Monday, December 24, 2012

Doves Flying at Sunrise

Doves Flying at Sunrise
Mural and Verse by Abe V Rotor

Doves Flying at Sunrise (2000 to 2007). There is a feeling of ascendancy in this painting. The diagonal perspective enhances such movement, while splashes of light heightens daybreak. The rough sea and dark foreground give contrast to the painting. The hideous presence of large reptiles creates enigma as to what the artist wanted to imply. Mystery in art is an important element. (Wall Mural SPU-QC)

Take me from this world a moment
to be with You in this holy event;
from your seat to down below I see
my friends, my enemies - and me.

Present state of the mural, Doves Flying at Dawn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

United Nations Parade

Photos by Dr Abe V Rotor

Can you identify the country each costume represents?

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Dr Abe V Rotor
Marlo and Anna at the Dinosaur Exhibit, Manila 1987

Even your tree has been felled,
your phylogeny now a memory;
for your were lost in the current,
in the  repetitious mechanism
of the universe,
when one day stood still
while you were acting
in too many parts of the play,
in too long a time.

Your life is twice told, 

understanding it backward,
through the art 
of marble and mud.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Dr Abe V Rotor

Happy are they 
from day to day
ensconced under a roof,
the family's a proof.

Lest they forget, the seed
weaned for its need,
must draw out its best
through the Sower's test.  

Aling Sion and children, Tiaong, Quezon
Light in the Woods, Megabooks 

The Case of the Empty Chicken Egg - My First Experiment

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Childhood is full of adventure.

I was big enough then to climb and reach the baki (brooding nest) hanged under the house.

I found out that if I leave some eggs in the basket as decoy, the more eggs I gathered in the afternoon. But why leave some eggs that may become stale?

Then an idea came. With a needle, I punctured an egg and sucked the content dry. It tasted good and I made more of these empty eggs as substitute decoy in the nest.

My dad was a balikbayan. He settled down in our hometown, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, soon after finishing his studies at De Paul University in Chicago during the Great Depression. He put up a furniture business but was destroyed by the second world war. Our family managed to survive though and. Dad said, it is the greatest blessing to our family.

That evening after discovering the empty eggs dad called all of us and said, "First thing tomorrow morning we will find that hen that lays empty eggs.”

It was a family tradition that every Sunday we had tinola - chicken stew with green papaya and leaves of pepper (sili). Dad would point at a cull (the least productive member of the flock raised on range) and I would set a large basket upside down to serve as trap, and place some corn for bait. My brother Eugene would slash the neck of the helpless fowl while my sister Veny and I would be holding it until it became still. The blood is mixed with glutinous rice (diket), which then coagulates. It is cooked with care to keep it intact before the vegetables are placed.

That evening I could not sleep. What if dad picks our pet chickens? On the farm we call our favorite chickens by name. They were real pets like dogs and cats. I felt sorry, the empty eggs were the cause of the whole trouble.

The next morning after the mass I confessed to dad my secret and even demonstrated it. He laughed and laughed. Soon everyone joined the hilarious moment. And the case of the empty eggs was laid to rest.

We simply picked a dumalaga (pullet) and prepared our favorite tinola. "Bercio, please lead the prayer." Dad said. I did, sheepishly looking at the steaming dish.

Many lessons dawned from my first experiment. I also realized that one just can’t fool anybody.~

Monday, November 5, 2012

Young Musicians

Dr Abe V Rotor

Marlo, Anna and Leo at home

I imagine young Haydn mimicked
a strolling fiddler with pieces of stick,
and young Beethoven writing music
from birds and lambs at the creek.

In Messiah Handel saw God's image,
while Mozart excelled before the king,
and Chopin the piano-poet of his age
saw neo-classical music emerging.

Happier are those who play the tune,
than he who stops at the chord,
they who keep alive the inner vision,
the music that lights the world. 

