Friday, January 30, 2015

Sunrise on the Farm (10 Anecdotes)

Sunrise on the Farm (10 Anecdotes)
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Children fishing, painting by AVRotor

1.  Eugene and I nearly drowned in a river.

There was a friendly man who would come around and dad allowed him to play with us.  People were talking he was a strange fellow. We simply did not mind. He was a young man perhaps in his twenties when Eugene and I were kids in the early grades in San Vicente.  

One day this guy (I forgot his name) took us to Busiing river, a kilometer walk or so from the poblacion. The water was inviting, what would kids like best to do?  We swam and frolicked and fished, but then the water was steadily rising so we had to hold on the bamboo poles staked in the water to avoid being swept down by the current. I held on tightly, and I saw Eugene doing the same on a nearby bamboo pole.  

The guy just continued fishing with his bare hands, and apparently had forgotten us. Just then dad came running and saved us.  We heard him castigate the fellow who, we  found out that he mentally retarded that he didn’t even realized the extreme danger he put us in.
 happen - the pharaoh kissed Alexander’s feet.  The great warrior died before he was 33.
    
2. Manong Bansiong, the kite maker

Kites always fascinate me, thanks to Bansiong, nephew of Basang my auntie-yaya.  He made the most beautiful, often the biggest kite in town.  His name is an institution of sort to us kids.  But remote as San Vicente was, we had the best kites and the town was also famous for its furniture and wooden saints.

Manong Bansiong made different kites: sinang-gola, sinang-cayyang, sinang-golondrina (in the likes of a bull, a bird with outstretched wings and legs, and a maiden in colorful, flowing dress, respectively).  His kites were known for their strength, stability, beauty, and their height in the sky.  In competitions he would always bring home the trophy, so to speak.

Because of Manong Bansiong I became also a kite maker of less caliber, but being an endangered art there is not much variety of kites flying around. The kites I make are not common, and they probably exude the same feeling to kids today as during our time.

I made kites for my children when they were small.  Kites fascinated my late first-born son, Pao. It was therapy to his sickly condition. We would sit down together on the grass for hours holding on to the kite, the setting sun and breeze washing our faces. 

Kite Season Mural, by AVRotor

When my youngest, Leo Carlo, took part in a kite competition at UST, I helped him with the sinang-cayyang.  It did not win.  But in the following year and the year after Leo Carlo became the consistent kite champion of UST, and so he carries on the legend of Manong Bansiong. 

3. I shot an arrow into the air and it fell on a newspaper

I must have been 4 or 5 years old. Dad was reading Manila Bulletin on a rocking chair.  I was playing Robin Hood. Since our sala is very spacious (it has no divisions), anything on the ceiling and walls was a potential target. But something wrong happened. In physics a crooked arrow would not follow a straight line, so it found an unintended mark – the center of a widespread newspaper.  

The arrow pierced through it and landed on my dad’s forehead, almost between his eyes. He gave me a severe beating with my plaything as he wiped his forehead, blood dripping. I did not cry, I just took the punishment obligingly.  Dad must have seen innocence in my eyes.  He stopped and gave me a hug. 

4. I shot my finger with an airgun.

I bought an airgun from Ben Florentino, a classmate of mine in high school at the Colegio de la Immaculada Concepcion (CIC Vigan) for fifty pesos, a good amount then, circa  1955.  I was loading the pellet, when I dropped the rifle, and on hitting the ground, went off.  The bullet pierced through the fleshy tip of my left forefinger. I tried to remove it but to no avail, so I went to the municipal doctor, Dr. Catalino Lazo. There was no anesthesia available, and when I could no longer bear the pain, he simply dressed the wound and sent me home.  

My wound soon healed, and the lead pellet was to stay with me for the next five years or so, when I finally decided to go for an operation. Had it not been for my playing the violin, I would not have bothered to do so.  And it was providential. 

Dr. Vicente Versoza, our family doctor in Vigan, performed the operation.   A mass of tissues snugly wrapped around the pellet, isolating its poison. He told me I am lucky. There are cases of lead poisoning among war veterans who bore bullets in their bodies. I remember the late President Ferdinand Marcos.  Was his ailment precipitated by lead poisoning?   
  
5. The Case of the Empty Chicken Eggs


Soon as I was big enough to climb the baqui (brooding nest) hanging under the house and trees.  I found out that if I leave as decoy one or two eggs in the basket, the more eggs you gather in the afternoon. Then a new idea came. With a needle, I punctured the egg and sucked the content dry. It tasted good and I made some to substitute the natural eggs for decoy.

