Monday, August 31, 2015

Ode to a tree that wears a veil


Photos and Verse by Dr Abe V Rotor


A veil to shield the sun,
A veil to keep from rain,
A veil to buffer the wind,
A veil to hide the view around,
A veil to muffle sweet sound.
When you wear your crown.

A veil to let the sunshine in,
A veil to welcome the rain,
A veil to dance in the wind,
A veil to view far beyond,
A veil to free those in bond,
When you lose your crown.

A veil to clothe the naked,
A veil to comfort the lonely,
A veil to feed the hungry,
A veil to house the lost.
A veil to welcome the dawn,
When you gain back your crown.


NOTE: These photos were taken at a time when this acacia tree was in its deciduous stage giving the epiphytic liana a chance to grow luxuriantly without harming the host tree. Soon new leaves will form as summer approaches, and the liana once more becomes dormant. It will resume vigorous growth come next deciduous period. Acacia trees shed off their leaves completely once or twice a year. Ateneo de Manila University QC campus.

Santa is reborn in a li'l child


Dr Abe V Rotor
Mark, Little Santa Claus. 

You can't miss the Season by association,
     as you look to its coming soon;
amihan is here from far cold Siberia
     sweeping across all of Asia.

I need not build a campfire far away
     in cheer with friends, or alone to pray; 
for here's Santa reborn in a l'il child   
     who brings along the Tidings mild. ~    

I Brought Nature Home


Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog


My Garden Pond with wall mural by AVRotor, 2010 QC.


I'm with Nature reading the morning paper,
     whatever news it brings for the day;
I'm with Nature with brewed coffee piping hot,
     rising in mist, whiling time away. 



I'm with Nature, with a bit of the mountain, sea,
     of rivulets, streams and lake;
I'm with Nature, clouds rising on the horizon,
     white and dark, into rain they make.


I'm with Nature, the ocean spreading out
     in a grasp from shore to its end;
I'm with Nature, in the sky of deep azure
     birds fly free to heaven.

I'm with Nature, confined yet boundless,
     by lianas, the lowly bryophyte;
Dissolving the old prison walls and bars,
    that for years barred my sight.

I'm with Nature, from sunrise to evening,
     writing my life in a poem,
While Midas touches everything to gold,
     save where I brought Nature home. ~


Living with Nature, AVR

Faces of Nature in Postmodern Art


Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor

 
In this painting Romanticism is very much alive - subject, scenery, colors and the like.  It tells a story in the viewer mind, reminiscent of life experiences.  The bridge is symbolic of transition, connectedness, a rendezvous of characters, players of a drama.  Nothing seems to move - placid pond, moss-covered trees; autumn colors speak of "coming home." Postmodern art takes us some steps back to the "fine art" of art apparently lost behind new movements.    
This painting on the other hand, challenges the viewer to identify the subject in a kind of hide-and -seek game. He moves to a distance, returns - what is it really?  And he traces the intricate lines visually and with a finger over the overlapping colors, and there beneath the feathery foliage are hidden creatures.  It is abstract in the biological world where camouflage, mimicry and other forms of deceits are means of survival and dominance. These in various sophistication are not different from man's ways to cope up with the increasing demands and complexity of a postmodern world.  
Two views, two messages, two different feelings. In our postmodern world we long for the peaceful, rustic, unspoiled landscape, a retreat, withdrawing from the fire raging from the inside and outside.  It is  a craving tolerated at the expense of change and here man becomes an orphan having lost Mother Nature. Postmodern art offers man a chance to return to sanity, a renewal in the way he lives.  This is  is the essence of a new art's movement of Neo-renaissance.       

Are these real or just animaes? The country-bred associates them with reality, even if many of their kind are already gone; the streetwise may find it difficult to analyze; and the computer-TV kid definitely sides with the cartoons. What an art; three audiences, three worlds.  If postmodern art thrives on divisiveness of the same subject, then what is the purpose of art? Postmodern art has  indeed created contradicting versions, false impressions, inadvertent innocence and ignorance. Art educates, art enlightens, art unites - its movements flow like a river, from one source to one destiny, like humanity.      