Light in the Woods, 1995 Megabooks 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

World Food Day: Food Security is Green Revolution at the Grassroots: Answer Key to Self-Administered Test (50 Items)

World Food Day: Food Security is Green Revolution at the Grassroots: Answer Key to Self-Administered Test (50 Items)
Dr Abe V Rotor

Part 1: True or False

1. Green Revolution is a term that refers to the development of agriculture, tracing it from the time man settled down to raise animals and plants up to the present in which genetically modified organisms (GMO) of plants and animals are being produced.

2. Green revolution does not encompass agro-processing such as the making of brewed coffee beans, patis and bagoong, wine and vinegar, milk, cheese and ham, and the like – because these are beyond the farmer’s capability - financially and technically

3. Green revolution must fit well into the demands of the market, which means that the raising of crops and animal and all attendant activities must conform to such “market directed” principle

4. We are still nomadic like our primitive ancestors were, in the sense that we still derive much of our food and other needs from the sea, hills and forest. Furthermore, we travel far and wide from our homes and families in search of our basic economic needs – food, clothing, shelter and energy. This neo-nomadic syndrome has been spurred by our modern way of living influenced by overpopulation, industrialization, science and technology.

5. Growing affluence and increasing level of living standard takes us farther and farther away from the basic concept of green revolution, whereby ideally a family lives under one roof guaranteed by the bounty of the land the members cultivate, and historically built within framework of culture and tradition.

6. Based on the previous question, growing affluence and standard of living is the reason why modern China cannot prevent its thousands – nay millions – of young inhabitants to move out of the confines of a once socialistic confine in search of the Good Life that they very much deserve.

7. The least sprayed vegetables – that is, vegetables that do not necessarily require the application of pesticides – are those that grow wild. Thus the ruling is, the more native a vegetable is, the more resistant it is to pest. 

8. Green Revolution started as a movement in the Philippines way back in the fifties with the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement during the time of President Ramon Magsaysay, with the youth at the helm, led by 4-H Clubs, Rural Improvement Clubs (RIC), Boys Scouts and Girls Scouts, public and elementary schoolchildren, and barrio folks.

9. The crowning glory of Philippine Green Revolution was the attainment of self-sufficiency in food and other agricultural products following a food crisis in the early seventies. Through M-99, Maisan 77, and many barangay food production programs, the country even surpassed suffiency level and became a net exporter of rice and other food commodities.

10. When you introduce a new plant in your garden – a plant that has not been tried before – you are sure it is virtually free of pests, firstly because it did not bring with it the pests from its origin, and second, the local pests would take time to develop the taste for it. F

11. The longest stage or phase of Green Revolution was the expansion of horizons during the colonial period whereby land was forcibly taken and consolidated into estates and haciendas by the colonists. One such case is our own haciendas, a number of them still are still existing and operating like President Cory’s family hacienda – Luisita – which was singularly exempted from land reform.

12. The corporate world swallowed up small businesses including small farms in the US, Europe and in fact all over the world, such that the capitalist robbed the entrepreneur of his resources, technology, market, and worst, his potentials and therefore his future. (Economies of scale –is this the nemesis of small business?) 

13. Today’s fast emerging technologies continue to favor the capitalist thus making him grow even bigger (examples: McDonalds, San Miguel, Robina, Nestle’ and Jollibee conglomerate). This is what social scientists call Neo-colonialism, a kind of agriculture reminiscent of the colonial times. (Or is the trend today the opposite - the dinosaur syndrome is killing the beast.) T

14. The most nutritious of all vegetables in terms of protein are those belonging to the legume family. In fact a number of legumes have higher protein content than meat. T

15. If we rank from highest to lowest in protein content these vegetables should be listed as follows: soybean, segidillas or calamismis (pallang), mungo, tomato, malunggay. 

16. It is better to specialize on certain crops in your garden for practical management. If leafy vegetables, plant pechay, lettuce, mustard, alugbati, talinum, and you need the same kind of soil, topography, amount of water, tools, planting schedule and season, and market.

17. Mang Tonio is a simple farmer. He plants rice in his small paddy once a year because this is what other farms are doing, and it is tradition in the area. They say don’t break away sa naka-ugalihan. If you agree with Mang Tonio answer true, if not false.

