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Thursday, November 12, 2009

FPCAP 2nd National Convention

Here is an email sent by the Vice-President of FPCAP, inviting us to the new FPCAP website where we can download the Program, invitation letter and other instructions. Please read along and respond.

Dear Members,

Check out our website!!!!!!!! You will read about our recent involvement with victims of the recent calamities.
For those who have not indicated attendance at the coming SECOND NATIONAL CONVENTION, you will be able to download the information and forms from the website which was set up by Dr. Pearl Polestico.

Maureen N. Sandejas

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

FPCAP 2nd National Convention Nov. 19-21, 2009

Herein is an invitation to the 2nd National Convention of the Family and Pastoral Counseling Association of the Philippines (FPCAP), Inc. To access the invitation letter, registration form and other information, please go to their website, one of the links in this blog.

Dear Members. Friends, Colleagues and Fellow Pastoral Workers,
It is just two weeks until the FAMILY AND PASTORAL COUNSELLING ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES Second National Convention. We would love to hear that you are attending. I have attached the invitation once again and the pre-registration form for your convenience. We are looking forward to having you with us on November 19-21, 2009. Please contact us at the numbers listed on the invitation and the pre-registration form.
Yours truly,
Maureen N. Sandejas
Program Chairperson

God bless and take care

Monday, November 02, 2009

Day 3 in Baguio: IPCAP Debriefing Training

In our our 3rd and last day of this Debriefing Trip, we had the scheduled training of debriefers. Those who came were Guidance Counselors, licensed and unlicensed, Psychology instructors as well as other personnel in the city that saw the need to be skilled in doing psychological debriefing. Here are some pics.

Dr. Perlie Polestico gave a concise concept of doing Psychological Debriefing, or Psychological 1st-Aid, or defusing the emotional bomb that usually gets formed after a very distressing exposure like landslides. She particularly advocated for more than one debriefing session for the simple reason that victims may not immediately recall everything on its first accounting or debriefing session. And, debriefing may actually be done even beyond the 24-72-hours lapse from the event. Exposure to victims of kidnapping shows the plausibility and even necessity of this possibility for "extension" of the debriefing process. We need not even be so fanatic as to import God immediately into the session. Survivors seem to have a very strong sense of God's presence that mention of Him eventually flows into the debriefing process. And, it is important to be sensitive to cues for counseling referral, so that if we are not professionals, we should be humble enough to refer the survivors to licensed practitioners for ethical reasons.

Aw, yes, did I tell you the outline of the morning's training?

First, Ms. Nila Urrea with her team did the ice-breaking activities. The first was to bond the participants together, followed by Bato-bato-bato-batobatobato exercise that further sparked up the participants. Sayang, we were all engrossed in this ice-breaking we forgot to take pictures.

Then I did the compromise-building portion in order for us to have "meeting-of-minds". In short, we wanted that our training was responsive to the needs of the participants. Swak talaga! What they wanted, we were ready to give: concept of debriefing, the whys and process - parts of the debriefing exercise, practical applications of, and yes the ethical considerations and standards of psychological debriefing. After that followed Dr. Polestico's talk. Then Mr. Cesar Cong gave us the steps in the debriefing of victims.

For the workshop portion, we asked them to group themselves into 5 and map out the steps for debriefing Victims of (a)Landslides, (b) Earthquakes, (c) Fire, (d) Vehicular Accidents, and (e) Floods. Sorry I forgot to take pictures since the presentation of Mr. Cong was so enriching and very informative that I got so engrossed in his talk, as well as the group reporting of applying the steps of debriefing into the 5 stressful events. There are other events which psychological debriefing can be applied to, including kidnapping victims, witnessing neighborhood
violence, not to mention the debriefing of rape and sexual harassment as well as domestic violence. Even victims of volcano eruptions can be clients of debriefing. Wow! Lots of possibilities indeed.

Ms. Urrea brought along some more notes and handouts which Dr. Gandeza immediately made ready. These were more documents to make the debriefing something we can all feel confident in doing because we had this precious training from licensed practitioners.