What did the world look like before man came into the picture. Science and technology has opened an art movement and gave concrete basis to its theme and  character. Postmodernism of course, was born from scientific breakthroughs.  But art is more than formulas and equations. And the more we rely on the formal, essential, empirical, primordial, striving to seek for the missing link and the prima causa, the more we move away from the very essence of art - that which is a synergy of intellect, psyche, spirit and soul, that binds the rational being and the the fabric of humanity.       
Two forces of nature: cyclic and non-cyclic. Every thing in the universe is governed by these two models. So on Planet Earth, in the living and non-living world, in our lives, the march of seasons, in the life cycle of organisms - they follow the concentric model, characterized by repetition as if it is a plantilla. Nature is alive. She doesn't sleep. She can only rest like fallowing, aestivation, hibernation. She is as gentle as breeze and rough like a storm at sea. She is discreet like alpha radiation, silent as a dormant volcano, suddenly waking up. So with living things. They reproduce, form populations, reach a climax level and establish a niche. Populations interact, they compete. There is diversity. Balance of Nature is built this way and is always dynamic. How can postmodern art imbue these into the minds of younger generations?

 
The beginning of things is the most elusive of all adventures in any field. To what extent can postmodern art lead us to?  Will we ever succeed in understanding the beginning of life, the Black Hole, the end of space. Postmodern art has indeed removed much the barrier of thought and imagination. 

Evolution is now in the hands of man.  Fantasy has grown to reality; it is no stranger than fiction itself.  Man has changed life, playing God's role of creation. Man-made amino-acids make unbelievable combinations of proteins, the precursor of life. Genetic engineering relegates the infamous Frankenstein to the backseat. Why we can cross and combine genes irrespective of species, genera, phyla, across kingdoms of the living world!  Does postmodern art merely ride on his feat? Will it just drift with the current of "progress"? 





Saturday, August 29, 2015

Dr Romualdo M Del Rosario: builder of beautiful gardens and museums

Dr Romualdo M Del Rosario: builder of beautiful gardens and museums

"The Garden is a microcosm of the Lost Paradise here on earth." AVR 
By Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio 738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday



Dr Romualdo R del Rosario (second from right, in barong) and author (left), discuss the details of the Grains Industry Museum (Farmers' Museum) in NFA Cabanatuan just before its formal opening to the public in 1984. Dr Del Rosario, then assistant director of the National Museum, served as consultant to the project. He also served as consultant to the former St Paul University QC Museum and Eco Sanctuary (cataloged as having more than 300 plant species before the garden was reduced into a park, and hedged by tall buildings). 



 Doc Del in his younger days at the former NFA Museum in Cabanatuan.  The artifact is an indigenous pinawa (brown rice) hand mill.  With him is a member of the Museum's working group.   
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Among Dr Del Rosario's obra maestra are the internationally famous La Union Botanical Garden (Cadaclan, San Fernando,La Union), the UST Botanical Garden (formerly Pharmacy Garden), and the De La Salle University garden at DasmariƱas, Cavite. And not to mention the satellite museums of the National Museum, two of which I visited in Pangasinan and Palawan.  As a scientist and former assistant director of the National Museum he is keen at giving importance to natural history, and aesthetic and functional beauty of parks and gardens as integral part of homes, establishment, offices, in fact, whole communities. Presently he is acclaimed the foremost ethnobotanist in the Philippines, have guided scores of students at the UST Graduate School as well as other schools to pursue this specialized field of biology and related sciences. As one of his students I researched on the ethnobotany of Maguey (published in the UST Graduate Journal).  I joined him in a number of field research, the most challenging of all was to climb to the summit of Mt Pulag in Benguet, the highest mountain of the Philippines after Mt Apo in Davao.
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Think of a living gene bank.

No, it's not the IRRI's germplasm bank of rice varieties and cultivars. Or CIMMYT 's similar bank for wheat and corn where seeds are kept under strict controlled conditions away from the natural environment. It's not the commercial plant collection of Manila Seedling Bank either.

Dr Romualdo del Rosario's concept is one that is natural - plants of different species living together and arranged into a garden.

