Thursday, July 27, 2017

UST-AB ASSIGNMENT: The Little Red Hen – A Modern Fable

Interpret on 3 Viewpoints: Philosophy,
Sociology, Bedtime Story
Once upon a time there was a little red hen that lived in a farmyard, and one day found some grains of wheat which she took to the other animals in the farmyard – cat, rat, pig. He asked who of them can help her plant the grains of wheat. None wanted to, so the little red hen planted the grains, and the plants grew tall and strong until it was time to harvest them.

Again he asked her companions if they are willing to help. Just like before, none of them was. So the little red hen did the harvesting. And she did all the work – brought the grains to the miller and to the baker, and when the bread was baked he asked her friends, “Who will help me eat the bread?”

“I will,” said the cat.

“I will,” said the rat.

“I will,” said the pig.

“No you will not,” intoned the little red hen. “I shall eat it myself.” So she did.

The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat is a modern fable which evolved into philosophy that touches sensitive issues of modern living such as capitalism and socialism. Animal Farm by George Orwell may be different in presentation and philosophical connotation, from the traditional style of a fable. It is a socio-economic and political thesis in the guise of animals acting like humans do under a system which they themselves created.

Even as Aesop fables are taking a new dimension as viewed in a changing world, the essence is as fresh as ever. All one needs to realize them as relevant as they were in Aesop’s time is simply to reflect on them himself. For human character and behavior have not really changed since then.
x x x

References: Goldsmith O (1973) - Treasury of Aesop’s Fables Avenel Books, NY 139 pp
Stuart M (1974) A First Book of Aesop’s Fables (Vol 1 and 2) Ladybird Books

Five Chinese Folk Stories

Researched and Compiled by Dr Abe V Rotor 

Living with Nature - School on Blog

1. The Spider and the Silkworm
Both the spider and the silk worm spin silk. One day the spider said, "I admit your silk is better than the silk from the spider, your silk is yellow and white, dazzling and bright. You use the silk that you spin yourself, to make a beautiful cocoon, then live inside thinking falsely you are kings.

In your little cocoon you wait until the women put you in scalding hot water and peel your silk off strand by strand. Then your beautiful cocoons are all gone. What a shame, though you have the ability to create such beauty, then die because of it, is this not stupid?"

The silk worm thinking about what the spider said, answered, "Our actions are actually like suicide, but we spin silk so that people can weave beautiful brocades, giving all the people the ability to look beautiful, can you say our labor is a waste? Look at you spiders, all you weave for is to make a trap that will let you eat the cute little bugs that fly in. You don't regret it either but don't you think that is a little cruel?"

Many people think it's such a waste to do things that don't benefit them. These people cannot understand why would one sacrifice for the benefit of others. But on the other hand there are some people who are satisfied knowing that their sacrifices can benefit others. These people don't think their labors are stupid actions since they gain satisfaction not by bettering themselves but others.

So if we are not able to understand one's decision, don't despise, let's just respect it.

2. A Fish Stranded in a Dying Puddle

Once there was a fellow walking along a road. Suddenly he heard a faint cry. He looked around but saw nothing. Thinking he heard nothing, he continued to walk. Again he heard the faint cry. This time the call was nearby. He searched high and low, and found the sound was coming out of a little fish lying in a drying pond. His mouth gurgling. That person looked at the fish strangely and asked,

"Was that you who was just calling me ? Was it you needing my help ? "

The small fish looking pleading at the man gasping and breathless said, "Please save me quickly, I am dying, I need water. I am not a normal fish, rather I am the eastern sea dragon's official. Please give me a little water." That person hearing this hurriedly nodded his head and said,

"I understand, I will immediately go to the south and let the southern king redirect a river to here so that you can swim and return to the eastern sea." The fish angrily cried out, "Can a fish live out of water? I am only in need of a little water. Your idea is pointless. I think that the next time you see me will be in a shop that sells dried fish. "

The story tells us to reconsider solutions that we usually propose to solve real life problems. Sometimes we take our time too much to find the most ideal solution, while what the problem really needs is time critical solution.

