Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mystery of the Macapuno (Article in progress)


How aware are you with things happening around?

Dr Abe V Rotor
Time out

Retire the balls, where have all the players gone?
the air is still for an extra mile, a second wind. 

Balloon Frog 

All air, thrice its size;
yet can't take into the air; 
it croaks for attention  
in some deep lair.
Biggest samat leaf (Macaranga tenarius)

Biggest leaf - banana; 
biggest fruit - nangka; 
biggest grass - bamboo;
biggest seed - coconut;
biggest of the biggest
biggest of all - big fish


Whose big hands are these? UST

Mackie: A Little Miss
Dried frogs 
 Meter long stringbean
 Flaming red dress - and rooster's crown 
 Jellyfish lens
 Traveler's Palm fountain 
Hitch hiker Canine 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dried Frog Delicacy

Palakang bukid, signature of rice farming in the tropics has returned.  
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

Dried Frog (Rana vitigera) from the ricefield.  The palakang bukid, once threatened - and endangered - is back on the dining table.  There are various recipes, the traditional one is cooking it fresh after dressing with acheute (Bixa orellana), coconut milk (gata) tomato, garlic and onions. Now dried frog is available in the market.  Try fried frog for breakfast. 

The favorite frog signature of rice farming in the tropics is back after decades of threatened existence to the point of being endangered in heavily sprayed ricefields, courtesy of chemical-based agricultural technology.

It is Nature triumph, with farmers reverting to traditional farming - the age-old farming system prior to the so-called Green Revolution. It is indicative of people moving away from high technology that makes their food unsafe, what with all the high residues of pesticides and chemical fertilizers!

How the frog's population declined to almost irreversible level is explained by its predatory nature and aquatic habit.  Insects are its main food.  Poisoned insects accumulate in its body. Poisoned water kills its eggs and tadpoles, even adults.  

Dressed frogs

There was a time people avoided frogs as food, yet it has been a favorite viand since agriculture began, together with snail, shrimps, crayfish, tilapia, catfish, dalag, and other freshwater fish similarly decimated by chemicals.

Things are changing.  Call it social equilibrium, when people become enlightened and cease to become a victim of destructive technology and capitalism. This is a new era of people-oriented, environment-friendly change. ~      

Living Wheels of Plankton

Author's concept of association and cooperation among the plankton communities cum associates that form food webs and ecosystems in oceans and lakes. 
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living Wheels of Plankton, in acrylic, AVR 2014. Author's concept of association and cooperation among the sea's plankton communities cum associates that form food webs at sea and lakes.  Sub-colonies in gyrating motion allows independence as well as convergence, always in dynamic balance.  This original concept is a tool for survival, following the principle of cellular organization into tissues, into organs and ultimately, into systems. Taken collectively, plankton form ecological systems that have common as well as distinct individual characteristics.   

Plankton, the biggest and most diverse group of organisms form interacting sub-colonies of millions of members living at the lighted zone of seas and lakes some 10 to 50 meters deep; 

Plankton, they are organized into food chains, to food webs and pyramids, through which the sun's energy flows through the living system these organisms make;

Plankton, the autotrophs (photo-synthesizers) capture solar energy, the heterotrophs (consumers), feed of the former, in turn are food of other bigger organisms, including man ultimately;

Plankton, without them the seas, oceans, and lakes would be barren like desert; they form the earth's largest pasture, the number one producers of biomass and Oxygen that supply the living world;    

Plankton, they are the least understood in composition and ecology, yet they are the oldest organisms, many barely changed through evolution some one billion years ago;  

Plankton, the least subject of art and literature, imagined more as fantasy rather than science, and nil in understanding social biology that links them with the human species;   

Plankton, they must have evolved from somewhere else other the primeval earth, perhaps they rode on asteroids, rose separately, but later merged into the family tree of life. ~  

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Guide to a New Year's Resolution: Ways to Attain a More Interesting Lifestyle

Based on an interview with the late Dell H. Grecia
Dell H Grecia was a veteran journalist writing for newspapers and magazines (columnist of Women's Journal and The Filipino Reporter), and appearing on television with Ka Gerry Geronimo's Ating Alamin. To the end of his life at 87, he continued on discussing with his friends current events, his experiences, tradition and values. And most important, how life should be lived. Thus this article in 2011, reprinted in his memory. 