18. It is possible that a one-hectare farm can produce as much as a four-hectare farm does, even without additional amounts of inputs like fertilizer, pesticide and water. 

19. The idea of cottage agro-industry is to make use of inferior quality products that bring more profit or value-added advantage. Examples: immature and broken peanut into butter, overripe banana and tomato for catsup, fruit fly infested guava and mango for puree; typhoon damaged sugarcane into vinegar, bansot piglet into lechon, unsold fish and shrimps into bagoong and patis, and the like.

20. Samaka is a movement, acronym of Samahan ng Masaganang Kakanin – the united effort of a group to have more plentiful food for their families. It is the precursor of successful food production programs later led by PACD (Presidential Arm in Community Development), RCPCC (Rice and Corn Production Coordinating Program) later to become National Food and Agriculture Council (NFAC) which implemented Masagana 99, Maisan 77, Manukan Barangay, Bakahang Barangay, Wheat Production, Soybean Production, and other production programs then under President Marcos. Unfortunately all these were virtually erased after the Edsa Revolution.

21. Botanically speaking, the parts of these plants we eat are classified as follows: cassava tuber is a root, so with kamote, peanut is a fruit, potato tuber is a stem, onion bulb is a leaf.

22. When buying papaya, the more yellow the fruit appears, the more mature it had been picked from the tree. Avoid buying papaya that appears dominantly green and yellow or orange only at the ridges. 

23. There are five kinds of vegetables according to the parts of the plant (botanical classification). The following are classified under at least two kinds: squash or kalabasa, ampalaya, malunggay, sinkamas, short sitao or paayap.

24. The production capacity of genetically modified crops of corn, potato, and soybean – the most common GMO food we are taking every day - has increased even without increasing the supply of nutrients in the soil. GMOs are the world’s ultimate recourse to feed an ever increasing population now approaching the 6.5 billion mark.

25. Our soil and climate are favorable to many crops. Let us plant our rice fields and corn fields after harvest season with the following crops so that we will not import them and spend precious dollars, and that, it is the Filipino farmer and not the foreign farmer whom we patronize and subsidize. Potato (potato fries), Soybean (soybean oil, TVP, tokwa, toyo, taho), White beans (pork and beans), wheat (pandesal, cake, noodles).


• 1. Let’s make a Lazy Man’s Garden at Home. What are plants considered literally tanim ng tamad, a syndrome many Filipinos fall into, a little bit of every thing (tingi-tingi), ningas kogon, makakalimutin, kulang sa tiyaga, and mapabaya’: papaya, malunggay, siling katuray, ube, patola, kondol, upon, alugbati, talinum, patani, batao, segidillas, kumpitis.

• 2. Ano-ano ang mga halaman na nakakain na hindi itinatanim. (What edible plants simply grow spontaneously)

26. The role of Green Revolution generates in supplying food of a fast growing population is foremost even at the expense of clearing forest, leveling hillsides, reclaiming swamps – and even farming the sea.  

27. Talinum is a small tree that is why it is so easy to grow, and will last for a long time, season after season and you have vegetables throughout the year. Alugbati is tree like malunggay. In fact they usually grow together in some forgotten corner, along dikes and fences, around open well, and does not need care at all practically speaking. Alugbati is best as salad, cooked with mungo, beef stew, sinigang, bulanglang. 

28. Agro-ecology will always clash – there is no compromise. Either you are an ecologist or you are an economist. Take eco-tourism, eco-village, etc.)

29. All these plants are propagated by cutting. All you need to do is cut-and-plant a branch or stem – malunggay, kakawate or madre de cacao, katuray, ipil-ipil, cassava, sugarcane, talinum, alugbati, kamias.

30. Homesite for the Golden Years (HGY) which we launched on PBH last February 14 this year has the features of a integrated garden, enterprise, agro-industry, eco-sanctuary. The key is to supply this Patch of Eden (A Slice of Paradise) with all the amenities of modern living. 

