JEDDHA, Saudi Arabia - After just a year, the welfare office of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah is once again facing the case of distressed Filipina workers who are apparently being “possessed" by evil spirits.
Just this week, welfare officer Nini Lanto said that four Filipino women were apparently “possessed" by evil spirits living in the balete tree at the back of the runaway shelter. The balete is believed by many Filipinos to be home to many evil spirits and entities.
The shelter, formally called the Filipino Workers Resource Center, has about 50 wards that houses mostly runaway domestic helpers either because of they were abused or were not paid by their employer.
Lanto said that it was about nine in the evening when evil spirits started to “possess" Filipina runaways Jocelyn Zeromines, Farhana Umba, Fatima Jimlan, and Usman Gloria.
“Nagulat talaga ako sa nakita ko ibang-iba ang kanilang mga itsura at nakita ko ang takot sa lahat ng mga nandoroon (I was surprised when I saw what they looked like, I saw the fear in the faces of everyone who witnessed it)," she said.
Zeromines said that the chaos apparently started on Monday morning when one of the Filipina domestic helpers got angry upon learning her SIM card was missing.
“Sa bigla pong pagkawala ng kanyang SIM card ay may isa po kaming kasama ang nagsabi na may nakita siyang babaeng nanalamin bandang alas tres ng madaling araw ng siya ay pumunta sa palikuran," (The person who lost her SIM card said that when she was about to go to the bathroom, she saw a woman looking at herself in the mirror at about three in the morning)," she said.
She said that the person by the mirror looked like of their companions who were actually fast asleep, sparking an argument between the Filipino women workers.
Jennebel Cuaresma, another Filipina at the shelter, said that she got angry at the ruckus brought about by the argument, prompting her to say something that she never thought would happen.
“Narinig ko kasi yung isa na nagsabing bakit daw nagpapaniwala do’n kaya sinabihan ko talaga sila na kung hindi kayo maniwala sige tingnan n’yo mamaya may sasaniban para mapatunayan kaya nagulat talaga ako na nangyari nga (I heard one of them saying that they couldn’t believe the story. I told them that if they don’t want to believe it, someone might get possessed, I was surprised that it really happened)," she said.
Zeromines said that when Umba was apparently being “possessed," she got Goosebumps, making her to return to her room. However, when she got back, she said she suddenly felt her brain being squished while her stomach and chest began to hurt.
After that, she said that all she remembered was asking help from her companions to help pray for her.
Lanto said that when she saw the women being possessed one by one, she immediately asked help from some Born Again Christians to help pray over them.
“Malakas daw ang nakatira doon sabi ng mga nag pray over (According to those who prayed over them, the spirits residing there were pretty strong)," he said.
Moreover, most of the runaways apparently lost consciousness during the time they were “possessed."
“Ang pagkakatanda ko nang nanunumbalik na ang malay ko ay don na ako nag susuka. Hindi po talaga ako naniniwala sa mga sapi sapi nay an pero sa nangyari sa akin ngayon ang masasabi ko lang ay tutuo pala talaga iyon (I remember that when I regained consciousness, I threw up. I really do not believe in being possessed but when it happened to me, I can now honestly say that that kind of stuff really does happen)," said Zeromines.
According to Arab News (www.arabnews.com), similar incidents have happened at the shelter a year before.
In November 2007, five Filipinas reportedly sporadically did weird and scary things, such as crying or screaming in voices that was not theirs. The report said that one would plead for mercy, another would answer in a strange voice, and the other would keep laughing.
Several domestic helpers also have apparently seen a woman either running towards the balete tree or floating beside it.
Meanwhile, Lanto said that everything has finally gone back to normal at the shelter.
She said that they have also reminded those staying at the shelter to not be beaten by whatever is residing there, adding that it is important to have a strong faith, whether you are Christian or not.
There are currently 70 domestic helpers in the care of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration office in Saudi Arabia. - GMANews.TV