Saturday, December 3, 2016

I asked God for more


Dr Abe V Rotor

 
Aftermath: where there was once a forest

Virgin Forest: only 3 percent is left in the Philippines.

Requiem to a forest, Brooke's Point Palawan

I asked God for food, clothing and shelter
and He showered me
these necessities I can not live without -
they are the Earth's bounty;
I settled down on fertile hills and valleys
and multiplied freely.

I asked God for power to boost my strength,
and He gave me energy;
I leveled the mountains, dammed the rivers
and conquered the sea;
raped the forests, prairies, lakes and estuaries,
a world I wanted to be.

I asked God if I can be god, too, all knowing
with my technology;
broke the sacred code of life and of matter,
changed the Great Story;
annihilated life unfit in my own design,
and set my own destiny. 

I asked God if He is but a creation of the mind,
and rose from my knee;
probed space, rounding up the universe,
aiming at immortality;
bolder than ever, searching for another home,
and wanting to be free. ~

The Garden - Living World in Microcosm


Nature keeps a dynamic order where unity resides in diversity.
Dr Abe V Rotor

We will never understand this mysterious order. Perhaps it is better not to probe it at all - for it is our deep faith in the Maker of that garden that we earn our place there to live in harmony with all creatures.



A view of the UST main building from the botanical garden
framed by a deciduous narra tree and climbing Phylodendron.


Century old dita (Alstonia scholaris) dominates the UST Botanical
Garden. It towers over the surrounding buidings on the campus.



“To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower;
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.”


- William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

This verse captures the essence of the title of this article. It condenses the universe into its elemental symbols from which we take a full view of the world we live in. It reduces the complexities and vastness of both non- living and the living world into a microcosm that is complete in itself- a plantilla of creation all contained in the hand and experienced within a lifetime.

Lucky is the person who realizes this singular gift. Through this microcosm he can traverse the breadth of time and space, live with the myriad of life forms, and most important, he is blessed by the Great Maker to be part of the wonders and mysteries of creation.

So deep is the faith of the poet, William Blake, who wrote this verse more than two hundred years ago. Then, there were no computers, no television, no spacecraft and satellites. Could it be that in the absence of these modern tools that the mind could penetrate deeper, imagination soar higher, and faith stronger?


A fine arts student finds solace and subject at the UST Botanical Garden.


A. Garden as a Microcosm

The garden could have been the place where Newton formulated the laws of gravity and magnetism when an apple fell on his head, where Darwin developed his theory of evolution through natural selection, where Henry Fabre discovered organization intelligence among insects over and above mere instinctive behavior. It was in a garden where Claude Monet painted his masterpieces, capturing the essence of the natural beauty of wild flowers, such as the Nymphaea and the lotus.

We may not expect inventions and discoveries, and master’s arts, to creep into the mind of whoever spends time in a garden, or any similar microcosm of nature for that matter. But we are most certain that he finds enlightenment through the knowledge and experience he gains, and with these he develops in himself the discipline to discover new things, and to acquire values that help him live at peace with nature and himself. It is in keeping close to nature that we better understand the ways of the world in which we live.

When I conducted a lecture- demonstration at the UST Botanical Garden before my students, I was in effect simulating the scenario. Here I showed them the different parts of the Garden, starting with the basics such as, “ What makes a Garden?” I explained the composition of a typical rainforest ecosystem. The garden is precisely a pocket representation of this ecosystem, and, by dissecting it, we were in effect looking at its profile.


B. Deciduous Nature of Trees in Tropical Rainforest


Deciduous umbrella tree or talisay (Terminalia catappa) displays the color of autumn.

I gathered my students under a narra tree- Pterocarpus indicus. Trees belonging to the Dipterocrap group of family Legumonosae dominate the canopy of the tropical rainforest. Their leaves fall off completely at certain season so that the trees are bare for some time, thus allowing sunlight to penetrate and nourish the understory trees, ground plants, lianas and epiphytes.

The floor becomes covered with litter that nourishes insect, earthworms, fungi and bacteria. These decompose the leaves into humus that ultimately becomes soil while supplying nutrients to different plants in the forest. Because of the high precipitation throughout the year, the forest becomes lush and dense. The multi- story nature of the tropical rainforest makes it the richest biome in both diversity of species and number of inhabitants.


