We arrived at the Moncado's White House after braving partially unpaved, stony and steep road via motorcycle rides since it is located in the central hilly area of Samal Island, a fitting location if one has to look for a house built for spiritual purpose.
While I expected that the White House is still inhabited by the followers of Moncado, locally known as Moncadista, the house turned out to be unoccupied, and served only as an imposing historical and religious structure amid the serene skies of Samal Island. The property is fenced and has been circled with warning that the same is subject to a quieting of title case pending in the local court.
Who is Moncado, byt the way? According to Samalguide.com, Hilario Camino Moncado (1898-1956) was the founder and supreme commander-in-chief of the Filipino Crusaders World Army (FCWA). At the age of nine he graduated with honors from the College of Mystery and Psychics in Calcutta, India. Multi-talented, he was an author, pianist, publisher, an avid golfer, a member of the 1934 Constitutional Convention, and even ran for President in the 1946 elections against Manuel Roxas and Sergio Osmeña. In 1956, Hilario Camino Moncado passed away at a relatively, young age. However, during his lifetime he had touched the lives of many Filipinos and Filipino-Americans. To his followers, he was a prophet with the power to heal. He was their teacher and the source of their spiritual strength. In the late 1930’s, Moncado and his leaders, after a long search, decided to build a Moncado colony in the Island of Samal. The island was peaceful and beautiful. It was going to be a new paradise.
And the Moncadistas? These are the modern Moncadista who live beside the White house in their respective nipa huts. They still go for raw foods and vegetarian diets. However, I heard one lady said that they eat fish now. We also saw some firewoods which suggests they make use of the heat too, as opposed to the common belief that they go for raw food only. They still go to church on Saturdays and happily called themselves with sweeping aliases such as "Sabadista" and "Moncadista."
However, Samalguide.com reaveals the historical background of the Moncadista, that "in the early days, especially after World War II, Samal was known as the island of the Moncadista. The followers of Moncado were particularly noted for eating only raw and uncooked food, no fish and no meat. At that time, many of the adult male members sported long hairs and flowing beards."
The firewood they gathered.
We bought two papayas which the lady refused to name the price. She, however, happily accepted ten pesos a piece in exchange for her lovely just-picked backyard papayas.
They sun dried these corns for their consumption and according to the ladies, they plant their own food. As I understand it, they were living in a a communal arrangement. Not far ahead from this White House is a community where the Moncadistas can be found.
Samalguide.com says that "From time to time, some old timers would ask: “Whatever happened to that peculiar group?” The Moncadistas are still in Samal. The information for this article comes from brief interviews with Mr. Jesus Acedillo, Spiritual Director of the group, Mrs. Josefina Merida, Board Member and Treasurer, a few other members, and from the internet. As of latest count, there are around 2,000 members still residing in Samal. Other members, numbering around 3,000 are scattered in different places. It is estimated that there are perhaps 20,000 more followers of Moncado in the Philippines but are not affiliated with the Moncado colony in Samal."
The site continues that "the group however did not grow in number. It was beset by a number of false claims of supposed followers of Moncado. Today, the FCWA does not proselytize although they have accepted a few applicants. Their policy is to have “soul winners” (members with deepened faith), not “numbers winners.”
|My sister posed before the palm tree which I think is "Dates."|
|I can't resist the freshness of this Okra...|
Had I have more time, I would have had put more hours in the community to interview them regarding their cultural and religious beliefs. For more Information, I have cited the rest of the article from Samalguide.com below.
The national organization of the FCWA is based in Samal. It is headed by Acting President, Mateo Gacotano; Vice President-Perseverando Dalumpines and Board Members Josefina Merida (Treasurer), Decierdo Sosas (Secretary), Julita Antiquesa, Lozaro Alcoriza, and Nocarte Apique. The position of president is perennially assigned to Hilario Camino Moncado, also known as the General.
As an organization, FCWA has twelve divisions, namely, Membership, Organization, Commercial, Finance, Legal, Welfare, Musical, Labor, Women, Publication, Youth and Religious Education. Among the most notable activities of the group are the cooperatives and the transport project. More than 50 individuals have been helped in acquiring their own passenger multicabs. Members are not wanting in land properties. They own two big properties in barangay Limao.
Camp 23 is a 23-hectare area used as residential lots of the members. Camp 19 is a 19-hectare property where the big old white house, where Hilario Moncado used to stay, is located. It will be renovated for meetings, conferences and as a tourism heritage center. The rest of the 19 hectares will be used for agriculture development. Many members still eat raw food but cooked food is now allowed for some but no fish and no meat. Strict observance of the vegetarian diet has to be followed. Long hairs and long beards, originally thought to “shadow” the face of God, is not anymore in vogue. The new emphasis is to imitate God, not physically, but internally.
Which brings us to the most active division of the FCWA- the Religious Education Division. There are two religious groupings officially affiliated with FCWA. The first is the Moncadian Church of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI). The other group is known as the Equi-filibricum World Religion. The members are regular church-goers, on Saturdays. They study the Bible also regularly with the guidance of the Spiritual Directors. Moncado is still their leader and master. But they strongly believe in God and in Jesus Christ who points to the right direction. For them, the true meaning of the Bible is peace. Peace is the work of God, and the followers must be strong believers and practitioners of peace. Yes, the Moncadistas are still in Samal. Still a small group but very close-knit, peace-loving and law-abiding with their own brand of culture and religious practices.