JESUIT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES MINISTRY
About the Ministry
The Jesuits arrived in Culion in 1906 when the American Commonwealth Government established the island of Culion as a leper colony. Since the lepers were forcibly segregated from mainstream society, the Jesuits then were missioned to provide pastoral care and to attend to various needs of the leper patients and their families. Since leprosy became curable in the 1980s, many of the former patients were slowly integrated into mainstream society.
In 2008, the Jesuits started to shift their attention to the Tagbanwas, the indigenous peoples of the island. Many of them could not read and write because most of the schools established in the island were quite far from where they lived. Many of them could not even finish an elementary school education. Being marginalized in many ways, the Tagbanuas were like the former leper patients. This difficult situation of the Tagbanuas led to the establishment of the Jesuit Indigenous Peoples (IP) Ministry which focused on providing a literacy program for the Tagbanua children and adults. Up until 2016, the Jesuit IP Ministry was an outreach program of the Jesuit-run Parish of La Inmaculada Concepcion. When the Parish was turned over to the diocesan clergy in 2016, the Jesuit IP Ministry became a part of the mission of Loyola College of Culion. Through its work in education, Loyola College of Culion hopes to transform and improve the lives of individuals and communities in Culion.
What we do
Tagbanwa Secondary Education Scholarship (TSES) Program
Through the Jesuit IP Ministry, Loyola College of Culion recruits and screens Tagbanwa elementary graduates from several communities in Culion. Those selected as Tagbanwa Scholars are offered the following:
• Financial Assistance for school fees, board and lodging, food, school supplies and uniform.
• Academic Assistance which includes tutorials and special classes
• Formation Program which includes harnessing their cultural identity, orientation for social adjustment, values integration and leadership formation.
The Tagbanwa Tribe of Culion
Even before the arrival of the Spaniards, the island of Culion was already inhabited by the indigenous tribe of Tagbanwa where they lived through fishing, foraging and primitive agriculture. After the establishment of the island as a leper colony during the American occupation in the early 20th century, the Tagbanwa were forced to settle in remote islands with limited access to social welfare.
The Tagbanwas in Culion belong to the Calamian Tagbanwa subgroup, along with the islands of Coron and Busuanga. Currently, the Tagbanwa are marginalized and considered a minority group among the islands’ 20,000 people. They live in remote areas in the municipality, most of which can only be reached by boat. With settlements being mostly around coastlines, they make a living mainly through fishing or paglalaot.