Saturday, May 28, 2022

Philippines Post Pandemic

3.69 million cases recorded. 69 million vaccinated. 60,455 deaths. These are the numbers of the Philippines as of today. So what now?

COVID isn't gone. It should still around. Even with more than 50% of the population vaccinated, it is impossible to develop long term immunity to COVID infections. In fact, after vaccination, it is generally accepted that in 3-6 months, a person can get infected again. We've never achieved herd immunity. It was impossible under the rate of performance of medical intervention done. If that's the case, then everything was just a show and the concept of protection sold to everyone is superficial

So what changed? Filipinos do not believe anymore. Nobody even talks about these things anymore. We started not to care because its no longer a huge concern. And it took two years for us to do this. And in those two years, nothing substantial was done or had happened to effectively stop a virus from spreading. It was two years of wasted time that stalled our lives, crippled our way of living, and disrupted our peace of mind.

Each one of us is walking out of this traumatized, damaged and with disability. We are walking out to a new world where the economy is broken and opportunities are scarce. All because the world and our leaders had chosen to believe in fear. Those lockdowns and restrictions, these testing and screening requirements, they're all a waste. The only thing that lockdowns and restrictions had stopped are the lives of people. No one even wants to willingly get tested and screened anymore, not worth the expense if its not a requirement. It did not stop the virus and it was such a waste. Up until now and maybe some time in the future, we will still be paying for this waste.

The hardships and the effects of the pandemic wasn't really brought upon by the virus itself. It is our reaction to it, how leaders had organized responses, and how we adjusted our lives to these. So much resources wasted on face shields, masks, air purifiers, and thousands of other products said to control the spread of the virus. So much energy spent on managing restrictions, adjusting our way of living, and continuing our lives. And now, we are still depleted. We are still exhausted and haven't recovered yet.

Us Filipinos, we're doing what we do best: endure. We are living up to one of our greatest qualities: resilience. We're at a point where devastation wasn't as tragic like acts of God, but the road to recovery is insanely difficult. Our favorite phrase: "Bahala na," and we'll just do things, hoping it will get better in the future. The only questions are how long will we be able to and is there any help that will come?

Monday, February 21, 2022

Herbal Insect Repellents of Aetas in the Philippines

Being a tropical country, mosquitoes are ever present in the Philippines. Its an unavoidable reality for the people hence the great interest in insecticides and repellents. One study was conducted in 2011 where they interviewed the native Aetas of Porac, Pampanga about their knowledge in repelling insects that bite human skin. This was an important study to gain insights about the ethnobotanical knowledge of indigenous people, as Aetas are known to have excellent familiarity and experience in the use of native plants as part of their lives and culture.

54 plant species were identified and many are commonly known plants or trees. Here are a few of the list:

  • Acacia
  • Lemongrass
  • Neem
  • Gmelina
  • Sambong
  • Lagundi

While there's a general lack of local study to validate these herbs as insect repellants, indigenous use of these give us a starting point to consider seriously looking at their usefulness. Most likely, the repellent actions come from essential oils of these plants, but there are also other compounds that are released in the air when these plants are burned to create smoke, or when they're crushed as poultice and applied extracts to skin.

Inspired by the knowledge of the natives and their use of local plants in repelling insects, Burning Prism created Incense Sticks that produces fragrant smoke meant to clear spaces of unwanted vibes and insects. Using a blend of plant-based ingredients like rosins from Elemi and Manila Copal (these rosins are what's left after distillation of tree resins to extract essential oils of the Philippines), dried Neem leaves, dried Calamansi, dried Kakawate leaves, and some spices, the aromatic smoke it produces is easy on the nose.

Incense Sticks of the Philippines


Friday, January 14, 2022

Thoughts of Someone Unvaccinated Against Covid-19

We are among the millions who voluntarily withheld getting a Covid-19 vaccine. We have made an informed choice based on the data presented to us, information we've personally gathered and strongly feel about, and continually stand by our choice. We do so because it is our right to exercise freedom over our bodies, our well-being and health, whether its physical, mental or emotional. You have no right to force us to make that choice by deprivation of liberties made exclusive to vaccinated individuals. You have no right to harass our right to existence as a free-thinking individual by limiting my movement, choices and beliefs. Vaccination is not the one and only path to health and wellness in this crisis, and forcing people to this direction by gross limitation due to our health choices is discriminatory, malicious, deceptive and intimidating.

While it is proven that vaccination is beneficial for many individuals, it had failed to protect you and your loved ones from the virus completely and gives a false sense of security or safety for everyone. You have spent millions or billions over a solution that is as temporary as the seasons of a year with very little to gain. While the vaccine has been claimed to have saved lives, it has failed to save the livelihood of millions and the well-being of even millions more. Your total reliance on a solution you can't claim to be very effective becomes even more absurd when you build upon it further and intensify efforts to its adoption. We understand that you have no other choice, but we the non-vaccinated do. It is the same as choosing whether to become vegetarian or continue eating the same way as everybody else does. Each has benefits but at this point, they do not have much of an edge against each other to coerce people to choose to be either one or another.

