Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Rizal's Masterpiece NOLI ME TANGERE (Latin "Touch me not.") - a Review

In commemoration of our national hero's 120th Death Anniversary, December 30, 2016
Noli turned out to produce a far reaching consequence. It stirred up the Filipino's sense of national identity which consequently led to the Philippine Revolution which culminated in independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Professor, Rizal Course, UST, SPU-QC
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

Students both in high school and college who are taking up the subject about Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of the Philippines may find this outline as a handy reference. This may serve as a review material for those taking the forthcoming final examination on the subject which is divided into four series.

  • Review in brief
  • Synopsis of Noli Me Tangere
  • Characters in Noli
  • Living up with Rizal.
1. Rizal got the idea of writing a novel after reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel on the abuse of black slaves in America.

2. Similarly Noli was planned to expose the abuses committed by Spanish friars and authorities on the natives, the Indios, of the Philippines.

3. He proposed the idea to his Filipino friends in Madrid in 1884 that they collaborate in writing a novel on the Philippines, but it was to no avail.

4. Ultimately Rizal decided to write the entire book himself. He was 26.

5. Rizal began writing Noli in Madrid, continued on in Paris, and finished it in Berlin.

6. The book was finished in December 1886, but Rizal was penniless and despaired of ever publishing it.

7. The novel might never have seen print if it were not for Maximo Viola. Viola lent Rizal P300 for 2,000 copies. The book came off the press on 29 March 1887, ahead of schedule.

8. Noli me tangere means in Latin "Touch me not." (John 20:13-17). The newly-risen Christ says to Mary Magdalene: "Touch me not; I am not yet ascended to my Father, but go to my brethren, and say unto them I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God."

9. French writer D. Blumenstihl noted that "Noli me tangere" is a medical term used by ophthalmologists for cancer of the eyelids. This presented the idea of the book's theme - "social cancer."

10. This is an excerpt from the book's dedication (The Social Cancer). "Recorded in the history of human sufferings is a cancer of so malignant a character that the least touch irritates it and awakens in it the sharpest pains. Thus, how many times, when in the midst of modern civilizations I have wished to call thee before me, now to accompany me in memories, now to compare thee with other countries, hath thy dear image presented itself showing a social cancer like to that other!"

11. The book advocated for direct representation to the Spanish government and larger role of the Philippines inside the Spaniard political affairs.

12. But Noli turned out to produce a far reaching consequence. It stirred up the Filipino's sense of national identity which consequently led to the Philippine Revolution which culminated in independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.

13. The novel was written in Spanish, the language of the educated at a time when Filipinos were segregated by diverse native languages and regional cultures.

14. The Noli has since been adapted in many art forms. A 180-minute film of the same name was produced in 1961. Two movies followed: Rizal in Dapitan (Albert Martinez), and the multi-awarded Jose Rizal, played by Cesar Montano.

 Sisa and her children Basilio and Crispin,
UP Theatre

15. Noli the Musical spearheaded by Ryan Cayabyab et al became a hit on the stage, screen, and TV (series). There are various adaptations of Noli - a comic book and several simplified versions for students and children.

16. Noli was recently published internationally by Penguin Australia and US. It has been translated in major languages that the mere mention of Noli rings a familiar tune to millions of people around the world. Textbooks designed for students were made by various publishers, and the text itself is oftentimes condensed or shortened to facilitate learning among students.

17. Noli me Tangere and its sequel, El Filibusterismo, are studied by Third Year and Fourth Year secondary school students in the Philippines as part of the curriculum. Rizal's Life and Works is required as a 3-unit subject in various courses in tertiary education.

18. In Rizal's time Noli and Fili were banned because of their portrayal of corruption and abuse by the country's Spanish government and clergy. The church and many consevative people did not favor the the reading of Noli and Fili, until a law was passed making the teaching of Rizal compulsory.

19. Copies of the two books were smuggled in nevertheless, and when Rizal returned to the Philippines after completing medical studies, he was arrested and exiled to Dapitan.

20. A character which has become a classic in the Philippines is "Maria Clara" who has become a personification of the ideal Filipino woman, loving and unwavering in her loyalty to her spouse.

21. Another classic character is the priest "Father Dámaso" which reflects, other than their blatant abuse of power, the covert fathering of illegitimate children by members of the Spanish clergy.

