Friday, October 31, 2014

Capture the significance of happy moments

Dr Abe V Rotor
Snorkeling: discover the world under the sea.
Field lecture: get out of the classroom. Nature is the best teacher. 
Stage play: whatever is your role - beauty contestant, 
villain, fashion model - it's exciting.
Dual role: guardians keep young to be loved by children. 
Arts: humanities to athletics, discover your talents, hone them.   
Global perspective: experience different cultures in passing.   

    Reflect and meditate, relax,
            Free yourself on weekends, 
       Get involve in your community, 
             Bond with family and friends,
Moments of joy you share,
               Each drop that Nature sends. ~

Lyrics of Rain

Dr Abe V Rotor

Cumulus cloud turning into nimbus or rain cloud

The afternoon becomes cooler and cooler each day
in May - dragonflies hover lower and lower in horde;
distant drums get closer and closer, the winds hiss
as the sky falls in thunderous downpour
like a coming train, pelting the faces of happy children,
laughing, laughing with the birth of streams
that wake the river, the fields from deep slumber,
ending many dreams in a long, hot summer.

(Instrumental solo follows, return to the lyrics.)

Compose a song with the lyrics. Enrich it with cadence and happy notes. Play it on the piano, or sing it with the guitar. Try with flute or violin, too.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Letters to our Children, second of a series

There are many young people who get spoiled because they fall victims to this triad:
  • Too much can lead to over protection, 
  • Over protection stifles the mind, and
  • A mind that is not challenged takes things for granted
Dr Abe V Rotor
We are writing you after your recollection.  What a strange arrangement. Shouldn't parents write or send gifts to their children on the day of celebration?  We can imagine how you sat down there alone while your classmates were reading their parents' letters, or opening the gifts they received.

This fault can be easily dismissed because people who are bound by love and respect easily find forgiveness.  Lest we forget however, that the very things that bind people could be the same things that can break them apart.  

We have known many a pampered child fail in life.  We have read true stories of friendship gone sour.  What an irony that the very things that set progress could be the very cause of destruction.  So with the cause of break up in friendship, in love, brotherhood, peace.

Taking things for granted on the other hand, can generate similar catastrophic results.  Why many an accident happened from taking things for granted.  A conflagration can be traced to a single matchstick.

What we are telling you is a lesson which we want you to reflect upon, on post recollection. There are many young people who get spoiled because they fall victims to this triad of factors:
  • Too much can can lead to over protection, 
  • Over protection stifles the mind, and
  • A mind that is not challenged takes things for granted
You may be brilliant, but you may not be using this gift well. You may be loved, but you may not be aware that you are not reciprocating properly. You may find the world exciting, but not challenging. You may have many friends but friendship may lead you out of your path of success. You may have many things at fingertip command but you may be passive.  
You will realize as you grow up that failure in life is hidden behind too much of the good life. Rich countries, it is true, provide the good life, but look at the new generation pampered by it. And if we think that nobody is poor in a rich country why is it that there are millions of impoverished people in the US.  How can a genius professor turn into a world terrorist?
On the other hand, how can Helen Keller see the world clearer that most of us who are not blnd? How did honest Abe Lincoln pass the bar when he virtually did not attend law school, and became president of the US? Why did Augustine renounce his rich inheritance just to live a monk's life?

In your post recollection, get a whole sheet of paper. Draw a vertical line at the center and list down on the left column people you know who made it in life the hard way. On the right column, list down people you know who did not make it because they became willing victims of the triad syndrome, 

Where do you place yourself?

Think deep and write your resolution. 

Papa and Mama 

To Anna Christina, 15 
January 24, 1998

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lake in a Lake

Dr Abe V Rotor
Laguna de Bay, Los BaƱos, Laguna

Once I asked:
why did you secede 
from the womb 
and hands 
that raised you?

As I pondered 
on Daedalus of Crete 
and the prodigal son;
your clear waters 
reflected a face 
no other than my own.

I threw a pebble 
and ripples broke away 
from the question.

Light in the Woods, 1995 Megabooks 

Paper Wasps on the Run!

Dr. Abe V. Rotor

Paper wasp nests, Museum of Natural History, UPLB Laguna
Or was it the other way around?

This happened to me - rather what I did - when I was five or six. I don’t know why I attacked a colony of putakti or alimpipinig (Ilk). It is bravado when you put on courage on something without weighing the consequences, much less in knowing the reason behind.

I was sweeping the yard near a chico tree when I suddenly felt pain above my eye. No one had ever warned me of paper wasps, and I hadn’t been stung before. There hanging on a branch just above my head was a neat clump of paper-like nest the size of a fist. On the guard were a dozen or two of this kind of bees, which is a local version of the hornet bees in other countries. Bees belong Order Hymenoptera, the most advanced order of insects owing to their highly developed social behavior.

I retreated, instinctively got hold of a bikal bamboo and attacked the papery nest, but every time I got close to it I got stung. I don’t know how many times I attacked the enemy, each time with more fury, and more stings I received, until dad saw me. I struggled under his strong arms sobbing with anger and pain.

