Monday, November 30, 2015

United Nations International Events for December 2015

Compiled by Dr Abe V Rotor 
 Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

                                                  Ban Ki-moon marks UN at 70
"In many respects, the world is shifting beneath our feet. Yet the Charter remains a firm foundation for shared progress.” —Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
1 December

World AIDS Day

2 December

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

3 December

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

5 December

International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development

5 December

World Soil Day

7 December

International Civil Aviation Day

9 December

International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime


9 December
International Anti-Corruption Day
Human Rights Day 11 December International Mountain Day
18 DecemberInternational Migrants Day (photo)
20 December
International Human Solidarity Day

Home, Sweet Home with Nature this Christmas Season

The best home is one where we live in a friendly relationship with Nature. Why don't you share with us your version of Home, Sweet Home?

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
 In the movie, The King and I, Anna, an English teacher, sang, Home Sweet Home. It was a popular song in her time when Europeans left their home in the later part of the 18th century in search of a new one on the other side of the globe, the New World, which was to become the United States of America. Others found the Orient. Teacher Anna served as tutor to the children of the King of Siam (Thailand)

Idyllic life on the farm, AVR

To many Filipinos, the song stirs the heart as well. Thousands leave their native land, their homes and families in search for opportunities as Overseas Filipino Workers, and emigrants.

To the returnees or balikbayan, home is a retirement in the place of their birth, most of them on the countryside where they spent their happy childhood that tempered their homing instinct.

Many city dwellers are seeking liberation from the “concrete jungle.” Home is more than walls, high rise apartments, canned entertainment, neon lights and fast lanes.

And all over the world, there is a general trend to get closer to the concept of “at home” by going natural – the way people dress, the food they eat, the medicine they take, and the many articles they use everyday.

Brick house on the farm, painting by the author 
  More and more homes do not allow smoking, other vices notwithstanding, following the footsteps of school campuses, government offices and commercial centers. People are going back to cooking at home, shunning away from artificial food like coffeeless coffee (decaf), sugarless sugar (Aspartame et al), fatless fat (Olestra). And the so-called “Frankenfood” made from genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Like many schools and establishments, a home that advocates going natural, has started banning carbonated drinks, Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) or Vetsin, “magic sugar,” and even multivitamins in capsules, being mostly artificial.

The simplicity of homes today goes with the trend of “simple living,” relying less and less on cosmetics and fancy designs. People prefer leather, paper and cotton over synthetics, fresh food rather than processed, baon over fast food. Homestead over condominium. The original bungalow home is back. It is simple and practical designed in such as way that one step leads into the House, and the other to the Garden.

We can imagine with awe and appreciation the homes of people whose lifestyle is friendly to the environment, homes that provide a healthy ambiance to the residents, the neighborhood, and ultimately the whole community. This is a new movement that is gaining worldwide attention – home revolution.

I found a musical piece arranged for the violin and piano in an old wooden chest (baol) containing the personal belongings of my mother who died during WWII. I was told by my father that it was her favorite piano piece. I can only surmise the reason. Many homes were destroyed and families separated during the war. Dad managed to rebuild our old home and farm. This is the place where my sister, brother and I spent our childhood and adolescence. It is the same home we found retirement after a long absence.

Home, Sweet Home, is our family’s favorite musical composition today. My daughter Anna would accompany me on the piano as I play the violin, and my son Marlo on the flute. There are occasions we play together in local programs, carrying the message that there is no place like home. We also play related compositions like The Last Rose of Summer, Life Let’s Cherish, and Home on the Range. My wife Cecille and our youngest, Leo Carlo, assist in drawing and painting workshops for children every summer with Nature mainly as the theme.

Here are the original lyrics of the musical piece.

Home Sweet Home
By John Howard Payne
Music by Henry Rowley Bishop (1786-1855)
(Arranged for the violin and piano by Henry Farmer)

‘Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which seek through the world, is ne’er met with elsewhere.
Home, Home, sweet, sweet Home!

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain;
O, give me my lowly thatched cottage again!
The birds singingly gaily, that came to my call –
Give me them – and the peace of mind, dearer than all.
Home, Home sweet, sweet Home.
There’s no place like Home! There’s no place like Home!   

Homes witgh a romantic setting; neo-colonial design
The topic of What constitute a happy home was discussed on the school-on-air program - Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid. It was one of the liveliest lessons in the last five years of the program (Phase 2). Here are definitions which came from our radio audience here and abroad.

