Friday, February 28, 2014

Takip-kuhol (Centella asiatica) - a Panacean home remedy

Takip-kuhol (Centella asiatica) - a Panacean home remedy

Takip kuhol which means literally the operculum of gastropods or snails, grows wild, often as weeds in the garden and field where the soil is moderately damp.  It is easy to raise it in pots such as this sample (At home, QC)

Takip kuhol is a highly regarded plant of many uses; in fact it has a panacean reputation in folk medicine. Ask an herbolario, a bona fide housewife, or a village elderly. And they would say, "Takip kuhol lang ang kailangan diyan." (All you need is Centella asiatica, the scientific name of the plant.) 


Of course they are talking about common ailments, referring to ordinary colds, fever, flu, skin infection, sore throat, boil (pigsa), headache, constipation, blows and bruises.  The herbal may be prepared as decoction (boiled) or fresh.  It may be toasted and served as tea or infusion.*  For external use, the leaves are crushed and applied as ointment or liniment with vaseline or coconut oil. 

In a research conducted, takip-kuhol leaf extract was found to be an antibacterial agent against three common infectious bacteria, which explains the efficacy on the plant against infectious diseases which these bacteria cause.
  • Escherichia coli, a type of bacteria that lives in our intestines. Most types of E. coli are harmless. However, some types can make us sick and cause diarrhea
  • Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium  frequently found in the human respiratory tract and on the skin. 
  • Salmonella enterica. Salmonellosis is an infection with bacteria called Salmonella. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps
Pure extract of Takip-kohol leaves is effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella enteritidis. Boiled extract is not as effective, especially against E coli. 

Panacea is often referred to as cure-all, which is mythological, Panacea being the Greek goddess of healing. There is no single remedy for all ailments. As a caution, takip kuhol should not be used as a prescription to serious ailments and diseases, specially those that require medical attention.~ 

Botany of Takip-kuhol
Family: Apiaceae
Scientific name: Centella asiaticaa (Linn) Urb
Synonym: Hydrocotyle asiaticaa Linn
Other common names: Gotu kola, hydrocotyle, Indian pennywort
 Illustrated life cycle of Centella asiatica;  plant in bloom (Acknowledgement: Wikipedia)

Traditional Use:  Crushed leaves aare commonly consumed by Sri Lankanss as salad or hot beb\verage.  More rewcntly the herb acquired a conssiderable reputation as an aphrodisiacv, a agent that stimulates sexual vitality.

Phytochemicals: ALKALOIDS, ALKALOID CHLORIDES, ASIAtICOSIDE, BRAHMINOSIDE, BRAMOSIDE, CALCIUM, DEXTROSE, Fe2O3,  MADECASSOSIDE, MUCILAGE, PECTIN, P2O5, RESIN, SAPONIN, TANNIN, VELLARINE, VITAMIN B

Other properties/actions: Hypotensive, longevity promoter, sclerotic, stimulant, tonic, treatment for abscesses, dysentery, fevers, headaches, high blood pressure, jaundice, leprosy, mental troubles, nervous disorders, rheumatism, skin eruptions, ulcer.

Plant Description:  Slended, creeping plant with stems that root at nodes.  Leaves are rounded to kidney- or heart-shaped at the base.  Flowers are 3 sessile.  Fruits are minute, ovoid, white or green and reticulate. 

             -  Reference: Rotor AV, De Castro D and RM Del Rosario, Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality


*Infusion is the process of extracting chemical compounds or flavors from plant material in a solvent such as water, oil or alcohol, by allowing the material to remain suspended in the solvent over time (a process often called steeping). An infusion is also the name for the resultant liquid. The process of infusion is distinct from decoction, which involves boiling the plant material, or percolation, in which the water passes through the material as in a coffeemaker. Wikipedia 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The practical way to increase the storage life of onion and garlic

Dr Abe V Rotor
Lessons: 

  1. Reviving practical technology
  2. Saving energy
  3. Minimizing loss in storage
  4. Speculating for better price, hence higher income
  5. Chemically safe - no pesticide
  6. Low investment, little capital outlay
  7. Local employment, livelihood


Shallot or Sibuyas Tagalog is stored by hanging in a dry and cool place.
Planted in late September or October and harvested simultaneously in December causing price to plummet, the bulbs must have to wait for good price. How?  

Store them in bundles, reduce weight loss, infestation, and rot. Smudging, that is, training smoke from dry grass and leaves into the hanging bulbs will improve storage efficiency. No wonder onions and other harvested crops like garlic are hang above the fireplace or in the kitchen of rural homes.     


Monday, February 24, 2014

Communion with Nature - Ten Ways

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday
 
Parakeets, Safari World, Thailand

Lovely, friendly -  kindest words ever be,
whereas their kin are wild and free;
lucky in man's judgment these pair  may be
if only we understand their plea
for freedom to the wild, to their ancestry
and away from the artificial tree.  
  