I was lucky. Kids my size wouldn't be able to take many stings. Fortunately I was not allergic to bee poison. There are cases when the poison paralyzes the heart.

I learned a valuable lesson: Don't allow anger to overcome reason, and don't do anything, how courageous you may think, if it is motivated by revenge. They call this bravado - not courage.

x x x

Trees are Benevolent Hosts

Dr Abe V Rotor

1. The tree laughs, talks, with all the joys of childhood. "A tree is a joy forever." Tandang Sora QC
2. Playing hide-and-seek in a bamboo grove. The spirit of the place gives quaintness to living.Taal, Batangas
3. A fallen mango tree makes a romantic ambiance. (Atimonan, Quezon)
4. Phylodendron gains foothold on Dita tree (Alstonia scholaris) as it reaches for the sun several meters high. UST Botanical Garden
5. Balete (Ficus benjamina) strangles its host to  certain death, hence gaining a notorious name of Strangler's Fig. Mt Makiling, Laguna
6. Fruticose lichen clings on bark of tree. Lichens are communities of algae and fungi. They aid in food production and recycling of organic matter, as well as help conserve water. Caliraya Lake, Laguna
7. Drynaria fern as ephipyte helps conserve water, attract wildlife that protects trees from pests anddiseases.  It is not unusual that a branch gives way to the weight of the tenant fern. Tagudin, Ilocos Sur
8. Roots are exposed by slow erosion reveal tenacity of this tree. The tree allows growth of plants and animals like millipede and land snails, as well as micrororganims, many are symbionts to the tree. Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB 
9. Interlacing roots, principle of inarching, riprap slopes and banks, provide abode to many organisms. Mt. Makiling, Laguna.
10. Algae and mosses live on the spongy bark of acacia, providing nutrients to the tree, and creating a favorable microclimate. UP Diliman, QC
11. Crustose lichen coats trunk of young tree. Lichens are important to the tree; they also indicate pristine condition of the environment. Caliraya Lake, Laguna
12. Even after death the tree remains a host to red mushroom, termites, other saprophytes and decomposers, giving off its entire energy to serve the living world. ~

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Wall of Flowers II

Dr Abe and Cecille Rotor at a hotel lobby against a  mural painting of flowers.

A Wall of Flowers II
By Dr Abe V Rotor

Wall, if you are a mirror or you are a prison, 
which side is for the living, which one for the dead;
which side is the West, which one the East;
from where I stand I see a garden of flowers painted?

Photography: Skyscape - capture the fleeting images in the sky

Dr Abe V Rotor 
 Horse in the sky   
Sun in the trees  
Turtle in the sky 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Edge of the Sea and Childhood

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Palo, Leyte
The fringe of the land, the edge of the sea,
     swells and recedes in calm and in rage,
telling a saga or make-believe story
     of child becoming man page by page. ~

Practical Home Remedies and Tips

Practical Home Remedies and Tips 
Dr Abe V Rotor

 1. Simplest remedy for diarrhea.
Diarrhea claims the lives of 3 million people, with nearly 2 million oif them children under five years old. Yet a simple and inexpensive treatment can prevent many of those deaths. Here is a simple formula for oral rehydration:  fistful of sugar + a pinch of salt + a jug of water.  This old home remedy is now recognized by the World Health Organization which claims that it has saved some 40 million lives, and hopes to demote diarrhea as the second leading cause of death among children. 

2. Do not do heavy work for 40 days after childbirth. 
This is especially true to rural women who do a lot of farm work aside from daily chores. But to urban mothers who are not usually accustomed to heavy physical work, it takes a longer time for them to recover after childbirth. The whole idea is to allow the inner organs to heal and the body physiology to get adjusted with child rearing.  Old folks recommend highly digestible and protein-rich food such as cereals, fruits and honey, which are also important in breast-feeding. Cognizant of the welfare of women, government regulation provides for an official maternity leave of sixty days, before and after child delivery.

In the village it is normal to nurse the baby for a year, but weaning may be started as soon as the child’s diet can be supplemented. Old folks would say,  “Milk doesn’t come out of the milk tree, it comes out of your blood.  Support that flow of blood that is converted into milk for the child.” 

3. Roasted shallot onion is an effective suppository.
Old folks heat shallot onion the size of the index finger until it is limp.  They then coat the bulb with coconut oil and while still sufficiently warm insert it into the anus.  It is a home remedy to reduce extreme fever and to draw out gas that causes kabag. People who have constipation problems resort to this practice.

