Author with a friendly primate. Orang-utan means man in the forest. Acknowledgment: Avilon Zoo, Rizal
Man of the forest, orangutan, left by evolution of man, which branch you followed but the lower rung; or left by chance in a billion from a satellite in the sky, that made a master that can think, walk and fly.
No ecosystem in the world is more vast, open and free than the coral reef.
Paintings by Abe V Rotor
Don a snorkel and a new world unfolds - the coral reef. It is a forest under the sea, the counterpart of the forest we know on land. There are also equivalent trees like the giant Sargassum that grows several feet long; shrubs like the branching Gracillaria; cacti like the broad Padina; annuals like spongy Codium. Together with sea grasses, these seaweeds form multi-storey greenery at varying depths the same way forests have the features of mountains, hills, caverns and cliffs. The animals that live here are more varied and colorful than those on land, mimicking the prism of sunlight in water with all the splendor of the rainbow. There are fishes that are distinctly bright colored, and at night exude phosphorescence like neon lights. They borrow the shape of their surroundings, the corals and seaweeds, for both protection and aggression - all these are adaptations for survival. On the coral reef food chains have more links, so to speak, and food webs more intricate, as both residents and transient organisms interact. No ecosystem in the world is more vast, open and free than the coral reef. It is also the most lavish. Even beauty itself. Living things and all their ornaments are irresistible to be awed and respected, holding an enigma that expands our imagination to fantasy that lures us to the sea and to love to fish and comb the reefs all day. To write poetry - and to paint. x x x
Remember those things you thought were "unfinished" could be your greatest treasures, and who knows - people some day will remember you because of them. Dr Abe V Rotor
Photos by Anna Christina R Rotor And Leo Carlo R Rotor Living with Nature - School on Blog
Lesson: Don't discard your unfinished work, say a painting, novel, sculpture. Try to get back to it. It could be your masterpiece. Maybe you were not able to complete it because you gave way to the priorities of living, or finding new interests, challenges, assignments, or simply you lost steam, so to speak. Or you say you've grown too old to complete it.
Take the case of the mysterious unfinished human figures at the University of the Philippines at Diliman, QC. Do they mean anything but abandonment? To me it's not. So with my daughter Anna and son Leo Carlo who took these photographs.
These unfinished life size human figures occupy the “less trodden” front yard of the UP College of Fine Arts in Diliman, QC. The artists may have in mind the portrayal of man more as a Homo faber - man the worker or maker rather than his attribute as the reasoning man (Homo sapiens) - and much less the playing man - Homo ludens. Here the figures appear to be workers of the land. In fact one resembles the Man with a Hoe by Markham. Another appears to be carrying an imaginary heavy load.
What is puzzling however, is the representation of peaceful death. While the living struggle, the dead lies in true rest, cradled by the earth. Which then changes the scenario if all the figures were to be directed to a solemn and sorrowful occasion of burying a departed member in thin ceremonious atmosphere. It now expresses the highest attribute of man - Homo spiritus - the praying man who places completely his fate to a Higher Being. The viewer now turns his thoughts to grief and compassion, and the scene is no longer the farm but a sacred ground. The imagined heavy load is a burden of the heart, the figures are bent not by the burden of work but by the loss of a loved one.
Art is like that. It is like poetry, the meaning is hidden "between the lines." Like impressions in Impressionism; points in Pointillism. Or masked symbols in Pablo Picasso's plaza mural - Guernica. Unfinished works of masters often become their masterpieces like the Unfinished Symphony of Beethoven, and Mozart's Requiem, his last composition commissioned by a mysterious person. Mozart died before finishing it, and Requiem became his own. Auguste Renoir repeatedly painted his favorite Nymphaea Waterlilies until darkness took over his failing sight - so with the painting's clarity. Though half finished it is Renoir's final signature.
Venus de Milo is more beautiful with her arms missing. And for this, the best artists in the world gave up their attempt to supply her arms.
The mystery of the human figures of UP Diliman emanates from the anonymity of their theme that stands at the crossroad of human imagination searching for the meaning of life, exacerbated by their unfinished, and apparent abandoned state.
So what have you discovered about yourself by going back to those unfinished works? Share with us your experience. Remember those things you abandoned could be your greatest treasures, and who knows - people some day will remember you because of them. ~
Peace, like happiness, is a by-product. It is the end result of our common endeavor to put things in their proper order. Fr Rolando de la Rosa, OP
UST Main building (top); Arch of the Centuries and Fountain of Knowledge
Serendipity means accidentally
discovering something valuable while looking entirely for something else.
