Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Once upon a time, nature was pristine..."

 A fairy tale come true
Paintings and verses by Dr Abe V Rotor

"Once upon a time, nature was pristine, undefiled and unspoiled. We used to live in a dreamworld of tropical virgin forest, and pure hidden springs, calm ponds, and serene lakes, with majestic purple mountains, crowned with canopied trees. That was when people took only what they needed, caught only what they ate, and lived only in constant touch with a provident earth.

In this age of environmental degradation , resource depletion and unparalleled human population explosion, how can man live and find meaning in his life with nature?" (Dr AS Cabigan - an excerpt from the introduction of The Living with Nature Handbook, by AVR  2003)

Born from the elements of nature, to the elements of art,
in imagery and fantasy;
what takes eons to shape and form, is but a season's part,
an archive out of reality.
Oh, let them be, let them be, school can wait
but not childhood;
they catch not the fish, but adventure and faith 
as they grow old.  
Community -  what concept have we today from that of yesterday
when things we needed were almost free,
and worked less, and spend more time with others and our family,
and thank the Creator for such bounty? 
This hidden valley, not for exclusion or seclusion,
but survival from the lust of man,
whose concept of beauty, its very own destruction,
'til everything he created is gone.  
And what prevails at the end, we may ask?
Not monuments, relics or any kind,
for through time nature takes over the task 
of rebuilding in her own design. ~

A quiz on allergy: Identify if fact or myth.

Milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, fish and meat comprise the most common food allergies.
Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Children who grow up on the farm are at much lower risk to allergy than children in the city.
Uncontrolled sneezing, a common symptom of allergy, may cause embarrassment and even accident . 

2. Infants on the farm have fewer allergies than those who grow up in sterile environments. 

3. Children who grow up with a cat in the house are less likely to develop allergies or asthma. 

4. Very few pet owners are allergic to the animals they love.

5. Children who have been breastfed are less likely to have allergies. 

6. Milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanut, fish and meat comprise the most common food allergies.

7. Most reactions to food are not allergic in nature, but rather intolerance, that is, there is no allergic antibody involved.

8. Babies exposed late to cereal grains have higher risk to cereal allergy, especially wheat.

9. Regular use of “foreign” materials (e.g. nail polish remover, contact lens, metals) can eventually cause sensitivity and reaction to the products.

10. Allergy can induce strong and unwelcome mental and emotional reactions, such as altered perception or inappropriate changes of mood.

NOTE: These above statements are all based on facts.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Friendly Monster

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 KHz DZRB AM Band, 8-9 evening class, Monday to Friday

You hide in the dark and deep,
     Then come out into the open;
You sail the seas along with ships;
     Or stay lurking at the bend.

Seemingly you're tame and kind,
     As you roam free in the wild,
Your music from pipe and lyre,
     Tempting, lovely and mild.

Sometimes you come to our call
     To scare naughty children,
To temper them brave and tall,
     In finding you their friend. ~

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Avoid artificial food coloring: it can cause cancer and behavioral problems in children

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

Why food coloring?

Food coloring, or color additive, is any dye, pigment or substance that imparts color when it is added to food or drink. They come in many forms consisting of liquids, powders, gels and pastes.

People associate certain colors with certain flavors, and the color of food can influence the perceived flavor in anything from candy to wine. Color additives are used in foods for many reasons including:

Food dyes are like artist's colors. Primary colors come up with various secondary and tertiary colors, including designs, saturation, hues and accents. Beware of colored candies, birthday cakes, and drinks. They are linked to cancer and behavioral problem in children.

Offset color loss due to exposure to light, air, temperature extremes, moisture and storage conditions  

  • correct natural variations in color
  • enhance colors that occur naturally
  • provide color to colorless and "fun" foods
 Sometimes the aim is to simulate a color that is perceived by the consumer as natural.

The case of shoe dye in tamarind sweet - a personal experience

All of a sudden when answering the call of nature, I was alarmed to see the color of my urine bright red. I cried, Blood!

I tried to compose myself to be able to reach the hospital in the earliest possible time. But what surprised me at the same time was that my fingers were also stained red. I examined the “tamarind sweet” I had just eaten. I found the culprit - jubos, the dye used on shoes!

There are products made to appear like cocoa, coffee, orange, strawberry, grapes and the like, when in fact the ingredients are mainly sugar, artificial flavors and food dyes.

