Saturday, July 30, 2011

Thailand Tidbits in Verses

Mural on the Wall

Mural, mural on the wall
Tell me who's the fairest of them all,
The grandest, the most powerful -
The wall is mute, its message full
Of wealth, power before the Fall,
Sans the secrets of its soul.~


Tourists like you all, I know,
for the art of Janus in two,
viewing the past with awe,
and looking into tomorrow,
taking photos of memento
through a smudged window,
or on a roaring avenue,
then bidding a sad adieu.~

Chao Phraya River

The river is deep; its source is long;
Its shoulders broad, the sea is far.
Keeper of legends and ancestry;
It washes tears, reflects the stars;
Chronicler of culture and history.

Tourists Center

Incessant is life with joy and flair,
Under the sun, in the night’s air,
Like bees humming, fish circling,
Birds arriving, leaving.

Hotel Room

Simplicity is the rule and reference;
Colors melt in cream and gray pallor,
Ceiling meets floor, window and door,
Only the guests make the difference.
Dr. Abe V Rotor

Busy Lane

Busy feet and hands, mind and heart at race
On the fast lane, sidewalks blocked;
Where is order, dignity and grace?
Life never dims, stars just hang out.

Floating Market

Boat songs here are not of romance and gay,
But songs of bounty in the land of the free,
Floating down the meandering river to the city
Where the heart of trade throbs, throbs all day.

Macopa Hybrid

I know you on the backyard where I grew up;
A big tree laden with fruits and children,
I among them all day laughing, swinging
From branch to branch in pure joy and delight,
Never reaching our fill, unheeding old folks.

Now your fruits are bigger, perhaps sweeter,
In bright red skin to sad purple green,
Hanging on frail branches touching the ground,
When you were a living cradle with strong limb;
How frail indeed is man's ultimate aim. ~

Harp Bridge

I wish I were Gulliver to make you into a harp;
Together we make the most beautiful music;
Away from the maddening crowd, or the world asleep;
And we shall rise to the spirit of an art,
And span across the valley where life's not brief.~

Sea Bass in a Restaurant Aquarium

How sad their faces are though seemingly at ease;
I tapped the glass, they stared at me a friend;
With a camera I sealed their fate forever in peace,
Alive in memory but failed to save them.~

Ruin of Babel

Have I not before climbed this wall?
And the doves cooed.
Where have my friends gone after the Fall?
And the doves cooed.
Have I been reborn after all?
And the doves cooed.~


On a jet plane I'm Icarus,
fallen god - Homo sapiens.~

How refine salt is made the old way.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Nagtupakan and San Sebastian are two villages (barangay) of San Vicente (Ilocos Sur) famous in making refined salt – salt as fine and white as refined sugar, you can mistake the two. This is how the native folks do it with a very old technology.

First the salt field is “irrigated” during the day by high tide coming directly from the sea, but instead of being drained in the succeeding low tide, the floodgate is closed trapping the seawater which leaves a crust of salt on the salt field. This is repeated to enrich the harvest.

The salt crust is “cultivated” by hand or with bullock using a light harrow to scrape the topsoil which contains the salt crust called ati’ . The gathered ati’ is piled on the field or stored in a nearby shack for future use, thus allowing salt making even during the rainy season.

This is the process proper of extracting the salt from the crust. The crust is placed in a trough made of long wooden planks which looks like an oversized coffin. The bottom is lined with a layer of rice hay and a layer of sand on top of it. This serves as filter. Seawater is poured into the trough containing the crust to dissolve the salt. The solution is filtered leaving behind the silt and clay. The filtrate which is a high concentrated salt solution is collected at one end of the trough. This is called inna, from which was derived the terms ag-inna, referring to the process.

The inna or filtrate is “cooked” in the open in large iron kettle under low fire. More filtrate is added as it evaporates to increase the yield. The salt is turned regularly to prevent the formation of crust at the bottom and to hasten cooking. Just like in the final stage in cooking rice, the in salt yield is allowed to dry completely.

The salt product is placed in a large bamboo basket for tempering, allowing the salt to become mellow (like wine). During this stage the salt attains its true fine texture, whiteness, and dryness.

Salt making with this indigenous technology is now a dying industry. Ironically it is in the endangered stage of a craft that earns its place in the list of tourists’ attractions. There are reasons why the industry is dying and these are as follows.

• High cost of production
• Dwindling supply of firewood
• The younger generation would rather go other jobs, or pursue careers
• Product competition – commercial salt, local and imported, has flooded the market.
• Advanced technology such as solar desalination of seawater has replaced traditional processes.
• Water pollution has rendered many salt fields unsuitable for this industry.
• Comparative profitability of other industries like prawn farming, seaweed farming and fish cage culture have replaced the industry.

If you happen to go up north, visit the indigenous salt making villages, seven km west of Vigan, and test for yourself which is salt and which is sugar just by looking at these two similar products in all their fineness and whiteness. ~

Friday, July 29, 2011


Miniature Replica of Blue Whale; and skull of Right Whale, Museum of Natural History, UPLB, Laguna

By Dr Abe V Rotor

Gulliver's story is right
where bigness is might,
trampling the small,
or devouring them all;
yet succumbs to want
or gnawed by ant.

Lo! The dinosaur's fate
outside Heaven's gate,
was doomed to oblivion,
and never left any scion,
except the lowly chicken,
the Archeopteryx risen.

Bless you dear whale
survivor of the comet's gale,
born after its fiery tail,
champion of Darwin's tale,
from land to sea you turned
and never returned.

And in the endless sea
where you are free,
you are king by size,
but also a harpoon's prize.

Will your fate be the same

as the dinosaur's fame?

x x x

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-creating Lost Eden - On-the-spot Painting

Dr Abe V Rotor
La Union Botanical Garden in acrylic by AVR.
Courtesy of Dr Romualdo M del Rosario, Project Director

Go to where Nature's at her best,
where trees talk and birds sing
chirping as they build their nest,
the brook below whispering.

Sit on a ledge for clearer view,
armed with keen eye and brush,
to capture each color and hue,
to still the world on rush.

For you to regain the Eden lost
among mindless throng and horde;
bear the sun and rain for your Host
watching you with the world. ~

Living Overture

Painting and Poem by Dr. Abe V. Rotor
Courtesy of Francis & Mila Pasicolan & Family

The earth is still, then it breathes,
and life begins to stir:
the blue greens rise,
mosses carpet the rocks
breaking them into sand and soil
until the earth teems with life.

Life overtakes time
and everything is fuzzy,
branching out to every corner
from equator to the permafrost.
from amoeba to sapiens.

The flowering plants,
first shy to the world, they beam
for the bees and butterflies
to come and kiss them,
and under the obelisk sky,
life flows, evolves,
and goes on forevermore.

