I had two interesting meeting on Romblon. The
first was with Father Nelson -
the local priest. I wanted to know the church's
policy on the island with regards to family planning.
And - to no one's surprise - condoms, contraceptive
pills and contraceptive injections are all big no-no's.
If a couple is to get married in the local church,
the must attend a one hour seminar. During the
seminar they are taught - among other things - the
rhythm method. According to Father Nelson, the
rhythm method is 95% effective on the island. This
would be surprising as it completely contradicts every
piece of research out there.
I told him about Project Lifecycle and what we hope
to achieve with it. He was warm to the idea but
was a little concerned because it wasn't the standard
church approved method. He suggested I met with
the local Diocese and meet with the Bishop of Romblon
and all the local priests in the area to present my
ideas to them.
Hopefully I can sell it to them.
The second group of people I met were some workers at
the local health center.
They were great people are were very driven to assist
with family planning on the island.
The said that they often get couples visiting them
and saying, "We did what the church told us to do and we
still got pregnant."
There is some contraceptives available at the center.
Condoms, contraceptives pills and contraceptive
injections. All the things the church disapproves
of in other words. Here is the weird thing though:
They are not allowed to offer them (the contraceptives),
they are allowed to give them if they are asked but they
are not allowed to sell them but instead must ask for a
I assume they go through this complicated ritual so
as to not upset the church.
They do actually have a single lifecycle necklace
that they were given at a conference (look closely at
this picture), so they are at
least familiar with the concept.
They also help coordinate a team of midwives.
Each midwife has three barangays (villages) assigned to
them. Both the midwives and the nurses at the
health care centers will be (hopefully) our front line
workers to get the Lifecycle Necklaces out there.