Saturday, May 29, 2010

Part 3: Treasures of St Paul University QC Museum - Natural History

Part 3: Treasures of St Paul University QC Museum - Natural History
Dr Abe V Rotor
Conch, rare for its shape and size 10" x 7"

Sand table showing death of plants, animals and ultimately man

Coed setting message across: Let's protect the corals

Part 2: Treasures of St Paul University QC Museum

Dr Abe V Rotor
WW II Memorial stands in vigil beside the Museum

Face of Christ appears in this painting by AVR 1995

Saul on Road to Damascus, mural 8' x 8' by AVR

Ruins of Colonization, Centennial Mural 8' x 8' by 1998 AVR

Seven Sisters, first Paulinian Mission to the Philippines,
sculpture in stone 1903, showing details, by Lulie Lluch

Mythical Angel guides the boat on a stormy sea

Paulinian representing the present generation

Friday, May 28, 2010

University of Santo Tomas Qradricentennial (1611-2011)

Fountain at night

UST Founder Fr Miguel de Benavides Monument

A pair of deer drinking at the UST Fountain of Knowledge.

Most historical spot of the university's 400 years of existence

Petals of African Tulip fall from the tree like confetti.

Renaissance Europe comes alive

Icons atop the main building in silhouette

Tower cross is UST's landmark at a distance

Glare casts a mystic view of the giant icons.

Source: AVR Collection

Self-Administered Test: How to Live with Life ( True or False)

Rituals live on - it's part of life and living

Abe V Rotor

1. Homer is like Lola Basiang – both are storytellers.

2. Stress, all kinds, is harmful – avoid.

3. Confucius considered a god by the Chinese.

4. Don’t befriend ungodly people.

5. A simpleton has nothing to share on the level of a learned person.

6. Ignorance is innocence; therefore ignorance is bliss.

7. Take time to live – secret of youth (success, too)

8. Take time to think – source of power

9. Time to read – foundation of knowledge

10. Time to sing – enlivens your heart.

11. Time to worship highway to reverence.

12. Time for friendship – source of happiness.

14. Birds of the same feather flock together, yet they are ruled by pecking order.

15. “I hear and I forget, I see (do) and I understand."

16. Real knowledge is to know the extent of ones’ learning (ignorance).

17. Confucius lived 500 years before Christ, which means the Chinese in his time were not only wearing silk but highly cultured with the teaching of the great guru.

18. “Wheresoever you go, go with all your intellect.” says Confucius.

19. “Our greatest glory in not in falling but in getting up every time we fall.” Anon

20. What is essential in visible and perceptible – your senses will not deceive you.

21. Do not separate worries from concerns – otherwise you won’t find seriousness with your work.

22. Do something for the Kid in You everyday – that child in you.

23. Find time to be alone at least on a weekend – or once a week.

24. Environmentalists can’t be saints; they can only be heroes.

25. The art of living is the least difficult of all the arts because one can choose the way he lives his life.

Answers will be posted in a week's time.

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Part 1: Types of Communication

Communication at the Grassroots
Farmers' Museum, NFA Cabanatuan - pride of farmers.

Abe V Rotor

We communicate all the time, and in all places, by different means, many of which are beyond our consciousness. Go through this list and find out how effective you are in communications,in both ways- decoding and encoding.

1. Nonvocal Communication
• Signals – ex. Scream for help
• Signs – ex. Badge of a policeman
• Symbols – ex. Totem pole, wedding ring
• Icons – groups of unrelated symbols, ex. Funeral ceremony, White House, Impressionistic painting
• Gestures – ex. body language (kinesthetics)
• Proxemics – ex. Head not higher that the king’s (King and I), Don’t touch the head of a person, eating ahead of other members in a family or clan.

2. Vocal Communication (Nonvocal may be verbalized or vocalized, but can stand by themselves, or accompanied by other nonvocal means)
• Origin of Speech
1. Building blocks of spoken language
2. Postulate primitive men’s speech
3. Vocalization of physical activity
4. Imitation of the sound of nature
5. Mere serendipity (happy or interesting discoveries unexpectedly or by accident)
• Language reflects culture – Ex. Eskimo describe blubber in various states
• Language a phenomenon to transact types of discourse – informative, dynamic, emotive, aesthetics functions
• Laughter as a language, so with grief – associated with group feelings, cry for rebellion
• Represents apex of physical and intellectual evolution. Sounds of nature in songs, communicate with animals, mimicry of voices, ventriloquism, radio signals to contact extraterrestrial beings.

