Friday, September 30, 2016

Reviving Our Native Philippine Songs

Ethnic Music reduces anxiety and pain, induces relaxation, thus promoting the overall sense of well-being of the individual.

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

Have you ever noticed village folks singing or humming as they attend to their chores? 

Music is closely associated with everyday life among village folks more than it is to us living in the city. The natives find content and relaxation beside a waterfall, on the riverbank, under the trees, in fact there is to them music in silence under the stars, on the meadow, at sunset, at dawn. Breeze, crickets, running water, make a repetitious melody that induces sleep. 

Fernando Amorsolo's paintings such as this, provide the ideal backdrop of Philippine ethnic music. 

 Humming indicates that one likes his or her work, and can go on for hours without getting tired at it. Boat songs make rowing synchronized. Planting songs make the deities of the field happy, so they believe; and songs at harvest are thanksgiving. Seldom is there an activity without music. The sound of nature to them is music.

Typical Filipina on the countryside (Ang Dalagang Pilipina),
painting by Fernando Amorsolo

According to researcher Leonora Nacorda Collantes, of the UST graduate school, music influences the limbic system, called the “seat of emotions” and causes emotional response and mood change. Musical rhythms synchronize body rhythms, mediate within the sphere of the autonomous nervous and endocrine systems, and change the heart and respiratory rate. Music reduces anxiety and pain, induces relaxation, thus promoting the overall sense of well being of the individual.

Ethnic music has greatly influenced folk music that we know today, such as the following. These are songs about

  • rowing the boat (Talindaw) 
  • planting rice (Magtanim Hindi Biro); 
  • a happy, simple home (Bahay Kubo), 
  • wedding (Diona) 
  • the butterfly (Paruparong Bukid) 
  • a tiny bird (Ang Pipit) 
  • lullaby (uyayi, hele, Ugoy ng Duyan) 
  • love's pleading (Kundiman) 
  • serenade (Harana) 
  • countryside living (Sa Libis ng Nayon) 
  • a light or star (O Ilaw, Aking Bituin) 
  • wooden clog (Bakya Mo Neneng) 
  • exulting the young Filipina (Dalagang Pilipina 
  • early love, "The Love of a Girl" (Ti Ayat ti Maysa nga Ubing Ilk) 
  • a broken clay pot (Nabasag ang Banga) 
Here is an example of an indigenous song, Uyayi or hele (Lullaby). Note how natural and spontaneous it is. The lyrics were invented to fit varied melodies. You can make your own, too.

Matulog ka na, bunso
Sleep now, youngest one

Ang ina mo ay malayo
Your mother is far away

at hindi ka masundo
and she can't come for you

May putik, may balaho
There's mud, there's a swamp

Among the Filipino musicologists who have contributed much to the revival and conservation of traditional Philippine music are

1. Fr. Morice Vanoverberg, who focused on the traditional music of the Lepanto Igorots of the north.

2. Emilia Cavan, for her collection of Filipino Folk Songs published in 1924.

3. Norberto Romualdez , for his collection of Folk Songs in the 'Philippine Progressive Music Series' published in the late 1920s. The series became the textbook for teaching music in the Primary School. It remains to be the most important collection of traditional music from the Philippines, since a copy of it is still available in major Municipal and Provincial Libraries in the country.

4. Emilia Reysio-Cruz, for her collection of 'Filipino Folk Songs' that caters to the so- called 'Eight Major Languages' of the country. The collection is perhaps the best representation of the songs from these ethnolinguistic groups.

5. Dr. Jose Maceda, former chair of the Department of Asian Music Research of the College of Music of the University of the Philippines, also did some collection which began in 1953 and lasted until 1972. This was followed by collections from his students as well.