Live on the countryside - not in the city.

Here are his suggestions on the ways to attain a more interesting lifestyle. In our conversation Ka Dell cautioned that not all of these suggestions applies to a person. They depend on age, culture, domicile, profession, and the like. In fact this serves more as a checklist rather than rules. One is free to choose, modify or add to the list as he may deem it fit under his situation and needs. What is important, Ka Dell emphasized, is how a person live a life that is happy, healthy, and meaningful.This is his message for the new year.

1. If you can manage, do not live in the city. It’s not a good idea to stay, live and work in Manila. The cost of living here is very high and is very complicated. Why not settle on the countryside?

2. Consider sending your children to schools in the provinces. While Manila is the center of education, there are many good schools in the provinces.

3. For the young, study the course you wish to pursue. Functional courses are becoming more in demand. They prepare you to become practical and opens great opportunities for self-employment.

4. Revive the bayanihan (cooperativism) spirit. For example, pooled transport will help a lot in saving money, gas, effort and labor. Cooperative farming, cleanup, gardening, are examples to apply this Filipino value.

5. Avoid food wastage. It takes a little ingenuity and art to convert leftover foods into new kinds of dish. Plan your menus according to your food budget. Cook at home, prepare the children's baon, and as much as possible, eat with the family.

6. Don't be lavish in everyday meals. Consider the nutritive values of the food served, and its proper distribution to the members of the family.

7. Plant some vegetables on vacant lots or in pots. Include herbals, and orchard trees if feasible. Make a home garden as part of your home.

8. On housing, follow the rules of nature on ventilation, sunlight exposure, and functional design. Your home should be environment-friendly, and "tailored" to enhance the natural landscape.

9. Don’t be too dependent on medicine, specially antibiotics, analgesics, sleeping pills, etc. Instead, take healthful foods and drinks. Don't take junk foods and carbonated drinks. Avoid additives and artificial food like MSG or Monosodium Glutamate (Vetsin), decaffeinated coffee, sugarless sugar (Aspartame, Nutrasweet, saccharin, magic sugar), fatless fat or Olestra .

10. Start an enterprise, proprietorship or family business. Remember the defunct NACIDA (National Cottage Industry Development) in the sixties and seventies that made the Philippines a strong economy. Start with "bottom-up approach." Don't rely on heavy burrowing and high technology.

11. A side line business helps. There are enterprising employees who get extra income through buy-and-sell, while others become agents of goods and services such as life plan and educational plan. Extend your side business with your own products, and those from your community.

12. Limit going to disco houses, fast foods centers, and sauna baths, and to very far places, just for pleasure. Instead, go to the nearest parks in your area and enjoy a weekend or a holiday with your family and friends.

13. Visit museums, painting exhibits, agricultural and industrial fairs, concerts, and the like. Join educational field trips, and continuing education programs.

14. The key to an interesting lifestyle is, “Simplify your lifestyle.” Here are further suggestions.

a. Let’s earn more and spend less. Be simple in everything. Why complicate matters?

b. Sa lahat ng bagay iwasan nating magpabongga. (Avoid ostentatious living.)

c. Learn the art of recycling everything.

d. Let us avoid panic buying. It is useless and self-defeating. Avoid impulse buying. We must study carefully the urgency of all the things we intend to buy.

e. Enjoy the wonders of biking and walking. Spend more time with nature.

f. Give up costly entertainment and celebrations like fiestas, birthdays, baptismal, anniversaries etc.

g. Practice self-discipline especially in spending. Self-control is very important.

h. Don’t rely too much on new technology. Use your creativity and hidden abilities in coming up with simple inventions and innovations, such as building a garden pond to harvest rainwater and raise hito and tilapia.

i. Make use of your talents like teaching children to paint, to play a musical instrument. It is one way of earning money and friends.

j. Give up costly vices, like gambling and smoking; and other cravings.

k. Put yourself in a low profile. Maybe, forget your title and do farming. You will get closer to people and become "at home" in your community.

l. Iwasan natin ang mainggit. Why buy a new model colored TV set when we can’t afford it? What is the point of coming up with the Joneses?

m. Let us forget the “live for today and to hell with tomorrow” attitude.

n. Plant all your vacant lots. There’s nothing impossible in urban food production.

o. For the unemployed, try shifting your gear to an alternative life style. Learn some sacrifices.

