Monday, January 28, 2013

Forces of Nature Models


Dr Abe V Rotor 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM 8-9 evening Mon to Fri

Model A: Cyclic Force of Nature

Model B: Non-cyclic Force of Nature

Nature is alive. She doesn’t sleep. She can only rest like fallowing, aestivation, hibernation. She is as gentle as breeze and rough like a storm at sea. She is discreet like alpha radiation, silent as a dormant volcano, suddenly waking up.

So with living things. They reproduce, form populations, reach a climax level and establish a niche. Populations interact, they compete. There is diversity. Balance of Nature is built this way and is always dynamic.

There are two general models to illustrate the forces of nature: cyclic and the non-cyclic, as shown in these paintings.

Model A: Cyclic Force of Nature
Model B: Non-cyclic Force of Nature

Every thing in the universe is governed by these two models. So on Planet Earth, in the living and non-living world, in our lives, the march of seasons, in the life cycle of organisms - they follow the concentric model, characterized by repetition as if it is a plantilla .

The second model is best shown by the relationship of matter and energy, by Einstein's formula of E=mc2. It is clearly illustrated in the duality of metabolism – anabolism (constructive) and catabolism (destructive), photosynthesis and respiration, respectively. The classical application of the second model in the transformation of energy from one form to another.

Distinct as these models may appear, the forces of nature are not fixed. There is gradual or sudden transformation from one model to another, from A to B and vice versa. This how is Nature’s healing power can be explained.

For example a typhoon disrupts the balance of an ecosystem, such as a forest (A to B). Trees are felled by strong wind, epiphytes and lianas as brought down by the death of their host trees, nesting birds are driven off. So with myriads of tenants in the forest. All these disruptions represent A.

As the swath of destruction across the forest heals – saplings take over the space of the fallen trees through the years, little by little the former residents return. In fact there are new ones that emerge. Food chains are restored. And food chains form interrelationships to form food webs and food pyramids. We call this process homeostasis (B to A). Then the forest once more becomes a balanced ecosystem (A).

The typhoon that caused such destruction follows also a pattern.

A typhoon by the way starts as a low pressure area. This is caused by differential heating of the atmosphere and surface of the earth by the sun, and in effect creates wind. Cold air is heavier than warm air, so that warm air rises and a low pressure is formed. Now the cold air moves in toward the low pressure area (Boyle’s Law), in the process develops into wind. Because of the nature of the rotation of the earth the wind also rotates, counterclockwise above the equator, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. As the wind gains momentum it becomes into a cyclone or typhoon. Or hurricane in the South Pacific. Or a tornado. All these represent Model A.

What happens when the typhoon hits land? It slows down, dissipates by transferring its energy on structures of the land, on settlements and farms and forests. (A to B)

Nature is always alive. She doesn’t sleep. She can only rest like fallowing, aestivation, hibernation. She is as gentle as the breeze and rough like a storm at sea. She is discreet like mild radiation or bold like volcanic eruption.

But even volcanic eruption (B) is necessary. Lava fertilizes the surroundings, varies the topography of the land, in fact creates islands and atolls, which become symbols of peace and beauty of Nature (A). ~

Exercise: Here is a list of phenomena and events. Classify each one according to the two models and explain.
  1. Hurricane Katrina
  2. Jogging
  3. Higad season
  4. Migration of birds and animals
  5. Oil spill at Gulp of Mexico
  6. Earthquake in Haiti
  7. The Great Recession
  8. Birth and death of stars
  9. Rise and fall of the Roman Empire
  10. Pasig River before and now
  11. Cloning
  12. Speciation
  13. Desertification
  14. H1N1 pandemic 2009
  15. Adolescence and senility
  16. Chernobyl incident and aftermath
  17. Muro-ami
  18. Liposuction
  19. Atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  20. Cancer
This lesson is recommended as a research paper or project in school. It allows student to choose the specific topic, and to work either individually or as a team. ~

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dog artist

Dog artist
Dr Abe V Rotor
Kulit at home 2013*

An artist by accident or game,  
      she bears the colors of the sun;
Calmly she lays by a stroller,    
     leaving her art when gone. 