6. Lucrecia Roces Kasilag (August 31, 1918- August 16, 2008) was a noted composer, educator, cultural and arts administrator, and performing artist. She was named National Artist in Music in 1989. She pioneered the fusion of Filipino ethnic and Western music. She dared to mix indigenous Filipino instruments with Western orchestra in her prize-winning "Toccata for Percussions and Winds, Divertissement and Concertante," and the scores of the Filiasiana, Misang Pilipino and De Profundis. She was fondly called "Tita King".



7. Prof. Raul Sunico, currently the dean of the Conservatory of Music of the University of Santo Tomas, published his own collection. He began with publishing a collection of lullabies, followed by love songs, then by work songs. Finally, he published a collection of songs about Filipino women, a major topic of traditional songs from all the ethnolinguistic groups. All these collections were arranged for the piano and the words are given in their original languages. A translation is also supplied, not to mention a brief backgrounder about the culture of the specific ethnic groups.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Swallow (La Golondrina) "Oh graceful swallow . . ".

La Golondrina is one of the best loved songs in the world. It comes in many versions and musical renditions - instrumental, orchestral, quartet, chorus, or simply as ballad.
 Dr Abe V Rotor 

Swallows keep equidistance on electric wire. Florida Blanca, Pampanga (Aerial photos by the author)

La Golondrina is one of the best loved songs in the world. It comes in many versions and musical renditions - instrumental, orchestral, quartet, chorus, or simply as ballad. It is one of the favorite songs of the late singer Nat King Cole, the great tenors Pavarotti and Domingo, and not least, the balladeer Pat Boone.

The lyrics of the song have been translated in practically all major languages of the world. Sad to say, however, some versions have failed to keep the classical quality and significance of the song.

You can play it on the violin, piano or flute. If you have advanced music lessons try making your own variations - maybe two or three, but reserve one for the finale. Throughout your playing be keen at preserving the melody and theme.
I prefer the solo violin with a soulful ambiance of nostalgia, imagining this majestic bird flying in the blue sky, keeping company with its flock and momentarily finding freedom, and coming close to earth to bring a message of peace and joy this Christmas Season.

 

Version 1: The Swallow (La Golondrina)

To far off lands, the swallow now is speeding
For warmer climes and sun-drenched foreign shores
While cooler breezes tell of summer fading
My heart with you, into the heavens will soar.

Oh graceful swallow bear a message of love
For on your journey, lies the land of my heart
As down you sweep, shed my blessings upon them
That tell of love which in my heart still burns

Among those shores are all that I care or live for
My home, my loved ones, waiting for my return
Then glide downwards as you see from above
A sea swept isle from which we had to part

Each winter long console me in my dreaming
And you fond swallow on your gleaming wings
Will speed as I would wish I could go speeding
Straight to their hearts, and with you my love bring

Oh graceful swallow . . .
(repeat last line)

Song also known as 'The Mexican 'Home Sweet Home'. Serradel: Mexican composer (1843-1910) born in Veracruz. His name appears variously as 'Narciso Serradell', 'Narciso Serradel' or 'Narciso Serradel Sevilla'.

The Spanish lyrics of La Golondrina (The Swallow) use the image of a migrating swallow to evoke sentiments of longing for one's homeland. The song has been recorded by numerous artists over the years, either as an instrumental or with various lyrics.

Author plays the violin with cildren Anna on the piano, and Marlo with the flute 

Version 2: LA GOLONDRINA (THE SWALLOW)

1. High in the sky
At break of dawn I see
The swallow fly
Above the world
Among the drifting clouds he flashes by
Beneath the caves his little mate is waiting
Beneath the leaves where all his treasures lie.

2. Ah, would that I were a swallow that flies through the sky,
On the wing, rejoicing, where all care flutters by,
So light and free, above the voice of the throng,
High up in the sky, where all the world's a song!

REPEAT 1.

