Friday, September 12, 2014

TRTC: As Good as New!

Some 350 real estate people attending an all-day team-building activity and 120 men on a two-day retreat were the first guests to use the newly renovated Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center when it re-opened on August 15.

The retreat center had to be closed for a month after suffering extensive damage due to Typhoon Glenda in mid-July. Included in the work done was the repair of caved-in ceilings, and the replacement of shattered glass panelings and blown-off roofs.

"We are overwhelmed by God's blessings and happy to be accepting small groups of guests again," said Doris Cuaresma, general manager. "This is actually just a soft opening because two of the towers (each with ten bedrooms) are not yet fully repaired.  We hope to be completely operational by October 1."  

"It looks as if no damage was ever done," said one recent guest.

Opened in May 2011, the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center has been an ideal, welcoming venue for youth convocations, couples' retreats, missionary and Bible translators' conferences, and similar activities.

It is owned and managed by the Center for Community Transformation Group of Ministries which ministers to the poor.  Many of the buildings were built by former street dwellers undergoing spiritual and social transformation.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

TRTC Reopens August 15

The Jacob, Joseph, and Elijah dorms all as good as new again!
The Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center is reopening on August 15, exactly a month after it closed due to extensive damage caused by Typhoon Glenda.  "Seventy percent of the repair work is done, we are building back better, and we are counting down to our reopening day," said Doris Cuaresma, general manager, five days before the target reopening.

Typhoon Glenda ripped off roofing sheets, made ceilings cave in, and drenched bedrooms on the top floors of the retreat center's dormitory buildings when it hit Southern Luzon during the early hours of July 16. It also shattered glass paneling and damaged tables and chairs at the dining hall.  Nearly 400 international guests attending a Methodist youth convocation waited out the storm at the main function hall and had to be moved to another event venue.

The extent of the damage was assessed the same day and clean-up and restoration work were begun soon afterward. "We praise God for all that has been done and for all that will be completed within the next few days. We are grateful to all who helped with the rebuilding and clean-up.  We look forward to welcoming guests again," Cuaresma said.

The Moses dorm, now ready to accept guests again.  

Workers in yellow shirts are transformed former street
dwellers reached out to by CCT's Kaibigan Ministry. 

The Abraham, Isaac, Joshua and Moses dorms.

Elijah dorm: work ongoing.  

(Here and below) The north-facing end of the multi-purpose hall
with glass doors and windows restored.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Repair Work on Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center Begun

Repair and clean-up work has begun at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center which  is temporarily closed after suffering damage due to Typhoon Glenda (international name Rammasun).

Glenda battered Southern Luzon where Tagaytay City is situated during the early hours of July 16, damaging the roofs and ceilings of the retreat center's dormitory buildings, shattering windows and glass doors, and toppling trees.

CCT President Ruth Callanta said, "Through all this we rely on God's grace and heed his command in I Thessalonians 5:16 - 18 that we are to 'Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will  in Christ Jesus'."

"We will build back better, making TRTC a more comfortable and welcoming venue for a wide range of functions and activities."

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fair Trade Products Now Sold at TRTC

A few of the fair trade products now available for pasalubong
at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center.

Left to right:  Mr. Ueda Makoto, Alter Trade - Japan president, Mrs. Gilda Caduya,
Alter Trade - Philippines president, and Mr. Angelito Gabriel, CCT Inc. executive director.
Fair trade products are now sold at the Pasalubong Center of the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center (TRTC) following the signing of a memorandum of agreement between Alter Trade Corporation, a fair trade corporation based in Bacolod City, and TRTC.

The products include muscovado sugar; banana chips; jams made from jackfruit, coconut, mangosteen, pineapple, papaya, and guava; juice concentrates made from mangosteen, guyabano, calamansi, and passion fruit; wild honey; lemon grass oil, syrup, and powder; cocoa and chocolate.

Fair trade, according to is a movement whose goal is to help producers in developing countries get a fair price for their products so as to reduce poverty, provide for the ethical treatment of workers and farmers, and promote environmentally sustainable practices. 

Alter Trade Corporation was established in 1988 in response to the worsening situation of Negros sugar workers caught in an island-wide crisis caused by plummeting world sugar prices in the early 1980s.  After a series of feeding and relief operations to thousands of displaced families, women and children, progressive Japanese consumers and development organizations in the Philippines hatched the concept of ‘trade not aid’ as a sustainable intervention for the crisis victims. In 1988 the first shipment of Mascobado sugar arrived in Japan and  Balangon bananas began to be shipped to that country a year later.

Today, Alter Trade continues to combine business and social development, and its organic farming and fair trade practices are compliant with international standards.

Anjji Gabriel, CCT Inc. executive director, said  CCT is pleased to have a partnership with an organization that also serves the Filipino poor.

Mr. Makoto speaks of doing people to people
trade, specifically by directly linking Filipino
producers with Japanese consumers.
Mrs. Caduya: "As Alter Trade continues to expand its partnership and
 relationship building  within the borders of our  country, we will do so
working with organizations that  put the interests of marginalized
people in the forefront of its operations."

Mr. Angelito Gabriel: "I sincerely hope and pray that this joining
of hands  will truly make a difference in thousands of  lives,
that it will have a deep and lasting impact
on needy families and in the communities
from where these products come."