31. The area required for a Homesite for the Golden Years is greatly variable and flexible; it can be as small as 100 square meters to 10 hectares in area. This allows evolution of as many models as one could think of. 

32. The numerous hanging round fruits (tubers) on the stem of ube are the ones we plant, especially on large scale.

33. Acclimatization means helping introduced plants and animals get adapted to their new environment. There are those that succeed but can’t reproduce; while others become better of that their counterparts they left behind.

34. Based on the previous question, there are plants that have not been fully acclimatized even after many years so that extreme attention is given to them like Crucifers – cauliflower, cabbage, wonbok, celery, lettuce, broccoli. T

35. Bagging with ordinary paper and/or plastic bags and sacks is necessary to protect from the dreaded fruit fly the fruits of guava, mango, jackfruit, ampalaya, durian, orange, avocado, mangosteen, guyabano and atis. 

36. Green thumb is a gift of naturalism. Only those who have this genetic gift are chosen caretakers of God’s Garden of Eden. Others have the equivalent gift in taking care of aquariums, house pets, children’s nursery.

37. We have our local pansit: sotanghon comes from rice while bihon comes mungo. We import noodles, miki and lomi made from wheat, while macaroni and spaghetti are made from semolina wheat or pasta. 

38. Value-added, a term in manufacturing gave rise to a new taxation E-VAT. To cope up with the added burden on the part of both entrepreneur and consumer, why not process your product and get instead the benefit of the new law? Example. Don’t just sell your palay harvest, have it milled sold as rice, make flour out of it, make puto and bihon, and others. 

39. Based on the same question above, to get the benefits of VAT, market your own produce; be an entrepreneur, a middleman/trader and of course, a producer. 

40. Start by planting the seeds of the following crops if you go wish into immediate commercial production – because the seeds of these plants are plentiful, you have no problem of supply: chico, guava, orange, mango, rambutan, lanzones, avocado, tiesa, atis, guayabano – as well as others that produce plenty of seeds. That’s how nature intended it to be.

41. Seeds always turn out genetically true to type. Big mango fruits come from seeds of big mango fruits, big guava means big guava, sweet pomelo – sweet pomelo, seedless atis – seedless atis, red pakwan – red pakwan. 

42. Just follow the direction of the sun when you plant by rows and plots – north to south, so that there is less overshadowing of plants. In this case you may increase your harvest by as much as 10 percent.

43. Extend the shelf life of fruits such as mango, avocado, atis, guayabano, nangka, by rubbing salt at the end of the stem, the base of the fruit. 

44. Momordica charantia is the scientific name of ampalaya. Why spend for commercial food supplement in bottle, syrup, tablets, pills or dry herbal preparations as advertised - Momordica or Charantia, or Ampalaya Plus? (Write true for each recipe, if correct)

• All you need is buy a bundle of fresh ampalaya tops made into salad and dipped with bagoong and vinegar. It’s good for the whole family.

• Or add ampalaya leaves to mungo and dried fish or sautéed pork.

• Pinakbet anyone? Native or wild ampalaya cut in half or quarter without severing the cut.

• Ampalaya at delatang sardinas.

50. Ordinary people like anyone of us can secure for ourselves and family enough food and proper nutrition. This is food security in action. It is food security that gives us real peace of mind. The biological basis does not need farther explanation. It is the key to unity and harmony in the living world. Queuing for rice defeats the image of a strong economy. High prices of food do not give a good reflection either. How about ASEA, UN, WHO? ASEAN commitment to regional food security, food aid from the UN or US may simply ease the impact of food shortage or inequity in its distribution, but they are but palliative measures. And having a dreamer Joseph in public food depot is not reliable either. It is green revolution at the grassroots that assures us of not only food but other necessities of life – and self employment. It is that piece of Paradise that has long been lost that resurrect in some corner of your home. Paradise is not lost, if you create one. Do you agree? T

Trivia: Who is Who in the field of agriculture and life science in the Philippines
1. If there is a Luther Burbank, the American plant wizard, who is our own in the Philippines (___________________________, foremost plant breeder of the Philippines)