Dad, a balikbayan after finishing BS in Commercial Science at De Paul University in Chicago, called us on the table one evening. "First thing tomorrow morning we will find that hen that lays empty eggs.”

It was a family tradition that every Sunday we had tinola - chicken cooked with papaya and pepper (sili) leaves. Dad would point at a cull (the unproductive and least promising member of the flock) and I would set the trap, a baqui with a trap door and some corn for bait. My brother Eugene would slash the neck of the helpless fowl while my sister Veny and I would be holding it. The blood is mixed with glutinous rice (diket), which is cooked ahead of the vegetables.

That evening I could not sleep. What if dad’s choice is one of our pet chicken?  We even call our chickens by name. The empty eggs were the  cause of it all, so I thought.

In the morning after the mass I told dad my secret. He laughed and laughed. I didn't know why. I laughed, too. I was relieved with a tinge of victorious feeling. Thus the case of the empty eggs was laid to rest. It was my first “successful” experiment.

In the years to come I realized you just can’t fool anybody. And by the way, there are times we ask ourselves, “Who is fooling who?”

6.  I can “cure” a person who is naan-annungan.

An-annung is the Ilocano of nasapi-an. Spirits cast spell on a person, the old folks say. The victim may suffer of stomachache or headache  accompanied by cold sweat, body weakness or feeling of exhaustion.

Well, take this case.  It was dusk when a tenant of ours insisted of climbing a betel, Areca catechu to gather its nuts (nga-nga). My dad objected to it, but somehow the young man prevailed. 

The stubborn young man was profusely sweating and was obviously in pain, pressing his stomach against the tree trunk. Dad called for me. I examined my “patient” and assured him he will be all right. And like a passing ill wind, the spell was cast away. Dad and the people around believed I had supernatural power.

There had been a number of cases I “succeeded” in healing the naan-annungan But I could also induce – unknowingly - the same effect on some one else.  That too, my dad and old folks believed.  They would sought for my “power” to cast the spell away from - this time – no other than my “victim”.  What a paradox!  

When I grew older and finished by studies, I began to understand that having an out-of-this-world power is a myth. I read something about Alexander the Great consulting the Oracle at Siwa to find out if indeed he is a god-sent son. “The Pharoah will bow to you, ” the priestess told him.  And it did 

7. Paper wasps on the run! Or was it the other way around?

This happened to me, rather what I did, when I was five or six - perhaps younger, because I don’t know why I attack a colony of putakti or alimpipinig (Ilk). It was raw courage called bravado when you put on courage on something without weighing the consequences. It was hatred dominating reason, motivated by revenge. 

I was sweeping the yard near a chico tree when I suddenly felt pain above my eye. No one had ever warned me of paper wasps, and I hadn’t been stung before. I retreated, instinctively got a bikal bamboo and attacked their papery nest, but every time I got close to it I got stung.  

I don’t know how many times I attacked the enemy, each time with more fury, and more stings, until dad saw me.  I struggled under his strong arms sobbing.  I was lucky, kids my size can’t take many stings. There are cases bee poison can cause the heart to stop. 

 8. Trapping frogs

It was fun to trap frogs when I was a kid. I would dig holes in the field, around one and one-half feet deep, at harvest time. Here the frogs seek shelter in these holes because frogs need water and a cool place. Insects that fall in to the hole also attract them. Early in the morning I would do my rounds, harvesting the trapped frogs.  

Frogs are a favorite dish among Ilocanos especially before the age of pesticides. The frog is skinned, its entrails removed, and cooked with tomato, onion and achuete (Bixa orellana) to make the menu deliciously bright yellow orange.

9. Getting drunk at an early age.

I was already a farmhand before I was of school age, but dad always warned me not to be an aliwegweg (curious at doing things), the experimenter that I was. One morning as dad went on his routine, first to hear mass in our parish church just across our residence farm, I went down to the cellar with a sumpit (small bamboo tube) to take a sip of the sweet day-old fermenting sugarcane juice.

 I didn't know that with a sip too many one gets drunk. And that was precisely what made me feel sick, but 1 did not tell dad. He called a doctor to find out what was the matter with me. When the doctor arrived he found me normal. What with the distance from Vigan to San Vicente - on a caleza (horse-drawn carriage)? But the doctor was whispering something to dad.

Then it happened. Dad had left for the church, so I thought. I went to the cellar and as soon as I probed the sumpit into a newly fermenting jar and took a sip, someone tapped my shoulder in the dark. It was dad!

Imagine the expression of his face (and mine, too) in the dark. I sobbed with embarrassment while he took a deep sigh of relief.  

Since then the doctor never came again. And I promised never to taste my “beverage" again.