*Kulit passed away a week after this photo was taken.  She was 12 years old. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Garden as Insect Laboratory


Garden as Insect Laboratory
Dr Abe V Rotor

Daddy-long-legs, relative of the mosquito, quakes continuously when at rest by swaying its body back and forth in all directions, causing blurred view to a would-be attacker, and mesmerizing a potential prey. In the open, such optical illustion is enhanced by the shadow of the moving organism. Note the hind pair of wings reduced into halteres or balancer, characteristic of Dipterans. There is another kind of daddy-long-legs which belongs to Arachnida.
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NOTE: Entomology (study of insects) is best studied in the field in order to gain on-site and hands-on experience. A school garden, such as the former Eco Sanctuary of Saint Paul University QC, UST Botanical Garden Manila, Miriam College ecological garden QC, serve the purpose for regular field work. Ideally, schools with sprawling campuses are ideal. Ateneo de Manila University for one, and University of the Philippines Diliman, and of course, UP Los Banos in Laguna. I wrote this article at the former Eco Sanctuary of SPUQC sometime in the 1998.
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With increasing population, traffic and commerce all around a community, there is one place, a garden, that offers a wildlife sanctuary, specially insects. Here they live freely in the trees and shrubs, on annuals, inside the greenhouses, around the ponds, in loamy soil, and in the shade of buildings, and even visit homes seeking a suitable abode.

I have the feeling that of all animals, insects are the most adapted to the varied aspects of human activities, from the sound of hurrying feet to soft echoes of prayer and hymns – and loud music. When there are humans around, insects feed on morsels, paper and crayons, drink on fruit juices and beer. They aestivate in flower pots and boxes to tide with the harsh summer months. Or hibernate when the cold Siberian High comes. I think Pavlov’s conditioned learning works with insects as well.

Interestingly, as an entomologist, I have been monitoring the insects in some gardens, listing down a good number of species that include those not readily found elsewhere. These include a giant click beetle, a rhinoceros beetle with horns resembling a triceratops, Ficus pollinating wasp, leaf-curling thrips of ikmo, long horned grasshoppers, sulfur and Papilio butterflies.

Well, it is a fact that there is no escape from insects - good or bad ones. In terms of species, there are 7 insects out of 10 animal’s organisms of earth. Insects comprise 800,000 kinds and scientists estimate that their kin - lobster shrimps, spiders, ticks, centipedes, millipedes and scorpions if these were to be added, the phylum to which they all belongs, Phylum Arthropoda, would comprise 80 percent of all animals organisms. To compare, plants make up only one-half million species.


What secrets have insects in dominating the animal world, and surpassing the geologic history of dinosaurs, fishes, mammals and even some mollusks?

Well look at the ants, termites, and bees, the so-called social insects. Their caste system is so intact and strict that is was long regarded as a model of man’s quest for a perfect society. It inspired the building of highly autocratic empires like Egyptian and Roman Empires, and the monarchial Aztecs, Inca and Mayan civilizations.


Antlion's traps. The predatory larva of this Neuropteran (Dendroleon obsoletum) lies buried at the bottom of the pit waiting for an unwary ant to fall and become its meal. The adult resembles the damselfly. 


Take the case of the butterflies and moths. Their active time is not only well defined - diurnal or nocturnal, but their food is highly specific to a plant or group of plants and their parts. Their life cycles allow either accelerated or suspended metamorphosis depending on the prevailing conditions of the environment, a feat no other animal can do more efficiently.


One time my students gathered around me by the ponds. There I explained to them the bizarre life of the dragonfly, once a contemporary of the dinosaur. Its young called nymph is a fearful hunter in water as the adult is in air. Apparently this is the reason on how it got its legendary name. I showed them the weapons of insects: the preying mantis carries a pair of ax-and-vise, a bee brandishes a poisonous dagger, while a tussock moth is cloaked with stinging barbs, a stink bug sprays corrosive acid on eyes or skin. The weevil has an auger snout, the grasshopper grins with shear-like mandibles, and the mosquito tucks in a long, contaminated needle.



