Sunday, December 28, 2014


Saturday, December 27, 2014

New Year's Resolution, 2015: Be Happy

Overcome Anxiety, Phobia and Depression
Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Exercise on Anxiety, Phoba and Depression

We posted the answers for you to examine each item why it is true or false. This is a reverse test which is an alternative method of learning.


Overcoming fear of children with caring
attitude of parents. Tagaytay Zoo, 2007

1. All of us are invariably victims of anxiety. Our aging parents, retirement benefits, sex life, health – name it, real or imaginary – and you have it, irrespective of sex, age, domicile, profession, work, race, creed, etc. (T)

2. There is something mysterious about anxiety, its dualism. It is a normal response to physical danger so that it can be a useful tool for focusing the mind where there’s a deadline looming. But anxiety can become a problem when it persists to long beyond the immediate threat, which leads to depression. (T)

3. While we worry for certain things and situations, other people simply don’t - they simply don’t care. (T)

4. People who are mediocre – more so if they did not reach higher education – are more subject to anxiety than intelligent and highly learned people. (F)

5. Uneasiness, lightheadedness, clumsiness are the first signs of anxiety. (T)

6. Nausea, panic, fears of losing control or dying are advanced signs and symptoms of anxiety. (T)

7. Sweaty and cold palms and feet may be due to nervousness which is a natural reaction. (T)

8. Dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain are some psychosomatic symptoms. (T)

9. Many of the things we worry about are baseless, if not nonsense. (T)

10. Animals appear to feel anxiety – an instinctive response necessary for survival. (T)

11. Rats and chicken freeze in place momentarily when subjected to sudden fear stimulus. The opossum feigns dead which is actually an involuntary fear response. (T)

12. Anxiety helped in human evolution. Records of anxiety show how humans shared the planet with saber-toothed tigers. Without it few of us would have survive, if at all. (T)

13. Mass anxiety humans suffered during the two world wars was revived by terrorism which attacked the Twin Towers of New York. (T)

14. Anxiety disorder affects 19 million Americans, 25% not having any medical treatment. It is steadily rising in all countries where Western influence is getting stronger.
(T)

15. Mental illnesses account for 5 of the 10 leading causes of disability in Asia (T)

16. In Cambodia an estimated 75% of adults who lived through the Kmer Rouge era suffer from extreme stress or post traumatic stress disorder. (T)

17. Highest rate of suicide: Sri Lanka per 100,000 – 55; followed bt Japan (25.2; S Korea – 19.1; China 17-20; Singapore, India, Thailand, Australia, US and Britain (T)

18. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that severely alters the way a person actually thinks and behaves 9hallucinations, delusions, confusion, withdrawal, agitation, emotional numbness – about 100 percent of patient can expect a full and lasting recovery (F 50% only)

19. According to Sigmund Freud, One is more biological in nature and the other is more dependent on psychological factors. (T)

20. Fear – any external stimulus from threatening words to a gunshot, that the brain interprets as dangerous. (F Stress)

21. Stress – The short-term physiological response produced by both the brain and the body in response to stress.(F Fear)

22. Depression – A sense of apprehension that shares many of the same symptoms as fear but builds more slowly and lingers longer.(F Anxiety)

23. Anxiety – Prolonged sadness that results in a blunting of emotions and sense of futility; often more serious when accompanied by an anxiety disorder. (F Depression)

24. Panic disorder – This is recurrent, unexpected attacks of acute anxiety, peaking within 10 minutes. One finds himself in a situation such as in a crowded elevator. If extreme anxiety symptoms appear, the person may be suffering of anxiety disorder that needs medical consultation, even if this is occasionally experienced. (T)

25. Specific Phobia – This is characterized by consuming fear of a specific object or situation, often accompanied by mild to extreme anxiety symptoms. It may just be plain hate, or fear, say heights. Behavioral therapy – gradual introduction of the cause, until enough courage is built; and cognitive therapy – re-orientation of perception or behavior, may be needed independently or jointly. (T)

26. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - a preoccupation with specific thoughts, images or impulses, accompanied by elaborate and sometimes bizarre rituals. Even if they are irrational thoughts, repetitive ritual (e.g. hand washing, prayer), time consuming – researchers are certain whether of not OCD is genuine anxiety. Whatever it is, it does respond to treatment.(F) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

27. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – repeated, anxious reliving of a horrifying event over an extended period of time. It is not anxiety if the experience fades away steadily, but if it may persist, and sometimes PTSD will not appear until six months after the event. This is caused by recurrent recollection or dream of the event, feeling the even to be still occurring, experience reminding you of the event, and difficulty in avoiding thought associated with it. (F) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

28. Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Excessive anxiety or worry for days or months, but does not affect quality of life. Characterized by restlessness, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, irritability, fatigue, muscle tension. Have three or more of these symptoms confirm a person is suffering of GAD. (T)

29. Anxiety is inherited, thus children suffering of anxiety are most likely candidates of depression. Some people seem to be born worriers. Some anxiety disorders are known to run in the family. If the genes involved are reinforced by environment, the expression become more distinct. (T Nature-nurture)

30. Identical twins are more likely show stronger tendency to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, even one with low genetic vulnerability could develop a fear of something that may even be greater than one with high genetic vulnerability. (T)

31. Many kids outgrow their anxiety disorder to become well-adjusted adults. Anxiety and depression have similar underlying biology. Anxiety may surface early in life and depression later. But researchers are divided in this observation. (T or F)

32. Anatomy of anxiety as explained to the ordinary citizen goes like this - The senses pick up a threat – a scary sight, a loud noise, a creepy feeling – the information takes two different routes through the brain – but it takes the shortcut – the brains automatically engages an emergency hot line to the fear center – the amygdala (T)

33. FFF (Fight, Flight, Fright) - Adrenaline shoots into the muscles preparing the body to do the appropriate action. (T)

34. Digestion Shutdown – Brains stops thinking about things that bring pleasure, conserve energy otherwise wasted on digestion, hence vomiting, defecation, urination may occur. (T)

35. Cognitive therapy – Best for phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Panic disorder is to expose patients to a tiny bit of the very thing that causes them anxiety. (F Behavioral therapy)

36. Behavioral therapy– rethinking, behavior modification through proper advice. (F Cognitive therapy)
37. Minor tranquilizers – Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft are best known among the antidepressant drugs The newest group is norepinephrine which control emotion and stabilize mood, thus there is no need of doctors’ prescription. (F these are antidepressant drugs)

38. In Western countries, it is the woman who normally initiate divorce; in Asia it is
the man (F)

39. Lifestyle Changes which include cut back or eliminate the use of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and recreational drugs, are helpful in overcoming anxiety. (T)

40. The most practical therapy is exercise – talk therapy, simple exercise (at least 30 minutes), brisk walk Exercise releases natural opiates called endorphins, (T)

Reference: The Science of Anxiety Time 39 to 47 pp July 8, 2002; Lost Lives Time November 10, 2003; What Scares you? Phobias Time April 2, 2001

The Two Faces of Civilization

Dr Abe V Rotor
Lost civilization: Macho Picchio of Peru was spared by its remoteness from the Spanish conquistadors who plundered the Mayans, Incas and Aztecs.  
Ruins of an ancient city in Syria, now endangered by the present civil war in that country.
Human pyramid, a quest for the the highest living pillar in sports competitions all over the world.  
Tsunami triggered by a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan one year ago today.  The disaster caused countless lives and billions worth of properties lost.  It caused nuclear meltdown of one of the reactors in Fukushima spreading radiation over a large area. 

Country life on the Cordillera mountain range, part though remote, from the famous Rice Terraces of Banaue, one of the wonders of the world, and UNESCO heritage site. 

“The ultimate test of any civilization
Is not in its inventions and deeds;
But the endurance of Mother Nature
In keeping up with man’s endless needs.”
   
                                          - AVR, Light in the Woods.

