Sunday, October 8, 2017

Treasures of the former St Paul Museum (1995-2006)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Former faculty curator

 Museum as site to celebrate national events such as National Heroes Day (left, poster making contest),  and Environment Week (right) 

Dr Anselmo S Cabigan lectures on natural history at the former SPUQC Museum

These, among hundreds of items, are what used to be the features of a school museum of its kind - St Paul University Museum QC. These earned the museum recognition by the National Commission of Culture and the Arts with the curator sitting as member of one of its committees for a decade until 2007 when the original museum closed down to give way to a new plan.  

[Tyto capensis amauronota (Cabanis)] Stuffed specimen
" Of all the birds I ever did see, the owl is the queerest me ," goes the rhyme we learned in the elementary school. It is true in a sense because first, owls have monkeylike faces and large round eyes which are fixed in their sockets so that the bird must turn its head virtually 360 degrees to focus its sight on an object without moving its body. Second, owls are active only at    night , hunting for other animals which they swallow whole and sometimes live and kicking . In their search for prey they fly silently and ghost like, making occasional humanlike scary sounds .     These indeed paint a very queer picture of this maligned creature which is in the list of endangered species. Ecologically owls are important in controlling the populations of rats in the field and forest. And without the owl, a full moon scene would be less romantic because it would  be devoid of the chilly touch of Doyle and Hitchcock . Besides, writers would have to look for another symbol, which we doubt of there is any other animal wiser than the wizard owl.

Shells belong to vast Phylum Mollusca which contains about 100,000 species, half of which live in saltwater, while the other half live in freshwater and on land. All mollusk have complete organ systems, including a brain. They are generally egg laying. They are vegetarians, carnivorous and scavengers, and a few have even look to kill their prey. There are also poisonous species which may be lethal to man. These specimens are rare collections which are seldom found today. Their white and chalky characteristics are a result of continuous exposure to heat and rain.

This figurine was carved from a solid rock emitted during the volcano's eruption on June 12, 1993. Although the volcano emitted pyroclastic material which was principally ash, occasionally  there were stones and rocks which were either thrown out directly from its bowels, or coagulated in the process of emission or sedimentation. The local folk etch a living from this solid material, which they carve into figurines or gather for the construction industry.

With the unabated destruction of our coral reef it is not common to see undisturbed huge corals  such as this one. Corals are animals in colonies belonging to Phylum Coelenterata, which is often associated with Cnidaria, of the Class Anthozoa. This specimen belongs to an Acropora or Elkhorn species. Coral reefs are the forest of the sea, the counterpart of our terrestrial forests. With the association of seaweeds, they constitute the abode of fishes and other marine life, without which our seas would not be as productive as they are today. However, the destruction of coral reefs through illegal fishing like "muro-ami" and dynamite fishing, as well as   the conversion of shores into resorts and fishponds have greatly reduced fish catch and the diversity of marine species. Today our laws prohibit coral gathering, more so for export. Coral reefs conversation is a priority program of many countries. Without corals our island would fall back to the depth of the sea and our continents would be reduced through erosion. Thus, corals are nature's architectural and engineering wonder for they serve as riprap and barrier against the restless sea, while making the world underwater a truly beautiful scape beyond compare.

Cynocephalus volans Linnaeus, (Stuffed specimen)
In Carmen , an hour drive by jeep on rugged road from Davao City, a pair of Philippine lemur was caught at the edge of a forest clearing. The animals were clinging upside down, their face buried in the membranous fold that covers the body, batman style for fear of light and human beings. As we invade their habitats, cut down the trees and expand our farms, we are unwittingly flushing out the remaining rare Philippine flying lemurs. This animal is found also in Samar, Basilan and Bohol. It is nocturnal and solitary, spending the day inside holes of big trees in the forest. At night it climbs to the peak and glide again to the next as it feeds on young leaves and ripening fruits of certain tree species. Sometimes it travels too far that it is overtaken by daybreak before it reaches its tree home. In this case it seeks a nearby thick cluster of leaves and hides there, then resumes its travel back home the following night. Except  for its fur which is used as fancy cap , the animal has no commercial value. Its species is now endangered along with our vanishing forest. AVR

This two-piece primitive grinder is perhaps one of the first machines developed by stone age man following the invention of the wheel some 4000 years ago. Although flour milling is now highly mechanized, this grinder is still used in remote areas. In fact there is a unique place in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur, where local stone carvers, using hand tools, still make this grinder. The operation is simple. Glutinous rice previously soaked overnight is fed through the top aperture. The upper stone is slowly and steadily rotated by hand. The rice is crushed between the stones and the wet flour is expelled through the sides. With gradual addition of water, the flour flows down the furrow and is finally collected. Partially crushed grains are once more fed into the grinder. The tedious process adds traditional color and quaintness to our indigenous "puto bongbong", "duyduy", "suman", and other native delicacies.

