Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Treat: Giants once roamed the earth. Is it true?

Dr Abe V Rotor

BigfootChildren who saw giants - real or imaginary -
made better in life than those who did not.

Giants fascinate children most, and mothers do not run out of stories about the kapre or Jack and the Beanstalk or the giant squid that attacked Captain Nemo’s submarine in Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to keep them at home or eat their vegetables.

Giants to the young mind are living creatures bigger than life, and they possess supernatural powers that they unleash either for good or evil.

There are friendly giants, ugly giants, sleeping giants, giants of the deep, and so on.

They are either aggressive or passive, visible or hidden, loved and hated. It is the enigma about them that heightens their stories, and in fact the stories themselves make them real giants.

Here are popular giants from books and stories, which are often featured in comics and cartoons:

• Nessie in Loch Ness (Scotland) is believed to be a prehistoric reptile. It continues to attract tourists, even after a century after someone took a photo of the monsters on the murky water.

• Bigfoot is believed to be a huge hairy creature roaming the forests of North America. It is projected as a prehistoric man with beast like characteristics.

• Abominable Snowman or Yeti has been sighted on a number of occasions by residents on the snowy slopes of the Himalayas.

 Kapre is the Filipino version of a supernatural being, more of a beast than human, that lives in trees and abandoned places.

Giants in fiction stories and novels are virtually endless.
  • Take the case of Gulliver of Lilliput by Jonathan Swift. King Kong the ape monster that crushed cares and leveled buildings.
  • Greek mythology would not be as exciting if there were no giants. Giants made Hercules a legendary hero. Imagine the giants he fought - the cyclop, the hydra, among others, during his ten years of wandering. Remember the Minotaur - half man, half bull - whom Theseus killed in order to liberate the monster's hostages?
  • How big was Goliath in the bible whom the boy hero, David slew?
  • Then we have our own Bernardo Carpio, and Angalo, most popular Philippine epics.
  • A favorite bedtime story is Jake and Beanstalk. I wonder how the story can lull children to sleep - specially when the giant comes crushing down to earth!
  • Recently Honey I Shrunk the Kidsand its opposite - Honey I Blew Up the Baby became cinema's box office attractions.
Well, children who saw giants - real or imaginary - made better in life than those who did not. ~

TRIVIA: What is the biggest living creature that ever lived on earth? It this creature still alive? Send your answer. Welcome to the club!

Home, Sweet Home with Nature, AVR; acknowledgment, Wikipedia for illustration.

Live Naturally in your Home

 Dr Abe V Rotor

Home gardening and landscaping take us into the realms of happy living. They take us closer to nature in our waking hours and in our sleep, in our private and solemn moments, as well as moments with our family, and when celebrating an event. This is the place we call home.

Classical Bahay Kubo, painting by the author 

1. Aesthetic beauty – Beauty and function must go hand on hand. There is a saying, “useless each without the other.” In science, morphology (form) enhances physiology (function), and vice versa. Maganda na, napapakinabangan pa. You need the sensitivity of an artist, and the green thumb of a gardener.

2. Food Security – It is having food grown in our garden, and processed in our kitchen. The concept of food security is in our hands, and in anticipation to our needs. All year round you can plan out what to plant and process, as how many times you can raise these products. Consult the planting calendar, practice effective techniques such as crop rotation, intercropping, and storey cropping. Plant those known to be best adapted in the area.

3. Livelihood – What you produce more than yourself and your family, you sell to the community and to the market, if the volume warrantees. These are produced directly from the garden – vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and eggs. Or these are products of cottage processing like salted eggs, patis and bagoong, wine and vinegar, toge, pickles, jam, jelly and the like.

4. Ecological Sanctuary – Offer a home for the homeless - the orphans and the endangered organisms which humans have driven or displaced. Make your home their sanctuary, maybe their last bastion. Your home is an extension of the wildlife, of a ecosystem, or a natural park, so that if the whole community adopts the same concept, we would in effect create a contiguous areas large enough to be considered a prototype ecosystem.