22.The novel created so much controversy. Rizal wrote, "My book made a lot of noise;  everywhere, I am asked about it. They wanted to anathematize me ['to excommunicate me'] because of it ... I am considered a German spy, an agent of Bismarck, they say I am a Protestant, a free mason, a sorcerer, a damned soul and evil. It is whispered that I want to draw plans, that I have a foreign passport and that I wander through the streets by night ..."
Rizal is executed by a firing squad at Bagumbayan, now Luneta Park, a re-enactment.

23. The Church exerted pressure on the State over Rizal's fate. Rizal was convicted for "inciting rebellion" based largely on his writings. Rizal was executed in Manila on December 30, 1896 at the age of thirty-five.

24. Rizal depiction of nationality by emphasizing the qualities of Filipinos: devotion of a Filipina and her influence to a man's life, the deep sense of gratitude, and the solid common sense of the Filipinos under the Spanish regime.

25. The book was instrumental in creating a unified Filipino national identity and consciousness, as many Filipinos previously identified with their respective regions to the advantage of the Spanish authorities. It lampooned, caricatured and exposed various elements in the colonial society.~ Rizal death anniversary Dec 30 2016

Synopsis of NOLI ME TANGERE-  By Dr Jose Rizal 

In more than a century since its appearance, José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere has become widely known as the great novel of the Philippines. A passionate love story set against the ugly political backdrop of repression, torture, and murder, "The Noli," as it is called in the Philippines, was the first major artistic manifestation of Asian resistance to European colonialism, and Rizal became a guiding conscience—and martyr—for the revolution that would subsequently rise up in the Spanish province. - Noli Me Tangere by José Rizal, Harold Augenbraum (Translator) Penguin Books

Dr Abe V Rotor
Former Professor, Rizal Course, UST, SPU-QC
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

Having completed his studies in Europe, young Juan Crisostomo Ibarra comes back to the Philippines after a 7-year absence. In his honor, Captain Tiago throws a get-together party, which is attended by friars and other prominent figures. In an unfortunate incident, former curate Father Dámaso belittles and slanders Ibarra. But Ibarra brushes off the insult and takes no offense; he instead politely excuses himself and leaves the party because of an allegedly important task.

The day after the humbling party, Ibarra goes to see María Clara, his love interest, a beautiful daughter of Captain Tiago and an affluent resident of Binondo, Manila. Their long-standing love is clearly manifested in this meeting, and María Clara cannot help but reread the letters her sweetheart had written her before he went to Europe. Before Ibarra left for San Diego, Lieutenant Guevara, a guardia civil, reveals to him the incidents preceding the death of his father, Don Rafael Ibarra, a rich hacendero of the town.
Noli me tangere (Touch me not), biblical source of Rizal's  novel, one of the world's greatest novels is ranked with War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, Le Miserables by Victor Hugo, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas,  Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, among others. Noli me tangere, meaning "don't touch me" or "don't tread on me", is the Latin version of words spoken, according to John 20:17, by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection.
According to the Lieutenant, Don Rafael was unjustly accused of being a heretic, in addition to being a filibuster—an allegation brought forth by Father Dámaso because of Don Rafael's non-participation in the Sacraments, such as Confession and Mass. Father Dámaso's animosity against Ibarra's father is aggravated by another incident when Don Rafael helped out on a fight between a tax collector and a student fighting, and the former's death was blamed on him, although it was not deliberate. Suddenly, all of those who thought ill of him surfaced with additional complaints. He was imprisoned, and just when the matter was almost settled, he got sick and died in jail. Still not content with what he had done, Father Dámaso arranged for Don Rafael's corpse to be dug up and transferred from the Catholic cemetery to the Chinese cemetery, because he thought it inappropriate to allow a heretic such as Don Rafael a Catholic burial ground. Unfortunately, it was raining and because of the bothersome weight of the cadaver, the men in charge of the burial decided to throw the corpse into the lake.