Improve your communication skills to cope up with life and to keep in touch with the world. ~

Living with Nature, UST-AVR

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tidbits of Folk Wisdom


Abe V Rotor

1. Eye bagAloe vera, cut lengthwise, with cotton ball, wipe sap and apply around the eye bag before going to sleep. Potato (Solanum tuburosum) is also effective. Slice and wipe sap with cotton ball. Apply around eye bag before retiring at night. (From Salamat Dok, March 29, 2009)

2. Malunggay (Moringa oleifera) supplement in noodles. Noodles are in various preparations: sotanghon, bihon, mami, pasta, others. Enterprises are producing malunggay supplemented noodles.

3. Salt hastens cooking time. Whatever is the explanation why rice cooked in a pot previously heated with a pinch of salt will not spoil fast is beyond scientific explanation. Yet it is common knowledge in the rural area.

This is what housewives do. The call the process “gibba, literary, to heat at extreme temperature like firing clay in a furnace. Put a pinch of salt in the cooking pot - aluminum or clay pot, heat until the salt disappears. Cooked rice as usual in the pot. This will prevent rice from getting spoiled in a short time.

Another technique using salt is to place a pinch of it on the cover while the rice is boiling. This is to shorten cooking time. (Lesson from Manang Veny, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, affirmed by Tinong Viernes, April 8, 2009).

Monday, May 24, 2010

Part 1: Odaira's Yojigen - Farming the Natural Way

Abe V Rotor

Two products - Basi and Sukang Iloko - are produced in one enterprise.

Wine, wine, wine - but all made with the same process worldwide.

Wine making is universal through yeast fermentation, hence wine comes in different sources and brands - cane sugarcane, grapes, rice, corn, and many kinds of fruits - chico, guava, cashew, duhat, mango, pineapple, orange, etc. It is the same principle in beer making.

The second stage after wine is produced is acetification. Wine becomes sour (vin-egar) and turns into vinegar. Both wine and vinegar can be integrated into one enterprise. A third product is nata de coco. Another constitute the residues and spent must in wine fermentation which is converted to animal feeds.

There is really no waste if we follow Odaira's Yojigen. Actually his postulates are as old as agriculture - way back in the Fertile Crescent some 10,000 years ago. Odaira's great contribution is the revival of a traditional knowledge and skill put to practice in the light of tightening economy and endangered environment, and taking down to the grassroots the application of his postulates.

The long search for more efficient production systems may end where biology, ecology and agriculture converge and complement one another. Biology provides the principles for understanding life; agriculture applies such principles in the production of crops and animals; while ecology establishes the environment-friendly conditions.

This complementarity concept has led this author to the work of a Japanese scientist, Keihichi Odaira, who is the proponent of a four-dimensional process called Yojigen. In a capsule, this theory is made up of four pillars, namely

1. Take advantage of living creatures as producing machines.
2. Look for more than one product from a single process.
3. Take advantage of any material as a source for the next process.
4. Remember that the value of a given process can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Over the years, this writer has witnessed Odaira's Yojigen apply his theories on agriculture, reviving the old school of Farming, the Natural Way. Let us look at its application under Philippine conditions.

Take advantage of the functions of the living creatures as producing machines.

Plants grow and produce food by photosynthesis, a function of both genetic and environmental factors. This means that a potentially high yielding crop can be enhanced by favorable agro-climatic conditions. This is the principle of plant breeding and agronomy, so with animal husbandry.

In agronomy, time and space elements are crucial. Proper crop sequences and rotations take advantage of this principle. Wherever feasible, rice is often followed by cash crops like corn, legume and vegetables. When a farmer decides to practice crop rotation, he is able to identify the proper technology involved, as well as market suitable crops.

As producers, livestock animals should be maintained only during the most economical period in their life cycle. For example, pigs are kept from six to seven months, attaining a weight of around 80 kilos. After this period, the feed conversion ratio becomes economically inefficient. This is true with cattle raised and fattened for not more than three years. For poultry, marketing is programmed with both feed efficiency ratio and the desired weight and size of the broiler.