Here the plants form a wide range of diversity, and with other organisms, from protist to vertebrate, form a community. And through time, an ecosystem - a microcosm of a forest, grassland, desert, the upland and lowland, in varying combinations and designs. This garden is indeed a living gene bank.

Visit the La Union Botanical Garden perched on a gentle hillside covering several hectares, with the fringe of Cordillera on the east and a panoramic view of the San Fernando Bay on the west.

Here you will find a piece of the biblical Garden, where Nature and man in cooperation and harmony try to restore the beautiful scenarios of that garden imagined in the writings of Milton and Emerson, in the paintings of Rousseau and our own Amorsolo, and the scientific pursuits of Darwin and Linnaeus.

As trail blazer, Doc Del as he is fondly called, pioneered with the support of the local government to set up a garden not so many people appreciate. I am a witness to its tedious step-by-step development until after ten years or so, the garden became a center for field lectures, thesis, hiking, or simply a place of solace and peace. To the creative, arts; the religious, reflection.

The garden is an answer to our dwindling bio-diversity. It is a sanctuary where man's respect for Creation, in Dr Albert Schweitzer's term "reverence for life," becomes the neo-gospel of prayer and faith.

Sunken center of the La Union botanical Garden, on-the-spot painting by the author.


UST Botanical Garden, Manila
The garden is a workshop with the Creator. It is one roof that shelters the threatened and endangered. It is a sanctuary for recovery before setting foot outside again.

Here is the living quarter of organisms, countless of them, that miss the eye, yet are discreet vital links to our existence and the biological order.

A single acacia tree as shown In this painting is a whole world of millions of organisms - from the Rhizobium bacrteria that live on its roots to birds nesting on its branch. And beetles under the bark, goats feeding on ripe pods, people resting in its shade or promenading.

These make but one small spot in the garden that speaks of the philosophy of naturalism of Schweitzer, EO Wilson, Attenborough, Tabbada, Cabigan, and the late botanist Co. One aspect of the garden opens to the scholar an adventure of a lifetime: Edwin Tadiosa's research of mushrooms earned for him a doctoral degree.

One consideration a garden is a living gene bank is its ethnicity. Doc Del is the leading authority on ethnobotany of the country today. It is a less familiar field although it is among the earliest, tracing back to Aristotle's Natural History as the guiding force in keeping the integrity of Nature-Man relationship, even to the present time.

Ethnobotany is the mother of pharmacology. Medicinal plants are part of Doc Del's formula of a garden. Not that familiarity is his aim, but accessibility - that by being familiar with a particular plant, one can have access to it wherever it may be found growing. Any place then is a potential source of home remedy of common ailments.

Go to the garden and you will find lagundi, sambong, bayabas, makahiya, okra, pitogo, takip-kuhol, oregano, and 101 other medicinal plants, domesticated or wild. It is nature's pharmacy house.

It is E Quisumbing's source of materials for his Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. the rich three-volume Useful Plants of the Philippines by W H Brown. It is this field that Dr Juan M Flavier as senator sponsored a law in promoting Alternative Medicine which now benefits millions of Filipinos particularly at the grassroots.

Go to the garden and you will find flowering and ornamental plants that constitute the main attraction of any garden. Here botany is transformed into the science of flowers, the secret of green thumb, colors and fragrance speak more than words, silence rides on butterflies fluttering, and music is hummed by bees, and fiddled by crickets and cicada.

Go to the garden and relive life on the countryside. The song Bahay Kubo enumerates some two dozen vegetables, and speaks of simple, happy and healthy lifestyle. A residence without a garden is akin to city living condition. With almost fifty percent of the population ensconced in big towns and cities. we can only imagine how much they have lost such a pleasant niche.

Go to the garden with magnifying glass, not with the aim of Sherlock Holmes but with the clinical eye of Leeuwenhoek, father of microscopy. Start with the moss, the lowly earliest plant occupying the lowest rung of the evolutionary ladder. They are living fossils in austere existence on rocks and trunks of tree. Doc Del wrote a whole chapter about the Byrophytes - the moss and its relatives in the Flora and Fauna of the Philippines book series.