Multi-purpose, modernized Bahay Kubo.

 5. Buffer Zone – Keep your home free of dusts and unburnt carbon, and obnoxious gases mainly CO2, CO and S02. Trees and other plants serve as buffer to direct light and ultraviolet rays. They also buffer sound waves, reducing the extreme decibels generated by traffic and electronics.

6. Mini climate – A garden surrounding a home does not only reduce temperature, buy moderates its extremes and sudden changes. They generate of O2 , while absorb CO2 which they need for photosynthesis. Relative humidity is regulated, and deadly rays such as those emitted by communication transmission towers are reduced to a safe level.

7. Sense of Permanence – The home offer a permanent abode, opposite to transience, rootlessness, and impermanence. People tend to move from place to place – a neo-nomadic trend today. We establish our genetic and cultural “roots” not only of one generation but of the next and future – if we have a home we really call home. It reminds me of the beautiful poem and song, Home Sweet Home. I remember my dad who planted seedlings of trees when he was already very old. These trees, he said, will be for you and my grandchildren, his eyes twinkling with a sense of pride. Can you imagine an old, old mango or mabolo tree in your backyard? How many passersby have found comfort under its shade? How many tenants did it  serve – in its roots to its leaves?

8. Recreating a Lost Garden – A recreation of Paradise Lost, the foundation of many faiths, is a key to attain spirituality. It is in the loss of a once beautiful world that challenges us – whatever our religion is – to be able not only to survive without it, but to be inspired and guided to rebuild it. It is yet the greatest prayer we can offer to that Higher Principle.

9. Family Unity – A family that lives together in unity and harmony with Nature stays together. This has a basis found in biology and ecology. Only when the members of a system know their roles and respect each other can we really find peace and unity.

10. Community Involvement – No man is an island. In the city we can live without even knowing our neighbors. Condominiums are but multiple compartments. There is no sense of neighborhood or community. Each to his own. And we do not know if the occupant of one compartment will be the same next week. 

Sketch on a bond, an aerial view of a home garden you have in mind, and if there is one that already exists, study and analyze which aspects are applicable in your particular situation. Definitely the house and the garden should be contiguous in the sense that, like the concept of the American bungalow, “one step is in the garden while the other is in the house.”

How aptly stated; the imagery needs little explanation. The level of the floor is the level of the garden. Not necessarily. It means, you have but one lifestyle whether you are in the house or in its surroundings. Better said, you are at home whichever part of your home you are in. Of course some people would like their house to be treated apart of the surroundings, but if you adopt the Bahay Kubo concept and adjust it to fit into the basic amenities of living today, then our model is like the American bungalow but Filipino style.~

We Brought Nature to a Forum

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []

Author receives Plaque of Appreciation as speaker on Humanities and Sustainability from Ms Violeta M Bonilla, president DARE Foundation and Mr Naoya Nishiwaki, president of Panasonic Philippines, sponsor of the forum.

All smiles mark the culmination of the forum on Environment: Greening the land for sustainabilitity - opportunities and constraints at Balay Kalinaw, University o the Philippines, Diliman QC, October 17 2012, organized by DARE Foundation.

Participants' profile represents media, education, local government, entertainment, students, agriculture  business, industry, environmentalists, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and various professions.  

Twenty Major Environmental Issues

By Dr. Abe V. Rotor

Wall Mural Tropical Rainforest by A V Rotor 2000

"The ultimate test of any civilization

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

No period in history has man influenced the environment as much as what he is doing today in pursuit of seemingly unending affluence. And instead of “tailoring his lifestyle to the environment” as what his ancestors did for centuries, he is modifying the environment in order to meet such affluence.

Environmental Issues

1. The environment has changed a lot in the last two hundred years since the start of industrialization, which is also the start of the modern age. The biggest effect to human health contributed by this era is widespread pollution. Pollution is the by-product of industrialization, and the scourge of modern living.