Revenge was not in Ibarra's plans; instead he carries through his father's plan of putting up a school, since he believes that education would pave the way to his country's progress (all over the novel the author refers to both Spain and the Philippines as two different countries which form part of a same nation or family, being Spain the mother and the Philippines the daughter). During the inauguration of the school, Ibarra would have been killed in a sabotage had Elías—a mysterious man who had warned Ibarra earlier of a plot to assassinate him—not saved him. Instead the hired killer met an unfortunate incident and died. The sequence of events proved to be too traumatic for María Clara who got seriously ill but was luckily cured by the medicine Ibarra sent her
After the inauguration, Ibarra hosts a luncheon during which Father Dámaso, uninvited and gate-crashing the luncheon, again insults him. Ibarra ignores the priest's insolence, but when the latter slanders the memory of his dead father, he is no longer able to restrain himself and lunges at Father Dámaso, prepared to stab the latter for his impudence. As a consequence, Dámaso excommunicates Ibarra. Father Dámaso takes this opportunity to persuade the already-hesitant father of María Clara to forbid his daughter from marrying Ibarra. The friar wishes María Clara to marry a Peninsular named Linares who just arrived from Spain.

With the help of the Captain-General, Ibarra's excommunication is nullified and the Archbishop decides to accept him as a member of the Church once again. But, as fate would have it, some incident of which Ibarra had known nothing about is blamed on him, and he is wrongly arrested and imprisoned. But the accusation against him is overruled because during the litigation that followed, nobody could testify that he was indeed involved. Unfortunately, his letter to María Clara somehow gets into the hands of the jury and is manipulated such that it then becomes evidence against him.

Meanwhile, in Captain Tiago's residence, a party is being held to announce the upcoming wedding of María Clara and Linares. Ibarra, with the help of Elías, takes this opportunity and escapes from prison. But before leaving, Ibarra talks to María Clara and accuses her of betraying him, thinking that she gave the letter he wrote her to the jury. María Clara explains to Ibarra that she will never conspire against him but that she was forced to surrender Ibarra's letter to her in exchange for the letters written by her mother even before she, María Clara, was born. The letters were from her mother, Pía Alba, to Father Dámaso alluding to their unborn child; and that she, María Clara, is therefore not the daughter of Captain Tiago, but of Father Dámaso.

Afterwards, Ibarra and Elías board a boat and flee the place. Elías instructs Ibarra to lie down and the former covers the latter with grass to conceal the latter's presence. As luck would have it, they are spotted by their enemies. Elías thinks he could outsmart them and jumps into the water. The guards rain shots on the person in the water, all the while not knowing that they are aiming at the wrong man.

María Clara, thinking that Ibarra has been killed in the shooting incident, is greatly overcome with grief. Robbed of hope and severely disillusioned, she asks Father Dámaso to confine her into a nunnery. Father Dámaso reluctantly agrees when María Clara threatens to take her own life. demanding, "the nunnery or death!" taken the shots. It is Christmas Eve when Ibarra wakes up in the forest, gravely wounded and barely alive. It is in this forest that Ibarra finds Basilio and his lifeless mother, Sisa.
References: Light from the Old Arch, AVRotor; and Wikipedia


Musical versions of Noli on stage and screen.

Kaleidoscope in Nature

Painting and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor

Kaleidoscope in Nature in acrylic (20" x 24") AVR 2015

A world of colors in splendor and grandeur ,
in magnificence and glory;
the mountains in summer, the trees in autumn;
the sky at sunset over the sea.

Undulating hills, meandering rivers,
flowing down through the mist;
the valley wakes up to the magic of sunrise,
   in living colors that never cease.

Coral reefs, counterpart of gardens on land,
 untouched this submarine park
in luxurious colors and hues in the day,
hauntingly glow in the dark.  

The rainbow grows in the sky with dreams,
romance in the air in colors divine
for a lovely pair bound by love and care,
with nature's beauty they enshrine. ~

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Quo vadis, Journalism? (Where is Journalism headed for?)

Editorial: Greater Lagro Gazette

Quo vadis, Journalism? 
(Where is Journalism headed for?) 

From the earliest Roman newsletter in 5th century BC to today's Social Media, journalism has indeed vastly expanded and radically evolved. 

In the Philippines the first newsletter was Tomas Pinpin's Successos Felices 1636, and the first regularly published newspaper was Del Superior Govierno (1811). Print journalism dominated media for centuries until radio and TV brought news and entertainment to the living room. Today computers and smartphones dominate media virtually at fingertip and mobile at that, involving a very wide profile of users interconnected locally and around the world. 

