Fr. Joseph Borreros and his Journey through Life

Fr. Joseph Borreros and his Journey through Life

…from a struggling student assistant

to an Orthodox priest, and educator with Divine guidance

By Apolinario Villalobos


As a youth, he was among the wave of adventurous migrants from Panay Island, particularly, Dao, Capiz who came to Cotabato. He found his place in the Tacurong Pilot School as a Grade Six pupil in 1961. His family lived in the market of the town which that time was just weaned as a barrio of Buluan. He continued his studies at the Magsaysay Memorial Colleges of the same town. In college, he took up a pre-Law course at the University of San Agustin in Iloilo City but failed to pursue it when he succumbed to a sickness.


He went back to Tacurong and took up Bachelor of Arts in Notre Dame of Tacurong College. To support his studies, he worked as a janitor and later as Library Assistant in the same school. That was during the directorship of Fr. Robert Sullivan, OMI, a kind Irish priest. After his graduation, he taught at the Notre Dame of Lagao in General Santos, South Cotabato for three years.


In 1973 he got interned at the Marist Novitiate in Tamontaka, Cotabato City, and professed temporarily in 1975 during which he was assigned as a Marist Brother at the Notre Dame of Marbel Boys’ Department (Marbel is now known as Koronadal City). From Marbel, he was sent back to the Notre Dame of Lagao.


In 1976, he left the religious congregation of Marist Brothers, but was taken in by Bishop Reginald Artiss, CP, the bishop of Koronadal, to assist in the establishment of the Christian Formation Center which was located at the back of the cathedral. For two years, he went around the parishes and diocese covered by the authority of Bishop Artiss in training members of the Kriska Alagad, Lay Cooperatos, as well as, in establishing Basic Christian Communities.


As Bishop Artiss perceived his potential as a cleric, he was sent to the Regional Major Seminary of Mindanao in Catalunan Grande, Davao City. Fortunately, due to his extensive and intensive pastoral formation background, he was privileged to skip subjects related to it. After four years of theological studies at the said seminary, he was ordained as a priest on April 1, 1982 by Bishop Guttierez, DD, of Koronadal. His first assignment was the parish of Sta. Cruz , formerly politically under South Cotabato, but today, that of Sarangani Province.


In 1985, he was a “floating” priest, awaiting appointment as Superintendent of Diocesan schools and temporarily established his residency at Our Lady of Parish in Polomolok, South Cotabato with the late Fr. Godofredo Maghanoy. The following year, he was finally designated to the mentioned position which he held for three years.


In 1989, he went on a study leave to take up Masters of Science in Educational Management at the De La Salle University in Manila which he finished in 1991. Two years later, he was about to finish his Doctorate in Religious Education pending the completion of his dissertation under the guidance of Bro. Andrew Gonzalez, FSC, but failed to do so due to an important and life-turning decision….to have a family and develop a Non-Government Organization. Driven by his new-found advocacy in life, he worked as Coordinator of the Community Volunteers’ Program under the Council of People’s Development, a Pastoral NGO of Bishop Labayen for three years in Infanta, Quezon.


From 1995 to 2004, he was with the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) as a Monitoring Officer of the projects in governance. While with the said NGO, he studied Orthodoxy theology on his own, a week after which, he was consecrated by His Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew at the Orthodox Cathedral located at Sucat, Paraἧaque, Metro Manila.


He was inspired to bring along his former 61 parishioners in Maricaban, a depressed area in Pasay City when he presented himself and his family to Fr. Philemon Castro, parish priest of the Annunciation Orthodox Cathedral in Paraἧaque. Like him, he found his former flock to be also journeying spiritually. After several months of catechism, they were accepted to the Orthodox Church. They were further accepted by the former Metropolitan Nikitas Lulias of Hongkong and Southeast Asia.  A little later, Fr. Joseph was ordained to the Minor Orders as “Reader”, for which he started to render regular duty at the Cathedral on Sundays which did not affect his NGO-related activities.


He was asked to leave his NGO responsibilities in 2004, in exchange for which he was sent to Greece to serve as a full worker in the Ministry – live with the monks of the Monastery of St. Nicholas of Barson in Tripoli, southern Greece. Afterwards he was sent back to the Philippines to do catechesis in different mission areas, particularly, in Laguna, Sorsogon and Masbate.


In 2006, he was ordained to the Orthodox priesthood and assigned under the Omophorion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople which is presently headed by His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew, Successor to the Apostolic Throne of St. Andre, the first-called apostle.


In 2009, he did mission work in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. Until today, he carries the same responsibilities but the area expanded to include SOCSKSARGEN area (South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos), as well as, Davao del Sur.


