November 2016

eastwind journals30 Nov 2016 03:31 pm

Christmas Stories * The Wolf and the Lamb * Piligrimage to Fatima

Christmas Story No. 1 – THE WOLF AND THE LAMB
Facebook Page “Eastwind Journals(no. 197)
the wolf shall be the guest of the lamb
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat
there shall be no harm or ruin on all My holy mountain
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord
as water covers the sea
Isaiah 11:1-10, excerpt
By Bernie V. Lopez
It is at the heart of the Big Apple, along Central Park West, where our Christmas story unfolds. A vicious wolf named Tiger and a gentle lamb named Dove, predator and prey, stumble on each other. Ex-con Tiger is trying hard to restore his life. He has a sidewalk fruit stand. Everyone on the block fears his terrible temper, which he is trying hard to control. A teenage boy attempts to steal a pear. Tiger sees him from the corner of his eye. He goes to the boy and wallops him. The boy is bleeding on the forehead. Dove comes to the rescue. 

Seeing this, Dove, 5 years old, comes up to Tiger and picks up an apple. She steps between Tiger and the boy. She offers her hand with a wad of paper bills. Tiger sees a twenty-dollar bill and takes it, and gives her change of $3.50. The boy scurries away.

DOVE. My, you got a terrible temper. For a measly pear, the boy does not deserve a bloodied forehead. May I pay for his pear?

TIGER. But he didn’t get the pear.

DOVE. I’ll buy it anyway and give it to him. Here. (She offers the wad of bills again. Tiger takes another 20, smiling, and gives a change of another $3.50.) He lives at a basement staircase around the corner, and when it snows, he sneaks into the confessional box of the church three blocks away. One day, the priest had to hear confessions and threw him out. I gave him a duck-down sleeping bag, the kind Mt. Everest climbers use, you know? So now he sleeps warm even at ten degrees below, even if the snow is three inches on top of the sleeping bag. I gave him a backpack so he carries his home everywhere he goes. Next time, let him steal a fruit and I will pay for it.

TIGER. You must be rich.

DOVE. My father owns this building right here. I heard you were in jail for ten years. What was it like?

TIGER. I don’t wanna talk about it. (Dove turns around to leave.) No wait. Talk to me. I have no one to talk to.

Tiger gets a second stool. They talk for a good hour, in between fruit buyers. Tiger pours out all the pain he had in jail. Dove is wide-eyed, occasionally saying “Really?”

DOVE. I see a tear. You’re crying.

TIGER. Why not? Big boys cry, you know. I’m not ashamed.

DOVE. That’s good. Let it all out. It’s a good feeling. I have to go.

TIGER. Can we talk again tomorrow?

DOVE. Sure. I’ll drop by after school.

TIGER. Hey, wait. I owe you. I short changed you twice.

DOVE. I know. Keep it but give the kid an apple a day until the $40 runs out.

TIGER. He won’t come near me anymore.

DOVE. Yes, he will. I will tell him you’re sorry.

And so the Tiger and the Dove become the best of friends. All the way until Christmas, they talk for an hour a day, snow or no snow. Every time, the Tiger has precious tears to shed. He unloads his darkness on Dove, the light, until there is no more darkness.

TIGER. You must teach me how to be a child once more.

DOVE. You’re doing fine, actually.

TIGER. The child in me was long gone.

DOVE. It’s back. I’ve been talking to the child for weeks now. Hey, I got a gift for you. (She gives him a big paper bag.) Mt. Everest material.

TIGER. Wow, a duck-down ski jacket.

DOVE. You’re crying again.

TIGER. I have nothing to give you.

DOVE. You gave me your time. Time is a spiritual gift. A jacket is a material gift. Which is better?

TIGER. I admire your intuitive wisdom.

DOVE. What’s intuitive?

TIGER. Knowing something without knowing why. Like you knew I was conning you with the $20 change.

DOVE. It was a bait to save the boy.

TIGER. Now I know.

DOVE. I envy you.

TIGER. A bad-tempered ex-con like me, clinging to a stupid fruit stand?

DOVE. Yup. You’re luckier that my dad, a tycoon so busy maintaining his stupid empire, his dying from it. He has heart and kidney problems. The more he sees a doctor, the more he gets sick. You wanna swap with my dad, kinda like The Prince and the Pauper?

TIGER. No thanks. I can manage the blizzard. Simplicity brings happiness to old men.