How many food preparations are artificially colored for better presentation? Since that time on I have become more careful with colored foods. Ube cake, anyone?

One test to know if a food color is artificial is that it is detected in the urine. Natural colors, on the other hand, are either degraded by our excretory system or absorbed as a useful nutrient, as in the case of the yellow pigment of corn which is carotene. Carotene brightens the skin, deepens the yellow color of egg yolk, and lends freshness in meat. Carotene and xanthophyll from carrots and squash, lycopene in tomato are useful to our body. They make us glow, so to speak, improve our vision, and fight off cancer.

There are some things to consider about food dyes, specially if you suspect a food or drink to be colored artificially.

Be familiar with the natural colors of fruits and other food products. There are rare ones though. For example, purple rice cake (puto) comes from a variety pirurutong or purple rice. Ordinary rice flour and ube flour produce the same color. This can be imitated with the use of purple dye.

Fruit juices carry dyes to enhance their natural colors. Example, calamansi juice is made to appear like lemon or orange. Softdrinks would look dull and unattractive without artificial colors. Dyes mask natural variations in color and enhances naturally occurring colors. The sparkle and crystalline color of wine may be the result of judicious color blending.
A typical food cart in Manila  Processed foods like smoked fish and ham are colored, usually golden yellow, or deep brown to make them look attractive. I once observed in a factory the practice of spraying a solution of yellow pigment on smoked fish to make it look newly processed and the body fat visible.

Other uses of artificial color or dye are in medicine to protect flavors, and minerals and vitamins from damage by light. Thus multivitamins are usually colored usually with bright yellow which appears in urine. Colored coatings of medicines and drugs are used to monitor prescribed doses in patients.

Cloudifier to make vinegar look like Sukang Paumbong or sasa, or something natural, is actually adding a few drops of milk to a dilute solution of acetic acid. This overnight formulation is popular in the market, because it is cheap, but the truth is that glacial acetic acid is not good to health.

Easter eggs
Cakes and other bakery products may deceive the eye and even the palate. Nothing beats the icing of birthday and wedding cakes. Bakers as artists use colors perhaps more than the full spectrum of the rainbow. I am amazed at how they express their art with the colors of Marc Chagall's stained glass, Pablo Picasso's fresh abstracts, and Rembrandt's sunset and midnight hues. With red, yellow and blue - the primary colors - plus white, there are artists who can create all the colors they need in their masterpieces.

But we cannot mix food with art using artificial colors.

Fortunately we are among the riches countries when it comes to natural food colors and dyes - orange, red to purple from oranges, grapes and strawberry; green from the leaves of pandan (Pandanus odoratissimus) and green paddy rice (pinipig); dark red to black from the fruits of duhat and bignay; purple color from ube (Dioscorea alata); and golden yellow from mango, pineapple, and tumeric (Corcuma longa).

The list is virtually endless, if we iunclude colors from muscovado sugar, coffee, cacao, banana, mangosteen, avocado, nangka, and the like.

By the way, what is the most common source of natural color and dye?

It is achuete or anatto (Bixa orellana). See photo. Achuete is a small to medium size tree introduced from Mexico (achuete is an Aztec word) during the Spanish times. Today it is used to impart or improve the color and flavor of cheese, butter, yogurt, noodles, pasta, macaroni, and cakes and many confectionery products.

I cannot imagine if there is no achuete in batchoy, apretada, azucena, caldereta, paella, kare-kare, arroz valenciana, lechon, and many other dishes.

Let us avoid artificial food coloring. Here is a toast of red Basi wine. 

Allow me to post this news item on food dye published by Philippine Daily Inquirer on the Internet. 
 Artificial colors impart attractive presentation of processed food like bagoong. 

FDA warns vs cancer-causing food dye in candy, ‘gulaman’ ‘bagoong’
By Tina G Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public about processed food products found positive for rhodamine-B, a cancer-causing substance found in coloring dye.

In an advisory posted on its website last week, the FDA said three of 34 food product samples it tested for nonpermissible colorants (NPC) were found positive for rhodamine-B.

According to the FDA, the samples it tested were taken from ambulant vendors, public markets, groceries and supermarkets in the National Capital Region and Central Visayas.

“Most of the samples were unregistered and noncompliant with food product labeling standards,” said FDA acting director general Kenneth Hartigan Go in the advisory.

Some of the products were icing candy from Cebu Crown Grocery, red gulaman from the Carbon Public Market and shrimp paste (labeled 7C’s) from Robinson’s Grocery in Talisay, Cebu.

