Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Giorgio Morandi Etchings: Looking Back into the Art of Etching

Giorgio Morandi made etchings at a time when etching was a sort of specialized art. Etching dominated the process of printing images, illustrations in books and other publications, as well as sculptural and architectural works. With the development of modern printing, etching lost its practical value, so with its popularity, but it evolved into the use of metal, ceramics, and other media. It is to Morandi et al, that the art continues to occupy a distinct place in the world of art through forms and applications, such as relief etching and photo etching. 

Dr Abe V Rotor 
I had the opportunity to view Morandi’s works exhibited  at the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel, in 1992, and I could only express my awe and appreciation to both the skill and the peaceful and composed person behind these masterpieces.   

 Still Life with Four Objects and Three Bottles 1956 
 Still Life with Five Objects, 1954
 Large Still Life with Eleven Objects, Circular 1942
 Landscape, Grizzana 1932 
  Still Life 1933
 Still Life with Pears and Grapes 1927
 Still Life with a Large Poplar 1927
  Still Life with a Small Bread Basket 1921 
 Landscape, Grizzana 1932 
 Still Life with Bottles and Jug 1915

Acknowledgement: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; and The Tel-Aviv Museum
The Lamp: Symbol of Enlightenment, Righteousness and Wisdom 
Dr Abe V Rotor
 I feel honored to be here in St. Paul University Surigao, because it is a sister university of SPU QC where I presently teach. Second, the subject which I am going to take up with you is a favorite subject of mine. It is a revival of an old art – the art of teaching.

Greek philosopher Diogenes holding a lamp at daytime. 

It is a revival of the teaching methods of Aristotle, Plato - and the Renaissance when the world realized how important it is to look back in the past. It is looking back at the lamp that enabled our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, to write his last masterpiece, the lamp Florence Nightingale held over her patients at the warfront, the lamp that made Scheherazade’s “one thousand and one nights” stories, the lamp a Greek philosopher held high at daylight “searching for an honest man.” Or the lamp fireflies make and glow with the spirit of joy and adventure to a child.

But why do we look back and ponder on a tiny light when the world basks in the sunshine of progress and development, of huge networks of learning, of high technologies in practically all fields of endeavor? I’ll tell you why – and why we teachers must.

But first let me tell a story of a computer enthusiast, who like the modern student today relies greatly on this electronic gadget, doing his school work so conveniently like downloading data for his assignment. So one day he worked on his assigned topic – love.

Florence Nightingale

He printed the word and set the computer to define for him L-O-V-E. Pronto the computer came up with a hundred definitions and in different languages. Remembering his teacher’s instruction to ask, “How does it feel to be in love?” again he set the computer to respond. And you know what?

After several attempts, the computer printed on its screen in big letters, “Sorry, I can not feel.”

Where is that main ingredient of human relations – feeling – today?

• Where is the true feeling between teacher and student?
• Where is the feeling of joy at the end of a teaching day, in spite of how hard the day had been?

Lamp of Aladdin 

• Where is that tingling feeling of the student for having recited well in class?
• Where is that feeling in singing the National Anthem, the St. Paul Hymn?
• Where is that feeling Rizal felt when a moth circled the lamp in his prison cell while he wrote, Mi Ultimo Adios?
• Where is that burning desire that drove Michaelangelo to finish single-handedly the mega mural of the Sistine Chapel?
• That drove Vincent Van Gogh to madness – madness the world learned a grave lesson years after?
• That kept Florence Nightingale, the founder of the nursing profession, make her rounds in the hospital in the wee hours of the morning?
• The lamp that strengthened Plato’s resolve to change the way people should think in the light of truth and justice.


There is a song Feelin, and the lyrics ask a lot of questions about human nature changing with the times. I do not think human nature has changed. It is as stable as Nature herself and the natural laws that govern the universe.

What we are saying is that our ways are changing. The conformity of our actions is more with the rules we set rather than the philosophies on which they are founded. It is our quest for want above our needs that has blinded us and benumbed our feelings, that has taken us to the so-called fast lane so that we no longer see objects as they are, but abstracts, that has made us half-humans in the sense that we spend half of our lives dealing with machines – who have no feelings.

What then is modern man? I am afraid we have to review some of our references on the Janus-like character of man, like -

• Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
• The Prince and the Pauper
• The Princess and the Frog
• The movies Mask, Superman, Batman, Spiderman
• Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter
• Cartoon and animae

The doubling of characters in man has led him away from permanence. Today, the biggest crisis in man is his impermanence. Impermanence in his domicile, nay, his nationality, political party. Affiliation in business and social organizations, and most disturbingly with his marriage and family.

When was the last time you said to yourself – or experienced, the following.

• It’s a weekday for my family and nothing else.
• How I wish I can help my child of his math assignment.
• I’ll teach only this year and will find a more rewarding job after.
• I think it’s time to settle down.
• I want to go to a concert and enjoy the fine art of music.
• Can’t I put all my ideas in a book?
• Panay meeting – can’t we just talk?
• This dizziness, it must be the pressure of my work.
• Maybe I can concentrate on my thesis this time.
• I have not finished reading “Da Vinci Code”.
• This summer I’ll be with my parents.