DOVE. Right, that’s intuitive wisdom. You also have it.

TIGER. What happens when you inherit your dad’s empire?

DOVE. I dunno. I kinda like to sell everything. But what happens to the thousands of employees?

TIGER. They will be retained by the new owner.

DOVE. What if he’s greedy and not as generous as my dad?

TIGER. Who will run the empire then?

DOVE. A nice kind soul. Haven’t found him yet. I’m not yet looking. He’s not dying yet. Hello!!!

TIGER. Oh, sorry. A kind soul, that’s a rare find these days.

DOVE. You keep seeing darkness when there is light all around. I can keep 10% of the empire and go somewhere.

TIGER. Ah, the Greek Islands, Tibet, some paradise somewhere.

DOVE. Nope. I’m not looking for a place but for people I can help. People are paradises you know.

TIGER. Wow, more intuitive wisdom.

DOVE. Someone said, “If your heart is kind, you can see forever.” And kindness is contagious. I heard you gave the boy a job tending your stand while you talk to the trees in Central Park.

TIGER. To keep me sane. That’s my meditation garden. Merry Christmas, my Santa Klaus.

DOVE. Merry Christmas, my child.

Euphoric Tiger gives Dove a violent high-five. She almost falls from her stool.

Bernie V. Lopez

in the winter of our lives
we sometimes stumble on spring
blinding light in the dark of night
dew drops in the vast dry desert
a sudden lull in the midst of a storm
Christmas Story No. 2 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA – a 7-day 80-km hike
Excerpt from the book
WINGS AND WANDERLUST – The Art of Discovering Your Inner Self
The book is the adventure of a lifetime of a Filipino in Europe hitchhiking for three long years through 18 countries.
I was on the road again, hitchhiking from Brussels to Canary Islands on a frenzied pace. I headed north for spring, hitting Lisbon like a lightning bolt. It was time to stop soaring and to start gliding gently. I embarked on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima, a 7-day 80-kilometer hike from Lisbon. This was the time of meditation and soul searching, to pray that I could “find myself” somehow, to pray for light in an era of darkness. After the spiri­tual desert of New York, I wandered aimlessly, looking for an oasis somewhere in the vastness. Strangely, my Christmas story happened on the month of April, Day 4 of the pilgrimage.
I was on the road again, hitchhiking from Brussels to Canary Islands on a frenzied pace. I headed north for spring, hitting Lisbon like a lightning bolt. It was time to stop soaring and to start gliding gently. I embarked on a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Fatima, a 7-day 80-kilometer hike from Lisbon. This was the time of meditation and soul searching, to pray that I could “find myself” somehow, to pray for light in an era of darkness. After the spiri­tual desert of New York, I wandered aimlessly, looking for an oasis somewhere in the vastness. Strangely, my Christmas story was on the month of April, day 4 of the pilgrimage.
I left half of my things in Lisbon, keeping my backpack weight to 1.5 kilos for the long distance hike on beach san­dals. I had a sleeping bag, no tent (my guardian angel made sure it would not rain, except a drizzle on day 4, and for a reason), extra pants and shirt, matches and candle (no flashlight), a map, and uncooked food of bread, fruits, sausages, and wine or milk on a skin bag (no cooking gear). 
I took the bus to the outskirts of Lisbon. As I walked north, the city gradually faded; the traffic vanished; the noise dwindled. I was tired at the end of day 1, but it was good for the soul. After dinner, I slept early. I slept in the open air most of the time, anywhere convenient in the farm fields. In the early morning of day 2, I was in the purity and magic of the Portuguese country­side. All of a sudden, there were quaint villages. The road narrowed but never ended.
I prayed the rosary about 4 times a day. I did about 2 kilo­meters per hour, or one kilometer in 20 to 30 minutes. I walked about 10 kilometers a day for about 5 to 6 hours, minus rest and lunch, from 7 am to 5 pm. I hiked the 80 kilometers to Fatima in seven days.
In the morning of day 2, I brushed my teeth in a quaint village fountain at the cen­tral plaza, as if it were my hotel suite. I awoke at six o’clock and did not have breakfast until nine. I bought provisions in small village stores. I pre­ferred milk from wine in my skin bag during this gruel­ling work out.
