Friday, May 18, 2018

NATURE AND PEACE Bantaoay Children’s Integrated Art Workshop

Bantaoay Children’s Integrated Art Workshop
San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, May 16 to 18, 2018
Selected Works 

Dr Abe V Rotor
Workshop Instructor
 Ashley Dianne Rios, 10

Birds flying low over the field and tall grass
meet the morning sun, but never in a rush.
Neil, 8

Flying kite is a wholesome pastime for kids,
away from computers, loafing and misdeeds.

Shaun Michael R Remular, 11

Fluffy clouds hang free above the trees,
while the wind blows gentle into breeze.

Migi, 7

A hut among the trees, my home,
I shall never want and feel alone.

Jamiela Marie Almachar, 8

A world of a kind: three trees, three birds, three kids,
from the bigger world, peace and freedom never at siege.  

Jedd, 11

Fantasy land, romanticism its uniqueness;
somewhere carved out of our loneliness.

Tristan, 11

Blue pond, reflection of a clear sky and peace around,
wonder where these three passersby are bound.
                                                               William Kelly, 8

Field scorched in hot dry summer,
takes a break with the first shower.

Jeod, 11

Rebirth comes in many ways, yet all the same;
life coming back is our Creator’s lovely game.

Vitrish Anne Arguelles, 6

Like a  jIgsaw puzzle, the cracks of the soil mend with rain,
save the wastelands, often cursed, yet life’s last domain. 

Sandra Valencia, 10

Life peeping through, shy and afraid;
says the sun, “Get up and be brave.”

Christian Delle Garcia, 12

After the first rain in May,
creep the lowly algae;
living things soon aplenty
arrive here and stay. 

Jedd, 11

Ahoy, there! Keep off the rocky shore!
Join the race in the deep blue azure.

Jamie Althen Florendo, 12

Dark clouds at sunset tell of a coming storm.
Hurry up for home before high waves form.

Frea Billedo, 12

The sun is biggest on the western horizon,
smallest on the east just when it is born.
Jamiela Marie Almachar, 6

Savage fangs spare no one at sea,
even the bold ones crying for plea.
Tristan, 11

Join the regatta and vie for the trophy;
romantic, but the danger is another story.

Shaun Michael Remular

Sea gypsies for want of settling down,
travel on boats to nowhere bound.

Denise Kaye R Ancheta

Wind blowing hard like giant arms at sea,
warns of misery and death without mercy.

Christian Delle Garcia, 13

If all fruits were yellow, orange, and red,
I would pick the green for ripening;
If all fruits come in the summer season
I would sorely miss those in spring.

Franceska Billedo, 10

Coy and shy fuits may appear to some one,
wait until they are ripened by the sun.

Frea Billedo, 12

A basket full of fruits and flowers,
the best the fairest maid showers.

Jamie Althea Florendo, 12

Fruits are full of energy,
stored by the sun and Thee.

Jamiela Marie Almachar, 8

All fruits a work of the bee,
if we review our ecology.
Wacky B, 10

Move over fancy culinary;
give way to Ceres’ bounty.

Lance Adam, 5

Where goddess Ceres descends,
Epicurus joins the feast,
and man contends -
else the banquet be missed. ~

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Water Conservation and Utilization - 12 Principles

Summer is here. Let us conserve and use water wisely!
Dr Abe V Rotor

Siargao Waterfalls, Surigao. wall mural by Anna Christina Rotorand the author, 2006. Impounding water downstream before it
reaches the sea supplies potable andirrigation needs. 

1. Monsoon rains generally come in June to October.
Conserve water during this period for use in the dry season. Consult the rainfall pattern in your area.

2. A region or a particular geographic area may possess a micro-climate of its own, and therefore a distinct rainfall pattern. Be guided by this sub-type of climate in the conservation and utilization of water as determined by the following factors:

A. Elevation – The higher the elevation, the cooler is the environment. There is more rainfall and thick vegetation. Examples: Benguet, Mt. Apo, Kanlaon, Bulusan

B. Presence of natural barriers – The Cordillera mountain range separates the Ilocos provinces and the Cagayan Valley into two sub-types of climate. The Sierra Madre mountain range has a similar effect.

