Tag Archives: urban decay

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

Climate Change Adapting

Climate Change Adapting


Walking home after an appointment was cancelled.  Please, don’t let us believe that this is God’s Wrath for corruption, this is just another impact of rising sea levels.  Climate change is already here, we just need to adapt to it.

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August 20, 2013 · 12:25 pm

Professional Attachment

Professional AttachmentI just received an email from ECO Canada and I  already got an EPt(GHG) qualification. Something that I could finally attach to my name. As much as possible, I need validation about my qualification. There is so much to learn, so much to see and I believe the world has so much to offer.  Yet things could not be maximized .


September 12, 2012 · 11:03 am

When Manila is not the place to be

I will always be born in Manila, a couple of blocks away from where I currently work. I can always walk by the Philippine General Hospital and imagine how my mother underwent labor and gave birth to me three decades ago.  Maybe back then Manila was cool, its sewage system is still functional and people don’t live on sidewalks. The Philippines was under Martial Rule, doing something like that will get you thrown into jail without any due process.

Nowadays, living on sidewalks is not limited to sleeping, they also cook, bathe and make babies on the sidewalk.  I am amazed at how these people could still multiply in numbers without any roof on their heads. Nowadays, the presence of homeless children, butt-naked and dirty running around is a common sight. It seems that is the norm, to be impoverished and homeless.  I guess that is the statistical mean in a bell shaped normal distribution curve of life in Manila. The average lies on the middle and the average shifts, it has enormously moved since the day I was born.  It could have been better if we can set a Statistical Process Control on how people live their lives ensuring that the average is a life with basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing  and higher needs such as education and work, but it seems the average of life is moving towards  socioeconomic and environmental degradation.

Most of the people I work with even think that what I think is not normal.  With 100 Million Filipinos only a minimal fraction have a job, a home, higher education. Being in that situation seems to be near the p-value of this hypothetical bell curve of living here in Manila. Oh well, maybe life goes on for them even if the flood waters have subsided.  The dark sidewalks are again dry after the storm and these homeless parents can again make love to increase their brood until the next rainy season, that is how life goes.

Most likely, the intensity of typhoons and risk of flooding was not high when I was born. My mother had passed away for a decade and I could not ask her if I was born on a rainy afternoon. I guess she won’t know, we were in the safety of the delivery room at PGH. Things have changed, not just the socioeconomic condition but the climate. I guess when I was born, violent storm surges don’t eat up the US Embassy Compound along Roxas Boulevard. Way back then, Americans don’t believe in Global Warming, they believe in superstructures and building their embassy there seemed like a good idea. Its like a fortress…

After the recent typhoon and surges of the Southwest Monsoon, Manila seemed clean, cool breeze running up your face, but the bay is still ugly and dirty, dark waters in dire need of dredging. There was one point in my career when I had a thing for dredgers, I had researched about it,  its different types, its different hoppers and capacities. It is not true that dredging is all about moving marine sediment from one area to another. Dredging is a complicated Engineering Methodology which requires planning and controlled execution and an intense environmental impact assessment which we had to explain to the DENR and LLDA way back in 2004.  I was so into the subject that I managed to get a free copy of the “100 years of dredging” from the IADC in the Netherlands.Environment Aspects of Dredging.

I don’t know if I could fancy anyone into talking about dredgers and sediment management. My boss I guess from our Marine Division or some girl from Van Oord at the seventh floor, but things like dredging and sediment management are not easy conversation pieces when you are in Manila. People think I’m weird for appreciating something like that

Maybe Manila is just not the place for me, it is good that my work requires me to go around places, meet people, have a taste of their culture and see high places all made possible by dredging thought dumb by most of the people I usually come across with but could not believe the dark waters of Manila Bay and the stinking smell after the storm. Anyway, homeless people could still make love in that stench, even give birth at the Baywalk, I just can’t do that, thankfully my mother gave birth to me in a delivery room in a good hospital.

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, Disaster Management, Ecotourism, Greenwash, Pollution Control, Renewable Energy and Biofuels, Sustainability

Is Backward Sustainable? I think that’s full of BS

Its more than twenty years since the Rio Summit, something that drove me to pursue a career in environmental management and development work that my mother worried about during the early years of my careers. Since it requires a lot hiking, mountain climbing and a few brushes with separatist groups in protected areas. It has also meant my periodic exposure to toxic waste water which my mother thought was pure stench. My mother has since passed away but I kept on pursuing this career path.

Unlike most of my peers who have decided to leave the country and joined the economic brain drain, I was still here, living where I had lived the rest of my life. It is this familiarity on the history of a place that makes me conclude, there is truly a degradation in the economic situation and proliferation of urban decay. Yet we still report in global indexes that our overall carbon footprint is still very minimal. That is such a paradox.

Is there really sustainable development is your carbon footprint is low? What if you’re dirt poor, you can’t even afford to eat,  therefore you have minimal need for resources, can you call that ultimate conservation?

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Filed under Biodiversity, Climate Change, Disaster Management, Sustainability