Tamboili shells, former St. Paul Museum

I'm standing on the world's narrowest isthmus,
among archives and fossils of history,
where I can hold the Pacific and the Atlantic
oceans half the world apart and free;
I cross the time and distance barrier
with these chroniclers singing to me
the unending roars of the tides,
tides on the street, tides of the sea.

Sunken Pier, Puerto, Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur

Behold! a jellyfish as looking glass
unfolds a third world scene:
half terrestrial, half aquatic,
solid and liquid in between,
third matter in colloidal form -
strange the world is ever seen. 

Baby sitting: Fluppy, angora rabbit at home

Here is seeing the world in dreams;
half awake, half asleep,
on two planes -  fantasy and reality,
rather than counting sheep,
to unload life's burden at the end of day -
a heaven sent li'l rabbit.

 
Rare walking stick insects, Museum of Natural History,
UPLB Laguna

Dragons in fairy tales and religious fictions -
they are fierce, they're enemies of mankind;
in fossils and movies they scare the children;
little do we think of them friendly and kind,
devouring pests, singing lullaby in dull air;
misjudged, they're harder and harder to find.
  
Baby orangutan, Avilon Zoo, San Mateo, Rizal

Monkey on my back, that's what people say
when what we say logic we lack;
genes may vary, yet the same to this day,
indeed, a monkey on our back.
  
Viewing telescope, Mall of Asia, Pasay Metro Manila

Yes, creatures but man, are getting fewer, farther apart;
changing the old game with art of glass and steel;
where you can't get near, when you can't touch and feel,
technology comes to fill, yet empty still. 

 Red shelf mushrooms, Sacred Heart Novitiate, QC

Flaming red in the night and in bright light -
what secret have you Ganoderma
and yet your light cannot make the dead rise
again, the tree felled by cold heart,
lying unknown and forgotten in its demise.

Crustose lichen on a tree trunk, Silang Cavite 

Crust blankets the tree with powdery green,
 strange indeed to the inquisitive, 
that this is a model of symbiosis,  
for tree and lichen together they live.  

Violin and aquarium fish, Don Antonio Heights 2, Diliman, QC  

Music is universal - that is worthy of praise,
 to all creatures the "Mozart Effect"
that brings us all together in work and ease,
friend and foe, master and subject,
sans division and color in war and peace.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ad Infinitum to Doom

Dr Abe V Rotor 


Ad Infinitum to Doom in acrylic by AVR 

When a tree dies, a rivulet dies;
When a rivulet dies, a stream dies;
When a stream dies, a river dies;
When a river dies, a lake dies;
When a lake dies, a valley dies;
When a valley dies, a town dies;
Ad infinitum to doom.
                                                         AVR 2002



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Valley of Life and Death

  Mural and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor

A valley of death, so stories go,
     for the old and the young, too;
and who would dare this fateful
     place but a lonely soul?

A valley of tears with barren shed,
     evil on nature its final bed, 
with a sprig of promised peace
     and temporary ease.

A valley of life of verdant green,
     once a full blooming scene;
life of the river down the sea,
     a world of wonder and free.  

A valley of promise, heed its call,
     words in the pulpit and hall,        
and in make believe by painting, 
     not at all worth praising.

A valley of suffering takes its toll;
     blind and deaf, the prayerful
waits for the angels to be sent   
     to this valley of death. ~   

Original title, "Dirge over a Watershed Mural." The wall mural is found at St Paul University Quezon City along Aurora Blvd.  It needs restoration.

Don't waste food, don't!

Dr Abe V Rotor



Excessive serving leads to food waste. If not, obesity. Or both.
Don't throw away food left on the table. Please don't.

• Food is Santa Gracia (holy grace) as old folks reverently call it.

• Food waste could otherwise go to millions who have not enough to eat.

• Food waste breeds pest and disease, sickens the air.

• Anything that goes to waste draws down the economy.

• Waste widens inequity in resources.

Here are some things to do with food leftovers.

1. Sinagag - fried rice mix with bits of bacon, ham, fried egg, fish, and the like.
2. Torta - tidbits like those mentioned in scramble egg. Include veggies like carrot and onion.
3. Pickle – excess veggies and fruits plus vinegar, sugar and salt, and spices. Good for carrot, bell pepper, cucumber, green papaya, yam (sinkamas), others.
4. Paksiw – if not consumed is fried, makes a new menu.
5. Daing – fish in season is dried, cooked with gata’ (coconut milk).
6. Suka – fruit vinegar from overripe pineapple, banana, others, but not tomato and kamias.
7. Pudding – bread not consumed on time is also made into pizza bread- bread crumbs, garlic bread.
8. Sopas – Grind bones, shrimp head for soup and broth. Bulalo for whole bone.
9. Pastillas – milk powder not consumed on time, also grated hardened cheese.
10. Veggie and fruit peelings – for animal feeds, composting. Include solids from brewing (coffee) and juicing fruits. Ultimately, inevitable food waste is collected for feeds in poultry and piggery.