“The food processors of the three products are in violation of the FDA Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9711) and the Consumer Act of the Philippines (RA 7394) on the adulteration of processed food,” said Go.

Go said the FDA Act of 2009 requires all locally manufactured and imported processed food products to be registered with the Food and Drug Administration.

“This requirement is in addition to the permits issued by the local government units (LGUs) and other government agencies,” he said.

Meanwhile, five other products that the FDA tested needed further confirmatory tests for the presence of NPC Sudan.

Rhodamine-B is a fluorescent dye used as a tracer in water and air flow studies, and in molecular and cell biology studies. It presents as a red to violet powder. It has been shown to be carcinogenic in mammalian models.

On the other hand, industrial grade Sudan dye is not permitted for use in food because it is toxic, carcinogenic and likely contains metals like mercury and arsenic. Sudan dyes are used in shoe and floor polish, solvents, oils, waxes and petrol.

The FDA advised consumers to buy processed food products from legitimate food establishments and outlets.

He urged consumers to report food processors using suspect food coloring additives.

NOTE: In another article researchers say there may be a link between artificial food dyes and behavioral problems in children with certain medical conditions.

Acknowledgement: Wikipedia, Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Invitation to a forest mural

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Wall mural by the author and his children - Marlo, Anna and Leo Carlo. St Paul University QC 2002

Come into the forest and leave all your things behind 
       and discover a world once your own, 
ancestral home of your forebears through evolution
       where the first seed of mankind was sown.

Come into the forest of murmuring trees primeval, 
       cradle of  creatures big and small,
where in diversity, sages say, there's harmony,
       home to the transients and tenants all. 

Come to the forest that was, and had been, Milton's best,
       Rousseau's scenery and Tarzan's lair.
Where the famed Paradise was lost and never regained,
       so with the gods and the deities fair.  

Come to a make-believe forest, masterpiece of man,
        whose art combines the truth with the tale,  
a wall transformed into landscape in a city jungle, 
        the thin red line we cross should we all fail. ~

Red or brown sugar is better than white or refined sugar.

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Rural folks would rather eat panocha or muscovado, which is likened to whole grain with the bran intact (e.g. pinawa rice and whole wheat flour).  When sugar is refined, the very vitamins and minerals needed by our body’s metabolism are removed, going with the molasses which we usually use as feeds for animals. 

Sugar consumed in its natural state (like fruits and grains) are broken down and slowly released into the bloodstream, in a manner our body can program its assimilation.  But refined sugar raises the blood sugar rapidly.  This rush is followed by an equally rapid crash that often leaves us feeling tired, irritable or depressed.  As energy falls, our response is to reach for more sugar to perk us up.

The sudden rise and fall of our blood sugar causes emotional instability, confusion, dizziness, and headache.  Over-consumption of sugar can trigger a craving similar to the physiological dependence produced by drugs. These symptoms, along with drowsiness, forgetfulness, or general “spaced-out” feeling are typical symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Adrenaline is released during the body’s chemical chain reaction triggered by eating excess refined sugar, creating a stress throughout our body and mind. Sugar also depresses the activity of our white blood cells, lowering our resistance to infection. It may lead to the development of diabetes. For this reason many oriental nutritionists call refined sugar a “white poison.”

Kamote Tops Beauty

Dr Abe V Rotor
(Model: Miss Gelyn S Gabao, 19 Filipina)
Kamote (Ipomea batatas) tops contain more minerals and vitamins than any other vegetables, or its equivalent weight in meat and poultry. It is a glow food that enhances natural beauty and health, and gives that gait, poise and stride that many beauties display. It is the secret to acquiring and maintaining natural immunity and high resistance against diseases and other ailments. It contains substances that sharpen the brain and quicken responses to situations and the environment. 

It is a vegetable all year round. In summer kamote is grown in the fields and gardens for its enlarged roots or tubers which are rich in carbohydrates (go food) and rich in protein (grow food). In the habagat, it grows wild and luxuriant on hilltops, on levees and dikes, on the uplands, covering wide areas, keeping weeds down and protecting the soil from erosion. 

Kamote tops make an excellent dish with mungo and pork, bulanglang with shrimp or fish, and mushroom, or cooked in other recipes, or served as salad, blanched with red, ripe tomatoes and sliced onions, with a dash of salt, or a dip of fish sauce - bagoong or patis. Or cooked in tinola in place of pepper leaves, and green papaya. Why not blanch the tops on rice in its final stage of cooking? Add bagoong squeezed with calamansi or lemon. 