C. Gymnosperms and Angiosperms

These are cone-bearing and lowering plants, respectively. Gymnosperms are exemplified by pine cypress, and arios. I allowed my student to touch and examine these plants. Then they turned to examine the angiosperms that predominate the campus. Phylogeny shows that flowering plants are more “ modern “, which means that through evolution, the gymnosperms are older, and later gave way to the evolving angiosperms. Except in colder countries and in the taiga biome, the natural vegetation of forests is composed of flowering plants. The pine, cypress and cycad are the most common representatives of the cone-bearing plants in tropical gardens.

The oldest living organisms belong to gymnosperm - the Redwoods of California. And the Bristle Cone which is believed to be even older. Many of these trees were already bearing cones during the time of Christ. I have seen one in central Taiwan, estimated to have been two thousand years old, before it was struck by lightning. It still attracts many tourists who wonder at its massive size. One would associate it with legend or cartoon if he hadn't gone to the place. massive it is even after death. It takes


D. False flowers

Nature’s sweet lies have a purpose. The brightly colored leaves of poinsettia and bougainvillea attract insect pollinators and enhance fertilization and subsequent fruit and setting and seed formation, thus ensuring the perpetuation species how many plants are benefited by this special make-up.

The truth is that most flowering plant has designed attraction mechanisms. In general, flowers are made attractive, although the attraction that we know may not be the same as how insects perceive it. We know red as red, yellow as yellow, and so forth. But insect have different perception of colors. Nonetheless, the basic purpose is what counts - and is almost always achieved. Other means that guarantee pollination-fertilization are sometimes needed. For example insect are attracted by the obnoxious odor of Lantana camara, pollinating it in effect.


Pongapong flower is pollinated by flies

This is also in the cases of pongapong (Amorphophallus campanolatus), kalumpang or bangar tree - and, of course, the Rafflesia, the world largest flower that emits putrefying odor. They have one thing in common: they attract flies to pollinate their flowers.


E. Flowering Bamboo- Prophet of Doom

The old folks used to tell us, “Beware when the bamboo flowers.”

What is the connection of a flowering bamboo to a force majeure, such as drought? Old folks use it as a barometer of El Niño. Climatologists around the globe predict the coming of this phenomenon by observing plants, among them the flowering of bamboos. The cycle is ten years or closer. El Niño is accompanied by poor harvest, forest fires, death of livestock, spread of certain diseases that effect man, animals and plants.

Biologically, organisms subjected to stress tend to reach the reproductive stage earlier than usual. In fact, certain insects even skip molting just to be able to metamorphose into an adult and carry out reproduction while the environment allows. It is nature’s way of insuring the perpetuation of the species at the expense of the organism, so to speak.

So, when a bamboo flowers it ultimately dies. This is why the panda, which derives its food mainly on bamboo suffers. There are bamboo species that flower after fifty years or so, then die.

There are other plants that signal the coming of drought. One is kapok. A fruit-laden kapok tree means poor against harvest ahead. Even the sturdy kamagong or mabolo is stressed by drought. While it stops producing new leaves, the crown remains intact. This could be the reason why this tree produces the hardest wood. In the case of the narra, and mango, they show no apparent stress signal. It is because they have sturdy, long taproots that penetrate deep into the ground and into the bedrock. Old folks, however, warn us that no plant is spared from the worst kind of drought.


E. Trees are Sound and Wind Barriers

Have you noticed how the sound of traffic dies down in the dense vegetation of trees? Loud voice is muffled, blarring sound reduced to tolerable decibels, and music is more soothing to the ear. The trees at UST and in the Sunken Garden of UP Diliman are definitely for this purpose, in addition to being buffers against strong wind.
Windbreaks help reduce wind pressure. I saw a 10- row windbreak of different species of trees along the highway to the Beijing airport. Another windbreak made of agoho (Casuarina equisitifolia) is found along the coastline of Kaohsiung in Southern Taiwan which similarly serves to buffer winter wind. Woodland hedges along field boundaries in Europe serve the same purpose. The Indian tree is an effective sound breaker because of its thick, cone- shaped crown. It has also another advantage, that is, it grows tall and straight so that several trees can be planted close to each other.These man-made forests are a source of many valuable products and serve as a natural habitat of wildlife. It is no wonder why the Hanging Garden of Babylon was one of the wonders of the ancient World.



F. Hantik Ants - Biological Control Agents


Nest of hantik ants (Oecephalla smaragdina)

My students studied the nests of the giant green tree ants or hantik. The older nests were built on the upper branches of alagao, while a newly built nest was on a smaller tree Ficus pseudopalma. It is not easy to trace which nest an individual ant belongs to, but each colony has a specific chemical signal called pheromone. This prevents members from fighting, and allows the colonies to co-exist with defined territories assigned to each colony. Scientist calls this territory as niche.