I, too, shall join you in time;
the oxygen and food
you make are also mine,
and death we shall share,
and our genes shall live
in each own offspring
and live life forevermore
until in earth becomes still
once more.

x x x


Poem and Painting by Dr. Abe V. Rotor

You are an artist,
you paint and mould life at its barest

On weathered rocks and ancient trunks,
or some forgotten crest
and cliff,
that through seasons howl or sleep,
or cry like a beagle,
or the chameleon
that mimics sunrise
and sunset
with colors divine.

Bless you, pioneer of protolife,
Pathfinder of the bryophyte and the vine,
Precursor of forest primeval,
home of the eagle and fireflies,

Probing what good is rock if it loses
the essence where life rises.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Odd signs of the times

Abe V Rotor

U mean, U-turn - not the former Singapore Prime Minister

Toy car, isn't?

Correct spelling, wrong usage.

When nothing else amuses you in this prosaic world,
Where rules rule, so orderly and doctrinaire;
When you haven't done your part, or about to start,
Fill up your heart with wit of medium rare.~

Backyard Garden as Ecological Sanctuary

Dr Abe V Rotor

A cluster of ilang-ilang flowers (Cananga odorata)

Our homelot nearly equivalent to a typical subdivision residential lot lies just across the watershed of La Mesa dam, the source of water for the population of Metro Manila.

Everyday birds from the watershed come to our garden. They perch on the trees singing melodious songs for hours. They are a gentle alarm clock and at sunset draw out the tension of the day and put it to rest. For some 25 years now with the children spending their childhood and adolescence, memories come spontaneously alive at nature’s presence. We look for nature, but nature comes to you, too. We can make the backyard a sanctuary of living things. It becomes a corner of Eden so to speak, in the inner eyes of the English poet John Milton, in the soul searching music of Beethoven, and in the quasi-spiritual reverence for life of John Muir and Also Leopold.

What makes an ecological garden? Here are some guidelines.

Let nature do the arranging of the plants – their kinds, growing habits, seasonal occurrence, and niches. This principle must prevail over our plan to make the garden Italian or Japanese in which man dictates the plan of the garden.

The garden serves three important functions.
• Cooling effect. A 10-year old acacia tree for example, has the capacity to provide the cooling power of ten 10Hp air conditioning units. Trees make a huge umbrella that protects us from heat stroke.

• Windbreak. Trees, especially if planted in group or rows, and in combination of other plants, can withstand the strength of strong wind.

• Sound barrier. Foliage serves as acoustic, absorbing echoes, and filtering unwanted sound waves, and resonating the good ones like in an amphitheater.

• Dust filter. Plants eliminate particles in the air with their leaves trapping and moistening them with transpired water, thus sending them back to the soil.

• Radiation filter. Plants serve as buffer against ultraviolet rays as well as cosmic rays. So with other forms of radiation, visible and invisible, that are harmful to health and environment.

• Color filter. Plants act like a giant prism, but unlike the lens, colors are pooled into a common color - green – the coolest of all colors, neutral and soothing to the eyes and other senses.

A garden is not a garden if it does not smell like one. Ilang-ilang exudes sweet scent throughout the year. It is sweetest in early morning and evening, and a soft breeze spreads the scent in the neighborhood. The best scents in the garden come from Eucalyptus, binunga (samat), pandan mabango, sweet basil, roses, rosal, dama de noche, and of course, sampaguita.

One day I found leisure watching a spider span a huge web. It is a giant spider called Haring Gagamba working of a tapestry. I remember the story of the Irish hero, Robert The Bruce, watch a spider making a web. The spider failed in several attempts to construct the primary frame. It gave the downhearted hero the heart to win back the crown.

In the garden, there are unceasing battles between and among living things. . Birds eat on caterpillar, frogs have their fill on flies, dragonflies hover and devour flying gnats, spiders entrap grasshoppers, preying mantis prey on unwary insects. I have observed hantik or green tree ants (Oecepalla smaragdina) build nest in the upper branches of talisay. Their colony is closely knit and their nest is an architectural wonder. The green leaves are sewed together by the workers stroking the larvae to secrete a sticky substance that dries like paper. The larva is actually carried by an adult like a tube of epoxy as other workers hold the leaves to be sewed together. These ants attack as an army that even a caterpillar is subdued in an instant and sooner or later cut into pieces which the ants carry to their nest to feed the colony.

Yet in the same spot ants and termites live together. It is a demonstration on how two different niches work, bounded by biological rules. The ant colony stays above ground to up the foliage, while the termites in an anthill called punso. Yes, the termites – they are an engineering genius. They build their mound at the foot of the big talisay tree – then, when dug out move to another place overnight, and when we think they are no longer there, it is likely that they are virtually sleeping with us inside the house. And true, we discovered a colony of termite in an apparador, and another in a roof beam. It is here that man turns against a destructive organism.

Plants kill other plants to maintain their boundaries. They abort germinating seeds even of their kind that become threat to their existence. Allelopathy is a phenomenon plants harm one another, in order to enhance success in competition for sunlight, nutrients, water and space. Plants secrete chemicals in their roots, stems, and leaves. To illustrate, we have a ten-year old malunggay that is slowly being choked by coconut and binuga tree (Macaranga tenarius). All the cultivars of mayana I planted were lost, due to inter competition, and then they were overrun by carabao grass. Ube (Dioscorea alata) takes advantage with its viny habit virtually leaping out into space, its leaves covering much of the trees and wall, then after rainy season it all disappears leaving but a five-kilo tuber ensconced in the soft earth and mulch.

But wonder what those plants are clinging on the trunk of trees. These are epiphytes, a relationship called commensalisms. The epiphytes benefit from their tree host. They gain foothold and elevation to reach sunlight without harming their host. We have a talisay tree that carries on its trunk a cluster of native orchid that blooms with a dangling inflorescence appearing like giant leis.

Lest a garden is misunderstood as purely aesthetic and ecological. One coconut tree can provide an ample supply of walis tingting, sweets, coconut milk (gata), husk for the orchids, firewood, and buko, but we love this tree of life most whenever birds build their nest on top and unfold a primitive sense of family love and care.

At night bats come and gather the ripe fleshy fruits of talisay (Terminalia catappa), and would accidentally drop a fruit or two hitting the roof of our house, and if we are not aware of the cause, we would attribute it to a prankster – or a spirit who wants to disturb our sleep.

Do you believe in spontaneoius generation? Saluyot, amaranth, kamkamote, Portulaca – these and other wild growing vegetables pop out of the ground following the first heavy rains in May, and believe it, after two weeks they are ready for the kitchen. Their succulent leaves and stems are rich in vitamins and minerals. But we do not gather the plants entirely; we simply trim down the leaves leaving the plant to reach maturity. How these wild species survive the dry months is a proof of their sturdiness which guided their successful evolution.

How high can a tree reach? Well, our ilang-ilang grew and grew and grew, and then one day a strong wind decapitated it. Then the upper branches dried up one by one until the tree has but a bunch of low branches. We know that there is always limit to growth, and the very same factors that favored it also created its liabilities. I am reminded of the syndrome of bigness whether it be an animal or tree or business. We call this Dinosaur Syndrome.

