eastwind journals30 Apr 2016 12:04 am

TOXIC MAYNILAD WATER urgent consumer advisory

Maynilad admits ‘high manganese level’ in its Laguna Lake raw water supply
eastwind journals 182
By Bernie V. Lopez


Consumers in the southern concession area of Maynilad (Alabang and vicinity) are advised –
not to drink tap water or use it to wash rice or cook soup or brew coffee
because of “high manganese level in the raw water supply” from Maynilad’s Laguna Lake source, as admitted by a Maynilad letter to consumers (see their letter below). Maynilad advised the use of cloth filter, implying that their state-of-the-art water treatment plant at Putatan indeed failed to filter manganese.


MAYNILAD LETTER TO CONSUMERS click photo to blow up and read


Manganese poisoning involves –
This urgent advisory is being sent to consumers because Maynilad’s advisory is insufficient. They simply tell consumers to put a cloth filter on their tap, and/or let tap water stand for a few hours to let allow manganese sediments to settle at the bottom. They did not say if they can fully filter manganese dissolved in water. These are naïve solutions from a prestigious utility which promises safe clean water.
Maynilad has not given vital data, like current levels of toxicity, DOH allowable limits for humans, effects and symptoms of manganese poisoning, and if the Maynilad treatment plant can really fully filter out heavy metals like manganese dissolved in water. They said their water supply is “still within the parameters set by the Philippine Standards for Drinking Water” without giving quantitative figures.

The Maynilad letter blames the current drought and El Nino “causing more sediments such as manganese … to enter our water treatment facility”. Putatan supplies 100 million liters a day of water to less than half a million consumers.

There are hundreds of factories (circa 350 in the 90s) which throw toxic wastes in Laguna Lake, but get away with it by simply paying an “environmental fee” to the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), amounting to millions per year. It is not known if LLDA uses the money for environment clean up. Water sampling conducted about twenty years ago revealed the presence of about 30 toxic heavy metals in Laguna Lake, which is the largest but shallowest lake nationwide. The accumulation of heavy metals in 20-odd years in a lake supplying water to homes is alarming. Perhaps it was a wrong strategy from the onset to tap Laguna Lake water. Should operations of lake firms be suspended until a study is done on their wastes? Should LLDA’s ‘environment fee’ be abolished as it induces more pollution, legalized by ‘fees’, rather than solve it?
Once manganese enters the soil through garden watering, it may seep into the underground water table system, which is irreversible. Its residue may be found at the bottom of home water tanks. It is not known if boiling neutralizes manganese. We are not even sure if drinking water sourced from Maynilad, purified by reverse osmosis, can remove manganese. At “high levels”, as Maynilad puts it, will it be safe to even wash dishes with tap water? Manganese is the tip of the ice berg. There are more deadly heavy metals such as mercury.


The law requires water utility firms to supply clean safe water to consumers. Should Maynilad be held responsible for inability to foresee long term problems in the use of the Laguna Lake source in spite of its sophisticated treatment facility costing billions of pesos? Is this a mismanagement issue?


Should Maynilad be compelled to stop supplying toxic water if they cannot treat it, and look for alternative sources, which may be non-existent, or may take years to fulfill? Will a water crisis force Alabang and neighboring areas to revert back to getting untreated water delivered weekly by trucks, which is inefficient and unhealthy, and may cost as much as ten times more? WE HOPE THIS THIS ARTICLE CAN REACH MAYNILAD TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO ANSWER ALL THESE QUESTIONS. Bernie V. Lopez, contributing columnist INQUIRER, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
An American reply to China’s-recent-missile-test
This guy is trying to say – let the Filipinos do the dirty work and die for us.
“The US should just lend their HIMARS (U.S. light multiple rocket launcher mounted on an army truck frame, 300 km range) to Pinoy soldiers and let the latter test-fire those mobile missiles as often as they like, directed towards the Spratleys islands or where there are Chinese ships roaming around. The Pinoys can claim that they are just practicing with their new toys and the US can disclaim responsibility.”
5 eastwind Meditation Posters
INSERT poster 26b 31a 32a 38 39


eastwind journals22 Apr 2016 08:14 am

beyond human intervention – climate change / refugee crisis

American reply to China’s-recent-missile-test
Let the Filipinos do the dirty work and die for us.
“The US should just lend their HIMARS (U.S. light multiple rocket launcher mounted on an army truck frame, 300 km range) to Pinoy soldiers and let the latter test-fire those mobile missiles as often as they like, directed towards the Spratleys islands or where there are Chinese ships roaming around. The Pinoys can claim that they are just practising with their new toys and the US can disclaim responsibility.”
Climate Change – EU Refugee Crisis
eastwind journals 181
By Bernie V. Lopez