4. Oxalic acid in kamias weakens the bones.
Sinigang with kamias (Averrhoa balimbi) is a favorite dish no Filipino kitchen is without. But too much intake of kamias is not good for the health because of the oxalic acid it contains which doctors and nutritionists found to be a cause of osteoporosis.  The principle is that, acids react with calcium compounds forming a neutral product – salt. In the process, the bone gets thinner and thinner predisposing it to break especially in old age. Thus, we should caution ourselves from taking too much acidic food, and in particular, kamias and balimbing (A. carambola)  which belong to Family Oxalidaceae

5. Onion and tomato spray kills harmful bacteria.
Spray derived from the extracts of these plants in low dilution proves to be effective against food bacteria. In certain restaurants it is a practice to spray the food with this stuff before it is served.  In others, standing food is sprayed to keep it safe. One problem though is the detection of the characteristic odor of onion, so that it is best to apply the spray on spicy food.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Place by the Sea

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Sunken Pier, South China Sea, Sto Domingo Ilocos Sur

That was a long, long time ago
In a place by the western sea,
Hidden by feathery bamboo,
Thickets of wild kakawate
And the old resilient maguey.

I used to ride a wooden cart
Creaking on the dry stream bed,
Until I reached where two roads part
One leading to a homestead
From where came our daily bread.

This is the place I used to know,
Part of my childhood, part of me,
Where seasons come and seasons go;
Early dream of a destiny -
A beautiful life by the sea.

Faces I knew, old friends now gone,
Stare the young at someone new;
Big trees that used to shade the sun,
Houses I remember are few,
All makes an unfamiliar view.

Old Rip van Winkle I’m today,
Longer did I sleep than he;
And too long I had failed to pay
Respect to this land by the sea,
And the treaty of time and me. ~

Poetry: The Young Fisherman

Painting and Verse by Dr Abe V Rotor

Wherever you go your silence draws a crowd,
    The strong or the lame, the shy or the proud;
Each bite, each pull, each step, the children watch;
    For how long matters not. It is the catch.

Your rod a magic wand, focus of your fad;
    Under a spreading tree you are faceless,
And they don’t know if you are happy or sad;
    Whatever, a special guest you are no less.

Lessons you teach, they do not find in school,
    No words, nor chalk, and no talking tall;
Patience, patience, who waits is not a fool,
    Waiting for his fish whether big or small.

Years from now they too, will take over the trade,
    To catch their fish, or set forth free;
Beyond the fishing line, will they be afraid?
    Beyond patience, it’s a great story. ~

Photography: Put life into your photo

Marlo R Rotor

Photography today employs a lot of techniques with the camera and the computer, other means notwithstanding. How was this photograph made? Is this original? Edited? Illusion? Cut-out?

This is a classical example of creative photography. Here photography merges with fine arts at a crossroad where many professionals and enthusiasts venture into. They call it experimental photography. Other call it photographic arts. While still others push the limits to avant garde and graphics. Our world is often seen in abstract. That is how fast the pace of life is. Like riding in a fast moving vehicle where everything is blur and haze.

And when we come to a stop we want to regain our true sense of proportion and dimension, of distinguishing colors, of breaking up monotony of a waterfall by planting a fern on one side of the rock, such as this photograph.

Amadeo Waterfalls, Amadeo, Cavite
Bonus for Photography students in Arts and Letters. Please explain how this photograph was made. 

Having a camera today is no extraordinary privilege. In fact we merely have to point and shoot and the machine takes care of every thing. But not everything really. It is how skillful we make of a photo, and not vice versa. Man is still the mater of machine, and never its slave. Why don't you experiment with other techniques. Hone the right side of your brain, seat of creativity and imagination.

Look at the photo again, longer. Does it seep deep into your being, rather than just a visual representation?

A photograph that permeates the eye, the heart in order to reach the soul is a masterpiece of the art of photography.~

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bats swoop on unwary people. Old folks warn us not to go out at dusk or at night - and never alone.

Dr Abe V Rotor

Fruit bat. A clumsy fruit bat may drop its load in the middle
of the night, and on hitting the roof of a house, sows fear about
mannananggal or half-bodied vampire lurking around.
Internet Photo, 2012

Bats, the only true flying mammals are perhaps the most misunderstood creatures because of their ugly looks and enigmatic life embellished with superstitious beliefs and associated with fiction such as the story of Dracula, a bloodthirsty count-vampire in the world of the undead. Movies, cartoons, and children’s stories have projected a bad image of bats, giving us the impression they are enemies of mankind.

The truth is that bats are harmless, except for three known species called vampire bats that feed on the blood of animals. Seventy percent of the one thousand species of bats live on insects as their daily diet. One bat can devour 1000 mosquitoes in one hour. The bigger species eat on fruits (fruit bats). Insectivorous bats swoop down on flying insects in the dark which they detect by means of echolocation (natural radar) making it appear that they are attacking people when they get too close to them.

Bats are nature’s biological agents in controlling destructive insects. They pollinate plants that bloom only in the night, and they are very efficient in disseminating seeds of many plants. By carrying out these functions bats are crucial in maintaining the ecological balance of fragile ecosystems like the desert and chaparral. Their droppings accumulated for years in their cave dwellings make the best and safest organic fertilizer (guano). Let us protect the bats instead; they are indeed man’s valuable friends. ~