Have you seen a field of moss under the lens? It's a setting of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids movie. See the movie if you haven't. Everything is so big you are a pygmy in the like of Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, a sequel to Gulliver in the Land of Lilliput. Imagine yourself either in one of Jonathan Swift's novels.

You may wonder why primitive plants are so small, you may miss them in the garden. If you were on top of Mt Pulog second highest mountain in the Philippines after Mt Apo where Doc Del, my classmates and I, climbed in the late eighties, you'll be amazed at the giant bryophytes forming beards of gnarled trees and curtains hanging on rocks, and spongy layers cushioning your steps.

Thus, the garden is a representation of much bigger models. The Sequoia or Redwoods of California for example cannot be duplicated anywhere, but at the UST botanical garden where Doc Del is the supervising scientist and curator, you will find yourself dwarfed by the towering dita (Alstonia scholaris) the same way you would feel under the redwoods, or the emergent trees on Mt Makiling.

Go to a garden and feel you are part of creation in Eden's finest time. The garden has a humbling effect, it has the touch of TLC - tender, loving care, it is the womb of Mother Nature, its nursery, in her own life cycle in which each and every thing, living or non-living, undergoes a continuous and unending series of birth and death - and perhaps even
re-incarnation. ~


- An On-the-Spot Painting at the UST Botanical garden by the author, with the tallest tree Alstonia scholaris, locally known as dita. as principal subject.

Morning at the UST Botanical Garden

It is misty, it is foggy, here at the garden,
or it must be smog in the city air;
and the early rays pierce through like spears,
yet this is the best place for a lair.

But the artist must be provoked, challenged;
for peace can't make a masterpiece;
only a troubled soul do rise where others fall,
where ease and good life often miss.

This lair is where the action is, the battlefield,
where pure and polluted air meet,
where a garden in a concrete jungle reigns,
where nature's trail ends in a street.

Art, where is art, when the message is unclear,
colors, colors, what color is blind faith?
what color is rage, what color is change?
colors be humble - black is your fate. ~




spray of red and pink in the tree top,
either it is autumn's onset,
or the season had just passed us in slumber,
yet too early to hibernate

Catch the sun, borrow its colors and shine
that you may be filled with grace divine;
for your life is short and your flowers ephemeral,
that makes you a mythical vine.

There is no such thing as emptiness, for memories linger;
the bench is warm, whispers hang in the glen;
spirits roam, the past comes around in them to haunt,
to scare a bit to remember them, now and then.


Golden shower at the UST Botanical Garden


In the garden you will find the legendary Pierian Spring  - the secret of long, healthy and happy life.  Visit the beautiful gardens and museums that were shaped by the genius and skill of Dr Romualdo M del Rosario. Many people can make a garden, by few can give life to it as a living gene bank.  Many may think of putting up a grand museum, but only few can make a museum of the people where they identify themselves and the culture to which they are proud of.  Count on a calm and humble man, scientist and narturalist - and friend - Doc Del. ~

Ecology Mural: THE SEA ON A WALL

"There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently aweful, stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath." 
- Herman Merville, author of Moby Dick, a novel about the saga of a great white whale.
Dr Abe V  Rotor
Panel A - Creatures of the Deep  
Panel B - Mangrove and Coral Reef 


Full view of the mural (6ft x 30ft)

The Sea on a Wall 

It is the sea of Ernest Hemingway, author of a prize-winning novel, The Old Man and the Sea, where a very old man caught the biggest fish in his life;

It is the sea of Moby Dick, a novel by Herman Melville, where a mad sea captain sought revenge against a great white whale, and lost at the end;

It is the sea of Rachel Carson, whose award-winning books The Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us started an environmental movement;  

It is the sea of jacques Ives Costeau  French  explorer, filmmaker, who co-developed the Aqua-Lung, who pioneered in marine conservation. 

It is the sea of Charles Darwin that brought him to study Nature around the world for four years, and led him to formulate today's principle of evolution;  

It is the sea Christopher Columbus crossed, umcharted and perilous, and with strong determination and deep conviction, discovered the New World.

