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Bernas babies

As I was writing this column, I got the news that Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. has passed away and I am in tears.

Aside from being a columnist of the Inquirer whom we all admired, with his unparalleled knowledge of the Constitution and incomparable brilliance in explaining various issues to the public, he was also my Constitutional Law professor at the Ateneo and our dean when we launched the 50th special edition of the Ateneo Law Journal.


We always trembled in class at the prospect of being called for recitation by one of the authors of the Constitution, but we were all in awe of him, eager to learn from the sui generis that was Fr. Bernas.

He inspired in us a commitment to excellence and inculcated in us a habit of studying issues that even while I was working as spokesperson of former President Joseph Estrada for the 2010 presidential elections, I made it a point to not just mindlessly blab but to carefully study issues, going to the extent of writing a full article for the Ateneo Law Journal (on whether or not Erap could run again for president), before presenting it to the public.


We spoke on the phone after that and happily chuckled as we debated on whether or not Erap could run for president again.

But aside from fighting for peace in our country, he also impacted me deeply in my own personal quest for inner peace.

Seeing him at the Ateneo in Rockwell every day (we were the first Rockwell batch), I ran to him after learning that a mentor had passed away. I was distraught as I was not able to say goodbye.

“Well, do you believe in the communion of saints?” he asked me.

This inner peace is disturbed once again and I find myself in that very situation of not having been able to properly say goodbye.

Thankfully, I have his words to comfort me today and I know we can talk to him through prayer as he moves to the realm of the immortal.

So let’s not say goodbye. Instead, let’s keep him alive by doing our best, as he did, to fight for peace, for our democracy, freedom and human rights, and inspire the next generations to do the same.


May his legacy live on not only in the books and columns he authored, but in our hearts, in our lives and in the hearts and lives of the generations to come.We will miss you, Fr. B. We will always be your Bernas babies!

2000+ new cases

There are now three other variants of the COVID-19 virus that are circulating globally: the United Kingdom variant, identified as B.1.1.7, first detected in December 2020 and with a large number of mutations in the fall of 2020; the South African variant called B.1.351, originally detected in early October 2020; and the Brazil variant called P.1, which was first identified in travelers from Brazil who were tested during routine screening at an airport in Japan in early January, and which may contain a set of additional mutations that may affect its ability to be recognized by antibodies.

While New Zealand has zero new cases and Hong Kong has an average of only 5, the Philippines continues to see new cases rise to over 2,000 a day, in spite of having so many “czars” supposedly addressing the health crisis. Given the failure of the government on this matter, citizens are left to fend for themselves.

We just have to continue to stay home and eat healthy.


One thing that we can add to our diet is honey.

David Wolfe, the author of “Superfoods” explains that bee products are “considered to be one of the most spiritual and magical foods on the planet, as well as one of the top superfoods and sources of concentrated nutrition.”

So it’s best to replace your refined sugar with honey. Aside from the obvious, which is that refined sugar can increase one’s risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases, it is also linked to a higher likelihood of depression, dementia, liver disease and certain types of cancer.

Honey, on the other hand, contains at least 16 known antioxidants which search, target and destroy free radicals so it can soothe a sore throat, which is a symptom of COVID-19, and is also an immune booster.

Relieve sore throat

If you have a sore throat, it is recommended to eat a spoonful of raw honey. It is called “nature’s cough suppressant,” which will soothe your throat by coating your mucous membranes with a thick and naturally sticky covering. Aside from this, the raw honey will also send antibacterial agents to the problem location to promote healing.

Raw honey is also known to fight bacteria because it is hydroscopic, meaning it attracts water. If bacteria comes into contact with honey, the honey will essentially draw the moisture from the bacteria and kill it through dehydration.

Honey is also a prebiotic, which feed and nourish beneficial probiotics (which help keep your stomach and gut functioning and healthy).

It is also mildly acidic, with an average pH level of 3.9. Since many bacteria are acid intolerant and prefer a neutral pH level of around 7, some researchers have identified more than 250 different strains of bacteria that honey kills.

Peace honey from the Cordillera Region—PHOTO BY MARGAUX SALCEDO

Raw honey

Make sure though that what you are buying is raw honey or honey “as it exists in the beehive.”

Whereas raw honey is made simply by extracting honey from the honeycombs and pouring it over a mesh or nylon cloth to separate the honey from impurities like beeswax and dead bees, regular honey involves several more steps: pasteurization, which destroys the yeast found in honey by applying high heat; filtration, which further removes impurities like debris and air bubbles so that the honey stays as a clear liquid for longer; ultrafiltration, which further refines it to make it more transparent and smooth, but in the process removes beneficial nutrients like pollen, enzymes and antioxidants; and even the addition of sugar or sweetener to reduce costs.

These processes defeat the health purposes of eating raw honey.

Unfortunately, there are some honey products sold today that contain sugar syrup instead of pure honey. This was verified last year by the Department of Science and Technology, revealing that 12 out of 16 local honey brands or 75 percent sold in groceries or souvenir stores were not “entirely honey” while 64 out of 74 or 87 percent of local honey products sold online were impure. Peace Honey

Thankfully, there are brands you can trust because you know it’s as organic as it can get.A Cordillera delivery service called CLOY (Cordillera Landing On You) brings to Metro Manila vegetables, coffee and other products from the Cordillera region.

They also offer Peace Honey from Abra, Mt. Province and Kalinga.

Here is the description of this product:

“When human activity came to a standstill at the height of the pandemic, bees thrived at the borders of Abra, Kalinga and Mountain Province. These borders were often the subject of dispute among indigenous communities in the area. But the bees did not acknowledge political boundaries. It is a custom common among indigenous peoples here that if a person finds a bee and follows it to its hive, the bee “hunter” gets to harvest the honey after informing the owner of the land where the hive is located. Half of the honey goes to the bee hunter, half to the land owner. This is the taste of peace: sweet and pure.”

This is as pure as it gets. Not only does it remain true to being raw and unprocessed, it even honors an indigenous custom on who gets to harvest the honey.So switch to raw honey.

And please, everyone, as much as you can, just stay home, stay safe, stay healthy.

Peace Honey (raw honey) from Abra, Kalinga and Mountain Province. Get it delivered to your doorstep via CLOY (Cordillera Landing On You). Call 0917 867 5188.

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TAGS: Fr. Joaquin Bernas, Raw honey, S.J.
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