Sunday, August 20, 2017

Brainstorming - Framework for Group Session

Brainstorm ( Geistesblitz in German) is flash of inspiration, brainwave, scintillation, flash of genius. Brainstorming makes every member of the organization feel important.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog

Brainstorming - Class in Developmental Communication under the author, UST Faculty of rts and Letters.

Brainstorming is a popular group interaction in various settings - community, academic and business - in a workshop style. It is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution of a problem, or analysis of a situation.

Four Rules in Brainstorming

1. Encourage freewheeling expression.

2. Reserve criticism on anyone’s ideas.

3. Generate good, workable, profitable ideas.

4. Combine ideas for strength.

Code of Conduct

1. Encourage the ideas of others.

2. Make positive constructive comments.

3. Encourage the participation of all members.

4. Solicit input from others in the department.

5. Ensure that credit is given to those to whom it is due.

6. Maintain a friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere.

7. Attend all scheduled meetings.

8. Rotate tasks on a voluntary basis.

9. Mail the minutes of the meeting within a reasonable time.

10. Assist other group members as necessary.

11. Follow the rules of brainstorming.

12. Follow Robert’s Rules of Order.

13. Maintain equality among all members of the group.

14. Accept the decision of the majority.
Conduct of Session

1. A warm-up session, to expose novice participants to the criticism-free environment. A simple problem is brainstormed, for example, Prevent Dengue in the Community.

2. The facilitator presents the problem and gives a further explanation if needed.

3. The facilitator asks the brainstorming group for their ideas.

4. If no ideas are forthcoming, the facilitator suggests a lead to encourage creativity.

5. All participants present their ideas, and the idea collector records them.

6. To ensure clarity, participants may elaborate on their ideas.

7. When time is up, the facilitator organizes the ideas based on the topic goal and encourages discussion.

8. Ideas are categorized.

9. The whole list is reviewed to ensure that everyone understands the ideas.

10. Duplicate ideas and obviously infeasible solutions are removed.

11. The facilitator thanks all participants and gives each a token of appreciation.

The role of the rapporteur is vital. He is in charge of the proceedings, noting the salient points. Electronic recording may make the work easier. In either case, it is important that the proceedings are properly transcribed, edited and presented as minutes. This may serve as agenda material for follow-up meetings, or presented as reference for project development, and even policy formulation.

Now the most important thing. Things are easier said than done. Implementation is the proof of the success of the brainstorming. Ideas are translated to action.

Brainstorming is key to group decision and action, and collective responsibility, irrespective of whoever thought of the idea, or who did not agree with it.

In all its practicality, brainstorming makes every member of the organization feel important, although the process may not necessarily arrive at the best solution to a problem.~

References: The New Publicity Kit by J Smith; Philippine Journalism by J Luna Castro; Principles of Extension (Moshav and Kibbutz); Journalism for Filipinos, by A Malinao; Brainstorming, Wikipedia~ 

The 8 Dimensions of a Brainstorm Session
bright ideas.jpg

Most people think brainstorming sessions are all about ideas -- much in the same way Wall Street bankers think life is all about money.

While ideas are certainly a big part of brainstorming, they are only a part.

People who rush into a brainstorming session starving for new ideas will miss the boat (and the train, car, and unicycle) completely unless they tune into the some other important dynamics that are also at play:

1. INVESTIGATION: If you want your brainstorming sessions to be effective, you'll need to do some investigating before hand. Get curious. Ask questions. Dig deeper. The more you find out what the real issues are, the greater your chances of framing powerful questions to brainstorm and choosing the best techniques to use.

2. IMMERSION: While good ideas can surface at any time, their chances radically increase the more that brainstorm participants are immersed. Translation? No coming and going during a session. No distractions. No interruptions. And don't forget to put a "do not disturb" sign on the door.

3. INTERACTION: Ideas come to people at all times of day and under all kinds of circumstances. But in a brainstorming session, it's the quality of interaction that makes the difference -- how people connect with each other, how they listen, and build on ideas. Your job, as facilitator, is to increase the quality of interaction.

4. INSPIRATION: Creative output is often a function of mindset. Bored, disengaged people rarely originate good ideas. Inspired people do. This is one of your main tasks, as a brainstorm facilitator -- to do everything in your power to keep participants inspired. The more you do, the less techniques you will need.