1. Home is a roof for everyone - residents and guests.
2. Home is a wall with large windows that let the sun and the breeze in.
3. Home is where fish in the aquarium sparkle in the morning’s sun.
4. Home is a baby smiling, of children playing.
5. Home is husband and wife loving and loyal to each other.
6. Home is a “place for everything and everything in its place.”
7. Home is dad and mom waiting for the children from school.
8. Home is a workshop for hobbies, inventions and discoveries.
9. Home is a dog lying on the doormat and waiting for its master.
10. Home is a litter of puppies and kittens.
11. Home is a rooster crowing, nature’s alarm clock.
12. Home is a house lizard’s crispy announcement of a guest coming.
13. Home is a frog croaking in the rain.
14. Home is a safari of wildlife – from insects to migratory birds.
15. Home is a warm embrace of a cat.
16. Home is a cup of coffee, a sip of wine, a newspaper.
17. Home is a warm bath, a cold shower, a bath tub.
18. Home is National Geographic, Time Magazine, Discovery channel.
19. Home is ripe tomato, succulent radish, dangling string beans.
20. Home is a brooding mother hen in her nest.
21. Home is fresh eggs everyday.
22. Home is the singing of birds and fiddling of crickets.
23. Home is the sweet smell of flowers, falling leaves, swaying branches in the wind.
24. Home is the sweet smell of the earth after the first rain in May.
25. Home is a singing cicada in the tree.
26. Home is a swarming of gamugamo in the evening.
27. Home is a sala too small for so many friends.
28. Home is a cabinet of books, a study table, a computer.
29. Home is Beethoven, Mozart, Abelardo, Santiago.
30. Home is Charlotte Church, Josh Groban, Sharon Cuneta.
31. Home is Juan Luna, Amorsolo. Picasso, Van Gogh.
32. Home is potpourri of appetizing recipes, of the proverbial grandmother apple pie.
33. Home is pinakbet, lechon, karekare, suman, bibingka.
34. Home is a garden of roses, a grass lawn, a pergola of orchids.
35. Home is a collection of plants, a living gene bank.
36. Home is home for biodiversity, a living museum.
37. Home is doing repairs that virtually has no end.
38. Home is disposing old newspapers, bottles, metal scraps, and used clothes.
39. Home is a midnight candle before an exam.
40. Home is a shoulder, a pillow, to cry on.
41. Home is Noche Buena.
42. Home is fireworks on New Year.
43. Home is general cleaning on weekends.
44. Home is a soft bed that soothes tired nerves and muscles.
45. Home is a fire place, a hearth, which takes the cold out of the body and spirit.
46. Home is a Prodigal Son returning, The Good Samaritan.
47. Home is a round table where thanksgiving prayer is said.
48. Home is laughter and music, prose and poetry.
49. Home is forgiving, rejoicing, celebrating.
50. Home is Angelus and rosary hour.

Many of the definitions are romantic; they are recollections of happy moments. They are a picturesque of a dream home. They are full of optimism and imagery as well. Apparently the callers must be enjoying the comforts of their home. Many are young and idealistic, and look at the sunny side of life. I suppose everybody, would like to combine a number of these definitions, and synergistically come up with a Utopian Home.

On the other side of these scenarios are realities of life that we face today. Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid did some research on current social issues, herein presented in a capsule. *

• There are 32 Million poor Filipinos (39.4 percent of the population); 5.1M poor families (19.9 percent in urban areas and 46.9 in rural areas); and 2.5M families are living on subsistence level. (NSO 2002)

• Only 80 percent have access to safe water; and 86.1 percent to sanitary toilets

• Only 72 percent live in strong houses; and only 67 percent own house and lot; 3.4M are squatters (ADB, 2002).
 .Our population experience hunger; 20 to 34 percent are undernourished, among them 15M children.

• About 100M children in the world are living on the street as of 1994. There are 1.5 million street children in the Philippines alone.