Hantik ants are notorious killers of other insects. This could be the reason I have not seen any need to spray chemicals. Hantik ants feed on grubs, caterpillars, aphids, scale insects, and many others. They carry off morsels to their nest to feed their larvae. They scare organisms several times bigger than themselves. In fact, one who happens to get close to their domain is likely to get a bite or two, which is warning enough. But they do not hesitate to attack once they are threatened or disturbed.

I demonstrated the ferocity of the hantik by crushing a member of that colony. Sooner than I expected other members came to the rescue and pheromone was immediately put to use in the coordination and division of work, and in the strategy of war.


G. Common Medicinal Plants

A botanical garden is not complete without a good collection of medicinal plants. Here I showed to my students examples of medicinal plants with their uses. UST Botanical Garden was once the pharmaceutical garden of the university founded by Fr. Rodriguez a century ago. It is one of the oldest phamaceotical gardens in the world.

Here are typical examples of medicinal plants found in backyard and home gardens.

1. Lagundi - fever and flu
2. Pandakaki- minor wound or cuts
3. Oregano - sore throat and cough
4. Ikmo - mouth wash
5. Mountain tea - health drink
6. Guava - body odor and skin diseases
7. Pandan - beverage and food additive
8. Alagao - fever and cold
9. Avocado - diarrhea
10. Banana - kidney ailment


H. Poisonous Plants

I showed my students poisonous plants growing in the garden. But why do we have poisonous plants around?

There are plants which produce poisonous substances that are valuable as pesticide. Examples are neem tree, derris and makabuhay. These have been proved to be effective in controlling certain pests and disease of plants.

Botanical pesticides are generally safer than chemical pesticides. Studies have shown that neem (Azideracta asiatica), a native of India, has long been used as insecticide. It is widely used on field crops and against domestic pest like cockroaches, mosquitoes and bedbugs in many countries including the Philippines.

Makabuhay (Tinospora rhumpiana) is effective against a wide range of rice pests and the application is very simple. Fresh stems and leaves are finely chopped and directly broadcast in lowland ricefields. The active principle is also very effective on golden kohol, a major pest of rice of the Philippines.

Derris is the source of commercial rotenone insecticide. The concentration of its poison is in its enlarged roots.

Two poisonous plants grow in the garden. In fact they grow wild and have been persistent for a number of years now. Castor bean contains a poisonous substance - ricinin - for which reason castor oil is no longer prescribed as laxative. The other plant is Jatorpha curcas or tubang bakod. A few years ago a group of students from a Quezon City High School ate the seeds which taste like peanut. They were taken to the hospital for treatment.


Bangbangsit (Lantana camara) , insect repellant
------------------------------------A garden harbors the inquisitive mind, the seeking heart, the longing spirit. It is a place of peace and quiet. Here the seasons of the year are best observed. As an miniature ecosystem it defines basic relationships between and among living things, including man. Never is a garden idle, nothing is waste, and time is never prodding yet never dull.
-------------------------------------------------


I. Conclusion

The microcosm is far from complete. But it is the framework that is important, like building replica of a dinosaur from pieces of recovered fossil. Knowledge is like that. It starts with principles, but, before that, one must be inspired and motivated to learn. There is no true learning unless one labors for it to some degree. Even frustration that may threaten learning itself, could be, at the end, a motivating factor, a challenge and test of what one is really made of. The Great Maker just gave us the Plantilla from which we follow the way to learning and understanding. ~


Bust of the founder of the former UST Pharmacy Garden, Fr. Rodriguez.

Symbols of the UST Pharmacy Garden. Both
monuments grace the garden's central area.

Home, Sweet Home in a Brick Farm House

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Brick Farm House painting by AVRotor
Home Sweet Home
By John Howard Payne

‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singingly gaily, that came to my call –
Give me them – and the peace of mind, dearer than all.

Home, Home sweet, sweet Home.
There’s no place like Home! 

There’s no place like Home!


AVR and children play Home Sweet Home.  Music by Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855)
(Arranged for the violin and piano by Henry Farmer)

To Children, Happiness is ....

"Happiness is riding a wooden sled - spaceship to the universe."
Dr Abe V Rotor

Happiness is taming a wildflower.
Happiness is a lot of water to play with.

