1. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageOn January 20, 2011, after writing a petition that gathered more than 50,000 signatureS, I organized and led the biggest environmental protest rally in Baguio against the killing of trees by SM. Today, SM has consented to go back to its drawing board, the case still pending in the higher court, and the cutting and earthballing of the trees has temporarily been stopped, although some have already died because of the attempt to earthball them . I was asked several times in the past if i will do it again. Why not?

How We Saved an Eroded Land in Mankayan and Made It a Forest….michael a. bengwayan

How We Saved a Land in Mankayan and Made it a Forest….in 2010, I got a letter from a school principal asking for help to save their school and nearby school compound from being eroded and washed off the face of a mountain due to mining operations.  We went to see the washed off land which has become a ravine, devoid of any flora. I called on my group ATAD for volunteers and financial support and today this is how the place looks like three years of consecutive planting missions by ATAD. Thinking how i got a tongue lashing from a politician who did not approve of our intervention and his letter of apology gives me a chance to smile now and then. This year, 2014, we will go back again to plant some  more trees.ImageLandImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageHowImageImageHoImageImageImageImageImageImage

Throwing Caution to the Wind….michael a. bengwayan

Throwing Caution to the Wind……michael a. bengwayan

i wanted to hit the ground running as planned several weeks back for 2014. everything was going well as i tried to race against time preparing the “Tulong sa Lupa, Tulong sa Kapwa: Seeds for Life Mission for Leyte come first moon of  February. what was morphing out from the plan gave me inspiration that the unspoken prayers in my weary and befuddled mind were being answered by the Almighty.

I was right. and I was wrong. Suddenly, without any warning nor sign, i found myself on my knees, excruciating in pain. what turned out to be a routine response to the call of nature  at graveyard shift left me so helpless, and down on the floor. i recalled the time i was atop a church zenith retying a broken bell rope and falling some 20 meters down. i stared at the pool of blood on the floor, on the bowl while holding tight my sickening abdomen. i tried urinating once more only to see blood and clots and feeling like my guts were going to spill out..

i sat down in a frenzy, tried to think while gathering my wits. i knew if the bleeding goes on, it will reach my kidneys and poison me.to kingdom come. but much more worse things have happened to men who mocked the temple of the spirit. i deserved no less.

on the floor, my two kittens–yin and yang– given just a baker’s dozen days ago, stared at me mockingly. yin came near, rubbing his head on my face. i knew i had to get up. i had to reach someone at home. the soonest the better for me.

my wagon was not with me, lent it to my daughter earlier to bring Seth to see those water spurts at burnham that cost taxpayers some 50 million maddening odd bucks. i started the van, it kicked off crazily but won’t move, getting down, i saw one tire was flat. now, at 2 am in the cold morning with my family’s home some seven kilometers away, walking, i would not have much chance.

it’s hard to disturb people, especially on a cold night and i would not do it to grace. so i gambled on texting dr. phy, hoping she was awake and on duty. she told me to calm down and not to panic…that grace and sam will pick me up and bring me straight to the butchering refuge, a place decent people call hospital.

my daughter phy explained to me everything, short of any litany or sermon, but with restrained irritation of the fact that i have overworked, neglected  and abused myself. i listened taking it all in, it was no time to talk back of things we don’t understand about but assumed we know. i got it coming anyway. a senior of dr. phy came in and explained it more in a gentle way…and that the operation has to happen if i were to see the next sunrise.

my prostate and urinary bladder have been bleeding and i never gave it much thought, i thought it was just dark urine caused by what i take in. i was wrong as i have been wrong in many things i know nothing of.

so off to they brought me to that gestapo cell-looking room. even as i pray that the biopsy tests will be in my favor.