Version 3: LA GOLONDRINA

Whither so swiftly flies the timid swallow,
What distant bourne seeks her untiring wing?
To reach it safe, what needle does she follow,
When darkness wraps the poor, wee storm-tossed thing?
To build her nest near to my couch, I'll call her;
Why go so far bright and warm skies to keep!
Safe would she be; no evil should befall her,
For I am an exile sad, too sad to weep;

My fatherland is dear, but I too left it;
Far am I from the spot where I was born;
Cheerless is life, fierce storms of joy bereft it;
Made me an exile lifelong and forlorn.
Come then to me, sweet feathered pilgrim stranger;
Oh! Let me clasp thee to my loving breast,
And list thy warbling low, secure from danger,
Unwonted tears bringing relief and rest.

(English words Thos. M. Westrup, ca. 1883) The lyrics above from a copy published in 1889 by Thomas Goggan and Bro. Galveston, TX, compliments of the Mexican National R Narciso Serradel Sevilla (1843-1910), a native of Alverado, Vera Cruz, Mexico, was both a doctor and a composer. During the war against the French Maximiliano, Serradel fought against the French Imperial troops alongside General Zaragoza. He was taken prisoner---and deported to France. He is most famous for his popular song of farewell, "La Golondrina." The song is a favorite of expatriate Mexicans..." It is often requested at the funerals of Mexican-Americans." The first two verses are often omitted (see post above, from "Canciones Populares"). The song is often thought of as "traditional."

In his lyrics, Serradel assumes the persona of Aben Hamid, a Moor of Granada, who was forced to leave his beloved home when Isabella and Ferdinand expelled the Moors and Jews from Spain in the 1490's; they were never to see their homeland, where they had lived for centuries, again.~

Designing a Book Cover - PHILIPPINE LITERATURE TODAY

Published by C and E Publishing Inc for the new General Curriculum (K2-12) 2015



About the Cover

The artist, Leo Carlo Rojas Rotor, BSFA-ID (UST), MIT (AdMU), redefines a difficult subject like literature on two fronts: the classic-tradition emanating from the beacon of a sacred temple on one, and the post-modern at the other extreme to which the beacon fades into the unknown.  In between the periodicity of time and space hangs in limbo the question, “Quo vadis?” (Where is literature going?)

The artist answers: Like in defining good government as government of, for and by the people, so is good literature.  As a binding force of a culture, literature is about people, their history, their beliefs and ideas. Literature is the mouthpiece of the people that carries their stories alive and beautiful from generation to generation.  Literature is their collective masterpiece, their imprimatur.  Literature is agent of change, never passive, never submissive; it is a pathfinder, a sailing vessel that brings “the promise of the tides.”

The artist’s confidence in his concept is seeing Rizal alive today, his ideas bearing fruits in a free world, Lola Basyang keeping children happy like in his time with mythology’s eternal magic, Balagtas in a new Renaissance in cinemas and the Internet, and Leona Florentino the muse of Philippine literature, unquestioned, undefiled.



Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Let's Encourage Nature Field Trip

Let's Encourage Nature Field Trip   
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more." Lord Byron

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [ avrotor.blogspot.com ]

Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness
John Muir
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
. Robert Frost
Nature Field Trip, Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB Laguna 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet 
and the winds long to play with your hair. Khalil Gibran


The butterfly counts not months but moments, 
and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore


Look deep into nature, and then you will understand 
everything better. Albert Einstein

Teachers visit the  Museum of Natural History, UPLB 

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


 Biology teachers in MM visit Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB Laguna 


The world is a book, and those who do not travel 
read only a page. Saint Augustine

Giant Clam (Taklobo) - Threatened Marine Shellfish

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [ avrotor.blogspot.com ]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday


On-site study. Author helps lift a taklobo specimen for study.

Seven-kilogram Tridacna is examined by students in Environmental Science from the UST Graduate School; bottom photo shows its natural habitat at 6 to 14 feet on coral reef of San Salvador Island, east of Masinloc, Zambales.

Facts about the giant clam, Tridacna gigas. 

1. In the Philippines it is called taklobo. It is the largest living bivalve mollusk and one of the most endangered clams.