We must always aware that many times in our lives we don't need the best solution but some quick fixes for the current situation to prevent it of becoming worse. Only until then, we have much more time to think and find the ideal solution.

3. A Frog at the Bottom of a Well 

Irene Y Tsai and Pattie Caprio

Once upon a time, there was a small and shallow water well, and in that well lived a frog. Everyday he lived life at his leisure and felt he was truly blessed.

One day a turtle came to his well, the frog happily welcomed and invited him to stay. As they talked the frog proudly said, "I can play in the well or I can frolic as I like, when I'm tired I rest in a hole in the wall of the well. Look at the small shrimp and insects to eat, don't you want to come and see my well ? It's my heaven on earth.

Hearing these stories, the turtle very much wanted to go and see the well. But he was too fat, and couldn't slip into the hole of the well. With a sigh he told the frog a story about the sea,

"The sea, have you ever seen the sea ? The sea is a massive expanses of blue. You can swim heading for faraway places and never reach them, you can swim down but never reach the bottom. The sea has always been this deep and big. Only when you are in the sea can you really feel truly free and happy." The frog hearing this was dumbfounded. He was so shocked he could only stare into the distance.

We ought to have a broad and far-reaching vision of life, unlike the vision of the frog living in the well, seeing only his little heaven on earth. One must have an open mind, ready to explore beyond his current knowledge, understanding and even his proudly proven skill.

4. False Orchestra Player 
During the Warring-states Period, the Qi Kingdom had a king who was particularly fond of listening to orchestras. His favorite performance were those of hundreds of musicians playing in symphony, so he sent his servants to find 300 musicians and to organize them into an orchestra. There was one fellow called Nanguo, who actually couldn't play the instrument, accepted the offer.
So everyday he performed for the king with the hundreds of musicians, pretending to play, imitating exactly and seeming to play expertly. For a longtime no one else realized. Afterwards this king passed away, and his son succeeded him. His son also liked to listen to music, but he didn't like the listening to the cacophony of a 300 strong orchestra, rather he liked listening to them play individually in succession. Nanguo when he heard of this news knew he could no longer pass himself off as a musician and stole away never to be seen again in the palace.

Some members of an ancient Chinese orchestra 

Around you, you may have people like Nanguo, who in reality have no skill but in the numbers can pass themselves off. You should be careful to detect them and be aware of their true strengths.

5. Wait for a Second Luck

Once in the Song Kingdom there was a farmer, he always wished all good things would by chance fall in front of him. One day he was working in the fields when a wild rabbit ran headlong into a wooden post, snapped its neck, and died. He happily bent and picked it up thinking, "If I can find a rabbit every day like this, I won't ever need to farm again." So he discarded his hoe and everyday sat by the wooden post and hoped for another stroke of luck like the first.

Days passed - but he had no such luck, and more and more people ridiculed this foolish man.

Sometimes opportunities and good fortune incidentally befall us, but we must not always rely on them. Good fortune is to be appreciated, not expected. If you want success you must rely on your own hard work.

Acknowledgement: Chinese Folk Stories,Myths and Legends, Internet, Wikipedia 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Homely Catanduanes

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Whatever way homely means,
to me Catanduanes is home
of beautiful nature and people.
of happy children, of simple living,
full of life and laughter.

From the air, it's a greenery, 
forests untouched, fields golden
to brown to green again 
as seasons roll on and on, 
in spite of the havoc of typhoon.  

River meets the sea like friends
eager to tell their own story, and I,
a foreigner to the place an eager 
audience, a pupil of land, sea and sky.  

Children take the street at sundown sans gadgets, 
but native toys and native jokes and laughter,
and native customs of old, tradition they'll carry on,
And I, how I wish I were like them in my time.     

Change, indeed time has changed,.
from native home to a modern dwelling 
speaks of progress and its own prize, 
but whose and what, we can only surmise.   
I met a balikbayan from a large city;
visiting his birthplace to him a duty;
to bridge three generations apart;
homing instinct I found the greatest art,
what really makes a place homely 
is in keeping the bonds of a family. 

