Don’t reach for the dolphins, starfish . . .

“Until one has loved an animal,
a part of one’s soul remains unawakened. –
Anatole France

Every one of us has the moral obligation to protect the environment and all the creatures in it. As stewards of God’s creation, it is our duty to speak and dissent even no one is listening, even it is painful and bitter, against any acts that malign, disrespect and rape these beautiful treasures which are bestowed upon us.

Last week, I visited a popular tourist attraction in North Luzon. I enjoyed swimming and while observing a group of people diving, running and eating. What made my heart cried-out was when a young woman picked a couple of red and orange starfish and had picture taking with the poor, defenceless animal under the scorching heat of the sun. After which, she returned the starfish in the water as if it was a piece of rock.

It was so wrong. It shall not pass.

Marine animals like the poor starfish deserve respect. Just imagine you were sleeping then someone lifted you out of bed to take photos. How would you feel?

Touching and disturbing marine sea creatures causes stress which can alter their physiological processes. In fact, when you lift a starfish out of the water and expose it under the sun, you caused an alteration of its biofilms that protects it from toxic substances.

Congratulations the lady just killed a starfish!

We could have prevented this if we have proper environmental knowledge. An awareness campaign should be intensified especially during summer and must be a part of any briefing procedures in tourist destinations.

But all is not lost for us. As humans we can step-up. We can correct our mistake before it’s too late.

Finally, I want to quote Justice Marvic Leonen of the Philippine Supreme Court in his concurring opinion on a landmark case between marine creatures in Sea Scape Tanon and the Philippine government. He said:

“We honor every living creature when we take care of our environment. As sentient species, we do not lack in the wisdom or sensitivity to realize that we only borrow the resources that we use to survive and to thrive. We are not incapable of mitigating the greed that is slowly causing the demise of our planet. In this way and with candor and courage, we fully shoulder the responsibility deserving of the grace and power endowed on our species.”

#Mutya

 

Use of sky lanterns must stop

It is inhumane and irresponsible to light and send sky lanterns without knowing that every single piece of it has the potential to kill an innocent animal. These lanterns are more than stray bullets, these are like nuclear warheads that can wipe out hectares of forest, rice fields and or mangroves if done near a coastal area. While lighting a sky lantern is an exciting experience, its aftermath is lethal.

Once the debris of the sky lantern falls into the water for example, animals like sea turtles could mistakenly identify it as food. Once eaten, the remains of the sky lantern can block the digestive tract of the poor and soon to be extinct animal, leading to its untimely demise.

On a separate note, if the sky lantern falls into a dry forest, it will unleash a torrential fire that can burn anything within the area. Either way, sky lantern is dangerous and unforgiving regardless where the debris settles.

No amount of celebration can justify lighting a sky lantern. Knowing these two main points alone, a sane and responsible man will immediately dismiss his plans to light any lanterns because it is detrimental to the environment.

Soon as we light the lantern, let us remember the number of sea turtles, and any marine creatures with the same right to life like ours, whom we killed because we are unreasonably insensitive and arrogant.

Let us remember their noble sacrifice, because again, as human, we failed our posterity for believing that our happiness carries more weight than the lives of animals.

#Mutya

Mutya bares top-secret story for Lent

This is not a blog about disparaging comments on hotels, restaurants or erring personas who induced me with acute nausea. This is a story fitting for Holy week; a narration and a reflection of something that opened my eyes to the manifold realities of life on Earth.

More often than not, when I and Alfred engage into a conversation, the topic always leads to sex, health and, ultimately the cause of our total annihilation.  I can say that you are interested to know more about these three popular topics but to honor the meaning of this blessed season, please let me narrate something you never heard of.

One time, when I was segregating the leaves of Malunggay and Spinach for our viand, I asked Alfred to reveal his greatest mistake in life. I was afraid because he was holding a sharp knife slicing some frozen meat for dinner. Unlike Ms. Venus Raj, he immediately gave me an answer without circumnavigating.