C. Position and closeness to large bodies of water – Samar and Leyte Islands have three micro-climates owing to the varied conditions brought by the surrounding sea as well as the presence of mountains and a large swamp – the Sab- A Basin.

D. Forest cover – The thicker and more extensive the primary forest cover, the higher is the precipitation or rainfall falling in and around the area. Examples: Mt. Makiling, parts of Mindanao, Isabela and Palawan still covered by original forests.

3. In the Philippines our main supply of freshwater comes from three sources
- lakes, swamps and ponds;
- rivers and streams; and
- springs and ground water.

A. Take care of these sources and use them wisely. Lakes (e.g. Laguna de Bay, Paoay Lake, Taal Lake), and swamps (e.g. Liguasan Marsh, Sab-A Basin) are made up of a complex system network of watershed, tributaries and distributaries. Watershed (supplies water and maintains stability of the lake/swamp). Tributaries(rivers and streams feed the lake/swamp) Distributaries(rivers and streams drain off excess water). Management should be holistic, treating the system on the basis of inter-relationships among its parts.

A pond has similar basic structures although it is generally shallow and intermittent, its system very much simpler and reduced. A swamp, compared to a lake, is a water-logged area, usually a basin, thickly vegetated, rich in organic matter deposits such as muck and peat. Natural reservoirs maintain a desirable amount of ground water for agriculture and domestic use.)

B. Rivers and streams conduct runoff/surface water. Their load can be tapped for future use through impounding, especially those which directly run to the sea and dry up after the rainy season. Great potentials for large supply of freshwater await in our major rivers like the Agno River, Tagum River, Aparri River, Mindanao River, Pampanga River, and Agusan River.

4. An efficient watershed maintains the stability of a water reservoir whether it is natural or man made by
 Providing protection against erosion and siltation,
 Increasing the rate of water absorption and impounding,
 Inducing rainfall, and
 Keeping the surroundings cool and reducing evaporation.

A. Erosion and siltation work in tandem. Silt is carried down by water from eroded areas. Deposition causes clogging of waterways, and the silting of farms. It exacerbates flooding, reducing the life of dams, decreases crop yield.

B. Water absorption and conservation of ground water are enhanced by well-maintained watersheds.

5. A micro-climate is created within efficient watershed areas which is conducive to cloud formation and consequent precipitation. This is mainly the result of increased relative humidity and reduced evaporation.

  • Favorable cloud formation
  • Transpiration/  Precipitation
  • High relative humidity
  • Good Forest 
  • Live Streams
  • Sufficient gound water

Water supply is enhanced by forests and woodlands (man-made forests) through

 Higher rate of rainfall (tropical rain forest is so-called because rain occurs frequently, if not daily, in and around tropical forests, such as Mt. Makiling.
 Fuller rivers, streams and natural springs,
 Abundant amount of ground water and fuller aquifers.

A. A forest has a multi-storey structure which is very efficient in water conservation, and solar and space utilization. Organic matter built on the forest floor helps conserve water like sponge.

B. The forest cover conserves water and keeps it underground for future use. It slows down water flow thereby increasing the rate of water absorption. The roots of trees help maintain s desirable water level in the ground and fuller aquifers (underground rivers). All these enhance the life of rivers, streams and natural springs.

6. Water impounding in the tropics is a common practice in agriculture, fisheries, power generation, recreation, industry (e.g water coolant), and for domestic use. Commonly adopted designs are based on these models:

 Dam (e.g. Ambuklao, Binga, Angat, Lamesa, Pantabangan, Chico)
 Pond (e.g. farm pond, communal water impounding projects)
 Terrace (e.g. Banaue rice terraces gravity irrigation) and
 Series of catchments (China’s model)

A. A large reservoirs are very expensive and require extensive areas. They are characterized by high technology and maintenance requirements. Our major dams are suffering from heavy siltation which have drastically reduced their capacity and life.

B. Ponds are mainly for individual use in small and medium farms. Small communal reservoirs projects are popular in Iloilo and in many parts of the country but many of them are not properly managed. Such projects are designed for cooperative farming. One project in Iloilo has 5-ha reservoir, 100-ha watershed, and a service area of 50 hectares, cultivated by some 30 farmers.