The principle of inter-cropping follows this postulate. Banana is intercropped with coconut in Quezon and Leyte. Coconut-banana-vegetables are combined on upland farms in Cavite and Camarines Norte, while coconut-lanzones-coffee is common in Laguna.

These schemes illustrate the maximization of plant function through proper combination and sequencing. Other examples illustrate the application of this assumption are the following:

5. Combined rice and fish culture in Central Luzon.
6. Integrated corn production and beef cattle fattening in Mindanao.
7. Upland agriculture or KABSAKA in Iloilo, combining
two or more upland crops on a given piece of land.
8. Corn and peanut intercropping in Isabela.
9. Ipil-ipil-black pepper-coffee intercropping in Batangas and Laguna.


Part 2: Odaira's Yojigen - Look for more than one product from a single process

Abe V Rotor

In rice milling, rice bran is a by-product used as a main feed component. The idea is, to be able to efficiently use both the principal and its by-products. In Mindanao, pineapple pulp and peelings from the cannery are fermented into vinegar, or fed directly to livestock. In the banana industry, rejects are converted into catsup, or cattle feed. Sugar is fermented into wine, or made into vinegar. The production of nata de coco can be combined with vinegar making, creating a three-stage process wine, vinegar and nata manufacture.

There are enterprises engaged in integrated rice production and piggery. The idea is to make use of the grain by-product for meat production. On a larger scale, there is need for a complex of rice milling, feed milling, storage, and transportation facilities in one location.

Take advantage of any leftovers as a resource for the next process.

The idea behind this concept is the recycling of waste. A biogas digester processes piggery and poultry waste into two products: Cooking gas and sludge used as organic fertilizer. Corn stalks and peanut hay, harvesting leftovers can be fed to livestock as forage. Rice hay may be used as mulch.

Mushroom culture depends largely on the availability of suitable substrates such as rice straw, banana leaves, and sawdust. According to Prof. Odaira, aside from being used as fuel, peat is also a good material for growing mushroom. Peat, after all, is an accumulation of cellulose materials (mainly lignin) spared of decomposition under anaerobic (living, active and occurring in the absence of oxygen) and waterlogged condition. Such material is plentiful in swamps such as the Sab-A Basin in Leyte.

Chicken manure is applied in fishponds to increase algal growth which in turn is forage to milkfish or tilapia.

Continued ...

Part 3: Odaira's Yojigen - Capitalize on the natural qualities of living things in their respective environments.

Abe V Rotor

The value of a given process can be greater than the sum of its parts.

As a common practice, farmers and homesteaders plant cover crops such as kudzu (Pueraria javanica), Centrosema pubescens and giant spineless Mimosa to suppress obnoxious weeds on ranches and orchards. Cover crops, aside from being effective in controlling weeds, is also forage for cattle and other large animals. Their residues, when incorporated with the soil, add to its fertility. It also reduces the rate of evaporation of soil moisture, thus controlling soil erosion and loss of soil nutrients.

Through effective weed control, the farmer has a better chance of meeting his farming schedules, while reducing the risk of brush fire. Conserving soil moisture, especially when rainfall is sufficient enhances seed germination and survival. Beneficial soil organisms thrive best in soil with high organic matter. These include the earthworm and nitrogen-fixing bacteria that help maintain a good crop stand.

Here’s another example to illustrate this principle. The idea of burning is to get rid of farm wastes quickly. But by burning, the potential nutrient value of the straw, both as feed and as a source of organic matter, is lost. Rice straw is very useful to farmers as mulch, for mushroom production, and as well as composting material.

Many advantages are derived from these practices. First, mulching increases crop yield. It also doubles the production of garlic and onions. Mushroom can be a lucrative business, while composting contributes to soil fertility. Crops grown on soil with high organic matter do not only produce higher yields but also have higher food value.

This author would like to add a fifth postulate to Odaira's Yojigen.

Capitalize on the natural qualities of living things in their respective environments.

We know of certain natural properties of organisms in their indigenous locations. The sweetest mangoes grow in Zambales, the sweetest lanzones in Paete (Laguna), the largest and juiciest pineapples are found in Bukidnon. No bangus (milkfish) anywhere can beat the Bonoan (Dagupan, Pangasinan) breed. Sarangani (Mindanao) ranchers boast of their beef as among the best-tasting.

