Monday, June 30, 2014

How do you catch a monkey alive?

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Monkeys are clever, they just don't fall into a trap. Of course the quickest way to catch them alive is to shoot them with tranquilizer. But here is a simpler way, and humane at that.

Cynomolgus, or Crab-eating Macaques, imported from the Philippines to the US were found to be carrying filovirus.
Bore a small hole into a whole young coconut (buko), about an inch in diameter, or just enough for the monkey to insert its hands with outstretched fingers into the nut. Secure the nut with wire or rope among the trees where monkeys abound. Or any place they frequent looking for food.

A monkey comes, looks around, inserts its hand into the hole. Once its hand reaches the inside of the nut, it scoops the soft flesh and holds it into a tight fist. By so doing its hand gets stuck inside the nut. The monkey will not release its hold and will try to carry off the nut. Get the picture of a small fellow getting his fingers stuck into an oversize bowling ball.

The poor monkey tumbles, shrieks, and does everything possible to take the nut off, panicking in the process. But it can't think of releasing his fist. It soon gets exhausted.

"That's how stupid monkeys are," says my friend who has been a trapper since he was a boy. He and his father have been trapping live monkeys which they sell to laboratories in Manila. He admits monkeys are rare these days. Either they are getting few, or they are also becoming smart, too. I believe in both. The natural habitat of animals is being threatened by deforestation and pollution. On the other hand, animals, like the dog Pavlov used in his experiment, respond to conditioned learning. This is true with rodents, birds, fish - and practically all animals - probing that animals are not confined only to instinct.

Inti, the trapper, approached his catch, and with a scoop net, led it into a cage - still stuck with the coconut.

This is indeed one for the Book of Guinness. And it is a proof that the fable about the greediness of monkey is true.

How are other animals trapped alive? There are ways to trap birds, wild fowls, wild pigs, deer, monitor lizard, etc. Share with us your knowledge and experience.~ 

NOTE: DENR discourages, if not prohibits, the hunting of selective wildlife species.  It is highly recommended that conservation laws be strictly followed. DOH similarly warns of the danger of viral infection from monkeys and other animals to humans, and vice versa. Monkeys are carrier of Reston vius (RESTV), a new strain of the dreaded Ebola virus (EBOV) as a result of mutation. While pathogenecity is high among monkeys and low in humans, there is serious cause to contain the virus before it develops higher virulence. 

Here is an account of the resurgent character of RESTV. (Wikipedia) 
"Reston virus reemerged in Italy in 1992, and again in a monkey export facility in the Philippines in 1996. On 11 December 2008, pigs from farms slightly north of Manila, Philippines tested positive for the virus. The CDC and the World Health Organization are investigating. On 23 January 2009, Philippine health officials announced that a hog farm worker had been infected with the virus. Although the man was asymptomatic and the source of the infection is uncertain, this could represent the first case of pig-to-human transmission of Reston virus - a fact that could cause concern, as pigs may be able to transmit more deadly diseases to humans. The situation is undergoing further investigation.~

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Angelus by the Haystacks

Dr Abe V Rotor
Haystacks, painting by Vincent van Gogh 

Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

The fields are empty now,
The harvesters gone,
The birds settle in their roosts,
As the sun goes down.

The church steeple glows
In the waning sight
As the North wind blows
In the dying light.

The haystacks in the breeze
Glow and whisper;
Cheerful are the trees
In song and prayer. ~

Ageing is like wine, it becomes mellow with age.

Only good wine becomes mellow with age. Old age is the time you harvest what you planted in youth. The man is the child of yesterday - but the child in you must always live.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Now in their early seventies, author and high school classmates, enjoy the fruits of a well deserved life in their respective professions, families, leadership and service to humanity in the fields of law, business, agriculture, education, media, engineering, civil and military service. This group represents other alumni of the Divine Word College of Vigan, formerly Colegio de la Imaculada Concepcion. This article is dedicated to the memory of their mentors, principally Fr. Panfilo Guianan (HS Director), Rev Frs Salzman, Leisring, and Creder, Mr Ricardo Avila (principal), and Mr Demetrio Rotor (adviser). And also to the memory of their classmates who have gone ahead. This article is an expression of gratitude to their Alma Mater.

1. Ageing is like good wine; it becomes mellow with age. But only good wine becomes mellow with age. And the longer ageing is, the better is the quality of the wine. We can compare it also with wood. “A seasoned timber never gives (up).” A seasoned teacher is wise.