man must begin to understand
how tiny he is in a vast universe
at times he is nature’s master
at times he is nature’s slave
at times he harnesses the storm
at times he chases the wind
he can harness and fashion nature
but he can also cower in helplessness
when nature seeks vengeance
against his greed and lust
wisdom is chasing the wind – ecclesiastes
vanity of vanities, all things are vanity
rivers go to the sea yet the sea is never full
words are eloquent yet empty of meaning
what is crooked cannot be straightened
what is missing cannot be supplied
the greatest wisdom i have learned
is that all wisdom is chasing the wind
in much wisdom there is much sorrow
he who strives for wisdom strives for grief
ecclesiastes 1:1-8, 14-18 
The Climate Conference in Paris was an exercise in futility. The agreement of 175 nations to optionally make their own targets on reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions has no teeth. 82% of these gases are human-catalyzed carbon dioxide. Is climate change irreversible and beyond human intervention?


To reverse the situation before it is too late, we have to abolish cars, industries, stop energy generation or simply reduce population by 80%, in other words, commit global suicide. US, China, and India are the three largest greenhouse-gas culprits. With their faltering economies, survival is first national before it is global. The US did not sign the Montreal Protocol under pressure from big business, which is stifled as a result. Greed is viewed by environmentalist as the foremost catalyst to a climate-change global crisis. In the next few years, trillions of dollars will be spent to address climate change, and the dent may be very small.
They were in frenzy in Paris, celebrating a seemingly monumental achievement, the planet standing united against climate change. True, there are and will be creative innovative solutions. But most may be very expensive for an ailing global economy. And their overall impact may not make a real dent. Many say we can do something about it even on the backyard level. But will that ‘something’ matter or do we just want to feel good that we are not giving up without a fight?


An increase in global temperature of just two degrees Celsius means unimaginable global disasters, that the sea level could rise a few meters in a few decades, drowning tthousands of cities and millions of people. Extreme climate change is already happening – floods, droughts, famines, forest fires. These are not predictions but a reality.


Scientists pose that, on the macro level, with hundreds of variables, climate change is so complex that it is still essentially a mystery today. It defies a central solution. They say it is, like El Nino and earthquakes, partly caused by inter-planetary alignments of the Earth with the sun and other planets. Man, even if he had deep scientific knowledge, has no control over these cosmic forces. They talk of a cycle of tens of thousands of years of ice ages that have come and gone. They say our brand of climate change had been determined as far back as the last ice age. It is useless to point fingers. Whether it is Man or cosmic forces or both that cause all this, the situation may be irreversible, beyond understanding and intervention.


There is one school of thought that says we can do it, we can fight, and we feel good we have a sense of achievement. But are we really achieving or is it an illusion? There is another school of thought that says climate change is inevitable and beyond human intervention, that we are trapped and are helpless. Yet it does not mean we just sit in the dark. Somewhere in between perhaps lies an answer if there is truly one.


NATO’s vast resources is not enough to contain the flood of refugees. NATO cannot police the entire Mediterranean. No EU-Turkey deal can stop the refugees. They can build walls, set up barb wires, but they cannot contain the refugees, who would rather die than go home.


Already the refugee crisis has polarized brother against brother in the host nations. They are fighting each other in the streets for or against the refugees, who stand at the roadside watching in awe and silence. A new type of deadlier war is evolving, not nation against nation but nation against itself. Will EU nations implode soon? Is the EU Refugee Crisis beyond human intervention?
Despair is the catalyst to a flood of unstoppable suicidal humans, an irresistible force and there is no immovable object yet. It is the law of equilibrium. Heat seeks cold. Poverty seeks wealth. Despair seeks hope. War-torn people seek peaceful places. Chaos seeks harmony.
Even if there are really no terrorists among refugees, the earlier benign migrants who have been in Paris for 15 years are suddenly fired up by western drones killing women and children. Ordinary waiters are radicalized and become instant jihadists. Terror technology transfer is rapid and easy through the Internet. The cry for the caliphate spreads across the globe like wildfire. Terror technology grows more sophisticated by the minute.
Is this one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse? Is this the era of tribulation that precedes the thousand-year peace prophesied in the Book of Revelation. If the refugee crisis is beyond human intervention, is this God’s way of showing His wrath for our greed and corruption and indifference and cruelty? Or is it simply Mans self-destruct nature? eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com