Kamote tops, maligned for being a poor man's food, rise to the apex of the food pyramid, top the list health programs, and doctors' prescription. Kamote tops occupies the rank of malunggay, alugbati, talinum, and spinach, relegating lettuce and other crucifers - cabbage and cauliflower and pechay - to the backseat.

Kamote tops are safe to health and the environment because they don't carry residues of pesticides applied on the field on many crops, and also those of toxic metals like lead, mercury and cadmium. Damaged parts are simply discarded, harvesting only the succulent and healthy leaves for further safety and better presentation.

Kamote tops come in green and purple, characteristic of the plant varieties, but in both cases, the same nutritive values are derived, with some advantage from the purple variety which contains xanthophyll in addition to chlorophyl. Both are recommended for anemic persons for their high iron content, and to those suffering from poor bone development, poor eyesight, and poor metabolism.

Beauties come naturally with good food, simple and active lifestyle, in the rural areas where sunshine, clean air and surrounding, make a perfect combination from which spring the true beauty of man and woman, as compared to the makeup beauty from cosmetics, expensive salons, and by the so-called wonders of science and technology like liposuction and surgery. Why can't we simply eat kamote tops more often?~

Queer Looking Trees from Another World

Photos and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor
 Bearded Eucalyptus Tree, Angels' Hill, Tagaytay City. Clinging moss 
is actually lichens of the fruiticose or hanging type.

I love trees friendly or queer,
they whistle with the breeze;
they sigh in summer air, 
and make me feel at ease.

I love trees real or fancy,
tall, small, and spreading;
lining the shore, or foothill,
atop a mountain like king.

I love trees in all seasons,
even with their grotesque crown;
buds in spring fullest in summer;
and in autumn red and brown. 

I love trees, their make-believe faces,
dare to imagine in the evening, 
the legendary white lady;
or beauteous Maria Makiling.  

I love trees they are like people,
senses, language of their own
are universal to all creatures,
even before man was born.  

I love trees because I see myself
in them today as it was before;
and if i think trees are really queer,
I think I should love them more. ~

Balete (Ficus benjamina) strangles own host (acacia - 
Samanea saman), hence called Strangler's Fig, UST Manila

Ghost singers under a huge banyan tree, Sacred Heart Novitiate, QC 
(Photo taken after a wedding reception, unedited photo.) 
Ichabod Crane Tree, SPUQC (Fiction character in a 
short story  of the same title by Washington Irving)
Who is knocking on my window sill? (kalachuchi - 
Plumera acuminata), Sacred Heart Novitiate, QC
Tree casts its own shadow of death before its early 
demise following Ondoy flood in 2010 , UST Manila
Python Tree, an overhanging limb of acacia covered
 with epiphytes, Ateneo de Manila University, QC
Haunting Fig Tree (Gmelina), Church of the Ascension Parish Church, 
Lagro QC. Its broad prop roots produce a dull gong sound when struck.  

Leaning Pisa tree (Fire tree - Delonix regia) leans 45 degrees 
over busy Regalado Avenue, QC. NOTE: the tree was cut down 
to clear power lines, and eliminate possible accident. 
Elephant Tree, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

A wild orchid growing at home - Cymbidium Finlaysonianum

Dr Abe V Rotor 

 Inflorescence of C Finlaysonianum; close-up of  flower.  

Growth habit of the indigenous epiphytic orchid, and pods

It is a native orchid. I found it clinging on a fallen branch of a big tree in Mt. Makiling forest. Being an epiphyte I tied it on the trunk of a talisay (Terminalia catappa) at home in Quezon City. It was not difficult for the new transplant to find a new home - in our home. It is because just across the wall at the back of our house is the sprawling La Mesa Watershed. It must be the "forest climate" that approximates that of Mt. Makiling in Laguna, that this native orchid got acclimatized easily.

Among the five Cymbidium species, C. Finlaysonianum is the most widely distributed throughout the Malaysian area, It was collected by Finlayson in Chin-China in the ninetieth century. It was dedicated to him by Lindley, who originally described the plant in 1832. There is also a close relative, Cymbidium atropurpureum, its name taken from its dark purple flowers. Because of its closeness to C. Finlaysonianum in all morphological aspects, botanists consider it to be a variety of the latter.