Artistic representation of a damsel fly, Museum of Natural History, Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB Laguna


We examined a beetle. Our thought brought us to the medieval age. A knight in full battle gear! Chitin, which makes up its armor called exoskeleton, has not been successfully copied in the laboratory. So with the light of the firefly, the most efficient of all lights on earth.

Wait until you hear this! Aphids, scale insects and some dipterans, are capable of paedogenesis, that is, the ability of immature insects to produce young even before reaching maturity!

Numbers, numbers, numbers. This is the secret of survival and dominance in the biological world. King Solomon is wise indeed in halting his army so that another army - an army of ants can pass. Killer ants and killer bees destroy anything that impedes their passage, including livestock - and human.

Invisibility is another key to insect survival and dominance. Have you examined the inside of leaf galls in santol, Ficus and ikmo? Well, you need a microscope to see the culprit - thrips or red mites. I demonstrated to my students how insects, being very small, can ride on the wind and current, find easy shelter, and are less subjected to injury when they fall. Also, insects require relatively less energy than bigger organisms do. All of these contribute to their persistence and worldwide distribution. Insects surely are among the ultimate survivors of a disaster.

In an article I wrote, A Night of Music in a Garden I described Nature’s musicians, the cricket and the katydid. While their sounds are music to many of us they are totally coded sounds similar to our communications. Cicadas, beetles, grasshopper, have their own “languages”, and in the case of termites and bees, their language is in the form of chemical signals known as pheromones. It is from them that we are learning pheromones in humans.


A Walking Stick, a perfect example of mimicry. (Former SPUQC Eco Sanctuary)

Without insects, we are certain to miss our sweetest sugar which is honey, the finest fabric which is silk, the mysterious fig (Smyrna fig) which is an exotic fruit. We would be having less and less of luscious fruits, succulent vegetables, the reddest dye, unique flavor in cheese, and most likely we will not have enough food to eat because insects are the chief pollinators, and main food of fishes and other animals. They are major links in the food chains and food webs, the columns of a biological Parthenon.

Without insects, the earth would be littered with dead bodies of plants and animals. Insects are the co-workers of decomposition with bacteria and fungi as they prepare for the life of the next generation by converting dead tissues into organic materials and ultimately into their inorganic forms. Together they help bridge the living and the non-living world.

A garden without bees and butterflies mirrors a scenario of the biblical fall. And if the other creatures in that garden strayed away from its beautiful premises as our first forebears began their wandering, they too, must have learned the true values of life, which they share to us today.
Green Beetle

Beautiful is the verse from A Gnat and a Bee, an Aesop fables. To wit:


“The wretch who works not for his daily bread,
Sighs and complains, but ought not to be fed.
Think, when you see stout beggars on their stand,
The lazy are the locusts of the land.”


In The Ant and the Grasshopper, Aesop, acting like a father with a rod in hand, warns. He was referring to the happy-go-lucky grasshopper.

“Oh now, while health and vigour still remain,
Toil, toil, my lad, to purchase honest again!
Shun idleness! Shun pleasure’s tempting snare!
A youth of rebels breeds age of care.”


Ecologically insects are the barometer of the kind of environment we live in. A pristine environment attracts beneficial insects, while a spoilt one breeds pests and diseases
. 

I have yet to see a firefly in a city garden. I remember an article in Renato Constantino’s series of publications, Issues Without Tears. Its title is, You don’t See Fireflies Anymore, a prophesy of doom, a second to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Maybe. But I have not lost hope. Someday, a flicker in the night may yet come from a firefly and not from a car or cigarette - if only others will share with me the same optimism. ~



Ficus pseudopalma and its exclusive wasp pollinator, a classical example of co-evolutionOnly this species of wasp can pollinate and subsequently fertilize the introverted flower of this fig plant. Wasp is magnified 20x under a stereo microscope.



