Friday, March 29, 2013

Hidden Valley

Hidden Valley
Dr Abe V Rotor

Hidden Valley in acrylic, AVR 2011

Let time stand still in these lovely huts
     by the gentle streams and rivulets;
let the breeze comb the green slopes,
     and sing with the hills and rocky cliffs;

The birds fly over the meandering brook
     and come to rest from across the bay;
let the wild call the language of the free, 
     and signal the coming of night and day.

Here Beethoven composed a lovely song ,
     and Schumann added a poetic flare;
rustic would be Amorsolo’s version
     of this hidden valley fair.

Here by the pond Henry Thoreau
     wrote a treatise, Man and Nature;
here Schumacher praised the small,
     "Small," he said, "is Beautiful."

Here is respite, here is retreat,
     where the sky and hills ever meet;
here’s life far, far from the busy lane, 
     a resort for tired souls and feet.

If life has not been lived well enough
     and freedom like a genie chained;
take it from Milton in his blindness,
     he saw a Paradise regained.

And here as in our ancestor’s time
     lies an Eden, lofty yet sublime,
where there is no need of calendar
     to mark the passing of time. ~

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Talking Bird

What does a baby make up for the fun -
with the foolishness of bird and man? 

Dr Abe V Rotor
                                Baby Mackie and a Talking Myna, Tagaytay March 24 2013

A raucous gang of teenagers came by
and made the bird squawk and fly;

Glamorous ladies in their older years;
their greetings turned into cheers;

A debonair paused and expected
a praise, the opposite he got instead;

A man in full suit said, "Hello there!"
repeated the bird with blank stare;

Boys are boys, they made some clown;
good words, bad words flew around; 

Friend to all - waiters, guests as well,
In random words and phrases swell.

All but imitation of whatever call,
in make believe to fill the empty hall.

In decibels unkind to any ear
yet everyone just wishes to hear.

What does a baby make up for the fun -
with the foolishness of bird and man? ~

The Last Sentinel

The Last Sentinel    
Dr Abe V Rotor

   Sentinel on Tagaytay Ridge - but for how long? March 24, 2013  

I braved the wind and storm, drought and rain,
     vandals and lovers carving their pledge, 
the beetle and caterpillar, all that has to gain
     from me standing on this ridge at its edge.

I was as proud as a king, tallest among my kin,
     home of countless tenants and refugees;
by height and place I was keen at touching the sky,
     though so little I felt on Babel's knees.

The view around was lush and green, verdant 
     in the sun as mist and fog would unfold;
a woodland was my world, I was once a part,
     until humans came to replace the old.

My neighbors are gone, I lost track of my lineage, 
     I've no one to talk to, though humans can 
in queer sound far from the gentleness of breeze
     all day long and after the sun is down. 

I lost sight overlooking the famed volcano, 
     its lake within a lake shining in the sun;
my vantage is blocked by roofs and walls and smog,
     an orphan I became by progress of man. 

I no longer hear plaintive and joyful songs,
     recitation of verses under my wing; 
weary travelers no longer stop to take a nap,
     nor birds nest in my branches and sing.

I live in fear for the woodsman, the engineer,
     but I've lived with fear enough to understand
the world of man: fear akin to his existence
     hidden in want - guideless, boundless in band. 

Man's era shall reign over nature, but for how long?
     I can only tell from my ancestors' story:
once upon a time there was a Paradise 
    abandoned by man in search for glory. ~

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Folk Re-enactment of the Passion of Christ, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

Dr Abe V Rotor

Dedicated to my kababayan, particularly to the players of the Good Friday passion play. These shots were taken with a palm size digital camera with 7.2 Mega pizels, photos are unedited. 
Calvary scene where the seven last words of Christ reverberated throughout the world - the most revered moment of His life that made Christianity the world's biggest religion ever: 1.2 billion followers two thousand years after - and still growing. 
The living icons are natives of the town - artisans, farmers, students, fisherfolk and a host of natural artists, who know too well about the kind of life they portray for and on behalf of Christ in His greatest hour.  
The game cock enthusiast offers his hobby and trade; the tippler knows just how sober it is to lose oneself that he may enter into the world of spirituality - an apostle worthy of  partaking in Christ's last supper. 