2. Ageing distills knowledge into wisdom. It’s the ripening of fruits on the tree. Knowledge is not all useful; it leaves a lot of wastes. Which I call infollution (information pollution). Like the so many flowers and developing fruits of a huge mango tree, those that fall are useless knowledge; those that do not ripen are knowledge that can’t stand by themselves. Only those that remain full and ripe at the end are like wisdom. Wisdom is tested by timelessness and universality.

3. Old age is harvesting what you planted in youth. The man is the child of yesterday. Start early in life to plant the seed of success, more so, the seed of service. Monuments are not built for no reason at all. And even without a monument a good deed is monumental in the hearts and minds of those you serve and those who believe in you – especially those you have changed their lives.

4. Ageing physically and physiologically - this is inevitable. But don’t let the mind and the heart age prematurely and uselessly. Like faculty, practice makes them alive and full. Reason, thoughts, imagination, love, compassion should not go to waste by chronological age.

5. The child in you must always live. That Little Prince that rules over the grownup in you that says “a matter of consequence is not only those that are urgent and important,” is also preserving the ideal. Idealism must live together with realism.

6. There are those who are late bloomers; they bloom with age. Catalyze the blossoming of the beautiful things – how late they may come in life. It is better to bloom in old age than to blossom early – and the blossom just fades away. You’ll even regret it because it could mean to you as failure.

7. In old age don’t lose your trophies and medals - because of one false move, worst, if deliberate. Or because of a persistent habit you thought you can get away with even in old age. There is nothing more regretful if you fall into disgrace in old age – you don’t have a second life to amend for it.

8. Hold your horses. Stop, look, listen. Getting older adopts “slow but sure” attitude towards situations and decisions. “Quick to think, but slow to act,” may be appropriate in old age. That is why in traditional societies, decision makers are old people, village elders.

9. Make your assets grow for others, as you prepare to leave the world. Have the philanthropic heart. You can’t take your riches to your tomb. The Egyptians never did. The young pharaoh Tutankhamen left his belongs for the afterlife in his tomb, now in the Egyptian Museum. . Economics does not work well with each one of us holding a treasure chest and locking it up. Imagine if the world is dominated by Madoff, by AIG, by Lehman Brothers - even with their generosity.

10. Older societies are more peaceful than younger societies. Make peace as you grow older. Old men don’t go to war. It is the brave who dies young. “Where have all the flowers gone?” speaks the youth cut down in their prime. All wars – ancient, religious, political – the young is the sacrificial lamb. People as they grow older can’t simply be made easy tools for power and greed. .

11. Expanded family ties; three generations not in a row, but in a chain. For the first time in the history of man that four three generations live under one roof. And soon four generations - as longevity increases. While in the city the family is getting small, agrarian families is expanding because of longer life span.

12. Scientific and technological thrusts are toward ageing, longevity: rejuvenation, on-site cloning of tissues and organs, ergonomics (designing tools and materials that fits well to the comfort of the user) - geriatrics, gerontology (all about the science and caring of the aged.)

13. Extension of retirement, active retirement – this is the trend today for old people. Soldiers become security guards; teachers become professor emeritus, executives as consultants, professions doing odd jobs. Age of retirement is not after all boring. So when does one really retire?

14. Foster, adopt, and have the needy, the homeless, the orphaned, the abandoned as your own children especially if you are childless. Even then, by the time you are very old, your children shall then be on their own. Be like Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie who have adopted children of different color. Sponsor scholarships for the deserving but are unable to pursue their studies.

15. Resurrection and immortality are myths. Humans will always remain mortals. More than a hundred corpses of rich Americans are in cryonic tanks waiting for the time to resurrect the. DNA extracted from cadavers and human fossils will never make a living replica of the departed or deceased.

Famous Filipino writers (left to right): Sedfrey Ordoñez, Ophelia A Dimalanta, Hortencia Santos Sankore, Larry Francisco, and Jose Garcia Villa

16. Life cycle is universal given to everything, living or non-living. But with man’s rationality we can plot our life cycle, on so many socio-economic matters. The late Justice Secretary Ordoñez wrote a book, Life Cycle. He said the inevitable is biological, but the way we live our lives, is within much under our control and will. “Men choose to live long which they have no control of, yet refuse to live nobly within their will.” So said the great Roman Philosopher Cicero.

17. Nature is selfish within your lifetime – you care so much for those close to your genes, to the point of dying for them. But nature, after you are gone is altruistic after you are gone; it distributes your genes to where they will most fit in the name of evolution through which a species should be best equipped in order to survive. We can hardly trace our family tree beyond the third generation. Where are the offspring of the pharaohs, of the King of Siam?