10. The caleza I was riding ran over a boy.



Basang, my auntie yaya and I were going home from Vigan on a caleza, a horse carriage. I was around five or six years old, the age children love to tag along wherever there is to go. It was midday and the cochero chose to take the shorter gravelly road to San Vicente by way of the second dike road that passes Bantay town. Since there was no traffic our cochero nonchalantly took the smoother left lane fronting a cluster of houses near Bantay. Suddenly our caleza tilted on one side as if it had gone over a boulder.

To my astonishment I saw a boy around my age curled up under the wheel. The caleza came to a stop and the boy just remained still and quiet, dust covered his body.  I thought he was dead.  Residents started coming out. I heard shouts, some men angrily confronting the cochero. Bantay is noted for notoriety of certain residents. 

Instinct must have prodded Basang to take me in her arms and quickly walked away from the maddening crowd.  No one ever noticed us I supposed. 

Waterhole and Other Poems

"I walked the bridge to its far end and beyond,
And down the river to the sea I cast my pole.
It was a fight I fought, it was no longer game,
And it was neither fish nor dream I caught."
AVR


Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri


 Waterhole

Memories come easy on this foot bridge
Many years ago I built across a stream,
Stream in monsoon and pond in summer,
Alug, as the old folk call it – waterhole.

It was my waterhole, I saw the world in its water;
Images of airplanes cruising, birds migrating,
Clouds in many patterns, many faces and hues,
The arena of wit and skill, fishing for hours.

And fishing not for fish but dreams,
Dreams about far places, of beautiful things,
Dreams almost real, even as they fade away
In ripples and into the dusk.

One day I woke up and found my waterhole
Swallowed up by floodwater from the hills.
Washing away the air castles I built,
And down its path it took summer away forever.

I walked the bridged to its far end and beyond,
And down the river to the sea I cast my pole.
It was a fight I fought, it was no longer game,
And it was neither fish nor dream I caught.  

            Fallow

When I was a boy I would walk the empty fields
       when harvest was over
And watch the maya glean on the leftovers
       like the old women
In the paintings of Millet and Brueggel
       which inspired Amorsolo
To paint the ricefields with the richness
       of Rembrandt’s colors.

And I would roll up the straw mulch
       and catch the aestivating frogs,
Now brown instead of green for they mimicked
       the surrounding they were hiding in:
Geometric deep cracks where the soil
       was fertile and rich in humus,
For they yielded larger and fatter catch.

And I knew the alug, the depression
       where the water receded,
Harboring dalag encrust in its muddy deep
       ready to spring to life
With the crayfish and snail and catfish
       likewise ensconced,
When the first true rain comes in May
       or April if monsoon is early,
I, too, would doze on my pet carabao lazily browsing,
       its body as lean as the plants in summer.

Then the afternoons became cooler each day,
       the dragonflies hovered lower and in hordes.
Distant thunder were heard getting closer and closer –
     Until the winds hissed
And the whole sky fell into downpour.

The fields began to wake up from deep slumber
       and I knew summer is over.
Fallow is a season of reflection, an experience
       shall always remember. ~

                                                        Masks
Ann, Leo and Matt, are they?

Could you be as serious as your looks,
     Or as weird as your thoughts?
Could you be my children,
     Or those of a beast or alien?

Mask, mask, mask,
     You hide the truth
Like the rind of a fruit.

           Cariton

Mount the cariton, my father wouyld say,
     When it was harvestime ,
And I would go and get our palay share,
     But the joy is in the ride, the fields,
And talking to the beast like Daniel,
     Or Hercules at times.    

The sugar cane and yam on the way
     thinned every time I passed,
The wild pigeons were getting shy
     every time I missed with my slingshot;
But not the maya,
     they came by army and were not afraid,
Even if the cariton had not had any greasing
     for some time.

I kept sentry on my rama until the mudfish,
     ar-aro, gurami, and catfish
Were big enough, or the water had receded,
     whichever came first.

The cariton was my chariot and truck,
     my canoe in monsoon flood,
My spaceship to the stars, my traveling home;
     jute sacks were also for mat;
A clay pot on three stones made a kitchen,
     plates of banana leaves.

My bolo was knife, shovel, saw, weapon
     that go with the cariton.
There was no computer then but Labang,
     the bullock knew the lipit very well,
Giving me confidence to sleep and to dream,
     waking up only at my destination,
Or when he gives the signal, kicking off flies,
     or snorting against smudge
Trained against our trees to flower
     early or on time.

