Gee-Gee O. Torres

Monkeys Go To School

By Gee-Gee Torres

The coconut and copra is a mainstay in Thailand. They often use monkeys to help out but these are untrained and sometimes beaten mercilessly. When our editorial assistant, Gee-Gee Torres, went to Thailand recently to visit the various Filipino missionary communities there, they brought her on a side-trip to the famous school for monkeys set-up by a humane man who feels monkeys deserve to be treated better. We hope you enjoy reading the story below.

The Black Belt To White Collar

By Gee-Gee and Miggy Dimayuga

Father Leo E. Patalinghug, born in Cataingan, Masbate, is an associate pastor of St John’s Parish in Westminster, Maryland (  He is also the chaplain of the Cursillo Movement in the Archdiocese of Baltimore ( He’s a renowned speaker among youth groups and on college campuses.  He uses his expertise in martial arts (Tae Kwon Do and Arnis) and even breakdancing to bring the Word of God to the youth.

Photo: Mary Ann Wyand © The Criterion

I Will Always Remember You

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

I’d worked with Father Niall in Misyon for almost nine years, but why do I find this very difficult to write? There’s so much to tell about him but I don’t know how to begin. I refuse to think that he’s not with us anymore. I am afraid that if I do, he’d be part of yesterday and it would mean that he would become someone to remember only once in a while  — I don’t want that. If I could only hold back the time, I would. I’d like April 23 of this year to last forever. This was the day when he sent me his last email. He told me that he was looking forward to Tuesday because they were going to do an ultrasound on him. He said that things were looking brighter though there was still a long way to go. This gave me high hopes that he’d make it and that I’d see him again. However, April 25 we received the news that he had a bad fall from his wheelchair, then April 27 his sudden death. I felt empty . . .

The eldest brother of Father Niall, Fergus, brought home his ashes to the Philippines

The Road Less Taken

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

I went to visit our Filipino missionaries in Thailand in 1998. There I met Sr Angela San Jose of the Daughters of Charity. At that time she was assigned to St Clare’s Hospice in Pathumthani, a hospice for AIDS patients who are in the last stages of AIDS. It was founded by the Franciscan Friars in response to the great need to care for poor and homeless persons with AIDS. Today Sr Angela is assigned to Laos. Below I share with you my visit to her.

What’s In Their Hearts

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

Our Assistant Editor, Gee-Gee Torres, met Sr. Anna and Sr. Angel, two of our admirable Filipino missionaries in Korea. Here she shares with us something of what was in their hearts when she met them.


Lord, you know what I am ready for

Sr. Angel Libron, SSPS is from Davao. Before she became a Sister, she had a very promising job in an airline. However she wanted something more, more than just having a good job, something that would give meaning to her life. She would go every Sunday to the Smokey Mountain in Tondo (which has now been totally developed into a government housing project) and spend the day with the people there. This one day in Tondo meant a lot to her. When she was in college she thought joining rallies was enough to be in solidarity with the poor, but she realized that this was not enough. From the faces of the poor people in the Smokey Mountain she knew there was something more.

It is our delight to introduce to you this new section in Misyon – Our Hideaway.  A venue for the youth to express themselves and to share with our readers their mind, their heart and their soul.
We are inviting you –students and young professionals – to drop by Our Hideaway and let us know how you are doing.


By Anabelle Badilla

One weekend, my officemate and I were invited by a friend to take a break at Costa Aguada, a beautiful island resort in Guimaras.  It was my first time to travel by water in a pump boat for the whole one-hour and a half.  As we were docking, I kept admiring the clear, blue water and saying aloud how much I wished I could jump into it and swim.  But it would be impossible for me to do that as I have a terrible fear of deep waters.  I can swim but never in waters above my head.  My companions didn’t stop coaxing me to try it and reminding me that my other chance might not come anymore.

Age Doesn’t Really Matter

By Gee-Gee O. Torres

It’s been two years since I visited our Filipino missionaries in Korea.  But how could I forget Fr. Willy Jesena, CSsR and the long walk we had going to their Formation House?  After he said Mass for the Filipino Community, he invited Rheena, one of our Filipino Columban lay missionaries, and me to go and see their house.  We were delighted with the invitation.  We took the subway and then the bus.  When we got off the bus, we began walking.  While walking along the narrow streets, I kept asking Fr. Willy what’s this and that.  And unfortunately the colorful rice cakes caught my attention.  Fr. Willy didn’t have any choice but to buy me some to satisfy my curiosity.

Fr Willy and brothers

Who Is The Running Priest?

By Gee-Gee O. Torres, assistant editor

Before I left for Manila to attend the National Congress of the Laity last year, I received an email from our editor, Fr Niall O’Brien, who was on vacation in Ireland.  He said we would feature Fr Robert Reyes in Misyon.  Fr Niall sent me some materials for the article but we needed a personal story to go with it.  Since I was on my way to Manila, I decided to visit and interview Fr Robert in his parish in UP Diliman, Quezon City.

The Interview

This was my first time to interview a prominent figure.  I was nervous.  I had to ask a friend to accompany me.  I waited outside his office and after a few minutes of bearing the agony of anticipation, a man came out and invited me in.  It was no other than Fr Reyes himself.  He was very accommodating. During the interview I was just like having a casual conversation with a friend.  Thirty minutes was all I got for he had another appointment at 5:00 pm so I had to get down to work right away.

Fr Robert Reyes, popularly known as The Running Priest, is from Malabon, the eldest in a family of four, studied AB Philosophy in Ateneo de Manila University, joined the San Jose Seminary and ordained into priesthood in 1982.  Presently he is the parish priest of the Holy Sacrifice Church in UP Diliman.

Becoming almost an Athlete

Running wasn’t really Fr Robert’s sports since childhood.  However when he contracted tuberculosis a year before the joined the seminary, his doctor told him that if he really wanted to recover and stay away from TB he must become almost an athlete.  He had to develop his cardiovascular abilities.  “I had to learn to bike, to run and to swim regularly.  In the seminary there was a swimming pool, lots of open space for running and there was a bicycle.  So talagang doon, sineryoso ko na. From 1970 up to the present, I run, I swim, I bike,” said Fr Reyes.

Restless Hearts

By Gee-Gee O. Torres, assistant editor

In the famous confession of St. Augustine, “My heart is restless until it rests in Thee”, Augustinian Fathers Arlon Vergara and Adam Lasmarias realize the restlessness of their own hearts. Here I tell you how they find peace and serenity in the mountains of Kangwha, far away from the bustling city of Seoul.

Fr. Arlon Vergara, from Bicol, arrived in Korea in 1993. He was the first Filipino Augustinian missionary to be sent there. His superior asked him what apostolate would he like to be involved in: formation or parish work? He chose parish work. “Parish work for me is the actualization of being a priest because I am able to use all the faculties I learned in sharing the Good News.” In 1999 he was given his first parish assignment in Onsuri, one of the parishes in Kangwhado Island.