eastwind journals13 Apr 2016 07:39 am

CAN REED BANK BRING PEACE? dealing with china

Dealing with China – Bread not Bullets
eastwind journals 180
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
the way we look at things molds our destiny
the world does not form us
we form ourselves within the world
our destiny is in our hands
our neighbor’s destiny is in our hands
what we think is what we are
if we think bread we shall be nourished
if we think bullets we shall perish
if we think peace we shall inherit the earth
if we think war it shall engulf us
Click photo to blow up
The Google Earth Map pre-labeled by the author shows two opposing US-China military triangles eyeball to eyeball. China’s ‘Missile Triangle’ consists of Woody Island in the Paracels, and Fiery Cross Reef and Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratlys (read more – China’s-Missile-Triangle).’
The US ‘Base Triangle’ consists of Subic Naval Base and Clark Field Airbase in Luzon, and Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan, which are part of the 5-identified bases in the recent Supreme-Court-endorsed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which in turn is complimentary to the Philippine-US mutual defense agreement Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).
Right smack in the middle is Reed Bank (Recto) where the multi-billion-peso exploration of a Philippine-British consortium (Philex Petroleum Corp. and Forum Energy Plc.) was recently stopped by the Department of Energy, upon recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs, due to the ongoing Philippine territorial claims at a UN court in The Hague, which is expected to be decided upon in early 2017.
Reed Bank, a mere 70 nautical miles from Zambales, is part of the Philippine’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as provided by the UN Conference of Law of Sea (UNCLOS). There is debate whether the recent Philippine Baseline Law lessens or strengthens territorial claims based on the UNCLOS provision.
According to 3D seismic surveys of a UK-based energy exploration firm in 2006, there are 3.4 trillion cubic feet of gas in Reed Bank, 21% more than that in Malampaya. Gas benefits our energy needs because it cannot be easily exported in large volume as much as oil through pipelines. China earlier filed a protest with the Philippines concerning the Reed Bank exploration.
Is a trilateral partnership among China, the Philippines, and Britain possible? This is the key to peace – bread not bullets, our military alliance with the US descending and our economic alliance with China ascending, a sparrow perched on the bear’s shoulder and flying with the eagle wingtip to wingtip. There were previous talks of a mining partnership between Philex and the China National Offshore Oil Co. Ltd. (CNOOC). Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
the giant and the ant
we, a puny ant
can shape our destiny
with the giant
if only we believe we can
eastwind journals20 Mar 2016 07:41 am

CAREER ADVISE FOR NEW GRADS – an easter prayer

CAREER ADVISE FOR NEW GRADS - phil daily inquirer
An Easter Prayer
eastwind journals 179
By Bernie Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
An Easter Prayer
with IEDs becoming more sophisticated
do we perhaps discern a message from the Lord
Who permits our enemies to overwhelm us
as in the days of exile in Babylon?
He has not abandoned us
rather, we have abandoned Him
Lord, give us the grace
to return to your fold
Lord, restore our fortunes as in the days of midian
for we are all in the pre-departure area, ALL
women and children, beggars and tycoons
refugees and hosts, muslims and christians
make us discern that pain can come from You
and we offer them back to You as prayer
to atone for our sins
we surrender our will to Your divine will
O Risen Christ who died for our sins



Career Advise to New Grads
I was then a young computer programmer and disgruntled with New York City as a “spiritual desert.” So I flew to Europe on an adventure of a lifetime—which I dubbed “eastwind”—drifting through 18 countries and hitchhiking 18,000 kilometers for three long years. I reached the fringes of the Sahara in North Africa, and the icy villages of Sweden. I hiked 80 km for seven days from Lisbon to Fatima as a pilgrim, asking Our Lady to please help me look for myself as I was terribly lost. She granted my prayer. I did “find” myself, but only decades later, abandoning a computer career and shifting to journalism. I also wrote sci-fi Hollywood screenplays, but I could not find a Spielberg or Lucas to review them.


After 20 years, I wrote a book on my travels called “Wings and Wanderlust—The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self.” I wrote from memory, no notes, just pure stream of consciousness a la Dostoyevsky. I wrote the 243-page book in a span of two weeks, hardly sleeping, fearing I would lose momentum. I found myself mixing verses about life with adventure anecdotes. It was not just a travelogue. It began to dawn on me that it was also a philosophy paper on the meaning of life. I asked a classmate at the Ateneo, who had a doctorate in Eastern philosophy, to offer it to his class as complementary reading.
For Ateneo students, the book is available at the Loyola Bookstore at a discounted student price of P350. You can also send the book to friends anywhere in the Philippines via JRS for an additional P70.00 (or a total of P420), an affordable gift at the click of a mouse. Simply place an order at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. You will get instructions how to pay. For non-Ateneans, the cost via courier is P470.