Years, many years had passed, and I,
     with this story to pass on
To my children dreaming on my lap
     listening to it more like a tale,
Said, “It is true, but that was many,
     many years ago.”
One day in a museum I saw something
     for whatever reason.
 “Look, there!” I gathered my children.
     It is an old, old cariton. ~
         

                          Transience of Childhood 
                                                        Painting (15.5 ft x 5 ft) by AV Rotor



This is a beautiful world to the young,

Faces grow on clouds and kites fly high,
In kaleidoscope against the setting sun. 
The trees sing and nests sweetly cry.

If for all the fish and the Siberian breeze, 
The fields are still, save a songbird,
The clock comes to a stop in hammock’s ease -
But a chime yonder is urging to be heard.

Not enough is summer, transient is the game; 
It starts with glee and ends with a sigh,
And childhood ends. But never is the aim 
Of the sky to make the little ones cry.

Freud and Thoreau – these great minds foresaw
What makes a man, the child of years ago,
Sitting by the pond or climbing on a bough,
His kite rising to heaven’s glow.

Painting presented to Mayor Jose Tabanda III by Dr. Abercio V. Rotor,
as a remembrance of happy childhood, the impressions of which are indelible
even to those who are far away from their beloved hometown. May 23, 2005


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Story of the White Cross

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Mysterious white cross beside an old bangar tree, San Mariano, Isabela

He graduated from the famous Philippine Military Academy on top of his class. On the day of graduation his father, a general from the Philippine Air Force, and mother, a dean of the University of the Philippines, proudly pinned the Medal of Excellence on their only son and child. Nobody could be happier. God smiled at them. The world loved them. And they loved the world. What more did they wish?

Nothing more, although his mother said in prayerful whisper, looking up to heaven, “How I wish we are like this forever – happy and united.”

Secretly his father wished his son to become famous. He knew that a military career awaits many opportunities of greatness to one who adheres to his pledge to defend his country and countrymen. His thoughts gleamed with his medals he received for participating in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He treasured most a medal given by the President of the Philippines for serving as a military adviser during Martial Law.

Those were troubled times, he thought, and put away his fears that his son would be placed in a similar test.

The young Lieutenant was looked up with pride and praise. How many young men in the world are endowed with caring parents, good school, intelligence, good looks and excellent health? Heads turned as he walked. Young women saw him a knight in shining armor. Children looked up to him a model, a hero of sort. Would they grow up just like him? Dreams! Air castles!

But he was real. He dressed simply. He was friendly. There was no air of arrogance in his actions and words. He liked people. And people liked him. Many times he would go to the village of his birth in Pangasinan – Bigbiga, near Anda. He talked to farmers and fisher folks for hours. At harvest time his presence alone was enough to draw people from their homes and other work just to help harvest the golden grains. How the field beamed with laughter and music and joyous company! It's reminiscent of Fernando Amorsolo's masterpiece, "Harvestime."

Surely there were many stories to tell, many pleasant memories to recall. Housewives on errand bringing baon to the workers would make up all sorts of excuses for returning late. Passersby, who were not from the place, when they heard the name Lieutenant Carding Lopez, took off their hats in greeting - and always, they got their reward of recognition. Children playing nearby would caution each other not to be rowdy, and they would display their best to impress their special guest.

And months passed. The monsoon came and the young lieutenant joined the planters in the field as he did at harvest time. Came fishing season, and he would join the fisher  folks pull in the daklis (seine) net to shore. And when they gave him his share of the catch, he would politely decline or give it to the old people in the village.

One time he stopped to greet a crew draining a nearby swamp, the lowest part of the village. While relating how the Panama Canal was built, people the next day came by groups armed with shovels, crowbars and all. The swamp was drained in a short time.  Incidence of malaria and dengue drastically fell. Farmers planted melons and watermelons on the reclaimed mudflat and made a lot of money.

But it was the marketplace he was fond of visiting on Sundays. The barangay chairman saw to it that everything and around appeared clean and orderly. More vendors came to sell their wares and products. And more people came to buy them.

Once strolling on a dirt road, he paused to put some stones to fill up a rut. The next day a gravel truck came. With it were workers. What took an hour to reach the market could now be reached in half an hour.

General Lopez and Dean Lopez who were living in a push subdivision in Manila began to wonder at the kind of life their son was leading in the province. Surely it is very strange to know of one who is full of dreams and raring to seek a bright future. Not for a young and ambitious man, and a Pemeyer. No, not their son and only child, Carlito.

“No, no, let’s talk to him,” the mother rose from her lounging chair. “Hush, hush, let him be,” replied her husband soothingly.