Here are ways by which we can brighten up our lamp amidst the factors that test our dedication of our profession as teachers.

1. Be yourself. Be natural.
2. Keep on learning
3. Be a model of your family and community
4. Relax
5. Use you faculties fully and wisely

Be Natural

Naturalness is a key to teaching. I saw a film, Natural with then young award-winning Robert Redford as the principal actor. It is a story of a baseball player who became famous. The central theme of his success is his naturalness. Naturalness in pitching, batting - in the sport itself, above all, in his relationship with his team and fans.

Our students can easily sense our sincerity. They shun from us if we are not. They cannot fully express themselves, unless we show our genuine love and care for them. Develop that aura that attracts them, that keeps relationship easy to adapt or adjust.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
- John Cotton Dana
Be a Model

What I am saying is that a teacher must have more time for himself and for his family. Teaching is an extension of family life. And this is the primordial stimulus that makes your family a model family and you as a model teacher – because you cause the light of the lamp to radiate to others. And it is not only the school that you bring in the light. It is the community because you are also lighting the lamp of others, including the tiny glow in your young students. When they get home, when they interact with their community in whatever capacity they can, even only among their playmates, relatives and neighbors, they are in effect transmitting that light which is also the light of understanding and unity.


Great achievements are usually products of relaxed minds. Relaxation allows the incubation of thoughts and ideas. Churchill found time to paint during the Second World War. In his relaxed mind he made great decisions saved Great Britain and countless lives. Or take Einstein for instance. His formula which explains the relationship of energy and matter in E=mc2 was drawn out from casually observing moving objects - train, heavenly bodies, marbles. Galileo watched a huge chandelier in a church sway with the breeze and later came up with the principles of pendulum movement.

Darwin studied biology around the world as if he were on a leisure cruise, and summed up his findings that founded the most controversial Theory of Evolution by means of natural selection. An apple fell on Newton’s head when everything was still. Examine closely the parables of Christ. How relaxed the Great Teacher was in telling these stories to the faithful. The lamp shines the brightest when there is no wind. When held high with steady hands and given time to examine things around, views become clearer, and the more certain we are along our way.

Use Your Faculties Fully and Wisely

Our brain is made up of the left hemisphere, the thinking and reasoning part, and the right hemisphere, the seat of creativity and imagination. Together they reveal an enormous capacity of intelligence, which are pictured in eight realms. These are

1. Logic
2. Languages
3. Music
4. Spatial
5. Interpersonal
6. Intrapersonal
7. Kinesthetics
8. Naturalism

From these realms the teacher draws out his best qualities. He explores, decides, adapts, entertains, leads, and stands courageously to lead the young.

Here he sows the seed of knowledge. And in the young the seed grows, and grows, which the educator Henry Adams expresses in this line.

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”

Keynote to a Seminar-Workshop on Multiple Intelligence in Effective Teaching at St. Paul University, Surigao, April 5-8, 2005.
x x x

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Environment and Biology: 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. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Only God can make an egg.

Dr. Abe V. Rotor

Analogously, according to Joyce Kilmer, “Only God can make a tree.”

Once there was a scientist in the like of Frankenstein, the doctor who created a monster in Mary Shelly’s novel in the late 18th century. This scientist wanted to make an artificial egg, but one that possesses all the qualities of a natural egg. With his intensive knowledge in chemistry and biology and engineering he succeeded at last in making one that is complete with albumin (white), yolk (yellow center), and of course a perfect eggshell.

Confident that he was after testing his masterpiece in the laboratory, he then proceeded in having it incubated, placing it in the center of a dozen natural eggs and had a mother hen sit on them. Days passed by and finally sweet sounds came from under the brooding hen. There were twelve beautiful, little chicks. All the eggs hatched except one, the thirteenth – his scientific egg.~

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Wall of Flowers

Dr Abe V Rotor
 Mural on canvas by the author

A wall I saw rising layer after layer as I grew older and older,
but never too high to keep me on one side; 
A wall that separated cities and countries and ideologies,  
but never did I settle down on one to abide.

A wall I left a long time ago, and wish it's still there standing, 
familiar of many stories, tears and laughters;
A wall of memories, each dot an event worth remembering.
Lo! a living wall of mosses, ferns and flowers. ~

A Pocket Tropical Rainforest in the City

Dr Abe V Rotor

What really makes a beautiful garden may draw two schools of thought- romanticism and functionalism. The University of Santo Tomas botanical garden does not take side on the issue; it portrays both in an integrated, harmonious design patterned after the richest and the most enviable biome on earth- the tropical rain forest.

The new face of the garden is striking. Let us begin with the cascading six-foot waterfall and trace its flow on a meandering rocky stream that ducks under a footbridge before plunging into the depth of a pond, its bottom murky and cool and rich in detritus. Here clams and snails, and other bottom dwellers, mostly decomposers, reside, shy from the sun and remain ensconced in the very food source that settles down. Such in the niche of these sessile, benthic organisms.

Bryophyte Garden

Along the “river”, the water keeps the environment fresh and cool, lapping at the rock, sending spray on its banks. Through time, on the walls of the waterfall and on any rocks that lies across the path of water, grow countless kinds of algae and mosses that build layer after layer until a carpet is formed, thus giving rise to another niche- the domain of bryophytes in Lilliputian imagery, or one depicted in the movie, Honey, I shrunk the kids.