The Importance of a Garden Pond

Are you aware that having a pond to complement your garden is beneficial for you and members of your family? This is so because a pond represents an ecosystem. As such it has the basic features of a functioning ecological unit.

The pond is a field laboratory for microbiology. Plankton organisms are revealed under the microscope. In their diversity, a whole new world unfolds- a world man did not know before Anton van Leewenhoek introduced the science of microscopy sometime in the 17th century.
There are monerans and protists, the world’s oldest- yet simplest- organisms. It is a wonder why these organisms did not evolve and develop into complex organisms like the plants and animals we know- and why they are ensconced in a confined environment such as a pond.
The microcosm of the ocean is the pond; it is like “seeing the world in a grain of sand.” And for the eons of time and generations these organisms have passed through, it is like “holding eternity in the palm of the hand.” Thus the pond is the representation of our biological world, manifesting how little we know of God’s immense wisdom contained in a drop of water that teems with myriads of micro-organisms.
Anyone who takes time to sit by the pond could lose his thoughts in the larger realm of nature and the countryside. Cattail and umbrella plants rise among the floating water lilies, whose pink to purple flowers break the monotony of the pondscape. But the centerpiece of the pond is a community of white-flowered lotus or purple flowered Nymphaea..

From the deep green water, one may be surprised to see a school of colorful carp and tilapia, stirring at the slightest hint of company and food. Their graceful movement creates gentle waves and soft lapping sounds against the shore line. To an observant eye, small fish like Poecilia and rainbow fish form small schools that inhabit the edges of the pond and its tiny islets and coves formed by aquatic plants and stone. These tiny fish are always mindful about staying out of the path of their large counterpart. Other than small insects that fall into the water, they subsist on the latter’s morsels.

At the bottom of the pond lies the harmless, independent janitor fish known for their role of eating crust of algae and scum. That is why they are important in keeping aquariums and ponds clean. In the process, they convert organic matter into detritus, the pond’s natural fertilizer, and are the source of sediments that accumulate and become a foothold of aquatic plants. Seldom to these helpful creatures rise to the surface, but if you want to see these shy, docile fish, peer into the water on a clear day when the sun is directly above, and you will find them lying prostrate at the bottom, like sunken ship on a sea floor.

The pond relieves tension. When you need to relax, observe the turtles basking in the morning sun, stretching their neck and appendages. Or watch those cooling off on a hot day, their nostrils and carapace protruding out of the water. Nearby, a toad might patiently sit on a leaf pad, sheepishly eyeing an unwary insect for its next meal, its long tongue coiled like spring, ready to strike like lasso.

Bees buzz from flowers to flower, while dragonflies - red, green and brown - hover prettily above the water as they search for a suitable place to lay eggs that will hatch into aquatic nymphs that feed on mosquito wrigglers and Daphnia. Strung on leaves and stalks are spider webs glistening with dewdrops. These resemble strings of diamonds that will soon turn into nearly invisible death traps for the hoppers, mosquitoes and flies that stray into them. Frogs are permanent residents in a small pond, singing at the onset of rain and exchange love calls throughout the breeding season. They remain quiet in summer as they aestivate and wait for the rains to come again.

Kataba or canal fish (Poecillia) thrives without any care, as long as there is water, living on plankton and insects that fall into the pond or attracted by a nearby vigil light. Whenever there is stagnant pools around, I put a pair of these mosquito-eating fish and that solve the possibility of malaria or dengue to occur in our the place. Our pond serves as kataba nursery of sort; we give relatives, friends and students who wish to grow kataba in their own aquarium or pond.

The green water in the pond is a good hunting ground for microscopic flora and fauna. With a microscope on hand I have discovered a lot of planktons, many of which are unfamiliar. The green color is made up of millions of one-celled green algae which constitute the pasture of zooplankton organisms. They are the autotrophs, the base of the food pyramid in a pond ecosystem.

Would a backyard fill in the vacuum created by our wanton destruction of natural resources, the rape of our forests, the draining of swamps, the conversion of mangrove to fisheries? Or the gross negligence in keeping our lakes and rivers full and clean – or at least for having nature to take care of them? I doubt. But the little Eden each one of us make in our backyards would collectively recreate little by little that bigger Paradise we lost, when and to what extent we can only surmise and struggle with will and resolve. It is our little contribution in regaining the Lost Paradise. xxx

Listen to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid DZRB 738 AM, 8 to 9,Evening Class
Monday to Friday, with Dr. Abe V. Rotor and Ms. Melly Tenorio, 


Dr Abe V Rotor

When all’s mum that nothing is wrong,
Like the stillness of a clear stream,
In the comfort of bed and a throng
In the idleness of song and dream.

When all says, “yes” in their wagon
Rolling on with the band, the more
The doldrums deafens into a storm
Beyond the sight of any harbor.

In books and in stars are written,
Truth’s not seen when newly sown;
Like words of fire from one brave pen,
Break the night with the light of dawn.

x x x

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Part 4: All About Allergy - Get out from Allergy Source

Reference: Ansorge R and E Metcalf et al (2001) Allergy Free Naturally Rodale Inc NY

Dusts from butterflies are tiny spears made of chitin, a very resistant material, that causes allergic reaction to many people. It is advisable not to play with butterflies and moths, more so in releasing them as part of marriage ceremonies.

Looking for a pollen free area?

Pollen is found floating in the air 400 miles out at sea and 2 miles up in the sky.
Scientists studying weather patterns in the Antarctic dig ice cores out of the landscape to examine pollen embedded in the samples and estimate when the winds blew the pollen there.
The late Filipino palynologist, Dr. Lolita Bulalacao developed a pollen calendar indicating what (species), when (season), where (location) pollen is likely to be encountered.
Once you’ve shed your clothes, hop into the shower and thoroughly wash off any allergens cling on the skin and hair.
You can prepare a hypertonic saline nasal solution by combining 1 li distilled water (tepid), 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp baking soda.

Allergy-Free Workplace and Allergens’ Troublesome Co-workers
1. Carpenters – acrylate (adhesives), amines (lacquers), isocyanates (paint, foam), anhydrides (plastic), wood dust
2. Farmers, gardeners – pesticides, insects, molds
3. Veterinarians, petshop owners – animal allergens, feeds, disinfectants
4. Hospital and healthcare workers – antibiotics, formaldehyde, latex,
5. Bakers, millers – cereal grain, flour dust, hay, silicates, insects
6. Beauticians – persulfates, ethyl enediamine
7. Janitors, cleaners – Chloramine-T, detergents, dyes
8. Office workers, market vendors, musicians – wide range of allergens

Other References
•Hampton JK (1991) The Biology of Human Aging, Wm C Brown Publishers 343 pp
•Jacobson E (1964) You Must Relax, McGraw-Hill 270 pp
•Rotor AB (1983) The Men Who Play God: A Collection of Yen Short Stories Ateneo de Manila University Press 147 pp
•Rotor AV (2003) The Living with Nature Handbook. UST Publishing House 210 pp
•Rotor A V (2007) Living With Nature in Our Times, UST Publishing House 318 pp.

