Camp 23 Samal Island.

General Hilario Camino Moncado the founder of The Moncadistas religious sect may have passed on many years ago { He died in 1956 } but if you know where to look you can still find places related to him on Samal Island today. One such is The White House which I have covered in a seperate article, but today I am writing about Camp 23 which is located in Barangay Limao.

The name Camp 23 refers to the fact that it occupies 23 hectares, this is probably true as it is a large place and clearly it was and most likely still is a rallying place for The General's followers the Moncadistas as well as a village for his followers. In its heyday many thousands of worshipers must have gathered here for their official occasions and to follow their religious observances, while I rather suspect that there are perhaps many less at their gathering these days I am sure that this is still a regularly functioning religious site.

The entrance is particularly imposing with two arches leading to a covered area with busts of The General and two other officials. When you enter this are the tradition is that men enter on the right and women on the left, I have been here many times and never had a problem, but always it is best to show respect when approaching the covered area where the busts are, perhaps remove your head gear and pause for a moment and bow slightly in front of the bust of The General. You see you are almost certainly being observed at this point. At times you will see people prostate in prayer before the bust of The General, please do not intrude if this is going on.

Once you have examined this area move up towards the stage and what is now a basketball area, with a large building on your right in front of you, it pays to hang about here for a few minutes in the hope that the priest or another official will appear, they will be glad to tell you all about the area and their religion but they do not speak English so unless you speak Bisaya or have someone with you to translate you are going to miss out on the story. Be sure and show your appreciation to these guys in the from of a tip as this smooths the way for those who may visit in the future.

The front of the building on your right is in various states of disrepair, but you get the chance peep through the windows and you will see various fascinating old photos related to The General and his cult. At the back is a formal church area which is well kept and obviously in regular use, the church is locked but if the priest is there he will open it up. Once inside you will learn more of their beliefs, the Kabala, The Bible and some numerology connection as well as the writings of The General.

Also in this area is a locked shrine to The General with photos and other articles and perpetually burning candles but The Priest has the key. This however is not the main prayer gathering area, this is reached via a path on your located behind the stage area, this is more basic but will house a great many people and again is in constant use.

More info on General Moncado HERE

More info on present day Moncadistas HERE

You can see more photos I took of Camp 23 HERE