Learn to relax like the cat.

Cat lulls you to sleep. 
Dr Abe V Rotor  

Ibi at home. 

Take life like the cat. 

Health and Values: Key to a Happy Love Life

Dr Abe V Rotor
“When we do not give or receive love in a balanced, harmonious, natural way, deficiencies occur in our innermost being. These deficiencies reveal themselves through many symptoms – depression, loneliness, destructive relationships, weight problems, bitterness, inferiority feelings, workaholism, alcoholism, drug abuse, a critical spirit, violence, sexual abnormalities, and many other forms. I believe we must treat the person on the other end of the symptoms.”
- Dr. Bernard Jensen, Love, Sex and Nutrition

Here is a practical guide in attaining a happy love life.

1. Avoid stress and fatigue, and avoid smoking, alcohol, drugs, and food additives, as these accumulate toxic wastes in the body thus interfering with the body physiology. Avoid exposure to pollutants and chemicals. Poor diet, lack of exercise and nervousness, also interfere with the  proper functioning of our brain which diminish sexual vitality. Condition your mind before love making by affirming happy, loving, and caring thoughts. Maintain trust and confidence with your partner. Be calm, patient and kind. Remember that the body responds with what the mind dictates.

2. It is a fact that married people live longer and happier than single or divorced people. Single and divorced people are hospitalized more often, their death rate is twice, and they are more prone to nervous breakdown. Sex stimulates and rejuvenates our glands, particularly the hypothalamus of the brain which is the sex center. Active sex life helps prevent diseases and illnesses, by enhancing natural immunity. Since every part of our body is exercised during lovemaking- from the heart to the nerve endings. Sex is perhaps the best test of vitality and health.

3. There are people who are highly sexual, while others have very little interest in sex. This is human nature and there is no “norm” in this regard. However, good sexual attitudes can be developed. For example, proper advice can help a person overcome an experience that may be the cause of lack of interest in sex. Improvement in health leads to a more positive sex attitude. Recognize that lovemaking is teamwork, that the satisfaction of one can lead to satisfaction of the other. Age is another factor to sexuality. Although younger people are generally more aggressive, there are people in their middle or late age who can maintain the same level of sexual activity. Others become more aggressive in their middle age.

4. Keep your body healthy and attractive. This is the key to natural sexuality. Grooming cultivates natural beauty, irrespective of the color of the skin, shape of nose or eyes, height and built, etc. good health gives the gait in your movement, twinkle in your eyes, shine and flow in your hair, firmness of your muscles. It contributes to good posture. It makes your skin glow and lovable to be touched. It helps develop your personality to become likable and attractive. Magnetic personality, napapalingon, nakakapansin, pogi, sexy, are all related to body beautiful. Remember that natural beauty is a holistic expression, not only external attributes, but of qualities that emanate from within. It is an expression of “a healthy mind in a healthy body”, plus good character and fine culture.

5. Freedom and responsibility are inseparable in the defining sex. This is a simple guideline that governs human sexual behavior.


6. Be aware of the other attendant responsibilities in sex, such as the subject of pregnancy of sexually transmitted diseases. Sex education gives emphasis to responsibility in sex and marriage, particularly among young people.

7. A natural clock governs every person in his system. This is often referred to as biological rhythm. Although there is a general plan on how this internal clocks works, no two persons are tuned in to the same pattern - not even husband and wife. Try to live by your own biorhythms and learn to adjust with those of our partner. Recognize your moods and energies that change with the time of the day and night, with months and seasons. Lovemaking is mutually fulfilling when both partners have synchronized biorhythms. Generally human body is dynamic that it can reset itself daily and adapt to the changes in the environment.
8. Sex can become monotonous especially with modern life. Many people find little time to express tender love with sex. They employ a number of ways to vary their sexual expression as not merely satisfying a desire, feeling relieved and exhausted afterward - or just for the sake of giving in to their partner. Many more miss the spiritual element of lovemaking, whereby the act is a means to sustain a passionate emotion from which follow exhilaration, and a great feeling of satisfaction. Mantra yoga and Karezza are two Oriental lovemaking techniques that help transform an ordinary sex- oriented relationship into a loving, tender and harmonious one, enhancing a love-oriented relationship that bring together body, mind and spirit.