Food waste also emanates from carelessness in handling, food preparation and serving. Much is also lost due to lack of proper processing, transport and storage facilities. Estimated loss in postharvest alone runs from 10 to 37 percent of actual harvest of crops.

In "Give us this day our daily bread..." in the Lord's Prayer, us here is regarded as thanksgiving and remembering the millions people around the world who may not have the food they need.

I believe in the wisdom of the old folk who reminds us of the value of food. They have experienced hunger during war, drought, flood, crop failure, pestilence - even in normal times. They have not lost sight of the presence ofSanta Gracia.

Yes, children there is a Santa Gracia . ~


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Trees - Nature's Gift to Man

Acacia trees, Ateneo de Manila University QC

By Anna Rotor

We grow up with trees.
We want them to grow big;
we want them to be around us;
to give us shade in which we play;
to give us strong trunk and branches
on which we climb and swing and laugh;
to give us fruits which make us full,
healthy and strong;
medicine to make us well;
wood that keeps our body warm,
cooks our food;
leaves to keep our air clean
and to whisper and sing
and dance with the breeze;
and above all,
to give us aesthetic beauty
through which we feel
how lucky we are alive.
How irrational would it be to kill a tree,
even if we reason out that we need its wood,
its bark, its roots, its flowers and fruits and seeds,
to keep us alive!

It is a paradox
that for us to survive and progress,
we kill the host of life –
life of birds that build nest on its branches,
passersby who find respite
from the beating sun,
a myriad of small life forms
from insects to lizards
that find a home
and harbor on its roots and crown.
What a paradox
if we kill the tree that gives us oxygen
that brings down the cloud as rain,
that keeps the environment cool, clean and green
to kill a friend,
a companion and a guardian,
the link of our earth and sun,
God and His Son.


Excerpt from a speech of Anna Rotor, then 
16 years old at School of St. Anthony QC, 1999.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Painting Manual: Pangarap Art World Travelogue through Drawing and Painting

Painting Manual: Pangarap Art World Travelogue through Drawing and Painting
20 Drawing and Painting Exercises 
Dr. Abe V. Rotor
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms. Melly Tenorio 

738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday


      Pangarap Art World: A Travelogue through Drawing and Painting, is a sequel of  workshop manuals designed to teach basic drawing and painting techniques  to  children of school age and young adults.
     
 Volume I, “Handbook for Drawing and Painting” has been in use since summer of 1990.  Its emphasis is to tap the latent talent of children, while Volume II, “Art and Values: Cultivating Creativity, Skills, Values and Personality through Art”, as the title implies, is values oriented. It was introduced in 1998 for the second Nestle Philippines summer art workshop and the fourth workshop for the National Food Authority. 

Country Scene in acrylic by the Author
      
 The approach in this third volume is unique.  The participants go through an imagined itinerary that takes them to different places and introduces them to experiences which they are likely to encounter in life. There are twenty exercises to be accomplished as class work or home assignment, fifteen (15) are designed for individual work, while five (5) are for group work..

     This manual provides the needs of a summer workshop which is conducted for at least ten sessions, with three hours per session. Ideally one exercise is done in the classroom, and one is given as home assignment. An on-the-spot session can also make use of a number of exercises from this manual, such as  Flying Kites, Inside a Gym, and Market Day.  Each exercise will be graded and at the end of the workshop, the participants will be rated and ranked accordingly.  The top three graduates shall be awarded gold, silver and bonze medals, respectively.
    
      Computation of grades is based on the Likert Scale, where 1 is very poor, 2 poor, 3 fair, 4 good, and 5 very good. The general criteria are composition, interpretation, expression, artistic quality and impact. The details of these shall be discussed by the instructor at the onset of each exercise.

      Like the other two manuals, the author offers this volume a respite from cartoons, advertisements, entertainment characters, programs filled with
violence and sex,  computer games, and  the like, which many children are  overexposed via media and computers.  It is his aim to help create a more wholesome culture where certain values of a growing child and adolescent are developed and nurtured.  Art through this means becomes principally a vehicle for development, notwithstanding the gains in skill acquired.

       For each exercise, the instructor shall explain the requirements and procedure with the use of visuals and through demonstration. If there is need for group interaction he shall also serve as facilitator-moderator. He shall choose the appropriate music background for each exercise to enhance the ambiance of the workshop. 

       With brush and colors one can go places and create scenarios as vivid as what a pen can do.  It reminds us of the masterpieces of  Jules Verne which he wrote many, many years ago, notably “Around the World in Eighty Days”.  More than fiction we embark on a trip for life, real and inevitable. The pleasures await us, so with difficulties and hardships. The journey takes us closer to Nature and appreciate her beauty , it leads us to meet people and learn how to be a part of society.  Here we plan our lives, make things for ourselves, enjoy success, face failure, and at the end we  return to reality once again. Our journey takes us back to our loved ones, and  with an Angelus prayer on our lips we  draw a deep breathe of gratitude.