One day the young Lieutenant received a call to report for duty. In the next few days he was flying over Sierra Madre on a mission. But alas! His plane disappeared in the sky and crashed on a misty slope covered by forest, far, far away from civilization. No one witnessed the accident, but guesses are not rare for such news. The plane plunged into the sea where three islands make a triangle, ventured one mystic who knew about the Bermuda Triangle that mysteriously “swallow up” airplanes and ships.

Maybe it crashed on one of the Philippines’ tallest mountains - Mt. Apo or Mt. Pulag. That’s how high jets fly, said an elderly native who knew too well about the flight of the   Philippine eagle. Oh, exclaimed an activist, who said the young Lopez was an idealist, who must have sought refuge maybe in Indonesia, or New Guinea - or somewhere else.

Guess turned into hoax, rumors died down, only the enigma on how a promising young man suddenly disappeared without trace persisted. General Lopez shook his head in disbelief. Even in times of peace, he realized, danger hangs like a Damocles Sword. You can’t rely on technology, he muttered. Those planes – yes, those planes he remembered, they were very old. He knew it; they were donated by the US soon after the Vietnam ended. Mrs. Lopez had retired from the university, but how could you enjoy retirement if you were in her place?

It had been five years since the young pilot mysteriously disappeared. The village people of his birth put up a cross in his memory at the center of the village cemetery. At all times they kept it white, and not a single weed grew around it. 

Tourists today come to Bigbiga, now a progressive community. It boosts of a model cooperative. It is a persistent winner of cleanliness in the whole province. A church has been built, around it is a park and playground. Not far is the cemetery. Classes are no longer conducted under the big mango tree. Floods that accompany the monsoon are a thing of the past. The market is a village mall of sort, attracting people from nearby towns. An institute of science and technology was recently inaugurated. Young men and women are returning and changing the concept of balikbayan, at least in Bigbiga. They call it brain gain, whereas before we called it brain drain. The fields are green and at harvest time under the moonlight, some people would swear, they would see a young handsome man inaudibly talking and laughing – men and women and children huddled around him.

The general and his wife did not live long in their grief. A new leadership had taken over the reins of command in the military. A new president has been installed in MalacaƱang. He is young and handsome, and there’s something they like in him - the way he talked, his actions, his friendliness and warmth. They trust him. Those who knew the late Lieutenant Lopez liken him to the new president.

One day there was a flash report that a community was discovered somewhere between Nueva Ecija and Aurora. It is ensconced in a valley shrouded by forests and clouds, accessible only on the Pacific coast. That is why it remained obscure for a long time. "There must be some mistake," a Manila-based government official commented. So a survey team was formed.

It is like searching a lost city in the Andes, or in the Himalayas. But it is true. There before the very eyes of the team unfurled a local Shangrila - the former Dakdakel, a remote barangay of San Mariano, Isabela, now transformed into a model community.

The people in that community are peace loving, self-reliant, and respectable. They are farmers, craftsmen, many are professionals. They have children studying in Manila, and relatives working abroad. There is a cooperative and a progressive market. A chapel stands near a cemetery. In the middle of the cemetery rises an immaculate white cross, and no weed grows around it. 

x x x

USTAB Photography (Photo Editing with the Computer)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Faculty of Arts and Letters, UST
Lesson for 3CA1, 2, 3, 4, 
Class Demonstration with Adobe Photoshop 
Basic photo editing
  • Crop
  • Adjust brightness and contrast
  • Edit poor spot or area
  • Balance colors
  • Adjust dimension, level, perspective
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6


Photo 7


Photo 8


Photo 9


Photo 10

50 Tips for Practical Living

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



Protect tip of pencil with rolled paper. This serves as cap to extend the life of the pencil, and prevent accident.

This is a continuing list of practical household management tips, which can be easily followed, and shared with the members of your family, friends, in the school and community. Learn and perfect each tip through demonstration. Illustrate or photograph each tip. Compile these tips into a manual. 

There are ten (10) pillars of Practical Living as a way of life and philosophy.

  1. Save, save, save 
  2. Live simply 
  3. Attain self-sufficiency 
  4. Learn science and develop your skills 
  5. Share with your community 
  6. Keep your surroundings clean 
  7. Systematize and organize 
  8. Believe in serendipity and providence 
  9. Sacrifice want in favor of need 
  10. Set goal for the succeeding generations 
1. When dust gets in your eyes, blow your nose.2. When an ant has entered into your ear, close the other ear and it will come out by its own. 