To date, he was able to firmly establish three communities, such as: Holy Resurrection Orthodox Community in Lake Sebu; St. Isidore of Chios Orthodox Community in San Guillermo, Hagonoy, Davao del Sur; and Apostles St. Andrew and James Orthodox Community in Kisulan, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.


Aside from taking care of the Sacramental life of the faithful, his mission work also includes values formation of students. Two particular schools that are benefiting from this are the Marvelous College of Technology, Inc. in Koronadal City, and Pag-asa Wisdom Institute in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat where he also serves as Principal. According to Fr. Joseph, the two institutions are community-centered, privately-owned, mission-oriented and most especially, cater to the less in life but with a strong desire to overcome their socio-economic barriers.


Fr. Joseph and his family live at the Theotokos Orthodox Mission Center in Surallah, and which also serves as the nucleus of his mission works. His life is typically austere as shown by the structure that accommodates his flock during worship days. The same character also defines the rest of the “chapels” throughout the areas that he covers. But since there are other things that his Mission needs, he unabashedly appeals to the “mission-minded souls to help in their capacity, sustain, strengthen, so that it will grow with flourish for the glory of God”.


Fr. Joseph, as an ordained Orthodox priest has been given the name, “Panharios”.


For those who are interested to reach out to Fr. Joseph, his address is at:

Theotokos Orthodox Mission Center

120 Dagohoy St., Zone 5

Surallah, South Cotabato




Cellphone: 09165433001


Remembering the Excellent NDTCians

…for the forthcoming NDTC Great Alumni AFFAIR ( As Far and Fair As I can Remember)/27December2014
By Felizardo Lazado

The Notre Dame of Tacurong was born when I was two in 1950.

Her birth, however, came four years after the Philippines has gained her independence from America in 1946. Signifying a closer look beyond the shadow of these three events which all surprisingly came evenly and successively on the face of local history – the Philippine independence in 1946, my birth in 1948 and NDT’s birth in 1950 implies oddity as odd years came following after each event brought fresh breath of freedom to the Filipinos in 1947, a fresh breath of new life to me as I was almost lost by my family due to severe illness in 1949 and a fresh breath of hope to NDT as it unfolded the red carpet in 1951 to welcome her future alumni, the first batch of which came in 1954. …101 ? only ?.

There may be hundreds more of other alumni who are far greater than the ones I’m about to mention, or there is still someone who stands the greatest of all – but sorry, my crystal ball failed to flash their pretty and handsome faces when I was preparing this piece.
Randomly, here we go: One pre-silver jubilarian – Ben Eliseo was Tita Cory’s appointed Mayor of Tacurong during the yellow revolution in 1987. An heir to a vast Garcia Estate -Antonio Garcia has left the same sizable estate to his son Erwin Garcia. The Garcia Estate runs synonymous to palm oil industry in Central Cotabato. Morito Parcon probably the first NDTCian to enter UPcampus, his body shall be claimed by UP College of Medicine when he dies.

Alfonso Jerez, the insurance king and Danzie Buenacosa an entrep prince had once stood famous for their talking voice. The Voice of Democracy national silver medalist, Arturo Llavore was noted in oratory. Banker turned entrep Rodrigo Victorio walk hand-in-hand with son Dubert Victorio as they walk the AMWAY . Dubert as ABC President joined the City Council of Tacurong. Carlo Romero and Gideon Carnaje grabbed the first gold for NDTCBHS in erstwhile Notre Dame Quiz on the Air, while Phill Penaflor set the record in the entire NDEA as he was twice champion in the NDEA academic contest.

Late in 1965, barely a freshman Diosdado Pedral was teamed up with Rhodora Alcon (Girls Dept,) came as finalist in the initial staging of Notre Dame Quiz on the Air. Stat instructor Joel Illustracion coached the NDTC contestants who consistently won the annual stat quiz in the Province of Sultan Kudarat. Larry Tubalado was the regional champion in Philippine History contest with DEPED 12.

In government service – local , regional and national, here are our great alumni: Ruel Lucentales (RIP) from DSWD Welfare Aide in Tacurong to Regional Director in Davao to Assistant Secretary of DSWD in Manila was no joke to tell it all.