2. It lives on shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans, up to 20 meters deep.

3. It weighs more than 200 kilograms (440 pounds), and measures as much as 1.2 m (4 feet) across. It has an average lifespan in the wild of 100 years or more.

4. Although larval clams are planktonic, they become sessile in adulthood. Growth is enhanced by the clam's ability to grow algae in symbiosis. The creature's mantle tissues act as a habitat for the symbiotic single-celled dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) from which it gets its nutrition. By day, the clam opens its shell and extends its mantle tissue so that the algae receive the sunlight they need to photosynthesize.

5. T. gigas reproduce sexually. They are hermaphrodites (producing both eggs and sperm), but self fertilization is not possible. Since giant clams can't move across the sea floor, the solution is broadcast spawning. This entails the release of sperm and eggs into the water where fertilization takes place.

Let's protect the giant clams. It's better to be assured they are alive on the seafloor than to have their fossils in our home.~




Tridacna in its natural habitat - lighted seafloor; Tridacna graveyard.

 Mrs Cecilia Rojas Rotor, author's wife. poses before a giant Tridacna 
shell as holy water receptacle. Mount Carmel Church, QC

References: Living with Nature by AVRotor; Marine Biology: An Ecological Approach by JW Nybakken; Wikipedia.

Seaweed Beauty

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog [ avrotor.blogspot.com ]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Arusip or lato is the most common sea vegetable in the market.  It is high in folic and folinic acids.  Lato or Caulerpa is of two commercial species, C. racemosa which is cultured in estuaries and fishponds and and C. lentillifera which is usually found growing in the wild. It is the racemosa type that predominates the market. Because of frequent harvesting of this species by local residents lentillifera it is no longer popular in the market. Besides, the cultured Caulerpa is cleaner and more uniform. It has lesser damage and is less pungent than its wild counterpart. (Model: Miss Gelyn S Gabao, 19 Filipina)
 
Kulot or Gelidiella acerosa (Forsk) Feldmann and Hamel has tough and wiry thalli, greenish black to dull purple in color. They lie low and creeping on rocks and corals along the intertidal zone. It is very much branched when mature with secondary branches cylindrical at the base and flattened towards the tip and beset on both sides with irregular, pinnately short branches. The fertile branchlets have conspicuous swollen tips.

Too rich an imagination about a sea fairy  
        at the bottom of the sea;
if it were true, I would wonder less its bounty 
        than a maid's simple beauty;

Who farm the sea but a dainty, loving hand
        like that of Ceres on land;
in a world where mystery and enigma in bond
        shall forever astound man.~ 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

"Pukpuklo" - Spooky Sea Vegetable

Dr Abe V Rotor

Old folk along the Ilocos coast call it pukpuklo, this sponge-like green sea vegetable.
It is served fresh.  Add sliced tomato, onion and a dash of salt. Or simply wash and eat it with the fingers -  which we, kids in our time along Nagtupakan* estuary would relish. What with medium rare broiled (barbakua) fish and jumping salad (live small shrimps) we caught, in situ picnic style! 


A country lass gleefully demonstrates how to eat pukpuklo. 

Actually it is the ambiance that makes eating wonderfully exciting and memorable cum fresh air, clean water, above all, the freedom and adventure of boyhood. 

Years took us kids away for our studies, and later, careers and jobs, and to raise our own families. For whatever reason, I asked if there is any pukpuklo being sold in the city market. 

There it was proudly rising like hill on a bila-o (circular bamboo basket) among local vegetables in a talipapa (flea market) in Novaliches, QC.  

To me it was turning back the hands of time. On the dining table that weekend I gave a "lecture" about the pukpuklo.  It was a rare, hearty meal for the whole family.  

Say, "Pukpuklo,"  Marchus.  My two-year old grandson uttered. "...lo." ~

 Close-up of pukpuklo (Ilk), Codium edule, Order Codiales, Division Chlorophyta. Edule in Latin means edible. Note watery sponge-like dichotomous branching structure. It is this species that is now sold commercially, like lato (Caulepa racemosa), a more popular green seaweed.    