The leaves of this species are leathery and coarse, 35 to 40 inches long and 1.5 to 2.5 inches wide. The raceme is pendulous, about two to four feet long and many-flowered. The flowers are two inches in diameter, sepals and petals rather narrow, long, and colored dull tawny yellow with a reddish-brown median line. The labellum is three-lobed, the center lobe being whitish with a yellow disk and purple-crimson apical spot.

Unlike most domesticated and hybrid orchids that bloom any time and for long periods, I observed that this wild orchid is sensitive to photoperiodism. It blooms usually in summer - in March and April - and the flowers last about two weeks. I like the characteristic mild fragrance especially in early morning.

Orchids are among the easiest plants to propagate, vegetatively that is, either by tillers (shoots), or by tissue culture, a specialized laboratory procedure. This compensates for the extreme difficulty in propagation by seeds. The seeds of orchids are the most difficult to germinate. Even if they do, survival rate is very nil. It is because the viability of orchid seeds is very short and difficult to monitor.

I have yet to succeed in germinating the seeds of C Finlaysonianum. Even if I fail, I am delighted to have a wild orchid luxuriantly growing in my home - its home. ~~

Reference:  Philippine Orchids by Reg S Davis and Mona Lisa Steiner

Monday, January 11, 2016

Flow gently, sweet little stream

Painting and poem by Abe V Rotor

                                                Flow gently, sweet little stream in acrylic (2' x 4') by AVR 2012
Flow gently, sweet little stream,
     and I will sing you a praise;
Flow gently down the little valley,
     and I will go with your ease.

Flow gently sweet little stream,
     for you have time to tarry;
Flow gently around rocks and hills,
     meander and be merry.

Flow gently, sweet little stream,
     and do not grow up too soon;
Flow gently with the watershed,
     catching the rains in monsoon.

Flow gently, sweet little stream,
     living link of sky and sea;
Flow gently among the creatures
     in your care, play and be free. 

Flow gently, sweet little stream,
     away from the hands of men;
Flow gently in this hidden den,
     this lovely patch of Eden. ~

"Bring home the rainbow, Papa."

Dr Abe V Rotor
Kulit plays with the rainbow at home.
A piece of rainbow spills on the floor like magic carpet.
Prism splits light into seven colors - the rainbow's secret.

I am no Atlas or Hercules,
neither have one another's wit,
nor Thor who sends the rain
or a storm in his fit.

To bring home the rainbow
for my children's sake,
by lens or words to escape,
would be sin if I fake.

Once I brought home a firefly.
Here is a a star, I said;
and through the night it watched
over them in their bed.

Once I brought home the sun
in a bouquet of sunflower;
And the moon in yellow melon,
the sea, in a queer puffer.

Bring home the rainbow, Papa.
That was a long time ago,
a promise I have not fulfilled -
what now at sunset's glow? 

Suddenly the sun came through
a prism by its magic drew
a cathedral in the sky I knew.
Papa, you brought home the rainbow!
 Rainbow over Bamban, Tarlac
 Fantasy rainbow in cartoons and fairy stories
A double rainbow, not an unusual phenomenon

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Experimental Painting - Aimless Expression?

Paintings by Dr Abe V Rotor

Stained glass effect - result of two paint mediums that are not miscible, one oil- and the other water-based.   

Immiscible as acrylic and oil, two mediums used;
yet by the magic of art they stood up and fused;
conflict - antithesis of unity- yet builds in duality
the essence of beauty through contrast in harmony;
for whatever purpose the artist portrays his theme,
by plan or serendipity, or aimless as it may seem.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Revival of FINE ARTS, with Nature as Theme

Fine Arts reached its peak in the ancient world with "the glory that was Greece" and "the grandeur that was Rome." As a movement, it underwent a stormy history. How can it weather the present environmental upheaval, and become a agent of reform?

Dr Abe V Rotor 

  • Fine arts reached its peak with "the glory that was Greece" and flourished in the "grandeur that was Rome." This was in the known world then, the Greco-Roman Empire which lasted for a millennium.
  • Then the world plunged into the "Dark Ages."Whatever happened to mankind remained in limbo for more than five hundred years. Black Death decimated Europe's population by one-third. Religious conflicts gave rise to fanaticism and ruthlessness, with victims surpassing the number of those killed in the two world wars combined. The sense of nationhood was far fetched, more so of a united world. What with the warring fiefs and kingdoms?