C. Water Impounding on the Banaue rice terraces is a classical example of a very efficient water management system. Rainwater is trapped in each of the hundreds of terraced ricefields which then act as a reservoir until the crop is harvested. Through gravity irrigation system paddy water is regulated. Excess water is conducted to the lower paddies and ultimately to the gorge which serves as the main drain.

D. A series of small catchments built along the length of a river conserves virtually all the water that would otherwise go to waste. This system of water impounding is built on intermittent rivers and streams of certain parts of the People’s Republic of China where the rainy season is short leaving the place dry the rest of the year.

7. Where irrigation water is limited, the principle of comparative advantage should be applied. Considering other things equal, choose the crop which gives the highest level of water utilization and returns on investment.

Economics of water utilization during the dry season: 20,000 Cubic Meters is the water Requirement of 1 hectare rice, 3 ha corn and 5 to 6 ha Legumes/Bean

8. In recycling water for farm, industry and domestic use follow the principles governing Nature’s Water Cycle, namely

 Water is transformed into three states of matter – solid, liquid and gas. In the process of transformation, water is separated from other substances and impurities.

Examples: to distilling water, the impurities are left behind. Much of the rain which falls on land comes from clouds formed at sea. The process of destination follows the principle.

 While water cleans, it has also the inherent power of “cleansing itself”.

Examples: Organic matter settles at the bottom of lakes, leaving the water clear and clean. Similarly after heavy downpour, silt and clay settle down leaving the water clear. Natural springs rarely need the attention of man.

 There are certain biological and physical, including geologic and chemical processes which enhance water recycling.

Examples: Aquatic plants maintain a desirable supply of oxygen in water. In sewage treatment, water passes through a series of tanks/pools until it goes out safe and functional again. Aquifers are natural underground reservoirs and filters.

9. Water pollution exacerbates water shortage. Minimize, if not prevent, the pollution of our water supply by

 Using biodegradable materials,
There are now biodegradable plastics. Coconut oil-based detergents are preferred. So with organic fertilizer over chemical fertilizer. Botanical pesticides leave little or no toxic residue.

 Reducing pollutants,
Reduced emission of gases which combine with atmospheric water to form “acid rain”. Clear watershed and waterways from all forms of garbage. Prevent clogging and water-logging as these favor accumulation of wastes and increase the effects of pollution. More strict laws on oil spill.

 Practicing cleanliness and sanitation,
Proper garbage disposal. Keep industrial wastes away from water sources. Implement a shanty-free estero program. Impose strict sanitation in public markets, and “talipapa”/ flea markets. Strictly implement anti-pollution laws in factories, homes and motor vehicles.

 Banning dangerous pollutants
Uphold the anti-nuclear constitutional provision to prevent radioactive fallout incident. Radioactive wastes must be disposed following international safety standards. Permanently ban the “Dirty Dozen” pesticides. Use only unleaded gasoline. Regulate use and disposal of mercury compounds.

 Planning our community, and
Residential and industrial zoning. Strictly implement building and housing policies of the National Housing Authority, DPWH, local governments, etc, Ecology village concept, Decongest urban centers and promote rural living.

 Educating the public.
National Geographic and Nature-Life TV series, DENR media programs on environment, Kalikasan publications, DA and DOST programs on agro-ecology. Include ecology in the school curriculum on all levels. Ban ads of products which contribute to environmental degradation.

10. As the flow of our rivers gets less, our lakes subside, and ground water sinks deeper, saltwater intrusion increase spoiling our farms, springs and wells, rivers, streams and ponds. Ward off saltwater intrusion by

 Preserving the mangrove forests
Mangroves are frontliners against tides and sea currents. They are natural riprap builders and they moderate the rate of flow and mixing of seawater and freshwater at the estuaries.

 Reforestation of mountains and watersheds
Flash floods are frequent where trees have been cut. Runoff water cuts river banks, makes waterways shallow and at the mouth of rivers mudflats are formed. With reduced flown of rivers, seawater intrudes island and underground. In many parts of the country, intrusion is noted in farms as far as 10 km inland.