Part 3: All about Allergy - Allergy-Proofing your Home and Workplace

Allergy-Proof Your Home.
These are fairly quick, simple, and inexpensive methods of making your home friendlier to your asthma and allergies.
1. Build house on spacious lot and surroundings
2. Free house of carpet and wall paper
3. Knock on wood
4. Prefer shiny floors, materials of low-gas ingredients
5. Provide good natural ventilation
6. Let sunshine in, façade towards the east
7. Integrate house plan with garden
8. Screen out plants that are allergen potential
9. Design your home in unity and harmony with natural environment, not vice versa

Allergy-Free Yard
1. Fix your yard to bring down allergies.
2. Go for plants native to the place (save allergy misery and labor)
3. Maintain a pest-free lawn, naturally (biological control)
4. Plant ground plants (and minimize mowing of grass lawn – source of allergen)
5. Be a creature of the evening (or early morning when
1. there are fewer allergens)
6. Keep problems outdoors (like pollen)
7. Be vigilant (weed out allergen-causing plants like
2. lipang kalabaw, sabawil
8. Minimize the mold (remove anything that traps moisture)

Allergy-proofing the bedroom
1. Keep pets out.
2. Encase sleeping place
3. Clean sheets with lots of heat
4. Run your air through filter
5. Banish the blinds
6. Steer clear of soft seats
7. Filter the vents
8. Pluck pillows and comforters wisely
9. Stow gewgaws away
9. 10.Wash away the pollen
10. Debunk the mites
11. Give Teddy a bath

Allergy-proofing the Kitchen
and Dining Room
1. Roach-proof your food.
2. Put a lid on your trash.
3. Get crumbs where they hide.
4. Don’t let dishes get crusty.
5. Scrub those floors and cupboards.
6. Battle roaches with smarts.
7. Call the pros.
8. Be a fan of your fan.
9. Avoid the cold mold.
10. Choose your cleaners wisely.
11. Cook your food, don’t gas it.

Allergy-Proofing the Bathroom,
Laundry Room, and Closets
1. Turn on the fan.
2. Harvest piles of damp stuff.
3. Pick a natural freshener.
4. Bring down the curtain on mold
5. Bleach the mold away.
6. Be the squeegee man.
7. Take your washer’s temperature.
8. Wash permanent-press clothes before you wear them.
9. Opt for smell-free products.
10. Be sure the clothes dryer blows outside.
11. Leave the light on.
12. Air out dry-cleaned clothes.
13. Use wire shelves.

Other References
•Ansorge R and E Metcalf et al (2001) Allergy Free Naturally Rodale Inc NY, 532 pp
•Hampton JK (1991) The Biology of Human Aging, Wm C Brown Publishers 343 pp
•Jacobson E (1964) You Must Relax, McGraw-Hill 270 pp
•Rotor AB (1983) The Men Who Play God: A Collection of Yen Short Stories Ateneo de Manila University Press 147 pp
•Rotor AV (2003) The Living with Nature Handbook. UST Publishing House 210 pp
•Rotor A V (2007) Living With Nature in Our Times, UST Publishing House 318 pp.

Are You Allergic? A Quiz (Yes or No)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Simply add up the number of points that apply to each question to which you answer YES.
1. Do you have hay fever symptoms such as sneezing, watery nasal drainage, and nasal itchiness? (4 pts)
2. Do you have chronic nasal congestion, postnasal drip, or both? (3 pts)
3. Do you have sinus problems – frequent “colds” or headaches? (2 pts)
4. Do your eyes itch, water, get red, or swell? (4 pts)
5. Do you have asthma (wheezing), a tight chest, or a chronic cough? (1 pt)
6. Do you have skin problems such as eczema, hives, or itching? (2 pts)
7. Do you have indigestion, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation? (1 pt)
8. Do you have chronic fatigue or tiredness? (4 pts)
9. Are your symptoms seasonal only – or worse seasonally? (4 pts)
10. Do your symptoms change when you go indoors or outdoors? (3 pts)
11. Are your symptoms worse in parks or grassy areas? (4 pts)
12. Are your symptoms worse in the bedroom, after going to bed, or in the morning when you get up? (2pts)
1. 13.Are your symptoms worse when you come into contact with dust when vacuuming or cleaning around thick carpeting, heavy drapes, and so on? (4 pts)
13. Are your symptoms worse around animals? (2 pts)
14. Do you have any blood relatives with allergies: one or both parents, brothers or sisters, or children? (6 pts)

SCORES (Are you allergic?)
If you scored less than 7, it’s unlikely you have allergies.
If you scored between 8 and 12, it’s possible you have allergies.
If you scored between 13 to 30, it’s probable you have allergies.
If you scored more than 31, it’s very unlikely you have allergies

A note of simple expression of thanks and gratitude to all followers, participants and viewers of Living with Nature - School on Blog and Naturalism – the Eighth Sense

Your contribution has greatly helped us expand in the number and variety of lessons and coverage. This is very encouraging as we are about to begin our fourth year with hundreds of pageviews daily from different parts of the world. We have now a running total of more than 2,500 combined posts or lessons, with a number of them  regularly updated and edited for added information and easier access.

 The lessons are also linked with radio and outreach programs, and with the academe. We invite you to help in enhancing a greater multiplier effect. You may wish to contribute by any means, from disseminating the lessons in your area yourselves, or by donating to our current extension work and radio broadcast (school-on-air) through Philippine National Bank Dollar Account No. 372756300038, or 372756300020 (peso account).

 Living with Nature-School on Blog and Naturalism – the Eighth Sense is purely a voluntary effort, non-profit and humanitarian movement, to bring functional literacy to millions who lack access to formal education, and to augment formal learning and experiential knowledge. Such a humble cause is in the spirit of modern technology, which in spite of its tremendous progress, and billions of dollars it has generated, there are millions and millions of people out there who have yet to rise above their present condition. But environment must not pay for progress. 

This is the commitment of his blog, with the unselfish and untiring support of Google and its network. I share, insignificant as it may, the global thrust of Google and company.  I believe in the cause of reaching out for the grassroots, the conservation of the environment, without condition of honor or material gain. It takes great effort to the point of sacrifice to make this blog independent from partisanship of any kind in order to maintain its integrity and objectivity as a avenue of learning.

- Dr Abercio V Rotor

All About Allergy - Self-Administered Test (True or False), 25 items

Dr Abe V Rotor
The answers are found at the end of the test.

1. The so-called silent epidemic is allergy.

2. Comparing West Germany, which was then very progressive, and East Germany, which was underdeveloped, a study showed that there were more allergy cases in East Germany.

3. Breast fed babies are less likely to have allergies. In addition, a mother who avoids cow’s milk, eggs, and peanuts while breastfeeding can prevent related allergy conditions, including eczema in some children.