But what is civilization? Can’t civilization hear and heed the groaning of Creation?
  • It is civilization that wiped out the American Indians from the Great Plains.
  • It is civilization that plundered the Aztecs and Mayas Empires.
  • It is civilization that spurred the powerful West to "discover" and colonize the East.
  • It was civilization that resulted in the death of millions and the genocide of 6 million Jews during the second world war.
  • It was civilization that built the atomic bomb – and dropped it in two cities of an "enemy."
  • It is civilization that made a clone animal, Dolly the Sheep, and inevitably man.
  • It is civilization that threatens the whale and the Philippine Eagle, and resulted to the extinctions of many species.
  • It is civilization that is causing global warming and its untold consequences destroying lives and properties.
  • It is civilization that is causing today’s fuel crisis and food shortage, drastic inflation and loss of currency value, the recession of America and consequently the world, ad infinitum.
But it is also civilization that brought us and our society to the highest level of consciousness no known species can parallel. It is civilization that makes the Earth a beautiful place to live in.
  • It is civilization that created our great institutions that bind us into a society.
  • It is civilization that made the greatest masterpieces in thought and in the arts.
  • It is civilization that instills in us pride and dignity in our continuing accomplishments.
  • It is civilization that prods us to explore the ocean and space, and knowledge itself.
  • It is civilization that treasures knowledge in libraries, archives and multimedia, all ever expanding and mysteriously revealing.
It is civilization that makes nations great - big and small - equally proud of their culture, and contribution to the world.

It is civilization that brings us all towards universal brotherhood and globalization, shrinking the world into a friendly village.

It is civilization that makes heroes and martyrs that always prevail at the end in keeping peace and order here in our only home, The Planet Earth.~

Photo Credit: Internet 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Phosphorescent caterpillars

Dr Abe V Rotor

Caterpillars eating the leaves of ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata), at home near La Mesa watershed. 

They came - an army of hungry glowing worms,
on a sunset on a tall ilang-ilang tree;
there they hang like lanterns or neon far away,
and in crepuscular light there I could see 
a familiar tree traced by its essence in the air,
and now by the phosphorescence from this tree -
Christmas ahead and beyond yet here at hand,
by the glow of these worms reminds of Thee;
through nature's ways to guard the frail and lowly
through the secret of ephemeral beauty. ~   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas Stories, Events, Jokes & Quotes

Christmas Stories, Events, Jokes & Quotes
Selected and compiled by 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


 The small girl had spent the morning watching her mother do her Christmas shopping.  Finally, she found herself in a big chair beside the department-store Santa Claus, tell him her wishes.  "... and a big doll and a doll buggy and a doll house ..."  she finished the long list.  Then sliding from the chair and walking away, she suddenly turned back a pace, and called, "And charge it, Santa Claus!"
x x x x
CONDUCTOR: "You know darn well the distance between Chicago and Cleveland is the same as from Cleveland to Chicago. Any damn foo knows that."

PASSENGER: "I dunno; it is just a week from Christmas to New Year, but is it a week from New Year the Christmas?" 
x x x x 
A youngster walked into a bank the other day to open an account with $1000.  The bank's vice president gave him a benign smile and asked how he had accumulated so much money.

"Selling Christmas card," said the lad.

"Well, you've done very well.  Sold them to lots of people, obviously."

"Nope," answered the little boy proudly.  "I sold all of them to one large family - their dog bit me."
x x x x
A mother took her five year old son to a mall to say, "Hello" to Santa Claus, who in turn, asked. "What would you like for Christmas, sonny?" 

"A bicycle, a football, and a pair of skates." the youngster replied promptly.

"I'll certainly try to see that you get them," said Santa. 

Later, the mother and son visited another mall and stopped to see Santa there.  Again the same question and the same answer, but Santa asked, "And are you going to be a good boy?"
x x x x

A little girl about five received a box of crayons for Christmas and made a great many pictures.

"What is this one?" her mother asked.

"That's  Baby Jesus on the manger."

A little to one side were three vertical lines - the wise men perhaps, or the shepherds.  The mother inquired what they were.