After the training, we were served lunch, thanks to Dr. Gandeza and the SLU. Mukhang mauulit ata ito. Masarap ang lunch e! And the bonding was great too. We're all together in this profession, then let's all Volt-In.

And to top it all, I bet this would be worth mentioning. In gratitude for the "service" IPCAP provided to the people of the Cordillera Region, RGC Claire Jimenez, Baguio City's 1st Registered Guidance Counselor, sent us for pasalubong potatoes, cabbages, carrots and bananas, including the view to her newborn son, a baby conceived during the days she served IPCAP in its three holding of the 1st National Convention - in UE, Manila, Dumaguete, and Cebu. Don't ask me who the father is because that is very natural for her as a married woman. Thanks a lot Claire, and the people of the Cordillera in Baguio. Hanggang sa muli. God bless and take care

Our IPCAP Debriefing Mission: An Account of Day 2 More Pics

After Lamtang, we were treated by RGC Reynalyn to a sumptuous lunch after which we had our own debriefing. We realized that we came with varying motivations. One of us was a victim of Ondoy in Marikina. She felt so blest by those who helped her rise up after her house was devoured in Provident Village that she sincerely (teary-eyed in fact) realized she can share that blessing by coming along. Some of us just felt the need to reach out. We had one participant whose parents were quite "strict" (read: concerned) that she had to say this was part of her work - which is true! Really, we cannot rest in the thought that we were lucky enough not to be hit so seriously by the typhoons.

I for one realized that one of our Mission statements in the IPCAP papers we submitted to the SEC for registration as an organization of professional counselors led to this outreach/mission. If my rephrasing were right, it was supposed to be this way: IPCAP will serve the needs and interests of the professional members in their practice. Hence, this outreach was meant for those who needed company in their journey of doing professional guidance and counseling in their respective fields, as well providing for them their needs. Debriefing was one of those we felt so strongly about and confident to provide.

After lunch, we headed for La Trinidad, the worst hit of all places in Baguio. We saw the phenomenal landslide that washed down houses. Just look at the pics here and the subsequent ones after this blog entry.

We were all speechless. It was as if our lives were likewise taken away from us. Kalooy gyud sa mga tawo didto, Day. Ipangadye intawon sila nga mahibawo sila magbantay ug ayuhon ilahang libong, magtanum gyud na unta sila didto ug daghan pang mga puno aron di na mausab kining grabeng trahedya gajud. May they rest in peace, those who perished in the dark night of Oct. 8, 2009. Their bodies were brought to a nearby school, the Puguis Elementary School where we were given the chance to do debriefing to the Principal himself. He was simply so candid and open, helping us see for ourselves the need for a better Disaster Management Approach, another Guidance and Counseling advocacy we can spearhead.

Day 2 More Pics Here

Some more to document:

These are two more pictures of the landslide in La Trinidad. God be with us all in our journey of helping rebuild persons and of course nature, never again to be neglectful and abusive that may lead Mother Nature to be vengeful.

These are two pics after the debriefing with the Principal of the school. Just a souvenir photo with him who was so open and candid about his growth-inducing experience. Thanks a lot, Dr. Atew. More power and God be with you.

After the debriefing in Puguis, La Trinidad, we proceeded to visit Dr. Mina at the Benguet State University where debriefing has been done right after the tragic incidents of typhoon Pepeng. After the brief visit to the head of Dr. Mina's department, we headed to their bakeshop where Baguio delicacies were produced and sold. Just look at us, in Chinese Mandarin, we say MAN DZAI ER GWEI (heavily-loaded) after shopping for pasalubong. Or was that a way to de-stress ourselves through shopping?!!!

Some more PICS at the Debriefing of Debriefers in SLU


After the debriefing, we all posed for a souvenir shot. Congratulations everyone!

This was the group of Ms. Christine Acosta of St. Jude Catholic School.

Ms. Techie in action during one of the stages of the debriefing process.

Sincere, warm and unconditional listening is at the heart of the debriefing process. Rene at his best! Talaga naman!