Happiness is taking time out with the family on a weekend.

Happiness is learning to paint.
Happiness is a kid with a kid.

Happiness is anything but work.

Happiness is riding a sled.

Happiness is a program for kids.

Happiness is palo sebo.
Happiness is sailing the sea in make believe.Happiness is guessing who is behind the mask.

Happiness is playing with the saints and angels.

Happiness is with the whole clan on a Sunday on the beach.

Happiness is doing an errand and wading on a stream.


Happiness is waking up in a camp away from home.

Happiness is braving the prehistoric animals in a museum.

Happiness is being flower girls in a wedding.

Happiness is respite in the coolness of a shade.
Happiness is playing at sea - timeless, careless and free.

Happiness is learning the first steps of a dance.

Happiness is graduation time.

Comment:
When I read this article, I was touched because children can be happy on simple things but those simple things are important in life. Happiness with children can be fulfilled because they are contented and they don't aim high enough to be happy,just simple things, and they are happy in taking care of what they have,they care for their surroundings and achieving simple things that they have.

Children are better models than adults, children can fulfill their happiness with simple things. While adults seek for more. Chiara Alyssa Cochico


Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Two Greatest Lessons in Life


Dr Abe V Rotor

But there are no neighbors!

Once there was a workshop for adult leaders somewhere in Asia. The teacher asked the participants to draw on the blackboard a beautiful house, a dream house ideal to live in and raise a family. It was of course, an exercise, which in the minds of the participants was as easy as copying a model from experience and memory. Besides it is a universal dream to own such a house, which allows free interplay of both reason and imagination, using the left and the right brain. The participants formed a queue to allow everyone to contribute his own idea on the blackboard.

Child by Pablo Picasso

The first in the queue drew the posts of the house, on which the succeeding members made the roof and floor. The rest proceeded in making the walls and windows. On the second round the participants added garage, porch, veranda, gate, staircase, fence, swimming pool, TV antennae, and other amenities. Finally their dream house was completed and they returned to their seats. A lively “sharing session” followed and everyone was happy with the outcome of the exercise, including the teacher.

Just then a little child happened to be passing by and saw the drawing of the house on the blackboard. He stopped and entered the classroom. He stood there for a long time looking at the drawing and the teacher approached him. The child exclaimed, “But there are no neighbors!

Human relations is very important. Sociology has become a major field in education. There is a field of biology known as Human Ecology. Economics is rooted into the theory of equitable wealth distribution, where everyone gets a fair share of the pie. Most religions, including ancient religions, are anthropocentric. The Good Samaritan, The Prodigal Son, Matthew 25, Sermon on the Mount, the meaning of Messiah – all these and many more speak of man to be good to his fellowmen. Salvation is not aimed at oneself, but should be one that is collective, which means, “No one goes to heaven alone.”  Very little mention is made on the role of the environment, or nature for that matter, in leading man to heaven.

But there are no trees, rivers...

In a another village near the first one I told you, there was a similar workshop. This time the participants were asked to draw a community. So they made a queue for the blackboard and after working together, came up with a beautiful drawing of a community. There are houses - many houses; a church, a school, village hall, plaza. Roads and bridges make a network in the village showing many people. The marketplace is is full of life. Anything that makes a typical village is there.

The participants discussed, “What constitute a community?” and everyone was so eager and delighted at the result.

Just then a little child was passing by, and when he saw the drawing on the backboard, stopped and entered the classroom. The teacher approached him. The child exclaimed, “But there are no trees, no birds; there are no mountains, no fields, no river!

As no man is an island, so is a village without a natural environment. What good is man living on top of a hill while being surrounded by people in abject poverty? What good is progress – megacities, science and technology, internet, - when progress itself is responsible for the destruction of the land, the seas, and the atmosphere, in short, the Planet Earth.

Many days had passed since the two workshops. Virtually no one ever thought of looking for the little child - who he was or where he lived. Then the whole village suddenly realized, and so they began to search for him.

But they never found him – not in the village, not in the neighboring village, not in the town, not in any known place.

Who was the little child? Everyone who saw him never forgot his kindly beautiful and innocent face, and they pondered on his words which are the greatest lessons in life.

"But there are no neighbors!"
But there are no trees, no birds; there are no mountains, no fields, no river!