• There are 2.8M illiterate Filipinos, while 7.4M others are functionally illiterate. Functional illiteracy refers to the inability of a person to use his skills in reading, writing and counting to improve his life. This is the target audience of Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid.
* National Statistics Office, 2002
This lesson aims at offering an alternative to solving current social and economic and problems.  We believe that living close to Nature, by respecting her laws and rules, appreciating her beauty and bounty, and helping in her “housekeeping” to make a healthy, clean and comfortable environment will certainly ease the burden of living; in fact it strengthens our will and spirit to live and to enjoy the best life could give. In our resolve to keep the family bond close and firm, build a strong and comfortable dwelling, keep our surroundings clean and green, and above all, elevate our level of consciousness toward goodness and beauty - we are  recreating a patch of Eden we call Home, Sweet Home.
Together let us make the Planet Earth our Home, Sweet Home. ~

The Living Christmas Tree

The living Christmas Tree is the living Cross of Christ.  It gives food, water, shelter, energy, the basic provisions of life.  Above all, it is a great expression of love this Christmas Season.
 Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Don't cut trees for Christmas, don't!
Plant trees instead and build beautiful memories with the family as the trees grow Christmas after Christmas.  In the process they become living Christmas Trees the year round, and year in and out. For Christmas is not just for one occasion where a tree top is decorated and thrown away after. Millions of trees are sacrificed every Christmas this way.  .

Pine treetops for sale

This contributes to loss of vegetation, which in turn results in soil erosion and siltation, flooding and largely to global warming.

Loss of trees decreases oxygen in the air, since trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.  They are the earth's primary lungs.  And they contribute to favorable micro climates in their domain. They catch the rain and store it as groundwater and spring.  They feed the streams and rivers and keep the ponds and lakes full, and the estuaries in good condition.

Just a single tree, we may say, does not mean anything - and it's Christmas.anyway and it comes once in a year   With millions, nay billions, celebrating Christmas, collective loss is unimaginable.

Tree planting  to save Mother Earth.

What can we do to have an instant living Christmas tree? You don't have to go far if there is a tree in your backyard on along the sidewalk.    

  • You can have a potted tree seedling by the window with simple decor.  No lights.  Just some ribbon and colored cutouts.
  • If the tree is large, decorate sparingly with a dozen lights, preferably LED.  Don't forget the traditional parol on its top, lighthouse effect of sort.
  • If there's a tree house, the ambiance of Christmas should be focused there.  The tree itself may be sparingly decorated. 
  • Shrubs and small trees are not exacting to decors.  Just don't over decorate.
  • Plant a tree this Christmas can be made as a community campaign.  Decide the place of tree planting: a park, along the highway, on a watershed.  Celebrate Christmas on this occasion. Don't forget to take care of the trees thereafter.  
  • Plant trees that are adapted in the area.  Conifers (pines) are temperate; get tropical species (e.g., narra)
Artificial Christmas trees (photo) are most convenient to have, but consider the cost and effect to health and environment. Recycled waste materials draws out artistic talent. This is fine, it reduces waste - or at least give a "second life", beauteous at that of materials otherwise thrown away. 

The most meaningful Christmas is one that addresses our time and effort in solving problems concerning the environment. The living Christmas Tree is the living Cross of Christ: it gives food, water, shelter, energy, the basic provisions of life, above all it is a great expression of love this Christmas Season. . 

Acknowledgement: Internet Photos

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Riddles, riddles - join the wit and fun

What flower is white in the morning and pink in the afternoon?
Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

What flower is white in the morning and pink in the afternoon? From riddle and humor enthusiast and a good friend of the author, Dr Anselmo S Cabigan, former director, National Food Authority; and retired professor, St Paul University QC.  Photo taken at Angels' Hills Tagaytay

1. What is the brightest day of the week?

2. Who was the world's greatest thief?
Atlas, because he held up the whole world. (photo, Internet)
  3. What key plays tricks with anyone?
A monkey.

4. What makes men mean?
The letter A.

5. What is the widest rope in the world?

6. What flares up when struck on the head?
A match.

7. What stands on one leg and has its heart in its head?
A cabbage.

8. What tune does everyone like?

9. What can you say, and merely by doing so, break?

10. What did the judge say to the dentist?

Do you swear to pull the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth?

Here is simple guide when answering riddles. You may fail to answer correctly, but don't fall into a trap. Because all of a sudden what is being asked in not a riddle - but plain fact, a common knowledge, or basic principle. Here is an example: Someone asked a college graduate in the midst of a riddle exchange session, "How is oxygen produced continously outside the laboratory?" A long pause - then silence - the session broke into guesses. Answer: photosynthesis.