 Preventing siltation and pirating of rivers
River banks must be protected with trees. Residential areas must kept away from river banks. Farming along rivers and around bodies of water must be controlled, specially if it contributes to erosion and siltation. Farm chemicals drain into rivers and lakes specially if it rains. Reclaiming and pirating beaches, estuaries, rivers and streams should be strictly prohibited. Major obstructions are illegally constructed fishponds, resthouses and shanties.

 Dredging waterways
Many of the rivers are heavily silted and dredging is necessary. This is specially true in and around big urban centers. Illegal dikes and structures must be removed and strict garbage disposal enforced.

 Regulating the drawing of underground water and the damming of rivers
Water rights regulate the rate of drawing water from the ground and rivers. However, this is not being implemented strictly. Too much withdrawal predisposes saltwater intrusion. Many wells and rivers in summer turn saline.

11. Modern technology has developed new ways of tapping and recycling freshwater by means of

 Towing icebergs,
Icebergs are towed hundreds of miles to countries in need of freshwater.

 Desalination of seawater,
Freshwater is produced from seawater through the principle of distillation. To reduce cost, solar energy has replaced conventional fuel. Israel adopts desalination for its agriculture.

 Cloud seeding and inducing rainfall photo
Rain-inducing compounds are used by airplanes to seed rain clouds. Technology has increased the efficiency of cloud seeding.

 Bottling spring and mineral water, and
Due to dwindling natural supply of safe freshwater, bottling spring and mineral water has become in the last twenty years a booming industry in large urban centers. A chilled 250-ml spring water sells at 15.oo php on university campuses in Manila.

 Re-processing used water.
Unlike the conventional filtration-aeration-chlorination process, used water is recycled for domestic use through a complex purification process in big cities.

12. Everybody should share in the common responsibility to use and conserve water wisely by means of

 Avoiding wasteful use of water
List down ways to save water. These include such simple means as repairing leaky faucets and pipes, to adopting a systematic program in household management.

 Impounding rain and surface water
Residents in small islands depend largely on rain. Their houses are equipped with special gutters and storage jars to trap and store rainwater.

 Maintaining ecological balance
List down all the ways to help preserve the environment to enhance the adequacy of freshwater supply from wells, rivers, springs, etc. Refer to the foregoing principles. ~

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mushroom-Tokwa Barbecue - for a change, for good health

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog 

 Leo Carlo, chef and inventor of MTB
 Shitake mushroom, TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein)
 from soy bean, plus green bell pepper 
Make your own version - add fresh ripe tomato. 

Culinary art, here's the thrill
on the porch or backyard,
makeshift kitchen of simple grill,
on days dull and hard.

Mushroom for meat, tokwa for fat,
bell pepper and tomato,
capsicine, lycopene for the heart
brain and kidney too.

eating while cooking - oh, the fun!
the household whole
in modest Bacchanalian
happy to the full.~

Common problems of fruits

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Force ripening of banana, more so if harvested before full maturity, may lead to bacterial and fungal rot,  usually starting at the peduncle (fruit attachment).  Atis (Anona squamosa) attacked by atis borer, a scourge of  other members of Family Anonaceae, like guyabano and anonang. Guava attacked by the fruit fly, Dacus dorsalis, which also attacks mango, cucubits (e.g. cucumber, ampalaya), oranges and many other fruits worldwide. These two insect pests are controlled by bagging, that is wrapping the newly formed fruit with paper or plastic but this is laborious.  Growers resort to chemical spraying that provides protective cover to the tree.  Recently systemic insecticides are used.  The active principle is absorbed by the plant and circulated in its sap, rendering its sap poisonous to the feeding insect. The deleterious effect does not stop here; residual poisoning is not unusual to humanss and animals.  Extreme care should be exercised when using insecticides, particularly phosphate and hydrocarbon compounds.

Don't underestimate the lowly Kamote

Sweet potato (Ipomea batatas), Family Convolvulaceae

Dr Abe V Rotor

In the province, whenever we failed to recite in class our teacher in the elementary would matter of fact, say, “Go home and plant kamote.” We also loved to sing or recite, hilariously that is, a verse associated with this humble plant. Years after, I realized how unfair it is to treat this important crop, which is a staple food of millions of people and a major animal feed in many parts of the world. The verse/song goes like this.

