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Our
Programs

The Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary has a number of programs. These include: Cosmic Journey, Sunbeams Daycare, Sanctuary Gallery, Earth Spirituality, and Practical Earth Action.

Cosmic Journey

The Sanctuary's most unique feature is the Cosmic Journey. It is a two-hour nature trek through fourteen stations, to experience the origins of the earth and its inhabitants. Enter the Cosmic Journey, and take a walk along the path of natural history. More than a physical journey through a nature trail, it is a journey into our inner selves. The Cosmic Journey challenges us to reassess our role and relationship with the Universe, and to refashion our way of life in conformity with nature.

Sunbeams Daycare

Children aged two and a half to four and a half are welcome for a school year of fun learning activities. The Sunbeams Daycare offers an integrated earth education program, which opens the door for children to live in love, peace, and harmony with Mother Earth. Here, the children learn to be independent, analytical and creative and to make new friends among their classmates.

We provide a variety of practical learning opportunities. Aside from lessons inside the classroom, the kids experience education in the open air, such as taking a walk in the Sanctuary gardens, working with the soil and growing a garden. They also learn to eat healthy foods and fresh vegetables and fruits.

Parents and family are encouraged to accompany their little ones on the learning journey, and are invited to participate in a series of Daycare activities such as celebrations of the Buwan ng Wika, Cosmic Blessing, talent shows, etc.

 
 

Sanctuary Gallery

The Sanctuary Gallery is a venue for artists and artisans to exhibit works that provide imaginative and spiritual sustenance. The exhibitions educate the public on various art mediums and inspire viewers to understand earth-based traditions, to honor life and history, and to celebrate the diversity of cultures.

“The most successful exhibition space is The Sanctuary Gallery at Maryknoll. Established in 1999, The Sanctuary must be credited for professionalizing the gallery system in the city. Careful planning, attention to detail and competent publicity work have ensured the success of its shows. It has become a regular venue for local artists but more important is its success in educating its public.” Delfin Tolentino Jr.,” Sanghaya 2002, Philippine Arts & Culture Yearbook, NCCA: 2002, p. 97

“The former kindergarten room converted into a gallery has shown varied exhibit programs. Better lighting systems and exhibition designs have made this space in demand among local artists and those from elsewhere. It is also appealing for its neutrality since no one artists’ group in the fractious art community up North has any claim to it.” Ana Labrador, “12 Best Art Spaces for 2002,” Sanghaya 2003, Philippine Arts & Culture Yearbook, NCCA: 2003, p. 65

The first show opened on September 1, 1999 with CITY OF PINES, a preview exhibition of archival photographs that appeared in the book of the same title by R. R. Reed launched in October 1999.

Just a month earlier, in August 1999, Sr. Ann Braudis, director of Maryknoll Sisters Center for Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation (MSCJPIC) was approached by Erlyn Ruth Alcantara, photographic researcher and publisher of the book regarding a possible preview and an exhibition of archival photographs including five large panoramic views of Baguio in July 1900 and in the 1920s.

Unaware that she was playing a role in “a happy accident,” Sister Ann found the only available space was a storage room [also formerly a kindergarten room].  Like breathing new life into the space, the storeroom was transformed into an exhibit area: former chalk boards were converted into panels and the walls given a fresh coat of paint. When it opened in September 1999, it was not a “gallery” in a formal sense – it had no track lights, no official name, and no definite plans of continuing as a gallery.

After the September 1999 exhibition, it just seemed natural to continue as a space for art exhibitions. Maryknoll friends in Hongkong donated the first eight track lights. On its second show a month later, it already carried the name The Sanctuary Gallery at Maryknoll. From 1999 to 2003, the gallery mounted 30 shows or about seven to eight shows a year under the curatorship of Erlyn Ruth Alcantara. On its second year, the gallery had a full lighting system donated by friends.

The gallery has succeeded in making students and the general public appreciate gallery visits as a friendly experience, especially for those who do not see art as part of their cultural life.

The gallery would mark its “birth” every September with exhibits of archival photographs. These educational-historical shows draw in at least 3000 students, mostly intermediate elementary grades, high school, some college classes from local universities. 

The photographic environmental history exhibitions were intended to encourage other communities in the Cordillera region to mount their own community historical exhibits. 