"We are gathered here looking
for a way to make peace in a turbulent world. I hope that/we shall learn not
only techniques and strategies on how to make peace. I hope we shall discover
that peace is not something we make: as in make love, make money, or make
believe. A holy man named Augustine once wrote: Peace is the tranquility of
order. Tranquilitas ordinis.
like happiness, is a by-product. It is the end result of our common endeavor to
put things in their proper order. We shall never experience peace if there is
dis-order in our personal lives, in society, in our churches.
contemporary apostle of UNITY among peoples, Chiara Lubich once gave us this
insight into our contemporary situation: 'What hurts me is mine.' I take those
words to mean that peace begins when we realize that all the pain and suffering
we endure are of our own making. It is by owning this pain that we develop a
sense of belonging to a human family broken by sin and its consequences, and
which enable us to dialogue with others in humility and reverence."
from the welcome address of Rev Fr Rolando V de la Rosa, OP, rector of the
University of Santo Tomas, before the delegates to the 7th General Assembly Asian
Conference of Religions for Peace (ARCP) Peacemaking
in Asia, October 17 to 21, 2008.
You bring the autumn where there is none; only monsoon have we, wet and dry; you lose your crown before the rains come; and at harvest time, you weep and cry. Your ancestors left home eons ago as the continents drifted apart; divided by the cold and warm sea surviving them here in this part. You carry their genes of four seasons, deciduous without winter snow; emerging with new crown in summer, and amihan* is your greatest show.~
*Season of cool winds, Siberian High, October to December
Burning of St Paul building WWII, mural by AVRotor
Seven Sisters, sculpture by Julie Lluch, detail
Life size icons at Museum's entrance greet visitor.
Porcupine, endangered indigenous animal
Rare starfish. Spines make a fine wind chime.
Isn’t a museum something concerned with antiques and the things of the past?” A colleague once asked me. “No, no.” I sounded defensive. Then I began scanning his thoughts. There I saw the image of past civilization and institutions. No wonder he was telling of the Egyptian museum, the Aztecs in the Mexican Museum, the American Indians in the Smithsonian, the Renaissance Gallery, and the dinosaurs in the Chinese Museum in Beijing. All these have long lost their glory and now they are remembered in glass cases and fossils. Then my thoughts turned to SPCQ. Why a museum on its 50th anniversary? My friend flashed a devilish smile. He played the devil’s advocate; I played the student’s role. He raised the mercury, so with my enthusiasm. I did my assignment. There are museums like the giant Smithsonian Complex and the provincial Manitoba museum in Winnipeg that do not only focus on the past. The space museum projects man’s lofty dreams to conquer space. Hirshorn is a gallery that is both subjective and prospective, veering from the traditional and classic. The Tel-Aviv museum features a documentary of the Iran-Iraq war. The trend of museums today is to link the past and the present, and beat the path for the future. In no other time in history have museums tried to project the fullest breadth of human accomplishments and potentials. They exude a touch of reverence to the Creator, reflecting his faith in the institutions which he built in spite of their imperfections, and man’s glory and admittance of failure – all these point out to one thing: that he is the most special creature that ever lived. I remember Dr. Dillon Ripley’s words. “ if it is truly active and reflective of its own time, a museum will, like any living thing, change and grow.” Dynamism lies in keeping abreast with the times - our fast changing modern times, when man in the last two centuries alone, has discovered more things than what all his ancestors probably did. Humble Beginning of a Museum In the mind of Dr. Ripley, of course, is one of the magnitude and prestige of the Smithsonian in which he had long been the curator and director. Or those of the internationally known institutions like the Chicago Museum of Natural History, or the Vatican Museum. Then there is Rikj Museum of Holland and the great Louvers of France. Name a country and you will see the finest of her culture in the native land’s museums. But the entire thing has had its early beginning - most probably like how the SPCQ museum got started. The question is that, “How can a newly born show its worth?” But who does not love a baby? The baby itself is love. He holds the key of idealism in this world of ours. The great promise of God in man is mirrored in his smile and innocence. And he has all the potential that this world would be better to live in with him, as he grows, as he lightens the flame of idealism which in many of us adults had long been extinguished. The SPCQ museum is a baby that rekindles our heart, that tells us that this world will go on despite its imperfection – because we know how to start life again, though the rebirth of faith and hope. Note: Excerpt from an interview with the author during the inauguration of the SPCQ Museum in 1994
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 (www.pbs.gov.ph)
Modern campus of St. Paul University QC
One Monday I visited Saint Paul with inquiries I seldom asked before;
Fifteen years I served him, a teacher of his school, keeper of a museum;
Time has changed the world, global is its effect - would St Paul tell me
More of the ways of the world to give life a meaning? So did I assume.
"Tell me where Damascus Road is where you heard God speak;
Tell me how you crossed the Mediterranean in a storm and survive;
Tell me how you carried the Word among unbelievers and Pharisees;
Tell me how you faced death yet kept alive your faith and noble pride.