Our IPCAP Debriefing Mission: An Account of Day 2

You have seen the pics of Day 2. Here are some more pics on that very meaningful second day Oct. 30, 2009. Not that the other days were forgettable. This one was simply good because we have seen for ourselves the possibility of debriefing right there onsite and see for ourselves the story come alive in the accounts of those who helped save. Of course we are taught that debriefing has to be done in a safe place. But some of those we debriefed already felt safe to tell their stories right in the place where the stress or trauma happened. This shows their resiliency as well as their willingness to overcome all the odds they went through. This was not the first typhoon they had, but definitely the first landslide that took away their loved ones and once loved.

This was the river in Irisan where many perished. The waters flowing in this picture appear tranquile and harmless. But on the night of Oct. 8-11, the river was a hungry monster devouring land, trees and people. No one was saved save those who were yet to fulfill their mission in life.

We went to an elementary school in Lamtang. This school was supposed to have been published in a newspaper of national circulation. We chanced upon the teachers and the students in their classrooms where we were allowed a simple debriefing, including a dramatization of the children's experience. I blessed them after their debriefing so they will go with peace in their hearts. On our way home, one of the children mentioned to me that he wanted to become a priest when he grows up.

The school sat on a plane overlooking the road below it. But with Pepeng's water aplenty, the land that used to be the place for flag ceremony every morning simply caved in. What was left was about three meters of land, leaving the flag pole standing but also in danger of going down once the land caves in again. Solution? You know it. Hence JUST DO IT!

The teacher-in-charge (TIC) was very welcoming and showed us the extent of the damage. Here she is pointing to the origin of the landslide, at the back of the school where they have a stage for programs. A couple lived in there and rushed to the classrooms as soon as they realized the erosion was getting to be quite a lot, endangering their lives. This school had multi-level classrooms, meaning to say that there are two levels per classroom: Grades 1 & 2 together, 3 & 4 together, and Grades 5 & 6 together, with one teacher per classroom. There is no resident Guidance Counselor in there.

This was on our way back from the school. The children obliged for a souvenir photo with us all. God bless the children.

Our IPCAP Debriefing Mission: An Account of Day 1

Let me account our 1st IPCAP Debriefing Mission in Baguio. This would be Day 1 of that unforgettable exposure. We did this because there was an expressed need there for such an exercise. Thanks to Dr. Lilian Gandeza who led the coordinating work for us to start our mission at Saint Louis University that evening of Oct. 29, 2009. And of course for the generous support of some quarters who would like to remain anonymous. I realize that when a good deed is to be done, many would like to take part even if only through means other than their presence. Thanks to our donors talaga. God bless your generosity.

On board a Nissan van, nine of us plus two drivers went with this trip. Mura lang po ang rent: P3,500 per day sans toll fees and gas. So we had to feed the drivers hehe. Dr. Perlie Polestico of FPCAP had Mr. Rene Arcilla, Joy Dee, Techie Viduya, along with Mr. Cesar Cong of PACC, Christine Acosta of St. Jude Catholic School, Mss. Nila Urrea and Nanette Timbol of UE, and yours truly. We had breakfast at the Petron station in NLEX, then passed through SLEX which for many was their first trip along that beautiful highway. Oh, Joy kept throwing up along the way. But we did not complain. It was the beginning of the debriefing, there in our midst hehe.

By noontime we were in Urdaneta where we ate at KFC after hearing about the story regarding the "featherless" chicken featured in one email I received when I was still having cherubim as my email address.

We had to detour as we reached the early part of the town of Sison. It appeared that the officials came late for the rites to open the Abueg bridge, closed temporarily by the destruction the waters made by the typhoon Pepeng. We went back through Manaoag where the group had a prayerful stopover. From there, we speeded through Kennon Road and saw the amazing waterfalls that dotted the Kennon stretch. We didn't bother to stop by the lion's head since we were in a hurry for the 530PM scheduled Debriefing of Debriefers activity scheduled at the SLU.