Bryophytes are among the earliest plants and are, therefore, primitive. It is as if we are turning the hands of time some two billion years ago or so, when their prototypes began to fill the atmosphere with oxygen, which later favored the growth of more, and advanced kinds of vegetation. Perhaps their most outstanding contribution is in soil building, breaking up rocks exfoliating them, virtually skinning them with their acidic foothold, and, together with their biomass, making a mass we call soil.

Micro- Climate Effect

The ultimate source of water is the sky, from the clouds that gather and grow atop the forest. Transpiration and evaporation combine to attract the clouds, which come down as a shower or a downpour at any time of the day or night. It is for this phenomenon that this biome got its name - rainforest. To simulate this condition, the waterfall and running streams, together with a large fountain and a series of ponds near by, maintain high humidity in the area that is the key to the formation of a multi-storey vegetation and myriad of resident organisms.

It will take time for the UST botanical garden to reach the status of a true typical rainforest, if at all. Years shall pass, and in the process students and visitors shall witness here, the transformation of one sere after another, until a climax community is formed. It is not only for the scientific and aesthetic aspect that count; it is for something more - that which presents itself in the realm of ethico-morals that governs man of his role in God’s creation- the transformation of man himself as a true and faithful steward.

Evolving Ecosystem

The UST botanical garden is being transformed as a deliberate expression of an evolving ecosystem. It is Nature’s laboratory and a playing field of biological diversity. As a field laboratory the garden demonstrates ecological cycles - invasion, colonization, competition, and emergence of dominant species, as well as seasonal and long term succession patterns. We may not have the four distinct seasons, but there are tropical trees that demonstrate some characteristics they carry in their ancestral genes, such as deciduousness in narra ( Ptercarpus inducus), our national tree.

The garden is a living manifestation of dynamic balance in a changing environment with the organisms constantly adjusting to the demands of the latter, but in the process slowly affecting the environment itself. Such transformational stages, called seres, always lead towards homeostasis, and the result is a climax ecological system.

As a showcase of natural habitats, the garden adjusts to the development of niches and diversity indices. The garden never sleeps, to speak. It is a living arena and the drama of life goes on and on.

When we look at a life, we look at it in physics and chemistry- the flow of energy through the food chain, food web and their heirarchic order, the food pyramid. The light energy of the sun is transformed into chemical energy in plants, and is passed on to various organisms, one after another through the links of a chain. The remaining energy is used by the decomposers that transform organic substances into inorganic forms for the use of the next generation organisms- and the cycle goes on and on. We can witness this phenomenon among the residents in the pond, and among insects, arachnids, birds, and reptiles that reside nearby.

The garden is a laboratory for sociobiology, in the words of the founder of this field, Dr E.O. Wilson. Animal behavior is demonstrated both by instinct and condition learning, and, to an extent, incipient intelligence. The ingenious building of a spider of a web to trap its prey awes the visitos of the garden. But wait until they observe the preying mantis and the green tree ant. Ingenuity of nature in plants is observed in tropism - reactions to light, touch, and the other elements. Plants, to sociobiologists, are not insensitive and incapable of communicating with one another. As members of a community, they, too, respond, singly and collectively, through some kind of communication medium.

There are biological indicators of the state of the environment. The garden has a host of these indicators, such as lichens and fireflies, the presence of which attests to the fact that the environment is tolerably favorable to them in spite of air pollution, and that the garden has become their home. The garden itself is also a barometer of climatic adversity, like El NiƱo. The flowering of the bamboo is an antecedent of its episode.

I believe that, in spite of the crowded environment of high rise buildings around the UST, the Botanical Garden is not without natural populations of species. Butterflies, natural and cultured, find the garden a suitable abode, having the right kinds of plants they feed on and rear they young.

The ponds are a sanctuary of dragonflies as well, and their waters teem with both phytoplankton and zooplankton, seen only under the microscope. These in turn key up the food web, linking one organism to another in an amazing network of interrelationship.

"As a gene bank, the garden is a depository of biological diversity, providing access to genetic studies, propagation and exchange with other institutions," says Dr. Anselmo S. Cabigan a well known biologist and ecologist. The UST Botanical Garden is being supervised by Dr. Romualdo M del Rosario.~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I can “cure” a person who is "naan-annungan"

Dr Abe V Rotor

An-annung is the Ilocano of nasapi-an in Pilipino. Spirits cast spell on a person, the old folks say. The victim may suffer of stomachache or headache accompanied by cold sweat, body weakness or feeling of exhaustion.

Well, take this case. It was dusk when a tenant of ours insisted of climbing a betel palm, Areca catechu to gather its nuts for nga-nga. My dad objected to it, but somehow the young man prevailed when dad left.

"Spellbound to the spirits of the living and the dead." A painting by a contestant in a painting competition at  UST

The stubborn young man was profusely sweating and was obviously in pain, pressing his stomach against the tree trunk. Dad called for me. I examined my “patient” and assured him he will be all right. And like a passing ill wind, the spell was cast away. Dad and the people around believed I had supernatural power.