"... but there are no trees, rivers, lake."
painting in acrylic by AVR 

Return of the Balloon Frog Tukak Bat'og


Dr Abe V Rotor
The first time I saw tukak bat’og was when I was a young farmhand. Its name is familiar because bat’og, battog or battobattog, in Ilocano means pot bellied. At that time anyone who exhibited a bulging waistline was associated with this amphibian. But there were very few of this kind then. The war had just ended and people had to work hard.

Hardship tightens the belt automatically, but peacetime and the Good Life opens a new war - the “battle of the bulge.” Today two out of five Americans are obese and Europeans are not far behind. Asians are following the same trend, as more and more people have changed to the Western lifestyle that accompanies overweight condition, whether one is male or female.

But actually Bat’og is all air. It’s like balloon short of taking off. But once it wedges itself in its tight abode not even bird or snake can dislodge it. Not only that. It feigns dead and its attacker would simply walk away to find a live and kicking prey.

Nature’s sweet lies are tools of survival. When it faces danger Bat’og engulfs air and becomes pressurized and distended, reducing the size of its head and appendages to appear like mere rudiments. And with its coloration that blends with the surroundings, and its body spots becoming monstrous eyes, who would dare to attack this master of camouflage.

Not enough to drive away its foe, Bat’og uses another strategy by producing deep booming sounds coming from its hollow body as resonator. I remember the story of Monico and the Giant by Camilo Osias when I was in the grades. The cruel giant got scared and rushed out of his dark hiding when Monico boomed like Bat’og . Actually it was the unique design of the cave’s chamber that created the special sound effect and ventriloquism. The vaults of old churches were similarly designed this way so that the faithful can clearly hear the sermon.

The exhausted Bat’og deflates and returns to its chores, feeding, roaming around and calling for mate – and rain, so old folks say. Well, frogs become noisy when it rains. Biologically, egg laying is induced by rain. Eggs are fertilized in water and hatched into tadpoles that live in water until they become frogs. Bat’og has relatives that live in trees and their tadpoles inhabit trapped water in the axils of bromeliads, bananas and palms. Or it could be a pool inside the hollow of a tree.

After I left the farm for my studies in Manila, I never saw any Tukak Bat’og again. Only a trace of that childhood memory was left of this enigmatic creature.

Then one day, in my disbelief Bat’og resurrected! For a long time it has long been in the requiem list of species, ironically even before it was accorded scientific details of its existence. Well, there are living things that may not even reach the first rung of the research ladder, either they are insignificant or new to science. Who would take a look at Bat’og?

I believe a lot of people now do. People have become environment-conscious after the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, the emergence of Greenpeace movement, and birth of "heroes for the environment". Who is not aware now of global warming, especially after viewing Al Gore's documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth? Who have not experienced calamities brought about by our changing climate?

What changed the thinking of the world - a revolution in our concept of survival - is that all livings are interconnected and that the world is one systemic order, that the survival of one spells the survival of all creatures and the preservation of the integrity of the biosphere and therefore of Planet Earth, and that there is no living thing that is too small to be insignificant or useless.

Of all places I found Bat’og one early morning in my residence in Quezon City. I would say it instead found me. There in my backyard, ensconced in a gaping crack in the soil covered with a thick layer of dead leaves lay my long lost friend - very much alive.

Hello! And it looked at me motionless with steady eyes. It was aestivating, a state of turpor, which is a biological phenomenon for survival in dry and hot summer, the counterpart of hibernation when organisms sleep in winter and wait for the coming of spring. My friend was waiting nature's clock to signal the Habagat to bring rain from across the Pacific come June to September, a condition necessary for its amphibious life.

Slowly I lifted my friend and cradled it of sort on my palm. And we rolled time back fifty years ago. And before any question was asked, it was already answered. It is like that when two old friends meet after a long time. I remember when journalist Stanley found the great explorer Dr. David Livingstone in the heart of Africa in the 19th century, Stanley simply greeted, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" and the old man lifted his hat and gave Stanley a firm handshake. This became one of the most famous meetings in the world.

You see an event earns a place in history, or in the heart, when it permeates into the primordial reason of existence, which is Reverence of Life.

Reverence – this is the principal bond between man and nature. It is more than friendship. It is the also the bonds of the trilogies of human society – equality, fraternity and liberty. It is the  bridge of all relationships in the complex web and pyramid of life. It towers over equations and formulas in science. It links earth and heaven, in fact the whole universe – and finally, the bridge of understanding between creature and Creator.

