Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dr Anselmo S Cabigan: Naturalist, Nationalist, Professor, Friend (Article in Progress)

Dr Abe V Rotor 

No Living Thing is an Island
Dr Sel Cabigan examines a tree laden with symbionts that form 
a mini ecosystem. Caliraya, Laguna, circa 2002

A great mind can see the small, the minuscule,
screen vividly open like a living stage,
where creatures big and small play vital roles,
in a system like a book page by page.

No living thing is an island, it is part of a whole,
and yet that whole is not the sum 
of number and kind, neither the measure of time,
  and space and changes to come..  

A tree bears a dual role - individual and host -
 often missed in research and accord,
save he who is gifted a naturalist and teacher
to save the tree and our world. ~  

  Old Folks Re-defined  
Left to right: Prof Rey Pedroche, Dr Sel Cabigan, the author, 
and Dr Manny Martinez. Angels' Hills, Tagaytay, circa 2007

Who are the old folks,  
but the disciples of   
 Confucius and Longfellow
Gandhi and Thoreau,

The unknown soldier   
of old, doctor, teacher
in war and in peace,
the village elder.

Links of generations,
of human phylogeny, 
authors and models  
of history. ~ 

Friends disagree yet agree at a common end       
Author (right) and Dr Cabigan examine a flowering liana groing on 
windy Tagaytay ridge. Calaruega, Cavite, 2006,.

What friends are - agreeable or not - of a finding, 
discussing it apparently without end
over the horizon of knowledge to its very edge;  
the arena to test who is foe or friend. 

Only then that the probing mind is worth having,
honed like the famed Damascus sword; 
feather or rock its cowers not, and blazes a path
the lesser dares not utter a word.

Socrates to Plato to Aristotle, and the Academe,
great minds of great civilizations rose, 
on the pillars of scholarship and enlightenment, 
and man's reminder of the Cross.

Friendship - all that started the great adventure,
where crossroads mark across the way;
friends disagree yet agree at a common end       
by Whose power and will, they pray.

Is Rationality a Mask of Reality?
Dr Cabigan studies a specimen at a Retreat  Center. Lipa, Batangas

What leads reality to fantasy, we surmise;
     the saga of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn,
Jules Verne's Kraken, Loch Ness monster,
     from fantasy to reality stories rise.

Nostradamus prophesy, Malthus' theory;
     the Bible - fiction, science, tales, all
mixed up in archives and social media
     where one is led to think and feel free.

Scientific protocol: Koch's Postulate,
     Linnaeus' nomenclature, Mendeleev's,
computer prediction models of today,
     Quarks and Higg's Boson as of late.

To where do all these lead us, we ask,
     after moon landing, soon to planet Mars;
if fantasy a means of escape from reality,
     then rationality is but a fateful mask. ~

The Face of Christ

Dr Anselmo S Cabigan stands before the miraculous painting at a former university museum where hundreds of pilgrims and other visitors for the last fifteen years saw and pondered on it. It is said that the image remains obscure, and appears only to keen observers. The painting was inspired by Dr Cabigan's verse, Into Your Light. Light in the Woods, Photographs and Poems by AV Rotor

Into Your Light

Lead me to where I should lead them,
The little ones to my care You'll send;
That they may solve this awesome maze
And burst out bright into Your Light." 

Anselmo S Cabigan, 1995

The Versatile Bamboo

Bamboo comes in different species, from the lanky bikal to the giant  
kawayan kiling. Dr Cabigan shows a rare and fancy species.     

1. Bamboo, it is the only perennial species in its family - Poaceae - formerly Graminae or Graminaceae, to which the rice, wheat, corn, the world's staple food belong,

2. Bamboo, it lives season after season, aestivating in the summer months, living on measly resources, then resuming luxuriant growth in monsoon.

3. Bamboo, it grows in the tropics, covers hillsides, ripraps riverbanks, colonizes deltas and silted areas, forms dense thickets, filters noise, dusts, and wind.

4. Bamboo, it is the source of inspiration in the arts: songs like Lawiswis Kawayan, paintings (Fernando Amorsolo's rural scenes), native architecture (Bahay Kubo).

5. Bamboo, it is the home of the spirits, good and bad, of ancestral beliefs and superstition, the birthplace of Malakas at Maganda in Philippine folklore.

6. Bamboo, the material of the finest basket, cradle, fan; vessel for water and wine; thrift bank of children and vault for precious possession.

7. Bamboo, the posts of humble homes, stakes of fish pens, scaffolding of high rise, flagpoles in the countryside, fences of settlements.

8. Bamboo, it is made into utensil and receptacle in good and hard times - tinubong for tourists, cooking pot and plate in jungle survival, and ethnic and fancy wares in modern homes, and restaurants.

9. Bamboo, it adds quaintness and merriment to festivals: palo sebo and pabitin in fiestas, stilts in parades and races, in arches of welcome and goodbye.

10. Bamboo makes the finest kites friendly to the wind, steady in the sky, instills awe with their beautiful and colorful design in both young and old, the loafer and passerby.

11. Bamboo makes many playthings for children: blowgun for kids' war, bat for ball games, fishing pole for fish and frog, bird trap - taay or singgapong.