9. Food, Rest, Exercise and sunlight = Health (FRESH). This formula is easy to remember. Watch out for the food that you take. Eat health foods, and avoid those in the list of Don’t Eat which your family doctor gave you. A vegetarian is healthier and lives longer. Remember there is no substitute to adequate sleep. Maintain a healthy sleeping habit. Take a rest between heavy schedules, and avoid buildup of tension. Relax. Exercise regularly within your natural capacity. Do not over exercise. You need sunlight, more so if your are an office worker. Sunlight perks you up, breaks monotony, and takes out the blues in your life. It makes us closer to nature, and takes us to outdoor adventure. All these make a happy love life with your partner.

10.Be aware that of all creatures on earth only humans are endowed with sexual freedom which can be summarized as follows:

1. Sexual expression is not restricted to estrus periods or seasons of the year.
2. Humans have the ability to match their sexual desires with their moods and feelings. Hormones influence, but not dictate, sex life.
3. Humans can choose various sexual positions, instead of being restricted to one as in the case of animals.
4. Meaningful spiritual love and emotional feelings multiply the ecstasy of physical pleasure.

11.Learn to read and understand the sexual cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle dictates her sexual moods. They feel sexiest at the midpoint of their menstrual cycle. There are people who are sexier in the morning than at night. There are also those who feel sexier in summer than during cool months, or vice versa. There are also times when men become sexier and this is indicated by rapid growth of their beard. Studies show that the most active time for sexual activity is in the evening, but lovemaking at this time is poor since the androgens (love hormones) are low. (They are highest between 8 to 12 a.m., and lowest at 6 p.m.) Evening is convenient to most working people. If this is not enough, make up for it during weekends.

12.Reduce meal size as the day progresses and avoid high calorie snacks in the evening. But do not skip breakfast or lunch. Carbohydrates help calm and focus the mind. Protein food boosts mental energy, but avoid fatty foods when you want to be mentally alert. When planning out an active evening, like going to a concert, holding a party, or having a date, reduce your dinner, with protein food preferred over fatty and carbohydrates food. Coffee makes you awake, and drinking may delay your regular bedtime or makes you fall asleep. If you want to wake up refreshed and alert do not take alcohol in the evening before.

13.An enduring and fulfilling love life is one that shared together by husband and wife. Here are the basic elements essential to a lifelong relationship: trust and confidence, empathy (feeling with the older person), marriage (sex outside marriage cannot remain meaningful and does not usually last). Then there are seven virtues of married life, which a couple must mutually uphold at  all times.

The seven virtues of married life

• tenderness
• courtesy
• sociability
• understanding
• fairness
• loyalty
• honesty

14.One must free his or her mind from fallacies and myths about sex.

One thousand-and-one myths

• A woman never forgets her first lover.
• Big lips and abundant pubic hair indicates sensuality.
• A woman’s interest in sex is more emotional than physical.
• All women grow to look like their mothers.
• Beautiful women are too narcissistic to enjoy sex.
• Baldness indicates sensuality.
• The size of fingers indicates the size of the sex organ.
• Colored people perform better in bed than white people.
• Small breast indicates less sex desire.
• Religious people do not permit cunnilingus.
. Drugs increase intensity of physical desire and fulfillment.

These and a thousand-and-one myth can effect, and even destroy love life. This is where sex education and counseling comes in.

The foundation of a full and sustained sex life is made up of proper diet, avoidance of toxic materials and vices, a regular physical exercise regime, positive attitude, adherence to morals and culture norms. Love and sex is a celebration on top of a pyramid built on this foundation.~

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Orphans of the Sea

"... on its edge I cast a line and wait for a fish to bite,
wedged by thoughts, sad and happy, bound and free."

Dr Abe V Rotor 

                  Fisherman by the Sea, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.  Photo by the author. 