It is the sea that other great voyagers crossed in search of new land and treasures, and territories they conquered from indigenous inhabitants;

It is the sea where life began some two billion years ago, and the cradle of early life forms that evolved into both terrestrial and aquatic forms;
 
It is the sea that covers three-quarter of the earth's surface, and whose depth puzzles man more than its breadth as to what lies deep, deep below;    

It is the sea where land creatures went to live in the sea, and sea creatures became land dwellers, save the amphibians, certain fishes and reptiles;   

It is the sea that makes our planet habitable, the prime mover of vital processes such as the water cycle the precursor of  life, and link of land and sea;      

It is the sea that provides the route of human migration and integration, of trade  and culture, and the artery of globalization in our postmodern times;

It is the sea that is the source of great inspiration to the Humanities, from painting (Turner's Storm at Sea) to music (Claude Debussy's La Mer);

It is the sea that steels and hones our character, humbles us, deepens of love and respect for one another, and  brings us closer of our Creator.   


Old shipwreck lies at the bottom of the sea, reminiscent of sea tragedies in the past, and fiction stories like Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. The giant octopus (kraken) adds legendary flavor to this children's favorite adventure story. The wreck is virtually unrecognizable and is now part of the sea, a manifestation of nature's superiority over man, and demonstration of homeostasis, that everything goes back to Nature.   

Full view of the dreaded kraken, the giant octopus that nearly sank Captain Nemo's proto-submarine. The kraken and its kin rule the coral reef and is almost intelligent in human standard -  crafty and master of mimicry and camouflage. Close to the kraken is the living fossil, Nautilus,  after whom Captain Nemo named the first submarine.    

Species of pelagic (free swimming) fish in schools are attracted at the photic zone where the sun nouirishes the seaweeds and planktons, so with many other marine organims that make up food chains and the food web. Sunlight passes through the water like a prism, the red and warm colors dominating the shallow depth while the blue and cool colors penetrate the deepest, up to a hundred meters. The photic zone is the richest in biodiversity in the open sea. 
 


Author and artist Dr Rotor points to a pair of Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus) representated in scale with humans. The blue whale is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whales. It feeds on krills (tiny shrimps) by the tons sieved by a filter-feeder system inside its mouth. At  30 metres in length and 180 tonnes or more in weight, it is the largest extant animal and is the heaviest known to have existed (bigger than the dinosaurs). Almost driven to extinction in the 20th century, the number has increased to about 5,000 to 12,000 blue whales worldwide today, thanks to various conservation programs of many countries. 
  

Left: Kugtong or giant lapulapu (red) awaits for potential preys at its domain. The female can reach a size of 100 kgs. Right: Coelacanth (blue), a primitive fish thought to have become  extinct 40 million years ago has been discovered on the craggy seafloor of Madagascar.  Its fins and tails bear traces of the once bony appendages of its fossilized ancestors. Its secret of survival may lie on its isolation in the deep but studies show cooperation with other organisms like anemones, arthropods and echinoderms (such as red crabs and starfishes in the mural) has certainly played a major part in the survival of this primitive fish. 
 
Mangrove is nursery and abode of many organisms at the estuary, the zone where the river meets the sea.  Here a juvenile shark rests in the entangled roots, trumpet fish lie vertically with the reeds.  The root system is home to barnacles, mussels and other sessile organisms.  Detritus is trapped here, so with silt that otherwise flow out to sea.  It is the end of land and gateway to a vast marine environment - the intertidal zone. Air bubbles are formed as gases continuously evolve. 


 
The mural provides a make-believe scene under the sea that is enjoyed by viewers,  especially the children.The mural can be viewed on Kudyapi Street corner Lam-ang Street,. Lagro QC.
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My Photo Dr. Abercio V. Rotor, Ph.D. 
Award-winning author of "The Living with Nature Handbook" (Gintong Aklat Award 2003) and "Living with Nature in Our Times" (National Book Award 2008); professor, University of Santo Tomas; School-on-Air instructor, (Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, winner of Gawad Oscar Florendo for Development Communication) DZRB 738 KHzAM Band, 8 to 9 o'clock evening, Monday to Friday.); Outstanding Teacher in the Philippines (Commission on Higher Education - CHED 2002); Filipino Scientist (DOST-Batong Balani); former Director, National Food Authority; and Consultant on food and agriculture, Senate of the Philippines.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Humanities holds the greatest treasure of mankind. The 10 Aims of Humanities


Humanities makes a beautiful tapetry of humanity. It presents the wholeness of the human being worthy of "perfection" the Creator conceived of man. Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Humanities brings out the sense of awe and wonder. “Son, what do you remember as the happiest moment in your life?” asked a dying old man at his deathbed.
“When we went fishing, dad, and caught fireflies on our way back to camp.”