Severino Reyes a.k.a. Lola Basyang, wrote his first story for children at the age of 75. He wrote hundreds of children's stories for the stage, comic books and cinema.   Top TV hosts and artists Ms Lisa Macuja and Luz Fernandez (Lola Basyang) perform on screen and stage Severino Reyes' Obra Maestra -  Mga Kuwento ni Lola Basyang. 

18. Kindness is key to fulfillment; it is also the Golden Rule. “Treat an old man as you wish men to treat you when you are old.” Say Chaucer in Pardoner’s Tale. But be kind yourself as an old man or woman. And that kindness must be unconditional. ARK in Evan the Almighty means – Act of Random Kindness. That’s the way to change the world, so said God in that film.

 Fr James Reuter SJ, playwright, author, spiritual adviser
and Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, remained active way past ninety.

19. Don’t just pass people along the way. Stop, help them, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, visit the imprisoned, clothe the naked, comfort the lonely, and heal the sick. In Matthew 25, Christ said, “What you have done to the least of my brother, you have done it to me.” Indeed this is the most meaning act of a human to humanity. You deserve a place in heaven.

20. Facing death is a beautiful thing to one who has reached old age. It’s like a candle in its final brightness. Angelus to the old who is dying unifies the family, gathers the broken fragments of relationships. Bonding is strengthened. It’s time for the living to say the kindest things about the departed. Let the occasion be a memorable and lasting one. Dying is leaving to the living a new hope, renewed love, and a new beginning.

x x x

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Control coconut beetle by broadcasting sand into the leaf axils.

Silica penetrates into the delicate tissues of the insect. As a result its injury leads to dehydration and infection, and consequently death.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Rhinocerus beetle (Oryctes rhinocerus) is a scourge of coconut,drastically reducing production, if not killing the tree at any stage. Right, a healthy tree can produce up to 50 nuts every two month.   
Mode of attack by both the larva (grub) and the adult characterized by boring into the very heart of the crown destroying the unopened bud leaves.  Right, damage bud after emergence. Heavy infestation results in the decapitation of the standing tree.  
Noticed that coconut trees growing along or close to sandy shores are seldom attacked by coconut beetle - Oryctes rhinoceros, a scourge of coconut whose larva and adult burrow into the bud and destroy the whole top or crown of the tree.

Farmers broadcast sand into the leaf axils of coconut trees in their early development stage until they have grown too tall to be reached.The scientific explanation to this practice is that sand (or silica, the raw material in making glass) is very sharp. Under the microscope each particle is a glass shard which can penetrate without difficulty the soft joints (conjunctiva) of the insect's armor. This is the insect's "Achilles heel," so to speak.

As the insect moves, the silica penetrates into the delicate tissues of the insect. As a result its injury leads to dehydration and infection, and consequently death.

If you have young coconuts growing at home and you find signs of the pest, scoop some sand and sprinkle it in between the leaf stalks - or axils. This is safer than using chemical insecticide. And you practically spend nothing, except work and patience.~

Palm Sunday is a nemesis to the coconut trees, and to the coconut industry, the mainstay of the Philippine economy in coconut-based areas. Thousands of trees are sacrificed for their young leaves made into paslaspas during Palm Sunday (Holy Week).  Young trees are killed for the bud leaves as well as for the the core or ubod which is made into fresh lumpia, a popular delicacy.

Coconut tree stripped of their young leaves for palaspas are easy target of the coconut beetle. The inflicted wound attracts the fecund female rhinoceros beetle to lay eggs, and the wound serves as entry for the newly hatch grubs which ultimately will bore and destroy the tree. Adult beetles are likewise lured to attack wounded trees.  Analogous to this is that, after a typhoon, infestation rises sharply.  Weakened condition of wounded trees exacerbate the damage which leads to premature death.  Coconut trees are known to live productively for fifty years,and even longer.  
Today there's a serious pest of coconut - Scale Insects (Aspidiotus destructor). Several provinces particularly in Region 4 have been placed under emergency. Harvesting young leaves of coconut for handicraft, culinary, palaspas, and the like, further predisposes infested coconut trees to succumb.  The young leaves are the ultimate defence when the older leaves are heavily infested with the scale insect. 

Malunggay bark is remedy for wounds

 Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

The bark of malunggay (Moringa oleifera) is an effective remedy for wounds inflicted by poisonous fish such as stonefish, Bangkok catfish (hito) and, samaral (malaga Ilk).