There had been a number of cases I “succeeded” in healing the naan-annungan. But I could also induce – unknowingly - the same effect on someone else. That too, my dad and old folks believed. They would sought for my “power” to cast the spell away from - this time – no other than my own “victim”. What a paradox!

As I grew up and pursued my education, my perception on the supernatural began to change. I read Nostradamus prophesy, Hawthorn's House of the Seven Gables, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven, Washington Irving's ghostly characters like The Headless Horseman. It was fun reading DraculaThe MummyThe ExorcistGhost. They are all out of this world; they just come in imagination and entertainment. And to scare naughty children.

The impressions I got from other books are different. Take the case of Alexander Dumas' Count on Monte Cristo, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, and Charles Dicken's Oliver, Kemphis' Imitation of Christ and a lot of great writings, many considered classical because of their relevance and timelessness, and people often getting back to read them when they feel the world tightening up.

What really make people well? Of course, we have to know what make them sick of various kinds of ailmnents and symptoms in the first place.

People who are unwell are not necessarily those who are physically sick; they are those who are sick in the heart and mind. They have lost hope, they have low esteem of themselves, they are tied up with unforgettable  traumatic experiences. They are full of anger and hatred. And bad intentions.

Or they have drawn into the recesses of their mind and won't like to face the world. They fear reality, so they use fantasy as shield. Things out of this world is a defeatist argument, when logic fails, when reality is distorted. Sickness is deeper than what is physiologic or pathogenic. And there is only one thing that can make these people feel well.

And that is to bring them back to self-confidence and self-trust. After that they start building confidence and trust in others.

What was my role as the boy who can dispel bad spirits that chanced upon a person? I was merely as agent of renewal. Children are like that because they are pure and innocent. They are the best healers because they bring back faith and hope which the grownups are losing or have lost. The faith healer is the master catalyst. It was Christ way of healing, the key to his miracles.

I read something about Alexander the Great consulting the Oracle at Siwa to find out if indeed he is god-sent.

“The Pharaoh will bow to you, ” the priestess told him. And it did happen - the pharaoh kissed Alexander’s feet when he arrived in Cairo.

The great warrior knew no bounds of his power, conquering empire after empire, encompassing the whole breadth of the known civilized world at that time, reaching as far as the Orient.

But alas! on the bank of the Tigris-Euphrates River, one evening the great warrior, the son of god, died. Thus ended his lofty dreams as the ruler of the world. The myth went with him. He was barely 33 years old. ~
Wild Vegetables in Times of Hunger

The rainy season guarantees ample supply of fruits and vegetables, including wild food plants which spontaneously grow virtually anywhere, so that it is safe to say no one should die of hunger even in extreme condition. 

Dr Abe V Rotor

Edible Fern (Pako') - Athyrium esculentum)

Dampalit (Sesuvium portulacastrum)
Gulasiman or ngalog (Portulaca)

Himba-ba-o or alokong (Alleanthus luzonicus)

Papait (Mollogo oppositifolia)

Male flowers of squash (Cucurbita maxima) and saluyot tops (Corchorus olitorius)

Top, clockwise: Lima beans or patani (Phaseolus lunatus), wild amargoso or ampalaya (Momordica charantia), wild eggplant (Solanum melongena), and male flowers of him-baba-o or alokong (Allaeanthus luzonicus)

Unopened flowers of bagbagkong (dagger shaped vegetable)

Other wild vegetables:
  1. Young leaves of cassava or kamoteng kahoy (Manihot utilissima)
  2. Petals of Gumamela (Hibiscus rosasinensis)
  3. Young leaves of kamkamote (Ipomea triloba)
  4. Amaranth or spinach (Amaranthus spinosus) - seedling stage
  5. Flowers of madre de cacao or kakawate (Gliricida sepium)
  6. Corm of banana (Musa sapientum)
  7. Ubod or pith of maguey (Agave cantala)
  8. Talinum (Talinum quadriculoare)
  9. Flower of katuray (Sesbania grandiflora)
  10. Corm of Palawan gabi (Colocasia sp)

Often referred to as wild food plants or hunger crops, these and many others, perhaps hundreds, provide an alternative source of food and nutrition on the grassroots in times of poor harvest and calamities like drought. Being native or indigenous they survive extreme conditions of the environment, they need very little care, if at all. Ethnobotany, the study of plants and their uses in primitive societies, is gaining recognition in the light of economic crisis. It offers a solution to poverty and malnutrition. Culinary delight comes in various food preparations from native vegetables. Photos by Abe V Rotor.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Vinegar - Nature's Secret of Good Health

Dr Abe V Rotor

Vin-egar, which means sour wine, is Nature's secret of good health.

Vinegar or acetic acid (CH3COOH) abounds in nature, as long as there's sugar(C6H12O6). Sugar is converted into ethanol, and ethanol to acetic acid.

Ilocos Vinegar (far right) and fruit wine and basi- products of the Ilocos Region 

Vinegar then is oxidized ethanol or ethyl alcohol (C2H5OH). The conversion process is both biological and chemical. In fact, fermentation of sugar to ethanol, goes hand in hand with ethanol conversion to acetic acid, with the latter prevailing at the end.