A sampling of the bite-sized goodies prepared for the
MOA signing event by Chef Harlequin 'Queenie' Boloron
using organic muscovado sugar, jams made

from local fruit and other Alter Trade products.  

Photos: Michelle Taway and Myra Gaculais del Rosario

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Guests

Since the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center opened its gates to the public in May 2011 it has been a venue of gracious hospitality for ladies' conventions, pastors' conferences, youth camps, singles' retreats, sales planning meetings, reunions, couples' retreats, weddings... even group weddings!

Here's what some satisfied guests have said about it:

Janice Galvez Zonio, who attended the Church of God regional convention late last year, described Tagaytay Retreat and Training  Center as a "Very peaceful and conducive place for spiritual retreats" and uploaded a jubilant photo of herself on the lawn  in front of the multi-purpose hall (above) as her Facebook cover photo.

Sheryl Ann Donato (below) who was at the retreat center after Christmas 2013 attending the New Southern Luzon District Youth Leadership Training Seminar of the United Pentecostal Church enjoyed lots of peaceful and relaxing moments there. 

Sheryl Ann Donato

And Meldyaf of Quezon City, Philippines wrote the following review in travel website

I joined a three-day training at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center in July 2013. Totally enjoyed the experience! This place is a great place for learning activities. The training rooms were nice and spacious. The individual rooms were quiet and relaxing. I liked the view of the sunset from the dining area. Food was great too! I would like to stay at this place again. I would definitely recommend this place for other seminars too. The lessons may be serious inside the session rooms but the beautiful nature just outside helps to relax my mind. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

TRTC is Group Wedding Venue

Twenty-nine couples said "I do"  in the second group wedding held at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training since it opened in May 2011.  

Rina Villanueva, one of the happy brides, said, "The staff were so attentive.  They made us feel special."  Her groom, Reden, said, "We thought it would be a simple wedding.  It turned out to be rather fancy!"

The brides and grooms are mostly workers at factories where the  Covenant Community Service Cooperative (CCSC) ministers.

In the first group wedding held at TRTC, 21 former street-dwelling couples were married in a ceremony jointly organized by CCSC and the Kaibigan Ministry of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) Group of Ministries. Read story here:

CCSC, also a member of the CCT group, reaches out to informal service workers and factory workers through job generation, spiritual development, social services, micro finance loans, and savings mobilization.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

TRTC is International Micro Finance Training Venue

Here and below, micro finance workers from Asia, South America, Africa, and the US at the opening
night of the third Transformative Economic Empowerment training session. 

The Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center was the venue for the third Transformative Economic Empowerment, a international training session hosted by the Center for Community Transformation and the Ka-Partner Network. Attendees were micro finance workers from Peru, India, Uganda, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Moldova, Thailand, and the US.  

The focus of the session, held during the third week of October 2013, was training in vision and leadership and spiritual integration in micro finance. It included visits to CCT branches, interviews with community partners (micro finance recipients) and staff, and overviews of CCT programs and services for the poor.   

Speakers included CCT Chairman Bertram Lim, CCT President Ruth Callanta, and Dr. Melba Maggay.  

The Ka-Partner Network is composed of the US-based organizations endPoverty, Hope International, Peer Servants, and Five Talents.   

Photos: Griffin Wilson

Friday, August 16, 2013

Choose the Correct Room Setup for Your Event

Here’s a tip for first-time event planners, coordinators, and facilitators: seating layouts can affect the impact and success of your sessions.  So make sure you use the appropriate physical arrangements for your meeting. ( suggests the following seating arrangements for big groups (41 or more):

Theater Style

  • Used for very large audiences where the speaker is the main focus
  • Participants sit side by side in long rows
  • Does not encourage note-taking since tables are not provided

Classroom Style

Dietz Meeting Room - classroom style
Photo from:

  • Same as theater style but with tables
  • Appropriate for long lectures
  • Encourages note-taking

Chevron or Herringbone Style
  • Chairs are arranged at an angle
  • Encourages interaction among participants
  • Facilitates viewing of visual presentations
  • Most dynamic of all the seating arrangements ( and Carnegie Mellon University  ( suggest the following for small groups (40 and below):

Hollow square or rectangle
  • For meetings where hierarchy is not an issue
  • Excellent for facilitator-led meetings
  • Encourages audience participation
  • Awkward to use when showing visuals.


  • Very good for groups between 6 and 15.
  • Suggests formality and hierarchy.
  • For groups over 15, people at the far end table may feel left out and form a separate group.


  • Seats can be on either outside or inside of tables.
  • Instructor can survey students' work.
  • Facilitates easy exchange between presenter and audience.
  • Center may be used for exhibits or demos.


  • Encourages collaboration. 
  • Center area may be used for simulations and role plays.
  • Can be used with or without speaker table.

Semi-circle or circle

  • Can be set up with or without tables.
  • Presenter's role is minimal.
  • Excellent for sharing  or reflection sessions
  • Encourages a sense of group and bonding.


  • Good for presentations with breakout groups.
  • Clusters easily return to being a single group. 
  • Tables can be either round or small rectangles.

Staff at the Tagaytay Retreat and Training Center will be glad to arrange the chairs and  tables in your function room according to your need. Simply provide them with the number of expected attendees and the seating arrangement you need.