“My greatest mistake happened during my elementary days when I haphazardly wasted the opportunity to study well, thus missing the wonders of education.” He chopped the meat heavily.

I held my breath for a couple of seconds but I did not stop there. I dug deeper.

“What were the most difficult events you experienced when you were young? Mine for example was sleeping for two days with empty stomach.” I told him to open the conversation.

I saw him adding too much salt to the boiling water.

“Three things.”, he started to recall.

“When I was young, I had no choice but to help my brothers to harvest corn. Up until now, I could still feel the searing pain when the leaves sliced my small palms. It was like blade after blade, slice after slice until your whole hand numbs. The pain was excruciating for a 10-year old child whose dream during that time was only to play. I realized that pain is a twin brother of mine. My hands became rugged but strong. I knew God was preparing me for a tougher challenge—a second fruit.”

“Do you want to know the second fruit which changed my life?”, he asked.

“Yes!”, I answered.

“It’s inside the refrigerator. Get it for me.”  I opened the fridge and I saw a pineapple.

It was during my second year when I first knew him. He was oozing with wit and a sensational style of leadership which won the heart of many. Aside from these was his skill in peeling the skin of the pineapple. After class hours, without delay, he run to the public market in order help his sister to prepare sliced pineapples for their small fruit stand. He can remove the eyes of the sweet fruit within one minute preserving its impeccable shape.

“I find it cool.”,  I told him.

He looked at me fiercely.

“If being cool is having the sharp edges of the crown of the pineapple puncture your skin so deep and  having your crotch soaked on the saccharine juice of this fruit for  5 hours or more every day then I will agree with your observation.”

I stepped back and returned to my sit. I was wrong.

He minced the pineapple and he placed it with the mixture. Then, he tasted it.

“It lacks something. Something sour.” He was referring to the green mango.

I remembered when he told me that there was a time when he climbed a mango tree to harvest its fruits. Despite the scorching heat of the sun and the pricking bite of the ants crawling from the trunk to his back and shoulders, he was passionately determined to pick the most unblemished mango he could reach. A wounded mango can’t be sold in the market.

I handed him the green mango. He peeled it perfectly and he mixed it with the mixture.

I realized then that he taught me one of the biggest lessons in life using the three fruits that formed his monumental being.

Without hard work, dedication and the passion to make seemingly difficult things happen, one can’t change his path and be the person he wanted to become.

Poverty became a popular obstacle and an excuse for many of us so not to pursue reaching for our stars, but the three fruits my friend showed me concretely illustrated that great things are possible for those who learn to endure the suffering and deduce lessons from it.

While the leaves of the corn wounded his palms, he did not threw his aspiration to become someone who can make a difference to the lives of others, the burning charcoal which he used to cook the corn did not stop him to seek for easy comfort. The crown of the pineapple was perceived by him as a destination and every thorn deeply that mercilessly pierced his skin was a reminder that suffering is necessary to hone and to exercise our humanity. The mango on the other hand, thought us to choose only the best.

These three fruits when mixed in one container will make an excellent dish worthy of emulation and inspiration. The next time you come across a corn, a pineapple and a mango, please be thankful on what you have and don’t you dare surrender your stars. As you bite these three fruits, remember the journey of my friend Alfred.

#Mutya

Give yourself a gift! Meet Jasper.

When God showered the Earth with positivity and energy, I will bet that he acquired it all. His aura is something that Earth’s available dictionary or language laureate can’t define. It is a mystical extra-terrestrial and a heaven-bestowed gift that only he can conjure.

If you are unhappy, displeased and about to surrender— I beg you to hold your horses!

Meet Jasper.

He will uplift your spirit.

He will electrocute you with the barest energy of life.

He will add meaning to your existence; he will make you strong using your own faculties.