  • Then in the fifteenth century dawned the Age of Renaissance which adopted the Greco-Roman model and the rise of Christianity shifting from mythological themes. Many of the great works depicted renewal of faith in God such as the works of Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, and later Shakespeare in literature. The later part of the Renaissance saw the rise of science (Galileo), exploration (Columbus), and politics (Machiavelli).  
  • The Renaissance followed on the heels of the Middle Ages, and was spawned by the birth of the philosophy of humanism, which emphasized the importance of individual achievement in a wide range of fields. The early humanists, such as writer Francesco Petrarch, studied the works of the ancient Greeks and Romans for inspiration and ideology, mixing the philosophies of Plato and other ancient thinkers with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Under the influence of the humanists, literature and the arts climbed to new levels of importance.
  • The environmental movement has its roots in the 19th century with American Philosopher Henry David Thoreau (Walden Pond), John Muir (creation of Yosemite National Park). As industrialization grew the preservation of  the environment became the leading movement in the early twentieth century, becoming the basis of modern environmental movement which began in the mid-to-late 1960s. Rachel Carson (Silent Spring ).  "Modern" art became associated with the Hippie movement and Counterculture, post-impressionism, surrealism, among other recent schools of abstract art. Towards the end of the 20th century the need for green technology was realized - now the subject on world summits, the latest being that of the 2015 Paris Summit on Global Warming. The conservative Roman Catholic Church led by Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter Laudato Si - a universal call for universal brotherhood  in saving Mother Earth.
. ------------------------------------------------------- Author's Note:  Five students taking up Fine Arts as a course at the University of Santo Tomas visited me for an interview at home in Lagro, QC.  It is at home where I could show my works as a nature-artist, principally a 90 feet long by 7 feet (average) tall wall mural which I painted around the periphery of my residence. (As shown in the photographs below.)   

For quite a time I pondered on the real theme of the interview. I maybe bias to the scientific aspect of nature which is closely associated with ecology, in which case art would be subservient to equations and formula, defining in colors and lines such terms as dynamic balance and biological diversity. On the other hand, if emphasis is on the side of art,  the tendency of art is to sacrifice ecology if favor of subjective interpretations. 

Indeed, the occasion opened to mind a relatively recent movement - eco-art - a contraction of art depicting nature.  It is broad and general though.  But it is this vastness that many will agree with me in proposing The theme, Return to Fine Arts with Nature.
Applying the ancient world of fine art, not only on to the perfection of art for art sake, but on Mother Nature as subject, maybe what we need to create a movement with two objectives: revival of the fine art which has dovetailed into various abstract forms; and the elevation of awareness of Nature's beauty and significance in our present campaign to preserve the environment. 

I would like to invite our pageviewers, readers, and radio listeners on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid to tune in simultaneously with viewing this blog, Living with Nature.  I also invite them to search and red the related articles in this Blog, albeit other references, to enrich our consciousness on the unity and harmony of Fine Arts and Nature.   

Giant heart-shape frame for Mother Orangutan and Child , a gamely triangulation, exudes joy and exuberance to these city-bred ladies. Deep in our mind is the universal instinct of motherhood which challenges man's rationality and values.  To what extent is primal instinct genetically ingrained and spread in the living world?  To what advantage (or otherwise) has this relationship evolved in guaranteeing the survival of species.  Through fine arts, reach out for the wondering mind.

The biggest animal creature that ever lived - the blue whale, larger than any of the dinosaurs - brings down-to-earth knowledge and understanding about this enigmatic creature. Why it has survived through millions of years, how it became adapted to ocean life when its ancestors were originally land dwellers, how it keeps its huge body warm as a mammal in the cold seas - are not just imagination and fantasy, but real.      

Photo, left to Right: Ben Matthew Gueco, Jose Paulo Lorenzo P Geronimo, Maria Cristelle Aubrey Ganson, Vanessa Jadianne Yao and Kristine Danica Lim, all from the UST College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD)  

Meditation with Nature by the seaside, at the inter tidal zone with rare creatures, where peace and solace reign. It is not any lesser to religious meditation. In fact, it is an experience real and true with all our senses, psyche and spirit notwithstanding.
Art takes us closer to nature, it defines our role, humbles us, makes us realize that Paradise is not forever lost, and that it is only in heaven that true joy is found. Nature offers us so many opportunities to rebuild that lost Garden by our own hands in whatever capacity - even just to discover a flowering weed and make others share this experience for a moment.