PHILIPPINE BATS (Stuffed specimens)
This cluster of Philippine bats are cave dwellers (Eonycteris), while the big solitary specimen is a fruit bat, Macroglossus lagochilus lagochilus. Cave bats belong to the genera Eonycteris, Megaderma, Hipposidros, and Rousettus, to mention the most important ones. Because the Philippines is endowed with their natural habitats, bats are a common sight in practically all over the 7,100 islands. one can imagine the fiction scene at dusk when the bats emerge in horde from their abode inside the cave complex of Tabon, Palawan or in Callao, Cagayan. Most bats are insectivorous and are therefore, ecologically important. Bat droppings form guano which is the best natural farm and garden fertilizer. Bats are nocturnal and can "see" their prey by radar using high pitch sound which echoes to their sensitive ear, enhanced by their acoustic membranous wings. They have developed the unique agility to catch their prey as small as a mosquito in mid-air through this aerial echo loaction phenomenon, compensating for their poor visual sense which has degenerated through evolution. Our concern today is to arrest the decreasing population of bats as we destroy their habitats, converting caves into tourists' spots, quarrying and deforestation. To literature lovers, would horror stories be the same without bats? AVR.

This is wood turned into rock by a natural process called petrifaction. This piece of wood was converted into rock by infiltration of mineral matter mainly calcium, the same material which makes up limestone. This specimen reveals the original anatomy of the wood - the bark, cork, cambium layer, xylem and the like - which may lead to the identification of its species, including its age by counting the annual rings, and such historical information as the occurrence of fire, pest attack, and drought which affected the living tree. All these were accurately preserved through petrifaction. This specimen belongs to an early Gymnosperm, relative of the pine, which dominated the Coniferous forest where the dinosaurs probably roamed. AVR

Man's First Invention
The wheel revolutionized human life and society. It laid down the foundation of agriculture, and later, industry - from the bullcart to the steam engine, and soon after, the automobile and spacecraft. Today we are virtually living on wheels - everyday. (From the prairies of Manitoba, Canada)

THE PLAGUE (Sand table)
It was supposed to be cycle, a round about wherein one branch was to benefit from the other. From the Supreme Being came the gift of creation and the division of talents among the races.  And then came the innovations made by man to benefit their kind and the other living things. But along with the advancement of technology provided us were their waste products.
The earth's pristine forests and the living inhabitants that adorn the surroundings would never have crossed our minds to even translate its parts into huge dumpsites. Garbage disposal has posed as a massive and disturbing problem since the sites are almost all filled up and has caused so much pollution to the nearby towns where the dumpsites are located.

It is surprising how much things can change in just a short span of time. In the most recent years, the rivers have bluntly been marred; its natural hues have transformed into a thick, black pigment synonymous to that of an oil spill which has pervaded throughout the seas, and sadly, these are all because of the careless discard of waste products. The chemicals emitted by industrial factories go straight to the waterways, directly affecting the condition of the water and the species inhabiting their particular niche. Shanties which are erected nest to the creeks or rivers disposed their garbage in the closet, most convenient place - the water. in a much wider scope, the waterways are continuous which means that one polluted water body will flow on the next path, and it may influence or eventually affect the water contained in another area.

Various insects swarm over the rubbish. These insects fly and prey from one object to another, and the cause disease that may severely affect our health. Facilitation of the chemical repellants contain strong components which, when infused into our system, may or will cause diseases.
Fortunately, the elders of the nations around the world have finally been roused by the peril that the ecological imbalance may induce in the coming years if they continue to neglect the warning  condition of the mother earth. We, as people of this earth have an austere responsibility to confront the current detriments that pang our niche.

Whatever we give out, it comes back to us in a hundred or ten folds. Waste segregation, if sternly followed will benefit not only us, the human race, but mother earth , as well since some matters of waste may be used to enrich the soils that hold the sturdiest of trees, and the most beautiful of greens. Segregation will also ease the efforts of recycling, since everything will be put to its proper places. Donated by Miss ROCHELLE N. ALFORJA, ABMC
Shipwreck - Paul on His Way to Romeby Dr Abe V Rotor

SHIPWRECKPaul on his Way to Rome
Acrylic Painting (105 " x 48") and Poem by Dr AV Rotor

There are crossings ahead unexpected,
No lights, no guide; to the lesser, the end
Of dreams or riches told but ne'er granted;
But to Paul the beginning’s yet at the bend.

There is a Caesaria where the laws of men
May deny the just. There’s a friendly Malta -
Goodness begets goodness in every brethren.
And there, too, a Herod or an Agrippa.

On a stormy night for Rome, Paul's last mission
To plant the Seed in the very heart of power,
Was a grave at sea, but greater was his vision,
On weathered rock a tree rose like a tower.

To live one must almost die is reference,
But is he willing to die that others might rise?
He is truly brave, and there's the difference
To the one who deserves to walk with Christ.

