Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Are we really dying? Is Climate Change actually happening? Are we in for the worst? Yes, yes and yes. It is scarily true. People are so darn selfish that we neglect how important the environment is. I know, I know, most of you are most probably sick and tired of reading or hearing about “saving the environment” stuff but if you ACTUALLY listen or understand, then you should be taking action right now. Honestly, a few days ago, I was apathetic. I have my own list of random things to do to save energy but still, the ultimate blow still hasn’t sunk. Until last night…

The Age of Stupid movie (directed by Franny Armstrong) is about climate change, oil, war, politics, consumerism and human stupidity. I attended the screening at Glorietta 4 in Makati and when the movie was done, my friend and I realized that we are...well…stupid. The main actor, Pete Postlethwaite, uttered a couple of times, “why didn't we stop climate change while we had the chance?”, The chance he was referring to is NOW. Because if we do not do anything, if we continue living like this then by 2055, our beautiful world will be no less than an arid, ugly and lifeless land. Who would want to live in a place like that?? Our grandchildren would surely persecute us. The film showed people from different countries with different jobs and in different levels of the society. These people represented us, different walks of life. It showed how they are affected by climate change, what they do to prevent it and their knowledge about it. Here, we do realize how everyone in the whole world is interconnected. How the littlest thing like buying a plastic toy affects the underpaid Chinese factory workers and how these ridiculous plastic toy eventually ends up in a landfill and STAYS there for 50 years or so. Makes one think if bottled water is worth buying, huh?

But we do know about this problem. Most of us are familiar with climate change but we remain indifferent and unconcerned…even if we know the consequences, we choose to be stupid.

According to scientific and very reliable resources, by 2015, climate change would reach its climax, that is why as we gear towards that year, we should be able to reduce the impacts so that its effects would decrease and eventually save us! Pretty easy to understand, right? But it is not easy to act on it. All these activist organizations or groups like Greenpeace and Oxfam know what is in store for us in the coming years…and we better listen and act if we want to be saved.

Some of my friends give me this blank look when I mention something about saving energy or even when I was talking about this Age of Stupid film. They just don’t care. It’s just sad.

I am not here to reproach or tick you off, I may not be much of help but every step counts. I am also at fault here. Heck, I am an architect and we design carbon-producing monsters almost everyday! You would tell yourself, C’mon, We gotta earn a living! BUT we can go about our jobs WITH less negative impact on the environment. If you ask me what I do to help, my answers would sound silly but they are indeed helpful at the very least.

So, Do you want to remain stupid? I know I don't.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

i get lost still. i should be old enough to know where i am and what i should be doing but i still get lost. not literally but emotionally. i catch myself staring into space and thinking..what am i doing? is this right? and more importantly, what is my value? as a person? as an architect? this could be very deep but let me put it this way, i want to help. i want to change the world in my own little ways..but how??

so..a few days ago, i started wondering, contemplating and probably making things clearer that maybe, i can help in making this place better for the future through my profession, as an architect. well, honestly, im still a young cub in this construction and design jungle but i know someday, ill be as big as the lions and lionesses out there and i dont wanna be an ordinary member, i want to create something..something good! this train of thought might not be anything unique but i just want to help...

Sustainable, green, environment-friendly architecture. thats what i want to pursue, i want to be able to talk, breathe, and know by heart all the necessary tools and materials needed for this. how? im still in the process of answering that and im surely open to hear out any suggestions and for anyone to help me! i am hoping that more and more designers will be open to this idea.

right now, im researching about different sustainable materials which i can specify for construction and design here in Manila. one product i read in an issue of Architectural Record Magazine is fly ash, as i have read in Inquirer.net, "Fly ash is a by-product of coal power plants. As the coal is burned, ash is released which has been traditionally disposed of in landfills, or worse, released into the atmosphere and eventually adds to urban dirt and pollution. However, it has been found that fly ash can be used for construction purposes. It is definitely a sustainable practice to replace some Portland cement with fly ash when preparing concrete. (It can replace up to 50 percent of the cement.) It is sustainable because it makes use of material that would otherwise be waste, therefore allowing our natural deposits of limestone (a main ingredient in preparing cement) to last longer." hmm...good? well, we know that coal burning is bad for the environment BUT, we cannot stop this (for now) so maybe, just maybe, we can somehow use the negative side for the greater good! like using the by-product of burnt coal=ASH. i seriously dont know if i am right and im still researching, but for now..this is my thought.

what other materials can Filipino architects use??


Sunday, November 05, 2006


It’s another ordinary night as you walk into your bedroom after a hard day’s work, (may it be from the two-hour, traffic-laden drive from the office or from the sweat-filled late afternoon bus ride from school) you turn on the switch to instantly literally light up the room where your glorious bed awaits you…what a familiar sight, isn’t it? Yet, this normal occurrence could be a source for something wonderful to ponder about as we effortlessly alter the dark to instantaneous brightness…just a simple question we can ask ourselves as we jump into our cots and cradles…how does this important yet seemingly overlooked bulb work?

Time-warp to grade school, you might say, but, my dear kiddos, lets pay homage to this long-time snubbed “bright” appeal. Can you even move without difficulty in the dark? Let us all thank Thomas Edison for that splendid radiant gadget! How can you catch Prison break, Project Runway, the Amazing Race and of course, Spongebob Squarepants? And why did that past super typhoon cause a supreme fuss about the seemingly endless blackout? Indeed, a lot of simple queries can squirm in our minds yet it is answered by complicated although very, very interesting facts!

Can you even recollect who discovered electricity or where on earth it came from? Was it Michael Faraday, who found out that magnetism can produce power?…He probably initiated as well that charm, puppy love and that first kiss are anonymous to electricity. And who can forget the kite-flying Ben Franklin chap who showed that lighting is a form of electrical energy? Then again, where does it PRIMARILY come from?? Try asking your buddies around and most of them will come up with gas, water, electrons and neutrons. One friend of mine even thought for awhile and changed the topic! Well, there are a lot of connected theories but to put it simply, the ultimate source of energy is the one thing we blame the heat for: the hot, shiny sun. Its light and warmth are essential for our existence. Subsequently, energy resources, such as coal, water, natural gas, oil and uranium are also necessary. I would like to believe, however, that living without electricity is not the end of the world. Still, sadly, life without electricity would be radically different, and a lot more difficult. Hey, I’m all for microwave popcorn, hair-drying and internet surfing!

And as we now notice the complexities of the power of electricity and with the rapid collapse of our natural resources we often neglect, this is one supply we should not slay (which, if I may say, we are gradually and unconsciously doing). Aaah yes, from air-conditioners to DVD players, from charging your Ipods to simply switching on the lamp, we are gratefully eons ahead from the head- whacking cavemen because we get to enjoy these holidays of life. However, it is not always Christmas, we should remember that we should not wait for Mr. Potatohead to light up the world. My, there’s more I want to utter indirectly yet suitably about power and this country but that’s another story.

Now, my dearies, we can reflect and inquire all day about electrical beginnings and wonders and of course, its extinction but you might be too tired to deliberate. So as you close your weary eyes to the still of the night, the poetry of stimulating brainwaves forms the dreams of your new crush. Oh, wait…You want to hear about the building which was fueled by cow droppings?

CLICK! Did I wake you, sleepyhead? Oh, that’s the light bulb in your head.