Monday, January 7, 2013

Guava, the Wonder Tree

By Dr. Abe V. Rotor

If there is another wonder of the world, it is the guava.

Have you seen a tree bearing “fruits” bigger – and heavier - than its whole structure?

Here is for the Book of Guinness Record. Have you heard the guava tree talk, laugh and shout, sing beautifully or grunt, make echolocation signals? Its branches bend without wind, the trunk sways at 9.0 intensity, leaves fall as confetti.

Recess Time: Guava tree and swing take a break. Batasan Hills, QC


Parents know where to find their children, and fetch them from their perch in the tree for their siesta or class. At once the tree falls silent, but the doldrums reigns briefly. Soon the children are back to their bailiwick tree.

Take the backseat London Bridge, Golden Gate or Eiffel Tower. The guava tree can bend and touch the ground, and become upright again – not once, not twice but many times in its lifetime. And every branch equally obliges to the 180-degree weight and pull of children. No wonder the best spinning top and the best frame for slingshot are made from guava wood, and is perfect "Y", too.

It is a living Christmas tree, sort of. Birds come frequently. The perperoka and panal - migratory birds from the North, come with the Amihan and eat on the berries, while combing the place of worms, and gleaning on anything left by harvesters. The pandangera  bird (fan-tailed) dances on the branches, while the house sparrow perches, picking ripe fruits and some crawlers. And if you wake up very early, meet the butterflies and bees gathering nectar and pollen from the flowers. Take a deep breathe of the morning air spiced with the fragrance of both flowers and ripe fruits.

And the tree has eyes. True. Round and luminescent in the dark, mingle with the fireflies and the stars – and a waning moon. It is romantic, scary, sacred. Fruit bats come at night and pick the ripe fruits. Rodents and wild pigs scavenge at night. Moths and skippers, relatives of the butterfly, are nocturnal in their search for food and mate. Old folks would warn us kids never to go near the tree at night. In my career as biologist I had the experience to see in the middle of a field guava trees lighted with fireflies. This scene was in Sablayan in Mindoro island. What a sight - Christmas in another time and in another place. What a magnificent sight!

Would a child go hungry where guava trees abound? I don’t think so. Because the fruits are packed with sugar, vitamins and minerals. The fruits are made into jelly, pickled and cooked as vegetable. It is perfect for sinigang. Have you heard of guava wine? It is the most aromatic of all table wines made from tropical fruits, and it displays a rare pinkish glow. Nutritionists say guava is rich in Vitamin C, richer than most fruits, local and imported. I came to learn later of the cancer-preventing substance derived from Psidium guajava,its scientific name, and its miraculous healing attributes.

Name the ailments commonly encountered, and the guava offers a dozen home remedies. Chew the tops and make a poultice to relieve toothache. The village dentist tells you to first make a poultice the size of a marble, then after he has extracted your tooth, he tells you to seal the wound with it to prevent bleeding and infection. Pronto you can go back to your usual chore.

Guava stem is the first toothbrush, try it. Soften the smaller end and you can also use it as toothpick. This is practical when traveling in a remote rural area. Chew a leaf or two for astringent and tooth paste. Crushed leaves serve as aromatherapy, a new term for an old remedy. And for an unconscious person, burn some dried leaves, fan the smoke toward the patient while pressing his large toe with your thumb nail. The patient senses both pain and smoke and soon takes a deep breathe - another, and another, until he gets enough oxygen and he wakes up.

Decoction of guava leaves for bath is practical in eliminating body odor. Guava soap is effective against skin disorders like pimples and eczema. With this knowledge my daughter Anna Christina formulated an oitment from guava as her college thesis. It is an all-natural antibacterial formula of the plant’s anti-inflammatory and therapeutically active properties against wounds or burns. Extract from the leaves contains 5 to 10 percent tannin, and fixed oils that have antibacterial and inhibitory effect against harmful microorganisms.

