eastwind journals

eastwind journals18 Sep 2018 04:28 am

Pintig Pinoy (Filipino Pulse) * The Psychic Mechanic & Boatman * eastwind

PINTIG PINOY (Filipino Pulse)
The Psychic Mechanic and Boatman, True Stories
eastwind journals
By Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Share with friends – http://www.sisterraquel.com/2018/09/pintig-pinoy
My expat brother Resti (not his real name), who was a self-taught mechanic, was visiting me from the States. He had perfected the art of tune-up using books. We visited my friend Monching (not his real name) at his talyer (motor repair shop) in Mandaluyong. He was in the middle of tuning up a Lamborgini, a rare expensive Italian sports car. Conversation is reconstructed.
RESTI – Nice car.
MONCHING – Spark plugs alone cost 64,000 pesos. 4,000 pesos each times 16 spark plugs.
RESTI – Wow. That much.
MONCHING – There are only two to three Lamborginis in the entire Philippines. This is one of them. I bought it dirt cheap from the owner because he owed me a lot of money for repairing his fleet of cars. But I regret buying it. 
RESTI – Why?
MONCHING – Super-expenisve spare parts, not available. Takes months to get it by order. Gas consumption is crazy. Rev the car for 5 seconds and you consume half a liter of gas. It will cost me ten liters just adjusting the timing-idling. 
ME – That’s an exaggeration, of course.
RESTI – (Bragging) In the States, we have a machine which can measure exactly the optimum mix of oxygen and gas. You should get one. 
MONCHING – (Annoyed by the unsolicited advice.) I don’t need it.
RESTI – Well, how do you adjust timing-idling then?
MONCHING – Come closer under the hood. Do you hear the engine?
RESTI – Absolutely.
MONCHING – We know the proper oxygen-gas mix simply by listening. Listen.
Monching revs up and lets go, then listens. He adjusts the timing-idling. He revs up again and readjusts after listening. After a few tries, the engine is purring nicely.
RESTI – Wow. Amazing. Give me five, bro.
MONCHING – Here in the Philippines, we don’t have expensive gadgets. We learn to use our psychic. We communicate to the engine rather than watch a VU meter from a machine. We listen. It is strange that we have invented many hi-tech gadgets, but fail to realize that sometimes no machine can beat the human psychic.
I have endless stories about the Pinoy psyche, what I call Pintig Pinoy, at the grassroots level. Read the next story below.
I met Rusty (not his real name), an American tourist, in a beer pub along Burgos St. in Makati. Conversation is reconstructed. 
RUSTY – You know I have a very high regard for Filipinos after I met a boatman.
ME – Really? Tell me about it.
RUSTY – I’m a scuba diver. In Mindoro, I hired a boatman to bring me to a diving site, which he knew about like the back of his hand. 
ME – You can’t dive alone. That’s a rule. Always dive with a companion.
RUSTY – Precisely. My diving companion was the boatman.
ME – But he has no scuba gear. He can’t dive with you.
RUSTY – Yes he can. I asked him if he can dive. He said since he was a kid. I asked him where his scuba gear was. He pointed to his wooden goggles, and displayed a single plywood fin. I said to myself, this I gotta see. We went to a dive site and he told me to get in the water and he would follow. So I did, and waited curiously for him to follow. I was amazed how he could move faster in his single crude plywood fin than I with my pair of high-class rubber fins. 
ME – Let me explain. Fishermen use it everywhere. It’s shaped like a giant pingpong racket. On the ‘handle’, there are strips of rubber so you can put it on like a giant slipper.
RUSTY – Amazing ingenious but simple gadget, lo-tech Filipino versus hi-tech American. It’s a simple motion. He pulls on the fin with his leg and it easily follows. Then he pushes on it, as if ‘stepping’ on the water, transporting him forward at tremendous speed. He can do three steps per second. He can easily beat me in a race. 
ME – How about oxygen? He has no scuba tank.
RUSTY – This was a complete surprise for me. I waited for him to run out of air. I expected him to go up for air, but instead he went down to the anchor, which was an LPG tank full of oxygen. That was his oxygen tank. He gulped some air and continued his dive. Wow. Ingenious. 
ME – But he can’t go very far.
RUSTY – Whatever. Still it’s a stroke of native genius. I was wondering about his googles. If it is made of wood, water would easily leak in. He explained to me that it is carved with precision to fit his face, so no leak. It is improvised with rubber strips and rubber bands. They waterproof the transparent glass or plastic with resin. Tell me why I should not idolize the Filipino, who are poor materially but are rich spiritually. 
Deep into the night, I told him about other ingenious fisherman’s gadget from my experience in my grassroots immersion as a journalist, until we could drink beer no more. It is amazing how we Filipinos can sometimes take for granted our genius, our ability to improvise, to make something out of nothing.
Share with friends –
via link – http://www.sisterraquel.com/2018/09/pintig-pinoy
via Facebook Page – Eastwind Journals
by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Blogger/Columnist-Journalist-Broadcaster, 35 years / Healing Ministry, 27 years
Inquirer * Business World * Manila Times * Manila Chronicle * Radio Veritas
Healing Ministry of Srs. Raquel/Gloria, RVM * for healing inquiries send email
Eastwind inspirational verses
you are better off than many
if you are poor materially
but rich spiritually