“Thank you.” And the old man smiled. It was a parting sealed by sweet memory of childhood.

Kids fishing in acrylic by the author
Humanities brings out the sense of awe and wonder, specially to the young, of the things around , of life processes and cycles, the passing of seasons and ages. It makes one aware of even the minute existence of things, the transformation of the ordinary into something beautiful.

 
Wonder the summer night, camping by a lake, home outside of home,
no roof but the sky, no walls, no gate, stars and fireflies mingle as one;
Wonder the breeze blow and weave through the trees, comb the grass,
carry into the sky kites of many colors and make greeting the rainbow;

“The sense of wonder is indestructible, that it would last throughout life, an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years.” Says Rachel Carson, author of an all-time favorite novel, Silent Spring. It is true, the sense of wonder prepares the young to face and conquer the world.
2. Humanities builds on the framework of truth and values
 
Even with few words the mind is set to explore, giving way to imagination beyond mere reason. Brevity is the framework of the mind, the heart and spirit in the Lord’s Prayer and the Gettysburg Address of America’s most loved leader, Abraham Lincoln. It is also a path to humility in greatness, a union of the classical and the contemporary
The Gleaners by Jean Francois Millet
If the story of the Creation can be told in 400 words, if the Ten Commandments contain 297 words, if Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address was only 266 words, if an entire concept of freedom was set in the Declaration of Independence in about 1,300 words – it is up to some of us to use fewer words, and thus save the time energy, vitality, and nerves of those who must read or listen. (Jerome P Fleishman)


3. Humanities brings out the human spirit


Guernica, a plaza mural made by the greatest modern painter Pablo Picasso, ignited popular revolt against the Nazi regime. On the huge mural were embedded hidden images that conveyed principles of truth and freedom.


 A reprentation of the hands by a UST Fine Arts student
Similarly, in an earlier era, our own hero Juan Luna painted Spolarium, (centerpiece of the National Museum), a mural depicting the Filipinos under Spanish rule suffering like the gladiators during the Roman times, a visual message for the people to realize their plight. Later Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere, one of the greatest books ever written in the category of War and Peace by Tolstoy, and Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, extolled the coming of a new world order – post-colonialism and the birth of new nations.


4. Humanities brings tranquility in crisis


It may be strange to know that Winston Churchill, the great English hero of WWII, still found time to paint by the bank of the Thames. Arts bring tranquility in times of crisis, and elevate the senses on a higher vantage plane of vision. Putting down his brush and easel, he would then return to the battlefield with greater revolve to save Great Britain from the ravaging war. And to a greater surprise, what was it that Churchill painted? Peace.


Summer children's art workshop at author's residence It was the other way around five hundred years earlier when the great Michelangelo who single handedly painted the huge ceiling of the Sistine Chapel would descend from the scaffoldings, exchanged his paint brush with sword and fought side-by-side his benefactor the Pope, and when victory was apparent would climb back to finish his masterpiece. The result: the biggest composite mural that brought God, the angels and saints, down to earth., making the Sistine a microcosm of the Kingdom of Heaven.

5. Humanities is guardian of movements and schools


Nationally renowned authors, poets and dramatists, among them Ofelia Dimalanta, Sedfrey OrdoƱez, Jose Villa
From the paintings of early man in the Lascaux caves in France, to the surrealism of Salvador Dali, humanities has kept faithful to the evolution of human creativity expressed in various aspects of human life, pouring out from palaces and cathedrals to the villages and streets. For arts no longer belong to selected societies and cultures. Impressionism took over Romanticism and translated Realism for the grassroots, subsequently bypassing standards of perception, and permeating into the unconscious seeking expression and catharsis. Expressionism founded by Vincent Van Gogh opened a wider door to abstractionism that subsequently spilled into post-modernism.