Millennials are often identified with their fondness of using cellphone or smartphone at any time, what with the many features of this palm-size gadget. They are wired all the time, says a sociologist. The cell phone connects practically all - libraries, shopping centers, universities, cities, public offices, homes,  irrespective of distance and time. And it is multiple linked with institutions and systems: e-mail, e-commerce, e-learning, etc. 

Social media catch the earliest news, send quick messages, and react openly, critique without reservation, in fact social media to the general public is open journalism.    

So what is journalism today? People asked.     

"There are set rules and standards of journalism embodied in the Code of Journalism which will remain unchanged," says Editor Feliciano U Galimba Jr, of the award winning community newspaper - The Greater Lagro Gazette.

Applying strictly these rules and standards, and mobilizing a staff of local talents, Editor Fil as he fondly called, succeeded in making this quarterly barangay publication a model in community journalism, albiet citations from leaders and readers. 

The Code of Ethics in Journalism is universal, summarized in four tenets.  These comprise the four pillars of journalism, and it is in defense of this sacred temple that journalists have lost their lives, many of them as martyrs. 

Seek Truth and Report It. Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Minimize Harm - Ethical journalism treats sources, subjects, colleagues and members of the public as human beings deserving of respect. Balance the public’s need for information against potential harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.

Act Independently - The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.

Be Accountable and Transparent - Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.
Role models in journalism, like in other professions, provide not only direction but inspiration in work and life as well. The late Teodoro "Doroy" Valencia is undoubtedly the father of journalism in the Philippines. His column Over a Cup of Coffee shaped the thinking of his readers and influenced the decisions of leaders in his time, and even to the present, which makes Ka Doroy is an institution. 

His philosophy in ingrained in his teaching to one who aspires to become a journalists. He must 
  • Be inquisitive
  • Be constant in his purpose
  • Be fair and balanced
  • Be genuinely interested in people
  • Seek the truth
  • Be resourceful
  • Have guts
  • Master his grammar
  • Know his medium
  • Read, read and read.
 Above all, he must be God-fearing, compassionate, and true to his country and fellowmen. And uphold journalism as a profession and institution. 

Another journalist of international fame is Joseph Pulitzer (photo) who initiated the pattern of modern newspaper. For him, newspaper is the ‘vehicle of truth’, and he used it to raise his concern against corruption, fraud, monopolies, gambling rings and ill practices by elected officials.

Joseph believed in the power of press and the intelligentsia involved in journalistic activities to bring a positive change to the world. 

The Pulitzer Award attests to his love and devotion to journalism. The award is equal to the Nobel Prize in the field of journalism. Our Carlos P Romulo received such award for his writing "I saw the Philippines fall. I saw the Philippine rise."  to date, the only Filipino who bestowed with this distinction. 
Our own Filipino propagandists for Philippine independence from Spain are no less models to the aspiring journalists. Jose Rizal wrote Noli and Fili; Graciano López Jaena, published La Solidaridad with Marcelo H. del Pilar as editor and co-publisher, and Antonio Luna as prolific writer. 

Taking a glimpse back in history, searching for role models in the present, while projecting the future of journalism is a most challenging situation for a any critic of what is journalism today. It is a complex crossroad indeed. 

For how can we connect the ramifications of media in the same manner like nerves of a ganglion?
  • Newspaper journalism
  • Campus journalism 
  • Magazine journalism
  • Citizen journalism (also known as "public", "participatory", "democratic", "guerrilla" or "street" journalism
  • Community journalism or civic journalism, 
  • Social Journalism is a separate concept denoting a digital publication. 
  • Online and digital journalism   
The challenge is addressed to us openly.  We are victims of an explosion of knowledge which has consequences of its own - information pollution. It has its undertone to values and to journalism.  It is up for us to devise a system through the same technology, of separating the grain from the chaff, so to speak.