This formula is taking place in food, flowers, fruits, plant sap, insect exudate, honeycombs, raisins, etc. Nature eliminates sugar - simple and complex - ultimately through this process, and at the end converts them back to elements ready to be re-assembled in the next process and for the next user or generation. This process is taking place everywhere because the agents are ubiquitous such as the yeast (Saccharomyces) and the vinegar bacteria (Acetobacter). And there are dozens more working in union. This scenario is also taking place in the mouth and stomach, on the skin, and other parts of the body of organisms.

Vinegar is Nature's cleansing agent and disinfectant, eliminating stain, odor, fungi, bacteria, weeds, and repelling ants, and other vermin.

People who are fond of food prepared with vinegar are healthier and slimmer. It is because vinegar regulates formation of adipose tissues, and burns fat. Some people dampen their appetite by sprinkling a little natural vinegar on prepared food to take the edge off their appetite. Notice that after eating anything with vinegar, you lose interest in your meal. Vinegar triggers the appetite's shut off mechanism.

Feel good. A teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, with a bit of honey added for flavor, will take the edge off your appetite and give you an overall healthy feeling.

Well, here is a short list of home remedies using vinegar.
  • Soothe a sore throat. Put a teaspoon of natural vinegar in a glass of water. Gurgle.
  • Apply cold vinegar right away for fast relief of sunburn or other minor burns. It will help prevent burn blisters.
  • Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting. Douse with vinegar to soothe irritation and relieve itching.
  • Relieve sunburn. Lightly rub diluted natural vinegar on skin. Reapply as needed.
  • Conditions hair. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to your rinse to dissolve sticky residue left by shampoo.Italic
  • Relieve dry and itchy skin. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water.
  • Fight dandruff. After shampooing, rinse with a solution of ½ cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.
  • Treat sinus infections and chest colds. Add ¼ cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer.
  • Cure hangover. Combine two raw eggs, a tablespoon of vinegar and black pepper. Blend well.
Just a reminder. Use only natural vinegar - not glacial acetic acid. ~

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Indigenous Tools and Equipment

Dr Abe V Rotor

Sled or pasagad, bullock drawn

These are indigenous tools and equipment, many are now rare. The younger generation may not be familiar with many of these in the list. Others have simply evolved into new designs or tools which are difficult to trace as to their origin. There are regional variations and have adopted distinct cultural traits. In fact, there are universal inventions which cannot be calimed by a specific country or culture, such as the

1. Trowel (Barrusot Ilk)
2. Hand palay harvester (rakem)
3. Laying hen’s crib (baki)
4. Farmer’s backpack (kuribot)
5. Boat sled (takuli)
6. Bullock Sled (pasagad)
7. Bare bull cart (partigo)
8. Bull cart with sides (kariton)
9. Sledge hammer (maso)
10. Dike (pilapil) bolo (pangtabas)
11. Heavy duty bolo (badang)
12. Everyday bolo (buneng)
13. Dagger (balisong Tag; daga Ilk)
14. Iron nail remover (kabra)
15. Crowbar (bareta)
16. Log saw (sarrotso)
17. Ax (wasay Ilk)
18. Wide brimmed hat (payabyab)
19. Woven hat (kallugong)
20. Planting pole (tik-tak mechanism)
21. Fish basket (alat)
22. Chewing nut bag (tampipi)
23. Scythe (kumpay)
24. Fishing pole (banni-it)
25. Slingshot (palsi-it)
26. Toy hand cannon (palsu-ot)
27. Blowgun (salbatana)
28. Threshing rope with handle (hawak)
29. Threshing board
30. Woven mat (banig)
31. Coconut midrib broom (walis tingting)
32. Soft grass broom (walis tambo)
33. Coco shell cup (ungot)
34. Earthen water pot (calamba, caramba)
35. Earthen pot (for cooking) (palayok, banga)
36. Fish fence (tarit)
37. Fish trap (salakab)
38. Bottom fish trap (kudagdag)
39. Fish net with x-frame (salloy)
40. Throw net (tabukol)
41. Fixed fish trap (bubo)
42. Bird pole trap (taay)
43. Bird loop net (singgapong)
44. Spear (pika)
45. Dugout trap (palab-og)
46. Bow and arrow (pana)
47. Coconut grater (gadgaran)
48. Curve bolo for trimming levees (panabas)
49. Hammer or mallet (martilyo)
50. Lever to draw water from well (babatwagan)

NOTE: List has not been arranged according to use/s, not even alphabetically. This is to allow inclusion of more tools and equipment.

Monday, July 7, 2014

What to do with Old Tires

 Dr Abe V Rotor 

Yes, you can be a poet! Start writing verses.

Dr Abe V Rotor
What has this photo do with the verse, Creation?
Develop the verse into a poem. What is your
advocacy or message to your reader?


How wonderful is creation

when we realize in a minuscule
the universality of the simple
linked to the complex,
where every living thing is part
of life’s interrelating;
like a chain, its strength
shared by each link cooperating.

2. Old Man and Waterfall

He is old now and the cataract is but a spring,

He touches the spring. Where have all the waters gone?
Yes, he sighs with relief, his gaze takes him far away,
And there the last drops of his waterfall meet the sea;
And the sea roars in gladness, roars in a thousand cheers.

