Thursday, March 14, 2013

50 Useful Trivia and Practical Tips - Self-administered test (True or False) Chicken Soup for Convalescents, Slow Lead Poisoning, etc.

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

1. The coconut crab is the biggest crab in the world.

2. The whale has a good memory. Beware if you injure a whale; it may have its revenge someday.

3. You can water plants at any time of the day.

4. The elevator does not open on the 13th floor.

5. A mirror should be covered during a thunderstorm because it attracts lightning.

6. For bottles that are difficult to open, cool the lid with ice and twist.

7. Chicken soup is best for convalescent.

8. There is truth to the report that car runs freewheeling uphill on “magnetic hill.” This enigmatic place is allegedly found at the foot of Mt. Makiling in Los Baños, Laguna, 60 km south of Manila, a stretch of country road overlooking the Laguna Bay.

9. There are skin whiteners that are rich in mercury.

10. The country with the highest rate of traffic accidents in the Asian region is the Philippines.

11. f a clock that has not been working suddenly chimes, it means there will be death in the family.

12. Place charcoal inside a refrigerator to remove bad odor.

13. Poultice of gumamela flowers hastens “ripening” of boil (pigsa).

14. Pulling out a gray or while hair will cause ten more to grow in its place.

15 It’s bad to expose a pregnant woman’s belly to photo flash – she will give birth to a baby with physical defect.

16. To get good grades place your review notes or books under your pillow and sleep on them.

17. Egg shells induce flowering of orchids.

18. Banana with freckles and discolorations means it is sweet.

19. Playing sungka is bad because of the nature of the game to “kill” your opponent.

20. Avoid mending clothes at night; it might cause blindness.

21. Don’t harm the señora, the matron rat; otherwise it will destroy more things in the house.

22. Knock once or twice – not thrice, else you court the attention of the devil.

23. Orange clouds are bad omen; they are signs of either drought or poor harvest.

24. If the money spent on wedding was borrowed, the couple will always be in debt.

25. When leaving the dining table ahead, those who are still eating should rotate their plates otherwise they will remain unmarried - for those who are not, of course.

26. Emergence of the salagubang and salaguinto beetles usher the start of the amihan or Siberian cold wind.

27. Place money in a bed pan (arinola), so that it becomes plentiful.

28. The wishbone of a chicken makes a wholesome game for two. Wish comes true to the one who gets the common stem of the Y-shape bone.

29. Children are sacrificed in making bridges and other infrastructure.

30. Pigs are the only animals that will drink hard liquor voluntarily.

31. Corals are burned and pulverized to make cement.

32. We put “blinders” on workhorses because horses can’t focus their eyes the way humans and other animals do.

33. When cooking crabs and shrimps first bring the water to boiling, then immediately immerse them - dead or alive – to make them bright red.

34. Before a goat is slaughtered, it is forced to drink liquor.

35. A mad dog vehemently rejects water; and will go wild if forced to drink.

36. Rice is the first thing to carry with when moving to a new house.

37. To break the dormancy of certain seeds like palay, tobacco, saluyot, quickly immerse these seeds in ice water before you plant them.

38. Castor bean (Ricinus communis)or tangan-tangan is poisonous.

39. Use elbow to test tepid bath for the baby.

40. Kugtong - giant lapu-lapu - really exists. Its mouth is so big, a man’s head could get through it easily.

41. Angalo, the friendly giant, is a real person.

42. A sex of a child is determined by the sex chromosomes of the mother.

43. Pansit-pansitan or Piperomia pellucida relieves arthritis.

44. Pollen allergy is often the cause of sneezing fit and asthmatic symptoms.

45. Kamagong, the hardest wood comes from mabolo.

46. Among the local dialects, only Ilocano has the term for tempering – paslep.

47. You can detect fish caught by dynamite because dynamited fish have eyes, abdomen, scales and flesh battered by the blast.

48. Beer attracts the giant land snail, Achatina fulica.

49. A person born suwi’ (breech birth) can remove bone stuck in the throat by mere sleight of his hand.

50. Victims of lead poisoning may not be aware of their actual condition.


1. True. It can weigh up to 4 kilos and can live for 30 years. It climbs coconut trees, harvest the nut and crack it open with its powerful pincers. Being a favorite delicacy it is now declared an endangered species.

2. True. Remember Moby Dick the white whale in Herman Merville’s novel of the same title? At the end, the whale had its revenge killing its torturers, Captain Ahmed and his crew, and sinking their ship.