Angelo “Roncal” Montilla from the Municipal Hall to the House of Representatives was likewise a tough political journey. He authored the cityhood of Tacurong that made Geronimo Arzagon the first city mayor. Other siblings of Roncal who claimed the mayoral chair were Lino Montilla, and Lina Montilla in incumbency. There are two NDT alumni who were elected vice mayor of Tacurong- Dr. Leo Villalobos and Dr. Joseph Lechonsito also in incumbency (look… both are doctors of medicine). The Tacurong City Council has been dominated by the NDTC alumni, to mention a few: Rodrigo Jamorabon , Jairus Casipe, Max Ledda, Jesus Arcillana Max Casador, Benjamin Fajardo, Bonifacio Enitorio, Federico Seneres Jr. and Virgilo Paredes. VIP (Very Important Personnel) at the the city hall of Tacurong are NDTCians : Thomas Robles – General Services; Jaime Cedullo – Planning and Development; Eduardo Nicolo – Administration; Elma Bides – Auditing; Nestor Nomananap-Budget; John Lechonsito – City Attorney; Rommel Dionela -SP Secretary; Juney Buenacosa – PNP; Eddie Batchar – Treasury; Dr. Giovanni Deles – City Health Officer; Lynnie Balino Local Government Officer (DILG).

Dr. Domingo Miguel Jacalan was once elected Vice- Governor of Sultan Kudarat. Other shining alumni: Dr. Efhraim Collado – MHO Lambayong; Jose Tabuga -SKWD Manager; Demetrio Jerez – SUKELCO Manager; Mr. Barron – DOLE Manager; Dr. Benjamin Suedad, Board of Incorporator Green Hospital; Jimmy Andang – SP Secretary of the Province of Sultan Kudarat; Bonifacio Valdez – VMC City College -Owner/Administrator.

NDTC alumni working in the vineyard of the Lord: Ronnie Torres soon to be ordained OMI priest; Julius de Gracia to say his Thanksgiving Mass here in Tacurong; Marlo Horlador (RIP) the first NDTCian priest; Fr. Joseph Borreros, is the mission in-charge of the Orthodox Church in Southern Mindanao, with base-mission in Lake Sebu and Surallah; Bishop David Salazar covers the Southern Mindanao area of the JIL church. Our very own Parish Priest is Fr. Robles.

The length and width of educational landscape has almost been filled up by NDTCians. After serving as VPA . Dr. Nenita Garcia was joined by her husband Gaudencio Garcia in running the first large early learning center in Pres. Quirino. Dr. Rosmalin Arzagon now serves as NDTC VPA. Merle Baulete is VP for Admin and Finance, her son-in law Elmer Muyco is the current Principal of the high school department, Renato Neri runs the institution’s Extension Program and NDTC alumni Affairs; Edgar Gonzales curates the NDTC Tri-people Musuem.

The public sphere of educational landscape has Gildo Mosqueda-City Schools Division Superintendent ,General Santos City; Dr. dela Cruz is Sarangani Division superintendent; Joseph Pilotos is Tacurong Central District Supervisor; Memvie Alesna – principal ,EJC Montilla; Freddie Delantar -Princiapal-VFGNHS; Danilo Umadhay-Principal-TNHS, Roberto Leyza-Principal-ENHS; Frank Nawal-Principal SPCES; Pangi Balubugan-Principal-PQNHS; Dr. Muhaliddin Suaeb-Aministrative Officer, SK Division.

Outside Tacurong , we have Renato Hingco Vice President, Bicol University; Hernanie Carillo-Vice President -HCCD. Top 50 Filipino entrepeneur greats include one NDTBHS alumnus – Feliciano Juarez of Copylandia Philippines. He owns the company. Marketing strategist Djolan Lictawa takes charge of 5 signature jeans in the Philippines. Dr. Remo Aguilar is a multi-talented physician who organizes lectures on health, a blogger of every event in Tacurong, an artist, a writer.

In the field of music, art, culture and technology (IT): Johnny Garcia is NDTC’s Beethoven, Da Vince, and Gates. Dindo Quevada owns QWorks; John Bernard Fresco owns the FREBROS; Joeph Glenn Lazado came as the first animator in the city-now handling the videography of ARKOWA Arts; Melvin Aradanas and Francisco Torres are the city’s favorite emcees. Felix Mendoza became a national -local coach of Tacurong badminton national players. All CAT oficers in Sultan Kudarat elected Ron Lazado as President of the two-week COLT in Isulan. Bernabe brothers with Ruel, runs the biggest steel and glass works in the city while the Torrecampo bothers with Jerry, owns too, the biggest automotive shop in the city. Carlo Casipit won gold in the national secondary press conference in photo-journalism . His father, Jesusito Casipit is now the DRAGON King.