Scrape bark of malunggay and make a poultice (soft moist mass spread over the wound). You may use cloth or bandage to keep it in place. Remove when pain subsides. Get medical attention if wound is serious.

Malunggay has antiseptic antimicrobial properties, and refreshing effect. 
Malunggay poultice is also used on minor wounds and skin disorders, it relieves pain and discomfort.

 Acknowledgement: Photo at right from Internet

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Take red or muscovado sugar instead of white or refined sugar. You'll live longer and healthier.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Rural folks would rather eat panocha or muscovado, which is likened to whole grain with the bran intact (e.g. pinawa rice and whole wheat flour).  When sugar is refined, the very vitamins and minerals needed by our body’s metabolism are removed, going with the molasses which we usually use as feeds for animals.  

Healthy snack with muscovado sugar, panocha (twirled muscovado), native chocolate, and sweet potato or kamote.  

Sugar consumed in its natural state (like fruits and grains) are broken down and slowly released into the bloodstream, in a manner our body can program its assimilation.  But refined sugar raises the blood sugar rapidly.  This rush is followed by an equally rapid crash that often leaves us feeling tired, irritable or depressed.  As energy falls, our response is to reach for more sugar to perk us up. 

The sudden rise and fall of our blood sugar causes emotional instability, confusion, dizziness, and headache.  Over-consumption of sugar can trigger a craving similar to the physiological dependence produced by drugs. These symptoms, along with drowsiness, forgetfulness, or general “spaced-out” feeling are typical symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Adrenaline is released during the body’s chemical chain reaction triggered by eating excess refined sugar, creating a stress throughout our body and mind. Sugar also depresses the activity of our white blood cells, lowering our resistance to infection. It may lead to the development of diabetes. For this reason many oriental nutritionists call refined sugar a “white poison.” 

Muscovado is unrefined sugar with the natural flavor, color and aroma of sugarcane juice from which it is made.

The Calorie value of muscovado is 11 per teaspoonful (4 grams). Muscovado retains much of the natural minerals and vitamins present in sugarcane juice. The juice, expressed by traditional means, is slowly heated until it dries into a golden yellow to brown color, retaining 4-5 percent moisture. Mineral and Vitamin content of Muscovado Sugar (mg per 100g):

· Total mineral salts 740
· Phosphorus (P) 3-4
· Calcium (Ca) 75-95
· Magnesium (Mg) 13-23
· Potassium (K) 15-150
· Iron (Fe) 1.3
· Vitamin B1, B2, B6, Niacin and Pantothenic acid.

This product is free from any harmful chemicals such as formic acid, sulfur dioxide, preservatives, any flocculants, surfactants, bleaching agents or viscosity modifiers.

It came from non-genetically modified sugarcane variety (non-GMO), organically grown to full maturity. Shelf life is 6 to 10 months in air-tight container under room temperature.

Next time you take coffee, make suman or bibingka, or simply "sweeten your tooth," say muscovado - instead of just azucar.  It's a little difficult to pronounce, but it's good for your health. ~

Grecian Life

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Young Spartans at play by Edgar Degas 

A healthy mind in a healthy body,
the Spartans showed it all the way,
and you carried on the living torch,
the discipline and all that it may

to instill, to inspire, to build.
What greater Glory that was Greece
were it not for posterity?
Else the Pierian Spring be missed.

The gym, the field, the vast open,
classroom anywhere, even the dungeon;
lessons unwritten, they are performed;
skill and grace rise above hands-on.

Once a teacher always a teacher, they say;
faith and wisdom and age -
trio, the most treasured as you grow,
for old age alone means little to a sage.~

Dedicated to my co-teachers: Prof Babes Lacap and company, on the occasion of the traditional annual Sportfest held at St Paul University QCEdgar Degas (1834 –1917), a French artist, regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism although he rejected the term, and preferred to be called a realist, especially identified with the subject of the dance. His mastery in the depiction of movement, as do his racecourse subjects and female nudes are notable for their psychological complexity and depiction of human isolation. (Google Ad, Wikipedia)

50 Verses of Meditation

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

For class reading with background music of Meditation (From the Thais), by Massenet. Teacher sets the sequence in meditative mood.