2. The greatest and most popular authority of medicinal plants in the Philippines (___________________________, Medicinal Plants of the Philippines)

3. Filipino scientist who occupied the highest position in the UN FAO? (________________________, Regional chief of UN-FAO for Asia and the Pacific)
4. Her name is an institution in children health care, founder of Children”s Hospital and inventor of nursery incubation chamber, among other invention (___________________)

5. His discovery of the cause of cadang-cadang disease of coconut lead to effective control of the disease threatening to wipeout the coconut industry in the Philippines (________________________________)

6. First director or International Institute for Rural Reconstruction, author of Alternative Medicine, anti-smoking in public places, school and advertisement. (_____________________________)

7. Man behind food self-sufficiency, M-99 that led the Philippine among the top rice producers in the 70s and 80s. (_______________________, Secretary of agriculture)

8. First Filipino allergologist, discovered a syndrome named after him, internationally adapted in hospitals and medical schools around the world, served as executive secretary of presidents Quezon and Osmeña, discovered orchids also named after him. (___________________________).

9. Founder of the Nursing profession, brought into the profession respectability and dignity, service and selflessness, (_________________________, nationality ________________)

10. The greatest woman who ever lived in our times - epitome of love, compassion, faith, selflessness and dedication, a living saint (though less popular than Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, In fact there were far less number people who paid their respects to her than Princess Diana who died and was buried at the same time.) _______________________ of ________________.

x x x

ANSWERS: Part 1: 1t 2f 3t 4t 5f 6t 7t 8t 9t 10f 11f 12t 13t 14t 15f 16f 17f 18t 19f 20t 21t 22f 23t 24f 25f 26f 27f 28f 29f 30t 31f 32f 33t 34t 35f 36f 37t 38t 39t 40f 41f 42f 43f 44 to 49 (all true) 50t

Part 2: 1. Nemesio Mendiola 2.Eduardo Quisumbing 3.Dioscorro Umali 4. Fe del Mundo 5. Gerardo Ocfemia 6.Juan Flavier 7. Arturo Tanco Jr 8.Arturo B Rotor 9. Florence Nightingale 10.Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A list of native games

Dr Abe V Rotor
1.      Laban ng gagamba (gagambang hari)
2.      Sungka
3.      Patintero
4.      Taguan
5.      Luksong Tinik
6.      Tirador
7.      Sumpak
8.      Sumpit
9.      Kariton lata
10.  Pagulong
11.  Sipa
12.  Piko’
13.  Jolens
14.  Trumpo
15.  Yoyo
16.  Luksong lubid
17.  Karrera sa tubig
18.  Tatching (coin)
19.  Cara crus
20.  Sabong Karera sa bao
21.  Palo sebo
22.  Kawit (finger wrestling)
23.  Bunong braso (arm wrestling)
24.  Juego de anilyo (kabayo) Hit the pot
25.  Patpat palo
26.  Pabitin
27.  Juego de prenda
28.  Carabao race
29.  Bitao/sabong (no slasher)
30.  Basagan ng itlog
31.  Rubber band sa lupa
32.  Pitik bulag
33.  Jack and poi
34.  Chinese checker
35.  Chinese garter
36.  Tumbang preso (can)
37.  Sikyo (bihagan)
38.  Tik-tak-toe
39.  Jack stone
40.  Tag of war
41.  Kabayo kabayohan
42.  Bahay bahayan
43.  Luto lutoan
44.  Bubbles of gumamela or tubing bakod
45.  Leaf propeller
46.  Paper plane
47.  Knife throwing
48.  Handkerchief parachute (last to reach ground)
49.  Stone throwing (farthest)
50.  Swimming (fastest, farthest)
51.  Diving (longest under water)
52.  Track and field (fastest),
53.  Obstacle race
54.  Sepak takrao (Indo)
55.  Sack race (foreign)
56.  March to Jerusalem (foreign)
57.  Fencing
58.  Sarangola fight
59.  Karera sa tayakad
60.  Native Judo and Boxing, 