"Mary and Joseph are going out for the night." the child explained, "and that's the sitters coming in."  

x x x x
Here it is the middle of January and we're still cleaning up from Christmas.  Last week we cleaned out our checking account; this week we cleaned out our savings account. 

x x x x

What do you call a kid who doesn't believe in Santa? A rebel without a Claus.
What is the popular Christmas carol in Desert? Camel ye Faithful.
What part of the body do you only see during Christmas? Mistletoe.
What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic.

 x x x x
If you want to be reminded of Christmas all year, buy your Christmas gifts on monthly payment plan. 

x x x x 
May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.

May hateful persecution and wanton aggression cease.

May man live in freedom and security, worshiping as he sees fit, loving his fellow man.

May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.

Unusual Historical Events That Happened During Christmas

  1. Christmas Day, 1990, The Internet Gets Its First Test Run
  2. Washington Crosses the Delaware River in 1776
  3. WWI Christmas Truce Soccer Games
  4. USSR Invades Afghanistan in 1979
  5. Isaac Newton Was Born on Christmas Day
  6. Charlie Chaplin Passes Away
  7. Apollo 8 Reaches the Moon’s Orbit
  8. Mikhail Gorbachev Resigns as Soviet President
  9. The Song ‘Silent Night’ Is First Performed in Public
  10. President Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers
  11. Charlemagne Crowned Holy Roman Emperor, year 800.
  12. William the Conqueror Crowned King of England, 1066
  13. World War I Soldiers Hold Christmas Truce 1914
  14. Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers, 1868
  15. Hirohito Becomes Emperor of Japan, 1926
  16. President Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Romania Executed, 1989 
  17. Ford Model T Unveiled, 1913
  18. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, former presidents of the US, Die, 1826

References" JM Braude, Speaker's Encyclopedia of Humor; Prochnow HY and HV Prochnow Jr, Jokes, Quotes and One-liners for Public Speakers; Wikipedia; Internet



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Get rid of Mosquitoes with Poeciliids

Raising poeciliids in your backyard can help eradicate
dengue- and malaria- carrying mosquitoes.

Dr Abe V Rotor
The Poeciliidae are a family of freshwater fish of the Order Cyprinodontiformes, the tooth-carps, and include well-known live-bearing aquarium fish, such as the guppy, molly, platy, and swordtail. The original distribution of the family was the southeastern United States to north of Rio de la Plata, Argentina. 

Kataba or bubuntis 

However, due to release of aquarium specimens and the widespread use of species of the genera Poecilia and Gambusia for mosquito control, poeciliids can today be found in all tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Wikipedia

You can build a mini-pond in your backyard. Then you can fill the mini-pond with tilapia, catfish (hito), even carp and pangasius. The fishes are good predators of mosquito wrigglers. But there is another highly recommended fish, the kataba or poeciliid, a large family of small fishes known for being predatory as well as omnivorous.

Residents along esteros can live without window and door screens and mosquito nets due to the presence of this biological friend and nemesis of the kiti-kiti or mosquito wrigglers.

The importance of insectivorous fish cannot be underestimated. In China the government mandated the raising of mosquito-eating fishes during the dengue outbreak in 1981. The Chinese raised fishes like the poeciliids , tilapia and catfish in canals, ponds, fields, and even household water containers. Indeed, the community project prospered and in no time the epidemic was contained.

Characteristics of the Kataba

This kataba fish is around three centimeters, from shout to tail tip. It is laterally compressed but stocky and fat-belied, hence its name bubuntis or kataba which means fat. Although brown or black in color, it exudes a dainty prism on its belly and sides- earning for it the name “rainbow fish”.

They are found almost everywhere as long as there is water- in fields, irrigation and drainage canals. For this reason, they are also called canal fish. If you see bubbling ripples in Manila’s esteros, you know the katabas are around - the fish can adapt to a wide range of environments, from canals to estuaries.

Imagine schools of poeciliids inhabiting the esteros, the tributaries of the Pasig River. They live around the bends, in coves, rock pools and in mudflats. When it rains, they go up stream. Poeciliids are found in Laguna Bay down Pasig River, reaching as far as the estuarine area.

Biological Control

If there is a single program that warrants full attention, it is the control of malaria and dengue, the most dreaded pandemic diseases which have killed countless people all over the world.