eastwind journals12 Sep 2018 08:08 am

Pilgrimage Across the Universe * Featuring the Hubble Space Photos

Featuring NASA’s Hubble Space Photos
eastwind journals
by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Share with friends – http://www.sisterraquel.com/2018/09/pilgrimage
The Hubble Space Photos of NASA were a giant leap in discovering the Universe. Before that, our puny cameras from Earth were blurred by the atmosphere. Suddenly, cameras from outer space could reveal the awesome details of God’s Creation.


eastwind Youtube Documentaries shown below deferred for later.

01 – Meditating on the universe – a tour of galaxies. Narration by Fr. James Reuter, SJ.

02 – New space discoveries – neutrinos, SDSS, cosmic void, big bang theory, blackholes, galactic superclusters.
03 – Cosmology 101. Basics Principles of the Cosmos – galaxies, nebulas.





eastwind journals08 Aug 2018 03:46 am

BRAWL IN A PORTUGUESE BAR * A Pinoy Adventurer’s True Story * eastwind

A True Story from a Pinoy Adventurer
eastwind journals
By Bernie Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Share via link = http://www.sisterraquel.com/2013/10/eastwind-memoirs-02
A story dedicated to the Millions of OFWs across the planet, who are away from home. Please pass to them.
This is an excerpt from the book Wings and Wanderlust, the Art of Discovering Your Inner Self, a true story of the daring adventure of a Filipino Programmer from New York turned drifter, hitchhiking 25,000 kilometers for 3 years across Western Europe and North Africa. More than a travelogue, it is a guide to discovering one’s inner self.
It was spring at last. I left Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, hitchhiking to Portugal to watch the bull fiesta at Vila Franca de Xira.  At the border was the quaint village of Vila Real de Santo Anto­nio. It was dusk. I was tired and hungry. I peeked into a noisy bar. The bartender beckoned. As soon as I entered, there was total silence. Everyone stared in awe at me and my guitar and long hair. I smiled, and everyone went back to talking. Hitchhikers do not normally carry a heavy guitar, but I did because, for me, it was a magic wand on the road. Somehow, it attracted true adventure.
The batender asked me to sing. Everyone gathered around me. It was April but I sang a Christmas carol ANG PASKO AY SUMAPIT. The chords were easy to play. A huge mug of cold beer slid down the ramp and screeched to a halt in front of me, frothing with anger. A large salami sandwich came next. After my song, they grabbed the guitar. Someone sang a sad Portuguese folk song while I ate ravenously. Then, all hell broke loose.
That night, I had about six mugs of beer, some­thing I had not done for a long time. It was a far cry from the meditative cave in Lanzarote, where I lived for a month. I was out of Africa, back in Europe were alcohol was king. After the silence of the cave, the noise of a bar was heaven. It was good to mix with the rowdy Portuguese. I did not know it was easy to understand Portuguese if you spoke broken Spanish. With a little help from non-verbal communica­tions, I felt at home in Portugal. 
A guy put an arm around my shoulder, “Listen, young man, where are you sleeping tonight?”