 Rock pool - orphan of the sea, in acrylic by the author.

What have we in common but orphans of the sea?

you live with the tide, one time full, at another empty;

and I, on its edge cast a line and wait for a fish to bite,

wedged by thoughts, sad and happy, bound and free. ~ 

The Break of Dawn - 12 Verses

"Kindness, however small
is never waste at all." 
Dr Abe V Rotor
Acacia tree casts a silhouette as dawn breaks. Diliman, QC

1. Archetypes feed the memory
for the past to stay;
we see the child of yesterday
through a window today.

2. If my life is to be lived with love,
learned and shared in one way or many;
if through others it is seen this way above,
then I shall have truly left a legacy.

3. False kindness makes another Waterloo
where well-meant advice finds flaw.

4. A trace of smoke foretells a consequence;
a faint pulse is life’s precious reference.

5. Walk. 
Running is sometimes bad;
you’ll better see and talk
about the countryside –
and God.

6. Self-doubt at the beginning is often necessary,
for it seeks perfection of the trade we carry.

7. Unbridled company breeds notoriety –
remember Chaucer’s The Pardoner’s Tale?
Many men were lost in the Hessian Army,
and in ships that bore the black sail.

8. Ephemeral and fleeting are the days of our lives,
when we do not watch the sun set and rise.

9. The greatest crisis ambitious men and women face
Is loss of privacy in trying to win a nameless race.

Torch atop a bridge's column dims as 
dawn approaches. Bangkok Thailand  

10. Who nods when old is wise and deep,
save he by the fireside asleep.

11. The past leaves but a song the future may inherit,
Perhaps new to the young, but dying bit by bit -
Until it’s gone.

12. Kindness, however small
Is never waste at all. ~

The woods - a place for respite and quiet.

Wall Murals by Dr Abe V Rotor 

Wall Mural of Wildlife, St. Paul University QC, 2001

When the world has gone wild, wilder than the wilderness;
     go to the woods with a backpack, it's all you need;
be like Thoreau all alone in the woods by the Walden Pond.      
     and let the world go by elsewhere at its own bid.  

Where the forest and sea meet, wall mural. St Paul University QC

Greet the morning with seven doves emerging from the woods;
     from your lair of concrete and steel seven storeys tall;
wonder if they spent the night in peace and quiet, and how; 
     what magic has the woods after seven days of toil.  ~       

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Universal Teacher- Ms Caridad R Lazo (San Vicente IS to the World Series)

"If angels search for a most precious thing,
        It is a teacher, the monument builder,
the mother in school and home, epitome 
       and bridge of the young and the elder." - avr 
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Author, former Grade III pupil of Auntie Caring, at San Vicente 
(IS) parish church, with Ms Cecille R Rotor, 2012

Three generations, this great teacher taught:
    in her own, mine and the present time;
and teaching still the lesson of life,
    in her golden sunset, across the clime. 

Under thatched roof and battered wall, 
    from the ash of war a Phoenix rose,
she said, "Peace with hope conquers all,"
    and we tread on the right path she chose.

That was long time ago in fresh memory,
    from blackboard to traversing cyberspace,
and looking back the sage in her beams
    to say "Just look back awhile in a race."

Wisdom truly is to hold on tradition 
    as the world goes round - to anchor change
to hold on to life's meaning than adrift,
    floating with neither a goal nor range. 
Philosophy to hold on to search for why,
    knowledge to skill transformed, what to how;
the course of events’ periodicity, history,
    that made great men, values then and now.

Strange these are to the mind and heart
    of the young that we were then, and today,
the crucible of teaching that makes heroes
    though unknown, rings triumphant someday.

What among lessons is truest yet sublime?
    we look back who molded us a living clay;
herself the tutor and model, ‘til all of us
    cured and hardened to the hour and day.    
If angels search for a most precious thing,
    It is a teacher, the monument builder,
the mother in school and home, epitome
    and bridge of the young and the elder. ~  

What makes a universal teacher?

