What’s in a Name

Okay, it is a bit confusing. Some places we call ourselves the following:

Bukal Life MinistriesBukal Logo Small New

Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center

Bukal Life Care & Training Center

Bukal Life Care

Perhaps the following will correct the confusion.

1.  Bukal Life Ministries. When we first formed as a group in October/November of 2009, this was the name that we went by. BUKAL is the Tagalog word for “spring” (as in a fountain of water). We felt the name fit our focus on helping people recover from Tropical Storm Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng.  Even after our name officially changed, we retained the name “Bukal Life Ministries” for projects that were tied more to social ministry (as opposed to pastoral care or clinical pastoral education). So, in a sense, we never retired the term.

2.  Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center. When we incorporated in June of 2010, we utilized the name “Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center.” The term counseling implied related to our pastoral care and clinical pastoral education work. The term care focused on the social ministry and training work. This has been our official name up until the present.

3.  Bukal Life Care & Training Center.  In November 2012, concerns about the use of the term Counseling Center came up. It was felt by some that the term “Counseling” was inappropriate based on Philippine Republic Act 9258. Based on that, there was a decision to research a name change removing the term Counseling and replace with Training. That actually made sense since it could be said that implied two basic ministries “Life Care” and “Training.”  So we started making changes towards the name change. That stopped based on a reevaluation that we did not violate the Republic Act. <Frankly, the law is quite… curiously…  written. The law professionalizes the use of the term “counseling” but fails to recognize many common uses of this common term, only recognizing  psychoemotional counseling. As such it ignores legal counseling, spiritual counseling, informal counseling, professional/vocational counseling and so forth. The Law also criminalizes the use of the term “center” but doesn’t technically clarify that the such criminalization only relates to psychological counseling organizations. However, one has to appreciate the spirit of the law that seeks to professionalize a noble activity.> Gradually we started moving away from this name.

4.  Bukal Life Care. We often have used this term as the short form or our organization. A number of us have considered the possibility of changing our name formally to this short-hand title. It gets rid of the term “counseling center,” which causes so much confusion in the Philippines. Secondly, it focuses on our main role “LIFE CARE.” Life Care is the term we use for the following sub-topics (both as an activity and as a training are):

Pastoral Care/Spiritual Care

Member Care

Crisis Care

Health Care


Our board of trustees will be meeting in a few weeks to come up with a final name. We will let you know what is finally decided.





Bukal Yo Hope” Disaster Response Stress Defusing

Two teams have departed for the Visayas in December in response to disasters there.

Team A. 10 team members travelled to Cebu City and Ormoc City. Divided into two groups, they were on site from December 2nd to 9th. There they did stress debriefing at evacuation centers, a hospital, and door-to-door. Additionally, they did training for ministry leaders in Cebu. The visit at this time was a challenging period as evacutation centers were being closed. As the relief phase ends, there is a need for a development phase. Time will tell how well this transition goes.cebu 1

Team B. 3 team members travelled to Bohol. They assisted a team already there. They were there December 17-19 and did stress defusing with ministry leaders as well as training. Relief goods were also distributed. Bohol is quite different from Cebu and Leyte. Cebu and Leyte were greatly affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). Bohol did not get hurt much by the typhoon, but had a major earthquake a few weeks previous. We were actually preparing to go to Bohol some weeks before, but got reprioritized by the typhoon that followed. We are glad we had the opportunity to get to Bohol finally. bohol 1

The elephant in the room at Christmas

Marker Posts and Shelters

Elephant in the room

Are you looking forward to Christmas? How easy is it to answer no if that is the truthful answer?
There are all sorts of reasons why Christmas is difficult. The first Christmas after a loss whether through bereavement or divorce or break up or moving is always difficult. Memories flood back of happier times or just different times that we were more comfortable with. I can never see the film ET without remembering that was the last Christmas Dad was with us.

In some of the work I have been doing around Christmas I have tried to at least hint at elephants in the room, those we have lost, our own insecurities, feelings of marginalization, risk taking, the future…

As we spend time with our families and friends over Christmas there may be a whole load of taboo subjects we ignore and it is reassuring for me that this may…

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Disaster Response Chaplaincy Presentation

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3/disaster-response-presentation-new&#8221; title=”Disaster Response Crisis Care Overview” target=”_blank”>Disaster Response Crisis Care Overview</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/bmunson3&#8243; target=”_blank”>Bob Munson</a></strong> </div>

“The Cup Analogy” of Emotional Pain

There is a cup of water sitting on a table. It is so full, it is rounded at the top. One or two drops of water are added to the cup and it spills over. What caused the water to spill? We want to blame the last one or two drops, but in an empty cup it would not spill. It was not the water in the cup prior to the drops being added, because if left alone, it would not have spilled. It was a combination of all the drops of water in the cup that came before and the last one or two drops that caused the water to spill. In a person’s life, the water in the cup is symbolic of all the hurt, pain, shame, humiliation, and loss not dealt with along the way. The last couple of drops symbolize the “trigger events”, “the last straw”, the event or situation that preceded the final act of taking one’s own life.
Often we want to blame the trigger event, but this does not make sense to us. Like the water, these events all by them selves would not cause someone to end their life. It is the combination of everything in that person’s life not dealt with and the last one or two things that caused our loved ones to lose hope. For us, we must find a way to pour out the water along the way. This may be through talking it out, writing it out, sometimes yelling it out, whatever works for you. We must learn to deal with our pain in a way our loved ones could not.
This analogy does not give us the concrete answer many of us are looking for, but I know it made sense for me and has been helpful for many survivors. It allowed me to let go of the search for “why”, and to find a different way of dealing with my pain.

                    —Tracy T. Dean, M.S

December Updates

Disaster Response for Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) is in full swing. The first mission trip organized by Bukal Life Care just finished with work in Kalibo, Aklan, and Baliguian Island, Iloilo. Rice, roof sheeting, vitamins, and other relief goods were provided. Additionally, community assessment, crisis care, and art therapy were provided. This team consisted of Angie, Ptr. Ysrael, Fhey, Joylene, Lea, and Raymark.

Our latest team, consisting of 10 members, have just arrived in Cebu City, with various crisis care and training activities planned in Cebu and Ormoc Cities over the next week. This team consists of Celia, Jehny, Becky, Ptr. Arnold, Rose, Padi Pinit, Bonniebe, Mildred, Aldrin, and Serafina.

The newest CPE group started, led by Joyce. The trainees are Padi Pinit, Glenda, Noel, Corito, and Marie.

CPO (Clinical Pastoral Orientation) will start in January 2014. May also have a new batch of CPE at this time as well.

Baliguian Island

Baliguian Island

Baliguian Island

Baliguian Island

Traveling to Mission Site

Traveling to Mission Site

Team in Kalibo

Team in Kalibo

Harvest Church in Kalibo

Harvest Church in Kalibo