It starts with community journalism, as basic unit, under the tutelage of true and dedicated journalists like Editor Fil Galimba et al. It must focus on the young, the users and followers of social media. Social media is a bridge to journalism, in fact it is the journalism in our postmodern age - if properly directed and applied. ~
20 Deadliest Countries for Journalists
1.    Iraq: 178
2.    Syria: 107
3.    Philippines: 77
4.    Somalia: 62
5.    Algeria: 60
6.    Pakistan: 59
7.    Russia: 56
8.    Colombia: 47
9.    India: 40
10. Brazil: 39
11. Mexico: 37
12. Afghanistan: 31
13. Turkey: 25
14. Bangladesh: 20
15. Sri Lanka: 19
16. Bosnia: 19
17. Rwanda: 17
18. Tajikistan: 17
19. Sierra Leone: 16
20. Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory: 16
Two thirds of the journalists killed in 2014 were in war zones, but this year was the exact opposite, with "two-thirds killed in countries 'at peace'", said RSF.
New media technology, such as social networking and media-sharing websites, in addition to the increasing prevalence of cellular telephones, have made citizen journalism more accessible to people worldwide. Due to the availability of technology, citizens often can report breaking news more quickly than traditional media reporters. Notable examples of citizen journalism reporting from major world events are, the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2013 protests in Turkey, - Courtney C. Radsch
Fareed Zakaria

World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 symbolizes human desire for peace,

A testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history"... thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. ... the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives." Naina Bajekal

Researched by Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog


Researched and compiled by Dr Abe V Rotor 
Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce of 1914 Dec. 24, 2014 
Naina Bajekal @naina_bajekal
Mansell—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
German and British troops celebrating Christmas together during a temporary cessation of WWI hostilities known as the Christmas Truce.
Exactly a century ago, the men in the trenches heard something unusual: singing clear morning 100 years ago, thousands of British, Belgian and French soldiers put down their rifles, stepped out of their trenches and spent Christmas mingling with their German enemies along the Western front. In the hundred years since, the event has been seen as a kind of miracle, a rare moment of peace just a few months into a war that would eventually claim over 15 million lives. But what actually happened on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day of 1914 — and did they really play soccer on the battlefield?
Pope Benedict XV, who took office that September, had originally called for a Christmas truce, an idea that was officially rejected. Yet it seems the sheer misery of daily life in the cold, wet, dull trenches was enough to motivate troops to initiate the truce on their own — which means that it’s hard to pin down exactly what happened. A huge range of differing oral accounts, diary entries and letters home from those who took part make it virtually impossible to speak of a “typical” Christmas truce as it took place across the Western front. To this day historians continue to disagree over the specifics: no one knows where it began or how it spread, or if, by some curious festive magic, it broke out simultaneously across the trenches. Nevertheless, some two-thirds of troops — about 100,000 people — are believed to have participated in the legendary truce.
Most accounts suggest the truce began with carol singing from the trenches on Christmas Eve, “a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere”, as Pvt. Albert Moren of the Second Queens Regiment recalled, in a document later rounded up by the New York Times. Graham Williams of the Fifth London Rifle Brigade described it in even greater detail:
“First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing ­– two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.”
The next morning, in some places, German soldiers emerged from their trenches, calling out “Merry Christmas” in English. Allied soldiers came out warily to greet them. In others, Germans held up signs reading “You no shoot, we no shoot.” Over the course of the day, troops exchanged gifts of cigarettes, food, buttons and hats. The Christmas truce also allowed both sides to finally bury their dead comrades, whose bodies had lain for weeks on “no man’s land,” the ground between opposing trenches.
The phenomenon took different forms across the Western front. One account mentions a British soldier having his hair cut by his pre-war German barber; another talks of a pig-roast. Several mention impromptu kick-abouts with makeshift soccer balls, although, contrary to popular legend, it seems unlikely that there were any organized matches.
The truce was widespread but not universal. Evidence suggests that in many places firing continued — and in at least two a truce was attempted but soldiers attempting to fraternize were shot by opposing forces.
And of course, it was only ever a truce, not peace. Hostilities returned, in some places later that day and in others not until after New Year’s Day. “I remember the silence, the eerie sound of silence,” one veteran from the Fifth Batallion the Black Watch, Alfred Anderson, later recalled to The Observer. “It was a short peace in a terrible war.” As the Great War resumed, it wreaked such destruction and devastation that soldiers became hardened to the brutality of the war. While there were occasional moments of peace throughout the rest of World War I, they never again came on the scale of the Christmas truce in 1914.
Yet for many at the time, the story of the Christmas truce was not an example of chivalry in the depths of war, but rather a tale of subversion: when the men on the ground decided they were not fighting the same war as their superiors. With no man’s land sometimes spanning just 100 feet, enemy troops were so close that they could hear each other and even smell their cooking. The commander of the British Second Corps, General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, believed this proximity posed “the greatest danger” to the morale of soldiers and told Divisional Commanders to explicitly prohibit any “friendly intercourse with the enemy.” In a memo issued on Dec. 5, he warned that: “troops in trenches in close proximity to the enemy slide very easily, if permitted to do so, into a ‘live and let live’ theory of life.”
Indeed, one British soldier, Murdoch M. Wood, speaking in 1930, said: “I then came to the conclusion that I have held very firmly ever since, that if we had been left to ourselves there would never have been another shot fired.” Adolf Hitler, then a Corporal of the 16th Bavarians, saw it differently: “Such a thing should not happen in wartime,” he is said to have remarked. “Have you no German sense of honor?”
Still, a century later, the truce has been remembered as a testament to the power of hope and humanity in a truly dark hour of history.It has been immortalized and fictionalized in children’s novels like Michael Foreman’s War Game, in films such as Joyeux Noel and Oh, What a Lovely War! and even in a controversial Christmas ad this year from Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain. To mark the centenary this year, Prince William unveiled a memorial on Dec. 12: a metal frame representing a soccer ball, with two hands clasped inside it, and a week later, inspired by the events of the truce, the British and German army soccer teams played a friendly match. And though the Christmas Truce may have been a one-off in the conflict, the fact that it remains so widely commemorated speaks to the fact that at its heart it symbolizes a very human desire for peace, no matter how fleeting.
Other unusual historical Events that Happened in Christmas 
  1. Christmas Day, 1990, The Internet Gets Its First Test Run
  2. Washington Crosses the Delaware River in 1776
  3. USSR Invades Afghanistan in 1979
  4. Isaac Newton Was Born on Christmas Day
  5. Charlie Chaplin Passes Away
  6. Apollo 8 Reaches the Moon’s Orbit
  7. Mikhail Gorbachev Resigns as Soviet President
  8. The Song ‘Silent Night’ Is First Performed in Public
  9. President Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers
  10. Charlemagne Crowned Holy Roman Emperor, year 800.
  11. William the Conqueror Crowned King of England, 1066
  12. Ford Model T Unveiled, 1913
  13. Andrew Johnson Pardons All Confederate Soldiers, 1868
  14. Hirohito Becomes Emperor of Japan, 1926
  15. President Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu of Romania Executed, 1989 
  16. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, former presidents of the US, Die, 1826 
  17. A 2004 earthquake in south-east Asia, measuring 9.3 on the Richter scale, led to a devastating group of tsunamis the next day, which would ultimately kill over 200,000 people. 
  18. Christmas day is also the birthday of (among many other notables) cosmetics tycoon Helena Rubenstein, Egypitian president Anwar Sadat, and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. and several entertainers.  

