Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry11 Aug 2019 06:33 pm

From Drugs and Jail to Best Seller * Paulo Coelho’s THE ALCHEMIST 26m sold in 56 Languages

26 million sold in 56 Languages
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By Bernie V. Lopez,
Freelance blogger, retired columnist Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Paul Coelho’s life is a story of depression to inspiration, despair to enlightenment, anonymity to fame, poverty to wealth. His life was a roller-coaster ride from darkness to light. His novel The Alchemist, which sold 26 million copies in 56 languages, transported him to stardom.


Born into a conservative Catholic family in Rio de Janeiro, Paulo Coelho, was an introverted rebel who was committed into a mental institution by his parents at the age of 17. He tried to escape three times and was finally released at the age of 20. In the 60s, he dropped out of law school, picked up a backpack, and roamed South America, North Africa, Mexico, and Europe, where he started taking drugs.


He then became a songwriter, where he was influenced by magic and occultism from the music he was immersed in. In 1974, he was arrested and tortured by the military who viewed his lyrics as subversive and dangerous. He worked as an actor, theater director, and journalist before exploding into fame and fortune as a writer.


The beginning of the explosion happened in 1986 when he walked 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela, a noted pilgrim’s road in Northern Spain. There, he saw the light, the same light that blinded St. Paul from a life of persecution to a life of service to the Lord. He had a spiritual awakening that would turn his world upside down, a free fall that would fulfill a long lost dream when he was 17. He began a career in writing on top of his lucrative songwriting profession.


His life was made into a biographical film in 2014. THE PILGRAIM – STORY OF PAULO COELHO, first in Portuguese, then translated into English. One of the producers, Iona de Macedo, told noted international film magazine Screen International, “The film tells the story of a man who has a dream. It’s a little like Alice in Wonderland – he’s someone who is too big for his house.”


The Alchemist was originally published by a small Brazilian publishing firm, then headed for the stratosphere when it was taken by Harper Collins in 1994. When it came out, he was the object of biased press criticism from all sides, being a former drug addict and ‘subversive’ ex-convict. Ironically, the more he was criticized and beaten to a pulp by critics, the more people read his book. That was how he was instantly catapulted into fame.


But why and how did The Alchemist gain so many readers in so short a time. What is its mystique that awed the world? The story was simple but the spirituality profound. The story revolved around a shepherd boy, Santiago, who had a dream. In his travels, he encounters people and places which helped him fulfill his dream. That is the simple story.


Paolo writes, “We all need to be aware of our personal calling.” He says that we all have a path that God chose for us here on earth. Not all have the courage to confront his dream. The obstacles can be immense but love is the stimulus, the energy. We have to overcome the fear of failure, the same fear of a baby eagle during first flight, when he soars or he dies. Paolo knew a lot about failure. He was an ‘expert’ in it.


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Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry10 Aug 2019 06:20 am


eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez,
Freelance blogger, retired columnist Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Facebook Page “Eastwind Journals” / Timeline “Bernie Lopez”


Back in the days when I was an active journalist, I went to Southern Leyte on a tourism research study. And I stumbled on a treasure of stories beyond tourism that would deserve a National Geographic article. Call it serendipity, the ability to “accidentally” stumble on magical experiences and fantastic people and places. Serendipity is a precious psychic gift which defies logic.




Although this happened about 30 years ago, to respect the privacy of people, I will not reveal names and places. I met this mayor (let us call him Ricky) who was the object of my serendipity. He served me dried shark fins fried to a crisp with garlic fried rice for breakfast. The shark fins had this supreme taste beyond those I have tasted in my entire life. Mayor Ricky bought the dried shark fins from fishermen. I asked him to introduce me to a fisherman.


Thus, I met Mang Isko, a lean mean marine veteran in his 50s. He told me dolphins regularly passed through their fishing grounds, the strait between Southern Leyte and Limasawa, which was notorious for strong currents, squalls and sunken vessels. He told me about two fishermen on a pump-boat whose motor conked out, stranded for hours. A dolphin approached and towed them to shore. I said the story was hard to believe. He simply smiled and told me more stories of such rescues, and even dared me to talk to the fishermen themselves.


I had no time and resources to look for those fishermen, but after talking to fisher-folk along the shore, I got the same story. An old man said the stories were legends from their ancestors from the deep ancient past.




The Esqualine story started from a visit by a Japanese, who hired a fisherman to look for the mini-shark, whose fins I had for breakfast. Somehow, he knew, from books perhaps, the shark thrived in the strait. After weeks of identifying where to fish, and weeks of trial and error, the fishermen developed a technique of low-tech deep-sea fishing for the elusive mini-shark. The Japanese bought only the liver of the shark, put it on ice, and gave away the entire shark to the fisherman, who was paid handsomely – 30,000 pesos, quite a fortune then. And so the Japanese came regularly to buy shark liver oil from the fishermen.