Years passed since Maestra Caring was my teacher in Grade 3 at the San Vicente Central Elementary School. Sixty years to be exact, and I too, became a teacher.  I learned what qualities a teacher must have in order to be effective, and recognized as outstanding.  I based my findings on those of a joint research project of CHED and the National Council of Educational Innovators (NCEI), with the support of non-governmental organizations and various colleges and universities. The first aspect I came across are the four areas of expertise as an outstanding teacher. 

1. Subject matter expertise, which means that the teacher has a mastery of content-specific knowledge and the organization of this knowledge for effective instruction.

2. Classroom management expertise, that is, the teacher maintains a high level of on-task students’ classroom behavior, which prevents or eliminates learning disruptions, while it creates an environment conducive to learning.

3. Instructional expertise, which means that the teacher has both implicit and explicit knowledge on various teaching strategies and methods to attain pre-defined instructional objectives.

4. Diagnostic expertise, which refers to the ability of the teacher to know both the class and individual needs and goals, abilities, achievement levels, motives, personality attributes, and emotions, which influence instruction and learning.

Maestra Caring demonstrated all these areas of expertise on a high plane few teachers can equal. She was able to elevate her expertise by advocating on certain educational philosophies which she knew well how to balance each one as the situation and need would arise.

The first is eclectic educational philosophy, which means that the teacher does not subscribe to just one philosophy; she shifts her roles from being a facilitator of learning to a transmitter and interpreter of knowledge. While at times she may be a perennialist – one who is an authority in the classroom, transmitting and interpreting knowledge.

As a realist she focuses on the here and now, stressing knowledge as how it is applied or observed. For example the laws of nature are better understood through observation and research, more so with an outdoor setting.

As an idealist she views education as a means of developing students’ intellectual abilities. Influenced by the Greek philosophers Socrates and Plato.  She stresses the importance of logic and philosophy.

Holistic Mentor-Learner Interaction

The key to effectiveness in teaching is a holistic approach whereby there is a mutual and orderly interaction in the teaching-learning process, with the teacher placing a high premium on the development of thinking and understanding. Educators attribute teaching expertise to the teachers’ affectionate interactions with the learners, and to their efforts towards developing learners’ responsibility for learning. There are of course many other factors that influence effectiveness in teaching because of the wide diversity in culture, affected by certain economic, ecological and political conditions.

Today’s criteria of an outstanding teacher may be on the extent of educational preparation, preferably one with a masteral or doctoral degree holder, the use of modern teaching and management tools, and the prestige of the institution she represents.  Not in Maestra Caring’s time. WWII had just ended. The Phoenix had just risen from the ashes of war, so to speak.  Things were simple if not bare.  This was the greatest test of a teacher.  

Looking back through the years, I realized that the attributes of a teacher – true and devoted to her vocation – lie on just simple things.

· Logical and creative thinking, the left and right brain in perfect balance and tandem.
· Demonstration as model personal virtues and character that nurture favorable teacher-student relationship;
· Drawing inspiration from within and outside the school, from members of her family and community.
· Positive and cheerful disposition in pursuit of goodness and service as a guardian guided by the wisdom and humility of the Good Shepherd. 

Because of Maestra Caring, I strive to be a teacher too, so with many other disciples, and followed her footsteps all the way.~

NOTE: The characteristics of an effective teacher are described in a book written by Dr. Flordeliza Clemente-Reyes, Unveiling Teaching Expertise – A Showcase of 69 Outstanding Teachers in the Philippines, 1999.The book summarizes the results of a nationwide research initiated and funded by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the National Council of Educational Innovators (NCEI), with the support of non-governmental organizations and various colleges and universities. The author is one of the outstanding teachers in this survey from 28 private and 12 state universities distributed in 12 regions of the country.
National Teachers’ Month and World Teachers’ Day: 05 September to 05 October of Every Year as “National Teachers’ Month” signed on August 24, 2015 by President Benigno S. Aquino III and to the designation of the World Teachers’ Day every 5th of October by the United Nations Evaluation and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),

Dust in my Room - 12 Verses

Dr Abe V Rotor

 Dust or ghost? An Illusion

1. In my room I wrote and wrote
Door locked, my meals cold;
Hands clumsy, my pen dropped
On all four groped I in the dark.