Knock, knock! The door closes after us, as Nature opens.  When we leave our home  we open the gate to meet Nature.  She's just a step away.  In fact she is with and in us.
The air we breathe, water and food we take, things we wear, light to see her wonders, creatures around us, ad infinitum.  How do we greet Nature in the morning? Bid goodbye at the end of the day, say our Thanksgiving? Express the fine art of awareness in painting, music, literature, and other creative ways. 

Sun in the depth of the sea - an illusion? Is the deep beyond the lighted zone a world of darkness.  To us humans our senses are designed for terrestrial life, we cannot perceive what the bottom dwellers can. What is human superiority, what is scientific breakthrough? Humility rises where and when we submit ourselves to the mystery of creation, and cease to question, to doubt. Fine arts is submission to such humility.


Talk to the hornbill (kalaw).  Ask where it has been for so long a time.  Is he and his mate survivors of a biological upheaval?  Has this bird lost its own species, that it is no longer a part of a population but just an endangered flock? There is a song, Where have all the flowers gone? - allegorically applicable to other living things. How can this  explain the cause of extinction of species. Fine arts may yet save today's threatened and endangered species.     

Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.
- E. O. Wilson

"Can man lead a life in which he can see and realize the true beauty of life?” 2016 Revolution

Our institutions should challenge the intellect, touch the heart, show the path the citizen should take, and enlighten the man on the street.

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, 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

The Parthenon  represents "the supreme effort of genius in pursuit of beauty." (Aris Messinis / AFP/ Getty Images)

The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creation of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals. (Internet)

 As I listened to a lecture Science as Critique of Society, the following scenarios, which are happening outside of the hall, came rushing into my mind. I am sure the audience invariably shared with me in the imagery of these current events.

o The whole world holds its breath at the current crisis in Syria and Iraq, and recently in Ukraine.  North Africa and the Middle East have yet to face the consequences of Arab Spring. North Korea and Iran are still stubborn on nuclear disarmament, and the US is extending is presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As of this writing Saudi Arabia and Iran have abruptly and completely severed their diplomatic ties over the execution of a Cleric Shite leader among 49 others.
Children are most vulnerable in the present Syrian crisis.  They are among the 4 million displaced Syrians living in refugee camps outside their country, and on the run barred from entering otyher countries.  

o Terrorism is today's enemy of the world.  For the first time terrorists are claiming for  a state of their own, The Iraq Syria Islamic State or ISIS.  The tentacles of terrorism have grown widespread even before the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, NY. As a boundless, invisible organization founded on hate and destruction, it undermines the present world order, particularly capitalism. We have our own share of terrorism in the Philippines and it is a serious one. Year 2015 was highlighted with the upsurge of terrorism. 

o More than conventional weapons, terrorism is employing biological and chemical warfare – and not remote, nuclear weapons - the very tools used by the superpowers themselves against “enemies.” These weapons are around us and may be right in our backyard. It is not remote that the Philippines is in the target list. With the state-of-the-art of weaponology war is going to be fought by remote control using sophisticated drones both in air and sea.  Drones. 

o Polarization is not limited to politics; it extends as well to religion, reminiscent of the Dark Ages, when people were pitted against each other by their faiths. Egypt today is facing religious conflict as an aftermath of the Arab Spring people's revolution (Time, April 13, 2014). 
So with the current Iran-Saudi conflict.

The hall was attentively silent. I did not quite understand why these issues were generally left out. The lecture nonetheless provided the ambiance of these scenarios.

Happy faces. Participants in an ecology seminar, Faculty of
Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas 
with autho

o Oil prices continue to spiral with four increases in price in a row, triggering increase in prime communities and basic services, exacerbating our already weak economy. Global energy crisis looms in the current conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, the world's main suppliers of oil. Surprisingly there has been an inexplicable drop in oil prices,  But analysts believe this is temporary. 

o Mass evacuation of Overseas Workers who are in the war zone has nightmare stories to tell. Two things our country loses everyday: tremendous cost of evacuation and slowdown of dollar flow from the remittances of the OFWs.

o To worsen our fear the world has plunged into another climatic episode, this time El NiƱo, a climatic phenomenon characterized by extreme drought. Spontaneous forest and brush fires are occurring in Australia, US and Indonesia. The Philippines is projected to have poor harvest in rice and corn and this is expected to continue until next year.

