1997 exchange included a visit to Intermouros in Manila. A boat trip around Manila Harbour to visit the Binan Outreach area, demonstrated the problems faced by rural families coming to the city to find work. A visit to the new smokey mountain outside Manila and to people living in the aftermarth of the eruption of Mt Penetubo also gave further insight into the problems faced by those living in poverty. The group of six Villanova College students, three teachers and two family members, visited the AFAS scholars Divine Love School in Talisay, The University of San Agustin Iloilo and at Colegio San Agustin in Bacolod. From their time with the Augustinian community in Intermouros the AFAS group learnt more about Filipino history. The beauty of the Filipino landscape was highlighted when the AFAS group visited Bohol and saw the Chocolate Mountains. Sharing a meal with the Augustinian Fathers’ communities in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Mohon further consolidated the spirit of solidarity and Augustinian friendship.
In 1999 six Villanova College students and three teachers, including a founding member of AFAS -Kerry Bayfield, renewed friendships with staff, students and AFAS scholars at Divine Love School, University of San Agustin, Iloilo and Colegio San Agustin Bacolod. A visit to La Consolacion Mission School in Murcia was recommended and students from the school were then included in the scholarship program. On this visit the AFAS boys and teachers assisted in cementing the foundations for a small community health centre in Purok Cubay the outreach area supported by CSAB. Students and teachers from Villanova were billeted with Filipino families giving them the opportunity to experience the daily routine of life in the Philippines. A visit to the Silay Ancestral homes gave further insight into the story of Negros. We again enjoyed the hospitality of the Fathers in Cebu, Iloilo and Bacolod and Mohon, giving the Australian group an opportunity to learn more about the Filipino culture.
2001 and 2003 EXCHANGES
Due to political unrest at the time Villanova students were not included in the 2001 and 20013 exchanges. In 2001, the three Villanova College teachers and two teachers from Sydney participated in a workshop in Manila on exploitation of women and children before flying to Cebu. Again, the group visited AFAS scholars in Divine Love School, CSAB and Murcia. It was recommended that the group visit La Consolacion School - St Thomas of Villanova School in Danao. A visit to a nearby outreach area gave the group an idea of the problems faced by people living in rural poverty. On both these visits supplies were taken to the orphanage in Sibango and the group saw firsthand the effect of poverty on young children.
AFAS Exchange 2005 TO 2017
In 2005 two Villanova College teachers accompanied five students and a family member on the exchange. On this exchange the group met with staff from the Basilica Foundation and provided funding to support the program. Staff and students were billeted in the Noviciate and in the Parish of St Nino in Mohon and enjoyed the Augustinian spirit of hospitality and friendship. A visit to the Lapulapu Shrine in Cebu gave the group further insight into Filipino history. While in Cebu the staff and students from Villanova College met with our AFAS scholars at Divino Amore Academy in Talisay and again took supplies to the orphanage in Sibonga. In Bacolod the Villanova College teachers and students met up with AFAS scholars in the Colegio San Agustin in Bacolod and in La Consolacion School in Murcia.
In 2007, three Villanova College teachers, four students and two family members were involved in the AFAS exchange. The group visited AFAS scholars and their families at Divino Amore School in Talisay, at La Consolacion College in Murcia and the Elementary AFAS scholars from the CSAB CEP program in Bacolod. Playing games with the children from the Basilica Foundation and the pre-school children from the CSAB CEP program fostered a spirit of Augustinian friendship. Enjoying a meal with the Augustinian Fathers at the Basilica, the Augustinian community at CSAB – Bacolod and the novices in Mohon was yet another enjoyable way to share our common Augustinian story. On this visit the Villanova College boys worked with Filipino students to assist in cementing the floor for the extension to the pre-school centre in the CSAB Outreach area. The AFAS group also visited St Thomas of Villanova College in Danao to check on the co-operative program which AFAS had established in 2003. Funds were left in Danao for art supplies. In Murcia AFAS sponsored the feeding program in the school’s outreach area.
Seven teachers and one family member accompanied eleven Villanova College students on the 2009 AFAS exchange. As in previous years the group visited the AFAS scholars in Divino Amore School, Talisay, La Consolacion College Murcia and the elementary students from Colegio San Agustin CEP program. The AFAS staff and students again enjoyed time with the children and graduates of the Basilica St Nino Foundation program and left medical packs for the children to take home. Funding was also allocated to continue the pre-school program and Alternate Learning Systems in the Colegio San Agustin. Under the direction of local people, the Villanova College boys also assisted in clearing land for market gardening in Tabunan, Bago City -the CSAB – outreach area. Once again sharing a meal with the Augustinian communities in Mohon, in the Basilica and in Bacolod provided a first-hand experience for the Villanovans of the Augustinian spirit of friendship and common purpose.