Benguet vegetables, like lettuce, cabbages and cauliflower, are distinctly superior over those grown on the lowland areas. Garlic grows best in the Ilocos region, bulb onions in Bongabong (Nueva Ecija), kapeng barako in Batangas, and peanuts in Jones (Isabela).

By analyzing Yojigen, one is led to know, in simple and discreet ways, the many gifts of nature. ~

Living with Nature 3, AVR

Friday, May 21, 2010

STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia

STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia
Dr Abe V Rotor

Lately Thailand was rocked by internal conflict, students protesting against the current leadership and other issues.

Having been in Thailand early this year, I saw a different picture. Thailand which means "land of the free" is a peaceful and progressive country, which I can vouch from the fact that I have had the chance to be with Thais since my student days, in visiting Sokhothai Thammathirat Open University, among other institutions, and from the fact that the Philippines historically gets most of its imported rice from Thailand.

This series of articles is my humble way of showing my appreciation to Thailand or old Siam, truly the land of the free.

NOTE: Please open also in this Blog: Thai Food - Unique, Irresistible (March 7, 2010); A Day with the Elephants - Beauty and the Beast (March 7, 2010); and Reclining Buddha (March , 2010).

Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University campus, Thailand
Printed instructional materials

STOU professor on live television lecture.

Nationwide radio and television centralized control panel

Interview: Dr Abe Rotor and Professor Suchin Phongsak

Visit to Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University

Dr. Abercio V Rotor, professor of the University of Santo Tomas (3rd from left) poses with STOU faculty headed by Dean Achara Cheewatragoongit (4th), and Prof. Sukanya Phromphon (extreme right) during a recent visit to Thailand’s second largest open university, which has a population of 280,000 students. Dr. Rotor is also head instructor of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People’s School-on-Air) broadcast daily on DZRB network . Others in the photo (L to R) are Asst Director Elvira Martinez and Asst Director Cecilia R Rotor of National Food Authority, Prof. Suchin Phongsat (former STOU professor), Mrs Cora Rocero Phongsat, and a faculty member and coordinator of the group.

Ode to STOU - First Open University in Southeast Asia
Dr Abe V Rotor

Pioneer thou art, institution of the common man,
Beating hitherto a path unknown to deliverance
From the false gods, ruthless masters and ignorance,
Thousands at your bidding come at your command.

From Socrates to Plato, the university got its name,
Philosophy took root in wisdom and humanity;
Didn't Bertrand Russell say, "Away with aristocracy?"
And utilitarian education grew up to fame

Called functional literacy that people most treasure,
Three Rs - (w)Riting, Reading, (a)Rithmetic - but not enough,
What these mean and what they do to ones life the key -
STOU brought knowledge to and from the shore

Bridging disciplines together, amalgamating them
Like alloy, theory and practice, the heart and mind,
Psyche and spirit into holism of purpose and faith,
Into one nation, strong men and women at the helm.

To all walks of life, for a better life man has fought,
Who till the land, turn the wheel of industry,

Victims of circumstance, imprisoned by poverty,
Whose schooling fell short from skills they sought.

Globalization - the name of the game the world plays,
Homogenization of cultures and melange of races -
Are too far out, vague of purpose at the grassroots;
Education cautions the people from the race.

Here at STOU the beacon lives through night 'til dawn,
On the Information Highway, through walls hardened
By indifference and neglect, for hope has no dead end;
For here at STOU learning and living go on and on.~

Dedicated to my kind host and staff of STOU.

Thailand: Land of Fine Cuisine

Floating restaurant, Bangkok

Typical Thai food, real hot

Raw and fresh food - mungbean sprouts and string beans, topped with chili.

Broiled fish, cucumber cubes, young black pepper, sizzling.
Breaded shrimp with side dish of fresh vegetables

Mushroom and onion leek soup

Main course for non-meat eaters

Finally, buko juice with coco meat.

Abe V Rotor

Take time out when dining in Thailand,
On a floating boat, on a riverbank;
Savor slowly each menu one by one,
To judge each serving's taste by rank
With Bacchus delight and the Thai chef's cheers -
Smoke can get into your eyes and ears. ~

Thailand: Land of Flowers

Abe V Rotor

Lotus, Thai's national flower

"Medusa also wears flowers."

Pink cherry tree in bloom

Bird of Paradise

Bouquet of white lotus

Nymphaea lily
Thai Vanda orchid

Lobster's claws