2. Pollution is no longer confined within geographic divisions of land, water and air - or in a particular country or region; it has grown into global proportion. The effect is worldwide in the form of global warming, causing more erratic climatic disturbances, thinning of the ozone layer, worsening effect of acid rain, among others. Pollution allergy cases arise directly from garbage, smoke from factories and vehicles, acid rain contact, sudden changes in temperature and humidity, ultraviolet rays near the ozone hole - and most specially from the gas-fed engine.

3. Modernization and the “good life” have brought about affluence, first to the industrialized countries, and later to countries which followed the same Western World model of development. People want goods and services beyond their actual need. Affluence - more than necessity - has greater impact on the environment in the form of depletion of natural resources and pollution. Affluence in the extreme is indeed a wasteful land destructive style of living.

4. The increase in population continues in geometric pattern, reaching 7 billion to date. At its present trend, another billion people will be added to the world’s population in the next 10 years or so. New settlements, bigger cities, increasing population density predispose people to various pathogens and allergens.

5. The general trend all over the world is exodus to urban centers. Metropolises and megapolises with 10 to 20 million people ensconced under crowded condition are not uncommon, with Tokyo, New York and Mexico City topping the list. Meantime villages grow into towns and towns into cities. The ratio of rural dwellers to city dwellers will soon reach equal proportion, and is likely to overtake the latter. People crowd in subdivisions, condominiums, malls, schools, churches, parks, in great numbers sharing common lifestyles and socio-economic conditions, thus predisposing them to common health problems and vulnerabilities, including disruptions of basic services (brownouts, water interruptions, and the like).

6. Destruction of the environment is a consequence of increasing population and affluence, leading not only to loss of productivity of farmlands, but also loss of farmlands to industry and settlements. This leads to the irreversible destruction of ecosystems like the lakes, rivers, forests, and coral reefs. Loss of health of the environment means loss of health of living things. And loss of environment is loss of life itself.

7. The ecosystems bear the brunt of development and progress. These are the sanctuaries of biological diversity, the natural abode of organisms assigned and organized in their respective niches. The ecosystems are organized into biomes, biomes into one biosphere. The ultimate cause of extinction of a species is in the destruction of its natural habitat. Man’s existence is highly dependent on a complex web of interrelationship with the members of the living world that by disturbing the integrity of this order will affect humans, and other living things as well.

8. Humans continue to invade the wildlife, and as the wildlife shrinks, the displaced species invade human habitats in return. Finding sanctuary in his home, backyards, farm, park and other places these species transmit deadly diseases like SARS, HIV-AIDS, Ebola, and Bird Flu, allergy notwithstanding.

9. The “Good Life” spawns obesity and other overweight conditions with millions of sufferers around the world. In the US one out of five persons is an obese. Obesity is a product of sedentary living and imbalance nutrition, and suspected to be viral. Victims suffer of various health problems, and the difficulty in getting adjusted to an active life style. Because of their conditions they are merely spectators, rather than participants, in games and other physical activities, thus exacerbating their pitiful condition.

10. “One-half of the world’s population has too little to eat, while the other half simply has too much,” as revealed in How the Other Half Dies, a book by a former UN expert, Susan George. The hungry and undernourished are mostly children, no less than 800 million of them living in Third World countries. For one who is hungry most of the time, it is difficult to diagnose the effects of hunger and physiologic imbalance from those of the accompanying symptoms of diseases and ailments. It is as if these symptoms were all welded into one.

11. Global warming is changing the face of the earth: shorelines push inland, islands sink, lowlands turn into swamps, while icecaps and glaciers disappear. As sea level rises there is need of relocation, and building new settlements. Adaptation is key to allergy resistance and immunity, but this is not possible overnight; it takes a lifetime if not generations to obtain. Indeed displacement of settlements and change in living conditions predispose people to ailments and allergies.