Deep concern has been demonstrated by governments. For example, in South Korea, a local fish Aphyocypris chinensis was found very effective in controlling mosquito vectors. Papua New Guinea and French Polynesia used Gambusia affinis and Aphanaus affinis in mosquito control. It was in Florida, Mississippi, Central America and Mexico where where Gambusia became popular, and soon this fish found its way to many countries.

But it is the poeciliids which has adapted in this country, along with other insect-eating fish species which include liwalo, spotted gourami, tilapia, mudfish (dalag) and hito.

Poeciliids are also prey to many bigger fishes. Surprisingly, because of their number and rapid rate of reproduction, poeciliids have managed to maintain stable populations even in open waters. Besides, the poeciliid prefers shallow areas and the edges of water where it is relatively safer.

Poeciliids swallow their food whole like a boa, except that their mouths are wide open. We call this luxury feeding.

Poeciliids peak during the rainy season in June, then declines in the cool months and toward summer. In January, only one out of two poeciliids are positive of insect prey, which means that they rely on plankton, like algae which are abundant in rivers and lakes at this time of the year. These facts were observed by the late Dr. Grace M. Cruz of the University of Santo Tomas in her 1998 dissertation.~

A Cross in the Sky

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Skeleton of an acacia tree, QC

I have lost you forever,
now a silhouette in the sky,
spreading a gospel to remember
for the mindless passerby.

You lived half of your life,
yet fullest at the Throne;
earning it well with strife, 
where every seed is grown.

The birds now a flock, 
the child a man; 
you bid them all the luck,
and now you are gone.

In youth you sheltered me,
a thought I can't be free,
I atone for your brevity, 
with a thousand-and-one tree.~

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Chicken Soup is Best for Early Convalescence

 Dr Abe V Rotor
 Some time ago, a good old friend asked me, Abe how can you go back to nature? Are you going back to the farm. Don’t you like to live anymore in the city? Are you selling your car.

Yes, I answered. No not my car, that’s my only car. Yes, I can live with nature. Oo nga naman. We talked and talked, until we were back in our childhood – I mean, childhood. This was when my father got sick. And this is how I came to learn that chicken soup is good for one who is convalescing, yon’ galing sa sakit - nagpapagaling.

Chicken soup is good for the convalescent. However, there are specifications of the kind of chicken to be served. First, it must be native chicken. Karurayan is the term in Ilocos for a pure white native chicken which does not bear any trace of color on its feathers. It is preferably a female, dumalaga or fryer, meaning it has not yet reached reproductive stage. It is neither fat nor thin. Usually the herbolario chooses one from recommended specimens. He then instructs and supervises the household in the way the karurayan is dressed, cut, cooked into tinola (stew) and served to the convalescent. He does not ask for any fee for his services, but then he takes home one or two of the specimens that did not pass the specifications. (The more affluent the patient is, the more chicken the herbolario takes.)

Chicken soup as a convalescent food is recognized in many parts of the world. Because of its popularity, chicken soup has become associated with healing, not only of the body – but the soul as well. In fact there is a series of books under the common title Chicken Soup - for the Woman’s Soul, Surviving Soul, Mother’s Soul, Unsinkable Soul, Writer’s Soul, etc. Of course, this is exaggeration, but nonetheless it strengthens our faith that this lowly descendant of the dinosaurs that once walked the earth of its panacean magic.

Try chicken soup to perk you up in these trying times - with all the rush, tension, various ailments, and expensive medication. Ika nga, bawal ang magkasakit.