     Thus one can glimpse from the outline of our itinerary that Part 1 introduces us to the natural world, while Part 2 integrates us into society.  The last part  provides a window through  which a growing child and an adolescent see the other side of their present world, the real world  in which they  will spend the rest of  their lives.

     All aboard!

Exercises
1.      Views from an Airplane                             
2.      Sunflower Field                                                         
3.      Riceland                                                         
4.      Rainforest                                                      
5.      Hut by a Pond on a Mountain                                   
6.      Waterfalls                                                       
7.      Inside a Cave                                                             
8.      Fairy Garden  .                                                 
9.      Lighthouse at the Edge of the Sea     12
10.   Sailing                                                                         
11.   Camping                                                          
12.   Flying Kites                                                  
13.   Inside a Gym                                               
14.   Market Day                                                   
15.   Shanties and Buildings                           
16.   Building a House                                     
17.   Making an Aquarium                             
18.   Typhoon                                                                                                        
19.   Building a Bridge                                    
20.   Angelus                                                  

Exercise 1-  Views from an Airplane
Leaving our world down below and seeing it as a miniature.  How small it is!  Rather, how small we are!

        As the airplane we are riding on soars to the sky we lose our sense of familiarity of the places below us.  Then our world  which we left behind appears as a miniature. And we are detached from it.

        What really is the feeling of one flying on an airplane?  Nervous and afraid?  Excited and happy?  Most probably it is a mixed feeling.  Now let us imagine ourselves cruising in the sky one  thousand feet up. We get a clear view below. The most prominent are the landscapes.  See those mountains, rivers and lakes, the seashore.  See the infrastructures – roads, bridges, towers, parks, and the like.  Next, buildings, schools, the church, houses, etc.  Imagine yourself to be above your hometown or barangay..

          This is an individual work.  Use Pastel colors and Oslo paper.  You have thirty minutes to finish your drawing.  Let us play “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Up, Up and Away”.

Exercise 2 - Sunflower Field
Lessons in radial symmetry, uniformity, and unity; farm life and scenery.


        The sunflower has a central disc, surrounded by a ring of bright  yellow petals which resemble the rays of the sun. But the most  unique characteristic of the sunflower is that it faces the sun as it moves from sunrise to sunset.  Because of its “obedience” to the sun, botanists gave the plant a genus name, Helianthes, after the Greek sun god, Helios.

        Draw a field of sunflowers. Central Luzon State University in Munoz, Nueva Ecija, is the pioneer in sunflower farming.   Imagine yourself to be at the center of sunflower farm. It is a bright day.  Walk through the field among the plants as tall as you. Examine their long and straight stem and large leaves. Touch the large flowers, smell their sweet and fresh scent. Observe the bees and butterflies visiting one flower after another.   Make the  flowers prominent in your drawing.  Remember they are uniform in size, height and color, and they are all facing the sun. Make the sky blue with  some cloud to break the monotony.

        You are given thirty minutes to complete your work.  Use pastel colors on Oslo or drawing paper.  Fill up the entire paper as if it were the whole field and sky. You may draw butterflies and bees. And you may draw yourself as you imagine yourself in a sunflower field.  Here are suggested musical compositions for music background. “Humoreque”, “Minuet in G”, “Serenata”, “Traumerei”,  “On the meadow”,   “Spring Song”,  “Ang Maya”.

Exercise  3 - Riceland
Lessons on the Central Plains, birthplace of agriculture and seat of early human settlement, rice granary of the country, where typical farm life is observed.

        Rice, rice everywhere with few trees, no mountains, except Mt. Arayat.  The wind sweeps over the plains and make waves and soothing sound. Suddenly a flock of herons and maya birds rise into the air.  Herds of cattle lazily graze. Their calves are playful and oftentimes get lost.  You hear both parents and calves calling one another.  There are carabaos which like best areas where there is water and mud to wallow in..

        Because we are in the Philippines we do not have zebras, lions, tigers and leopards.  These animals live in Africa and on the vast plains of North America.  We are going to draw a Philippine scene instead.  We have our Central Plains where we grow rice.  Here the farmer plants when the rains come and harvests towards the end of the monsoon.  His hut in the middle of his field is made of nipa and bamboo.  It is small.  Beside it are haystacks that look like giant mushrooms.  Children help on the farm, they mature and learn to live with life earlier than city kids. 
  
        Draw a typical ricefield scene in Central Luzon.  It is like Fernando Amorsolo’s seceneries of rural life where there are people planting or harvesting rice.  A carabao pulls a plow or cart, a nipa hut is surrounded by vegetables, haystacks or mandala dwarf the huts and people around. It is indeed a typical scene that gives an excellent  background for our native songs and dances like Tinikling. Ang Kabukiran song fits well as a background music for this exercise. Let us play Nicanor Abelardo’s Compositions. Filipino composers like Padilla de Leon, Verlarde, Canseco, and Umali excel in this field.

Exercise 4 - Rainforest
A lesson on different kinds of plants and animals living together in a forest, the richest ecosystem in the world, their organization, adaptation and relationships.
 