"Tell me where have the Gentiles you converted and followers gone;
Tell me how you wrote the scriptures that gave the bible a wider view;
Tell me how man can become a saint and a saint to become man;
Tell me how to reach heaven without striving to be a martyr like you."
The sun rose high, sending reflection of gray clouds on giant glass panes;
The pavement is bare, the marble floor a mirage, yet empty as the sea;
High rise the buildings are - towers and spires, proud symbols of power;
In the deep silence, I heard the same words, "Why do you persecute me." ~
Saul on Damascus Road (8ft x 8ft,) painted by the author, the first of six murals that graced the former St Paul museum for 15 years (1995 to 2010).
*Dedicated to St. Paul on his Conversion, celebrated on January 25, 2014. Author is a native of San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, now part of Metro Vigan whose patron saint is St Paul the Apostle. The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, was, according to the New Testament, an event that took place in the life of Paul the Apostle which led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to become a follower of Jesus. It is normally dated by researchers to AD 33–36, which means that the event took place after the crucifixion of Christ. Paul was not among the original twelve apostles, yet he carried on Christ mission no other apostle or disciple had ever done as much. For which Paul earned this title as "apostle" of Christ, even if they never met in real life. The phrases Pauline conversion, Damascene conversion and Damascus Christophany, and road to Damascus allude to this event.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ “When we do not give or receive love in a balanced, harmonious, natural way, deficiencies occur in out innermost being. These deficiencies reveal themselves through many symptoms – depression, loneliness, destructive relationships, weight problems, bitterness, inferiority feelings, workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, a critical spirit, violence, sexual abnormalities, and many other forms. I believe we must treat the person on the other end of the symptoms.”
- Dr. Bernard Jensen, Love, Sex and Nutrition
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Here is a practical guide in attaining a happy love life. 1. Avoid stress and fatigue, and avoid smoking, alcohol, drugs, and food additives, as these accumulate toxic wastes in the body thus interfering with the body physiology. Avoid exposure to pollutants and chemicals. Poor diet, lack of exercise and nervousness, also interfere with the proper functioning of our brain which diminish sexual vitality. Condition your mind before love making by affirming happy, loving, and caring thoughts. Maintain trust and confidence with your partner. Be calm, patient and kind. Remember that the body responds with what the mind dictates. 2. It is a fact that married people live longer and happier than single or divorced people. Single and divorced people are hospitalized more often, their death rate is twice, and they are more prone to nervous breakdown. Sex stimulates and rejuvenates our glands, particularly the hypothalamus of the brain which is the sex center. Active sex life helps prevent diseases and illnesses, by enhancing natural immunity. Since every part of our body is exercised during lovemaking- from the heart to the nerve endings. Sex is perhaps the best test of vitality and health. 3. There are people who are highly sexual, while others have very little interest in sex. This is human nature and there is no “norm” in this regard. However, good sexual attitudes can be developed. For example, proper advice can help a person overcome an experience that may be the cause of lack of interest in sex. Improvement in health leads to a more positive sex attitude. Recognize that lovemaking is teamwork, that the satisfaction of one can lead to satisfaction of the other. Age is another factor to sexuality. Although younger people are generally more aggressive, there are people in their middle or late age who can maintain the same level of sexual activity. Others become more aggressive in their middle age. 4. Keep your body healthy and attractive. This is the key to natural sexuality. Grooming cultivates natural beauty, irrespective of the color of the skin, shape of nose or eyes, height and built, etc. good health gives the gait in your movement, twinkle in your eyes, shine and flow in your hair, firmness of your muscles. It contributes to good posture. It makes your skin glow and lovable to be touched. It helps develop your personality to become likable and attractive. Magnetic personality, napapalingon, nakakapansin, pogi, sexy, are all related to body beautiful. Remember that natural beauty is a holistic expression, not only external attributes, but of qualities that emanate from within. It is an expression of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, plus good character and fine culture. 5. Freedom and responsibility are inseparable in the defining sex. This is a simple guideline that governs human sexual behavior. CONSENTING ADULTS, IN PRIVACY, WITHOUT COERCION OR HARM TO ANYONE, CAN ENGAGE IN ANY KIND OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR THEY DESIRE. 6. Be aware of the other attendant responsibilities in sex, such as the subject of pregnancy of sexually transmitted diseases. Sex education gives emphasis to responsibility in sex and marriage, particularly among young people. 