12. Globalization is taking place in practically all aspects of human endeavor – trade, commerce and industry, agriculture, the arts, education, politics, religion and the like. The world has shrunk, so to speak, as it travels on two feet: communications and transportation, Traveling from one place to another across latitudes and longitudes predispose one to unimaginable kinds of ailments, allergies, and discomforts. Permanence of domicile has given way to transience, to impermanence.

13. Homogenization involves pooling of genes through inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages resulting in various mestizos like Eurasian, Afro-Asian, Afro-American, Amerasian, and the like. Mélange of races results from East and West marriages. Biologically it is the native genes that provide organisms resistance to pests, diseases, and adverse conditions of the environment. Native genes lose their effectiveness when “thinned out” too far. In the process their gene pool narrows down and may ultimately disappear. Mestizos of subsequent generations are likely to lose such advantage.

14. Science and technology as the prime mover of progress and development has also brought doubt and fear to man’s future. The first breakthrough is the splitting of the atom that created the nuclear bomb, the second is the invention of the microchip which shrunk the globe into the size of a village, and the third, Genetic Engineering now enables man to tinker with life itself. Each invention or discovery bears heavily on the way man lives, beneficial or otherwise. Radiation related death still occurs in Nagasaki and Hiroshima 50 years after the bombing. The young generation spend more time with the computer and TV than with outdoor activities and with nature, Gene Therapy – curing gene-link diseases before they are expressed – is revolutionizing medicine. Naturally all these have repercussions on human health and welfare.

15. Revolutionary industries have been born out of these breakthroughs and related discoveries linking them with the business world and growing affluence, giving rise to in vitro fertilization or test tube babies, surrogate motherhood, Human Genome Project (HGP or gene mapping), multiple childbirth, DNA mapping, etc. The prototype human robot is born, and he is not defect-free. In fact he is more dependent on medicine, and could not possibly withstand the conditions of the natural environment the  way normal individuals do. Indeed he will lead a very dependent life.

15. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

16. Green Revolution has expanded to cover non-conventional frontiers, invading the seas, deserts, watersheds, highlands, and swamps. On the other hand it has began adopting a revolutionary approach through Genetic Engineering – that is, the splicing of genetic materials between and among organisms that may not be at all related, pooling traits as scientists deem desirable. Thus the introduction of GMOs and Frankenfood, which are now in the market. To augment limited farmlands, aerophonics (farming rooftops), hydroponics or soil less farming, urban greening, and organic farming, are being developed, as measures to bring nature closer to settlements, and augment urban food supply.

17. Agriculture today depends heavily on Post Harvest Technology. To bridge the production source with the consumption end, the farm and the market, is no easy task, especially with perishable goods. Thus the proliferation of processed goods, supermarket, and fast food chains, ready-to-eat packs, sophisticated culinary art. Many food additives and adjuncts are allergenic, from salitre in longganiza to pesticide residue in vegetables, MSG in noodles to Aspartame in fruit juice, formalin in fish to dioxin in plastics, antibiotic residues in meat, poultry and milk notwithstanding.

18. Modern medical science is responsible in reducing mortality and in increasing longevity. But it is also responsible for the many ills of today, from genetically linked abnormalities to senility related ailments. It made the exchange of organs and tissues through transplantation possible, and lately tissue cloning - which some scientists believe will make people live as long as 140 years. Bodies are ultra wealthy individuals lie in cryonics tanks waiting for science to discover the secret of resurrection. As a rule, evolution culls out the unfit members of a population to keep the gene pool healthy and strong. This is true to all organisms. Only man can influence his own evolution and that of other organisms, thus putting Darwinism in his hands.

19. Exploration has brought man into the fringes of Planet Earth: into the depth of the sea and beyond the expanse of the Solar System, ushering the birth of inner and outer space science, and preparation for interplanetary travel. Man is are learning to live outside of the confines of planet earth. He has succeeded in probing the bottom of the ocean, put up a city in space - the Skylab, and aiming at conquering another planet – a long distant goal of assuring the continuity of mankind after the demise of the earth.

