Friends of Tuburan

In our striving to become the dream school that we aspire to be, there’s been heartfelt compassion, forgiveness, openness, honesty, sensitivity and understanding. There’s been no lack of courage, passion, goodwill, and positivity despite the immense challenge of transcending differences and continuing to sustain Tuburan now and in the years to come.

Thank you everyone who has helped birth this dream school and become a real “tuburan” or “wellspring” in the educational landscape of Mindanao.

Thanks to Tuburan’s staff and parents who’ve willingly joined the journey of birthing this pioneering Steiner/Waldorf school in Davao City and spent days and nights troubleshooting, arriving at a consensus and decisions, and working very hard.

Thank you, too, families and friends who’ve readily helped give moral support and encouragement and donated cash, materials and given your time to raise funds, fix the road, clean the classrooms, build fences, cook, edit and proofread collaterals, take pictures – the list is very long.

Thank you friends from the government, business and civil society sectors for welcoming us warmly and supporting us.

Imaginals from the Philippines and Germany gather in Zarraga, Iloilo. Front row L to R: Teresa D. Ruelas, I See Cebu; Jhu Elno Rubio, Imagine Zarraga; Fr. Tito D. Soquiño, OSA, Thousand Island Project; Grace Dy Calleja, 2010 – 2012 Baguio nodal representative; Maya Flaminda J. Vandenbroeck, Tuburan Institute, Inc. Middle row L to R: Maria Theresa Mora, Shaping Sophia; Bernadette Lagasca-Matibay, Sofia in Baguio; Ferdinand Veridiano, the New Story of the Universe; Nicanor Perlas, Solution Ecosystem Activator; Katherine E. Estember, Tuburan Institute, Inc.; Esther Windler, Environmental Advocate and tree hugger; Louise L. Far, Mother of the Fairytale and the In/Visible Project. Back row L to R: James Sharman, Gamot Cogon Waldorf School; Cecile Ferrer, Lakbayani; Cornelius Michael Oette. Not in picture: Sarah Mae Sabado, Balay Sofia, Inc.; Tammy B. Dinople, 2010 – 2013 Manila nodal representative; and Dr. Marian Alonzo. Photo by Louise L. Far.

Tuburan Institute, Inc. originally began as its founders’ MISSION initiative to help start a movement of schools in Mindanao offering a truly holistic education that’s accessible to the poorest of the poor. MISSION, short for Movement of Imaginals for Sustainable Societies through Initiatives, Organizing, and Networking, is a group of individuals engaged in sustainable work in their communities – such as eradicating poverty, organizing communities, empowering youths, building peace, training leaders, and so on. Until now, MISSION continues to be a big inspiration for the founders as they continue to strive with Tuburan’s pioneering families to make Steiner/Waldorf education accessible to as many families in Mindanao as possible.

Nicanor Perlas leads participants around his biodynamic farm in Zarraga, Iloilo in August 2011 during a workshop on Biodynamic Farming. When he has time Nicanor travels around the world giving MISSION COURAGE workshops too. Photo by Louise L. Far.

Nicanor Perlas, one of the founding members of MISSION was key in helping get Tuburan’s founders thinking and researching about what kind of school to start. Nicanor advised, “Why don’t you start with defining your image of a human being?” He asked, “Is a child like an empty glass that needs to be filled? Or is s/he already full and you just need to light a fire and draw out what’s already inside him/her?” These questions led Tuburan’s founders to learn more and appreciate Steiner/Waldorf education so much that they decided this will be the direction of the school. Several months after they quit their jobs and started laying the ground work for Tuburan, Nicanor surprised them with seed money which they used to renovate a T-shirt printing shed into a kindergarten classroom and build a playground made of Amakan and cocolumber, and paid for costs of teacher training, marketing, and school orientations, and more.

Kate Kiran (second row, leftmost) and Jay Visnu (second row, right most) together with Tuburan’s founders, Maya (first row, rightmost) and Kate (first row, leftmost) visit Precious Children Home for disabled children. Surrounding the children are their carers and international volunteers from the International Youth Initiative Program.

The vegetarian community in Buhangin District was Tuburan’s first home. For three years, the school’s pioneering students enjoyed learning there in the makeshift classrooms and playground located on the 1,000 square meter property of Kate “Kiran” Ericksen and Jay “Visnu” Lopena in Buhangin District. This idyllic school site cum eco-park was far from downtown but refreshingly green and peaceful. Jay and Kate allowed Tuburan to use their property free of rent June 2012 to June 2015. The couple, at one point, also lent their vehicle to be used in transporting Tuburan’s children and they gave a generous cash donation as well.

Bayani Vandenbroeck, Katherine E. Estember and Norma T. Javellana sign the usufruct agreement

The school’s new permanent home is located on Norma Javellana’s 9,046 square meter property in New Loon, Tugbok District, planted with coconut trees, mahogany, pili, narra, ilang-ilang, and fruit trees. A usufruct agreement was signed between the owners of the land and the school thereby allowing Tuburan to use the property as long as it will “avoid cutting existing trees as much as possible and ensure the biodiversity through cultivating fruit trees, hardwood trees and vegetable gardens.” The usufruct agreement also stipulates that Tuburan “introduce, construct and maintain buildings and facilities using green technology.” These are all in line with the nature school Tuburan wants to become.

Milow visited Tuburan Institute, Inc. in 2013 when it was still located in the vegetarian ecovillage of Blissful Family Village, Sitio Sagrada Familia, Brgy. Indangan, Davao City.

Jonathan Ivo Gilles Vandenbroeck, known professionally as Milow, is a Belgian singer-songwriter who has been giving concerts since 2006. A supporter of many causes, Milow has been one of Tuburan Institute, Inc.’s staunches fundraisers. Every December since 2012 he has held Homecoming Concerts in his hometown Leuven, Belgium for the benefit of Tuburan Institute, Inc. The school’s office and grade school classrooms have been built thanks to Milow’s concerts. To learn more about Milow, read and visit his official website

Dalisay Soriano, President of Patches of Green and Tony Uy, Past President of the Rotary Club of Davao help Maya Flaminda J. Vandenbroeck, Resource Mobilization Head of Tuburan Institute, Inc., open the Biyaya Mandala Exhibit at the Marco Polo Davao in June 2016. Photo by James C. Bautista.

The Rotary Club of Davao is one of the civic organizations in Davao City that has come to the aid of Tuburan Institute, Inc. many times since 2013. They’ve given the school three ipads, a generator set for the welding works of the first 3 classrooms, hosted a fundraising dinner that raised more money for the construction of the classrooms, and given a desktop computer set for the staff.

Tuburan’s co-founders Maya (bottom second) and Kate (bottow last) join other participants at Gamot Cogon Waldorf School’s First Block Teacher Training in April 2012. This led to the first friendships formed with colleagues from other Steiner/Waldorf schools like Laarni and Bulak who eventually flew to Davao to help mentor Tuburan’s teachers.

The Steiner/Waldorf community here and abroad through Freunde der Erziehungskungst, Rudolf Steiner Education in the Philippines (RStEP), Manila Waldorf School, Gamot Cogon Waldorf School, St. Michael’s Play Garden, St. Michael’s Playhouse, Balay Sofia have sent mentors and teachers, given free advice, opened up their workshops and classrooms to Tuburan’s school community since 2011.

See our growing list of Friends.

Want to be a Friend of Tuburan? There are many ways you can help. Send us a message.

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