There in a corner my pen rolled
Into a mat of dust and web,
And there I found a story untold,
Of my life in an ebb,

2. How do I know truth unspoken?
When the heart has spoken.

3. A full vessel holds water to the brim,
Unless it bears a crack on its rim.

4. Pleasance, oh, youth; care for the old;
How about the meek, the troubled?

5. He finds reason for living 
Who sees a new beginning.

6. Every promise you can't keep
Drags you deeper into a pit.

7. Take it from the ant and stork, 
Patience is silence at work.

8. (Ode to the cumulus cloud)
If one day the water of the sea is not enough,
Drink, drink deep from my little cup.  

9. Make believe growth and prosperity;
A vessel sounds louder when empty.

10. To endure the pain of hatred, 
A leader's wisdom is often dared, 

11. Impossible to the old. 
I'm possible to the bold;
Retire for the night,
Re-tire for the might.

12. Beauty builds upon beauty. 
Ad infinitum to eternity. ~

Acknowledgement: Photo from Internet 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Live Healthier and Longer with Natural Food

Food with preservatives alter the composition and balance of the microflora  of the stomach, and destroy cells in the body. 
Dr Abe V Rotor
 Vegetarian's barbecue - all naturally grown.

It is not enough that we produce food. We must produce food that ensure good health, reduce risks to diseases and ailments, and prolong life. We must produce food that also insures the health of our environment and the stability of the ecological system.

While science and technology continue to explore new ways to increase food supply with genetic engineering, people are yearning for organic food – or naturally grown food.

Here are issues raised by the proponents of organic farming.

1. Many ailments and abnormalities are traced to the food we take. Cancer for instance, is often related to carcinogenic substances. High uric acid leads to kidney trouble. High cholesterol and high sugar levels are associated with high blood pressure and diabetes. Aftatoxin causes cirrhosis of the liver. Ulcers are food-related, as are many allergies.

2. Proper nutrition and balanced diet can be attained by eating the right kind and amount of natural food without fortification with vitamins and minerals, and other forms of altering food value. Thus there is no need to process food unless it is really necessary. Fresh foods – vegetables, fish, and the like – are still the best. And why modify the genetic composition of crops and animals? Leave that to nature. Nature knows best.

3. Taking excess foods rich in animal fat and protein, and foods high in calories foods has predisposed many people to overweight conditions. Gaining unnecessary weight leads obesity now an epidemic sweeping many countries today particularly in cities where there is a proliferation of fast foods and junk foods. Or simply there is too much of the “good life” – excess in food and pleasure. In the US today one out of five Americans is an obese.

4. There are natural substances that keep our body always alert to fend off stress due to overwork and diseases. They are known as probiotics. We get probiotics from fruits and vegetables. We also get them from seaweeds, mushrooms, yoghurt, algae such as Chlorella, and cyanobacteria such as Spirulina. And there are many more sources that occur in nature. We are beginning to realize that eating foods rich in probiotics and antibiotics (substances that directly kill germs) makes us healthier and live longer.

These are the rules set by the advocates of natural farming.

1. It is always better to eat foods grown under natural conditions than those developed with the use of chemicals.
This statement can be captured with one term "natural food". All over the world this is a label found in food grown without chemicals. People are afraid of becoming ill because of chemicals introduced into the food. There are banned pesticides still in used such as methyl parathion, endosulfan, DDT, BHC, among others. These are also harmful to all living organisms and to the environment.

2. People are avoiding harmful residues of antibiotics and pesticides.
Poultry, hogs and cattle are given high levels of antibiotics to safeguard the animals from diseases. As a result the antibiotics are passed on to the consumers. Unless we are ill, the body does not need supplemental antibiotics. We have adequate natural sources. Every time we eat commercial eggs, chicken, pork chop, steak, and the like, we are taking in antibiotics which accumulate in our body, shutting off our immune systems, punishing our kidney and liver. To many people, antibiotics cause allergic reactions.