Fr Miguel Benavides, founder University of Santo Tomas (1611)

1. When the skies cry and tears fall,
The grass is greener, so with the soul.

2. The rain pelts on the faces of children
Turned heavenward. Look my brethren.

3. Walks he alone in the rain singing,
Whether the wind's cool or the sun peeping.

4. If I'm responsible for what I tame,
Would I have a choice of only the lame?

5. A gentle breeze came through a lid;
Where's the window when the wall's solid?

6. Pray, but if Thor holds back the lightning bolts,
We may not have mushroom and the jolts.

7. Hush! Suddenly the world became still;
Gone is the lark or the raven on the sill.

8. Saxon wall, each turret a guard-
Now empty, lonely is war afterward.

9. Radial symmetry starts from the center,
That balances an outside force to enter.

10. What good is a lamp at the ledge?
Wait 'til the day reaches its edge.

11. In seeing our past we find little to share,
If the past is the present we're living in.

12. In abstract art you lose reality;
How then can I paint truth and beauty?

13. Brick wall, brick roof, brick stair,
Glisten in the rain, dull in summer air.

14.What's essential can't be seen by the eye
Like the faith of Keller and Captain Bligh.

15. Similar is rainbow and moth in flight
When you see them against the light.

  A slice of rainbow

16. From respite in summer fallow,
The fields start a season anew.

17. From green to gold the grains become
As they store the power of the sun.

18. Not all sand dunes for sure
Ends up on empty shore.

19. One little smoke tells the difference,
Like a faint pulse is life's reference.

20. It's collective memory that I'm a part
To write my life's story when I depart.

21. Lost time, lost opportunity and lost gain,
like passing wind that may not come again.

22. Who sees silver lining of clouds dark and bold
seeks not at rainbow's end a pot of gold.

23. A clenched fist softens under a blue sky
like high waves, after tempest, die.

24. When a flock of wild geese takes into the air
a leader must get ahead to break the barrier.

Swallows on wire. Florida Blanca, Pampanga

25. Even to a strong man, a little danger may create
the impression he's small or the problem is great.

26. In the doldrums or during sudden gusts,
the ship is much safer with a bare mast.

27. Wind, current, and keel make a perfect trio
only if they have one direction to follow.

28. You really can't tell where a sailboat goes
without keel, but to where the wind blows.

29. The sound of a yes may be deep or hollow,
and knowing it only by its own echo.

30. Walk, don't run, to see better and to know
the countryside, Mother Nature and Thou.~

31. We do not have the time, indeed an alibi
to indolence and loafing, letting time pass by.

Sun on a hazy day

32. As we undervalue ourselves, so do others
undervalue us. Lo, to us all little brothers.

33. Self-doubt at the start is often necessary
to seek perfection of the trade we carry.

34. What is more mean than envy or indolence
but the two themselves riding on insolence.

35. The worst kind of persecution occurs in the mind,
that of the body we can often undermine.

36. How seldom, if at all, do we weigh our neighbors
the way we weigh ourselves with the same favors?

37. Friendship that we share to others multiplies
our compassion and love where happiness lies.

38. Evil is evil indeed - so with its mirror,
while goodness builds on goodness in store.

39. That others may learn and soon trust you,
show them you're trustworthy, kind and true.

40. Kindness and gladness, these however small
are never, never put to waste at all.

41. Beauty seen once breaks a heart,
Wait for the image to depart.

42. Being right and reasonable;
Black or white, and measurable.

43. She's coy who speaks soft and light;
Smoke first before fire ignites.

44. Every promise you can't keep
Drags you into a deeper pit.

45. To endure pain of hatred,
A leader’s wisdom is dared.

46. Make believe prosperity;
Sound of vessel when empty.

47. Take from the ant or stork,
Patience is silence at work.

48. Good wine grows mellow with age;
Good man grows into a sage.

49. He finds reason for living
Who sees a new beginning.

50. Beauty builds upon beauty,
Ad infinitum to eternity. ~

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Burying fruits in ash, sand or sawdust delays ripening.

    Dr Abe V Rotor

In the countryside where there are no modern facilities for storage, farmers have devised methods of storage to increase the shelf life of fruits, and allow them to ripen properly. One method is to cover the fruits, such as tomatoes, mango and bananas with ash or sawdust.

Still life in Pastel, by Anna Christina Rotor 

To show the effectiveness of this practice, scientists at UPLB stored tomatoes (Pope variety), for the duration of one to two weeks, in rice hull ash in two preparations – one moist and the other dry.  Tomatoes stored in dry ash ripened faster, while tomatoes stored in moist ash ripened slower and showed a more uniform and deeper red color.  The tomatoes were also heavier and firmer than those stored in dry ash.  Tomatoes that were simply stored by piling suffered significant losses and that ripening was uneven. The colors of the fruits were pale red and predominantly yellow.