To the governments, your preference to the vaccine and the vaccinated alienates a huge part of the people and their choices you've sworn to protect and nurture. Your well-intentioned and well-meaninged actions are terribly single-sided and without consideration to the fearful and terrified population who are now even more oppressed with deprivation to living necessities. For almost past 2 years, we continually live in fear and anxiety for ourselves, our families, our livelihood and our rights. It is a fear that cannot be erased by vaccination because even the vaccinated right now have reacquainted with this fear. Truth be told, you have given the vaccinated hope and security, but as medical science openly admits, it is something very temporary. You can keep selling the world the idea it is a solution, but in reality, we've never made huge progress since day one of the pandemic and it looks like we're back to square one. While your constituents have rarely given credit to where it is due, its an occupational hazard you've willingly accepted as leaders. There are always other options to take, but definitely the most convenient ones always gets priority.

To the corporations making the vaccines, thank you. We applaud your work and ability to create a vaccine in record time with the hopes of having the ability to protect the people of the world. Many of humanity is still alive because of this, as claimed by the experts, but your gifts to the world are being misused as a tool for control and cover-up for their shortcomings in governance. We are happy for all the benefits going your way during these times, it is the result of the invaluable service to mankind's medically recommended option out of this pandemic. We are sincerely confident that you have made everyone fully aware of the risks in vaccinating people inadequately tested vaccines that require at least 5 years of research and testing to be considered safe and effective. Hopefully you and your organized systems can continue convincing everyone using the vaccine in the succeeding years to come inspite of its limitations.

To all the practitioners of the medical field, we thank you for your endless dedication to fulfill your duty, inspite of the risks involved. We laud your firm adherence to your principles and training, your service and passion. We hope not to see you because we've chosen to go against your recommendation, but accept our gratitude in the event that happens, your kind will still be of service to us and everyone.

To our fellow unvaccinated, we hope your choice is a well-informed one. We hope that you are aware of the risks and the benefits of abstaining from vaccination. If you are relying on a friend or relative's recommendation alone, or because of stories you've heard, do more research just to make sure you've made the right choice. You are entitled to this, and no one should make you do what you're unwilling to. No person or organization should impose or limit you unless you allow them to do so. The only one you are putting at risk for non-vaccination is yourself, because the vaccine does not completely prevent a Covid-19 infection. So whether one is vaccinated or not, infection is always a probability. We hope you share my sentiment that vaccination status should not be a basis or consideration of any implementation or restriction because it is not an advantageous or a disadvantageous distinction. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Covid-19 and How Poorly the World is Handling the Pandemic

Its been almost 2 years. It is not the virus that brought the world down to its knees, but how we responded to it. And the fear-mongering continues.

Lockdowns, testings, quarantines, suppression of movement. We have wasted humanity's 2 years unproductively to "protect" lives. For the past many months we've all experienced the radical shift in almost everything in the world, all guided by the leaders of health and medicine under the theme of saving lives. In spite of this, no one felt safe or secure at all. Why? Because our poor response to a pandemic has halted civilization's progress and put everything even our lives and livelihood at a very huge risk.

What are we missing? There's a lot that we are missing out or people making decisions for millions are ignoring.

  1. Too much reliance on vaccines - this is not an anti-vaccine statement. It is a modern wonder, and more so the record time it was created is just amazing. It is irrefutable that it works, it has been proven all along. But too many have just put focus on vaccines and ignore everything else. For a moving target, one that quickly evolves blazingly fast, vaccines are a temporary solution.
  2. Bad statistics - even at the onset, data isn't accurate. Just take for example the number of infected individuals. It does not factor in the untested people who didn't report probable infections, which puts existing data severely unreliable if its the focal point of a good approach. One thing is sure though, while Covid-19 is fatal, it is highly survivable. By medical standards, it is still dangerous, but not everything should fall under the medical standards in the real world setting.
  3. Ignoring Natural Immunity - we rarely hear experts talk about natural immunity. For some reason they keep a downplay on this, where in fact, it is something pivotal. Why is it not being tackled and factored in too much? Perhaps because it is something that cannot be controlled, measured, predicted or something that no one can profit from.
  4. Alternative or Traditional Medications - because of the world's total reliance on medicine as the treatment of choice to diseases, we have been ignoring the practical and probably the most widely available source of cure to this mess. Folk medication has helped countless people tremendously in this pandemic, and no one really cared to measure its impact. Here in the Philippines, people have resorted to using Lagundi, Salabat, Suob and many other herbals or techniques which have helped our ancestors deal with respiratory diseases since hundreds of years ago. It is sad and depressing to see that we are bonded by the shackles of ignorance in using traditional medications which is cheap and widely available. And if one is promoting these types of treatments, they get attacked.
  5. Economic Drain Due to Fall of Micro Enterprises - globally, the backbone of every economy are micro enterprises. And yet, they are the hardest hit in all the lockdowns and restrictions. True, many businesses are not practical in a pandemic, but the lack of comprehensive support or strategies to help them survive isn't helping either. Its like they're left to die and rot.
  6. Lockdowns and Restrictions -  for God's sake, its been proven that Covid-19 will reinfect again and again individuals. But with vaccination and natural immunity already in place (of course, no one is certain because of bad data gathering and handling), it should be all barriers lifted and let nature take its course. Our medical and health experts of the world have been too ambitious to put in their accomplishments: "I stopped Covid-19." And the tune is still the same. Enough of it! No one can stop it, we are not capable and we are not supposed to stop nature from letting its processes happen. No one has the resources to completely make the virus halt and even a global coordinated effort will always have fissures that will be exploited by the diseases.

We've wasted too much time, resources and energy stopping the virus. It has been proven it is not as fatal. It would be less fatal if medicine has been open to working with complimentary treatments and alternative medications.