4. In general, allergy occurs when the body reacts to substances it cannot tolerate.

5. If both parents have allergies, a child stands a 75 percent chance of developing allergies.

6. If neither parent is allergic, the risk to develop allergy is almost zero.

7. The Hygiene Hypothesis can be explained simply this way. The immune system should be exposed early in life to viruses, bacteria, and fungi, to allow it to develop normally. In a society with very high standards of hygiene like W Germany and the US, the immune system isn’t challenged in the same way. Instead of developing to target real threats such as bacteria, the immune system may dysfunction and begins to trigger allergies.

8. The key to prevention of allergic rhinitis is avoidance of the allergen, like pollen.

9. People feel better and more zestful when near mountain streams and beside the sea, because of the presence of excess positively charged ions in these places.

10. It is a good idea to supplement your environment with negatively charge ions with ionizers.

11. House plants help allergy-proof our home because they increase the Oxygen level in the air.

12. Cosmetic products used on skin when exposed to sunlight trigger allergy.

13. Genetically Modified Food (Frankenfood) such as Bt Corn, GM Potato and GM Soybean trigger allergies, especially those that carry two or more “engineered genes.”

14. Good Life spawns obesity and overweight conditions. Obese and overweight people are more prone to allergies.

15. Indirectly, the microchip is a major cause in the increase of allergy cases in our modern world.

16. Sixty (60) percent of the population of the world can’t afford a doctor, more so hospitalization; the promotion of health should be in keeping a health-friendly environment.

17. In the old days “you had the itch, nowadays you have allergy.”

18. This is a scenario in “Silent Spring” a book written by Rachel Carson. "Spring came but the birds failed to arrive. The was something heavy in the air. People were coughing..." Undoubtedly, what is being described is a case of mass allergy.

19. Knock on wood. Wood causes less allergy than say, carpet, lawanit, vinyl, plastics, and synthetic construction.

20. Pollen, dust, feathers, dander, insects and mites are among the most common causes of allergy found in our surroundings.

21. Ninety (90) percent of adults who suffered of acute allergy (anaphylaxis) never told their doctors about their experience, according to a survey.

22. The most common food, and ingredient of food preparations, that causes allergy is cow’s milk.

23. People in marginal communities have more allergies than in affluent communities because of the dirty conditions of their environment.

24. The first Filipino allergist is Dr. Arturo B. Rotor, former executive secretary of Presidents Quezon and Osmeña, also a botanist, writer and musician.

25. Modern medicine has not succeeded in meeting the need to prevent or suppress allergy among the masses.

ANSWERS: 1(T, millions all over the world suffer from various forms and causes allergy); 2(F, the more developed a society is, the more cases of allergy are observed); 3(T); 4(T); 5(T); 6(F, 25% chance); 7(T); 8(T); 9(F, negatively charged ions are more plentiful, believed to be anti-oxidants); 10(T, seek doctor's advice; avoid overexposure); 11(F, plants respire, thus give off CO2 at night; they also increase relative humidity); 12(T, photosensitivity phenomenon); 13(T, cases of GMO-related allergies are increasing, now a major research area in medical science); 14(T); 15(T, people - especially the young - spend countless hours before the TV and computer; they miss outdoor life which is important in acquiring resistance to allergy); 16(T, environmental medicine is the primordial defense against diseases); 17(T, matter of semantics); 18(T, it's not only due to the poison but allergic reactions to pesticides); 19(T); 20(T); 21(T); 22(T, that's why breastfeeding and early weaning is highly recommended); 23(F, marginal conditions build natural immunity); 24(T, the Philippine Society of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, holds the Arturo B. Rotor Memorial Lecture, in his honor, every biennial convention of the society); 25(T, it's for two reasons - the complexity of allergy as a disease and its complications, and the business aspect of the medical industry. ).

(SCORE: 24-25 Outstanding, 20-23 Very Good, 16-19 Good, 12-15 Fair, below12 - listen more closely to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, DZRB 738 KHz AM 8 to 9 o'clock in the evening, Monday to Friday)

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Dr Abe V Rotor

From sea and land, meadow and top of trees,
I rise up in silence, pass the cicada singing,
Play with kites, draw silhouettes, and block the sun,
Till my purity is gone, and my freedom no more.
I roll with the thunder, take the force of bolt;
I come to wash the dirt, to bring hope to the dying;
And jolt the lazy seed from its hammock.

I fill the ponds and swell the lakes,
Along the stream I sing of joy,
Then lend stillness to birds singing,
And bring catch to a fisher boy.

I return in another body, in another form,
Rising into the sky still, riding on the breeze,
Or on winds ranging, hissing, howling;
I clash with the waves, sow terror and death.
I am Hyde while Jekyll is fast asleep.
Janus I am in another body, in another form,
To another child, at another time and place.

Time heals, and here I am to stay
As life is back to chores and toil
What I give when it’s time for school.
Is rainbow to the fisher boy.

Verses for contemplative moments

Dr Abe V Rotor


1. Bromeliad - trees would be bare without you;
You hang on their limbs, and blossom, too;
Deep in your bosom some little ponds lie,
Oasis to fish, frog and dragonfly.

2. He and his sad story
Melt the heart that he be free;
Silence and a tearful plea
Gain him liberty.

3. He knows the locust story,
But what’s in the ant to envy?
The fool succeeds once, not twice
For being canny and wise.

4.Youth and death, pleasure and sorrow,
They come to this world after you;
But for as long as you don’t grow,
Whoever is next we don’t know.

5. Go for the stars, though beyond your reach;
Imagination, its string in our hand;
And creation at your fingertips,
Writing on the sand.

6. The earth is still, then it breathes,
and life begins to stir:
the blue greens rise,
mosses carpet the rocks
breaking them into sand and soil
until the earth teems with life.

7. Fewer are the grains in number
when the tillers fell into slumber.
The weak makes up for it frailty
in numbers and simplicity.

8. Meditate in kaleidoscope colors through the mist;
Leaves turn gold, falling from their place of birth,
And swept by the breeze to return to Mother Earth.

9. Let the breeze brush your forehead and whole being,
As you walk and tread with the spirits of the place
In Vivaldi’s rhythm with the setting sun,
Until all but one leaf is forever gone.

10. It’s a butt of joke often.
When a poor man eats chicken,
Either one of them is sick,
Or he came from the cockpit.

Examination in Physical Science

Dr. A.V. Rotor

Part 1 – Encircle the letter of the correct answer.