o Food security as key to maintain our economy is difficult to attain, what with 10 percent production shortfall in rice, 30 to 40 percent in corn? We also fall short in the production of meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Yet we have IRRI and UPLB, the alma mater of scientists of foreign countries that now export agricultural products to us in exchange for the knowledge they earned.

o For a rich agricultural country such as ours, the need for a huge buffer stock is ultimate recourse since it is feasible to build one from local harvest. But this is not the case. For this year 2016, we are going to import rice in the tune of 1.5 million MT to maintain supply-demand balance and to provide buffer stock, from Thailand and Vietnam, and a part from China, Pakistan and India.
Imported rice from Vietnam
o On the side of space science and technology, the bold plan of the US to send man into space has been held off since NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded on impact with the earth’s atmosphere as it was returning from a successful mission. All 7 astronauts were killed. Definitely this accident has set back man’s conquest in space. It is a requiem for mankind, following John Donne’s “A little bit of each of us dies.” (On the Death of Strangers)

o It is a paradox that in this modern age of medicine, one of the leading causes of death in US hospitals is doctor’s error, chiefly wrong diagnosis and over treatment. Yet we are going to embark into a new field of medicine, gene therapy. Are doctors really prepared for it?

o Now this is interesting. Among the ten major causes of death in industrialized countries are those associated with the good life such as heart attack, severe depression, accidents, diabetes, and the like. What is good life then?

o On the other hand millions of people die every year from the ancient scourge of mankind – tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, infections, childbirth, and many other diseases associated with poverty and malnutrition.

o The lack of doctors and healthcare exacerbates the suffering of millions more, especially the children, who are victims of malnutrition and poverty. We witness the growth of slums, and a runaway population, and we stand there unable to alleviate their plight.

According to Susan George in her book, How the Other Half Dies, people either have too much or too little. As this is traced to his nature and the institutions he made. Because it is a question of governance, man holds much faith in his ability to solve the problems of his society. But the UN has not lived up to the expectations of the world. The EC is too regionalistic, so with ASEAN. But the holding of summits and conferences attests to man’s immanent goodness, and in spite of our limitations we have gone a long way towards progress.

Indeed science has definitely contributed to man’s success to this point. But to where does science ultimately lead us?

Let us consider these issues.

o Sixty percent of us Filipinos live below the poverty line.

o Exodus to cities and abroad seems unstoppable.
o There is breakdown in peace and order.
o Loss of species is rampant, but loss of entire ecosystems is more damaging. 
(Photo of our Philippine Eagle, now critically endangered) )
o Liberalization is trade and commerce exacerbates the gaps between rich and poor nations.
o Values seem to be taken for granted.
o Conditions in the slums are virtually sub-human.
o Forty percent of our youth do not practice their religion.
o Ignorance and illiteracy is prevalent – and increasing.
o Government service is generally poor and riddled with graft and corruption.
o Diseases can develop into epidemic proportion as in the case of bird flu and SARS.

It is an open-ended list of issues science should address itself. But we can not wait too long.

While the conflict in North Africa and the Middle East rages, global warming is stirring the cauldron of global climate and local weather, more and more natural and man-induced calamities at increasing intensity such as the earthquakes in Haiti, Peru, and Japan with a new record of 8.8 on the Reicher Scale. Hope dims and faith may not hold on for long. As the world prays, the hall is silent. Today,s news of an earthquake in India with 6.3 magnitude has caused heavy damage which is being assessed to this hour. .

North Korea’s nuclear program has emerged as a new threat to the region and to the world. But South Korea, which is expected to reunify with the North soon, is apparently undisturbed - seemingly so with certain countries. Will US apply stricter sanctions on North Korea? Will it apply its formula of allowing Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful means in the case of North Korea? 

Is Japan considering re-armament? What is our stand with these developments? Is this the beginning of a third force? As the world waits, the hall is silent.

Where is peace and quiet for man and his society?

Related Articles in this Blog

Search i The Riddle of theSphinx – Are we in our sunset as a species? It is a discourse showing how vulnerable is the human species toward extinction – a vulnerability of his own making.

Also search, Bioethics – Expression of Values. It is a first hand account based on the author’s own experience in making a crucial decision in bioethics. Bioethics has expanded into various disciplines from its former confines in medicine and healthcare. It challenges a critic a deep responsibility - that ethics and virtue must go together.