Commonly called dead man's fingers, Codium fragile, known commonly as green sea fingers, dead man's fingers, felty fingers, forked felt-alga, stag seaweed, sponge seaweed, green sponge, green fleece, and oyster thief, is a species of seaweed in the family Codiaceae. It originates in the Pacific Ocean near Japan and has become an invasive species on the coasts of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. 

So far Codium fragilis and any of its subspecies do not pose any problem in the Philippines. (Author's note.)  



Spooky dead man's fingers gave the name of some Codium species  (Wikipedia)


This siphonous green alga is dark green in color. It appears as a fuzzy patch of tubular fingers. These formations hang down from rocks during low tide, hence the nickname "dead man's fingers" The "fingers" are branches up to a centimeter wide and sometimes over 30 centimeters long.

Codium fragile occurs in the low intertidal zone, and subtidal on high-energy beaches. It has no asexual (sporophyte) stage, and male and female gametes are both produced on separate plants. Codium fragile, through the years, underwent speciation leading to the formation of three subspecies, namely Codium fragile subsp. atlanticum, 
Codium fragile subsp. tomentosoides and Codium fragile subsp. scandinavicum.  
-----------------------------------

Seaweeds as a Human Diet:

An Emerging Trend in the New Millennium

P.V. ~66a RUO; vaibbav A. Mantri, K. Ganesan an6 K SHT~S~ KHW~ Marine Algae and Marine Environment Discipline, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institu te (CSIR), Gijubhai Badheka Marg, Bhavnagar - 364 002, Gujarat, INDIA (Internet) 

ABSTRACT
In the Far East and Pacific, there has been a long tradition of consuming seaweeds as sea vegetables, while in Western countries the principaI use of seaweeds has been as source of phycocolloids having their applications, some times in food preparations. Edible seaweeds have played a significant role in economy of some Nations such as Japan, Korea and China. In world market, there are 13 algae authorized as vegetable and condiments, although 152 seaweed species have been utilized for food preparations. The nutritive value of the seaweeds is mainly due to the presence of rich protein, amino acids, minerals, dietary fibers and antioxidants. The protein content in seaweeds varies from 3 to 47 per cent of dry wt. Aspartic and glutamic acid constitute large part of the amino acid fraction in the seaweed. Mineral content (including macro and micro nutrients) recorded in seaweeds is found in the range of 8 to 40 per cent. In addition, seaweeds constitute an interesting source of dietary fibers and antioxidant compounds with health protective effects. This paper is an overview of edible seaweeds and their nutritional values. ~
   
  
 Top, clockwise: Pophyra (gamet), Gracillaria (guraman Ilk), ar-arusip Ilk 
or lato (Caulerpa), and  Eucheuma cottonii, 

 ----------------------------
* Nagtupakan is the estuarine of Bantaoay River in San Vicente, west of Vigan City, province of Ilocos Sur, site of the infamous Basi Revilt of 1808 

Monday, September 26, 2016

United Nations International Celebrations for October 2016

Let's Encourage Nature Field Trip   
"There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more." Lord Byron

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog [ avrotor.blogspot.com ]

Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness
John Muir
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. 
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
. Robert Frost
Nature Field Trip, Mt Makiling Botanical Garden, UPLB Laguna 

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet 
and the winds long to play with your hair. Khalil Gibran


The butterfly counts not months but moments, 
and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore


Look deep into nature, and then you will understand 
everything better. Albert Einstein

Teachers visit the  Museum of Natural History, UPLB 

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


The world is a book, and those who do not travel 
read only a page. Saint Augustine

 Mt Makiling, Los BaƱos, Laguna  

Cumulus cloud ...
if one day the water of the sea is not enough, 
drink, drink deep from my little cup.
 -  AVRotor