3. What makes a man?

What makes a man? Ask not someone who had gone to war,

Chores backbreaking he endured out of childhood sorrow,
Ever patient with the passing and coming of seasons;
Seasoned timber, mind steeled, only to time he yields,
To the young, to the ideal, to a beautiful world.

4. Wisdom comes with age

He who nods when old is wise and deep

Save he by the fireside asleep;
How can the sun reach the hadal depth,
Where the world is cold, where love is dearth?
Hasn’t someone a bit of sun long kept?
Come, come and save the hearth.

5. Freedom

Where the sky and the rivers flow

Under the rainbow by the sea.
Let me flow with thee;
A song I sing along with you
To where the world is free.

6. Learning outside school

Lessons you teach, they don’t find in school,

No words, nor chalk, no talking tall;
Patience, patience, who waits is not a fool,
For his fish whether big or small.
When the sun is up and down -
and up again another time.

7. Brotherhood

Now I know why there is a magic carpet that flies,

For I am witness to a basin with a child,
He made himself a boat, everything he supplied.
Then there are two, three boats, and more,
Filling the pond, the ocean, the world -
Happy children, who, remembering this tale,
Call each other brethren.

8. The man who slept for 20 years

Old Rip van Winkle I’m today,

And longer did I sleep than he;
For too long had I failed to pay
Respect to this land by the sea,
And the treaty of time and me.

9. Seed

Wake up sleeping one;

The soil is fertile, the rain has come,
The fields shall bloom To feed mankind.
Wake up, stir my life, All my intellect, my faith,
That they shall blossom for love as I serve mankind.

10. Ecology Prayer

When my days are done, let me lay down to sleep

on sweet breeze and earth in the shade of trees
I planted in youth and old; and if this were my last,
make, make others live that they carry on the torch,
while my dust falls to where new life begins –
even an atom let me be with you dear Moth. ~

Friday, July 4, 2014

12 Workshop Exercises for for Teachers in Humanities and Natural Science

12 Workshop Exercises for Teachers in Humanities and Natural Sciences
Dr Abe V Rotor
Exercise 1 - Iceberg!. Sizing Up Problems

Problems, wise people say, are like icebergs. You see only their tips. Problems are similar. We often underestimate them until we realize how deep they are. By that time it may be too late to find the solutions, and the consequence is grave. Remember the Titanic? Here is an exercise to test how good you are in sizing up problems. Draw a profile (cross-section) of the ocean and put in proper place an iceberg and a ship in which you imagine you are steering. You are the captain of this ship. You are on the path of the iceberg. Show your position in relation to the iceberg. While you are working on this exercise, the sound track of the Titanic or Rachmaninoff’s Theme from Paganini will be played. Like in the other exercises there will be five major criteria to be used, namely: size of the iceberg, size of the ship, distance and position of the ship and the iceberg, floating position and shape based on physical laws such as center of gravity, proportion of the iceberg visible above water. Sharing follows.

Exercise 2 - Exercise 8 - Venus de Milo
How do you make the figure look more beautiful?

This is a group exercise. An outline of this goddess of beauty is given to each group. The instruction is: Supply the missing arm. Each group confers and works collectively in two minutes. This exercise aims at creating awareness of limitation and humility. It reinforces leadership skills through reflection rather than immediate action. Communication and motivation are also enhanced. It reminds us that “beauty lies in secret.” The suggestive nature of a thing makes it more exiting. Venus de Milo is like poetry. Completing it is like writing an essay.

Which looks more beautiful? Venus with arms - the one you made? Or the original armless Venus?

NOTE: Efforts to restore the arms of of the armless goddess prove futtile even with the world’s renown sculptors brought together in an international forum. At the end they decided to leave Venus de Milo as she is.

Exercise 3 – Peace-of-Mind Square
(How “balance” are you today?)

POM - When you wake up in the morning look at yourself on the mirror and imagine the four sides of the mirror as a perfect square. Draw, to show each side represents the following: Mental or Intellectual, Psychological or Emotional, Physical and Spiritual.

You are not “square” if you are not relaxed. You do not have POM (Peace-of-Mind). Strive to keep that mirror of yourself a perfect square everyday. In this exercise, evaluate these four aspects and draw the lines representing it. Notice how distorted your square is. It is time to reflect. This takes five minutes with an appropriate music background like Meditation by Massenet and On Wings of Song by Mendelsohnn.

1. What is the role of each of the 4 factors to attain POM? Explain. How can you make your day - every day for that matter - square?

Exercise 4 –Get out of your box!
The Magic Box

The figure below is an imaginary box constructed with nine (9) dots. Now this is the instruction. With a pencil draw four (4) continuous lines without lifting the pencil and hit the nine dots without repeating or missing any one.

It takes several trials. And when you have finally found the secret you will realize that you really have to “get out of your box” to be able to do it. Learn to explore outside this box. Break out your shell of biases, pre-judgment. Move away from your zone of comfort or fear. Get out and seek the world outside your waterhole, outside your comfort zone. While doing this exercise the musical background is one with a happy note, such as The Lonely Goatherd or The Happy Farmer. It takes not longer than ten minutes for the whole exercise.

Note: In case you already know this exercise beforehand, you will certainly be helpful to the group as facilitator.