          As we enter a tropical rainforest, the trees become taller and denser, grasses disappear, and shrubs and vine plants called lianas take over their place.  In the center of the rainforest are massive trees several meters high. Their trunks are huge, it takes several persons to wrap a tree with their arms stretched.  Sunlight is blocked, except rays seeping through the green roof.  We imagine we are inside the forest of Mt. Makiling in Laguna.

          We walk through the forest by first clearing our way with a bolo. Be careful, the ground is slippery.  In the rainforest, rain falls everyday, in fact anytime,  from drizzle to downpour.  That is why it is called rainforest.  Be careful with wild animals and thorny plants.  Do not disturb them, just observe them. Look for reptiles like lizards and snakes, amphibian like frogs and toads, fish swimming in a stream,  birds singing up in the trees, insects of all kinds, animals like deer and monkeys.

        Draw a cross section of a forest showing the different creatures.  Show their interrelationships. For example a snake eats frogs, frogs eat insects, insects feed on plants.  Observe the trees are of three levels.  We appear very small standing on the ground floor of a seven-storey natural building that is the forest.  Joey Ayala’s compositions on nature fit best as background music in this exercise. Why don’t we try  some songs of  Pilita Corales and Kuh Ledesma which are appropriate for this topic? “Sierra Madre”, for example.

Exercise 5 - A Hut by the Pond on a Mountain
Lessons of peace, tranquility, and of  unspoiled landscape; feeling of being on top of the world.

        The title alone tells a story.  It is picturesque.  Here one imagines himself to be in a simple hut made of wood and stone and grass which shelters a woodsman or a hunter on Mt. Pulag in Benguet which is the second highest mountain in the Philippines after Mt. Apo.

       There are no houses, buildings; no road, except a trail.  The trees are gnarled and stunted.  They are  covered with ferns, epiphytes and mosses which make them look haunted.  Feel the great comfort the hut gives you after a long day hike, and how soothing is the cool and clear water of a pond nearby. There are  water lilies  growing on the pond. Their flowers are red, orange, white and yellow. Sometimes a breeze come along, followed by drizzle, then everything is quiet.  Enjoy stillness.  It is a rare experience to one who has been living in the city. 

         Draw first the mountain top where a pond and a hut are found.  There is an faint trail which is the only way. The trees are dwarf and sturdy. They are bearded with mosses. Mist will soon clear as the sun penetrates through the trees, and makes a prism on the mist and dewdrops. Selections from the sound track of  “Sound of Music” provide an ideal musical background.
 
Exercise 6 - Waterfall
This exercise makes us reflect at where a river abruptly ends.  The energy and scenery of  a waterfalls stir our imagination and make us think about life.

         Here we follow the river.  It meanders, then at a certain point it stops.  But it does not actually end here.  As water seeks its own level the river drops into a waterfalls and continues its journey toward the sea. We think of Pagsanjan Falls in Laguna or Maria Cristina Falls in Mindanao.

As we stand witness to this natural phenomenon, we are awed by its strength, it roars as it falls, sending spray and mist that make a prism or small rainbow. It pounds the rocks, plunges to a deep bottom before it becomes placid as if it has been tamed, then resumes to flow, seeking a new course toward its destiny.

Look around.  Trees abound everywhere and make a perfect curtain and prop of a great drama. The background music is a deafening sound. And it is just appropriate.  Be part of the drama.  Be still and capture the scene.  You have thirty minutes to do it on Oslo and pastel colors. Let us play heavy music from Beethoven, and Ryan Cayabyab.  Toward the end of the exercise let us have a  Rachmaninov or  a Listz composition. 

Exercise 7 - Inside a Cave
Looking back at the past, the home of our primitive ancestors, window of early civilization, and study of a Nature’s architectural work.

Have you ever been inside a cave?  Jules Verne wrote a fancinating novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth”.  Look for the book or tape, or find somebody who had read it. It is a story of three daring men who traveled down a dormant volcano and explored a huge cavern, a world in itself inhabited by strange creatures of the past.

This exercise leads us to a cave in Callao, Cagayan, or Tabon in Palawan. On the face of a cliff are openings.  We enter the biggest one.  It is dark and scary.  We hear bats, dripping water, and the wind making its ways through the cave. We see tiny lights like hundreds of distant stars.  These are crystalline calcium deposits, phosphorescent materials, and glow worms. They cling on the stalactites which are giant teethlike structures hanging from the roof of the cave. The stalagmites are their counterpart rising from the cave floor.  When both meet, they form pillars of many shapes and sizes. See that beam of light coming  through the roof?  It is a window to the sky.

Now draw the view from here and show the main entrance which frame the stalactites and stalagmites, and the seeping beam of light coming from the opening at the sky roof.  You have thirty minutes to do it. Play a tape of  Johann Sebastian Bach as background music. Robert Schumann’s symphony fits  as well.