Lastly, follow family planning and don’t get married too soon these days.•

Insect World: David and Goliath

Dr Abe V Rotor 

 or Green Tree Ant (Oecephalla smaragdina) is on the guard against two digger wasps. Once provoked the whole ant colony goes to war, repelling or killing the intruders, and sometimes making them food for their young. Note: Ants, wasps and bees belong to the same Family - Hymenoptera. They live in colonies, thus called social insects. Photos by Abe V Rotor, Pentax Spotmatic II 

Trivia: How do green Tree Ants build their nest? 
How about the digger wasps? The mud daubers?
What is the ecological role of ants, wasps and bees? What other insects are truly social insects outside of Hymenoptera? These are good research topics in Entomology, the science of insects. 

Photography: Tracking a Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse July 22, 2009 10 to 11 AM
Photographs by Abe V Rotor and Marlo R Rotor

It is a cloudy day at Lagro, not far from La Mesa Eco Park.
It's not going to be an easy 
task. It threatens to rain.

Then the sun peeps through. What a sight. We anticipate the
moon to block the sun 
(partial eclipse in the Philippines, and
full in 
New Delhi, India).

The clouds clear after a heavy overcast which
lasted half an hour. The eclipse is advancing.

Use a tripod. The hand shakes at slow shutter speed.
Adjust to the highest ASA or DIN (sensitivity of the camera).
We use a digital SLR camera with a telephoto lens mounted
on a tripod.

Focusing is important, otherwise this is the photo you get. 
Adjust to smallest aperture, and infinity distance.

This photo is clear. We are using heavy filters designed to eliminate sun glare.

The filter used here does not alter the color of the sun.

Green filter is cool; it lends a special effect to an otherwise "hot subject".

Eclipse is associated with superstition. Can you name some local superstitious beliefs?
Cite historical and religious events influenced by eclipse. When will be the next solar eclipse? Specify location (latitude and longitude) and trace the path of the eclipse's shadow. Does solar eclipse occur as frequent as lunar eclipse?

Living with Nature, Volume 3. All Rights Reserved.

New Year's Resolution: Don't be a Victim of Heart Disease, the Number One Killer

Dr Abe V Rotor

I have known people - a number of them relatives, 
co-workers and former classmates - who died of heart disease. 

If you have positive family history, you are a potential candidate to heart attack and its complications. If you don't have one, still you are a candidate.  Heart attack is a Damocles Sword.  Take heed. 

Know the rules to live a long and happy life.
Here are ten factors you should be able to manage.

First,  Don't smoke.  Just don't. 

Second, Exercise.  Be active physically.  Get out of your comfort zone. 

Third, Reduce cholesterol level. Take less of meat and more fruits and vegetables.  

Fourth, Never indulge in drinking.                       
 Healthy heart angiogram (National Geographic)

Fifth, Live on healthy diet. Watch out your glucose level.

Sixth,  Maintain normal blood pressure always. 
Seventh, Don't be overweight.  Reduce. 

Eighth, Have regular medical checkup.

Ninth, Set a goal for your career and family.

Tenth, Have a positive outlook in life always. Reach out for life's meaning.  

Why don't you download this article, print and pin it as a daily reminder?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Living Carpet on a Rock Face

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living Carpet in acrylic, by AVR 2014

The rock face is no more, now wears a living veil;
its essence of giving life as it dies, fulfilled; 
when once proud and unyielding, unafraid to fail; 
to life after death, to creation must yield.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Puppy - world's most lovable baby animal

 Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Little Mackie lulled to sleep under her watchful puppy. 