5. IDEATION: Look around. Everything you see began as an idea in someone's mind. Simply put, ideas are the seeds of innovation -- the first shape a new possibility takes. As a facilitator of the creative process, your job is to foster the conditions that amplify the odds of new ideas being conceived, developed, and articulated.

6. ILLUMINATION: Ideas are great. Ideas are cool. But they are also a dime a dozen unless they lead to an insight or aha. Until then, ideas are only two dimensional. But when the light goes on inside the minds of the people in your session, the ideas are activated and the odds radically increase of them manifesting.
7. INTEGRATION: Well-run brainstorming sessions have a way of intoxicating people. Doors open. Energy soars. Possibilities emerge. But unless participants have a chance to make sense of what they've conceived, the ideas are less likely to manifest. Opening the doors of the imagination is a good thing, but so is closure.

8. IMPLEMENTATION: Perhaps the biggest reason why most brainstorming sessions fail is what happens after -- or, shall I say, what doesn't happen after. Implementation is the name of the game. Before you let people go, clarify next steps, who's doing what (and by when), and what outside support is needed.

Internet feature and photos 


The White Cross - A Short Story

In the middle of a local cemetery rises an immaculate white cross, and no weed grows around it.
Dr Abe V. Rotor

Mysterious white cross beside an old bangar tree, San Mariano, Isabela
He graduated from the famous Philippine Military Academy on top of his class. On the day of graduation his father, a general from the Philippine Air Force, and mother, a dean of the University of the Philippines, proudly pinned the Medal of Excellence on their only son and child. Nobody could be happier. God smiled at them. The world loved them. And they loved the world. What more did they wish?

There was none, although his mother said in prayerful whisper, looking up to heaven, “How I wish we are like this forever – happy and united.”

Secretly his father wished his son to become famous. He knew that a military career awaits many opportunities of greatness to one who adheres to his pledge to defend his country and countrymen. His thoughts gleamed with his medals he received for participating in the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He treasured most a medal given by the President of the Philippines for serving as a military adviser during Martial Law.

Those were troubled times, he thought, and put away his fears that his son would be placed in a similar test.

The young Lieutenant was looked up with pride and praise. How many young men in the world are endowed with caring parents, good school, intelligence, good looks and excellent health? Heads turned as he walked. Young women saw him a knight in shining armor. Children looked up to him a model, a hero of sort. Would they grow up just like him? Dreams! Air castles!

But he was real. He dressed up simply. He was friendly. There was no air of arrogance in his actions and words. He liked people. And people liked him. Many times he would go to the village of his birth in Pangasinan – Bigbiga, near Anda. He talked to farmers and fisher folks for hours. At harvest time his presence alone was enough to draw people from their homes and other work just to help harvest the golden grains. How the field beamed with laughter and music and joyous company! It's reminiscent of Fernando Amorsolo's masterpiece, "Harvestime."

Surely there were many stories to tell, many pleasant memories to recall. Housewives on errand bringing baon to the workers would make up all sorts of excuses for returning late. Passersby who were not from the place, when they heard the name Lieutenant Carding Lopez, took off their hats in greeting - and always, they got their reward of recognition. Children playing nearby would caution each other not to be rowdy, and they would display their best to impress their special guest.

And months passed. The monsoon came and the young lieutenant joined the planters in the field as he did at harvest time. Came fishing season, and he would join the fisher folks pull in the daklis (seine) net to shore. And when they gave him his share of the catch, he would politely decline or give it to the old people in the village.

One time he stopped to greet a crew draining a nearby swamp, the lowest part of the village. While relating how the Panama Canal was built, people the next day came by groups armed with shovels, crowbars and all. The swamp was drained in a short time. Incidence of malaria and dengue drastically fell. Farmers planted melons and watermelons on the reclaimed mudflat and made a lot of money.

But it was the marketplace he was fond of visiting on Sundays. The barangay chairman saw to it that everything and around appeared clean and orderly. More vendors came to sell their wares and products. And more people came to buy them.

Once strolling on a dirt road, he paused to put some stones to fill up a rut. The next day a gravel truck came. With it were workers. What took an hour to reach the market, could now be reached in half an hour.