But first, be sure your chicken does not carry antibiotic residues, and should not be one that is genetically engineered (GMO). By the way, I was a participant in the rituals made by this good herbolario. I was then a farmhand and I was tasked to get the karurayan. Our flock failed the test, but I found two dumalaga with few colored feathers. I plucked out the colored feathers and presented the birds to Ka Pepito. They passed the criteria. Three days after I asked my convalescing dad how he was doing. “I’m fine, I’m fine, now.” He assured me with a big smile. ~

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Landscape of Life

A landscape that lifts the curtain and opens a horizon on which each one of us passes but once, an experience more than destiny and eternity. 
Dr Abe V Rotor


A Landscape of Life in acrylic (2' x 5') by AVRotor 2014, showing details.
A Landscape of Life
A landscape that gains back clarity and focus, though slowly, from strained vision of light and shadow, fast moving cars and blinking screens;  

A landscape that gets frayed nerves back to function in reflexes governed by the conscious and unconscious mind in peace and harmony;

A landscape that restores freshness and purity of the primary colors, and expresses the full colors of the rainbow with the hand, paint and canvas;       

A landscape that makes forests lush green, distant mountains blue, trees in autumn in hues of yellow to red, and the sky azure as the deep sea;

A landscape that brings back consciousness to watch migrating birds in the sky, fish in the stream, and a drop of pond water teeming with life;

A landscape that sets the biological clock attune with the passing of seasons, and to understand the mystery of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring;

A landscape that is courageous to face force majeure and patient enough to bear the brunt as the landscape gains back its health and beauty;

A landscape that witnesses the transformation of a swamp into grassland and   woodland in an orderly fashion that spawns biological diversity;

A landscape that establishes niches and bridges of past and present, tradition and modern, living and the non-living in Rousseau’s scenery;       

A landscape that soothes noise into joyous sound, bleating and thunder as part of a Beethoven’s composition, chirping a language of praise;  

A landscape that releases us from his confinement in Plato’s Allegory to face the realities of the world, which is the essence of education;      

A landscape that is viewed with the power of the mind, heart and spirit, be it real or abstract - yet it gives meaning to reverence to our Creator;

A landscape that lifts the curtain and opens a horizon on which each one of us passes but once, an experience more than destiny and eternity. ~


Abercio V Rotor, Ph.D. is the award-winning author of Living with Nature Handbook (Gintong Aklat Award 203), Living with Nature in Our Times (National Book Award 2006), and radio instructor of People’s School on Air (Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, Gawad Oscar Florentino Award for Development Communication on radio). He is also author of other books in essays and poetry, and textbooks in Humanities and Literature. Dr Rotor is a professor at UST, a former director of NFA and consultant of the Philippine Senate. He is married to Cecilia A Rojas, CPA, MBA, CESO3, with whom they have three children: Matthew Marlo, Anna Christina, and Leo Carlo.  The family hails from San Vicente, Ilocos Sur.   


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reflection this Christmas Season

Painting by Leo Carlo R Rotor
Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor
Prize winner, Contest on Human Values through Painting
and Mural, Sri Sathya Sai Organization, Metro Manila, 2001

Reflection - two faces in one,
     in one's mind and heart;
of the past and the present,
     prelude to all art.
Reflection - the self and the other
     fellow, foe or friend;
in war and peace, want and plenty,
     humbles at the end. 
Reflection - The Prince and the Pauper,
     and The Little Prince;
Les Miserables, Christmas Carol,

     one's life ever since.~

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Educational Tools: Mimicking Nature's Transforms

Mimicking Nature's Transforms 
Dr Abe V Rotor

Anna at the Museum of Natural History, UPLB Mt Makiling, Laguna

If I were given wings, 
I would rather be a butterfly,
and flutter from flower to flower;
sipping the nectar of youth, 
the Pierian Spring,
'til it runs dry.  


When does smoking begin, when does it end?
with the young and the old, and in between,
a lifetime, or a life deserted at the bend,
pleasurable, insatiable it could have been.  


Author at the Museum of Natural History

Anatomy of a tree Joyce Kilmer failed to see,
in his Only God can Make a Tree;
faith we embrace and not probe its mystery
keeps the peace of the world and thee. 





Arthropods - highest in diversity:
if appendages are survival trends,
why did human become a biped
and left his four-legged friends?

Reptiles, descendants of giants, 
annelids lost their appendages;
limbs to fins in fish, wings in birds,
by unseen hand through the ages.