Exercise 8 - Fairy Garden
Introduction to fantasy, richness of imagination, and familiarity of  make-believe stories.

        This exercise relies principally on fantasy.  We are in fairyland. What kind of garden is this?  It is a garden made by our imagination and dreams. It is a garden in the world of Jonathan Swift’s second book, “Gulliver in Brodningnad”, where Gulliver was a dwarf in a land of giants where everything is big.

        Imagine yourself a dwarf among mushrooms, mosses, grass, and insects. But here everyone is friendly, you imagine you can even ride on an  ant like in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!”, if you have seen the movie.

        Here harmony of nature and creatures is at its best.  There are no cars, buildings, highways and skyways.  The amenities in life are very simple. Nature is left alone in her pure state.
    
        Use  Oslo paper and pastel colors. Draw a part or section of that garden in your imagination. Do not draw the whole panoramic view.   Include  the things that make that garden in your imagination, one that belongs to fantasy land. “The Last Rose of Summer’” by Flotow fits well in this exercise. How about Schubert compositions? Ballet music like, “The Dying Swan”?  Let us try these for background music.

Exercise 9 - Lighthouse at the Edge of the Sea

Lessons in the wild, where Nature can be at times angry and cruel to those who do not take heed of her warning.
      
          Here we are at the end of the land, and the beginning of the vast ocean.  We stand on the coral reef and stones where we are safe from the angry waves. Above our head is a tall structure, strong, painted white, and on top of it is a strong light which guides seafarers  at night, keeping away from dangerous rocks and shoals. This is an old lighthouse in Calatagan, Batangas.

          Draw the waves breaking on the rock at the foot of the lighthouse. Give life to the sky. Put some moving clouds, some sunset colors.  This is a sign of bad weather.  There are sailboats leaning with the wind, their sails distended.  They burst in different colors and designs, breaking the gloom. Other boats lay in anchor, their sails lowered, while others have been carried to higher ground.  The shore is deserted now, except a few fishermen securing  their paraphernalia in their anchored  boats. Let us play Antonin Dvorak Jean Sibelius and other Scandinavian compositions.  They have a special touch that creates the ambiance for this topic.

Exercise 10 - Sailing
Pure joy of adventure at sea, freedom riding on the wind and waves, a test of courage and endurance

        Have you ever gone to sea?  Have you ever ridden a sailboat or banca?  I am sure all of us have.  For those who may have forgotten it, or were very  young at that time, here is a way to relive the experience. Let us have a rowing song as background., “Like Volga Boat Song”, or  music about  rivers and sea, like “Over the Waves”, “On the Blue Danube”.

        Let us go sailing in Manila Bay. Sailing is both pleasure and competition.  Get your boat, and organize yourselves into a crew. Be sure you are ready when the race starts.  Other sailboats are also preparing for the race. You can not afford to be left behind.  The wind is building now.  Is your sail set?  Do you have enough provisions?  Water, food, first aid kit, fuel, tools, map, flashlight, and others things.  Review your checklist.

        Group yourselves into 5. Assume that you are in your boat moving with other boats.  This is the perspective of your composite drawing.  Draw on illustration board  using  pastel or acrylic colors.  You have the whole session to finish it.  Ready, set,  go!

Exercise 11 - Camping
A test of survival, a life without parents and home, gathering around  a bonfire, and counting stars.

        Let us go camping like boy scouts and girl scouts. Let us go to a summer camp.  Check the things you bring.  Do not bring a lot of things, only those which are essential will do.  You do not want to carry a heavy load, do you?  Besides camping has its rules.  Read more about camping. Let us play “Moon River”, “You Light up my Life”, Tosselli’s “Serenade”, and   Antonio  Molina’s  “Hating Gabi”.
After this we play “Nature Sounds” which are recorded sounds of frogs, birds, waterfalls, and insect.  To fully appreciate these sounds we will observe complete silence while we all work.

        Like “Market Day” and “Flying Kites” (Exercises 10 and 12), this is a group exercise.  Group yourselves into 5.  Set your camp,on Tagaytay Ridge overlooking Taal Volcano.  From this imagine view   there are tents are of many colors and designs.  There are big and small ones, round and triangular in shape.  There are tents set under trees, tents in the open, along a trail, even on hillside.  There is a central area where a large bonfire has been set.  Around it are people singing, dancing, telling stories, others appear cooking something on the embers. Why don’t you join them?

        But first, finish your drawing.  Use pastel colors or acrylic on one-half illustration board.  You have the whole session to do it.
Exercise 12 - Flying Kites
Reviving an old art and outdoor sport; taking part in a friendly and festive competition.

       It is summer time.  It is also kite flying season.  When was the last time you flew a kite, or saw a kite festival?

Flying Kites mural by AVR

      Well, this is your chance.  Let us see if you know how a kite flies.  First of all, a kite must be light and balance, and with a string and fair wind, it rises and stays up in the sky.  Notice that the wind keeps the kite up as if suspended in the sky.  This where the art of aerodynamics comes in.  You learn more about it in books and tapes about kite flying.