General Lopez and Dean Lopez who were living in a push subdivision in Manila began to wonder at the kind of life their son was leading in the province. Surely it is very strange to know of one who is full of dreams and raring to seek a bright future. Not for a young and ambitious man, and a Pemeyer. No, not their son and only child, Carlito.

“No, no, let’s talk to him,” the mother rose from her lounging chair. “Hush, hush, let him be,” replied her husband soothingly.

One day the young Lieutenant received a call to report for duty. In the next few days he was flying over Sierra Madre on a mission. But alas! His plane disappeared in the sky and crashed on a misty slope covered by forest, far, far away from civilization. No one witnessed the accident, but guesses are not rare for such news. The plane plunged into the sea where three islands make a triangle, ventured one mystic who knew about the Bermuda Triangle that mysteriously “swallow up” airplanes and ships.

Maybe it crashed on one of the Philippines’ tallest mountains - Mt. Apo or Mt. Pulag. That’s how high jets fly, said an elderly native who knew too well about the flight of the Philippine eagle. Oh, exclaimed an activist, who said the young Lopez was an idealist, who must have sought refuge maybe in Indonesia, or New Guinea - or somewhere else.

Guess turned into hoax, rumors died down, only the enigma on how a promising young man suddenly disappeared without trace persisted. General Lopez shook his head in disbelief. Even in times of peace, he realized, danger hangs like a Damocles Sword. You can’t rely on  technology, he muttered. Those planes – yes, those planes he remembered, they were very old. He knew it; they were donated by the US soon after the Vietnam ended. Mrs. Lopez had retired from the university, but how could you enjoy retirement if you were in her place?

It had been five years since the young pilot mysteriously disappeared. The village people of his birth put up a cross in his memory at the center of the village cemetery. At all times they kept it white, and not a single weed grew around it.

Tourists today come to Bigbiga, now a progressive community. It boosts of a model cooperative. It is a persistent winner of cleanliness in the whole province. A church has been built, around it is a park and playground. Not far is the cemetery. Classes are no longer conducted under the big mango tree. Floods that accompany the monsoon are a thing of the past. The market is a village mall of sort, attracting people from nearby towns. An institute of science and technology was recently inaugurated. Young men and women are returning and changing the concept of balikbayan, at least in Bigbiga. They call it brain gain, whereas before we called it brain drain. The fields are green and at harvest time under the moonlight, some people would swear, they would see a young handsome man inaudibly talking and laughing – men and women and children huddled around him.

The general and his wife did not live long in their grief. A new leadership had taken over the reins of command in the military. A new president has been installed in MalacaƱang. He is young and handsome, and there’s something they like in him - the way he talked, his actions, his friendliness and warmth. They trust him. Those who knew the late Lieutenant Lopez liken him to the new president.

One day there was a flash report that a community was discovered somewhere between Nueva Ecija and Aurora. It is ensconced in a valley shrouded by forests and clouds, accessible only on the Pacific coast. That is why it remained obscure for a long time. "There must be some mistake," a Manila-based government official commented. So a survey team was formed.

It is like searching a lost city in the Andes, or in the Himalayas. But it is true. There in the very eyes of the team unfurled a local Shangrila - the former Dakdakel, a remote barangay of San Mariano, Isabela, now transformed into a model community.

The people in that community are peace loving, self reliant, and respectable. They are farmers, craftsmen, many are professionals. They have children studying in Manila, and relatives working abroad. There is a cooperative and a progressive market. A chapel stands near a cemetery. In the middle of the cemetery rises an immaculate white cross, and no weed grows around it.

x x x

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Can you see the creatures in this painting?

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living Wall  in acrylic by AVR 2015

Where are the butterflies fluttering, midges hovering,
honeybees in their daily chore,
  mantises stalking for prey, ants scurrying,
carrying goods to their store?  

Where are the birds chirping, crickets fiddling, 
calling the members of their kind,
millipedes moving like train, snails gliding,  
camouflaged and hard to find?