We arrived about 4PM at the SVD Retreat House in Sunnyside Baguio. As early as this portion of the account, our sincere gratitude to the SVD Fathers and Brothers who hosted our stay there. After putting down our things in the rooms assigned to us, we headed for SLU. Oh, how many times did we lose our way? But we had quite a group waiting for us: 33 in all. We grouped ourselves with every three of the participants for the debriefing. I for one heard how the Pepeng typhoon brought back among the participants their memories of the 1990 earthquake that shook Baguio (I was in taiwan then studying Theology), an experience participants mentioned as never ever been shared in any debriefing exercise before. We realized how much the need there is among the debriefers, mostly Guidance Counselors, licensed and unlicensed all alike. Hence it was really providential that IPCAP responded to this real need.

We ended about 8PM after which we had a sumptuous supper served us at the Ladies Dorm of SLU. Thanks talaga to SLU. We realized the urgent need for a training in debriefing on our last day, Oct. 31. But that's for another blog to cover.

Here are some pics (looks like I'm limited to 5 pics per blog entry, hence more to follow):

That's Dr. Polestico with her group.

Ms. Nila Urrea and her group.

Ms. Nanette Timbol and her group.

The group I joined. Thanks for the wonderful debriefing. God bless you all.

Oh, this was the opening portion when everyone was in expectancy!

Baguio Pics During our Debriefing Trip

Here are some of the pictures we took along the way during our 1st Debriefing Trip in Baguio last Oct. 29-31, 2009. Pray for the victims and think of what we can do together not simply for them but for our lives as well. God bless

This was the house in Brgy. Irisan (along Naguilian Road) that was washed out by the rampaging mud from the mountain above it. The mud carried bodies of people who were either asleep or trying to fight the surge downwards to the river.

Inside this room were found a mother holding a candle, and a daughter holding in her hand a lighter. They were supposed to light the candle but were slower by a second before the mud took over them and washed them off to the river below their house.

These two pictures show the same house with the mountain above it with its mud flowing down to the street down to the house.

Across the house was a hilly portion where camote was planted, leaving the land bare as in treeless. With so heavy a rainfall, so much volume of water raised the river, eating the base of this mountain. More rain falling on the top, with base eroded, led to the faster erosion of land. Poor creatures indeed.

These we saw on Day 2 of our trip. We were actually scheduled to do debriefing of service providers like the social workers and firemen, but the DSWD was more excited with material goods ("for inventory") than psychological debriefing, hence we changed plans only to be led to this portion of Baguio, thanks to one of our very able and dedicated Registered Guidance Counselor IPCAP Member Reynalyn Padsoyan. We referred to her those whom we saw as needing more in-depth counseling after the debriefing.

Then they requested for prayers. Being the only Catholic priest in the group, I opened my arms and raised a loud prayer to the heavens, asking for forgiveness for our neglect and abuse of the environment. But also very sad at what happened to those who have perished in the dark of the night when the rains fell and eroded the land and houses down tp the river. I begged that the four members of the community who were missing can be found: their bodies if they are dead, and if still alive, may they find generous persons to heal them back to life. One of them had only a girl's leg found, and its identity was determined by the mother who saw her leg.

That night, while having our supper, RGC Reynalyn got a text message saying that the body of Mario Tacloy, the incoming security guard of Irisan National High School was found downstream. We had goosebumps as we ate, realizing that it had been 23 days ago when the event happened. It was only when we were on our way back to Manila last Oct. 31 that RGC Reynalyn further told us that the coffin had to be sealed because only half of the body was found. I couldn't break the news to the rest of the group because we were then having supper in Tarlac. I could only tell them this gruesome truth after the food had settled in our bellies.

This particular portion of the Debriefing Trip made us in IPCAP (at least those of us who were there) think of treeplanting as an advocacy. In case you may know of anybody who has mahogany seedlings, as well as any tree that can grow in highlands and good for holding the land from erosion, let us coordinate our efforts and channel the seedlings to RGC Reynalyn in Irisan, Baguio. The barangay chairman was very sincere about this advocacy and would have wanted it faster before the next heavy rains come. Let us not be afraid to do what is right if only to save Baguio for the next generations.

God bless.