3.  Press the base of the nail of the large toe to wake an unconscious person.




4. Gulat ang gamut sa sinok. To stop hiccup, jolt the person.

5. Press the base of the jaw joint to relieve toothache.

6. Sterilize handkerchief with hot iron in the absence of cotton gauze and bandage.
In an emergency case, or for simple treatment, this is what you can do. Get a clean handkerchief and iron it repeatedly at high temperature for a duration of five minutes to seven minutes. To save on energy, you may prepare two or three handkerchiefs for the purpose.

7. Lighted candles drive flies away.

8. If the father or mother leaves the house, place the clothes he or she last worn beside the sleeping child so that he goes into deep sleep. This is pheromones in action. Pheromones are chemical signals for bonding in the animal world, and among humans. Like the queen bee that keeps its colony intact through pheromones, so we are attracted by a similar odor, although of a less specific one. People are compatible through smell. Pheromones are left in clothes and other belongings, so that a baby may remain fast asleep as if he were in his mother’s or father’s arms.

9. Prevent drinking glass from breaking, by first putting a plastic spoon before pouring the hot liquid.
10. Chopped banana stalk makes a cold pack to reduce fever.

11. Rub table salt on the cut stem of newly harvested fruits to hasten their ripening.

12. Incense (resin) rids chicken of lice. It also calms them down.
13. You feel you can’t hold it any longer. You are about to sneeze and you are in a conference. Press the base of your nose; hold it there until urge subsides.  Find excuse to leave the room, then explode.

14. Cut you finger and it’s bleeding? Raise hand above heart level while attending to it. Keep this position steady until bleeding stops. Immediately seek medical treatment for serious cases.

15. To keep coffee hot longer, first pour hot water to preheat the cup. Empty the cup and pour in the real coffee. Enjoy.

16. If you are using glass for coffee, place a spoon first before pouring in the coffee. The metal absorbs sudden and excess heat that may cause the glass to crack.

17. Be sure oil is hot enough before putting into the pan the thing to wish to fry, say meat or fish. A drop of water will readily splatter when introduced into the pan. Be careful.

18. Get rid of ants in the kitchen. Wipe table, floor, and other surfaces with diluted natural vinegar. Vinegar freshens the smell of the kitchen as well.

19. To know if the honey you are buying is genuine or not, place it in the ref. Real honey does not solidify and has no residue. Fake honey does. Sugar in adulterated honey settles as thick residue.

19. Serve lemonade without tasting and know its sweetness is just right. Stir with calculated sugar. When seeds float, it’s too sweet. If they settle down you need more sugar.

20. To make potato fries crispy on the outside and soft inside, immerse in ice water for a minute or two. Proceed with usual deep frying. Do the same with kamote or sweet potato, gabi (taro), and ubi and sinkamas (yam)

21. Wood ash from firewood and charcoal for cleaning. Removes slime when scaling fish, cleans metals and utensils, and eases disposal of pet droppings. Gather ash after cooking and store in a convenient container. Dispose ash after use as fertilizer; ash is rich in potassium, a major plant nutrient.
 
22. Keep salt in glass container snugly closed every after use. It is hygroscopic, that is, it absorbs humidity causing it to become soggy. Coffee cakes when exposed, so with sugar. Spices lose their essence.

23.Hang in dry and cool place garlic and shallot onion in bundles to prolong shelf life. In the province. the bundles are hanged above the stove. Smoke is a natural protectant against pests and rot.
 
24. To hasten the ripening of fruits like chico, mango, guyabano, atis and caimito, rub a little salt at the base of the peduncle (fruit stem). For nangka, drive a stake of bamboo or wood 2 to 3 inches long through the base of the stem. As a rule pick only fully mature fruits.

25. Collective ripening of various fruits is hastened with the inclusion of banana in the plastic pack or container. Explanation: the trapped ethylene gas emitted by banana catalyses ripening.

26. Pry open, instead of pounding with stone or hammer, oyster using the tip of an ordinay knife. Find the hinge behind the shell. This is its Achilles heel. Insert and twist. Poor shell simply opens clean and whole. Eat straight with gusto.

27. Bagoong smells, so with patis. But the best recipes can't be without. Here's what to do. Heat desired amount of water with bagoong to boiling, don't stir. Get rid of the froth. Now you can proceed with the usual cooking of bulanglang, pinakbet, and the like. Walang amoy bagoong o patis. (No trace of the raw smell)

28. Don't dispose used cooking oil in sink. It reacts with detergent and solidifies like soap - the same process called saponification, blocking drainage canal and sewer.

29. Cut spent toothpaste tube and glean on remaining content. You can have as much as five brushing. Use remaining paste as hand-wash to remove grease and fishy odor.