When he starts to smile and to dance, you will surely see the rotation and the revolution of Saturn, Neptune and Uranus. He has the ability to propel you outside this unfair world and in return will create a perfect, ideal world for you.

When I first met him last year, I knew that he is special. I expected great things from him personally. The dedication oozing from his skin was palpable—real and inspirational. Notwithstanding the fact that he is a well-known artist in Iloilo, his mere presence makes things and events more positive and lively.

Stronger than any force of evil—he stands tall and confident.

For the record, he is one of my favorites not because he is white, tall, can speak eloquently, smart and energetic but because he is the living Synecdoche of hope and light that our world needs today. Jasper seeks to defibrillate hearts that are already callous and sclerotic, to empower hands that are already timid and weak, and to rewire frozen neurons and synapses because of despair and tribulations.

Give yourself a gift! Meet Jasper as soon as possible.

He is the best of Philippine Airlines.

Since Philippine Airlines has launched its new philosophy of being the “Heart of the Filipino”, I never had the chance to completely comprehend it. For me, a “Filipino heart” is formed by distinct strands of compassion, hospitality and love. Honestly, I never felt the perfect experience not until my last three flights last week. A flight attendant perfectly embodies the real meaning of “Heart of the Filipino”.

His name is Vincent as stated on his nameplate. I had the chance to witness his unbelievable power three times in a row. In one of my trip, I was very angry because the flight was delayed for almost one and a half hour. I want to shout out loud that could reach the control tower of NAIA from Cotabato but when I entered the plane, it was different.

Vincent stands at the door–confident.  He gave his unique Filipino smile to each guest. That same powerful smile appeased the agitated passengers. I returned the warm gesture, he smiled back and he assisted me to my section. The moment after I fastened my seat-belt, he smiled again.

He won. I was pacified. Everyone from rows 1-15 experienced serenity inside the plane. At that moment, I understood that the heart of the Filipino is reflected in every genuine smile. He nailed it. Vincent perfected the art of smiling. His smile could stop time, could make you feel that you are a Million Miler,  could make you experience that you are the Queen of the Universe.

I want to say to the captain, “Hey Captain, let’s depart tomorrow.”

He also possesses the essential element of sensitivity. He could easily ascertain if someone is suffering from discomfort. He assesses the situation and he renders the appropriate intervention. Afterwards, he returns to evaluate. He will never leave you even you are sitting along the Economy Class. His attention never changes from the head up to the tail of the plane. He is compassionate, his technique undoubtedly comes from a deeper origin—his heart.

When snacks are being distributed and you happened to be sleeping, don’t worry because he will respect you. He will not disturb you, instead he will look at you as if you are Snow White.  He won’t ask you coffee, tea or water. He will not force you to wake up and receive the Banana Bread Slice. He will open the tray and will place your food for you to enjoy once you are awake. Then he will return with a smile and asks you for your choice of drinks. He will never leave you hungry, thirsty or sleepy.

His comforting words will kiss and caress you.

Just like with other flights, the time for deplaning will come—sad. The relationship ends after a passenger leaves the plane. But Vincent is not one of those who easily terminate the relationship. He ends the experience with a smile composed of 99% happiness and wishes of safety and inspiration. He hides the remaining 1% for you to feel that you need to return to discover and to experience over and over and over again. He knows how to connect.

With all of these, I can say that Vincent has the heart of a Filipino, a perfect personification of Philippine Airlines Philosophy and Values of highest costumer service. He made me so proud because he had shown the best of the Philippines and the distinct brand of service marked by heartfelt warmth and hospitality. He is one of a kind, a total mixture of passion, dedication and service. Philippine Airlines must be proud of him.

#Mutya

Mutya slams House for “cannibalistic” death Penalty bill.

I am Mutya, I am pro-life.

Setting aside party colors, I would like to manifest my total objection to the re-imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. It seems that the majority of the House are in hurry to pass the “devilish” bill. Killing our own people is not the solution. If you are losing your hopes, if you are pressured to approve this inhumane measure because of political reasons—–please do not do it.