3. False. Watering plants during hot hours causes pasma, the effect of sudden and alternate exposure to heat and cold. This is what exactly happens when you train a water hose on plants directly exposed to noon heat. It causes damage to cells and tissues particularly in buds, growing leaves and flowers. Even if the plants don’t die under such conditions, they will cease to grow and develop normally, a term we call bansot. The best time to water the plants is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Allow the plants to get adjusted to the weather. And do the watering with tender, loving care (TLC).

4. True. Architects and builders generally give way to this tradition and superstitious belief. I have yet to ride an elevator that stops at the 13th floor.

5. False, but the reflection of lightning will only exacerbate fear.

6. False. It is the opposite – slowly heat the lid and twist. This technique ideally applies to glass jars with metal cover. The principle involved is that metal and other materials expand when heated, and contract when subjected to cold. The lid readily expands when heated while the glass jar doesn’t expand as much. Heat also loosens wax and other sticky materials.

7. True. However, there are specifications of the kind of chicken to be served. First, it must be native chicken. Karurayan is the term in Ilocos for a pure white native chicken which does not bear any trace of color on its feathers. It is preferably a female, dumalaga or fryer, meaning it has not yet reached reproductive stage. It is neither fat nor thin. Usually the herbolario chooses one from recommended specimens. He then instructs and supervises the household in the way the karurayan is dressed, cut, cooked into tinola (stew) and served to the convalescent. He does not ask for any fee for his services, but then he takes home one or two of the specimens that did not pass the specifications. Chicken soup as a convalescent food is recognized in many parts of the world. Because of its popularity, chicken soup has become associated with healing, not only of the body – but the soul as well. In fact there is a series of books under the common title Chicken Soup - for the Woman’s Soul, Surviving Soul, Mother’s Soul, Unsinkable Soul, Writer’s Soul, etc. Of course, this is exaggeration, but nonetheless it strengthens our faith that this lowly descendant of the dinosaurs that once walked the earth of its panacean magic.

8. False. Puzzled at the mystery, I brought my car to the place. I shifted the transmission stick to neutral, released the brakes, and anticipated what would happen. Surprisingly the wheels began to move and slowly gained momentum. The car was coasting uphill! On second thought I asked myself, “Am I drawn by magnetic force?” People in the area believe the mountain is one huge magnet. It has lured many people to experience the legendary phenomenon. To check if it is really true, I turned back to where I had started earlier. This time it was going “downhill,” but the car did not respond, so I shifted to low gear. Halfway there was water coming from a nearby spring and flowing along the roadside. If water seeks its own level, why is it running uphill? And there I found the explanation. The whole thing is an optical illusion.

9. True. There are cases of mercury poisoning among whitener users reported in Hongkong. Mercury is injurious to the kidney and liver, and may cause deformity in children as in the case of the Minamata disease.

10. False. It is Thailand, with three fatalities in one hour. Studies show that the main cause of traffic accidents is stress and fatigue. Since inducing massage on tired feet, thigh and muscles in gas stations, the rate of accident has significantly decreased.

11. False. It is one of the horror stories, and those of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a great American fiction writer. Two of his ghostly novels are The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

12. True. Charcoal absorbs unpleasant odor and gases in the air. For newly painted room place charcoal at the corners of the room, and in three to five days it is safe for occupancy.

13. True. Hibiscus rosasinensis contains pharmacological properties to explain its folkloric use, such as alkaloids and terpenes.

14. False, but pulling out hairs may adversely affect nearly nerves and may cause infection.

15. False, it is impossible to transmit knowledge this way during sleep. But “incubation” of what we have earlier studied or observed may take place in the unconscious mind, even when we are asleep, which sometimes come as dream.

16. False. There is no scientific basis to this claim. The radiation is so little as to affect the child in the womb.

17. True. Eggshell is a source of Calcium which is needed by the plant, and in neutralizing acidity.

18. False, in fact such condition is the result of attacking insects and pathogens. It is often that we find lumps in the fruit, or the fruit itself is deformed or disheveled.

19. False. Well, there are games designed to putting down the opponent mercilessly, and in ways and terms that are not kind and pleasant.

20. False, but anything we do that is habitual under poor lighting will really lead to such condition.

21. False. In India however, rats are believed to be the re-incarnation of dead ancestors. Sometimes rats are called kabas, meaning little children, so that they are often treated with favor.

22. False, but you might get in trouble with the person who despise your manners.

23. True, the orange color of the sky is due to suspended dusts coming for drought affected areas. The Great Dust Bowl in the US in the thirties reminds us of this man-induced calamity.