When I was a kid my auntie-yaya would gather succulent green guava fruits as remedy for LBM. Tannin regulates the digestive enzymes and stabilizes the digestive flora. She would also make guava leaf tea as a follow-up treatment.

As an offshoot of all these experiences, I asked my students to look into the potential value of guava seeds. The seeds contain 14 percent oil, 15 percent proteins, and 13 percent starch. And study also the bark and leaves in the development of drugs against diarrhea, and as astringent.

At one time I was isolating yeasts that occur in nature which I needed in preparing bubod – yeasts complex for basi wine fermentation, I stumbled upon two kinds of yeasts -Saccharomyces elipsoides and Brettanomyces. The second, I discovered is the secret of French wine quality. This French yeast resides in our home yard, in the flower of the native guava! Later I found out with the help of Food Development Center of the National Food Authority the same yeast naturally occurs in the flowers of macopa (Eugenia jambalana) and duhat (Syzygium cumini), both members of the guava family - Myrtaceae.
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Guava is the tree of happy childhood. The tree bears fruits and children. Look at all the children climbing, swinging on its branches, some armed with bamboo poles, others with small stones, still others with slingshots aiming at one thing: the ripe fruits on the tree. The tree builds sweet childhood memories.
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The guava seed is an example of Nature’s way of breaking dormancy of seeds and enhancing their dissemination. Dormancy is a temporary delay for seeds to germinate, which may last for a few days to several years. This is important as a survival mechanism of plants. Guava seeds are not destroyed by gastric juice and peristalsis of the digestive system of animals – cold or warm blooded - because of their very thick and hard pericarp. This biological property ensures the species to colonize a new land.

You can’t crack guava seeds. If you do, especially with a decayed tooth you’ll end up going to your dentist. Oh, how I would wince and hold on anything. Either the old tooth is forced out of its place or the seed has lodged in the cavity.

Old folks also believe that guava seeds can cause appendicitis. Well, its seed is too large to enter this rudimentary organ. I believe though that it is its abrasive nature that makes way for the bacteria to enter and cause infection. And subsequently inflammation. Well, if this is true, then it’s a risk one takes in eating guava. You really can’t remove all the seeds, and if you succeed you take away the fun and quaintness of eating this berry.

We have introduced foreign varieties of guava which really don’t grow into a tree. The fruits are very much bigger, but far from being as sweet as those of our native variety. In a few years the guapple, as it is called, becomes senile and die, while the native guava lasts for a lifetime, and longer.

Today when I see children climbing guava trees it reminds me of my childhood. It reminds me of its many friends – birds, ground fowls like ducks, chicken, bato-bato, goats and self-supporting native pigs. I imagine butterflies, dragonflies and Drosphila flies attracted by the ripening fruit. And frogs and toads patiently waiting for these flies to become their prey. Finches and sparrows, the quick and dainty La Golondrina (swift), the pandangera, panal and perperroka – I miss them.

Yes, the fruit bats, they are the source of children’s stories, among them is about clumsy bats dropping their load of ripe fruits accidentally falling of rooftops. In the dead of the night what would you imagine? “It’s the manananggal! (female half-bodied vampire).” Our folks at home would even make their voice tremble. And we would cling to each other in bed we kids of our time. Our elders take advantage of the situation and whisper, “If you don’t sleep, it will come back.”

In the morning who would care about the mannanaggal? Or seeds causing appendicitis? Or the danger of falling from the tree. Or chased by a wild boar? Or challenged by a billy goat or a brooding hen? As usual we would search for ripe berries and have our fill. Then we would hurry down and run to relieve ourselves, too loaded we simply take comfort in some nearby thickets. In time guava trees would be growing this these spots.

Children would be climbing these trees, having their fill of the fruits, and joyous in the adventure of childhood, making the guava tree the greatest wonder of the world. ~

Resurrection and Regeneration

Resurrection and Regeneration 
Dr Abe V Rotor

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                  House lizard or butiki, emerges from hiding after shedding off its skin (molting). 