Exercise 5 – Multiple Intelligence - A Self-Evaluation
(The 8 Fields of Intelligence)

All of us are endowed with a wide range of intelligence which is divided into eight domains. It is not only IQ (intelligence quotient) or EI (emotional intelligence) or any single sweeping test that can determine our God-given faculties. Here in the exercise, we will explore these realms. With a piece of paper (1/4) score yourselves in each of these areas. Use Scale of 1 to 10, like the previous exercise

1. Interpersonal (human relations)
2. Intrapersonal (inner vision self-reflection and meditation)
3. Kinesthetics (athletics, sports, dance, gymnastics)
4. Languages or linguistics
5. Logic (dialectics, Mathematics)
6. Music (auditory art)
7. Spatial intelligence (drawing, and painting, sculpture, architecture, photography)
8. Naturalism (Green Thumb, Relationship with the Natural World)

What are your top three fields on intelligence? Can you see their relationships? Relate them with your strength. On the other hand, in what ways can you improve on the other realms?

Make full use of your strength. And remember there are early and late bloomers. Nothing is too late to be able to improve from one’s deficiencies.

Maybe you lack a good foundation in a certain domain. But why don’t you catch up? Do you recall late bloomers who succeeded in life? Fly, fly high and be happy like the birds. Just don’t be Icarus.
Reflect on the following:
1. Your strength and you weakness
2. Your “idols” and models
3. Resolution and affirmations

Exercise 6 - Relaxation (How tense are you?)

A Clear and Calm Morning – How relax are you today? This is an individual exercise. The drawing consists of a docked sailboat with its sail rolled. Trees line the water edge, promenades are relax, the air is still, the sun is just over a hill. At the foreground is water. Imagine yourself approaching the shore. At this point, stop and complete the view. This exercise determines how relax you are. How can you bring yourself to reflection? Did you leave your problems behind? Do you still have the papers on your desk crowding your mind? Do you find time to say thank you to some people. When was your last retreat?

Exercise 7 - Make your pet dog happy

Here is a drawing of a docile dog. Find out what are the things missing in the drawing that would possibly make the dog wiggle its tails, rise and greet you, show its affection?

You have ten minutes to complete the drawing. Now let us analyze. Exchange papers with your neighbor. The criteria are and let us rate your work in terms of providing the following: food, shelter, warmth, companionship, freedom. How did you fare? Relate the results of this exercise with your pets at home. Can you become a better master now? Remember, “A starving dog at his master’s gate predicts the ruin of the state.” (From Auguries of Innocence by William Blake)

How good are children as masters or friends to their pets? These are the things I gathered from their drawings.

Unchain the dog
Build a doghouse
Provide a shade – A tree beside the doghouse
Give a bone
Play with your dog, give a plaything
Groom – Regularly bathe and comb them.
Teach tricks and discipline
Vaccinate your dog

Who are these children mirrored by their drawings? And who will they be through the keyhole of their imagination? How we regard our pets is what we are and become.

“A starving dog at his master’s gate predicts the ruin of the state,” thus William Blake in “Auguries of Innocence” tells us. I, for one, would gladly meet with confidence and ease the master of a contented and happy dog.

The art workshop for children in which I used the dog as an exercise to demonstrate love for animals may be a simple way of changing attitudes and developing values. Children are known to be very effective in carrying out the multiplier effect of a lesson and we hope that they will carry this as they grow.

“Make these dogs happy,” could mean a thousand dogs in the future, and a thousand enlightened children who follow the footsteps of those who unchained the dog, built a doghouse, gave a bone, etc - and, altogether will make our world a kinder one. ~

Exercise 8 – Road of Life

Draw a road which leads you to your ambitions and dreams. Since you are “the master of your fate”, plot it well. Think and reflect. Where will your road leads to? How far? Imagine the chapters of your life and show it on your road. Look at both sides of the road. Where are you right now? At the prime of your life where will you be? How about in your golden years? Analysis and sharing follows. Criteria include length of road, its continuity, curves and topography, things around, people, living things, sky, landscape, where one places himself on the road, definite and clear pattern of road and environs.

Exercise 9 - Quo vadis Syndrome
(Where are you going?)

At this point I will give you an exercise, workshop style, to really find out where you are going. Imagine yourself as a sailboat in the sea. This will take five minutes. On a one-fourth piece of bond or pad paper draw yourself as a sailboat faced with the realities of life. Express yourself in relation to what you think and feel, your plans and dreams, with your surroundings and environment. Show your values such as self-confidence, courage, direction and purpose, etc. Use your vivid imagination.

The next five minutes will be devoted to the evaluation of your drawing. Exchange papers and score according to these criteria. Use Scale of 1 to 10 (1 is very poor, 5 fair, 10 excellent).

