Tag Archives: Philippines

Mt. Apo Calling

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The time stamp on this photo is 3:47 am.  I think this is somewhere in Makilala, North Cotabato in 2012. I wanted to master night photography, but I need a stronger lens to do so. I haven’t maximized the use of my Olympus EPL-2, do plan to buy a Panasonic 20mm pancake lens, five years delayed. I hope the quality remains.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Career Notes, Ecotourism, Environmental Audit, Environmental Management System, Pollution Control, Quality, Health, Safety & Environment, Travel

I was not photoshopped into the Chocolate Hills

Bohol 2012

Be careful what you put to social media. People can manipulate images. I was not that Kenyan Girl who was obviously photoshopped into the Great Wall of China. Above was an old photo of mine taken January 2012.  It was my first trip to Bohol for Bureau Veritas. After five (5) years doing management system audits and documenting QHSE, I have decided to go back to development work.  I have done quite a bit of sustainable development work prior to joining BV, the difference maybe is that I just don’t own a really great high resolution camera, maybe the next time I travel, I may have one wherever my new work experiences could take me.

Ten years ago, I told myself that my career goals are to work for a Multi-Lateral Development Organization and become a Lead GHG Verifier. Maybe God is kind to me, I still have not achieved those goals…because maybe…my career could have been over by now….one things for sure though, such goals are attainable, but such goal could not be fully achieved if I stay in my current situation.  There are policy barriers,  market barriers, or personally motivated manipulative barriers. People fear the unknown. However, I do know where I want to go.

I am very much thankful for BV that I was able to gain the basics of auditing based on ISO 19011, data quality assurance, even actual implementation of ISO 17020 for inspection activities. These are the recommended Quality Standards specified by the IPCC. More importantly, I was able to get myself copies of ISO 14064-1,2 and 3. Though Part 3 is a struggle with Atoy, at least I was able to do actual GHG Verification work for Energy and Agriculture Sectoral Scopes.

Most of my verification work involved more studying, desktop review of data, recalculations and less physical verification. Now that I have gotten this knowledge, what should I do with it?

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Filed under Biodiversity, Career Notes, Ecotourism, GHG Mitigation Effort, Travel

A Reaction to Gina Lopez’ DENR Appointment

vampira-me-laffIt has been quite a while since I have written a post,  and Gina Lopez in the news have resurrected my ecoblogging from the grave. My last post  in 2012 was about my encounter with her in DAP in 2010.

The worst that you could tell me at this point in my life is that you see me as the future Gina Lopez, DENR Secretary.  I believe I have good scientific training and technical experience in environmental management. Being a media hype is not something I would dream about. I do want a certain degree of concrete expertise.

The appointment of Gina Lopez, is something I do frown about. The second one I frowned at after Mark Villar for DPWH. These are the cases that seem muddy rather than concrete. But the established safeguards in government systems will hopefully deliver regardless of leadership. I wish them the best, but I don’t like them. Some things will be difficult, but we can always wait for the next administration to patch things up.

Gina Lopez has always been a pet peeve for me.  Maybe its the energy she exudes when I met her. Why did I end up in that meeting anyway? Was it her seemingly lack of regard for Filipino Scientists?  Her know-it-all naivete with excerpts of arrogance?  Her “alalays” Diosa and Eugene…Oh gosh, the seemingly staged entrance to the meeting, the bohemian outfit or the fact that she kind of looks like my old boss, who was deeply insecure of me. Red flags here and there, naive comments on ecology and sustainability showing limited technical knowledge….blah blah blah.

Have I really come a long way? I have nothing to do with the DENR or LLDA at the moment. As much as possible I do not want to involve myself in shallow environmentalism and media propaganda.  I do want to exude technical expertise in the most modest, humble and  academically appropriate manner.  Being recognized as a media hype, will not be me because I don’t have  and will never have that advantage.

