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Empowering the Philippines Mission: JB’s Story

Updated on May 12, 2014

I participated in a training workshop on tapping trauma healing technique that was conducted in 2 days with adifferent set of participants on both days. The participants were all connected with the Social Services office of the Philippine government.

On the first day, a young man’s story particularly stood out. JB, a government social worker, was home on that fateful early morning when the super typhoon struck Tacloban city. The day before the storm struck everyone was encouraged to evacuate. JB was very hesitant, thinking that it had never been that bad before in all the years that they have lived in that house which was near the shore and called Fisherman’s Village.

The day came and he awoke to very strong winds which he described as sounding monstrous, reminding him of demons. There was a lot of whistling and roaring of the wind. Then the worst started. Their roof was blown away by the hurricane-like wind. Roofs made of G.I. sheets from other houses were flying in all directions. Water reached as high as 10 feet.

JB, together with his mother, sister and 3 siblings decided to hide under a table. As the water was rising quite fast and with a strong current at that, he and his family thought quickly that they needed to have something stable to hold on to.

Yes, there was fear, but, the power of prayer was able to calm him that time. He fervently prayed that they be protected against flying debris so as not to get injured or die.

After a few hours, when the water started to go down, but with the still strong winds, they decided to find a place to stay in as their house was totally damaged. Then his thoughts immediately focused on their other basic needs which are food and water, of which there was none of.

As he looked around he realized that their whole village was washed out - no buildings, no houses, no structures remained erect. And being employed with DSWD, he knew relief would usually take 3 days before it would reach areas affected. He then admitted that he was one of the thousands of people reported in the media that stormed the supermarkets to get canned goods and water. All he could think of was to get food for his 3 younger siblings, especially.

He said desperation drove him to do it and the thousands more who also did it. Everybody felt the same. Rich, poor, law enforcers, government employees, private citizens - all were desperate to survive.

He settled his family in an evacuation center and went out to see what he could do to help others. On the streets all he could see were vehicles, houses and buildings all ravaged by the typhoon. Dead bodies were everywhere. He met friends and relatives on the streets all looking for their dead.

He recounted that this was the most traumatic part of his whole experience. To see people lying on the streets on top of each other, all lifeless and suffered tragic deaths, was so horrifying for him. Among everything that he saw, what left a heavy feeling in him was a battered body of a young girl, many old men with shattered faces and so many more walking around aimlessly with big gaping and bleeding wounds all over their bodies. The thought that he could have been one of them lying dead on the streets then greatly scared him.

Since then, he decided to just be grateful that despite losing their house and other basic needs, he and his family survived, and more amazing was that, no one among them suffered any injury.

He was asked by the mission organizer, Sebastiaan, to speak in front of the group and talk about his personal experience of the calamity. In the process, Sebastiaan would demonstrate how to work on every particular disturbing emotion with Emotional Freedom Technique tapping or EFT tapping to release his bad amotions about it, one by one, so all of it would eventually be eliminated.

When the participants were divided into smaller groups later to practice the method themselves and also to learn how to conduct it on others, I was fortunate to become his partner. He told me that he initially felt skeptical about EFT and found it silly to watch so he had a lot of doubts when he came in to join.

The truth is, before the tapping workshop, he refused to talk about his whole experience with anybody. In group gatherings, he would just keep quiet when everybody else would be discussing what they went through. He wanted to shut off his memory of that day and refused to remember any incident related to it. During the workshop, he said, the amazing effect on him of EFT tapping is that he can now freely talk about everything, including every single detail, without any heavy feeling.

And I could definitely attest to that.


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