1. Size of the Sailboat - “I saw myself very small, I can get swallowed up by the sea. I don’t stand a chance in a storm.” (testimony of a teacher) Note: You can be a Gulliver

2. Size of sail over boat - “I’ve grown too heavy, too big. Material things… comfort zone… That’s it - my sail is small I can’t move fast. I’ve been left behind” (From a businessman)

3. Other boats - “I am afraid to be alone. I need someone to talk to, to play with. I am not a Robinson Crusoe. But I love competition. A weekend is boring if I miss my team.” (Jimmy, basketball player)

4. People - Siyempre naman, boat yata ako. What are boats for? I carry people, as many as I can.”(Ka Tacio, barangay leader)

5. Destination - “I’ve been a drifter all along. I did not even know what course to take. I felt lost all the time until I shifted to law. I ended up a businessman.” (Alias Atorni)

6. Creatures all - “What a beautiful world – colorful coral reefs, seaweeds, crabs, starfish, coral fish. I can spend a whole day here, painting, diving or just to while away time like the birds in the sky, and dolphins riding the wave. Who says it’s lonely out here? Look there’s a sea gull perched on my sail.”

7. Sky, sea alive - “Beware of doldrums, they are a prelude to disaster. The eye of a storm is calm. So with life. Catch the wind, ride on the wave, if you want to reach your destination.” (Quoted from a homily at UP Chapel, Diliman, QC)

8. Artistry - “Spontaneous art exudes natural beauty. It is art in the fundamental sense. And what is the impact of the drawing?

Add the scores of all the eight criteria. Now add twenty (20) points, to make a perfect score of 100. The bonus represents providence or luck or reward.

Return the papers to the owners. Analyze your strength and inadequacies. Continue working on your paper.. Recommended background music, Hating Gabi by Antonio Molina. Make your work your masterpiece and treasure it as a daily reminder to ponder upon.
Exercise 3 - Secret of Success
What made your “idol” successful?

This is a class exercise. Each member of the class thinks of his “hero” or his model, a person whom he reveres and admires so much (hinahangaan). Without revealing to anyone who he is (he must be a real person, dead or living, local or foreign), he proceeds in examining his qualities. After 3 to 5 minutes, he describes his “idol” using keywords.

The teacher writes down on the board the keywords. Everyone is called to share until the board is sufficiently filled up. Now the teacher makes three columns with the following headings: attitude, learned (in school), inherited (minana) and fate (tadhana). Classify the qualities enumerated under each column. Which column has the most entries? The least? Can you offer any explanation to this observation? Compute the percentage of each category.

Attitude/Learned (school) / Inherited (minana)/Fate (tadhana

Think of yourself now. Relate the qualities of your “idol” with yours. Are you following his footsteps? What is the greatest lesson you learned in this exercise?

Exercise 10 - Let’s build a House

On a piece of paper (preferably one half bond paper, draw a house. Imagine it to be your own – your dream house you wish to live in, and to raise a family.

Concentrate as you draw. Observe silence. Do not compare your work with your seatmates. You have five minutes to do it.

Now let us see how good your house is. Put a check for every item that appears in your drawing.

1. Your house has complete parts: posts, roof, floor, walls, windows, stairs, door, etc.

2. Your house is strong, solid and durable, proportional in parts and design to withstand the elements of nature and time.

3. Your house is surrounded by trees, flowering plants and vegetables. Its front and backyard make a beautiful garden.

4. There are people – preferably a family – to give semblance of a home – a happy home.

5. There are other creatures around, like birds, butterflies dogs and other pets.

6. There are Facilities and appliances like TV, car, decors, curtain, playground,
decorative fence, grills and gate, garden pond, etc.

7. Your drawing has a good artistic quality of the drawing, including architecture of the
house and its surroundings.

8. Your house is a part of the landscape, that is in relation of the sky, fields and meadow, mountain, river and lake.

9. The drawing paper is fully utilized with no space wasted, of course in relation to the theme.

10. There are neighbors around.

Score: Each check is equivalent to 10 points or percent. How did you fare?

Exercise 11 - Make this tree live again
Relationships (Family and the World)
Using colors (pastel or crayola) and drawing paper, each participant puts life in a dying tree, bringing it back to its prime years. He may imagine himself to be the tree in a manner of reflection, seeing himself at the end, to be enjoying the fullness of life. While the exercise is being done, the resource person will personally play “Violin and Nature” as background music. This consists of violin compositions accompanied by the sounds of birds, waterfalls, wind and running stream. This is a ten-minute exercise, the first half is drawing, and the second is analysis and evaluation. Values derived come from Maslow’s Needs Hierarchy Theory (physiological, safety, love, esteem, self-actualization), and Herzberg’s Theory of Motivation, particularly on sense of achievement and fulfillment), and Concept of Integration-Cooperation. T

There are ten criteria to evaluate the exercise in an “exchange papers, corrected by” style. This also serves to enhance sharing and good judgement. The drawing must show the following: sun, water, resurrected tree, other trees, landscape, people, other creatures, naturalness of style, artistic quality, full use of space.

Exercise 12 – Make a figure out of clothes hanger

This is a group exercise, preferably from 5 to 10 per group. Group competition is encouraged here and each word will be compared. Since this is under time pressure, there is not much time to plan and work on details. But this is the key to demonstrate group cooperation, spontaneity, resourcefulness, alertness, practicality and artistic ability. The facilitator may limit the source of materials coming from the personal effects of the participants and nothing more. Or, as the situation warrants as for example the venue is in the field, local materials found in the vicinity can be used. A good figure is a scarecrow in this particular case. Take precaution in handling the wire.