11. What, put in front of pies, makes them dangerous?
The letter S.

12. What did the bride think when she arrived at the church?
Aisle, Altar, Hymn (I'll alter him.)

 13. What animal disturbs you in bed at night?
A night-mare.

 14. What is the difference between a dressmaker and a nurse?
One cuts dresses, while the other dresses cuts.

 15. Why is the letter A like a flower?
Because the B follows it. 

16. What runs around the house that never moves an inch?
A fence.

 17. When did Adam and Eve stop playing games?
When they had lost their pair o' dice (paradise)

18. What carries hundreds of needles but never sews?
A porcupine.
(photo, Internet)

19. Which dog will you find in a ring?
A boxer.

20. What is waste of time.
Telling a hair-raising story to a bald-headed man.

 21. What did the flour say to the water?
We'll be kneaded to make the dough.

22. What part of a ship is strict?
The stern part.

23. What time is it when the clock strikes thirteen?
It's time to repair it.

 24. What do you call father corn? Pop corn. Mother corn? Mais. Teacher corn? Mae(i)stra.

25. What is worse than seeing a worm in an apple?
Seeing only one-half of the worm. ~
Answer to photo riddle: Balibago

Balibago (Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn), Family Malvaceae. Its flowers open pure white in the morning gradually turning into pink towards the end of the day, indeed a manifestation of God's mysterious ways.


Compiled by AVRotor. Reference: The Armada Book of Jokes and Riddles; acknowledgment, Dr Anselmo S Cabigan, and Angels' Hills, Tagaytay.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People’s School-on-the-Air): 10th Year (2006 - 2015 Phase II) A Quest for Functional Literacy

Lessons in Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid are posted on (Living with Nature), and simultaneously broadcast and read by the audience worldwide. Living with Nature won the best Blog for Nature and Environment (Bloggys 2015 Philippine Awards 2015)
 Ka Abe (right) and Ka Melly (2nd from left) with technical staff: Engr. Susan Ayson and Mr Rolly Bumatayo. Not in the photo is Mr Orly Lopez and DZRB Manager Allan Allanigue.

Features of PBH:

1. The program’s thrust is functional literary which augments formal learning and general knowledge, and enriches personal and community experience.

2. PBH deals with issues consistent with the attainment of Philippine development objectives and preservation of Filipino values.

3. The program upholds norms and rules in attaining progress, peace and unity, and development of self-respect and dignity. It aims to tap the inner source of strength, and core of community cooperation.

4. PBH creates environmental awareness, teaching ways to maintain environmental balance to all sectors of society, particularly among the masses.

5. The program uses a medium of instruction in Filipino and English (Taglish) and a level of comprehension that cuts through the audience profile – school children, farmers, workers, housewives, out-of-school youth, and professionals alike.

6. PBH follows the format of easy and light lecture-discussion, and an ambiance that encourages direct audience participation. The program covers onsite lessons, interviews, and special events.

7. Reviews are conducted regularly through self-administered tests. Participants send their comments and suggestions to Radyo ng Bayan through the Internet [], e-mail, letters and other means.

8. The program pursues continuing research on current issues, and felt needs of listeners, tapping the expertise and resources of experts from various organizations and institutions.

9. PBH lessons are kept on file with PBS-DZRB. Copies in CD may be available at cost upon request to re-echo lessons for schools, organizations and similar purposes.

10. Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid is managed by PBS-DZRB, in cooperation with experts and volunteers from different disciplines. It has a tie up with outreach programs of schools, such as UST Graduate School, University of Perpetual Help, St. Paul University System. It works closely with government agencies (e.g. DOST, DA, SSS, LBP), and NGOs such as Agricultural Rural Development Foundation, and Spirulina Philippines. ~


Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Creeping Plague, painting in acrylic, AVR 2002
"There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings…Then a strange blight crept over the area and everything began to change …Mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens, the cattle and chicken sickened and died …There was a strange stillness… The Few birds seen anywhere were moribund, they trembled violently and could not fly. It is a spring without voices." - Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Mourn not, every one is mourning,
And no one comes to your care;
Creeps the devil wind screaming
And falls silent the day after.

Lo! the land is blooming once again,
The sea calm, the birds singing;
Grows back the forest, the hills green,
Sans man, once all knowing.

Building Sandcastle

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Himpapawid (School on Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 KHz AM 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

Building sand castle, Morong Bataan

Building Sandcastle*

Building sandcastle, building life:

in sorrow, joy;
in despair, hope;
in weakness, strength;
in failure, success;
in pride, humility;
in chaos, order;
in lust, moderation;
in tempest, calm;
in war, peace;
in trial, resolve;
in cruelty, kindness

in doubt, faith;
in vagary, firmness

in hardship, patience;in evil, goodness;

Building sandcastle, building life. ~

*15 foundations of a good life.
Make this article into a prayer for our growing children.