1. In modern society the fourth basic necessity of man is A. Food B. Clothing C. Energy D, Shelter
2. Based on the above, A B C D is the primordial need as compared to the others.
3. These are sources of energy that man can economically tap, except one. A. Deuterium B. Gravity C. Sunlight D. Garbage or rubbish
4. Based on the above, A B C D is the ultimate source of energy contained fossil fuels, if only we trace and analyze it.
5. In the Philippines the main source of electric power is from A. wind B. hot rock C. Gravity D. Salty water
6. Based on the above, A B C D drives water turbines which in turn produce electricity.
7. The fifth fuel mentioned in the book renewable energy is A. Conservation B. Firewood C. Fire in the Earth D. Green Energy
8. Based on the above, A B C D is the main source of household fuel especially in remote areas.
9. Telephone was invented in the 19th century by A. Newton B. Bell C. Whittle D. Newcomen.
10. Based on the above, A B C D patented the jet engine when he was only 23.
11. The earliest material used by man for his tools is A. Wood B. Stone C. Bronze D. Clay
12. Based on the above, A B C D is the material used in making the oldest vessels or containers such as jars and pots.
13. Among these metals, the most economical to recycle today is A. Aluminum B. Mercury C. Silver D. Copper
14. Based on the above the best conductor of electricity is A B C D .
15. The telescope was invented A 400 B 200 C. 300 D 1000 years ago
16. Based on the above, the invention of the microscope was A B C D ago
17. These are men who laid the foundations for the present space age. One of them is an astronaut. A, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky B. Robert Goddard C. Hermann Oberth D. Neil Armstrong
18. Based on the above A B C D rode the moon buggy.
19. The inventor of the moon buggy graduated from A. Mapua B. UST C. UST D. NASA
20. Our planets appears blue from outer space because of this reason. A. It has a blue atmosphere B. Clouds cover the surface which reflects the surface C. The earth is two-thirds water D. The bluish color shows we still have a pristine atmosphere.
21. The atmosphere of Mars is predominantly A. Nitrogen B. Oxygen C. Carbon dioxide D. Water vapor.
22. Based on the above, A B C D dominates our own atmosphere.
23. The red planet is no other than A. Earth B. Mercury C. Venus D. Saturn.
24. Based on the above A B C D is the brightest of all planets.
25. The largest of all planets is A. Saturn B. Jupiter C. Earth D. Mars.
26. Which of these planets is a gas ball? A. Saturn B. Earth C. Venus D. Pluto
27. Based on the above, A B C D is the farthest planet.
28. The sun is mainly made up of this gas. A. Hydrogen B. Helium C. Carbon Dioxide D. Oxygen
29. Based on the above, A B C D is the source of power to run our cars replacing fossil fuel in the near future.
30. A diver on the surface of the sea has a weight on only A. one atmosphere B. 2 atmospheres C. 3 atmospheres D. 4 atmospheres.
31. Based on the above A B C D is the pressure exerted by water against our body if we dive to 10 meters.
32. Nodules mined by sweepers at the bottom of the sea are made of A. Manganese B. Gold C. Aluminum D. Silver
33. Based on the above A B C D is mined from Bauxite.
34. Decompression means – A. The pressure is slowly lowered to enable the body to adjust to normal pressure B. Reducing the pressure little by little as the diver progressively goes down the sea. C. Adjusting the oxygen level of the diving mask D. Removing gas that is trapped in the blood.
35. One of these is used for deep sea exploration. A. Aqualung B Scuba C. Snorkel D. Diving bell

Part 2 - True or False.

1. Iceland is rich in hot springs and volcanoes.
2. It is the crust of the earth that moves in plates, resulting in earthquakes and the slow continental drift phenomenon.
3. There is now a new generation of plastics today that is degradable.
4. For centuries people believed that fevers were caused by too much blood in the body, hence the medicinal leech was employed to draw out some blood.
5. NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) is a brain-scanning machine.
6. Tissue culture of orchids is an example of in vivo culture.
7. Viruses can be cultured in vitro.
8. The upper limits of our atmosphere contain hundreds of junk materials that continuously orbit the earth.
9. Voyager 2 photographed the planet Saturn.
10. The earth is a giant magnet, with a magnetic field that stretches far into space.
11. A depression or cyclone in the northern hemisphere moves in a counterclockwise circular motion.
12. Probos and Deimos are satellites of Mars.
13. One Marian year is twice longer than an Earth’s year.
14. Jupiter is the planet Galileo discovered.
15. The Earth is smaller than Mars.
16. One day in Mar is 24 hours plus.
17. The prototype city in space is the Skylab.
18. Our sun is fixed in space – it has not moved from its original position. Only the planets move.
19. Marianas Trench is deeper than Mt. Everest is high.
20. Bends is the same as Caisson,s disease.
21. Bathyscaphe Trieste successfully probed the Marianas Trench and came back to the surface to tell the story.
22. Many creatures living in dark environments such as underground rivers have lost their sense of touch, but their eyes are large to compensate for lack of light.
23. It is not far that man will be living in cities under the sea just like Jules Verne’s version, “Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea.”
24. The Coelacanth is a living fossil.
25. Decompression is necessary for diver before he descends into the depth of the sea.

Answers will be posted soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Reduce stress and live long and healthy

Practice relaxation techniques reduce stress symptoms.
  1. Slow down breathing rate
  2. Slow down your heartbeat rate
  3. Lower blood pressure
  4. Restore normal body temperature
  5. Increase blood flow to major muscles
  6. Reduce muscle tension and chronic pain
  7. Improve concentration
  8. Sharpen the senses
  9. Improve gait and posture
  10. Reduce anger and frustration
  11. Increase tolerance to conditions
  12. Boost confidence to handle problems

Reference: Mayo Clinic Staff


Pastel Drawing and Verse by Abe V Rotor Himbaba-o Trees, La Union Botanical Garden, SFdo-LU

Bare trunk and arms, so with the crown,

this book of life, its pages torn,
down the lane sweep the past, the unseen;
the ground littered
and sown
with the promise of dawn.

x x x

Painting Exercise: Old Lighthouse by the Sea

Dr Abe V Rotor
Old Lighthouse, mural detail by AVR

You are at the end of the land and the beginning of a vast ocean. You stand on elevated coral reef and rocks safe from the angry waves. Above your head is an old lighthouse, strong and tough, but worn by time and the elements. It does not carry anymore the giant torch that guided seafarers at night to keep them at safe distance from the dangerous reefs, sandbars and shoals.

Have you, by chance, climbed the spiral stairs leading to the top of the lighthouse of Cape Bojeabor in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte? Or the old lighthouse in Calatagan, Batangas? If not, recall a movie you saw that featured a lighthouse.

There is a movie, "Light at the End of the World," starring Kirk Douglas who played a hero's role defending the land from pirates. There's another movie about a beautiful lady appearing to a young man (Joseph Cotton) who falls in love with her. The lighthouse is a rendezvous of the two lovers every afternoon. At the end of the story the lady was but the unsettled spirit of a young woman.

Draw the waves breaking on the rock at the foot of the lighthouse. Give life to the sky. Put some moving clouds, some sunset colors. This is a sign of bad weather. There are sailboats leaning on the wind, their sails full. Make their sails colorful in order to break the gloom. On the far left is the other side of the bay. It is a settled place where you find homes and farms. The mountain on the background at the left gives a sense of balance, otherwise the side of the lighthouse is quite heavy.

You may add these features - other boats lay in anchor, their sails lowered, while others have been carried to higher ground. The shore is deserted now, except a few fishermen securing their paraphernalia in their anchored boats. Put life into your painting by including some birds swooping on the water for food, promenaders at the foot of the lighthouse.