Puppy, puppy everywhere, during the day for hours a play mate, at night a companion in bed, a sentinel by the crib, always awake, always faithful, always young; 

Puppy, puppy, the first word of a baby, akin to poppy; a father smiles at their similarity, often a reminder to be home early to spend time in the nursery;    

Puppy, puppy, it comes with a dozen siblings, weaned out and seldom joined again, each an orphan were it not for a new guardian – quite often a child master;

Puppy, puppy, the young Rin-tin-tin, retriever, hound, terrier, German shepherd, Saint Bernard on the Alps, Police dog and the like, in children's adventure stories; 

Puppy, puppy, in comic strips and cartoon - the young Snoopy, Scoobydoo, Toto, Argo, Nikki, Scud, Nana, Mutt, Wonder Dog and Talking Dog, in the land of fantasy;

Puppy, puppy, object of art in varied forms, from paintings to fashion, symbol on coats of arms, banners and badges, trademarks and ads, to shows and exhibitions;  

Puppy, puppy, innocent and coy, yet its ancient wild gene prevails when threatened, when hungry, when subdued; lonely and sad when abandoned, uncared;     

Puppy, puppy, snuggles in comfort and peace, sleeps calmly on the lap like a child, yelps in joy and anxiety, and laps the face with warm tongue and cold nose;

Puppy, puppy, sweet call, music to the ear, universally beautiful, joyous sound that releases now and then the world from roar and moan, to peace and harmony;      

Puppy, puppy, living specimen of love, care and compassion, a faithful companion of a child growing up to be a man; ~

Nature's Recyclers

Nature's Recyclers
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Foliose lichen grows and breaks down the lignin of wood.
Parks and Wildlife Nature Center, QC

Moss builds soil from rockan example of biological weathering.
Calaruega Retreat Center, Alfonso, Cavite

Termites eat wood with the aid of protozoa that live in
their stomach, an ideal example of symbiosis.
Termite mound covers a tree stump. Parks and Wildlife
Nature Center, Quezon City.

Mushrooms grow on plant residues, and convert them into
humus which fertilizes the crop. Antipolo, Rizal

Shelf mushrooms grow on dead wood, eventually converting
it into soil that piles up on 
the forest floor. Mt. Makiling, Laguna

Rot fungi blanket the dead limb of Ficus tree.
UST Manila.

A host of soil insects, principally crickets and grubs, was
responsible in toppling this tree. 
Caliraya Lake, Laguna.

Rhizobium bacteria convert atmospheric Nitrogen into nitrate
for the use of plants. Note tubercles in lower photo where the
beneficial bacteria reside.

Old Waterfall

Painting and Verse by Dr Abe V Rotor

Old Waterfall in acrylic by AVR ca. 1980

Drip, drip, drip, may be music
to the ear in the park;
But not behind walls
or under a forgotten arch.
Superstition and folklore
bear no truth but fancy,
yet we care with passing ear
that takes us to fantasy. ~

Welcome to Old Spanish Vigan

UNESCO World Heritage - This is how Vigan, the oldest Spanish settlement in the Philippines, after Cebu and Manila, looked like - day and night - way back in the 16th century. Today Vigan is the top tourists' attraction in the whole of the Ilocos Region. Photos by Matthew Marlo Rotor who hails from the place. (Vigan is 400 km north of Manila, reached in 6 hours on first class buses. Check flight schedule to Vigan, or Laoag. From Laoag, it's 90 km by land down to Vigan.) 


Dr Abe V Rotor 
Tambuli shell

Behold! I capture what the gun cannot,
     nor the eye, ear, the deepest feeling,
by a drop of water from Heaven frozen
     into a lens for man's soul searching

for those with fang, claw and horn, 
     buried in sand, in the ocean deep ,
images unearthly - real or fantasy 
     that the Creator has in His keep.

Behold! I capture the essence of life -
     fleeting and flowing in unity; 
before its demise in the archives stored,
     in ignominy and history. ~

Reversibility of Evolution

Providence defied, the whole process reverts to protomass, back into nothingness. 
Painting and Verse by Dr Abe V Rotor 
Life Primeval in acrylic (12.7" x 24") by AVR 2014

Creation and evolution of Oparin and Darwin,
the beginning and continuity of life traced;
Lamarck's theory on living architecture
by law of use and disuse questioned;

Leeuwenhoek's invisible world revealed,
a realm of deeper mystery sprang instead;

E O Wilson's model of sociobiology,
of instinct and rationality lacked the spirit;

Einstein’s E=mc2 unleashed the atom’s power
through the Bomb, Armageddon’s lament.

Mendel's laws on the continuity of genes,
precursor of today's genetic engineering;

Providence defied, the whole process reverts
to protomass, back into nothingness. ~