Seeding The Urantia Book in the Philippines: Tour Number Three

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Belen Asidao

By Belen Asidao, Skokie, Illinois, United States

Editor’s note: In 2017, Eugene and Belen Asidao made their third trip from Chicago to the Philippines to distribute 160 copies of The Urantia Book provided by Urantia Foundation. They also visited study groups there that have formed as a result of their previous trips.

The Philippines is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,100 islands. So travel within that country is by land, sea, and air. In our trips there, we have traveled thousands of miles and traversed mountains, valleys, and plains to deliver the books of the fifth epochal revelation to our native land. Seeding The Urantia Book is our top priority in returning to the Philippines. For the last three years, we have been delivering donated books to college and university libraries and public libraries and have helped start study groups.

On February 1 of this year, we arrived at Manila International Airport, thirty-five hours after our departure from O’Hare. Cheap plane tickets mean long layovers. On this trip, we spent fifteen hours in Incheon, South Korea, before continuing on to Manila. Eugene’s cousins picked us up at the airport and, after a short rest, we were treated to lunch. After that, we went to sleep again and woke up the next day.

Before embarking on our visits to universities and colleges, Eugene picked the top two hundred schools of northern and southern Luzon (the biggest of the three main islands of the Philippines, the most populous, and home to Manila, the national capital). Each book to be donated has an acknowledgment form to send or e-mail to Urantia organizations.

We were blessed to have the services of a driver who was familiar with the hundreds of miles of rugged terrain. We met him seemingly by accident. While we were visiting a friend who is an author and a lawyer, our friend had a family emergency, and we ended up outside the subdivision where they live. An Uber driver saw us and asked us if we needed a ride. We drew up a plan with this owner-driver to take us to the northern and southern parts of the big island of Luzon. He is a Mormon but did not mind helping us in our mission for The Urantia Book, and he offered us affordable rental and driver fees.

A normal day would see us on the road at five o’clock in the morning. Libraries open as early as seven. Starting early, before the weather heats up, is an advantage. The months of spring in the United States are summertime in the Philippines, when the weather can be downright hot. Some libraries are on the second, third, or fourth floor, with no elevator. With the temperature close to a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and nearly one hundred percent humidity, taking the stairs is like getting an automatic sauna bath. But the smiles of enthusiastic librarians with their warm welcome makes the experience pleasant. Some librarians called together their entire staff for picture taking; some offered us a snack, which we accepted graciously, though we had to move on to our next destination.

In some instances, such as at Bulacan State University in Malolos, Bulacan Province, in addition to the main library, there are sub-libraries for each academic department, which means more books are needed. Some librarians would request an additional book for their organization. For instance, the librarian at Kalayaan College in Quezon City asked for a book for the local Knights of Columbus council.

We met the librarian who is the head of the librarians’ association for the entire Philippines, and who invited us to attend their national conference in June, which will take place in Isabela province and will be attended by over three hundred delegates. We shall attend the conference and shall give out books there. They welcome not only The Urantia Book but also all kinds of books—children’s books, novels, etc.—to fill up the shelves.

In addition to the opportunity to donate books, our trip gave us the opportunity to visit some recently organized study groups in the Visayas (one of the Philippines’ three main island groups) and Manila.

In Iloilo City, in the western Visayas, a Urantia Book reader had given a copy of the book to the town mayor. The mayor mentioned the book on his radio program, “Owa Mangunguma,” on Aksyon Radyo—a question and answer program for farmers—saying that the book is what he has been looking for all his life. This triggered some callers wanting to know what the book is about. “The time is ripe for the enabling message of Michael,” said one reader from the Iloilo group. Another reader, Dr. Dave, was contacted by some farmers after the program. Free downloading of the book was also encouraged.

The study group in Bacolod City, across the Guimaras Strait from Iloilo City, was invited by the local Theosophical Society to introduce The Urantia Book at their celebration of White Lotus Day, a worldwide event which commemorates the legacy of Madame Blavatsky. Two days later, some members of the Theosophical Society attended the study group, which was studying the papers on the seven mansion worlds, facilitated by Eugene Asidao.

The Bacolod and Iloilo study groups assist and visit each other, though the trip between the two cities involves a ferry ride of an hour or more.

The Manila study group has formally organized responsibilities among themselves. They have a coordinator, a translator, a secretary, a treasurer, an auditor, and a head of education. They are also in the process of forming a youth group.

We have observed that donations of even a few dollars can go a long way in peso currency to help pay for basic needs of study groups and readers—electric fans, blackboards, pens, paper, and transportation costs.

There are events coming up in the next few months that all study group attendees would like to participate in, if possible. In June, there will be the national convention of public librarians. In July, reggae artists Pato Banton and Antoinette Rootsdawtah from the United States will be in the Philippines for a performance, and they are interested in meeting with study groups while they are there. In September, there is the Manila International Book Fair, a five-day event being held in Pasay, a city in Metro Manila, and there are plans to introduce The Urantia Book in some way.

I find that distributing The Urantia Book is very worthwhile and rewarding. The atmosphere of colleges and universities is very invigorating. We remember that the work, not the self, is what is important, and this infuses us with cosmic energy to carry on. “The act is ours, the consequences God’s.” 117:5.5 (1286.3)

Eugene Asidao with a Phillipines Urantia Book Study Group
Eugene Asidao with a Phillipines Urantia Book Study Group
Eugene Asidao with a Phillipines Urantia Book Study Group
Eugene Asidao with a Phillipines Urantia Book Study Group
Belen Asidao with Urantia Book readers in the Phillipines
Belen Asidao with Urantia Book readers in the Phillipines

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