The First Vipassana Course in the Philippines
Although Yangon is "only" 2662 kilometers from Manila, the two Asian (and ASEAN) countries have had little contact in the last few centuries. The British (and nearly the French) came to Burma, while the Spanish and Americans landed in the Philippines-- with only the Japanese Imperial Army briefly colonizing both.
The two cities also reached their heyday around the same time, in the pre-WWII era, when Manila was known as the "Pearl of the Orient" and Rangoon and Mandalay were some of the most cosmopolitan cities on the continent and with the most celebrated universities. But while Burma is one of the most devotedly Buddhist countries in the world, Catholicism reigns in the Philippines, and is one of the few Asian countries in the region to have scarcely been touched ever by the Buddha's teachings.
Because in the last decade or so, the Philippines-- as have a number of other countries around the world-- has seen a renewed interest in the profound teachings and practice of the Buddha. Several Pa Auk monks have recently made the islands a home, and the ten-day courses in the tradition of Sayagyi U Goenka have been becoming popular. In fact, one of the initial supporters was a Catholic nun, and one course has even been held in a Catholic seminary near Cebu.
Good news is coming for Filipino meditators, which will be shared in an upcoming post. For now, enjoy this video that recaps the first successful U Goenka course held here.
Below, a photo of the grounds of the new Vipassana center.