20. Globalization is dissolving the rigid walls of nationalism to give way to regional and international cooperation and unity as evidenced by European Union, ASEAN, APEC, CGIAR with seven members such as ICRISAT, CYMMIT, IRRI, and the expansion of the United Nations to include WTO, ILO, and UNEP. Fighting global diseases that include asthma and allergy depends largely on cooperation on all levels. In the same way a community fights Dengue, so with whole continents arresting the spread of HIV-AIDS, SARS, Bird’s Flu, and the like.

*Part of paper, Humanities and Sustainability , Environmental Forum "Greening the land for ustainability: opportunities and coinstraints" UP Diliman October 17, 2012

Poem 1I asked God for More 

                                                          Dr Abe V Rotor

                 Virgin Forest: only 3 percent is left in the Philippines.

                             Requiem to a forest, Brooke's Point Palawan

I asked God for food, clothing and shelter
     and He showered me
these necessities I can not live without -
     they are the Earth's bounty;
I settled down on fertile hills and valleys
     and multiplied freely.

I asked God for power to boost my strength,
     and He gave me energy;
I leveled the mountains, dammed the rivers
     and conquered the sea;
raped the forests, prairies, lakes and estuaries,
     a world I wanted to be.

I asked God if I can be god, too, all knowing
     with my technology;
broke the sacred code of life and of matter,
     changed the Great Story;
annihilated life unfit in my own design,
     and set my own destiny.

I asked God if He is but a creation of the mind,
     and rose from my knee;
probed space, rounding up the universe,
     aiming at immortality;
bolder than ever, searching for another home,
     and wanting to be free. ~

Acknowledgment: Photos, Dr Julie Barcelona 

Poem 2: "Please, come, and I'll give Thee rest." 

Dr Abe V Rotor

Wall mural and pond, at home, by AVRotor 2010

The walls I painted hills and valleys and forests, 
    towering to the roof I painted blue, clouds rising, 
birds flying in flock to meet the rising sun, as fresh
    as the morning air, chirping sweet songs, circling;

And below a dozen pako fish wake in the golden 
    reflection of morning, eager for food and company;
I wonder if ever they feel the confines of a den,
    for I have faithfully copied Rousseau's scenery.  

Dream no more I said to myself, of Paradise Regained -
    It is here, in the very core of being next to the heart
and soul, this Phrygian landscape with touch of vane,
    the essence of contrition and amendment for my part.

For nothing is unforgivable, that Sin inherited by us
    from our ancestors - we're doomed, deprived of heaven
on earth. No! the gifts the Creator have been passed
    onward, and here I created a piece of that lost Eden.

Here I see God across the wall, and above my head,
    His harmonious creation over land, across the sea,
I am part of the cycle of life everyday, even in bed,
    as seasons come and go, here I feel always free.

When lakes and rivers dry, and the sky no longer blue;
    as cities grow, land fills with waste, air no longer fresh;
I pick my brush, say a prayer in color, shade and hue,
    Inviting my Creator, "Please come, and I'll give Thee rest." ~  

Home, Sweet Home by AV Rotor

Meet Some Rare Organisms

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog 
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday 

Lesson: Can you identify these organisms?   Where can you find them? Describe their life history, habitat and interrelationship with humans and other organisms. What are their peculiar characteristics?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bangongot! Sleep paralysis - wiggle your toes, move your fingers – don’t give up!

Dr Abe V Rotor
Sleep paralysis - wiggle your toes, move your fingers – don’t give up!

People who have experienced sleep paralysis mistake it as bangongot.  It is because of its very nature as a near death experience and it is indeed very scary.

 I have experienced it myself in a number of times at least in two ways. 

1. The most common is when you are dreaming, say of running but you can’t run, box someone but you can’t raise your arm. Imagine you are being chased by a wild animal and you are glued in your place! There’s one thing you can do: panic and talk incoherently or shout. You wake up tired, panting, perspiring, trying to decipher whether the experience is true or just a dream. It is so vivid that when you are back to your senses you can relate perhaps the whole story.  