The comments of his students (which I put on the book’s back cover) awed me. Said one student: “The book serves as an inspiration for people who have lost their way (or, like new graduates, have not found it yet), and are trying to find meaning in their lives.” Another said: “At first, I thought I was doing the author a favor through my review, but found out later he was doing me a favor.” Yet another said: “As I read, I realized that I can renew myself and reinvent myself, that I am full of possibilities.”


I realized then that my book was a kind of career guide for new grads looking for themselves and for a career, as I did decades ago. One verse goes: “The more I did not plan, the better the experience. The more I tried to get lost, the more I discovered. The more I did not care what happened, things happened.”


In Barcelona, I threw away the tourist map and just drifted through the streets. I later discovered that I saw all the beautiful things by sheer serendipity—Barceloneta, Ramblas, Castell Montjuïc, Sagrada Familia. It was a mind-boggling discovery. Then did I learn that not planning is a form of planning, that chaos is a form of harmony and harmony a form of chaos, that I could see in the darkness if I did not use my eyes, that I could see the light only after I saw the darkness.


My advice to new grads is to DELAY any decisions because these are most probably theoretical. I had an uncle who took dentistry, then nursing, then criminology, then ended up in the US Navy, and worked as a post office clerk when he retired. You have a dream and a vision, but that may not be reality when you get there. You may want to be a doctor to help people and find out later that you can’t stand hospitals. Your idealism is theoretical. You must base your career decisions on experiential wisdom, not the theoretical wisdom you learned in school (with exceptions like on-the-job training and immersions).


The best way to get experiential wisdom is to travel, meet people, immerse yourself in other cultures, or work as a janitor (as I did in Amsterdam) or a construction worker. Then will you realize what you are and who you are and what you want to be. So if your dad says you “should” go to Harvard, don’t refuse. Simply say, “Later, dad. Let me first discover myself, see the world, gain experience not in work, not in another school, but in life.” It is the best graduation gift he can give you, believe me. Wander in Costa del Sol in Spain for three months, the Big Apple for two weeks, the Canary Islands for two months, etc. Travel, not to see places, but to meet people. After six months on the road, I had about 400 addresses of people from all over Europe wanting me to visit them. I met them in hostels, camping grounds, strange places. My itinerary changed from visiting places to visiting people.


If you tell a child not to touch a candle flame, he/she has theoretical wisdom. If he/she does anyway, and feels the heat, he/she has experiential wisdom that will never be forgotten. That is the meaning of learning. Our schools are full of theories and illusions. You must take flight and see the world before it is too late and you are too old. If you have no money, work to get your wings.
Click photo to blow-up.


One verse in my book goes: “If you look for yourself, you see total darkness. If look for the other, you see blinding light. Love is the essence of all being. Discover yourself by discovering the other. You are a mirror of the other, and the other a mirror of you.”


Realize that if you look inward, you cannot see yourself. If you look outward, you see yourself and the entire universe. Move from selfish to selfless. Gain experiential wisdom. Be brave. Take risks. No guts, no glory.
Feedback from a reader of the book -
Hi Mr Lopez,
I didn’t want your book to end. For 3 days, I was transported to your world of 4 decades ago – I ‘watched’ as you hitchhiked from city to city, slept in unlikely places (and slept with… – just kidding), met loads of wonderful people but more so – discovered the magic in them, and so much more. What an adventure! What a life.
I didn’t seek to be changed by your book. It was just curiosity at first.  But there were so many lessons there that spoke to me and made me realize an alternative life is possible – simplicity, non-planning, serendipity, the small magical things, and yes, chasing one’s dreams no matter what age – why not? Not easy, but yes, why not. As Yoda said, ‘Do or do not. There is no try.’ :)
Thank you for sharing your experiences in a book. I wish much more people could read it. I wish it could be in mainstream, not so much for the success but for the reach. I am guessing there are so many others out there searching for themselves. And wanting to fly.Till then.Best regards,
To order the book, send email to eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com. For Philippine residents, the price is P470 (for Ateneans P420), free courier service to your home or office, sent within 2 to 3 days upon payment. An affordable elegant gift to friends anywhere in the Philippines at the click of a mouse. For Ateneo students, buy at the Loyola Bookstore at the college campus at a discounted price.
Original Inquirer article without photos –

Next Page »