Plate-like structure made of chitin in Arthropods, hence, "joined legs"

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hidden Valley - Painting and Poetry:

Painting and Poem by Abe V Rotor

Hidden Valley in acrylic, AVR 2011

Let time stand still in these lovely huts
By the gentle streams and rivulets;
Let the breeze comb the green slopes,
And sing with the hills and rocky cliffs;

The birds fly over the meandering brook
And come to rest from across the bay;
Let the wild call the language of the free, 
And signal the coming of night and day.

Here Beethoven composed a lovely song ,
And Schumann added a poetic flare;
Rustic would be Amorsolo’s version
Of this hidden valley fair.

Here by the pond Henry Thoreau
wrote a treatise, Man and Nature;
Here Schumacher praised the small,
Small, he said, is beautiful.

Here is respite, here is retreat,
Where the sky and hills ever meet;
Here’s life far, far from the busy lane, 
A resort for tired souls and feet.

If life has not been lived well enough
And freedom like a genie chained;
Take it from Milton in his blindness,
He saw a Paradise regained.

And here as in our ancestor’s time
Lies an Eden, lofty yet sublime,
Where there is no need of calendar
To mark the passing of time. ~


Twelve Reasons for Loving Philippine Literature


1. Philippine Literature takes us to the domain of the gods and goddesses, to the throne of the Great Maker of Malakas at Maganda, in respect and thanksgiving, to submit to their power over mortals, and know their wishes and caprices for which man submits himself through devotion in the name of Bathala.


Dark clouds and red sunset – sign of coming typhoon, San Vicente IS.  

 2. Philippine Literature brings back the sweet days of childhood when a kapre (hairy monster) lives in big tree, dwende in punso (anthill), the manananggal (half-bodied vampire) peeping through thatch roof; then the whole experience is distilled from the world of fantasy in adolescence, the courageous parting of childhood to adulthood, yet leaving the imprints of the unknown world always remaining enigmatic and entertaining in adult life. 
  
Children’s playground under a kalumpang tree, QC
 
3. Philippine Literature unveils the world of the minutiae – honeybees converting nectar into the sweetest substance on earth – pukyutan (honey), worms weaving the purest fabric – silk (sutla or seda Ilk), bubod (natural yeast) brewing the best wine in buried burnay (earthen jar) –  basi, tuba, tapoy, bahalina, layaw, lambanog, and mead (honey wine), the drink of the gods – all these bring Bacchus into the midst of our ancestors.  Sober they listened to a sage recount Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-ang, a legenary hero), in like manner Homer told of the Iliad and Odyssey to the Greeks hundreds of years ago.    

 Honeybee at work.  Honey is the sweetest natural substance on earth.

4. Philippine Literature has never been dull and prosaic as it moved on with the times to post-Romanticism, among the subjects the glitter and glamor of the Philippine Jeepney in post-war era, revolutioned some concept of beauty and order, although overbearing and frivolous; the Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut) remodelled as satellite of modern homes and business establishments, yet retaining its coziness and quaintness in the midst of a postmodern environment.

The Jeepney – Filipino art on the road

5. Philippine Literature, on the other side of midnight, so to speak, portrays the dark, the painful and sorrowful events and conditions of life, yet gives a sense repentance and hope usually ending up with redemption and renaissance – the foundation of our ancestors’ religions and later, Christianity.  Man can do so little without the intercession of the gods and godesses – Anianihan (God of Harvest), Cabuyaran (Goddess of Healing) of the Cordilleras, and other deities like Maria Makiling (Legend of Mt Makiling) and Daragang Magayon (Legend of Mt Mayon) that guard our forests and fields. 

Joy and innocence of childhood Calatagan Batangas


6. Philippine literature succeeded in toppling the pedestal of fundamental classicism and romanticism of Renaissance Europe in the 16th century with the discovery and subsequent colonization of the Philippines by Spain for almost 400 years. It was a downshift from aristocracy to proletarian and agrarian life – the drama of everyday life of the people.  It took several pathways to the grassroots – komiks (comics), popular magazines like Liwayway and Bannawag (Dawn, in Ilocano and Tagalog), and stage play, the Zarzuela, and Comedia finding their way into today’s multimedia.  Telenovela (TV drama) draws millions of viewers into tears and laughter, keeping them in suspense  every day, reminiscent of the 1001 Arabian Nights when Scheherazade held the Sultan captive with her stories so as to escape her execution, ultimately ending up with the two “living happily ever after.” 
 