7.A natural clock governs every person in his system. This is often referred to as biological rhythm. Although there is a general plan on how this internal clocks works, no two persons are tuned in to the same pattern - not even husband and wife. Try to live by your own biorhythms and learn to adjust with those of our partner. Recognize your moods and energies that change with the time of the day and night, with months and seasons. Lovemaking is mutually fulfilling when both partners have synchronized biorhythms. Generally human body is dynamic that it can reset itself daily and adapt to the changes in the environment. 8.Sex can become monotonous especially with modern life. Many people find little time to express tender love with sex. They employ a number of ways to vary their sexual expression as not merely satisfying a desire, feeling relieved and exhausted afterward - or just for the sake of giving in to their partner. Many more miss the spiritual element of lovemaking, whereby the act is a means to sustain a passionate emotion from which follow exhilaration, and a great feeling of satisfaction. Mantra yoga and Karezza are two Oriental lovemaking techniques that help transform an ordinary sex- oriented relationship into a loving, tender and harmonious one, enhancing a love-oriented relationship that bring together body, mind and spirit. 9.Food, Rest, Exercise and sunlight = Health (FRESH). This formula is easy to remember. Watch out for the food that you take. Eat health foods, and avoid those in the list of Don’t Eat which your family doctor gave you. A vegetarian is healthier and lives longer. Remember there is no substitute to adequate sleep. Maintain a healthy sleeping habit. Take a rest between heavy schedules, and avoid buildup of tension. Relax. Exercise regularly within your natural capacity. Do not over exercise. You need sunlight, more so if your are an office worker. Sunlight perks you up, breaks monotony, and takes out the blues in your life. It makes us closer to nature, and takes us to outdoor adventure. All these make a happy love life with your partner. 10.Be aware that of all creatures on earth only humans are endowed with sexual freedom which can be summarized as follows: 1. Sexual expression is not restricted to estrus periods or seasons of the year. 2. Humans have the ability to match their sexual desires with their moods and feelings. Hormones influence, but not dictate, sex life. 3. Humans can choose various sexual positions, instead of being restricted to one as in the case of animals. 4. Meaningful spiritual love and emotional feelings multiply the ecstasy of physical pleasure. 11.Learn to read and understand the sexual cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle dictates her sexual moods. They feel sexiest at the midpoint of their menstrual cycle. There are people who are sexier in the morning than at night. There are also those who feel sexier in summer than during cool months, or vice versa. There are also times when men become sexier and this is indicated by rapid growth of their beard. Studies show that the most active time for sexual activity is in the evening, but lovemaking at this time is poor since the androgens (love hormones) are low. (They are highest between 8 to 12 a.m., and lowest at 6p.m.) Evening is convenient to most working people. If this is not enough, make up for it during weekends. 12.Reduce meal size as the day progresses and avoid high calorie snacks in the evening. But do not skip breakfast or lunch. Carbohydrates help calm and focus the mind. Protein food boosts mental energy, but avoid fatty foods when you want to be mentally alert. When planning out an active evening, like going to a concert, holding a party, or having a date, reduce your dinner, with protein food preferred over fatty and carbohydrates food. Coffee makes you awake, and drinking may delay your regular bedtime or makes you fall asleep. If you want to wake up refreshed and alert do not take alcohol in the evening before. 13.An enduring and fulfilling love life is one that shared together by husband and wife. Here are the basic elements essential to a lifelong relationship: trust and confidence, empathy (feeling with the older person), marriage (sex outside marriage cannot remain meaningful and does not usually last). Then there are seven virtues of married life, which a couple must mutually uphold at all times. The seven virtues of married life • tenderness • courtesy • sociability • understanding • fairness • loyalty • honesty 14.One must free his or her mind from fallacies and myths about sex. One thousand-and-one myths • A woman never forgets her first lover. • Big lips and abundant pubic hair indicates sensuality. • A woman’s interest in sex is more emotional than physical. • All women grow to look like their mothers. • Beautiful women are too narcissistic to enjoy sex. • Baldness indicates sensuality. • The size of fingers indicates the size of the sex organ. • Colored people perform better in bed than white people. • Small breast indicates less sex desire. • Religious people do not permit cunnilingus. . Drugs increase intensity of physical desire and fulfillment. These and a thousand-and-one myth can effect, and even destroy love life. This is where sex education and counseling comes in. The foundation of a full and sustained sex life is made up of proper diet, avoidance of toxic materials and vices, a regular physical exercise regime, positive attitude, adherence to morals and culture norms. Love and sex is a celebration on top of a pyramid built on this foundation. NOTE: Among the comments and suggestions I received from readers of my books, and audience on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, is include the topic of love and sex. In response to the request, I wrote this brief and direct guide about the subject. I used as main reference, Philippine Herbs to Increase Sexual Vitality, which Dr. Delia de Castro-Ontengco, Dr. Romualdo del Rosario and I wrote in 2000, with an encouraging message written by Senator Juan M. Flavier. ~