2. The other kind of sleep paralysis is more frightening.  It is one that may or may not be preceded by a dream.  On waking up, you can’t move. You feel totally paralyzed with perhaps only your brain functioning. Panic seizes you as you attempt to move but cannot.  Frantically you try to move any part of your body. In my experience the first to respond are the fingers and toes, then the limbs, and as blood begins to circulate perked by adrenaline, you find yourself finally “back to the living.”    

Sleep paralysis is nature’s way of protecting us during our unconscious moments.  Otherwise we become another Hercules who killed his wife and children in his sleep.  This safeguard is not absolutely foul proof though.  Take the case of sleepwalking and some cases of violence that occur during sleeping.  Well, whatever way there is to assuage you, sleep paralysis really scares you to death. Just don’t give up.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Anna's Paintings: Two Faces of Flowers

Anna's Paintings: Two Faces of Flowers
Dr Abe V Rotor

white, delicate, immaculate, pure;
red, flaming, romantic, demure; 

flowing, silky, translucent, queenly;  
fiery, ascendant, stout, kingly. 

endearing, fancy, coy, culpable;
ephemeral, magical, lovable.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Old Folks’ Science or Superstition?

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday []

Which is which? Find out the answer at the end of this test.

1. Raining while the sun is out breeds insects.
2. Nangka may bear fruit from its roots underground.
3. You know how big ube tuber is by its mound.
4.Karurayan na dumalaga (all white female fryer) is best food for a recuperating patient.
5. Swarming of winged termites and ants predicts siyam-siyam (18 days of uninterrupted rainfall)
6. Red sky in the west means coming of a typhoon.
7. When you break a glass, take another and break it too, to break the omen.
8. Kapre (ogre) lives on old trees; dwende (dwarf) lives among mushrooms.
9.When a spoon is accidentally dropped, a female guest is coming. If fork, a male guest.
10. When buying watermelon, choose that which has wide spaces between the “ribs.” It is more fleshy and sweet.

Acacia is the biggest legume.  True or False?

 This frog is arboreal.  True or False?
11. Actually you can hear the earth breath on a quiet summer night.

12. Predominance of cogon grass means the land is not worth farming.
13. Snake means good luck; monitor lizard bad luck.
14. Oranges with indented bottom are sweeter.
15. Powdered rhino horn is medicine and aphrodisiac.
16. Worms improve the taste of bagoong or patis. (fish sauce)
17. Just wipe kitchen with mild vinegar to drive ants away.

                                       Can you identify this tree?

18. Large and round macopa contains seeds, so with lanzones.
19. Prune standing corn stalk to get fuller cobs.
20. There are people who cook ampalaya which tastes more bitter.
21. A brooding animal, like snake, is ferocious.
22. Guava seeds may cause appendicitis
23. Ginseng increase human virility or has aphrodisiac property.       
24. Cut the leaves (pruning) of rice seedlings before transplanting in the field to make them grow faster and bigger.
25. When you eat twin bananas you will bear also twins.
26. During full moon crabs are lean.
27. Phases of the moons influence behavior (lunatic effect).
28. Gate must not face directly the dead-end of a road.
29. Planting cassava stem upturned will produce poisonous tuber.
30. Ring around the moon means a storm coming.
31. When you have a fishbone stuck, get the cat and gently rub its paws on the affected area.
32. When a spoon is accidentally dropped, a female guest is coming. If fork, a male guest.
33. A brooding animal, like snake, is ferocious.
34. Food offering at the family altar during festivals is homage to the spirits
35. Say tabi-tabi when entering a thicket.
36. Put sugar as fertilizer to get sweeter fruits.
37. Some people suffer body aches before a typhoon brews near.
38. When walking through a forest, wear a face mask backward to ward of tiger or lion attack.
39. When harvesting the first fruits, get an oversize basket and pretend that the harvest is heavy.
40. Expect rain if hordes of dragonflies hover low.
41. Size and shape of lips of a woman reflects her private organ.
42. Get male flower and introduce it into the female flower to enhance the fruit to develop.
43. Crickets are noisiest in summer.
44. When transplanting banana tiller take out the eyes (young tiller buds) arising on the corm.
45. Wet your navel with the first raindrops in summer.
46. Noisy hen layers are not productive layers.
47. Roosters do sometimes lay eggs which are very small and sterile.
48. Throw sand into axils of coconut leaves to prevent beetle attack
49. Black cat bring bad luck when you meet them on the corridor or street.
50. Salaksak or kingfisher means death.