PARADISE AFTER ROME: End of Paul's Mission
Acrylic Painting (105" x 48") and Poem by Dr AV Rotor

The seed in time gives rise to a forest;
In the like of the Faithful that grows,
Leaving the Pharisees and Sadducess
To Nero's wrath, to where the wind blows.

Sodom after the Ark was forgotten,
‘Til Ormoc sang the dirge of Pompei;
What’er happened to Utopia since then,
Look down Paoay Lake the old folk say.

Augustine warned people going downtown,
The city’s like a horde of restless ants.
And asked, where have all the proud souls gone,
The Pharisees, sapiens and the savants?

Ask not now if old friends will ever meet
Where once stood the great city's gate.
Who sees Golgota, Paradise at his feet,
Truly he deserves a blissful fate.

The heaven in the stars and in dream,
The promise of afterlife fulfilled
Starts here with nature, Eden redeemed -
Walk Paul, Milton and others who sinned.


He was thirty then when he arrived in Levesville-la-Chenard. It was 1694. Here Fr. Louis Chauvet prepared young girl volunteers to run a school where the children were educated and taught Catholicism. Among the four young volunteers was Marie Anne de Tilly who came from a noble family, and Marie Micheau who became known outside Levesville. In 1708 the bishop of Chartres, Monsignor Paul Godet, invited the Sisters to open a house in Bourgneuf. A congregation soon grew here, not far from the famous cathedral of Chartres.
By 1727, the congregation was serving 17 institutions in France. In the next five years missions were sent to many parts of the world. it was at the beginning of this century when the first SPC missionaries arrived in the Philippines. From here on Paulinian education spread all over the country. There are twenty major institutions under the St. Paul School System today, and one of them is SPCQ. The teachers at SPCQ continue to carry on the vision-mission of the founders and first teachers at Levesville and Chartres.

Original photos and reproduction of the first Paulinian and lay teachers at SPCQ just after the Second World War.


These are tools and paraphernalia of early cultures which retain their basic forms and functions through time. Many of them are still used to this day by the minorities, such as the Aetas around Mt. Pinatubo, the Ilongots of Nueva Vizcaya, Igorots of Cordillera, the Itneg of Abra, Itawes of Cagayan, the Yakans and Tausogs of Mindanao, and many others. There are certain commonalities in these tools and equipment, but it is more of their distinctive characteristics with which we associate or identify the culture using them. The advance of civilization however, has either modified or displaced many of them. On the other hand, their discovery has led to many efforts in trying to preserve them, mainly for historical and aesthetic reasons - and posterity. They are often part of cultural presentations, or decorations on walls and hallways, and it is not seldom that we see a foreigner wearing rattan knapsack in downtown Manila or New York.

The Young Once (Original photos and reproductions)

Looking back many years ago your teachers looked like these in these photographs - cute babies, budding beauties, knights in the shining armor, and what have you. Compare them now. Is there any semblance? But first you have to identify them. No coaching, please. Abide with the rules of the contest. There are prizes at stake.

Birthplace of SPC (Original photos)
At Levesville a school was organized by Fr. Louis Chauvet and run by four young volunteers, among them were Marie Anne de Tilly and Marie Micheau. Near the Cathedral of Chartres is a house in Bourgneuf, the seat of the congregation. Above: these sisters who soon took over the helm of SPC and helped the congregation spread to parts of the world.

The First Graduates of St. Paul College Quezon City. 1946-19471946-1950 (original photos)
These Pioneers blazed through the travails of SPCQ in the first 5 years of struggle for survival and self-reliance, a proof of SPC's determination to carry on the Paulinian vision and mission.
Murals by Dr AV Rotor and Children: Marlo, Anna and Leo
Ruins of Colonialism ( 8' X 8') AVR
Arrival of Paulinian SisterS in Dumaguete (c. 1905), twin hanging
 wall murals (approx. dimension 4' x 12' each) AVR

Submarine cavern wall mural AVR, 
Submarine Cavern 2, wall mural AVR
Submarine Cavern 3, wall mural AVR  
Tropical Rainforest wall rural 8' x 15'' AVR
Tropical Rainforest 2 Wall mural approx. (8' x 10') by Matthew Marlo Rotor 
Burning of St Paul Novitiate WWII, Hanging wall mural (4' x 12') By Leo Carlo Rotor 

Evacuation from Burning St Paul Novitiate Building WWII
hanging wall mural (4' x 12') By Leo Carlo Rotor 
Watchful Owl. Wall Mural by Anna Chritina Rotor
Author before a mural Forest Stream (detail) avr
Seven Doves Fly Heavenward, wall mural by Anna Christina Rotor  
Happy Cave Dwellers, wall mural By Anna Christina Rotor

On the road to Damascus, mural (8 ft by 8 ft) 1995, one of the 12 murals painted by AVRotor and children. St Paul, the Apostle is patron saint of the school and the former museum.

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