Monday, November 30, 2015

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. ~

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