Play a recording of the music of Antonin Dvorak and Jean Sibelius. Another Scandinavian composer, Grieg, will likewise take you to this scene. You may try Maller for the angry sea and sky. Why don't you include the music of our own Ryan Cayabyab and Lucio San Pedro for a morning scene, and Nicanor Abelardo and Francisco Santiago for a sunset by the lighthouse?

Start by sketching a silhouette of the sea, rocks, lighthouse and sky. Now it's entirely your own, the light at the edge of the world is in your hands.

x x x

Retreat by the Lake

Dr Abe V Rotor

Aerial View of Caliraya Lake and watershed

Lake Caliraya is a man-made lake situated in the municipalities of Lumban, Cavinti, and Kalayaan in Laguna province, Philippines. Created in 1939, the lake was developed as a hydroelectric plant, and is now a popular spot for water sports and outdoor recreation including fishing, and retreat.
 Summer Milky Way above Caliraya Lake 

A rainbow forms a cathedral in the sky;
the trees bow in deciduous obedience;
the lake mirrors the sun,
shimmers in dancing ripples
as the Siberian High combs the fields and hills,
while a flock of herons follows the setting sun -
and soon the day will be gone;

the night is studded with countless gems
twinkling eyes in the sky;
Ephemeral these views are in make-believe story,
yet they live in lasting memory.

A retreat by the Caliraya Lake recreates
the biblical scenes around the Sea of Galilee,
and the undulating woods echo the holy words
of the Sermon on the Mount.
Atop the hill appears a silhouette that brings
the faithful to his knees.
Imagery, more powerful than reason,
rekindles faith,
faith that lights the torch of reason for living,
and reason for being.

I touched the water and came back to reality.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Love the Lacewing Insect

Dr Abe V Rotor

Common lacewing (Chrysopa sp.) collected at Amadeo, Cavite 2010

The lacewing belongs to the nerve-winged order of insects, Neuroptera, together with the antlions, mantisflies and owlflies - and some 4,300 known species.

It is also called aphidlion because its larva feeds mainly on aphids, indistinguishably mingling with its prey until it pupates in a silken cocoon where it spends brief quiescence. Then it metamorphoses into one of the most beautiful creatures on earth.

Its delicate wings act like prism that splits light exuding an aura of enchantment. But such beauty is discreet and ephemeral mainly by its diminutive size and nocturnal habit. Lacewings are rare to find, yet there are instances when they swarm like midges, a phenomenon that puzzles scientists to this day.

I have learned to love the lacewing. At one time in the middle of the night she came and alighted on my notes. She greeted me, her long antennae waving, and like a bird, preened her wings bringing in the rainbow in the middle of the night. It was a most beautiful scene in the dark which is indeed a rare experience.~

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR

Monday, July 18, 2011

Student Life: Self-Administered Test (True or False, 25 Items)

Dr Abe V Rotor

Assignment for Communication Art CA217 (3CA3 and 3CA5) UST. Write on a regular bond. If your answer is false for ceratin item, write the correct answer, or why it is false. )

1. To our beloved students in particular: Remember that good grooming encompasses holistic personality - the inside and outside of the person, so to speak, as reflected by his appearance and actions.

2. Wearing the uniform speaks of your personality – like being a teacher, student, parent, policeman, doctor, lawyer, etc. Off-uniform excuses you of your duties and the seriousness of your job – relax and be at ease.

3. Revive good handwriting in school is good but not necessary anymore, because of the technological advances of computers – writing, printing, recording, publishing, audio-visuals, blogs, e-mail – why care about handwriting, it’s passe’.

4. It is cheaper and faster, and most likely better tasting, fast foods as long as they are the top in the fast food chain – kilala, malinis, cordial pa ang servers, at international pa. Don’t bother to prepare baon. It’s messy – at mas expensive in the long run.

5. Etiquette is a code that influences expectations for social behavior according to contemporary norms within a society, social groups – in spite of this, there are common etiquette rules. That’s why children sent to exclusive religious schools are better disciplined and guaranteed to uphold values as a result of religious instruction.

6. Reward and punishment is a must between parent and children, teacher and student, or similar relationships where good deeds are compensated. The most potent and effective reward is that which can be translated into material things - and money, especially.

7. If you are in school, make sure that you behave so that your teacher will speak highly of you – pay attention in class and do your homework. Treat your teacher with respect. Do all these with the end in view of getting a good grade and earning a good reputation among your classmates – perhaps you get also a medal of good conduct and behavior.

8. Schools are not generally receptive to prohibit carbonated drinks and junk foods in school because these are major source of income of canteen and concessionaires.

9. Schoolyear, welcome back to school. It’s a joy to our children. They look forward to it. To many, it’s more than all the Holidays. Kaya, pagbigyan mo naman sila. Give our children new clothes, shoes, notebooks, if possible all new – kaya nga new schoolyear. Pamper our children once – then we and they will adjust.

10. Bayanihan is only a lesson but not really a practice in schools. It’s in rural areas and on the farm where we see Bayanihan in Action – nonetheless our students should learn the concept of this Filipino value.

11. Flexibility as a virtue allows us to be thrifty and to save, to avail of those locally available, our own products, above all, it is a guarantee of our freedom and right – the right to choose.

12. Growing affluence and increasing level of living standard take us farther and farther away from the basic concept of work, thus less and less young people go for the blue collar courses, and blue collar courses are made into white ones.

13. Where have all the brilliant young ones gone? They are in engineering, biology, medicine, law and PMA. They are in computer science, health care and courses of the least resistance.

14. The corporate world swallowed up small businesses and farms, family business and cooperatives. Gone is Small is Beautiful (by Schumacher). That is why we should emphasize bigness as a guarantee of success.

15. A(H1N1) or swine flu is so contagious, mere physical nearness can transmit the contagion, that is why quarantine rules and procedures are very strict all over the world. And swine flu is as deadly as Avian Flu and Sars. This, we must warn our children.

16. Be Green, means planting trees, cleaning the surroundings, eating more fruits and vegetable, and practicing Ecological Intelligence. Between styrophore and wax paper, plastic and banana wrapper, go for the biodegradable.

17. You really cannot attribute success neither to your capability alone, nor Providence alone. There are simply people who tend to rely more on their own capabilities before they expect Providence to intervene. Likewise there are those who tend to believe that Providence above all else dictates a person’s success.

18. A person who attributes his success to the Higher Principle, the Unseen Hand, more than his own capability, his efforts, sacrifices, is an existentialist. This philosophy is called Existentialism.

19, 20, 21, A lot of young people grow up in sub-cultures of brokenness, divorce, drugs, sexual temptations, etc. They may have friends, and much leisure – but they are constantly looking of some kind of fulfillment and assuring thoughts and feeling, a real sense of belonging. There are three most important institutions that can save our children, namely

22. The greatest concern parent have on our children with subjects of 25 units, and many assignments is _____________ . All work and no play makes a dull boy and there is something more serious.

