The Christian Life Community in Baguio started when the late Sr. Isabel Claravall, ICM and Mely Rillera – Felix, members then of the Sodality of Our Lady in Baguio City, attended the CLC Convention at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, way back in 1968. Due to the personal and communal experiences as well as brotherhood experienced by both of them as shared by the different CLC delegates all over the Philippines, their hearts were emboldened to start a new group in Baguio City.
In January 1969, Sr. Isabel Claravall and Mely invited teachers from different schools in Baguio and young professionals to form the CLC group under the Baguio Cathedral Parish with the Parish Priest, Father Desmedt as Spiritual Director/ EA. Monthly meetings were held at one of the rooms of the convent wherein we had Scriptural Prayer Sessions, reflection and sharing, community activities and the study of the General Principles. The original group consisted of Dra. Mila Flora, Julie Armero, the late Dra. Baby Perez, the late Aurora Cortes, Alicia Magos, Raidis Jose-Bassig, another U.P. teacher and Mely Rillera – Felix.
Funds came from the members and potluck was done for activities. The main apostolate was to give catechism, social activities and/or spiritual formation to sales ladies from the different bazaars in the City (Bombay Bazaar, Assandas, Bheromulls, Tiongsan, etc.) Eventually, they became part of the group for evening sessions done at the residence of the Rillera’s at Dagohoy Street, Baguio City, with Luay Vinzon facilitating. Occasionally, several CLC members and officers from Manila came to visit the group, like Marte Vinzon, Aleli Raymundo, Sonia Mendoza, etc.
Every time Fr. Ben Sim, S.J. was in Baguio or scheduled to be in the City, he always contacted Baguio CLC for a retreat, recollection or kumustahan as part of our spiritual formation and connection to the National Office.
From 1969 to 1980, the CLC in Baguio grew different groups as the years went by. In 1973, the late Dra. Baby Perez, Nancy and Lilia “Lil” Ordoñez – Abalos were sent to Angono, Rizal for the General Assembly. The Manila 1976 was held in the Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House, Baguio City for which Ms. Rory Valdellon, then the CLCP Executive Secretary, requested the assistance of Baguio CLC to be part of the Secretariat. Diana Pena responded to the request. Lil could not do it since she was on bed rest for her first pregnancy, instead, she hosted in her residence the Japanese delegates – Midori, Koji and Akira. From 1975 to 1980, Mely Rillera – Felix was on leave as she entered a religious order.
In 1980’s, Fr. Ben Sim was instrumental in bringing back the group by introducing the late Nene Montes – Chua, CLC from Bulacan, who owns an inn along General Luna Road. The meetings then were held in that inn with Otela “Ella” Montes, Fely Lopez – Barroga, Angie Alviar, Diana, Mely, Lil, and some teachers. The teachers have to beg off for some time because of the venue. To break the monotony of the venue of the meetings, places of meetings were done at the houses of members, and also to the school where the late Ka Ella taught.
Veronica Villegas journeyed with the group in their spiritual formation at the house of Diana. Cynthia Lakip, then of Emmaus, gave some inner child healing/personality sessions through Veron’s initiative, on the same venue. The members then were Ella, Diana, Mely and Lil.
Aside from the formation given by Veron, Everpine attended regular Ignatian retreats with Ate Rory Valdellon, Aidah Endaya or Veron as their retreat guides in the house of Diana or at the vacation house of Engr. Cesar Rillera at Dis – soor, Bauang, La Union.
From 1999 to 2001, the Baguio CLC and Bulacan CLC (Tanglaw and Ilaw) became a region called BAGCAN Region. Elsa Abdon was then the LC member incharge for a time. Regional meetings were done alternately in Diana’s house or the vacation house of the late Ka Nene at Quezon Hill and/or at a hut in Meycauayan, Bulacan. Likewise, regional assemblies were held. From 1993 to 2003, Lil was a member of the CLCP National Leadership Community and also the BAGCAN Regional Representative. Diana was the Regional Resource Management Chair and Youth Coordinator.
BAGCAN Youth Assembly was done at the sisters’ residence (Mely and Diana). Gabe Mecado was then the National Youth Coordinator.
The group named themselves as the EVERPINE CLC in 2000. “Ever” comes from the Baguio flower – everlasting, like the love of God which is forever, and “Pine” like the pine tree rooted to God.
The CLCP and the National Leadership Community, together with Everpine, discerned for the management of the Mirador Jesuit Villa Retreat House of the Jesuits. Everpine was assisted by their Guide Veron, on this process of discernment. Everpine responded through Lilia and Diana. In 2002, the LC accepted the management of the retreat house with Jody Sim as the Chairman of the Management Team. Other CLC members of the Management Team were Lanny Nanagas, Chibu Nanagas, then the CLCP President and Lil Abalos from Baguio City.
In 2007 to 2012, Susy C. Martirez of Bicol responded to be a CLCP volunteer to help expand CLC membership in Baguio City, particularly the youth. Two (2) groups emerged: the YUPPIES, consisting of young professionals, to wit: Dabs Abad, Mary Anne Abalos, Fatima Alconga – Castillo, Claire Sayson, Ronald Bautista and Ailleen Tan. And the FOY: Alee Batua, Pamela Adams, Alvin Gomez, Frances Barroga, etc. The FOY was then composed of college and high school students. Majority of the members of these groups are parishioners of St. Vincent Church. Mirador Jesuit Villa is under the St. Vincent Parish.
Everpine was behind the youth in terms of resources like financial and others.
With the active involvement of the young professionals at the St. Vincent Parish, particularly Dabs, as youth coordinator of the parish, Fr. Benny Castaneda, then Parish Priest, initiated the 9-day novena of Our Lady of Lourdes at Mirador Hill. The novena became a regular parish activity with the involvement of different barangays as sponsors and the CLC and the MJV staff as the lead groups. Members of the Yuppies were actively involved in the different ministries in the Parish, while the FOY were part of the choir during masses.
The Baguio CLC Youth group was fully supported by CLCP in terms of formation, attendance to CLCP events and other activities outside Baguio City. Several formation programs were conducted by the CLCP Formation Institute and Youth Committee.
Claire Sayson was a beneficiary of an EAPI scholarship through the help of Jody Sim, Administrator of EAPI. After her studies, she was designated to make a study on the needs of students in the different universities in Baguio for possible programs to be offered. Eventually, she became the youth coordinator of CLC Baguio.
Lourdes Abad, Dab’s mother, and Virginia Anido joined Everpine in 2007. They were both active members of St. Vincent Parish Council, bringing CLC to the parish activities.
Everpine for some reasons had intermittent meetings with Mely, alternating with the other members present, preparing for the meeting, using the book “Experiencing God in Everyday Life”. In 2015, Everpine (Mely, Lourdes, Virgie and Tess, Lil – was on leave) were reorganized, with Abang Mabulo, guiding them. In the later part of 2015, Everpine (Mely, Lil, Virgie, Tess, Babes and Naz) are now meeting once a month with Abang and Melinda Mabulo guiding them.
We prepared for the study and actual practice of the Laudato Si’, Encyclical of His Holiness Pope Francis together with Sr. Elvie Dizon, FMM, in preparation to the National Convention of August 28-31, 2015 at the Avila Kiosk of Mount Carmel, Balugo, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. The delegates to the convention were Mely and Lil.