You can't see them in this composite painting;  
only through imagination
do they exist - the art of make-believe working   
in the artist's solemn bastion. ~ 


The Phoenix reborn into a Devil Child

The atomic bomb has not only defiled the essence of rebirth and renewal as symbolized by the mythical Phoenix; it has usurped human dignity and the sacredness of life, casting a shroud of fear and gloom on humanity, and defying the Creator Himself. 

Dr Abe V Rotor

This blood-curdling photo appears like a child monster in the like of the fiction character in Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein.  Here civil defense officials watch an atomic bomb test on Yucca Flat, Nevada, in 1951, six years after the US dropped two atomic bombs, first on Hiroshima and then on Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands people, mainly innocent civilians. To this day there are still people dying as a result of the radiation, notwithstanding physiological and psychological effects on both old and young generations. (Life photo.)

A phoenix depicted in a book of mythological creatures by FJ Bertuch(1747–1822)

In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. Associated with the sun, a phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. The phoenix symbolizes renewal in general, as well as the sun, time, empire, resurrection, and life in the heavenly Paradise. (Wiki)

                      Deadly nuclear mushroom cloud over Hiroshima (left) and Nagasaki  
                       Hiroshima before and after the atomic bombing, August 5, 1945                                                                    
                              Nagasaki before and after the bombing, August 9 1945 
                   Nagasaki WWII memorial, hypocenter of the atomic bomb

Acknowledgement: Life and Wikipedia for the photos

Dying Tower

Dr Abe V Rotor

Century old tree, HoChiMinh City, SRVietnam

You look for a friend
you sheltered and cared
you look for your kin
through life you shared.

Now you are left alone;
even the clouds drift by,
the birds sit but briefly,
then soar to the sky
as you wait
your final state. ~

12 Old Folks' Sayings

Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature School on Blog

1. Old man to young man: “I have eaten more rice than you had.” (Meaning the old man is more knowledgeable by experience.)
Typical rural scene by national artist Fernando Amorsolo

2. Old man to young boy: “Amoy gatas ka pa lang, hijo.” (“You smell of milk, child,” a sarcasm comparing ignorance with the innocence of a child.)

3. “Isang sigarilyo lang ang layo.” (It’s only a cigarette away, the distance covered by smoking a stick of cigarette.)

4. “Pumurao ton’ diay uwak.” (Ilk) Literally, “The black crow will turn white.” You cannot wait for the impossible.

5. “Hindi mo magising ang gising.” You can’t wake up one who is already awake.

6. “Agannad ka no saan mo nga kayat ti agtangad ti barsanga.” This is a cold warning on the face, which literally means “Beware if you don’t like to look up at the grass.” (barsanga is sedge, a relative of the grass growing on open field).

7. “Saan nga napan no saanna nga nayon.” (“It’s not there if it’s not part of it.” - referring for example, fly maggots in fermenting fish sauce or bagoong.)

8. “Di ka pay la nakuret.” (Better if you had died of kuret, a tiny poisonous crab that resides in the gills of big fish.)

9. “Matira matibay” It refers to Darwinian concept of “survival of the fittest.”

Author (right) with senior friends Dr Domingo Tapiador and the late Dell H Grecia (center)

10. Nothing goes up that does not go down. This phrase refers to one who has reached the pinnacle of wealth or power.

11. “Aramid ti saan nga agdigdigos.” (“It a work of a hippie or bum.”)

12. “Balat sibuyas.” (An expression that refers to one who easily gets peeved.)

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Green Rock

Painting and Poem by Dr Abe V Rotor

Green Rock, in acrylic (37” x 22.5”) AV Rotor, 2013

What good is rock if it loses the essence
     on which life rises, so with dreams;
nurtures the living from birth to death,
     builds rills, rivulets and streams?  

What greater strength than to yield
     to the lowly moss and lanky vine,
to tall trees that live for a hundred years,
     once upon a rock now a shrine?

What greater gift than boys climbing
     a rock face, in pure adventure
to conquer the world, real or fantasy,
     and unveil the secrets of nature?

What greater drama than in the world
     of young Darwin’s and Jules Verne’s time,   
when imagination and reason are but one   
     to make a rock become sublime?    

Endangered Species: Don't ever say goodbye!