On day 3, entering a small village, a bunch of children ran to greet me. They were all shouting “Peregrino, peregrino” (pilgrim). They crowded each other, giggling and staring at me. They suddenly dis­persed into a nearby orchard, and came back with 2 kilos of peaches. I could only take half a kilo. An old woman came out of a house, shouting at the children. They stole the peaches, I surmised. I waved and smiled at her. Her anger dissipated into a smile. I had to eat them right away because they were getting heavy. The children followed me to the edge of the village. They were singing and shouting and I felt embarrassed because people would come out of their houses and stare. After the village, the silence screamed at me. 
On day 4, my Christmas story began, strangely in the month April
on the fourth day, there was a slight drizzle
so I asked a farmer
if I could sleep in his sheep’s shed
the shed had a certain sheep odor
that was a bit offensive
all of a sudden, the birth of Jesus
came to me in a flash
the drizzle was perhaps sent by the Lord
to give Light that I was asking for
I suddenly realized how it defies the imagination
that the Creator of the universe
was humble enough to permit Himself
to be born in a crib meant for new-born sheep
in a sheep shed which smelled
the hay of such a crib is itchy on the skin
the swaddling cloth helps
but still the God who made all of us
did not stay in a three star inn
but a no-star sheep shed
His power must be awesome and limitless
to be able to do this
the omnipotent God
in total humility born in a manger
at whose side powerful kings
and winged angels knelt in adoration
On day 5, I spent the night under an olive tree on top of a knoll. I could see the panorama of the valley below, olive trees all around, reminding me of Gethsemani. There was a stone fence down below twisting and turning, vanishing into the bluish mist. It looked like a paint­ing. I heard the faint peal of sheep bells. I wondered if the bells were tolling for me, not for the end but for the beginning of my life.
It was here that Our Lady of Fatima gave me the gift of inner peace. It was overwhelming. I was almost in tears. It was my ‘reward’ from Our Lady, her way of showing her pres­ence. The moment was intense and magical. I can never forget that feeling because it was so clear, so overpowering, and so rare in a lifetime full of schedules and tasks and storms and whirlwinds. It was the gift of inner peace. In hind sight, I would be a journalist, and I would write many articles on Our Lady of Fatima and her messages of salvation and disaster.
inner peace may not always be a gift
you may have to earn it
when you finally find it
you will discover it was there all the while
inside your soul long before you were born
On day 6, my pace was faster to make it to Fatima by day 7. There it was at a distance, the gothic spires reaching up to the heavens. I reached Fatima at night, and ended up sleeping outside the giant portals of the church. Every hour, until dawn, the huge bells rang and echoed in my soul. I could hardly sleep. 
At the crack of dawn of day 7, I was up, afraid the early church goers might see me sprawled at the door step of the church. Everything was grey and misty. At a dis­tance, I dis­cerned a crowd. It was an early out­door Mass near where they had a spring of the miraculous water that had cured thousands of people in the last few decades. After Mass, I put some water from the spring on my forehead. That was the end of the pil­grimage. I was not expecting any miracles. After the pilgrimage, I was no longer worried about “finding myself”. I somehow knew it would come in its own time, this self-discovery. After the pilgrimage, I knew eastwind would end in a nice way. I lost my angst at Fatima.
It was strange. I could go from total dark­ness to blinding light without flinching. It was as if I was longing for it and was expecting it. It was like the ice-water shower after half an hour in the steam room at Amsterdam’s Melkeweg. Life on the road was a pendulum swing, from the chaos of Las Palmas to the serenity of the Papagayo cave, from passion with Vicky to prayer at Fatima, from total solitude in Madrid to total immer­sion in Andorra. I took the bus back to Lisbon, picked up my stuff, and hitched north with my guitar towards Coimbra and Santander and the mystique of the Basque people. I was sporting a brand-new soul.
To order the book, email It is a great Christmas gift, no shopping, no fuss, a click away from your keyboard, cheap (500 pesos including postage), sent within 3 days by courier to anywhere in the Philippines.