Old folks tell us of the magic of lizards growing new tails, crabs regaining lost claws, starfish arising from body pieces. How can we explain these mysteries?

The biological phenomenon behind these stories is called regeneration. The male deer grows a new set of anthers each year; sea squirts and hydras are produced from tiny buds; the same way plants grow from cuttings. New worms may regenerate from just pieces of the body; and some fish can sprout new fins to replace the ones that have been bitten off.

Experiments demonstrated that the forelimb of a salamander severed midway between the elbow and the wrist, can actually grow into a new one exactly the same as the lost parts. The stump re-forms the missing forelimb, wrist, and digits within a few months. In biology this is called redifferentiation, which means that the new tissues are capable of reproducing the actual structure and attendant function of the original tissues.

Curious the kid I was, I examined a twitching piece of tail, without any trace of its owner. I was puzzled at what I saw. My father explained how the lizard, a skink or bubuli, escaped its would-be predator by leaving its tail twitching to attract its enemy, while its tailless body stealthily went into hiding. “It will grow a new tail,” father assured me. I have also witnessed tailless house lizards (butiki) growing back their tails at various stages, feeding on insects around a ceiling lamp. During the regeneration period these house lizards were not as agile as those with normal tails, which led me to conclude how important the tail is.

Regeneration is a survival mechanism of many organisms. Even if you have successfully subdued a live crab you might end up holding only its pincers  and the canny creature has gone back in the water. This is true also to grasshoppers, they actually detach their legs in order to escape their enemies.

Another kind of regeneration is compensatory hypertrophy, a kind of temporary growth response that occurs in such organs as the liver and kidney when they are damaged. If a surgeon removes up to 70 percent of a diseased liver, the remaining liver tissues undergo rapid mitosis (multiplication of cells) until almost the original liver mass is restored. Similarly, if one kidney is removed, the other enlarges greatly to compensate for its lost partner. ~

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Books of A V Rotor



 "The humanities hold the greatest treasure of mankind."  Co-authored with Dr Kristine Molina-Doria, the book, in summary, makes Humanities, a basic 3-unit subject in college, interesting and attractive to students. The book is distinct from conventional textbooks by being experiential in approach - meaning, on-site, hands-on, and encompassing of the various schools of art - old, new and postmodern.  Learning is further enhanced by viewing an accompanying compact disc (CD), and by having easy access to a wide range of references principally from the authors' works on Facebook and Blog. [avrotor.blogspot.com] It is a publication of C&E, one of the country's biggest publishers and distributors of books. Launched in February this year it is now adapted by several colleges and universities.


Don’t Cut the Trees, Don’t is a collection of ecology poems and paintings of nature. The tree is taken to represent the environment. Each poem and each painting is like a leaf of a tree each revealing a little of the many marvels of this unique creation. Each poem and each painting is a plea on behalf of this new vision and of this new ethics. Concealed behind each poem and each painting is the spirit of the author, Dr. Abercio V. Rotor, a man whose love and passion for the environment is well-known. (Armando F. De Jesus, Ph.D., Dean, UST Faculty of Arts and Letters)

It is a substantial collection, departing from the usual stale air of solitariness and narcissism which permeates most poetry today. It is therefore a welcome contribution to Philippine poetry in Engish, livened by visuals that add color to the poetic images.

The oeuvre is not only pleasurable because of this. The poetic ability of the poet himself enriches the whole exciting poetic experience, a blurring of the line separating man from the rest of the living creatures outside. Every poem indeed becomes “flowers in disguise” using the poet’s own words. (Ophelia A. Dimalanta, Ph.D. Director, Center for Creative Writing and Studies, UST)
Living with Folk Wisdom. Published by University of Santo Tomas, launched 2008 in the Manila International Book Fair, SMX Mall of Asia, 220 pp. "The book is a compendium of indigenous technical knowledge complemented with modern scientific thinking. The narratives offer an exploration into the world of ethno-science covering a wide range of practical interest from climate to agriculture; medicine to food and nutrition..: (Excerpt of Foreword by Dr Lilian J Sison, dean UST Graduate School).