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog

Lesson: Let's protect threatened and endangered species. They are part of the Web of Life. Losing them means breaking the links of the chain, thus destroying the integrity of the system in which man is a part. List down the species of plants and animals that are threatened or endangered in your area or country. What can you do to protect them? Don't allow them to say goodbye. Research and present it in class or in an environment conference or workshop.

Specimens of endangered animal species, among them the Flying Lemur, Palawan Peacock, Porcupine, and Spotted Philippine Hawk. Former St Paul University Museum, QC

Philippine Eagle (formerly monkey eating eagle) Parks and Wildlife Center QC

Sea eagle, La Union Botanical Garden, Cadaclan, San Fernando LU

Giant fruit bat. Lake Tikob, Tiaong, Quezon

Swordfish. Photo taken at San Fernando, La Union 2004

Never say goodbye, my friends in the wild,
Friends of my ancestors, of time long gone;
Survivors of the meteor's gale, Darwin's test, 
By creation or evolution that you've come. 
Never say goodbye, it's not coming or going,
As casual as among kin and friends;
Else death the consequence of your absence;
A link of the chain broken, and life ends. 
I wish you to stay under the roof above -
The sky, although heavy and foul;
To stay on land, the field, hills and valleys,
Though crowded each soul yearning a bowl.

I shall protect your last bastion, just don't say
Goodbye. Else it's losing Paradise again,
All creatures become orphans of Mother Earth -
Lifeless - no one shall be left to gain. ~

Old Spanish Vigan

Dr Abe V Rotor
UNESCO World Heritage - This is how Vigan, the oldest Spanish settlement in the Philippines, after Cebu and Manila, looked like - day and night - way back in the 16th century. Today Vigan is the top tourists' attraction in the whole of the Ilocos Region. Photos by Matthew Marlo Rotor who hails from the place. (Vigan is 400 km north of Manila, reached in 6 hours on first class buses. Check flight schedule to Vigan, or Laoag. From Laoag, it's 90 km by land down to Vigan.)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grains Museum Re-opened After 30 Years

The ingenuity at the grassroots cannot be underestimated. Farmers' technology developed with the birth of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago, and spread throughout the world. 

Dr Abe V Rotor 

The re-opening of the museum signifies the revival of the original objectives of the museum, which the author envisioned and pursued as its first curator in the early 1980s. . . 

One of the seven dioramas, Rice farming on the Banaue rice terraces

Featured in the Grains, official publication of the National Food Authority, the NFA Grains Industry Museum with address at the Regional Office in Cabanatuan City (NE) is now inviting students, scholars, researchers, and ordinary folks, even while restoration is on-going. 

The feature story is quoted in part, as follows:  (December 2016 Vol. 44, No. 4), written by Ms Lina G Reyes and Ms Josephine C Bacungan), 

"Old farm tools and artifacts had been sitting quietly, gathering dust at the dilapidated museum of the Central Luzon Regional office in Cabanatuan City. National Food Authority Grains Industry Museum was a brainchild of then NFA Extension Director Abercio V Rotor with a vision to highlight the evolution of the rice industry through various images on production, post-harvest activities, processing, storage and marketing /distribution of rice and other grains .  It was intended to serve as NFA's contribution to the preservation of cultural traditions particularly in the agricultural landscape.  It operated for sometime but was closed down due to lack of funds and trained personnel to maintain it.  But thanks to he history-loving team of Director Amadeo de Guzman and Assistant Regional Director Serafin Manalili, and then Asst Director Mar Alvarez, et al ... "(the whole staff of the NFA regional and NFA provincial offices.) 
Rare Artifacts   
Operated by hand this native rice mill made of wood and bamboo separates the husk from the grain, leaving the grain intact with its bran.
Brown rice or pinawa dehusker made of bamboo and hardened earth with hardwood grinder displayed at the former Farmers' Museum of the National Food Authority in Cabanatuan City.c 1981 
The bran contains minerals, vitamins, oil, and digestible fiber which conventional rice mills removed during polishing. Polishing removes the bran leaving the grain white and polished. In the process, much of the grains is broken, particularly the defective and immature ones chalky and powdery.  It is the bran that gives the nutritious tiki-tiki which is extracted in the final boiling stage in cooking rice. Tiki-tiki was developed by a Filipino scientist, Dr. Manuel Zamora, a cheap and practical source of infant food supplement which saved thousands of babies during the second World War. It was later popularized as United Tiki-tiki. 

