Despite the advances in transportation and communication infrastructure and the influx of more tech and industry over the past few years, Malungon, the northernmost municipality of Sarangani province, still retains the same rustic tranquility that has been its characteristic look. The tendency of bus passengers to look out the window and admire the passing scenery is a testament to that. Indeed, at times Malungon feels rather detached from the increasing urban bustle of Alabel and GenSan to its south. That sounds like a fine place to get away for a time, do a retreat. Luckily Malungon has that part covered.
Less than an hour away from the General Santos City International Airport, nestled in the rural environment of Sitio Lao in Malungon’s Barangay Nagpan, there is a sanctuary blessed by Nature and its Creator above. The Malungon Retreat and Training Center is a peaceful sanctuary for spiritual reflection and assembly, and just the spot to enjoy and appreciate the simple things in life. This retreat complex, covering 72 hectares in quiet Malungon, is the Mindanao operations hub of the CCT Group of Ministries, the Center for Community Transformation. And their name hints at their local partners in running the MRTC.
In Malungon, CCT has engaged in community projects that aim to keep alive the rich culture of the local indigenous peoples, the Blaan and the Tagakaolo. To that end, they joined hands with the CCT to build up the MRTC, infusing their tribal spirit into the very design of the complex. The heart of the retreat center is the traditionally constructed bamboo worship hall for religious contemplation, be it by students or faculty from schools, or company employees. For retreats lasting several days the MRTC can accommodate these groups via five dormitory buildings, well-appointed with bamboo-material furnishings and capable of housing up to 180 guests.
When not in worship or enjoying the traditional amenities of the dormitory rooms, guests on retreat at the MRTC can meet for activities and lectures at the function, fully air-conditioned and outfitted with audiovisual tools to ensure an immersive experience as can be had. The function room can also be used for conferences and seminars. What is more, while the MRTC takes pride in its spiritual and communal facilities, they also have facilities for fun and leisure like a basketball court, a miniature zip-line and a well-appointed swimming pool. And when time comes to nourish the tummy as well, the CCT-indigenous staff will satisfy that hunger with some culinary delights from their in-house dining hall.
The Malungon Retreat and Training Center not only is a haven of tranquility for those looking for a quiet and spiritual time, it is also place where the traditions of the past are kept not only to catch the interest of visitors, but to benefit the indigenous communities as well. This is reflected in the MRTC model farm where Blaan and Tagakaolo tribesmen grow fruit and vegetables according to traditional farming techniques, while bringing income to their families with their produce of coffee and cacao.
The model farm can be showcased through a tour arranged by the CCT, where a full cultural showcase can also be experienced as indigenous artisans and musicians practice their music, song and arts for future generations. That makes the MRTC another worthy stop for those planning heritage tours and artistic workshops. During their stay, guests will be able to step into tribal shoes with genuine Blaan clothing and handicrafts made by tribeswomen at the complex. Long story short, the MRTC offers an indigenously Filipino experience for religious gatherings, and will also accommodate weddings and receptions.
For more information on the CCT Group of Ministries which operates the MRTC, you may check out their official website here. For the Malungon Retreat and Training Center itself, you may proceed to their official Facebook page here. For questions on accommodation and package rates for retreats and many other quiet and private occasions, you can call their mobile hotlines at 0932-3145501 (Sun) and 0995-1268672 (Globe). The MRTC can also be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more in-depth inquiries. They are located at Sitio Lao, Brgy. Nagpan, Malungon, Sarangani.
Images: CCT Group of Ministries