I shrugged my shoulder, “I don’t know. Perhaps in the park outside, if there are no hostels. 
His eyes widened in amusement. He laughed aloud until he choked. “You sleep in the park outside? That’s terrible. Nonsense. You sleep in my house tonight.”
“You’re sure it’s no trouble?” 
“No trouble at all. It is my privilege to have a Filipino for a guest. We never see Filipinos around here, you know.”
“Okay, muito obrigato.” I did not remember if that was Catalan or Portuguese, but he understood and laughed. 
“Fine. I’ll see you later.”
He left to join others who were singing. There were no videokes or karaokes then. I joined others who were trying to talk to me. Everyone had to shout to be heard. Another guy called me aside. He almost fell on me. 
“Where are you sleeping tonight, my friend?” he said.
“Someone offered me to sleep in his house.” 
I pointed to the guy who was by now trying to sing. 
He said, “Sebastian? Nonsense. You’re sleeping in my house tonight.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “Doesn’t matter where.” 
“No, you sleep in my house,” he insisted with finality.
“Talk to him,” I smiled. 
He marched straight to Sebastian. They had an argu­ment. The chaos was reaching a climax. Then it happened. The two had a fist fight. One went down on the floor. The other dove at him and they grappled like children on the floor to the amusement of everyone. Everyone was shouting like they were in an American wrestling match.
I felt so privileged that in my first Portuguese village, people were fighting over me to sleep in their house. I never forgot that glorious evening. But if I did not leave, there would be a dilemma. I took my guitar, and gave a signal to the bartender, who gave a thumbs-up. Quiet­ly, I slipped away and walked to a nearby park. The pandemonium vanished instantly. There was a deafening silence, the sacred Portuguese evening. 
I slept in the park. There was no rain. I preferred sleep­ing in the open alone rather than feeling rigid as a guest of an over-hospit­able host. The Portuguese were very much like Filipinos, I thought, warm, over-hospit­able, easy to befriend, noisy, over-acting when drunk, unassuming, and reckless. I looked forward to Algarve, to the bull fiesta, and to Fatima, where i would take a pilgrimage, walking 80 kilometers for seven days to say hello to Mama Mary.
Everywhere I went, I had no fear of danger. My guardian angel was always around. In my 3 years on the road, covering 25,000 kilometers, I was always safe. You have to be a Child of the Universe to understand what I mean. (See posters below) 
by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Facebook Page/Timeline – ‘Eastwind Journals
Blogger/Columnist-Journalist-Broadcaster, 25 years
Inquirer * Business World * Manila Times * Manila Chronicle * Radio Veritas
Healing Ministry of Srs. Raquel/Gloria, RVM * for healing inquiries send email
Email the author at eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com to get the book sent to your home.
Inspirational eastwind verses


eastwind journals29 Jul 2018 08:49 am

BAGOBO DREAM CULTURE – The Vanishing Herbal Wisdom of the Babaylans (Medicine Men) * eastwind