Indigenous transport.
1.      Paragos (sled) – no wheel, no frame
2.      Partigo (kariton without sidings)
3.      Kariton (wheel and frame w sidings and roof)
4.      Taculi (boat sled)
5.      Balsa (bamboo raft)
6.      Kasko (banca with curve roof)
7.      Kangga (pair of sled with elevated flooring)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spinning Top (Trumpo) - Endangered Native Toy

Spinning Top (Trumpo) -  Endangered Native Toy
Dr Abe V Rotor

 Traditional spinning top

 Modern versions of the spinning top

Anyone who grew up in the province in our time is familiar with the original spinning top. If not, imagine an oversize chicken egg, of that of the guinea fowl or bengala, its small end sharply tapering into a shank made of nail, one to two inches long. The tip is pointed to reduce friction for longer and more stable spinning. But we always made it sharp ready to nip or puncture the tops of our opponents in tournaments.

Because our town is famous for furniture making, we have lathe machine (pagturnuan Ilk) to make the best tops in town. Everyone could easily recognize a spinning top made in San Vicente, three kilometers west of Vigan, the capital. There were spinning top tournaments held on certain occasions and we would send our best players to the capital. To be a good player, first you must be accurate at marked target. But there is another kind of tournament - you should be able to immobilize your opponent’s top, by puncturing or chopping it out of shape. This is why the wood used in making tops is molave, better still kamagong, which is claimed to be the hardest wood in the world.

Exhibitions are part of the tournament. For example whose top makes the loudest humming sound? How balanced and stable is the spinning of your top? How long will it keep on spinning? Then there is the skill to “capture” a spinning top and have it continue spinning on your palm.

But how do you make a top without lathe machine? I still can recall my experience in making one. Cut a branch of molave, or any locally available wood such as guava or isis or Ficus ulmifolia, the tree that produces sandpaper-like leaves. Choose a branch at least three inches in diameter. With a sharp bolo, shape one end into a round peg, and drive through it a 3-inch nail, leaving half as the shank. Smoothen the wood with boy scout knife and sandpaper, making it even and balanced. Shape and cut off the upper part of the top with a saw or sharp knife.

An immature wood when it dries up has a tendency to crack. That’s why you have to look for a seasoned branch. The harder it is, the better - and the more durable is your top. For the rope or string to spin the top, get a pure cotton thread, numero ocho, that is 1/8 of an inch, and a meter long. Sometimes we would twist two thinner threads to make the standard spinning rope. To learn the technique of playing spinning tops, ask older boys - or us who were experts in our days.

Why don't you try making your own spinning top? It's a real test of craftsmanship, by how well it performs and chance to win in a tournament.

 Photos acknowledgment: Google, Wikipedia 

Native Games and Sports with Animals

Dr Abe V Rotor

Carabao race – Here is a joke in puzzle, “What is the first car race?” The children of my age then would think of Ford or Chevrolet. Sirit? “It’s car-abao race.” It’s a corny joke, more so today. But if you haven’t seen one, go to Paombong, Bulacan during the fiesta of San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of farmers. It is like horse race, with the “jockey” riding without harness. So there’s a lot of skill needed to stir the animal to the finish line, galloping the carabao way.

Carabaos are known to be very docile. They say, you won’t be able to reach your destination on time with a carabao even if you use a horse whip. And don’t ever force the animal cruelly. In Thailand a carabao in the middle of a race broke away and attacked the spectators hurting dozens of them. An animal is still an animal however tame it is. The biological instinct is unpredictable.

Catching piglets (bi-ik) in mud. It takes a day or two to prepare the arena or pen, some 5 by 5 meters square, or bigger in area, and secured with interlink wire or wooden fence. To make the game exciting the ground is puddled like a rice field ready for planting. A smaller pen is made next to the big pen. The piglets – some ten are released per batch of contestants. It is a game of two or more contending groups. It could be a one-on-one contest in the final stage. The rule may be that he who catches the piglet either gets a prize or takes the animal home – like in the movie, Babe, a story of a piglet won from a fair by an elderly farmer who reared it to become a “sheepdog” and earned its place on the farm.