Speech power conquers. Allan Rey Lucerna captured the orator’s crown that had long been held by the Cotabato Chinese High School orators in the Region XII Water District Annual Oratorical competition. Jimmy Tanara won the silver in Kidapawan and Ron Lazado had his bronze in General Santos City in the Mindanao-wide Water District oration contest. Renato Purazon won silver medal in NDEA Talumpati contest in Marbel. Junel Bedua also a silver medalist in NDU- NDEA Talumpati. Finally, Gerald Vidal brought home the first NDTC gold in NDEA Talumpati held at the Notre Dame University.

And also who would ever believe that it was an NDTC alumnus who was made to speak before the world dignitaries – ambassadors, consuls, papal nuncio, Philippine cabinet men, legislators, governors and mayors, government executives and celebrities during the LAST birthday of the Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos at Malacanang Maharlika Hall. He spoke on the Philipine experience in human settlements. While he was speaking, Cardinal sin was seated at the right hand of the strong man, his eyeballs were seemingly twirling as he was looking at me (as if asking me: is that so?). That was a five-minute speech. The program was emceed by Bert (Tawa) Marcelo and Pilita Corrales. Vilma Santos was the last celebrity to arrive to greet Marcos. That alumnus is the by-line of this simple piece….

NDTC – Notre Dame of Tacurong College
NDEA – Notre Dame Educational Association

Notre Dame is a Catholic school in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

The Survival Instinct of the Filipinos

The Survival Instinct of the Filipinos

By Apolinario Villalobos

Survival is a human instinct, but varies according to environment and culture. Some can survive with utmost honesty, some with deception, and still others do with violence. The Filipinos use ingenuity and resourcefulness in order to survive, sometimes even with much tolerance of a wrongdoing – a manifestation of a non-violent character. This tolerance does not mean, however, that the Filipinos are of a cowardly race. By survival, this writer, mean endurance and persistence.

Filipinos have shown that despite the onslaught of disasters, they have recovered, with grace, yet. And, recovery is made with resourcefulness. Though typhoons and floods may have flattened villages and towns, the affected literally pick up pieces of their lives– actually, useful debris that could be pieced together even for a scant roof over their head.

Tin cans become pots for rice to be cooked and water to be boiled for doled out coffee or instant noodles.

In big cities such as Manila, what some perceive as vagabonds are actually Filipinos who survive on the jingling coins in their pockets and junks that can be salvaged from dumps, and sold in recycling centers for their daily subsistence. Those who sell candies and cigarettes in traffic-clogged streets do their best to set aside substantial amount for a pedaled trike (traysikad) that would become a regular source of a bigger income. Some patiently gather vegetable trimmings discarded by vegetable wholesalers, to be cleaned and sold by pile on sidewalks.

The non-violent character of the Filipinos made them tolerate even the blatant ineptness of the government, and instead of raising hands that grip guns, they make do with rallies where effigy- burning, shouts, speeches and songs become their “most violent” expressions. Not even the much ballyhooed “People Power Revolution” that caused the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship saw violent actions from the waves of protesters. Compatriots in military and police uniforms reciprocated by accepting flowers and foods offered to them.

While in the Middle East and Africa there are incidents of suicide bombings, nothing of same sort has ever happened in the country. Long before the spate of kidnapping for ransom in Mindanao rocked the island, particularly Jolo and Basilan, some countries in South America have already been suffering from it. Despite the threats announced by headlines in broadsheets and tabloids about the sure collapse of tourism industry because of the varied turmoil, the Filipinos nonchalantly continue to hope for the better by doing something to arrest the downtrend.

The Philippines is a case of “unity in diversity”. Filipinos who have diversified cultures and religions have managed to maintain a closely-knit society. When the vast Philippine Arena of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Bulacan was inaugurated, the whole country celebrated. During the seasons of Ramadan and Eidl Fitre, Christians are one with Muslim brethren, the former being respectful to the solemnity involved. During Christmas, many Muslim homes also display lanterns and Christmas trees. When the MNLF-Nur Misuari faction devastated Zamboanga City, Christians and Muslims joined hands in condemning his act. In Mindanao, when ragtag bands of rebels would attack a village, Muslims and Christians flee to the same direction for safety.

This unique survival character of the Filipinos is once again put to test in the face of the political and economic unrest that beset the country today. Not a single day is without a tabloid or a broadsheet shouting headlines about corruptions in the government and the weakness of the leadership. The Filipinos turn to the social media to express their ill-feelings. There are pockets of rallies but they are held with utmost restraint. Issues on the volatile economy and impending “chaos” that might result to starvation due to skyrocketing of prices and expected long power interruptions do not deter the steadfast Filipinos who astutely maintain their patience and poise.

The unique survival instinct of the Filipinos may be attributed to their fear of God. Their religiosity is so deeply-rooted in their character that even in the face of any adversity, they are unfazed.