5 Stars *****
01 Glee – God rest ye merry gentlemen
02 enya – adeste fidelis (o come all ye faithful)
03 lindsey stirling – violin – what child is this
04 mormon tabernacle choir – o come all ye faithful (adeste fidelis)
05 carlton forrester – piano – what child is this
4 Stars **** old
06 nat king cole – chestnuts roasting on an open fire
07 bing Crosby – i’ll be home for christmas
08 frank Sinatra – have yourself a merry little christmas
09 johnny mathis – silver bells
10 Julie Andrews – it came upon a  midnight clear
4 Stars **** new
11 charice pempengco – oh holy night
12 carrie underwood – do you hear what I hear?
13 the norman luboff choir – the little drummer song
14 mormon channel – o little town of Bethlehem
15 17 lindsey stirling – violin – silent night



eastwind journals24 Nov 2016 03:53 am


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By Bernie V. Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer Opinion Writer
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits and notification.
Disclaimer – the views in this article are the author’s alone.
Listen to music as your read. FUSION JAZZ by FOURPLAY
101 Eastbound LIVE japan *****
Bali Run LIVE java jazz fest 2008 *****


Duterte is right in saying that, ultimately, shabu will destroy the very fabric of Philippine society from the grassroots (small time users-pushers) to the apex (drug lords and their cooperators, the police, military, local government). About half of heinous crimes can be attributed to shabu. Duterte is right in saying that neutralizing addicts will dramatically bring down the crime rate. Can we contain or reverse the drug menace? This depends on the extent of the ‘drug kingdom’ and our political will.

First, the war on drugs has a moral dilemma, which ultimately may boomerang. It cannot morally justify judicial killings, which the Church and human rights advocates condemn. There is thus a moral price to pay for an effective war on drugs.

The reported more than 4 million shabu users nationwide is conservative. There may be more. Before Duterte’s war on drugs, the shabu trade was reaching its climax without the knowledge of former President Noynoy. The drug lords from China, largest source of shabu, invaded the Philippines, largest shabu market in Asia. This was a drug lord’s paradise – no death penalty, a large expanding market, complete protection and cooperation from the police, mayors, generals. It was a huge industry of trillions of pesos per year going haywire. No one was stopping the irresistible force.

Before Duterte’s reign, both cities and rural areas became flooded with shabu, bringing down prices dramatically. The pushers started targeting the poor to buy shabu to get rid of the oversupply. Farmers, tricycle and jeepney drivers could now afford shabu. We are at the edge of a nationwide drug explosion, addicts from all levels of society from peasants to millionaires, farmers, lawyers, students, policemen, congressmen.

Addiction makes drugs unstoppable. It is virtually irreversible. Rehab does not always work. An addict, with a successful two-year rehab, can go back to shabu at a snap of a finger when a friend knocks at the door. Peer pressure can destroy the strongest of will power. Desperate addicts prefer to risk death for a hit. They are homicidal and suicidal all at once. It is a dead end.

The emergency solution is to immediately stop not so much the users-pushers but the source, the drug lords and their protectors and their shabu factories. This needs the cooperation of both police, intelligence agents, and the NBI. The dilemma, which made Bato weep, is – some law enforcers are also the law breakers. Drug test is the simplest cheapest most effective way to identify users. Drug tests must be done on a massive scale at all levels of society – policemen, mayors, generals. Can Duterte do this?

The supply from China, the couriers must also be stopped immediately, the ships or planes that bring in the shabu or input chemicals. This needs the help of the Bureau of Customs, the Coast Guard, and the Airport Officials, many of whom, again, may also be in on the take. Duterte needs to field spies and agents to find out the true situation on the ground in terms of both shabu factories and supplies from China, especially of input chemicals for local factories. Finally, Duterte’s drug war needs a bilateral treaty with China.

One medium-sized drug lord can easily supply 15 to 20 kilos of shabu to 25,000 to 100,000 users within two to three towns. Kerwin, the Drug King, was supplying an entire region, Eastern Visayas, made up of many provinces. He could have been handling easily 1 to 2 tons a month for the whole region, involving tens of billions of pesos. Behind him was a labyrinth of law-enforcers-law-breakers. Getting a drug king like Kerwin has tremendous impact on supply and distribution.

The drug war which has killed about 4,000 (and rising) has hardly made a dent because majority of those killed or arrested are users-pushers in drug dens on the street level. There were some drug lords neutralized on the top level, but perhaps not enough. This has a dramatic impact on supplies stashed somewhere. Prices go up because of the war on drugs. Stashed supplies can be sold later when the situation cools down. Killing 5 big-time drug lords at the top is more important than killing ten thousand users at the bottom.

Neutralizing the drug lords, the source, may not work long term, because, like water seeking crevices, there will be new sources and new drug lords to replace the killed or jailed ones. This is the American experience in their decades-old war on drugs. Drugs can only be lessened by not eradicated completely. Addicts will forever seek new sources even if it means death. The tremendous demand from millions of addicts forces the makers and distributors drool over big bucks.