ANSWERS: False answer to 7,8,9,11,13,16,22,25,28,29,31,32,34,35,36,39,41,45 and 47.
Reference: Living with Folk Wisdom by AV Rotor, UST Publishing House España, Manila. Book available at National Book Store, and UST Publishing House.

RATING: 46-50 Outstanding. You must be one of the old folks.
41-45 Very Good . You must be living with old folks.
36-40 Good. You have a good grasp of tradition
31-34 Fair. You are not really moving away from tradition.
30 and below. Read more about old folks' science and superstitious beliefs.

Photos: True, False, kapok (Ceiba pentandra

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Semestral Break - Time for Reflection and Rest

Dr Abe V Rotor

Halloween Party: National Food Authority, QC 

Halloween the union of two worlds once a year:
living and dead, real and imaginary;
humbling of the living, visitation of the spirits,
filling up the vacuum of humanity. ~

Boating: Underground River, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

It's Journey to the Center of the Earth  of Jules Verne -
boating on an underground river into a dark cavern;
the adventure, it is the same, and so with their myth,
coming back whole and changed, the greatest relief. ~

Snorkeling: Balaoan, La Union 

World in a world under the sea,
this minuscule of the forest 
how little, how few, can see
where land and sea meet 
and divide every day. ~ 

Family Picnic: Agoo La Union

Family to clan to tribe, the beginning of nation,
biblical truth that history probed;
too remote generations soon lose their identity,
unless they go back to their brood. ~

Keyhole Views of the World of Children

Dr Abe V Rotor

We take a casual view of a child's discovery;
     new to him of what we have long forgotten,
and remembering, we go back into the past  
     and become children once more, and again.

Naive and shy Mimosa the plant, cowering;
     playmate of children, begging, rousing
it not to droop, and yet it does to their awe;   
    surreptitiously behind their back, rising.

Children rub elbows with God and saints,
     talking to them not in prayers like us;
wishing for toys and gifts and our welfare,
     in simple joy, innocence and trust.

Take this child to fairy land,
     where beauty is everything, 
the butterfly, the garden, 
     the breeze passing by.

Instant swimming pool a broken pipe made 
     in the middle of a busy street;
who cares in the midst of a thousand laughter?
     please, the repairman can wait.

A world in a tent is cozy and warm,
     yet hard to be alone and to sleep;
for it's bigger than the whole world,
     the sounds of the night that creep.

Two kids the best of friends,
     talking in common language, 
the language of affection,
     they alone in their age.  

Sled to the stars with their dreams
     with the bullock their spaceship;
don't hurry, only in childhood does
     the impossible come true -
just don't sleep.

Flower girls, not forever to stay,
     up to the altar light and dainty;
time marches, their steps grow heavy, 
     and someday to matrimony   

An errand she does, a stream to tread
     passing by a lazy carabao herd,
to take to her grandma a loaf of bread
     in a once upon a time story heard.  

A thousand mascots will not save the world 
      of creatures caricatured, and children lured
to fantasy land, and waste money and time, 
      soapbox humor and art stunt their prime.    

Who are afraid of the dinosaur?  Children do.
     As they grow, they'll know, for heaven's sake!
another huge meteorite may strike the earth
     again and man is likely to meet the same fate! 