The Vanishing Herbal Wisdom of the Babaylans (Medicine Men)
eastwind journals
by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Facebook Page/Timeline – ‘Eastwind Journals
Share using this blog link–
Mount Apo in Mindanao, tallest mountain in the Philippines, is home to a prehistoric mountain tribe, the Bagobos, who consider it as the sacred domain of their god, Apo Sandawa, keeper of the mountain, spiritual healer and guide. 
As a journalist, I discovered the mystique of the Bagobos thru Datu Hirang, warrior and Babaylan (‘medicine man’ or herbalist-healer). He showed me a volcanic stone wrapped in cloth, hidden in the ceiling of his tiny hut. It was black, shiny, and smooth as glass, very heavy, perfectly egg-shaped but bigger in size. I began discerning the essential Bagobo through immersions and interviews.
He said Apo Sandawa told him in a dream to look for the power stone. After a year of roaming thru the rainforest, he found it lodged in the roots of a Balete tree, exactly as in his dream. He said Apo gave him the stone as a gift so he could heal people. One day, his stone was stolen by a jealous Babaylan. After a week, he came back, knelt before Datu Hirang and asked for forgiveness. Then did his week-old fever finally vanish.
I sat with Datu Ito, visionary and healer, for half a day as he walked me through quickly across centuries of Bagobo oral history. He said Apo Sandawa talked to him in dreams, giving him advice on how to handle crisis with lowlanders. The Bagobo dream culture awed anthropologists.
The sophisticated Bagobo herbal culture is ancient wisdom. They have herbs found only in Mt. Apo for all kinds of ailments, including cancer, they claim. Datu Ito complained that the herbs were vanishing fast due to the wars between soldiers and rebels. The soldiers would set forest fires to deny cover to the rebels. Some rare herbs unique to Mt. Apo are now extinct. 
I suggested that I look for funds for a series of Bagobo safaris to collect endangered herbs, and put them in a nursery run by Bagobos. He was quick to warn me that Bagobos, for centuries, fear being invaded by lowlanders. If the lowlanders knew the secrets of their medicinal herbs, they would take over the mountain. Their ancient herbal science is handed down orally in utter secrecy only to direct descendants. There are no documents.
Datu Ito said the Bagobo herbal culture was dying because Babaylans were a vanishing breed. Their herbal knowledge die with them. The children they want to teach go to lowland schools and never return. I convinced Datu Ito to take the risk of written documentation, as long as they are held only by Bagobos. I wished I had the money and time to interview the last Babaylans scattered across around Mt. Apo and Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon. He said Apo Sandawa would be pleased if we could save centuries of herbal wisdom. 
As Datu Ito rattled off herbs and the ailments they cure, I took notes feverishly. I suddenly stopped, realizing I was doing the first written documentation, defying centuries of tradition. I asked if it was alright. He smiled and said he trusted me.
Hit-and-run journalists like myself are eagles roaming the rainforests. Without institution or resources, we are helpless. Alas, I failed to raise funds. That was 30 years ago. Datu HIrang and Datu Ito must be dead by now, as most other Babaylans. That notebook of precious notes, a tiny portion of a vast wisdom, is now lost.
But who knows. Perhaps it is better that way, to save the Bagobos and their sacred mountain from lowlanders, rather than save their herbal culture. But eventually, I knew the crowded world would swallow or kill them. Like their herbs, the Lumads of Mindanao are an endangered species.
Datu Ito said Apo Sandawa was pleased with me as a friend of the Bagobos. My sudden intimacy with the thousand-year-old Bagobo mystique made me feel I was part of them. (Read sequel on the healing hot spring of Mt. Apo.) 

by Bernie V. Lopez, eastwindreplyctr@gmail.com
Facebook Page/Timeline – ‘Eastwind Journals
Share using this – http://www.sisterraquel.com/2018/07/bagobo-dream
Blogger/Freelance-In-house Columnist-Journalist-Broadcaster, 25 years
Inquirer * Business World * Manila Times * Manila Chronicle * Radio Veritas
Healing Ministry of Srs. Raquel/Gloria, RVM * for healing inquiries send email
Inspirational eastwind versesp147/p151/152
p151 sunset watchers



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