In summary, the story The Shabu Addict ( gives us some lessons – 1) Love and caring is more a solution than rehab centers. 2) The beginning of shabu addiction is pain, loneliness, depression, being unloved. Shabu momentarily erases all bad feelings. Hence, psychological addiction. 3) Peer pressure (barkada) can nullify years of painstaking rehab. 4) Stage 5 of shabu addiction is suicide, psychosis, heinous crimes, numbness of the spirit. At a point, it is irreversible. The addict is trapped and he knows it, hence suicide. Let us pray for them. May the Lord have mercy on their souls. Bernie V. Lopez,

E-book healing stories of Sr. Raquel, free download
eastwind journals24 Nov 2016 03:35 am

THE SHABU ADDICT – based on a true Christmas story

THE SHABU ADDICT – based on a true Christmas story
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By Bernie V. Lopez
Philippine Daily Inquirer Opinion Writer
Permission is granted to re-publish with credits and notification.
Disclaimer – the views in this article are the author’s alone.
Listen to music as your read. FUSION JAZZ by FOURPLAY
101 Eastbound LIVE japan *****
Bali Run LIVE java jazz fest 2008 *****


Ultimately, long-term use of shabu results in psychosis, when brain cells are damaged on a massive scale beyond repair. A billionaire from Ayala Alabang, a drug-lord-addict, lost everything – family, business empire, home, in a single year. I hope shabu addicts from high and low places can read this story of Rene, an Atenean.
THE SHABU ADDICTBased on a True Christmas Story
Clinical Effects of Shabu
The entire family is on the way to the Mother Ignacia Healing Center in Novaliches to visit Sr. Raquel, the so-called ‘cancer-healer of the Lord’. There is heavy traffic. Outside, they can see Christmas lights for sale lining the sidewalks. (Names have been changed, dialogue reconstructed.)

JENNIFER (eldest daughter, 20 years old) – Pay me back the jewelry you stole, otherwise I will call the police.

RENE (only son, 18) – That’s only jewelry. Gold and diamonds are nothing.

Jennifer grabs Rene by the hair, who is seated up front. Rene does not resist. Monica (youngest, 14) tries to stop her. Jennifer let’s go, and sobs loudly.

JENNIFER – (While sobbing) Just kill yourself. I have no brother.

MOTHER (affluent businesswoman at 50) – Stop it. Jennifer, fix your make up. We’re almost there. (Jennifer wipes tears darkened by eye shade. She keeps on sobbing.)

RENE – Why is it that I have to quarrel with the three of you? I am always alone, even in the house. It seems I am not part of the family.

JENNIFER – Yes, you are not part of the family. Just go away. Leave us. We can’t stand you anymore.

MOTHER – Stop it. We’re here. (They go down the van. Sister Raquel approaches.)

SISTER RAQUEL – Merry Christmas everyone. I have been waiting for you.

MOTHER – Merry Christmas, sister. This is Jennifer, Monica, and Rene. Jennifer and Monica are studying at La Salle, and Rene at Ateneo.

SISTER – Are you all honor students by any chance?

MOTHER – They’re all honor students, sister. Rene was formerly first honor, top of the class, until he joined a shabu gang, and then, no more honors.

Rene bows his head and turns away in shame, mumbling in anger. He tightens his belt as his pants are falling down.

SISTER – (To Rene.) Oops, sorry, wrong question. You know, honors are really not that important. That’s only brains. The heart is more important. Do you have a heart, Rene?

RENE – I have, sister.

MOTHER – Rene, go first to the chapel.

RENE – Why, am I not part of the family?

JENNIFER – Just follow mommy’s order. You will join us later.

MONICA – Just give us a chance to explain.

RENE – Okay, gang up on me again. Sister, I’m going home.

SISTER – Wait. I am your ally, if everyone is your enemy. Rene, we can have a one-on-one later. Let me first get your mom’s side. Is that okay?

RENE – (Hesitating.)  No problem, sister.

SISTER – You can wait at the adoration chapel. Talk to Jesus. Bring out all your ill feelings to Him.

RENE – Okay, sister. Just call me. (He goes to the chapel.)

MOTHER – Rene has been a shabu addict for three years now, advanced stage. We can no longer cope up with him. We were thinking you could heal him. If you can heal cancer, drug addiction should be simpler.