        The Filipina today, a melange of races with the gift of beauty and brains.

7. Philippine Literature exults beauty often envisioned in the Filipina, now a melange of Oriental and Occidental lineages, the subjects of stories, poems and songs, and while the Maria Clara image has mingled with contemporary culture, still captures the true essence of womanhood and the role of women in present society. Decada 70, referring to the tumultuous 70s, Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang  pictures still the suffering Sisa except that she too, is the new Gabriela. Literature would not be replete without the Filipina at the center of the story, notwithstanding her dual role in the workplace and the home.  Carmen Guerrero Nakpil tells more in The Filipino Woman, so with Paz Mendez, The Principal Role of the Home in Making a Filipino.   

8. Philippine literature produced not only great works but projected to the eyes of the world the greatness of the Filipino nation and people: Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo inflamed the Revolution led by Andres Bonifacio who penned the Kartilya, Graciano Lopez Jaena’s La Solidaridad, Carlos P Romulo’s Pulitzer winning essay, “I the Philippine Fall; I Sawthe Philippines Rise.”  Florante at Laura by Francisco Baltazar (Balagtas) earned for the title of Shakesperean literature in this part of the globe. And the stories for children gathered and compiled by the Grimm Brothers, and Hans Anderson in medieval Europe - these too, have a local counterpart in Mga Kwento ni Lola Basiang by Severino Reyes.

Legends and folklores abound everywhere in the country. Tikbalang - half man, half horse. 

 9. Philippine Literature is rich in mythology, largely influened by ethnic and Greco-Roman mythology, albeit the myths and legends of other foreign lands, for which reason our literature has gained a rich diversity, from local versions of Medusa (woman with hair of snakes), centaur (half man, half beast), the balete as hanging tree of Judas Escariot.  If fact, Philippine legends traces the mythical origin of important places, and objects - legend of the carabao, piƱa, and the like.  Spirits, good and bad, are found everywhere.  They are the central theme of supertitious beliefs, rituals, prayers, and festivities, that comprise Philippine Literature.   

Rondalla- ensemble of stringinstruments, players in native costumes

10. Philippine Literature has a holistic nature, encompassing both lyrics and songs like Bakya Mo Neneng (girl’s wooden clog), Bahay Kubo (nipa hut); music like in the Rondalla (string ensemble), dallot (skirt dance), prayers and adoration like pasyon (Passion of Christ), dung-aw (dirge).  These have been instrumental in the preservation of culture and values like bayanihan (cooperation), lamayan (wake), and the annual fiesta in commemoration of a significant event or feastday of a patron saint. And if the incantations of the herbolario, (quack doctor), and the spiritista (faith healer), together with the Lullaby  (Ugoy ng Duyan, a cradle song), as well as other rituals to bring man closer to his creator;  if these were to be retrieved as deep as in the sitio or purok (unit of barangay), from the twelve regions of the country - certainly these will further enrich the diversity of our literature, so with the richness of our culture.  

Fr James Reuter SJ dramatist, writer, spiritual adviser.

11. Philippine Literature needs to advance, over and above traditonal measures, and to “come down to earth” as well, in order to become relevant to the issues and concerns of the times,thus distancing from tear jerker emotion, blind faith and devotion, and close-door  scholarship. “Get out of the house” cried the late national poetess Ophelia Dimalanta, “bond with the people, bond with Nature,” a call for a responsive change.   Literature must make use of the modern tools of communication - photography, the Internet and multimedia, because, literature is communication, it has the power of the pen - now the electronic pen with cyberspace to write on - so to speak.

12. Philippine literature challenges both young and old, Quo vadis? (Where are you going?), to set the direction of change to be relevant, to move out of fraternal comfort and arrogance, to tap hidden talents and catalyze their expression, to create a literary approach compatible with technical writing and journalism – and vernacular language.  (KMD and AVR)

Children playing under a kalumpang tree.