23. Pour number one advocacy for this school year is _____________ because of the current threat of swine flu epidemic.

24. Manila, because of the Marikina Fault line, and the alluvial ground, and rising sea water, is ranked lately as No _____as earthquake prone. That’s why we have to take emergency drills seriously, specially in school.

25. Fatalism is in Pilipino _______________

The answers will be posted in a week's time.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A fruit is best if, and when...

Dr Abe V Rotor

. The best part of papaya (Carica papaya) is the lower half; it is more fleshy, sweeter and deeper in color. In the case of pineapple it is the opposite – the upper half is superior. Here is a cursory list to guide buyers and consumers.

Lansones (Lansium domesticum) – Extra large fruits have big seeds, and are not in any way sweeter than the rest in the bunch. Choose the medium size, quite elongated, and bright yellow in color.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativa) – Choose the size for pickling or about. As the fruit matures it loses its firm cartilaginous consistency and the seeds have already matured. Harvest okra, cowpea, patola, batao and string beans when still succulent, other wise they become fibrous.

Squash (Cucurbita maxima) – Tough to the fingernail, does not exude sap. The fruit is mature and seasoned, and has glutinous (malagkit) consistency.

Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) – Break the tip of the stem and look for the yellowish to orange coloration at the center. Red means the fruit is over mature.

Watermelon (Citrulus vulgaris) – Stripes are distinct and widespread. The cut stem should be green. Tap the fruit with the forefinger. If the sound is deep and dull, the fruit is ripe. Better still, ask the seller to make a triangular cut through the fruit.

Banana (Musa sapientum) – The upper fruits in the bunch are bigger, sweeter and the first to ripen.

Caimito (Chrysophylum cainito) – Fruits becomes shiny when it is about to ripen. This is also true in avocado (Persea Americana) and tiesa (Locuma nervosa).

Chico (Achras sapota) – Lightly scrape the skin of the fruit with your fingernail. If underneath is green it is not yet ready for harvesting. This is also a guide in buying unripe chico.
Sugar apple or atis (Anona squamosa) – Fruit well expanded, canals are distinct, color turns pale green.

Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) for chewing – Get the internodes closest to the base; they are sweeter than those near the top.
. Balimbing (Averrhoa balimbi) - Harvest when fruit is greenish yellow, best to eat a day or two after. Cut crosswise to show star shape design.

. Tamarind or sampalok (Tamarindus indica) - Best when shell or rind has detached from the flesh (marsaba Ilk), otherwise, wait till the flesh has turned brown and shrunk - it is sweetest in this stage. (kalanakang Ilk)

. Nangka (Arthocarpus integra) - Aromatic odor, gives way to pressure, thick dull sound when tapped, turns yellowish green when ripe, may crack showing golden yellow flesh.

Herbal Home Remedies

Herbal Home Remedies 
Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Ipil-ipil seed expels worms.
Ipil-ipil seeds make an effective antihelminthic or deworming agent for both young and adult. Gather mature seeds of ipil-ipil (Leaucaena glauca), pulverize and mix with condensed milk or fruit puree. Three to five seeds to two tablespoonfuls of milk or juice make a dose, which is taken only once – or repeated after a week, if necessary. Mimosin in ipil-ipil, among other substances, expel common internal parasites like roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), tapeworm (Taenia solium), and hookworm, which are often contacted in unsanitary environments. Among the symptoms of internal parasitism is bad breath, constant stomach discomfort or pain, and enlargement of the stomach.

2. Pansit-pansitan (linlinna-aw Ilk) or Piperomia pellucida relieves arthritis.
This annual herb appears waxy and translucent for which it got its name, pellucidus. It is shallow rooted, its stem succulent and bears alternate heart-shaped turgid leaves that are transparent and smooth as candle wax. It grows 20 to 40 cm high, often in groups, and favoring damp and shady places in some nooks in the garden and around the house. It bears tiny dot-like flowers scattered along a stalk which develop into naked and dark seeds loosely attached to it.

The whole plant is prepared either as fresh or blanched salad, complete with fresh tomato, onion and a dash of salt. The more common preparation is as decoction, with appreciable amount of the plant’s stem and leaves brought to boiling. A glassful of this preparation taken daily proves effective to people who are suffering of arthritis.

3. Celery is known as health food and medicine.
Botanically known as Apium graveolens, this member of the parsley family has been known as a powerful alkaline vegetable and medicine as far back as Hippocrates’ time. It is rich in vitamins A, B, and C. It provides the body with the needed minerals, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium.

These properties explain the effectiveness of celery in curing rheumatism and arthritis by neutralizing uric acid and other excess acids in the body and purifying the blood, thus detoxifying the body as a whole. The high sodium content prevents calcium from forming deposits in the body.

Celery is used in a number of ways, such as the following preparations:
· Salad - Celery is served raw like any salad or side dish.
· Celery juice – Wash well, add water and put it in a juicer or blender.
· Tea - Celery tea is prepared from its seeds
· Combined with other herbs, such as pepper (Capsicum). Celery goes well with apples and oranges in the diet. Avoid spices, pickles and sauces.
Use organically grown celery to be sure it does not contain pesticide residues and toxic metals. Look for the guarantee label when buying. Better still, grow your own vegetable.

4. Kakawate or madre de cacao poultice relieves inflammation and hematoma.
Old folks simply make a poultice from the leaves of this leguminous tree, Gliricida sepium. It is applied on the swollen area caused by hematoma, sprain, and infection until the inflammation subsides. This remedy is not popular because of the nauseating odor of kakawate. It is this characteristic odor that makes the plant an effective remedy for skin disorder (galis) in pets caused by licks, lice and flea.

5. Bark of narra tree controls diabetes.
Now it is being commercialized – a tablet for diabetic patients prepared from the bark of narra (Pterocarpus indicus). Actually this is an old remedy in the tropics where narra abounds. Narra belongs to Dipterocarpaceae (two winged seed), the family which constitutes the dominant trees in a tropical rainforest. Old folks simply strip off a part of the bark, boil it and drink the decoction. According to laboratory analysis narra is rich in tannin which is the active principle that controls diabetes.

6. Makahiya is remedy for colds, cough, fever and flu.
Who would believe this extremely shy plant to be a potent cure? Gather some ten fresh mature leaves of makahiya (Mimosa pudica), boil for five minute in two cups of water in clay or stainless pot. Allow the decoction to cool before drinking it. Take it twice or thrice a day.

7. Garlic is remedy for heart burn and gas pain.
This is an old remedy I learned from my auntie when I was a kid. Anyone is predisposed to suffer of colic pain and heart burn which are usually associated with tension, indigestion, and sudden change of weather. And sufferers are of all ages. Try this folk remedy.

Roast four cloves of garlic under low heat. While still warm place them in a pair of bandage made of gauze or strip of cloth, and wrap each around the large toes with the garlic placed well below the toe nail. Allow the garlic for a couple of hours or overnight to draw out the trapped gas in the chest cavity that causes heart burn, and colic gas in the stomach and intestine. It is effective. Try it.