It was an old practice I observed among vegetable traders who ship green Pope tomatoes grown in Claveria (Cagayan de Oro) all the way to La Trinidad Valley in Benguet by boat and truck. The tomatoes were laid open in the cool air, until they ripened into bright red color.  They were then individually wiped with waxed cloth, assorted and returned to their crates and marked Baguio Tomatoes. Tomatoes that ripened on the way, which normally takes about a week, turned into yellow to orange color and were priced much lower than those ripened in the cool highland air.

We can only imagine the high cost and difficulty of shipping the fruits all the way from Mindanao via Manila pier to the Benguet, then transporting the commodity back to Manila where they are sold. Now there is a substitute to this practice.  Tomatoes can be delayed in ripening and that they ripen uniformly into red color when stored in moist rice hull ash. ~

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ancestral House

Author and family at home in  San Vicente, Ilocos Sur

Three generations and a home of their own 
stands in sun and rain, season in and out,
in years lean and plenty, in war and peace,
in trials winning than losing in every bout
on life's path or on the fast lane of change,
stopping at crossroads and looking about,
where the home stands, its window bright,
like a lighthouse when the sea is rough,
and the children no more, now grown ups 
searching for a place from north to south 
where career is right and the future bright,
and the world in life cycle in roundabout.

Stands old and worn, yet proud and brave,
to welcome new faces but familiar of old
to bridge the gap of time, gap of change,
love and loyalty and faith, a thousand fold
where through time and sweet memories,
a wonderful story of a house ever told. ~   

Monday, June 9, 2014

Postmodern Art: Leaning Cradle

Dr Abe V Rotor
                                                        Author and the Leaning Cradle at downtown Bangkok. 

I wonder at the huge size of  this wooden cradle leaning to the front and on one side;

I wonder at the absence of  the whole siding facing the street, and leaning towards  traffic; 

I wonder at the absence of flooring, for how could it be a cradle without it - the essence of its function;

I wonder at the frail support, half rocking sideways, while the other half is fixed like post, and immovable;

I wonder at how this cradle defies gravity, without a central mass to rest on the center of gravity;

I wonder at its precarious structure, its joints loosely hanging on wooden pegs and few simple bolts;

I wonder at its symbolism - the end of an era of child bearing and caring, the traditional and domestic way;

I wonder at the impermanence of the cradle outside of the home - and if the child ever grew to know the meaning of home; 

I wonder if the baby weaned in this cradle ever grew into a normal child - and into a normal human being;  
I wonder if society can read the message of this postmodern structure in our postmodern world; 

I wonder if the cradle is meant to that of a culture or civilization breaking up, losing its identity and integrity.

I wonder if postmodernism means living in the future in free fall, losing most the things we love in life. ~      

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Return of the Tree Frog

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystar)

The Common Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystar) has an arboreal habit, but now and then it comes down to feed on insects, and even visit nearby homes. This is how I encountered this living specimen one hot summer afternoon in a most unlikely place - the bathroom. As I was about to cool off, I found company with this unexpected creature perched on the shower head apparently enjoying itself.

The last time I remember seeing a tree frog was when I was a farmhand. In Ilocos we called it tukak uleg or snake frog, because it is a favorite prey of snakes, and its distress cry sends instinctive warning to anyone who is in the vicinity. Sometimes it is called banana frog because it resides at the axils of leaf stalks where water from rain and dewdrops accumulates and make a series of miniature ponds. It is not unusual to find a frothy egg mass hanging up in a banana tree. Here the eggs hatch into tadpoles, and being larvivorous, feed on mosquito wrigglers and plankton organisms until the become frogs. Here they subsist on insect pest and worm. It is a classical example of biological control which benefits farmers and residents in the area.

Chemical pesticides were unknown to us and the farmers then. Many organisms disappeared since modern agriculture was introduced in the sixties, among them scores of species, including this curious looking tree frog. Once I compared this cadaverous and clumsy creature to Ichabod Crane as described by its creator, the father of short story in America - Washington Irving!

"If your vocabulary is limited, " I overhead my dad saying, "use analogy." So I tried. And Mrs Leonor Itchon, my literature teacher in high school nodded wryly after my recitation amidst subdued giggling among my classmates. Well, I may not have received a good grade, but the tree frog helped me become a biologist.

The bathroom encounter with my long lost acquaintance - the tree frog - that hot afternoon won't make a movie, but at least my son, Marlo and I, were able to document a biological renaissance. I had just made a review of Ernest Hemingway'sFor Whom the Bell Tolls which at the end of the novel warns us, "the bell tolls for no one; it tolls for thee."