30. Make your own hand wash detergent. Scrape soap with knife, dissolve in water. Presto! You can have all the hand wash you need. Use your formula to refill empty dispensers. Label with the soap you used and the dilution you made. Avoid commercial concentrated brands - they are too strong, and dangerous to children.

31. Protect tip of pencil with rolled paper. This serves as cap to extend the life of the pencil, and prevent accident. Use gloss, colored paper - the kind used as promo leaflets. Instead of refusing, or throwing it away, you can make a beautiful pencil cap. You can also roll it as extender when the pencil becomes too short, thus maximizing its use.

32. Garden pots from PET bottles (1- to 2-li). It’s free, whereas commercial garden pots are expensive. Cut at midsection with a sharp knife or blade; puncture three equidistant holes on the side, an inch from the base, not at the bottom. This is to keep reserve water for the plant. Plant one kind per pot: oregano, alugbati, kamote, kangkong, ginger, onion, garlic, mustard, pechay, and the like. Scrape some topsoil for your planting medium. There’s no need of fertilizer and pesticide. Keep a pot or two of growing garlic or onion, also ginger; they are insect repellants.

33. How do you count seconds and minutes without a timepiece?
When counting seconds, it is more precise to count, “one-hundred-one, one-hundred-two, one-hundred-three, and so on.” This traditional technique is used today in photography (light exposure, shutter speed), games (swimming and track race), and during emergency (CPR, measuring body temperature, pulse rate). It may be useful in our daily routine (cooking, exercise).

34. Double the circumference of your neck and that is your waistline.
In the absence of a tape measure, and without fitting it, how do you know the waistline of your pants? Mothers have a simple formula. Button the pants and wrap it around the neck of the would-be user. Both ends should meet, not too tight or loose.


35. Rice weevil can be controlled by placing crushed bulb of garlic in the stored rice. Loosely wrap garlic with cloth or paper. Cover the box. In a day or two, the weevils succumb to the garlic odor. Others simply escape. 

36. Sugar solution extends the life of cut flowers.
Pulsing for roses is done by immersing the stem ends for one to three hours in 10% sugar solution, and for gladiolus 12 to 24 hours in 20% sugar solution. Daisies, carnation, chrysanthemums, and the like are better handled if harvested and transported in their immature stage, then opened by pulsing. It is best to cut the stem at an angle, dipped 6 to 12 hours in 10% sugar solution.  Best results are obtained at cool temperature and low relative humidity.


37. Insert balled newspaper (better brown paper to get rid of possible lead content from ink and paint) into shoes to remove odor, absorb moisture, keep shoes in shape.

38. Orange peeling kept in sugar jar prevents sugar from caking and discoloring into dark clumps.

39. Banana leaves as floor polisher. Mature leaves of saba variety (other varieties will do) is first wilted on flame to melt the natural wax. It also imparts a pleasant smell.

40. Don't throw away coconut husk. Make it into flower pot for orchids and ferns. Shred to make scrub for floor and utensils. Cut whole mature nut crosswise, trim off protruding shell. Now you have a foot floor polisher. Happy exercise.

41. Add talc powder (baby powder) to hardware nails to prevent rusting. Be sure tio keep the container tight.
7.Notice in some restaurants, rice is mixed with salt in the dispenser. Rice absorbs moisture preventing the salt from clumping and soggy.

42. Stuck bubble gum in clothes? Don't force to remove. Put soiled clothes in the freezer. Once solidified, peel off the gum clean and easy.

43. Ethnic music makes a wholesome life; it is therapy.
Have you ever noticed village folks singing or humming as they attend to their chores? They have songs when rowing the boat, songs when planting, songs of praise at sunrise, songs while walking up and down the trail, etc. Seldom is there an activity without music. Even the sounds of nature to them are music.

According to researcher Leonora Nacorda Collantes, of the UST graduate school, music influences the limbic system, called the “seat of emotions” and causes emotional response and mood change. Musical rhythms synchronize body rhythms, mediate within the sphere of the autonomous nervous and endocrine systems, and change the heart and respiratory rate.  Music reduces anxiety and pain, induces relaxation, thus promoting the overall sense of well being of the individual.

Music is closely associated with everyday life among village folks more than it is to us living in the city. The natives find content and relaxation beside a waterfall, on the riverbank, under the trees, in fact there is to them music in silence under the stars, on the meadow, at sunset, at dawn. Breeze, crickets, running water, make a repetitious melody that induces sleep. Humming indicates that one likes his or her work., and can go on for hours without getting tired at it. Boat songs make rowing synchronized. Planting songs make the deities of the field happy, so they believe; and songs at harvest is thanksgiving. The natives are indeed a happy lot.