It’s a messy game; it is full of wit and skill. It is in catching the piglets and putting them into the adjoining pen within the prescribed time frame that determine the winner. Imagine the winner standing on stage receiving his prize – or piglet. Can you recognize him? ~

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ode to my Favorite Writers

Ode to my Favorite Writers
Dr Abe V Rotor
Dr Jose P Rizal, author of Noli me Tangere and 
El Filibusterismo; Philippine national hero
Teodoro "Doroy" Valencia center, newspaper 
columnist (Over a Cup of Coffee), dean of 
Philippine journalism
Author of science fiction novels: Twenty Thousand
Leagues under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the 
Earth, Around the World in Eighty Days 

1. Jose Rizal
Your enemies tried to silence you,
and curtailed your freedom;
the lamp flickers its last rays at dawn
to seal your martyrdom.

2. Aesop
Ah! Animals talk louder than men
though in screech, crow and bleat;
yet by moral and sanity, speak
not the language on the street.

3. Ernest Hemingway
You seemed as brave as the old man
in your great masterpiece;
the soldier, the hunter, the dreamer -
yet wanting a life of peace.

4. Charles Darwin
You did not give up to your critics,
who only prayed and preached;
around the world you witnessed,
change by random and fit.

5. Lola Basiang (Severino Reyes)
You touched a million-and-one lives,
around campfires in their prime;
like Grimm and Anderson and Homer,
storytellers of all time. ~

6. Boris Pasternak

Zhivago, to the end walked away alone,
from  love neither in winter nor fallow;
what romance away from the war zone,  
wrapped in doubt to sorrow's end.

7. Mark Twain   
I am a boy forever, Tom or Huck,
down the Mississippi loafing
and let the world go by sans care
what grownups are missing.  

8. Robert Louis Stevenson 
"Kidnapped" made a boy into a man
too soon to faced a cruel world;
learning the art of war and peace, 
deceit and conceit,  gun and sword.

9. Oscar Wilde
You're a creator of characters and events,
in novels, stories, and plays 
children and adults alike on the armchair
live in your mind, time and place. 

10. Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes lives to this day,
idol of any detective;
The Lost World - remnant of the past,
is back in our midst to live. 

11. Jules Verne 
Ideas in your minds, truth in our time,
across generations to mine; 
fiction to science the world to gain       
your genius beyond our sane.   

12. Doroy Valencia
Over a cup of coffee, more than a brew,
wider and deeper than just a view,
stirred a wasp nest, and a reptile's too  
as the art and science of writing grew. 
 Author of the most controversial book, On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, which sparked the greatest world debate which remains unresolved to the present.  Darwin is considered the father of evolution to which his name is attached - Darwinism.
Aesop, ancient Greek storyteller is considered as the father of Fables, stories of animals that can "think and talk," critiquing on human behavior.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vinegar from Fruits

Dr Abe V Rotor


You can put up a vinegar generator in your kitchen and you will have a continuous supply of natural vinegar. Protect yourself and your family from glacial acetic vinegar. Convert those surplus fruits that would otherwise go to waste. You can also produce vinegar for your friends and community.

I am simplifying the procedure as a practical guide in vinegar making for the rural as well as the urban areas.

1. Clean two wide-mouthed, gallon size glass containers. (Ordinary glass gallons will do. Do not use plastic containers.)

2. Peel and clean around two kilos of overripe (but not rotten) fruit of any kind (pineapple, chico, banana, etc. You may combine two fruits, like chico and guava, or pineapple and mango. (Do not use kamias. Kamias contains oxalic acid which weakens the bones.)

3. Mash the fruit with two kilos of sugar. Be sure the sugar is well imbedded into the tissues of the fruit pulp. Divide the substrate equally for the two glass jars

4. Add tap water to four-fifth of the container. Shake or stir.

5. Add one tablespoonful of commercial yeast (baker’s yeast) onto each jar, then stir.

6. Cover the setup with sinamay or kulambo textile. The reason for this is to allow air to enter, while letting the fermenting gas C02 to escape. Do not plug or seal. Pressure builds up and is likely to break the container.