SISTER – I am not the one who heals. Jesus heals. He am just a bridge. I don’t make the decisions.

MONICA – Sometimes he does not sleep and eat for two and a half days, when he is on shabu.

JENNIFER – When the drug wears off, he sleeps for two days. When he wakes up, he drinks a liter of water. He is so thin. He keeps tightening his belt. He looks like 30 when he is 18.

SISTER – Wow. Is that the effect of the drug?

MOTHER – Last week, our TV set disappeared. Later, we found out he sold it to buy shabu. He would disappear for one week, then come home when he rans out of money. He would look as if he went into a hunger strike for a week. We don’t know what to do, sister.

SISTER – (Placing a hand on the mother’s shoulder) Your anger or sermons will not do any good. Give him some space. He is taking drugs for a reason. We have to know why.

JENNIFER – Bad company, sister.

SISTER – There is a deeper reason.

MOTHER – Last week, he asked for money, but I didn’t give it. He went down on his knees, weeping dramatically. I ignored him. He threatened me with a knife. I had to give him money. He came home after 5 days, crying. I did not want to face him. These two girls ganged up on him. Jennifer wanted to call the police. I just stopped her.

MONICA – We said that if he does not join us to see you, he goes to rehab. He agreed instantly. He is scared of rehab.

SISTER – Okay. Stay here. I will talk to him. (She goes to the chapel.) It’s our turn to talk, Rene. Speak up.

RENE – I started taking shabu when my family began ignoring me. They talk among themselves. They don’t talk to me. I don’t feel any love from them. (Rene is now in tears). It’s like I don’t have a family.

SISTER – (She puts a hand on his shoulder.) Okay, let’s pray. Jesus is here with us. He is looking at you. He knows your problem. He will fix it for you. Follow after me – “Dear Lord Jesus (Rene echoes the prayer while sobbing). Please help me get rid of my addiction. (Louder sobbing). Please help my family to give me love. (Slowly, Rene calms down.) If Jesus is on your side, even if the whole world is your enemy, everything will be okay. So stick to Jesus. I will go ahead and talk to your family. I will give you a signal when to join us.

SISTER – (To the three women.) Don’t be angry, but you three are the ones who need healing.

MOTHER – (Shocked.) What do you mean, sister?

SISTER – Is it hard to understand that you are the reason he went into drugs? He felt that you did not love him. He took shabu to deaden his pain, the wounds of being un-loved. He feels rejected by the whole family, alone in the world.

MOTHER – But, sister ….

SISTER – Then, the more you showed him you did not love him in your anger, the more he took shabu. It became a vicious circle. You drove him to addiction. (All three are silent, bowing their heads in shame. Monica starts to sob. Jennifer follows, then the mother.) Think hard of the past. Before he started taking shabu, did you ever …

MOTHER – (In tears) It’s all my fault, sister. I put all the attention on the girls.

JENNIFER – (In tears) We never thought of that. We have been so blind all these years. It’s also our fault, mommy. We created a world he was not part of.

MONICA – (Running towards Rene, shouting) Kuya, kuya, forgive us. Forgive us.

Rene embraces Monica. Jennifer and the mother join them. They all embrace. They shed a Niagara Falls of tears. It is an instant catharsis of an entire family.

SISTER – It is so simple. Love is the cure for drug addiction.

RENE – Thank you sister for returning to us our lives. This is my happiest Christmas yet. I thought I was really going to die. Shabu is slow suicide. I promise you and mom to go to rehab. I will remove this poison in my veins. Please pray for me, sister, because rehab is hard.

SISTER – What is this rehab anyway?

RENE – Rehabilitation Center, sister. That’s where they fix addicts like me. It is worse than jail. Rehab counselors have a whip. They look at us as criminals, garbage, that’s why they are cruel. It takes years of rehab to get out of shabu.

SISTER – So how will you get healed if you’re facing a whip?

RENE – There are also good counselors, but rare. For most, it’s just a job. Their hearts are not there. They hate us because we make their lives miserable. We are weirdos.

MONICA – But you can do it, kuya, right?

RENE – What do you think, sister?

SISTER – Nothing is impossible if you ask the Lord.