          Here we go.  This is a composite exercise.  Just like in Market Day (Exercise 10) you will group yourselves into 5 up to 7 members.  Plan out your work.  Kites come in many shapes, figures, designs and colors.  No two kites are the same.  Be sure your kites fly against the wind, and only in one direction.  Do not let them get entangled.  Your setting is a park where there are people watching and cheering.  Kite flying is both a festival and a competition. There are prizes at stake. The setting is in San Fernando Pampanga.  Here beautiful Christmas lanterns are also made. Saranggola ni Pepe gives an excellent musical background. Let us play Fredericka Chopin and imagine the light notes from his composition blending perfectly with the flying kites. 

        Use pastel or acrylic on illustration board. You have the whole session to complete your work.       

Exercise 13 - Inside a Gym
A  lesson on sportsmanship, physical fitness,  will to win, humility in winning and dignity of losing.

        It is sports season.  Intramural! We are in a sports center. Join the  parade of athletes, go with the beat of lively music, cheer with the big crowd.  The gymnasium has  covered courts, swimming pools, and arena. Competition is in basketball and other ball games, gymnastics, swimming, table tennis, fencing, martial arts like aikido and taekwando,  darts, and many more.  We are in Rizal Coliseum.

          This is composite drawing. Group yourselves into five to seven members. Each one imagines himself a player in his favorite sport.  Draw at least three kinds of sports.  Complete your work by including the crowd, other athletes, and the festive atmosphere.  Play some marches.  Get a tape of the Philippine Brass Band.

        Plan out you work as a group.  Present your finished work in class.


Exercise  14 - Market Day
A place where people meet people, the pulse of our socio-economic life, where all walks all of life converge.

 Market Day,  by Fernando Amorsolo

Everyday is market day in Divisoria, Baclaran, Pasay, Balintawak, and many public markets and talipapa in the city.  In the province, Market Day comes maybe once a week, and when it is on a Sunday, the market comes alive after the mass.

Here we are going to meet people, we meet the common tao. We are among them.  We are going to draw a complex scene.  Here are the things we are going to put in our drawing. Let us play a lively tune, “Gavotte” and Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.  Because Amadeus Mozart music is light, let us have one or two of his compositions toward the end of the exercise. 

1.  A noisy crowd, people, people everywhere.
2.  People selling and people buying.
3.   Stalls and stores, carinderia, vendors and hawkers.
4.  Wares, commodities, goods, services
5.  Tricycles, jeepneys, trucks, carts
6.  Festive moods, decors, colors, antics.

   This is a group work.  Each group has 5 to 7 members.  Use one-half illustration board.  Before you start, each group must convene its members and plan out what to do.  Then it is all yours.  You are give the whole session.

Exercise 15  - Shanties and Buildings
Lesson on contrast – between beautiful, high rise buildings and ugly shanties; between affluent and poor, modern and undeveloped  communities.

          It is ironic to see high rise buildings as a backdrop of shanties in Pasig and  Makati, our country’s business capital.

          It means there are very rich and very poor people living together in one place.  It reminds us of  Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” and the Bastille before the French revolution.  These are stories about inequality, and where there is inequality, many social problems arise, such as unemployment, disease and epidemic, drug abuse and problems on peace and order.  Play the tapes, “Les Miserables” and  “Noli Me Tangere, the Musical”. We  can use these also in other exercises, like Typhoon and Angelus.

          Here we stand  viewing the dwellings of the so-called “poorest among the poor” which  line up the sidewalks and  esteros.  They are found  under the bridges, on vacant lots, and even on parks and shorelines. What a perfect contrast they make against the skyscrapers!  This view is what you are going to draw.  In each sector, include the inhabitants in their  own lifestyle.

Exercise  16 - Building a House
A step-by-step follow-me exercise in building a house, making it into a home and ultimately a part of a community

         This is quite an easy exercise.  But  it  needs analysis and imagination.
Your score here will greatly rely on the interpretation of the theme.  That is why you have to pay attention as we go through the step-by-step process.  Do not go ahead, and do not lag behind either. Draw spontaneously as we go along. Our musical background is “Home Sweet Home” a classical composition you must have heard in “The King and I”. Let us also try the  music of Leopoldo Silos, Buencamino, Abelardo and  Mike Velarde Jr. in this exercise.

Let us start.
1.      First put up the posts
2.      Put on the roof.                                                                                                 
3.      There is a floor, maybe two, if you like.
4.      The walls have windows.
5.      Stairs meet the door
6.      Extension for additional room, kitchen, etc. as you wish.
7.      Think of the amenities for functional and comfortable living.
8.      You are free now to complete your house
9.      Make it into a home. 
10.  Make it as part of a community

          The proof if you really made it good is, “Do you wish to live with your family in the house that you made?” Let us see.  Exchange papers with your classmates who will correct and score your paper.  What is your score?

           Exercise 17 - Building an Aquarium
           An exercise on doing things ourselves, following basic rules in maintaining life and  keeping environmental balance.

