Fr. Mateo Sanchez, SJ’s Inspiring Journey Unveiled in ‘Balik Lantaw’ Book Launch”



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Malaybalay City — The Kapawa Hu Paglaum Cultural Center at the Jesuit Retreat House was filled with warmth and reverence last September 23, 2023, as Jesuit Communications (JesCom) celebrated the book launch of “Balik Lantaw: Diary of a Jesuit Missionary” written by the remarkable 90-year-old Fr. Mateo Sanchez, SJ.

The event, though small and intimate, radiated profound significance, bringing together Jesuit friends, Kapawa scholars of the Fr. Leoni Mission Foundation, Inc., the local Umajamnen folk, Jesuit Retreat House staff, and representatives from JesCom, Ms. Editha Sablan, and Ms. Roma Escaner.

“Balik Lantaw” is a captivating diary-style account that chronicles Fr. Mat’s incredible journey among the Umayamnon indigenous community in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon. In its pages, he shares the highs and lows of his missionary life, providing an intimate glimpse into the challenges he overcame and the deep joy he found in his ministry.

Photos courtesy of JOSH: Jescom Online SHop

The book launch was marked by heartfelt testimonials from guests, who shared their admiration for Fr. Mat’s inspiring ministry. Fr. Gaby Gonzalez, SJ, in his Opening Remarks, emphasized the book’s significance, stating, “This book mainly draws from the daily journal of Fr. Mat during his mission in Cabanglasan. It is a celebration of Fr. Mat and his work but also of the mission the Jesuits have here in Bukidnon.”

Fr. Ambrosio Flores, SJ, who wrote the book’s foreword, highlighted the enduring passion and dedication that define Fr. Mat’s journey. “Going to the Cabanglasan mission three years past an average person’s retirement age and accompanying the Umajamnens until he was 77 years old demonstrate how his passion for God’s mission allowed him to find God in the unlikely and ordinary of circumstances,” he remarked.

Indeed, “Balik Lantaw” serves as a testament to the power of service and dedication, inspiring readers to share their gifts and make a difference. It honors Fr. Mat’s remarkable mission and aims to be a guiding light for all who seek to do more for the greater glory of God.

Get a copy of “Balik Lantaw: Diary of a Jesuit Missionary” through our online For inquiries, you can message us via