“Kamote is a musical root;
The more you eat, the more you puut…
The more you putt…, the better you feel,
So eat kamote every meal.”

In defense of kamote, the tuber or root is rich in Phosphorus (P2O5, 0.15%), Calcium (CaO, 0.13%), and Iron (Fe2O3, 0.02%) in addition to carbohydrate (8.41%) and protein (1.96 %). These alleged gas-forming substances are also found in other root crops like cassava and taro (gabi), but in lesser quantities. It is advisable to cook kamote very well, and that one should take it moderately. 

By the way, kamote tops contains an appreciable amount of hydrocyanic acid similar to that in cassava. Thus, when cooking it, it is advisable to bring it to boiling and allow the compound to escape as cyanogas by removing the pot cover.

Some uses and preparations of kamote:
    Related image
  • As staple food
  • Baked Kamote (photo)
  • Kamote Chips
  • Kamote Flour
  • Kamote Cue
  • Kamote Tops as vegetable
  • Buridibod (soup thickener)
  • Rich source of vitamins and minerals
  • Food extender/substitute
  • Fermented into alcohol
  • Forage crop
  • Cover crop for weed and erosion control
Lastly, but not the least, kamote is a famine food or hunger crop - where conventional food crops are not available.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Friday, May 11, 2018

Under the Trees Dad Planted at Home and my Grandchildren (San Vicente Ilocos Sur Series)

Under the Trees Dad Planted at Home and my Grandchildren (San Vicente Ilocos Sur Series)

Four generations - my dad's and mine,
that of my children, and grandchildren; 
big trees to mark the passage of time, 
sentries they stand, each one a friend.

Dr Abe V Rotor

. Mackie and Laurence under a talisay (Terminalia catapa)

A kapre lives atop the talisay,
also known as umbrella tree;
 scary to grownups and kids,
though ugly, he's friendly .

 Markus, Laurence and Mackie beside a caimito tree (Chrysophylum cainito)

Caimito or star apple - greenish to purple,
shiny when ripe, soft to the touch;
milky with latex like glue to the palette,
when in season, don't ask how much.

 Playing in a Mango grove. 

My dad planted these trees too close each other;
 I asked, Why?
"You will know as they grow old", he answered.
Years and years went by,
Typhoons came, the trees stood like living wall,
sparing our house and all.

Markus beside a typhoon-felled mango tree 

Prostrate on the ground yet still alive,
children ride on it like a horse,
tumble to the ground and climb again,
such is life's mysterious force. 

Mackie props a leaning mango tree (Mangifera indica)

Imagination is stronger than this leaning tree,
a child propping it from falling down,
test of make-believe strength and determination,
wonder if ever grownups were once one.

Three kids by a  century-old wishing well and macopa tree (Eugenia jambalana)

"Three coins in a fountain" is a song;
but these kids have another version;
around an old wishing well at home,
 wishing the good of all.

Towering Gmelina, mahogany, santol
Cherry, caimito, bitaog (palomaria).  Below: macopa (Eugenia jambalana) 
 Towering betel or bunga nut (Areca catechu), and anahaw (Livistonia rotundifolia)
Himbaba-o or alukong (Ilk) Alleaenthus luzonicus.  The plant is dioeicious. The flowers of the male tree (staminate) is gathered for vegetable.
 Samat or binuga (Macaranga  tenarius). Ripe leaves are ingredient in wine making.
 Chico (Achras sapota).  Note peculiar enlarged node stimulated by suppressed root formation.
 Native or kalabaw mango trees (Mangifera indica).  Note the massive size of the trees with that of a cottage at the background..
Talisay (Terminalia catappa) produces new shoots after shedding its old leaves, a phenomenon called deciduousness. Native tamarind or sampalok (Tamarindus indica) 

Macopa (Eugenia jambalana) in fruiting season usually in summer. 

How tall can trees get?
Do they reach the sky and touch the clouds?
Yes, they do, I answered?
and my grandchildren looked up high,
and asked, How and Why?