The AFAS group on the 2011 exchange was very busy. While enjoying the hospitality of the Augustinian communities in Cebu and Bacolod the Villanova College boys and staff assisted in the construction of a chapel/ community centre in Tabunan in Bago City, the CSAB Cep outreach area. The boys and staff also assisted in the construction of a cement stair case for the new building at Divino Amore school and helped to improve the school environment at St Thomas of Villanova College by painting three classrooms. They also assisted in digging foundations for an extension to the covered assembly area in La Consolacion College in Murcia. As always, the boys from Villanova College enjoyed meeting the AFAS scholars and their families at Divino Amore, at La Consolacion Murcia and the elementary scholars from the CSAB – Cep program in Bacolod. In consultation with staff at St Thomas of Villanova College in Danao it was decided to discontinue funding the co-operative program as it lacked the necessary infrastructure to sustain the project.
During their September school vacation 23 Villanova students, five teachers and two past students embarked upon another AFAS exchange to visit Augustinian Communities in the Philippines. The group visited scholars and their families in Divino Amore Academy in Talisay, La Consolation College in Murcia and the elementary students from the Colegio San Agustin CEP program. A request was made from the principal of LCC Mucia to allocate the scholarship funds to a general vocational training program rather than to specific students. It was agreed that this idea be investigated in the 2014 school year. AFAS again contributed to the CSAB Alternate Learning System to provide teaching and learning resources for the students who attend night school. A study kiosk was built at Divino Amore, the front of the main building at St Tomas’ Danao was painted and a chapel/ community centre, in Bago City Outreach area, was painted inside. The Villanova College boys also completed work previously done on the covered assembly and sports area in Murcia by painting the bleaches. On this visit the AFAS group was able to spend more time with the Ministry students in CSAB. It gave the boys an opportunity to learn more about the Filipino way of life. While the group were busy there was always time for a game of basketball and time to enjoy the company of our Filipino friends.
The AFAS group arrived in Cebu on Friday September 19, 2015. The next few days in Cebu were busy visiting the Augustinian novices, the candle factory in Mohon and the AFAS scholars and their families at Divino Amore Academy in Talisay. Due to a change in the program we were unable to visit St Tomas of Villanova College on this visit. Time at Divino Amore Academy was spent meeting with our scholars and their families, assisting in the cementing of bleachers in the covered multi-purpose area and painting the pillars inside the building. In Bacolod the AFAS staff and students watched a drama performance and learnt more about the difficulties faced by some Filipino families when a family member has to go abroad for work. Sharing a meal with the CSAB ministry students highlighted the common Augustinian values found in CSAB and at Villanova College. On this visit the AFAS Villanova group visited Fr Brian Gore and the Negros Nine Foundation. It provided a great insight into the ongoing need to challenge social injustice in the world. As with every visit to the Philippines the AFAS group meet with the Fathers communities in Cebu and in Bacolod. Their ongoing support has made it possible for AFAS to achieve its aims of standing in solidarity with our Augustinian friends in the Philippines.
See below how each community has been assisted throughout the 2015 Exchange
|Divino Amore Academy-Talisay City-Cebu||Colegio San Augustin-Bacolod||La Concelson College-MurciaDivino Amore Academy-Talisay City-Cebu|
|• Academic Scholarships for five students
• Project-cementing bleachers for gym and painting the pillars
• Donation for feeding program(for those who come to school without food)
• Donation to cover medical expenses for a scholars family
• Donation to a scholars family to assist in setting up a business-father has lost his leg in an accident and unable to find work)
|• Academic Scholarships for five students
• Project –assisting in the construction of a community centre
• Donation by YAYM to assist in an Alternative Learning System night school.
• Donation by Villa Visions and Villa Family to replace musical instruments destroyed in a fire
• Donation by Villanova family and Villanova’s Hospitality Department for feeding program for 130 preschool children
• Donation to cover medical expenses for a student with a club foot
• Academic Scholarships
• Project-Painting the façade of the College building
• Donation for feeding program
• Donation for refurbishment of AVR Room
• Donation by Villa family towards refurbishment of AVR Room
• Donation by Villanova College family to purchase reading books for lower Primary classes
In 2017, AFAS celebrated its 25th anniversary of their first Exchange. AFAS supported over twenty scholars with an education that they normally would not receive. Last year 25 Villanova staff and students visited our sister schools and communities in several Filipino towns and were able to see the benefits of their work first hand.
See below how each community has been assisted throughout the 2017 Exchange:
|Divino Amore Academy-Talisay City-Cebu||Colegio San Augustin-Bacolod||La Consolacion College-Murcia|