RENE – My friend Ruben was the most admired Executive Producer in a big ad agency. When the agency discovered he was a shabu addict, they kicked him out. After a year in rehab, he got well. The agency took him in again. Everything was fine, until, one day, after six months, they had a location shoot in Baguio for a TV commercial. He decided to take just a little bit. It was cold. It was nice to get high. He didn’t know he had an overdose.

SISTER – Overdose?

RENE – It’s like this, sister. You develop tolerance. At the start, you need only 2 grams to get high for one whole day. After six months, you need 8 grams to get a high for half a day. That’s tolerance, the way your body adjusts to poison. In the end, Ruben was doing 12 grams a day for a three-hour high. He did not know that if you don’t take it for a year, the tolerance disappears. He needed only 2 grams but he took 12. Wham! Overdose. After a year of shabu, your highs become lows. Euphoria turns into madness. You are easily angry. You can kill without thinking. I took shabu because my depression disappeared instantly. You don’t care. You become numb to pain.

SISTER – So it’s not physical addiction, but psychological. So what happened to Ruben?

RENE – In Baguio, during the shoot, he was at the set at 5:00 am. He was castigating the crew left and right when they came in at 7:30 am. When the VP of their biggest client, accounting for 60% of the agency’s gross income, arrived at 830am, Ruben screamed at him for being late. The agency kicked him out on the spot. Eventually, he committed suicide. Two of my friends also committed suicide. Three were in and out of rehab. I know only of one who really got out of it, Jackie, me ex. She’s been off shabu for five years now. But I am not sure if, one day, out of the blue, she goes back. Sister, I am afraid of rehab. Please pray for me.

SISTER – You can do it, Rene, if you ask Jesus for help. Now that love has conquered hate, your deepest anger will vanish. Let us all pray.

They form a circle, holding hands. There are sobs during the prayer. They go home in silence, absorbing the lightning bolt sister gave them. After a week, Rene calls sister.

RENE – Hello, sister, this is Rene.

SISTER – Oh, how’s everything?

RENE – A miracle, sister. Thank you. I’m healed.

SISTER – You said you will go to rehab, right?

RENE – I stayed in church until 5 am, just sitting there. I felt a warm mist envelope me. I don’t need rehab. The Lord has healed me. My addiction has suddenly vanished. Cold turkey. I don’t care for shabu anymore. I don’t know why, sister. My healing is instant.

SISTER – The Lord embraced you in the church. Is it possible you go back to shabu someday?

RENE – No way, sister. I am strong now. My rehab counselor is the best, Jesus himself.

SISTER – So you go back being number one in class?

RENE – (Laughing) Easily. Thank you for healing me, sister.

SISTER – I’m just your bridge to the Lord.

RENE – Oops, sorry. Thank you, Lord.

Let us pray for the victims of shabu, the poor farmers and tricycle drivers who went into it when an oversupply made prices crash. All over the nation, tens of thousands of men of goodwill were turned into monsters. They now begin to kill and rape. Families are dying in our countryside. May the Lord have mercy on their souls. They will not avoid drug dens, even if they know they can be killed, because addiction is overpowering. Email the author for information on the Healing Ministry. Bernie V. Lopez,

E-book healing stories of Sr. Raquel, free download
To order the book Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer, email the author.
The book has a collection of 49 inspiring anecdotes, mostly true to life. Send the book as a Christmas gift for 500 pesos, courier cost included, to friends anywhere in the Philippines. Quick, cheap, no fuss, no shopping, remote control from your keyboard, a gift of priceless spiritual value.
the hunger for love
is much more difficult to satisfy
than the hunger for bread
the  most terrible poverty is to be unloved
the greatest wealth is to be loved
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Anatomy of a Super-Drug’s-war
A second book Wings and Wanderlust – the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self, (500 pesos), is the story of the author’s adventures hitchhiking across 18 countries in Europe for three whole years. Read a few excerpts first –
03 – PILGRIMAGE TO FATIMA – the 7-day 80-km hike, Portugal
02 – BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR – Vila Franca de Santo Antonio, Portugal
More excerpts –
ten wisdoms excerpts02 Nov 2016 07:44 pm

THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story

THE NUN AND THE REBEL – based on a true story
By Bernie V. Lopez
A drop of love in an ocean of hate.
Excerpt from the book – Ten Wisdoms of the Lord’s Prayer.
Names have been changed, except Sister Josephine, dialogue reconstructed.
if you judge people
you have no more time to love them
Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Early 70s. Zamboanga del Sur. The town of Dimataling was a “no man’s land” after Christian soldiers and Moro rebels had been killing each other for a decade. Sister Josephine of the Medical Mission Sisters stayed on to service the health needs of the few brave Christians and Muslims who dared to stay. She clung like oyster to a tiny bamboo chapel and a clinic, her paradise in no-man’s-land. One evening, without warning, the war knocked at her door.
In the dead of night, Sr. Jo was awakened by gun shots from afar. She ignored them and went back to sleep. She was used to it, as it happened so often. Later, someone banged at the door. Three rebels were carrying their Commander Usman, mortally wounded, bleeding profusely on the left shoulder. No questions asked, no words exchanged. Immediately Sister Jo went to work. It took her one hour to remove the bullet, and clean and bandage the wound. Then she fed the rebels.
CMDR. USMAN – I am deeply grateful, Sister.
SR. JO – Think nothing of it. That is my work. I am a medical mission sister. Our mission is to heal.
CMDR. USMAN – You did not hesitate to help me. I am amazed how you can help your enemy. You even feed the enemy. The soldiers will not like that.
SR. JO – What enemy? I don’t see enemies. I see only a wounded man. The soldiers can think what they want. They cannot touch me.
CMDR. USMAN – Soldiers are known to rape and abuse even Christians, am I right, Sister?
SR. JO – Extremely right, Commander.
CMDR. USMAN – The name is Commander Usman. I have great respect for you. If the soldiers abuse you, I want you to send a messenger to the Muslim side. I will protect you from them.
SR. JO – That’s very nice of you, Commander Usman, but I can handle them better than you, believe me. I don’t use bullets, just my habit (She flicks her sleeve.).
CMDR. USMAN – The offer stands anyway, just in case there are crazy drunk soldiers around.
SR. JO – My gratitude, Commander. I am deeply honored. I will remember your offer.
Suddenly five soldiers barged in. Soldiers and rebels were face to face. They cocked their guns and pointed them at each other. Sr. Jo quickly went to the middle.
SR. JO – Oh no, not in my house. Keep your war outside my house. My house is a medical mission for all who are hurt, Muslims or Christians.
There was a long uneasy silence. Lt. Reyes was bleeding profusely from a gunshot wound in the upper right thigh. They kept guns pointed at each other.
SR. JO – (With absolute authority). Lt. Reyes, Commander Usman, I order you to respect my home. If you cannot, then kill me first before you shoot each other down.
There was a long uneasy silence. Cmdr. Usman was the first to order his men to put down their guns. Lt. Reyes followed.
CMDR. USMAN – I think it is time for us to go.
SR. JO – Yes, Commander, go. Lt. Reyes, promise me you will not pursue them.
LT. REYES – How can we, when I am wounded?
CMDR. USMAN – Sister, please remember my promise. Thank you for everything.
SR. JO – I will remember. Thank you for your kindness.
The rebels quietly and calmly filed out. Sister helped Lt. Reyes to a seat and began to tend to his wound as his men lingered around. Lt. Reyes was about to speak.
SR. JO – Not a word, lieutenant. I know what you want to say. I have no war in my heart. Can you not understand that? You cannot force your world of bullets into my world of love. This is one tiny space in this large island full of wars where there is no hate or vengeance. It is my space. Can we keep it that way?
LT. REYES – Yes, Sister. I understand. But I want you to send a messenger to me if the rebels come to disturb you. I will protect you.
SR. JO – Sounds familiar.
LT. REYES – What’s that again, Sister?
SR. JO – Nothing, lieutenant. I just said we are one big family.
in the oceans of war and hatred
there exist tiny islands
of peace and understanding that persist
they are flickers of a candle light
it takes one tiny candle
to destroy total darkness
imagine a thousand candles
mimicking the sunrise
ushering in hope and reconciliation
imagine a world of love
dominating a world of hate
coexistence conquering conflict
only each one of us together
can mimic that sunrise
we have that power if we know it
Lord, that we may be
instruments of Your love and peace
in a world on a tailspin


To inquire about or order the book, email the author.
The book has a collection of 49 inspiring anecdotes, mostly true to life. Send the book as a Christmas gift for only PHP500, courier cost included, to friends anywhere in the Philippines. Quick, no fuss, no shopping, remote control from your keyboard, cheap, a gift of priceless spiritual value.


Children of War – Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen
Click PowerPoint link –
0 children of war ver2 PPS
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