 Young centurions dreaming of bringing peace and order in a troubled world, reversing the biblical role into honor and heroism. The re-incarnated Pontius Pilate, allegory of power abuse among today's leaders, softens in the heart of a young boy whose innocence shall grow into the idealism of new young leaders.  

Judas Iscariot hanging on a tree, believed to be the haunting strangler's fig or balete, likewise haunts those who turn their back against Christ.  The player broke the omen, indeed a most difficult role in the stage play, by asceticism, an old principle of perseverance with meaning. The difference of a repentant Judas who took his own life with that of a neo-Judas today is that there is redemption in the latter in Christ's own way of human salvation - which is the essence of His coming as the Messiah.    

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Beneficial or harmful religious practices to health and the environment.

Dr Abe V. Rotor
Typical Palm Sunday, blessing of young fronds of coconut, buri, anahaw and oliva.

• Fasting is cleansing, it helps the body stop the accumulation of unwanted substances such as cholesterol, and allows the body to eliminate toxic materials. Fasting heightens awareness on food, its value, taste, discipline, "grace", and the feeling of hunger - which millions of people around the world encounter everyday.    

• Retreat and reflection is therapy, helps the mind and body release tension and do away with the effects of stress. It moderates lofty thoughts and ambition. It brings back idealism, hones ability to discern right from wrong.

• Abstinence conserves animal population especially during the lean months, conserving breeding stocks in order to multiply in the next season. Abstinence increases awareness to the need of becoming less dependent on animal products, and more consumption of plant products.

• To some religions pork is banned. Pork is a carrier of known parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm, and ascaris.

. Ancient religions regard certain places and trees sacred, thus enhancing their conservation. (Such worship was replaced by later religions, thus losing Nature's protection.)

• The washing of feet is not only ritual, it is also hygienic, getting rid of germs and preventing the spread of diseases.

On the other hand, on Palm Sunday trees are stripped off of their buds, leaves and stems. Whole palm trees are cut down and laid to waste. Potential loss to the coconut industry runs to millions of pesos every year, based on the productive life of a coconut tree of 20 years on the average, and quarterly harvesting of nuts, other uses of coconut notwithstanding. There are plants used on Palm Sunday that are endangered, among them species of Cycad.

There are rituals and practices of various religions that fall in either of the categories – beneficial or deleterious to our environment. It is time to review them in the light of the present environmental crisis.

Here is a short list of other religious practices that should be discouraged.
1. Flagellants inflicting wounds as penitence, source of infection.

2. Religious attires, habits, costumes not suitable to climate and weather conditions.

3. Stagnant communal holy water is breeding place and carrier of many germs causing diseases.

4. Walking on the knees may result to injury and long term disability.

5. Scents and smoke, mainly from candles, contain poisonous gases like carbon monoxide, specially in closed chamber.

6. Banging head as penitence, and other forms of self infliction.

7. Extreme emotional devotion drains physical and mental strength.

8. Amulets made of toxic and allergenic materials (lead, mercury, nickel).

9. Extreme sacrifice, leading to dehydration, sun stroke, fatigue, neglect of duties.

10. Extreme fanaticism. Don't gaze at the dancing sun, you'll surely lose your sight.

11. Barefoot walking is dangerous, so with bareheaded under the scorching sun..

12. Unruly crowd may result to stampede.

13. Bringing along very young children to crowded church, pilgrimage, procession is dangerous.

14. Don't be deceived or over react to piteous situation, and play the role of a politician.

15. Being pious is not a guarantee, you will be spared of criminal elements, and accidents.

16. Be humble, don't brag with your religion, you'll only court ire, and even fight.

17. Dress simply, decently, avoid ostentatious show of wealth in your devotion.

18. Religion is a way of life, live up with it.

19. Don't preach, don't proselytize, it is better to just live as an example.

20. Never, never associate devotion with suicidal act.

Remember that more people have died in religious wars, and conflicts motivated by religion, than all casualties of non-religious wars and battles in history. Many suicides were committed because of religious fanaticism. x x x

Monday, March 4, 2013

Snapshots: disturbing views on the road

Dr Abe V Rotor
Lesson on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio,
738 DZRB 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday

"A picture means a thousand words." 
On smoke belching vehicles 
Tricycle on main road 
  Wrong lane, blind rear view
 Road construction hazard 

Double traffic violation