Mayor Ricky interviewed the Japanese and found out about the liver oil processed in Tokyo into Esqualine, the wonder drug for the Japanese. He had a plan to make and export the Esqualine himself. It was a certain rare species of a miniature shark, adult size about 4 feet, from which Esqualine was derived. Mayor Ricky, the adventurous entrepreneur, invested on the expensive shark fishing to obtain the fish oil. He developed a low-tech liver extraction process using slow heat from the sun and from ovens. He acquired gels from Manila for capsuling the oil. He succeeded to export his Esqualine, but after a while, the Japanese importers stopped buying. They said he had to remove the ‘fish smell’ in the capsule, which consumers did not like. Finally, Mayor Ricky gave up because extracting the smell out was a highly technical chemical process which involved rare expensive imported re-agents. Nice try, Mayor, but no go.




The ingenious technique developed by the fishermen to fish for the mini-shark was a story in itself. They had a long line which took three hours to reach the bottom of the sea, even with a heavy sinker. The line branched into about 5 to 7 hooks. It would take the shark hours to take the bait. The fishermen would take them more than three hours to bring the heavy shark up. Catching a shark would take around 12 to 15 hours, if they were lucky to catch one. But it was all worth it for 30,000 pesos, which they could not earn from weeks of traditional fishing.


The Japanese I never met, Mayor Ricky, and Mang Isko were three real characters from real life that I stumbled on and never forgot. I write from memory, no notes, no photos, this story that happened about 30 years ago. One never forgets such magical stories drawn from serendipity.


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Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry03 Aug 2019 12:21 am

JESUS VS SATAN * The Global War Between Good and Evil

The Global War Between Good and Evil
eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez,
Freelance blogger, retired columnist Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Facebook Page “Eastwind Journals” / Timeline “Bernie Lopez”


At the Mother Ignacia Healing Center, the heavy life-size statue of St. Michael the Archangel, arch-enemy of Satan, mysteriously fell from its garden pedestal. Sr. Raquel Reodica, RVM said it was an omen of the war between Jesus and Satan, between Good and Evil, that has been going on for the last 2,000 years, and is now rapidly spreading and intensifying worldwide in our age of confusion and conflict. Today, that statue stands outside the adoration chapel where hundreds of terminal-cancer patients were healed, standing guard against Satan. It is scary to imagine that everything violent happening today is due to this war, at home, in our nation, on the open seas. We have to pray and do penance for the triumph of the Good in our hearts and on our planet.


This war is global in scope and encompasses humankind, everyone on Planet Earth. On the geopolitical level, it is a war of nation against nation – in the Middle East, Syria, Iran, Israel, in Asia, North and South Korea, the superpowers America, Russia, China. On the family level, it is a war among brothers and sisters and parents. Sr. Raquel adds a third level, the war inside each of us between Good and Evil. She adds that, in this internal war, when evil triumphs, and gains critical mass, it affects the war on the family, clan, village, national, international levels. Everything and everyone is interconnected in this war.


Jesus gives the warning. “Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted. Many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:10-14 (excerpts).


The last line speaks of the triumph of Evil, which depends on all of us. We must somehow make Good win on an individual, family, global levels. We must pray hard for Mankind to win this war. The ongoing cyberwar exemplifies the confict between Good and Evil. Please click this link-


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Mother Ignacia Healing Ministry01 Aug 2019 04:21 am

THE OBSESSION TO GO VIRAL * The Commercial versus the Spiritual

Go beyond the commercial. Go spiritual
eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez,
Freelance blogger, retired columnist Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Facebook page “Eastwind Journals” / TIMELINE “Bernie Lopez”


Going viral is a means, not an end. If you go viral but your message is junk or irrelevant, you are just satisfying your ego or you have an inner profit motive. You just want to get famous or rich. That’s okay, but beyond the commercial is the spiritual. A million hits on a nice joke has less social value than 10,000 hits on an inspiring message that touches the heart. The message sometimes matters more than the number of hits. Think of the world and society, rather than just yourself, your profits, when you post in the Internet. Touch others. Go spiritual beyond the commercial.


That’s the serious side of Social Media. However, we are not always serious, so there is room for fun, jokes, humor and trivia provided we do not harm or hurt or become unjust to others. If we post a personal secret of a friend, that is a privacy violation. And it is a very serious injustice if it goes viral and a million readers see it. One can ruin the reputation or entire life or career of another with such serious violations.


The Internet, as a communication tool, or call it a ‘weapon’, is like a double–edged sword. It can inspire or agitate, It can give fake news or good news. It can build or destroy. It is a weapon of terrorists, missionaries, businessmen, politicians. It can spy on and sabotage enemies. Cyber wars are a daily occurrence. Big digital corporations amass billions of user data clandestinely and sell them to big unscrupulous clients. You don’t know it, but you may be in their massive data base. Privacy, which is sacred to users, is compromised.


Billions of people use the Internet daily for varying purposes. It is a monstrous system that defies time and location. The Internet is the most powerful communications tool ever in the whole of human history. It brings together billions of people daily, the ultimate convergence of human consciousness. Teilhard de Chardin, SJ, French Theologian, said this convergence is CHRISTO-CENTRIC, meaning all moving towards Christ.


You can reach millions instantly while walking down the street. It gives intimacy among millions of OFWs with their families thousands of miles away. It has made global stars of unknown singers in a blink of an eye. You can make millions selling a magic product. You can also fool people to buy lemon products. In the end, it must reflect the triumph of good over evil, to be relevant to Mankind, not just yourself.


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