7. Do not be bothered when you see Drosoplila flies hovering around because they are attracted to the fermenting odor. They carry with them beneficial fermenters. Just allow them to settle down near and around the setup. Their presence hastens acetification. What must be avoided are houseflies and other vermin. To do this, design a nylon screen frame, which is good to cover four gallons. Be sure only the Drosophila flies can pass through.

8. During the first two to five hours, froth will rise. Stir to calm the substrate. Stir once daily for the first week. Allow the setup to stand for three to four weeks until the solids have settled at the bottom. Keep it in a shaded corner of the house or kitchen.

9. Decant the filtrate and transfer to another gallon or large bottles. Plug with cotton to allow air circulation. This is the ageing phase. The longer you keep it this way, the better the quality becomes. This takes around two to three months. There will be sediments that form at the bottom. Nata (nata de coco) may also grow at the surface of the liquid. This is proof of natural vinegar.

10. This is the time for you to harvest your vinegar. Use a small siphon to decant and leave the nata and sediments behind. Heat the filtrate (harvested vinegar) to 60 - 70 degrees  Celsius for 10 minutes.  This is actually Pasteurization - to eliminate unwanted microorganisms and to stabilize the product.  Cap the bottles airtight.

An alternative is to expose the newly bottled vinegar to direct sunlight for at least three hours. The color of your product is now golden to reddish from above, or crystal clear against the light. Label with a trademark of your choice. Write on the label the following information. Fruit used; place and dates of fermentation; ageing and bottling. And of course, your name.

Entrepreneurial Prospect

Vinegar making can be made into a lucrative enterprise due to its authenticity as natural vinegar. Many brands bear the name natural but are actually overnight formulations of diluted glacial acetic acid, no different from the acetic acid used for industrial purposes like in photography and textiles manufacturing.

People are becoming more and more health conscious making them very judicious in their choices of health-enhancing food and food preparations. This is your best selling point. People are willing to pay a premium of a guaranteed natural product.

On the aspect of manufacturing, experience has it that vinegar making alone does not maximize business opportunity and benefits. The two steps – fermentation and oxidation – can be treated as two separate processes, hence two lines of products can be developed in one enterprise. In fact, a third step is nata de coco production, which immediately follows vinegar production. This is shown by this formula.

CH3COOH --------> Nata de Coco (coco jelly) or Nata de Piña
               Leuconostoc mesenteroides

The making of nata de coco developed in the second half of the 1990s when nata was in great demand for export, principally to Japan.The product is used as food and also as component in the electronics industry. Local demand as sweetened gel remains high in spite of the abrupt decline of the Japanese market.

Here is the business concept for holistic and integrated, hence, viable operations:

1. If you are a small sugarcane farmer, have control over the making of red (raw) sugar. Native or brown sugar not being refined is natural food. There is a big demand for this kind of sugar where the molasses have not been separated.

2. Ferment table wine (Basi in the Ilocos region) from sugarcane. There is a big demand of this native wine by Ilocano balikbayan. Similarly with fruits, there is now a trend to take table wine either for health purposes, in lieu of liquor. The fruit industry may look into this field of endeavor. It offers definitely a value-added advantage to fruit growers, and there are thousands of families that grow fruit trees at the backyard.

3. Make vinegar out of the inferior sugar cane, specially during a poor crop year.
Typhoon and drought damaged cane can made into sukang Iloko. Fruits in season, and fruits that cannot pass market standard can be made into fruit vinegar. This is advantageous to orchard growers and contractors.

4. Nata de coco can be made out of the local vinegar products with local sugar as raw materials. Nata in many colors and flavors is an innovation of the traditional product. A progressive idea proved that nata can be made into laminate as substitute to leather, sheepskin and material for bags and belt. The biological laboratory of St. Paul University QC succeeded in making has made preliminary products.

Vin egar is wine gone sour. It may not be man’s elixir, but it bridges an intricate process of nature, benefiting  man with other products of great importance.x x x