I do believe that Climate Change is the most critical environmental issue in the Philippines. Though our focus is Adapting to the Change, mitigation should also be focused at.  I believe I can contribute my training, experience and expertise on this area and I need to learn more.

I guess my issue with Gina Lopez is that people around me compare me to her, which to me is NOT a good thing. I have nothing against her, but her ways and means are not something I want to emulate. Gina Lopez is an environmentalist, I am not like that, and I am  doing my best to break away from that perceived mold.

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Filed under Career Notes, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, GHG Mitigation Effort, Greenwash, Renewable Energy and Biofuels

The Burden of a Hundred Millionth Filipino

crab sauce

Way back in college, during my days of SOSC I,  there were only 75 Million Filipinos based on the 1995 population census. I just got back the office today to be welcomed by public school teachers conducting pre-census for 2015.  It is confirmed, the Philippines has reached its 100 million population mark this year and the 2015 census is a confirmation.

It is quite surprising that after the announcement, no one seemed alarmed of the challenge that a hundred million population would bring given the limited resources endowed in this country. My first class in resource economics totally changed my outlook in college, the Philippines has lost its endowment and optimizing resource use is difficult.

Why no big deal about this? Is it a good or a bad thing?  The point is, there lies a challenge ahead and no one is anticipating the burden that something like this will bring about.  If there is a population, there is a population pressure. The science of demographics has been developed to objectively analyze things.

However, analysis is skewed and biased to those who will benefit from the data. Objectivity is rare this days, everyone is self serving. The self serving nature will cloud up the data, until things are totally problematic.

 

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Audit, Pollution Control, Sustainability

Mall Greenwashing

Blackberry 042With my low resolution camera phone, this gigantic poster in a mall in Manila caught my attention. More than a nice poster inside the female restroom, maybe the mall should post their Environmental Policy in other conspicuous places within the mall. A mall is a public place.

 

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Filed under Environmental Audit, Environmental Management System, Greenwash

Tacloban was at risk no matter what

Tacloban was at risk

In October 2012, my colleagues and I entered Tacloban City flooded after a stormy night. No one expected that after a year the strongest typhoon recorded in history as of now will sweep over the city and turn everything into  ruins and the city in chaos. In my travels, I have been thankful that I was not scheduled to work during times of  disaster but it was sad that I have to look back meet wonderful people and hear news either they are missing or have become casualties of the disaster.

The climate has indeed changed. That is the truth. This is the new normal, we keep on talking about it and talking about yet never had the discipline to act upon it and adapt to the changes that is now occurring.  At this point in time, I am just lucky, lucky that a disaster of similar magnitude has not yet struck upon me but going through my previous posts, the flooding I experienced in my residence last July and August are the new normal and the risks that Cagayan de Oro or Compostela Valley have experienced has a a high likelihood of occurrence. Even my own family does not believe that we are at risk.

My family believes that climate change is about crazy people and I have made it my career of choice, that is how most Filipinos think.

It just so happened I’m on the mitigation side not on the adaptation side. Being lucky is not enough, being prepared is essential and adapting is mandatory. 

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November 14, 2013 · 11:42 am

Beyond The Rolling Hills

Beyond The Rolling Hills

Just got back from Malandag, Sarangani Province in Mindanao. We took a land trip to Davao City and the flight back to Manila was horrible. We have to go through a three to four hour delay due to bad weather. Davao City was on halt due to flooding. Upland in Sarangani, flooding is not an issue but the lack of forest cover is sure less protection from  a heavy down pour down  hill.

Clear cut land is a usual site in my travels and it has been common in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.  Land has not been properly utilized to maximize its benefits. People in power and  the mass and hordes of proverty stricken people have brazenly utilized land towards degradation without foreseeing the possible tragedies that may lie ahead. Regardless of periodic and seasonal tragedies that were already experienced, not much has changed. Population grows grows grows and land is used brazenly, may be this is what we really want small steps towards our total destruction or we just make ourselves blind because not knowing is not hurting.

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November 1, 2013 · 1:38 pm