Bat’og is back. How easy it is to understand a creature however small it is, if it is your friend. Yet how difficult it is to define the role of a friend. The fox in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’ novel, The Little Prince, warned the little prince, “If you tame me you are responsible to me.” The little prince simply touched the wild beast.

Taming is the ultimate submission to humility. And the greater a person who humbles himself, the truer a friend he is.

How do we relate this principle to our being the only rational creature? The dominant species over millions of species? The God-anointed guardian of the Earth? The custodian of creation?

Allow me to have some time with my long lost friend. Either one of us is the Prodigal Son, but  that does not matter now. Let me join Darwin and Linnaeus and Villadolid et al.

That was a long time ago by the pond that had dried in summer. As a kid on the farm I have known the ways of my friend. Bat’og would stake its prey - termites, ants, beetles and other insects. Like all frogs – and toads – the adults and tadpoles are important in controlling pests and diseases.

One of its relatives belonging to genus Kaloula was found to subsist mainly on hoppers and beetles that destroy rice, including leafhoppers that transmit tungro, a viral disease of rice that may lead to total crop failure. Such insectivorous habit though is universal to amphibians, reptiles, birds and other organisms. If only we can protect these Nature’s biological agents we would not be using chemicals on the farm and home, chemicals that pollutes the environment and destroys wildlife.

Bat'og and its kind protect man from hunger and disease. They are an important link in the food chain. No pond or ricefield or forest or grassland is without frogs. There would be no herons and snakes and hawks and eagles. No biological laboratory is without the frog as a blue print of human anatomy. And The Frog and the Princess would certainly vanish in the imagination of children.

Bat’og is a survivor of chemical genocide. It is the timely age of enlightenment of people returning to natural food and the spread of environmental consciousness on all walks of life and ages that came to its rescue in the last minute. So with many threatened species.

Who does not rejoice at finding again native kuhol, martiniko, ulang and gurami in the rice field? Oriole, pandangeratarat and pipit in the trees? Tarsier, mouse deer and pangolin in the wild? And the return of ipil-ipil, kamagong and narra in the forest? And of course, Haribon the symbol of Philippine wildlife and biodiversity.

It is indeed a challenge for us to practice being the Good Shepherd, but this time it is not only a lost lamb that we have to save, it’s the whole flock.

Tukak Bat’og symbolizes the victory of Nature. But Nature’s victory does not mean man’s defeat; rather it is man’s submission and obedience to Nature’s laws and rules and therefore, the restoration of order on Planet Earth - our only spaceship on which we journey into the vastness of the universe and the unknown. x x x

Don’t eat between meals, old folks advise.

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Coffee break is a corporate invention, and snacks are the first version of fast food, thanks to capitalism. So why take heed of the old advice?

Well, let’s look at it this way. Our old folks take heavy meals, mainly rice or corn, depending on the region they live, and they do not eat anything in between meals. Yet they work for long hours, and are healthy.  How is that?

Image result for polysaccharide foods
 
 
 
 
 Plant foods are by far the commonest source of polysaccharides:
  • Starch is in cereal grains (wheat, oats, rye, barley, buckwheat, rice, etc.), potatoes and legumes (beans, peas, lentils).
  • Fiber is mainly in whole grains (whole-grain bread, brown rice, etc.), legumes, vegetables and fruits.
Starch in cereals is polysaccharide, which means that it has to be broken down into simple sugar before it is “burned” by the body to release energy. Starch has to be hydrolyzed with the aid of enzyme (amylase) found in our digestive system.  Glucose, the ultimate product is broken down through oxidation (respiration), providing the needed energy for various body functions.  This transformation takes hours, releasing energy throughout the process, and by the time the fuel is exhausted, it is time for the next meal.  This is a simple test. Have you experienced having a grain of rice unknowingly tucked between the gums and teeth?  After an hour of so, the grain taste sweet. It means that the grain is undergoing hydrolysis – from starch to sugar.
White sugar (sucrose), on the other hand is directly burned, after it has been split into two monosaccharides.  That is why too much white sugar leads to high blood sugar – if we do not burn it – and may in the long run become the cause of diabetes. 

Broil, don't fry.  It's healthier and more economical.

This eating regimen of old folks may apply to manual workers, principally in the field.  Today we find this virtually impossible to follow.  First, we need a lot of energy, mainly for the brain, and secondly, we are already accustomed to having snacks.  In fact many of us never stop eating. A foreigner once commented, “Filipinos are always eating.”  What with all the advertisements - from TV commercials to giant billboards - and the proliferation of food carts and stores.  ~