24. False. But to borrow money to spend for a “bongacious” ceremony is definitely not a good start for the couple.

25. False, but it has become a common practice; even married people do it foolheartedly.

26. False. These insects which reside under the soil for about a year as grubs subsisting on roots of plants emerge at the start of the rainy season (habagat), hence their names May or June beetles.

27. False. But who would suspect money to be found inside an arinola but its owner?

28. False. There is a trick to break the bone to one’s advantage.

29. True. It is an ethnic practice which we may have forgotten. The Great Walls of China and the Pyramids of Egypt are known to contain entombed human sacrifices.

30. True, and you can only imagine what happens afterward.

31. True. This is the way of making cement in olden times. Corals are calcium deposits accumulated for thousands of years.

32. True. They have to change the angle of their head if they want to see objects clearly. That’s why they bob their heads up and down, or swing it side to side. To avoid this, horses must wear blinders to have their eyes focused straight and avoid disruptions.

33. True. Try it.

34. False. It is vinegar that is given to the animal to make its meat tastier and reduce its characteristic odor (angdud Ilk). Vinegar is placed in a small bottle and inserted into the animal’s mouth forcing it to be swallowed. The animal is then bled and consequently slaughtered.

35. True. That is how the word hydrophobia is associated with mad dog.

36. True. Together with rice comes a short list of basic necessities such as a bundle of firewood, salt, beans, nuts, fruits, sugar and coffee. The belief is that the family will not run out of these basic needs, an ethnic practice which still prevails in remote communities.

37. False. Immerse the seeds in hot water (around 60 degrees Celsius) as quickly as you can, allow the seeds to cool off and plant them immediately.

38. True. The seeds of Ricinus communis contain one of the most poisonous substances in nature – ricin.This is the reason castor oil as purgative is no longer recommended. Purified ricin is reportedly used in the manufacture of lethal weapons.

39. True. When testing the proper bath temperature, immerse your elbow for a few seconds to determine if the bath is just right – not too warm nor too cold. The finger is not as sensitive to do this test. Next time you bathe your baby, try this useful tip.

40. True. I saw two giant lapu-lapu (kugtong) caught in Sablayan Occidental Mindoro by local fishermen sometime in 1982. Biologically, kugtong is female; the male is minuscule compared to it and is attached to the female - a special case of commensalism.

41. False. Angalo is just a legend of the Ilocos region. It is like Lam-ang, Achilles, Beowulf, or any epic hero.

42. False. It is the sperm cell, because it carries either the X or the Y chromosome, while the ovum or egg carries only the X chromosomes. XY means it is a boy; XX, a girl.

43. True. 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 is a common folk remedy.

44. True. It is called allergy rhinitis. There are people who are highly sensitive to pollen grains. And their allergy is specific to certain plants, and at certain seasons these plants are in bloom. Plants belonging to Family Poaceae or Graminae which include rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, talahib, cogon, and the like generally bloom in the last quarter beginning in October when dry season takes over the waning habagat season.

45. True. Diospyros discolor. It was once plentiful in Philippine forests.

46. True. Other Philippine dialects, not even Tagalog, have a term for tempering, the process of hardening bolos and knives as durable and sharp as steel.

47. True. Report to nearest authority the presence of such fish.

48. True. Place the beer bait in a shallow pan, and gather the snails in the morning and destroy them.

49. False. I was born suwi, which means I came out of the womb with head last. When I was a child my dad used to tell people I could dislodge a bone stuck in the throat. And he would bring in “patients” whom I would gladly heal by “feeling” where the bone is and telling them to move their heads here or there, and to swallowing hard with something solid like banana. Believe me after some trials, my patients would find relief, affirming that indeed being suwi is the key to this special gift. But as years went by I ceased to be the healer people knew, and what I thought I was, especially when I finished college. “Get the cat’s paw,” I would advise kindheartedly.

50. True. It is because lead poisoning is slow and cumulative. Take the case of the sickly little boy who puzzled the kindly old family doctor of his condition. Then on a fine Sunday morning the doctor happened to drop at the boy’s residence. While having coffee with the family the doctor found something and exclaimed; “Now I know why my young patient is sickly!” It was like Archimedes who got out of the bathtub shouting, “Eureka! Eureka!” (I found it, I found it) He pointed at the gold lining on the rim of the coffee cup which has faded which means that the user is slowly taking in the lead-rich paint. On inspecting the other china the doctor found the same condition. ~~

Count the number of correct answers and rate it accordingly.
46 - 50 Outstanding

41 – 45 Very Good

36 – 40 Good

26 – 35 Average

16 – 25 Poor

15 - below Listen to Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid regularly.

x x x

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