Its historical exhibitions grew larger and extended beyond Baguio history. With its recent show Life & Work in the early 20th century Philippines, it has expanded to archival photographs of scenes of everyday life in the Philippines in the early 1900s, with a core of photographs on the early history of education in the Cordillera region.

The Sanctuary Gallery has featured a lot of Baguio-based artists and artists from Manila and artisans from Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Palawan, Cagayan de Oro, many of whom were exhibiting their works for the first time. 

Cited in Sanghaya 2003, Philippine Arts & Culture Yearbook as one of Twelve Best Art Spaces in 2002, The Sanctuary Gallery’s calendar of exhibitions “was proof of the gallery’s openness to unconventional and even non-commercial exhibits.”

All of the gallery’s exhibitions since 1999 have contributed to establishing a tradition in Baguio’s art community. Its future shows are geared towards continuing this tradition.

Today, the Sanctuary Gallery, moved to the “Grade Six” room of the former Maryknoll Convent School. Under the leadership of Sister Virginia Fabella, the Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary (MES) underwent major renovation. The gallery opened on May 1, 2013 with Unscene 2, a photography exhibition by Ric Maniquis. Returning as gallery curator was Erlyn Ruth Alcantara. When it opened its second show, Vintage Baguio,  in August 2013, it had an extensive lighting system, an exhibit panel was built and a set of perforated panels were acquired for the gallery with the assistance of Rudy Furuya and the Filipino-Japanese Foundation of Northern Luzon, Inc. 

MES resident artist Clemente Delim assists in exhibit installation. Ompong Tan of Colorworld provides technical assistance and does the photography and computer graphics. The Maryknoll Ecological Sanctuary staff takes care of promotions and its administrative operations and maintenance. ERA/16 May 2014

 
 

Earth Spirituality

"In these opening years of the twenty-first century, as the human community experiences a rather difficult situation in its relation with the natural world, we might reflect that a fourfold wisdom is available to guide us into the future: the wisdom of indigenous peoples, the wisdom of women, the wisdom of classical traditions, and the wisdom of science. We need to consider these wisdom traditions in terms of their distinctive functioning, in the historical periods of their florescence, and in their common support for the emerging age when humans will be a mutually enhancing presence on the Earth". - Thomas Berry, "The Great Work"

Indigenous Earth Wisdom

Indigenous earth wisdom taps into the spirituality of indigenous peoples and their contirbutions to the nurtuing of Mother Earth. Sharing sessions with indigenous knowledge holders offer an opportunity to understand their perspectives on the sacredness of the earth, through respect for nature and ancestral spirits.

Earth Recollection

Earth recollection offers learning activities designed to reaqcuaint us with the Earth and its bounty. This one-day activity starts with the Cosmic Journey, and ends with a meditative walk in the Labyrinth. It imparts basic lessons on ecology, fosters a reverence for nature, and inspires personal action and commitment.

Evolutionary Consciousness

Evolutionary consciousness is intended for those in religious life for a more comprehensive understanding of the spiritual dynamics of the universe. By combining faith and the learnings from the New Cosmology, participants can more responsibly face the emerging human-caused environmental crisis.

Practical Earth Action

"In these opening years of the twenty-first century, as the human community experiences a rather difficult situation in its relation with the natural world, we might reflect that a fourfold wisdom is available to guide us into the future: the wisdom of indigenous peoples, the wisdom of women, the wisdom of classical traditions, and the wisdom of science. We need to consider these wisdom traditions in terms of their distinctive functioning, in the historical periods of their florescence, and in their common support for the emerging age when humans will be a mutually enhancing presence on the Earth". - Thomas Berry, "The Great Work"

Indigenous Earth Wisdom

Indigenous earth wisdom taps into the spirituality of indigenous peoples and their contirbutions to the nurtuing of Mother Earth. Sharing sessions with indigenous knowledge holders offer an opportunity to understand their perspectives on the sacredness of the earth, through respect for nature and ancestral spirits.

Earth Recollection

Earth recollection offers learning activities designed to reaqcuaint us with the Earth and its bounty. This one-day activity starts with the Cosmic Journey, and ends with a meditative walk in the Labyrinth. It imparts basic lessons on ecology, fosters a reverence for nature, and inspires personal action and commitment.

Evolutionary Consciousness

Evolutionary consciousness is intended for those in religious life for a more comprehensive understanding of the spiritual dynamics of the universe. By combining faith and the learnings from the New Cosmology, participants can more responsibly face the emerging human-caused environmental crisis.