Crisis Response Trip to Northern Benguet


Four members of our team joined members of Benguet State University (led by Professor Marcy Bolona) and the Student Hub, to assist in Crisis Response and Stress Mitigation in Buguias, Benguet. Members of our team at Bukal were Celia, Jehny, Becky, and Serafina. They left early Saturday (June 13, 2013) morning for the 2.5 hour drive along the mountainous Halsema Highway to Abatan. From there, they took a jeepney for another hour of dirt road driving to Buguias.

Our team was invited by the Catholic church in Buguias in response to the month anniversary of a disaster that occurred there. After brunch, crisis care began, working with approximately 100 adults, youth, and children… relatives and friends of those directly impacted by the disaster. The group was broken up into smaller groups based on relationship and age. For the adults, we used the NOVA (National Organization of Victim Assistance) model for stress mitigation. For children, other methods, including artwork, were used to allow for sharing/ventilating of feelings.

We believe that the event was a great time of sharing, grieving, and healing. Some members of the team had to leave late in the day while others stayed overnight, being well taken care of by our hosts. In the morning, on Sunday, after a swim in the hotsprings and breakfast, the team began its return trek to La Trinidad and Baguio City.

It was a great joy to serve in the beautiful community of Buguias surrounded on all sides by the great mountains of the Cordilleras. Our hosts were almost too kind. We greatly appreciate their hospitality feel honored to help their community in some small way.

This trip reminded us of the importance of crisis care, especially as it pertains to community disasters. We will be planning a training session for those interested in some of the methods involved in this type of ministry.