Maybe not, as long as creatures we thought to have been lost forever are coming back alive. Hail to the tree frog - new-found long-lost friend of man.~

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Country Road in Guimaras Island

Dr Abe V Rotor

Old asphalt road exudes the ambiance of a typical countryside.
Take me to the country far, far away from the city, 
where sound is music, nature's canvas is the landscape,
where mountains, meadows and the sea are green;
where there are no walls, roofs, and bars to escape.

Take me to the county, far, far away from the crowd,
where I'm not just a part, where I am myself again;
where there is no high rise, where the cottage reigns,
where home is nature as I open the window pane. 

Take me to the country, far, far away from forgetting,
the cheerful child in me many, many years back;
flying kites at harvest time, fishing in the summer,
where school is far, yet learning is not what I lack.

Take me to the country, far, far away from the town,
where cars can't follow, where affluence has no place;
where commerce is simple, where wealth is not gold,
where living is not a show, where every meal a grace.

Take me to the country, far, far away from the race,
where I can compete best with myself, not with others;
where I can learn more the ways of nature, not of men;
where civilization begins once more at its borders. ~ 

Road expansion gives way to the growing number of vehicles.   

Slow pace of life is still evident; road arch welcomes the visitor to Nueva Valencia, site of an ecological park.

Changing landscape:  mansion and nipa hut attest to a growing socio-economic disparity.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Photography: A Pair of White Doves - Symbol of Happy Mariage

Looking for a subject in photography? Discover the simple and meaningful.  It may just be around the corner. 
Dr Abe V Rotor 

I took this photo on the church yard of Padre Pio in Makati last year. I found these beautiful creatures picking grains most likely thrown by well wishers on the newlyweds as they emerge from the church, an old custom that survives to this day. Who owns these beautiful creatures must be living nearby. The birds look well-groomed and tame. They must have been trained for marriage occasions so that they are used to seeing and mingling with people as they perform their role as symbol of purity, bounty and peace that go with happy marriage. (Photo unedited, taken with a palm-size digital camera) ~

Monday, June 2, 2014

Frugality and Austerity (A self-administered test)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Self Administered Test on Living in Frugality and Austerity.  Answer Yes/True to items you are presently practicing and/or those which you agree with.

1. You would rather buy things in bulk (paint, cooking oil, rice), or by the dozens (eggs, softdrinks) for ready supply at home, particularly these days when prices are increasing and supply is unpredictable
2. You keep these tools and materials which you personally use now and then in various handiwork such as house repairs and gardening: a pair of pliers, hammer, set of screw driver, nails and screws, GI wires, electrical tester, and the like.
                                                               One-dish meal (shellfish, kamote starch and vegetables) 
3. You would rather have your laundry and ironing once a week rather than daily or every other day, scheduling it usually on a weekend, thus saving precious water and electricity, and getting more helping hands from the family.

4. As a general policy of any state, the government should pursue a self sufficiency program in food, particularly staple (rice and corn) as the best way to insure food security, even if there is adequate supply in the world market.

5. In economics, austerity is when a national government reduces its spending in order to pay back creditors. Austerity is usually required when a government’s fiscal deficit spending is felt to be unsustainable. Austerity must cut down spending on development projects (countryside development funds from pork barrel), welfare and other social programs (subsidies and charitable expenditures).
7. The best way to save money is to set aside immediately a part of your salary, say 20 percent, and budget strictly the 80 percent. This is more effective than setting 20 percent after having budgeted and spent 80 percent of your salary.

8. You participate in the informal economy just like the farmer’s wife who goes to market to sell farm products and comes back with various household supplies. This is contemporary barter system. This is entrepreneurship on the grassroots.

9. Food supplementation reduces our dependence on conventional food, discovery of new food sources like seaweeds, wild food plants, as well as the discovery of new ways to prepare food comes at the heels of austere living. Hamburger from banana flower (puso), Ipil-ipil for coffee DON’T – use roasted rice instead or roasted corn, papait vegetable, sea cucumber, kuhol, the many uses of gabi, substitution of wheat flour with rice flour. Substitution of staple food with root crops (camote, cassava) to save on precious rice.

10. Postharvest losses reduces our supply, in fact to one-half, that by saving even only 10 percent of what is wasted, would be sufficient to fill up our annual deficit in rice and corn. Austerity is reducing our waste on all levels – production, postproduction, food preparation.

11. Austerity is the most practical weapon to fight obesity. It means avoidance of junk food, moderation in eating, and consumption of natural food. It is also favorable to health. Less kidney trouble, liver ailment, cardiac problem, high blood pressure. It means less hospital cases, cancer, ulcers, less alcohol consumption, etc. Austerity means natural beauty, good fit, good stride, and happy disposition.