3. People are getting scared of food contaminated by radiation. Nuclear reactors are being built in many countries as a fallback to fossil fuel. After the Chernobyl nuclear plant meltdown in Russia, and that of the Three-Miles Island nuclear plant in the US, people have become wary about the consequences of fallout. A trace of radiation can be absorbed by grass in the pasture, finds its way to milk, then to infants. Radiation can remain active for hundreds of years. People are still dying today in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, more than fifty years since the bombing of the two cities with the first atomic bomb.

4. Be aware of the deleterious effects of toxic metals, such as lead, mercury and cadmium. These find their way through the food chain and ultimately reach humans. They escape to the air and enter our lungs, as in the case of dusts from old paints. Since they are in soluble compounds, they are easily absorbed by plants and animals. Kangkong for example absorbs lead. Tuna has high mercury in its tissues and liver. Cadmium from batteries is absorbed by crops.
 The simpler your food is cooked, the better.

5. People are becoming more conscious of the nutritional value of food rather than its packaging and presentation.
More and more people are shunning away from junk foods, in spite of their attractive packaging. Soft drinks have taken the backseat, courtesy of fruit juices and mineral water. People have even learned that different plant varieties have different levels of food value. Beans grown on naturally fertile soil have higher calorie and protein content than those grown on poor soil, or with chemical fertilizers. This is also true with animals. Animals raised with proper nutrition give meat, milk and eggs with higher protein, minerals notwithstanding.

6. Freshness is the primordial rule in choosing a perishable food.
There is no substitute to freshness. While freshness is a function of efficient handling and marketing, the farmer must enhance farm-to-market freshness. By keeping his standing plants healthy, his produce will stay longer on the shelf life. Products that are free from pest and diseases also stay fresher and longer. Too much water or fertilizer reduces shelf life of the commodity.
 Eat fresh fruits - avoid processed ones.

7. Food processing must be efficient and safe.
Food processing, such as drying, milling and manufacturing is key to higher profits. Whenever feasible, food must reach the table fresh. But processing is designed to lengthen the shelf life of perishable commodities. There are products that require processing before they are used. These food items include vanilla, coffee, cacao, wine and vinegar, soya, fish sauce and the like. Profits generated through processing are value-added to production.

8. Food must be free from pest and diseases.
By all means, food must be free from insects and pathogens. There are cases of food poisoning as a result of food deterioration, or contamination. Take salmonella and E. coli. Khapra beetle in grains may even cause death to animals. Weevils hasten the deterioration of the food.

9. Food preservation must ensure quality, and above all, safety.
Be aware of the fish that is stiff, yet looks fresh. It is easy to detect the odor of formalin. Salitre is harmful, so with vetsin or MSG (Monosodium glutamate). Too much salt (sodium) is not good to the body. Some puto makers add lye or sodium hydroxide to aid coagulation of the starch. We wary of sampaloc candies enticingly made red with shoe dye. The same diluted dye is used with ube manufacture to make it look like the real violet-colored tuber.

Watch out. the utensils you are using may contain lead, mercury, plastic compounds, aluminum oxide and other harmful substances.    

10. Beware of Frankenfood - Food derived from GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms). Many countries warn of the potential dangers of genetically modified food and food products. This move is not only to safeguard health, but also the environment. Genetically modified plants and animals – as well as bacteria, protists and even viruses – are now a threat to the natural gene pool, giving rise to a new kind of pollution - genetic pollution. Once a gene pool of a certain species is contaminated with a GMO genetic material Genetic pollution cannot be eliminated, even in subsequent generations. Thus, it also disturbs natural evolution.

Next time you go to market, remember these guidelines. Why not convert that idle lot to raise food that is safe to your health and the environment? That little corner could be the start of a new green revolution.~

Caulerpa or lato is now cultivated in fishponds where
conditions can be controlled, unlike in the open sea.

Green mussel or tahong absorbs toxic metals like lead
in polluted water. It is also dangerous to eat tahong
during red tide period. It may cause paralytic poisoning.