        An aquarium is “ a pond in glass”.  We can build one in  our backyard or in our house.  It may be large or small depending on the kinds of fish we want to raise as pets. 

      Why this exercise?  We want to try our hands not only in making things, but to play a role as guardian of living things. Can we make a stable and balanced aquarium?  Are we then good guardians? Is so, can we say to our Creator we are  good keepers of  Earth?

                   Each one will make his aquarium, using pastel colors on Oslo  paper.  Be guides by these components or parts of an aquarium.
1.      Clear water.
2.      Sand bottom with rocks
3.      Light
4.      Aquatic plant
5.      Fish, one up to three kinds (Your pet)
6.      Snails and scavenger fish 
7.      Air pump to supplement oxygen and filter the water

      Describe in class the aquarium that you made.  Let’s play “Life Let’s Cherish”, “Fur Elise”, and Peter Tschaichowsky’s  songs and waltzes as background.

 Exercise 18 - Typhoon!
Preparedness, learning to deal with disaster, lending a hand.

           PAGASA Bulletin:  Signal No. 3  And it is going to be a direct hit.

           List down the things to do.  Imagine you are in one community.  Choose your members, five to seven per group.  Prepare for the coming super typhoon.

          When you are through with your list, pause for some time and let the typhoon pass.  Do not go out during a typhoon.  Stay at home or in your safe quarter.  If it is direct hit, the winds will reverse after a brief  calm.  The second part is as strong as the first. Think of Typhoon Yoling or Typhoon Iliang which had more than 100 kilometers per hour wind at the center. (Music background from Gustav Mahler, George Bisset, the Spanish composer and violinist, Sarasate,  and  Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird” and “Fireworks”).

           The typhoon has passed.  What happened to the community.  Did your preparation help you face the force majeure?  Draw the scenario of the typhoon’s aftermath. Imagine yourself  a boy scout or a girl scout, or simply and good citizen.

Exercise 19 - Building Bridges
Reaching out, connecting places and people, building friendship and love

          After the typhoon many roads and bridges were destroyed.  Our houses may have been destroyed, too. 

          There is a different kind of destruction that you and I must prevent to happen in our lives by all means destruction of relationships.  Our teachers tell us that a broken house is easier to repair than a broken home.  Aristotle always reminded the young Alexander the Great, “ It is easier to make war than to make peace.”  Relationships endure as long as the bridges connecting them are kept strong and intact.  And once they get destroyed, do not lose time in rebuilding them.

          Let us reflect on the illustration below. There are bridges washed away by the typhoon and flood.  You are going to rebuild them.  Analyze and imagine that these bridges are not only physical structures.  These are bridges to reach out  a person in need, to share our talents, to say sorry, to comfort, to congratulate, to console, to amend, to say what is right, to befriend, to stand for a cause, and many other virtues.  With these, - perhaps even by our very intentions alone -  we are also building a bridge with God. 

        With a solemn music as a background (“Meditation” from “The Thais” by Massenet), complete the outline on the attached page and be guided by the aforementioned scenario.  Take your time.  This is an exercise in meditation. Show and explain your work in class.

Exercise 20 - Angelus
Time for reflection and retreat, retirement for the day, time with the family, thanksgiving

          This is the end of our travelogue.  We come home from our journey at last.  It is Angelus.  It is a time to put down everything and to thank God for the day – for our journey.

          It is time with the family, with our parents, brothers and sisters. It is time to say the Angelus Prayer. Let us pause for a moment and meditate. Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?  This is God’s greatest gift to us.

          With a background music from “Messiah” by Georges Friderick Handel, “On Wings of Song” by Felix Mendelssohn  and Toccata and Fugue  by Johann Sebastian Bach, compose the scenario of a family at Angelus  Let us have also our own Nicanor Abelardo’s “Ave Maria”.  This is a highly individual exercise.  Work in complete silence. You have all the time in  this session.

Workshop References by Dr. A.V. Rotor
·         Light in the Woods (Photographs and Poems), 90 pp Megabooks, 1995
·         Nymphaea: Beauty in the Morning, 90 pp., Giraffe Books, 1996
·         Light of Dawn, 80 pp, Progressive Printing, 1997
·         4 . Handbook for Drawing and Painting (Revised 1997),  Vol. 1 photocopy
·         Art and Values 20 exercises, 1998, photocopy.         
·         Experiential Approach to the Study of Humanities, 6 pp Philippine Echoes
·         Teaching Art and Values in Children, 6 pp. Philippine Echoes
·         Ebb of Life: Essays and Poems (Photocopy)
·         Reflections on Dewdrops (Manuscript) with Megabooks
·         Violin and Nature, one-hour cassette tape of popular and semi-classical
               compositions accompanied by sounds of  Nature, 1997.
          Light from the Old Arch, 2000 UST
          Living with Nature Handbook 2003 UST
          Humanities Today: An Experiential Approach 2012 C&E Publishing Co.