Light from the Old Arch is a compilation of 18 essays about life and living, 216 pages. Published by UST in 2000 with the Preface written by Fr. Jose Antonio Aureada, regent of the Graduate School.

"What is considered a religion of disconnection betrays man's inability to see sensuality through divinity and divinity through sensuality... It was Victor Frankl, a Jewish psychotherapist-philosopher, who popularized logotherapy, a word of Greek origin which literally means healing through meaning. Dr Abe. the poet-musician-painter-scientist rolled into one, reminds us of the Franklian inspired principle: The unheard cry for meaning if only well-heeded in all aspects of life - from the least significant to the extremely necessary, from the most commonplace to the phenomenally sublime - can only restore authenticity back to living life beautifully.
A Sequel to the Living with Nature Handbook, it was launched at the Philippine International Book Fair in 2006. It won the National Book Award given by the National Book Development Board jointly with The Manila Book Circle and the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts. Published by UST Publishing House, the book has 35 chapters divided into four parts.
Winner of the Gintong Aklat Award 2003 by the Book Publishers Association of the Philippines. The book has 30 chapters divided into four parts, a practical guide on how one can get closer to nature, the key to a healthy and happy life. Second printing, 2008.
The book is in full color, 75 pages, written by a very young student of then St Paul College QC. In the words of Sr Mary Sarah Manapol in the Foreword, "Viva is a youthful poetess who thinks and writes about pain and loss, friendship, joy and love, music and the arts, nature, math and literature, war and piece - these belie her age of 17 summers."

Dr AV Rotor as co-author, provided the photographs and paintings that fits harmoniously with the poems. More than this, he encouraged the young poetess to write her first book which was launched on her debut.

"The authors have embarked on this task of providing people with more information about the many uses of some plants. While herbal plants have long been recognized because of their nutritional and medicinal qualities, their other uses are not fully exploited... May we continue to promote alternative medicine... The prices of medicine and health products remain unaffordable to most of our countrymen and herbal plants are the best alternative as most of these have been proven to be effective." (Excerpt from the message of Dr Juan M Flavier, former senator and secretary of health)

The principal author is Dr. Belen L Tangco who wrote the verses and prayers. Each verse or prayer is accompanied by an appropriate painting by AV Rotor. Full color and handy, it is useful as a prayer book and reference in the Humanities.

"Indeed, God speaks to us in the little details of nature - through the trees and the flowers, in the   drip of rain, in the blow of the wind. He speaks to us in all of His Creation..." (Excerpt from the Foreword by Fr Tamelane R Lana, UST Rector)

A Giraffe Book, it contains 72 verses, mainly four-liners, each verse accompanied by a photograph or painting. Most of the photos were taken by students in the Humanities at then St Paul College QC. The school president wrote the Foreword, an excerpt of which reads as follows: "It takes deep reflection to arouse one's inner child to take notice of the undistinguished buds, hyacinth, date palms... and it takes a trusting, affirming, and enlightened teacher-artist to lead and inspire..."

Poems, poems, poems, 72 pages, a handy book, colored and black and white, published by Megabooks 2000. The late secretary of justice Sedfrey A Ordonez wrote in the Foreword "... it is inescapable that after reading his poetry and after examining his paintings which accompany his verses one is led to the conclusion that the man who created the multi-disciplinary tour de force is a Renaissance man, one who reveals his reverence for nature by means of music, verse, and painting."

Presented to the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on his visit to the Philippines in 1995 by Jaime Cardinal Sin. Messages by Fr James Reuter SJ, and Sister Teresita Bayona, SPC. Foreword by Dr Anselmo Cabigan.

Other Books of AVR


Our Generous and Fragile Earth
Taxonomy and Identification of Plants
Laboratory Manual in Economic Entomology
Ecology of an Old Pond

Manuscripts
Home, Sweet Home with Nature

The Road Less Trodden
Light in the Forest
A Touch of Healing
Forest in Bloom 
Living in a Nipa Hut