12. There are more and more good schools in the provinces and chartered cities. We would rather send our children in these schools for practical reasons.

13. Grains would rather be used directly as food and lessen the amount of using them in producing animal protein by feeding the grains to poultry and animals. By doing this we maximize the value of food and make them available to ordinary people.

14. Israel as an emerging new state adopted an austerity program lasting for 10 years (1949-1959). When USSR collapsed, Cuba adopted an austerity policy (1991 onwards) to be able to survive as an “orphaned socialist” state. Austerity is aimed at attaining self-reliance at a time of crisis.

15. Private banks or institutions like IMP may require a country pursues an austerity policy if it wants to re-finance loans that are about to come due. The government may be asked to stop issuing subsidies or to otherwise reduce public spending. We call this as “IMF conditionalities.”

16. People’s power – the cry of the first EDSA Revolution – fizzled out because the newly acquired empowerment was not used put to proper use as evidenced by unsuccessful cooperative movement, agrarian reform which turned out to be confrontational between right of property and right of tillage, rampant and blatant graft and corruption in the government, declined productivity in agriculture and industry, spread of poverty.

17. Family planning refers to limiting the number as well as proper spacing of your children. If there is a sin of commission or omission, there is also a sin of neglect – and if that neglect is within the knowledge of the sinner, and the consequence is the ruin of the lives of those under his care as parent, atonement is almost unthinkable.

18. It is easier to meet our needs than our wants to most people although to many, affluence is pursue even before needs are met.

19. Youth today are torn between choices of white collar jobs and blue collar jobs. They are lured to easy education – diploma mill, and on the modern method of leaning on the computer which actually does not offer an “end course” that makes one a professional like a doctor, lawyer, agriculturist, and the like. Austerity calls for a re-definition of courses that are functional in nature and p[practical in application, and relevant to the changing times.

Take the tricycle, better still, walk.  Or get a personal bicycle

20. Limits to growth come like a moving vehicle suddenly running out of fuel, its tires worn-out and flat, engine conking out, while the road is getting rougher, narrower and steeper. Austerity is applying the brakes before all of these happen. It is anticipating the limits to growth, before it turns against you.

21. HiTech is expensive and it is the consumer who ultimately pays it. It is to the people the users of Hi Tech charge its cost. Austerity calls for a moderation in technology. Austerity and innovative technology are compatible. Innotech is people’s technology.

22. Modeling of successful projects such as coops (farmers multipurpose cops), agro-eco center (Cabiokid), Kabsaka (Sta. Barbara, Iloilo), mangrove farming, seaweed farming, Irrigators’ association, Dr. Parra of Iloilo – these must ride on Filipino trait of gaya-gaya. Gaya-gaya put to good use. Peer teaching and learning is effective among the masses, and should be complementary with formal education. Austerity opens a gateway to look into models we can adopt under our local conditions.

23. “Necessity is the mother of invention, so “crisis is the sphinx of survival.” (Story of the Sphinx.) What is it that walks on all fours in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?”) Crisis is Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. It rewards the strong, eliminates the weak, humbles the proud, deepens the soul, and elevates the spirit. - of those who can make it.” Crisis is the time to test man’s soul.” Soul is the ultimate of man’s capacity to survive. (Thesis of Victor Frankl – A Search for Meaning)

24. You practice the 7Rs in Waste Management: Reduce, Recycle, Refurbish, Renovate, Restore, Reserve, Revere (and Rotor – Rotate). These 7Rs are vital tool in living an austere life.

25. The more closely related supply and demand cycle in a given community, the more self reliant the community is. This means that in that community, people produce what they consume; consumption motivates production and vice versa. This according to Dr. Anselmo Cabigan is a basic tenet of austerity, because the self-reliant community becomes less dependent on external factors and the vagaries of the larger environment.

ANSWERS: All True. You may copy this article and pass it around at home and with your friends. Use it as a school research, outreach talk, workshop theme, and campaign material for frugality, austerity and industry - the triumvirate virtues of happy living and secured future.
More about No. 5 -When does frugality and austerity come in? Wartime, recession and depression (US), epidemic, high inflation, queuing for food, disaster, embargo (N Korea), new settlements, pooor harvest, political turmoil, religious conflict, El Niño, cyclone (Burma), earthquake (China)
More about No.20 - People for manpower turns to overpopulation and unemployment;
industrial growth turns out pollution; agriculture causes erosion, siltation, and invades wildlife. ~