12. Bamboo, it is a fine material for pan pipe, flute, maracas, castanet, ukulele, gong, guitar, banjo, banduria, xylophone, and the like - the musical instruments of bands and orchestras like the Pangkat Kawayan.
13. Bamboo, its shoot (labong) is food of the common man - the rich as well - in various preparations, atsara, lumpia, bulanglang, ginisa, ginatan, etc.

14. Bamboo, the material used in building a church organ, historically famous, and the only kind in the world, a UNESCO heritage which draws tourists to its home, Las Piñas, Rizal.

15. Bamboo, it is the abode of wildlife, birds that herald the day, hoot at night; reptiles calling their mates; rodents rearing their young, bats hanging in the branches; fowls perched for the night.

16. Bamboo, it spawns mushrooms (kabuting kawayan, u-ong bunton Ilk.) beneath its thorny base and surrounding anthills (punso), creating a sense of wonder about the playful dwarfs (dwende).

17. Bamboo, the specimen in the field and laboratory for studies in plant physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, owing to its many medicinal properties.

18. Bamboo, the ultimate source of water in the jungle when everything is dry, for it stores the purest and most refreshing water that readily quenches thirst.

19. Bamboo, it is the fastest growing plant, its shoot virtually visible to the eye in its ascent to the sky, often outpacing a potential shoot gatherer.

20. Bamboo, the prophet of doom: when it flowers, the Pandas starve, the forest readily catches fire, crops in the field dry up, indicating El Niño phenomenon in its worst episode.

Bamboo, it is the answer to the riddle of life, when in the final phase, man walks on three legs walking down the lane with a bamboo cane to meet his Creator. ~

Enigmatic Pongapong

Right, vegetative phase of the life cycle of pongapong, (Amorphophallus campanulatus)The plant grows luxuriantly, then dies out without trace of its trunk and leaves. Overnight, like a fairy tale, a curious giant flower breaks out of the ground. Center of Ecozoic Learning and livelihood (CELL), Silang, Cavite (right); former SPUQC EcoSanctuary, left photo).

is a rare plant. Its reproductive stage is in the form of a single bulbous flower arising from an underground enlarged root. The flower is pollinated by flies attracted by putrefying odor of meat. Once fertilized the flower settles down as if decayed as the seeds mature and become ready for dissemination. The vegetative stage of the plant is succulent appearing like a giant fern. The enlarged root is often harvested for hog feed. It is cut into small pieces and cooked with other feed ingredients. Dr. Anselmo S Cabigan, biology professor examines the floral phase of the plant.

What a life you have, my pongapong fair:
     At one time you are all but a huge flower, 
Emerging in royal velvet with deathly air; 
     Yet in monsoon, you are reborn a tower.
Breaking out while Hades is in slumber.

Get out of your confine, love the sun
Dr Cabigan examines pine saplings in Lipa Batangas, 

Why do living things behave as they do;
what trigger plants to bloom profusely;
insects metamorphose in their mid cycle,
midges swarm, like the locust do?

Why is the pine confined on the highland,
save a few acclimatized on the lowland;
the desert suddenly blooms after a rain,
returning barren in the scorching sun?

Why the firefly's lantern the purest light,
plankton glow in the deep, eyes flash;
silk the finest textile, honey the sweetest;
boundless, flawless the birds in flight.

Ask the naturalist, and if you are one,
talk to the trees, sing with the breeze,
crickets, greet the first rain in May,
get out of your confine, love the sun. ~

On-site lecture in biology at the SPUQC Museum

Angels Just Pass By 

On retiring from teaching at St Paul University QC, ca. 2009

All the years, to describe you, let me count the ways:
But first, admit your age, and heed the one who says.
Our roads crossed time and again - perhaps the eighth,
Under any umbrella, any fort of service and faith;

A tree you planted, its boughs filled with children,
In its shade, old and young call each other brethren;
A field of grass undulating in whispers and in song
Of hopes and dreams among the beloved throng;

A plow, you're the man behind a home and nation,
A computer, cyberspace its eye and its bastion.
Nata to leather, fruit to wine, microbes to food,
Work of a goodhearted genius working under the hood.

Busy feet, busy hands, bound in thought and sinew,
Work, work, work - whatever may be your view.
And play? And jokes? You've got a lot, too.
Cracking one, and I saw how a whole class blew.

Child of Nature years ago, but never getting old,
Though your hair is vanishing, laurels in its hold;
The span of time and space, your now sit on its shed,
Furrows on your forehead, your vision dims ahead.

If for any reason you keep on searching, never tiring,
It's because the stars shine far out into the morning,
And ideals and truth are not the same, are they?
There are no answers - yet you wish there may.

In a perfect place and time, here and beyond SPUQ,
Angels just pass by Sel, we can only guess they do. ~

Home Green Revolution 

Green revolution at home, self-sufficiency its aim,
freshness, nutrition, exercise, 
family bonding, aesthetics and beautification, 
nothing compares with its prize.

A little plot, a little trellis, a little space and time,
devoted to re-create an idle corner,
into a patch of Eden redeemed, transformed,
from the cruel biblical disaster.

A revolution in economics for the common tao,
education from theory to skill,
independence from the capitalistic world,
pride and contentment in every meal. 

How modern we could get yet lose freedom
of nature's gifts to humanity,
searching for something in the midst of plenty,
what a single seed could bring unity. ~      

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