Nativity in the Forest

Dr Abe V Rotor

Nativity Scene, Christmas 2012. Forest mural by the author, 2010

Creatures in the forest welcome a holy guest: 
     the wild and tough wake up to a stirring,
the feathered and furred, the mimicked and camouflaged,
     follow a beam of light in a clearing. 

It is an altar hemmed by a cathedral of giant trees,
     curtained by the living art of the vine;
and marked by emergent towers, the home of the eagle
     that proclaims the birth of a child divine.

Woodsmen there who live in communities ever since, 
     join their children sing the songs of the trees,
fiddling crickets and hooting owls and playful primates,
     the wind tamed into the whisper of the breeze.

Here the sun is sieved into moving shadows and art,
     the rains nourish life from ground to the sky,
epiphytes of liana and orchid in grandiose bloom,
     shower the newly born, birds singing up high.

How benevolent the wild, how humble the creatures,
     how simple the scene created by nature;
here beauty is simple, unspoiled by civilization,
     it offers comfort and refuge and nurture. 
Unconventional the forest seems the bastion of faith 
    for those seeking life's meaning here and far,
for lack of a manger for the spirit of modern man,
    to find here a Child and protect the green altar. ~

NESTLE's Christmas Trees from Recycled Materials - A Glorious Transformation

Dr Abe V Rotor

Dedicated to NESTLE' for its support to a healthy and clean environment. 