No guts no gain, to win the palo sebo game,
     so a hundred and one game best performed; 
not the prize though; the cheers, the triumph,
     matter most - the boy now a man transformed.  
Water, water, everywhere, and a lot more to wish;
     no classes, no parents calling, no letup of rain;
prayers won't work for rain to stop and ruin joy,
     the world rejoices in the frolic, in sweet insane.  

A crude springboard, the vast sea a pool;
     three kids make a world of their own; 
if the world is a stage, only the waves clap,
     its echoes to far away blown, unknown.     

Sleep stimulates growth.

Dr Abe V Rotor

Sleep stimulates growth. 

Old folks believe that a child, to grow big and tall, must get more than just enough sleep. When I was a child my auntie Basang always reminded me to sleep early at night and to take siesta everyday so that I will grow well. I believe her, I’m 180 lbs, 5’ 8.” tall. 

What has sleep to do with growing up? During sleep the body releases growth hormone, which is essential to growth. More hours of sleep are needed proportionately with the increase in the rate of growth.  As we grow older we need less and less sleep. 

Research reveals that preschoolers spend 20 to 30 percent of their sleeping time in deep sleep as compared with college students spending only 10 to 15 percent of their sleeping time.  Once we reach sixty, only 1 to 2 percent of our total sleep is spent to deep sleep, which explains why older people do not need as much sleep as younger people.  

Children who are abused often fail to grow at normal rates. But if these children are placed in a safe place where their sleep becomes undisturbed, their normal growth is resumed. Thus parents are advised to provide their growing children the conditions highly conducive to long and deep sleep.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Please eat the flowers

 Dr Abe V Rotor

 Squash flower ,  bagbagkong flower buds

Flower vegetables are nutritious. They go well with many recipes - from salad to bulanglang.

Puso ng saging is high in tannin and it’s good for diabetic patients. It can be an extender of expensive meat burgers. No kari-kari is without banana blossom. Pesang dalag is best with puso ng saging cut in chunks. Ginatang puso ng saging, anyone? When I was a kid, I love to eat the inner heart raw. It tastes like artichoke.

Squash flowers are high in carotin. It improves eyesight and prevents blindness. It is excellent with saluyot when cooking bulanglang or diningding. Add fresh mushroom. The best sahug when you are in the countryside is freshwater shrimp. If you have no problem with cholesterol, why not use as sahug bagnet (lechon kawali) from Vigan.

Alokong is a staminate or male flower which is gathered from the male tree. The female tree does not produce edible flowers. Because the tree is very tall, gatherers take the short cut of cutting the branches and take immature flowers and buds as well. Try buridibud by mashing kamote to thicken the soup. A unique recipe of Ilocanos is to combine alokong and malunggay pods in juvenile or succulent stage, and add broiled hito or bangos as sahug.

Katuray flower is blanched and served with tomato and a dash of salt. It is good for people who have elevated blood pressure. It is cooked the way alokong is prepared with kamote and sahug of fried or broiled bangos, hito or tilapia.

Another flower vegetable comes from madre de cacao or kakawate which blooms in summer. The flowers are our local counterpart of cherry blossom. Open the pot when it comes to a boil to reduce the characteristic bean taste.

Sampalok or tamarind flowers are gathered for sinigang. Malunggay flowers which include newly formed pods are cooked the same way as any bulanglang.

Cauliflower and broccoli are perhaps the most popular commercial vegetable flowers. They belong to Family Cruciferae. They grow on semi temperate and temperate countries, although they are grown in the tropics during the cool months. One disadvantage of Crucifers is that they are the most sprayed of all vegetables, and are likely to carry chemical residues hazardous to health. Cauliflower and broccoli are also among the most expensive vegetables. They are prepared in restaurants as chopsuey, dressing, soup, pickle and the like.

Other flower vegetables come from the following plants:
Flowers are not only for decoration and offering. Other than their aesthetic value, they are delicious, nutritious and unique.

Please eat the flowers. ~