Forest and Creation, impressionistic and abstract paintings by the author
“What’s abstract? a young art enthusiast

once asked, dutifully I answered:

“When you look through the window of a car

running so fast that views are blurred.”


“What’s expressionism?” an elder one asked;

“When the car stops, or just about,

yet still running inside, seeking, searching

for the spring of life to pour out.”


“And what is impressionism?” a third asked,

and I said: It’s sitting on a fence -

On one side Amorsolo, the other Ocampo,

It’s the spirit of art past and hence. ~


6. Humanities aims at goodness and peace

Propagandism and license are perhaps the greatest enemy of Humanities. The world plunged into two global wars, followed by half a century of cold war - the polarization into opposite ideologies that froze mankind at the brink of Armageddon, awakening Humanities to a new dimension - the search for peace.

Peace through dance and music, a stage presentation, SPU QC

And as in the Renaissance, Humanities centered on rebirth and renewal of man’s faith in his destiny. Peace reigned the longest in contemporary times in spite of local conflicts. And for a century or so Humanities blossomed into wide popularity and acclaim, and rich diversity today, dominating media, commerce, industry and in practically all aspects of life, which often venture on the boundaries of humanities itself, among them pornography, religious extremism, acculturation, among others.


7. Humanities is keeper and pioneer of the arts


Humanities gave the world the finest of human achievements and continues to do so - timeless classics from novel to cinema, painting to photography, colonial design to high rise structures, stage play to TV and Internet show. Man’s glory is akin to humanities - Venus de Milo, Taj Mahal, Borobudur, Eiffel Tower, Hallelujah, Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, The Little Prince. to name a few.
The Jeepney, people's art

Humanities discovered superstars like Elvis Priestley and Michael Jackson, and our own local sensation Leah Salonga.


8. Humanities faces challenge of the cyber age

But arts has also plunged into a deep and unknown global pool bringing across the world cultures heretofore unknown and appreciated, and riding on postmodernism into the chartless world of cyberspace. Which leads us to a puzzle, Quo vadis, Humanus?
 
9. Humanities elevates reverence for life and Nature


Stone eagle, monument of the endangered Philippine eagle.

And yet humanities is anchored on a strong foundation, none other than the place of his birth and his ascension into Homo sapiens - Nature. 

Reverence to Nature is reverence for life, the highest expression of man through humanities. From this relationship he finds inspiration in his arts and technology, in seeking knowledge and wisdom, and in enhancing the unity and harmony of creation, and among mankind into a living network.

10. Humanities is the custodian of the network of humanity

We are the World – the song that united the world by the compassion it created for the dying is perhaps the greatest humanitarian movement in recent times, originally USA to Africa in the eighties, and was repeated during the Haiti disaster twenty years later. Translated by different races, beliefs, ideologies into a common call, it brought consciousness to the whole world, that humanity is a network, a closely knit fabric beautifully expressed in the lyrics of the song -

Pinsal Waterfall by the author

There comes a time

When we heed a certain call,

When the world must come together as one.

There are people dying

And it’s time to lend a hand to life,

The greatest gift of all


[Chorus]


We are the world

We are the children

We are the ones who make a brighter day

So let’s start giving

There’s a choice we’re making

We’re saving our own lives

It’s true we’ll make a better day

Just you and me.


It is a most fitting tribute to mankind through this song, that no man is an island, that when somebody dies, a part inside each of us also dies, and for every man’s victory, we too, feel triumphant. Humanity is a beautiful tapestry, and Humanities is Arachne on the loom.


Humanities makes a beautiful tapetry of humanity. It presents the wholeness of the human being worthy of "perfection" the Creator conceived of man.

In summary, Humanities


- is a beautiful tapetry of humanity

- brings out the sense of awe and wonder

- builds on the framework of truth and values

- brings out the human spirit

- brings tranquility in crisis

- is guardian of movements and schools

- aims at goodness and peace

- is keeper and pioneer of the arts

- faces challenge of the cyber age

- elevates reverence for life and Nature
- is the custodian of the network of humanitiy

And the greatest masterpiece is made by Nature such as this photomicrograph of diatoms