Killing our fellow Filipinos is cannibalistic and the government should not participate on this. It is not your business, not your mandate, and not even your calling. You are elected to represent the Filipino people across economic background, color and religion, thus you should dismiss bills which threatened our liberty and even they are part of the minority.

Death Penalty is anti-poor. Please check the records. The rich who could afford expert counsel were released alive, like a happy Maya, while the poor who have no access to competent defense suffered the capital punishment of death.

Open your eyes, the Supreme Court said that 7 out of 10 death penalty cases in the past have judicial error. Our criminal justice system is far from perfect. Sad to say, it could even be swayed by money. The blind-folded Lady Justice sometimes is not fair and just. We can’t let the lives of our fellowmen be played under the influence of dirty money and political connections.

Death Penalty is irreversible, thus we don’t have any chance to correct any wrong. Furthermore, it also prevents a person from contemplating and learning from his past mistakes. As a nation, we should aim for restorative justice. Killing a criminal will not heal the victims. It further opens the wound perpetually without closure. Before a person becomes a criminal, he is a human being and as a human being, we are believed to be innately good especially when given the right circumstances. The rise of criminality is the result of poor governance and widespread corruption that results to poverty.

Honorable Representatives of the people, let’s remember the cases of Fernando Galera, a 26 years old, fish vendor, innocent but sentenced to death because he can’t afford to pay competent lawyers, Richard Ong, 33 years old, innocent who was sentenced to death in 1994.  He was tortured and confessed something which he didn’t do. Hideshi Suzuki, 38, Japanese man sentenced to death in 1994 because of marijuana trafficking. He claimed that the marijuana was planted on him by a police officer. (M. Fajardo, Death Penalty in the Philippines).

Clearly, we are not ready for death penalty. We should dismiss this measure and focus on solutions that matter. Let us prevent evil forces from using Death Penalty to silence its critics and from erasing the poor from the crust of the Philippines.

The state has no right to kill a person without granting him the full protection of the laws. No person shall be deprived of life!

#Mutya

 

Greed, deception and blind adoration are more evil than Tarot

Tarot reading by itself is not EVIL especially if you are not conjuring Satan, any inferior demon or at the very least a dead person.

Tarot does not imply that God is not reliable or God is inferior. The art of Tarot reading does not prescribe any religion or belief system; it does not ask any offering, it only guides not coerce.

There is no evil in Tarot reading.

For me there are only three great evils in this physical world.

First is GREED—the feeling of wanting to have it all that results to corruption which is flagrant in any part of the world. It lures even in the most religious and most respected institutions. Clearly, this is more evil than playing Tarot.

Second is deliberately acting as a FALSE PROPHET. In the Holy Bible they are compared to ravenous wolves. They hide their true nature and intention under the cloak of “doing good”. Their inner personal motives direct their actions. They propagate false ideations, they play with words to hypnotize while their canines are hungry, ready to suck out the blood of the innocent. This is more evil than playing Tarot.

Lastly, BLIND ADORATION OF THE EVIL, assisting any evil to commit murder or any illegal act that contributes to the completion of its mission. It also means being too silent amidst all the evil happening around him.

“Tarot cards are not evil.  Forget everything you have heard about this unsubstantiated rubbish! At the end of the day, a Tarot card is just a card. A skilled Tarot reader will use the cards to assist them in a reading; to enlighten the recipient and provide them with guidance for the future in a myriad of ways. It is not possible to use these cards for evil purposes unless the reader has bad intentions and deliberately misguides the receiver of the reading.” – Psychicpower.com

My only intention when I started to study and read Tarot is to help people to believe that there is still goodness in this world, and hope can be achieved by doing good, no more, no less. I hope that people will remain sensitive and respectful to other person’s belief.

For me, religion should be based on actions and not on words.

-Mutya