A thousand times, perhaps a million tests -

Lazarus to new life, art from waste;
Ugliness to beauty, light from darkness
A Christmas tree rises in glorious praise.

These are versions of the traditional Christmas Tree made by employees of Nestle (Magnolia) on Aurora Boulevard. For ten years or so, Nestle used to invite me as a panel member to judge the winners of their Christmas Tree versions, until the company moved to a new site in Bulacan. These are selected decors from the last Christmas of Nestle at the old site. ~

Development Communication - Test on Socio-Cultural Issues (True or False, 25 items)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

True or False
____ 1. We are living in Postmodernism era, that is, "we are living ahead of our time in a free fall." T
____ 2. Homogenization refers to inter-racial and inter-cultural marriages, to the nth degree, thus creating various combination ultimately leading to a homogeneous people, thus Homo sapiens. T
____ 3. We Filipinos have earned all tops awards - from sports to science. In fact we have won the Nobel Prize for peace, and another, community service. F
____ 4. The term modern consciously attempts to distinguish itself from what we call traditional such classical music and traditional farming, .T
____5. The European Union has recently voted Russia's membership, primarily because of its oil deposits. F
____6. ASEAN and APEC, if combined in their present structures and functions, make an EU in Asia. F
____7. Today the Avian or bird flu virus has hybridized with the human flu virus forming a virulent form. It has also been found to infect pigs. T
____8. A Chinese scientist predicted that anthrax is going to be the next pandemic human disease. F
____9. In the early 1920s, some 100 million people died of Spanish flu in just 24 weeks – more than the total death due to AIDS in 24 years. T
___10. We are prisoners of our genes, and therefore must accept our fate. F
___11. The church does not have a common stand on liposuction even if it is unnatural and harmful – indeed a violation of ethico-morals. F
___12. Urbanization and industrialization go hand in hand like a couple. T
___13. Biopirating (stealing biological resources) is a form of eco-sabotage. T
___14. The true reason the US and UK attacked Iraq is because Iraq allegedly possessed weapons of mass destruction. T
___15. The so-called Cold War which lasted for 45 years was characterized by polarization of countries into democracy and socialism. T

___16. We must be more concerned with endangered species, rather than endangered ecosystems, since loss of species is definitely irreversible. F
___17. Suicide is precipitated by depression. No one would simply want to end up a good life. T
___18. The rate of suicide is higher in less progressive countries because of poverty. F
___19. Acculturation is all right, as long as the ethnic communities are integrated into the main stream of society. F
___20. Agriculture and ecology are in conflict when it comes to the preservation of the natural environment. T
___21. The richest nation and institution ever on earth is the Vatican, seat of the Roman Catholic church. T
___23. Test tube baby, surrogate motherhood, artificial insemination, GMOs – they go altogether in a package - the most recent in the business world. T
___24. Man and woman have the same intelligence level , as well as physiology – biologically speaking, that is. T
___25. It is all about design. In today’s world, designs tend to be more aesthetic than functional. T

NOTE: Provide the explanation of each of the question with False answer. 

Score Rating: 24-25 Outstanding; 20-23 Very Good; 15-19 Good; 10-14 Average; Below 10, Fail

Monday, December 19, 2016

Paintings by AV Rotor: Transition, Golden Heart, Forest on Fire :


On the road of change:
     the passing of time
     and seasons,
     and the cycle of life;

Everything changes:
     key to diversity,
     and the essence of beauty   

Golden Heart

Leaves, like the heart,
     turn gold before they fall;
From youth mellow down
     to nature's call
Like candle, brightest it glows
     before dawn. 

 Forest on Fire
Painting on acrylic (15" x 19")

When El Niño strikes every seven or ten years;
When loggers destroy and abandon the place;
When kaingeros clear the forest for cash crops;
When careless campers lave their campfires;
When defoliants flush out enemies from their hideouts;
When lightning strikes in the middle of summer;
When squatters build homes clandestinely in the forest;
When the forest is but secondary growth to an original cover;
When a meteor explodes as in the Siberian phenomenon;    
When the forest has been disturbed of its ecological balance.