44. When earthworms crawl out of their holes, a flood is coming.
 
This subterranean annelid has built-in sensors, a biblical Noah’s sense of a coming flood, so to speak. Its small brain is connected to clusters of nerve cells, called ganglia, running down the whole body length. These in turn are connected to numerous hair-like protrusions on the cuticle, which serve as receptor. When rain saturates the soil, ground water rises and before it reaches their burrows, they crawl out to higher grounds where they seek refuge until the flood or the rainy season is over. The more earthworms abandoning their burrows, the more we should take precaution.
--------------------------------------------Recycle writing materials:
      a. Notebooks with unused pages.
      b. Other side of used bond papers.
      c. Replace spent ballpens with new fillers. Take with you samples.
      d. Small notes and reminder slips, save blank spaces of used papers.
      e. Papers which can't be recycled for writing can be used for wrapping 
          and similar purposes. Avoid waste.
----------------------------------------- 45. To control rhinoceros beetles from destroying coconuts throw some sand into the base of the leaves. 
This insect, Oryctes rhinoceros, is a scourge of coconut, the larva and adult burrow into the bud and destroy the whole top or crown of the tree. There is scientific explanation to this practice of throwing sand into the axis of the leaves. Sand, the raw material in making glass, penetrates into the conjunctiva - the soft skin adjoining the hard body plates, in effect injuring the insect. As the insect moves, the more it gets hurt. As a result the insect dies from wound infection, or by dehydration. Thus we observe that coconut trees growing along the seashore are seldom attacked by this beetle.

46. Don’t play with toads. Toads cause warts.
Old folks may be referring to the Bufo marinus, a poisonous toad that secretes white pasty poison from a pair of glands behind its eyes. Even snakes have learned to avoid this creature described as ugly in children’s fairy tales.

But what do we know! The toad’s defensive fluids have antibiotic properties. Chinese folk healers treat wounds such as sores and dog bites with toad secretions, sometimes obtained by surrounding the toads with mirrors to scare them in order to secrete more fluids.

Similarly certain frogs secrete antibiotic substances. A certain Dr. Michael Zasloff, physician and biochemist, discovered an antibiotic from the skin of frogs he called magainins, derived from the Hebrew word for shield, a previously unknown antibiotic. It all started when researchers performed surgery on frogs and after returning them to murky bacteria-filled water, found out that the frogs almost never got any infection.

What are then the warts the old folks claim? They must be scars of ugly wounds healed by the toad’s secretion.

47. Animals become uneasy before an earthquake occurs. 

It is because they are sensitive to the vibrations preceding an earthquake. They perceive the small numerous crackling of the earth before the final break (tectonic), which is the earthquake. 

Fantail or pandangera bird is usually restless at the onset of bad weather.

As a means of self-preservation they try to escape from stables and pens, seek shelter, run to higher grounds, or simply escape to areas far from the impending earthquake. Snakes come out of their abode, reptiles move away from the water, horses neigh and kick around, elephants seem to defy the command of their masters (like in the case of the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka). We humans can only detect such minute movements on our inventions such as the Richter Scale.

48. Don’t gather all the eggs. Leave some otherwise the laying hen will not return to its nest. 
True. The layer is likely to abandon its nest when it finds it empty. Leave a decoy of say, three eggs. But there are layers that know simple arithmetic, and therefore, cannot be deceived, and so they abandon their nest and find a new one.

49. Raining while the sun is out breeds insects.
Now and then we experience simultaneous rain and sunshine, and may find ourselves walking under an arch of rainbow, a romantic scene reminiscent of the movie and song, Singing in the Rain. Old folks would rather grim with a kind of sadness on their faces, for they believe that such condition breeds caterpillars and other vermin that destroy their crops.

What could be the explanation to this belief? Thunderstorm is likely the kind of rain old folks are referring to. Warmth plus moisture is vital to egg incubation, and activation of aestivating insects, fungi, bacteria and the like. In a few days, they come out in search of food and hosts. Armyworms and cutworms (Spodoptera and Prodina), named after their huge numbers and voracious eating habit, are among these uninvited guests

50. Garlic drives the aswang away.
If aswang (ghost) being referred to are pests and diseases, then there is scientific explanation to offer, because garlic contains a dozen substances that have pesticidal, antimicrobial and antiviral properties such as allicin, from which its generic name of the plant is derived – Allium sativum. Garlic is placed on doorways, in the kitchen and some corners of the house where vermin usually hide, which is also practiced in other countries. It exudes a repellant odor found effective against insects and rodents – and to many people, also to evil spirits, such as the manananggal (half-bodied vampire). ~


To be continued ...