 Biggest wooden harrow (suyod) with a span of two meters, more than twice the size of a typical harrow for upland farming.  

The harrow is of two designs and make. One with iron pegs (left) is used on wet paddy. It serves as harrow and leveler.  The second is made of bamboo with natural and embedded pegs used as harrow for the upland.  

Author demonstrates a rare wooden planter with a sliding wooden block at the middle. The block creates a tic-tac sound to let know the worker is busy on the job, while the deep sound warns birds and rodents to keep away from the newly planted seeds. The block vibrates the stake shaking off clinging soil and dirt before it is thrust to make the next hole. Whoever put this mechanism into multiple and unified uses must be a true genius. 
At the background (above) are naturally shaped hame* made of bamboo.  At the foreground is the mould (cross section) showing the formed hame. The process involved is simple.  The mould is placed atop an emerging shoot.  The shoot grows through the mould and grows to maturity. One or two years after, the bamboo is cut with the mould, and cured and seasoned for durability all in the natural way.  (Hame is a curved harness that fits over the nape of a draft animal like carabao and bullock. Hame for the horse is made of two wooden pieces, padded and clamped together around its neck.) 


Native raincoats made of leaves of anahaw (Livistona rotundifolia), cowhide, and woven bamboo slats, with matching headgears likewise made of native materials.  Foreground: Sleds, one made of bamboo (left) and the other of wood. 

All over the world there are similarities, based on a general pattern, save variations for ease and comfort in usage, which we call today ergonomics, Thus primitive farmers were the founders of this new science. Pride in the farmer can be read on face on discovering these simple tools displayed in the museum.   

These sets of mortar and pestle in different designs came from different regions of the country, principally for dehusking palay into rice, and making rice flour. Other uses include  cracking beans such as mungo, and grinding corn into grits and bran. 

Photo below was taken just after the inauguration of the Museum (1982). The author (left) shows new collection to Dr Romualdo M del Rosario (in barong), deputy director of the National Museum, who helped in setting up the museum. 

The ingenuity at the grassroots cannot be underestimated. Farmers' technology developed with the birth of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago, and spread to many parts of the world. The commonality of inventions is more on function, rather than scientific explanation, the latter serving as basis in improvement and diversification.
Rice Industry Showcase
The Farmers' Museum of the then National Grains Authority, now National Food Authority, was put up in response to the administration's thrust in food self-sufficiency.  It was during the time the country gave emphasis on developing cultural pride as a nation and people, as evidenced by the expansion of the National Museum, the putting up of the Philippine Convention Center, and the National Art Center on Mt Makiling, among others, during the administration of the late President Ferdinand E Marcos. The Farmers' Museum occupied the right wing of the Regional NFA Building in Cabanatuan City for two decades, until it closed down.  It was once a pride of the agency, the centerpiece of visitation by foreign dignitaries, convention participants, tourists, professors and students, and most especially farmers who found the museum not only as a showcase of the agricultural industry, but as a hallmark of their being the "backbone of the nation." AVR   

There are seven dioramas, four of these are shown in these old photographs. A wall mural meets the visitor on entering the museum.  Indigenous farm tools and implements are lined on the foreground.  The dioramas are grouped at the center of the cubicles.   

 Rice Industry Dioramas 
The flagship of the Marcos administration Masagana 99, a nationwide
 rice production program that made the Philippines a net exporter 
of rice in the later part of the seventies.
Rainfed (sahod ulan) farming dominates the uplands and hillsides. 
Good harvest depends on generous amount and distribution of 
rainfall during the monsoon. Since ancient times festivals implore 
providence for bountiful harvest. This practice still exists especially 
among the  minorities like the Yakans.  
World famous rice terraces in Banaue in the Cordillera have been declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Rice farming on the terraces is as old as the terraces believed to be as old as the Pyramids of Egypt, and much older than the Great Wall of China. Science is still studying the sustainability of these terraces. 
 The Encomienda System dominated agriculture during Spanish rule over the
 islands for more than three centuries. The friars and Spanish officials were the encomienderos,similar to hacienderos.   Although the system underwent land reform, it still persists to this day under corporate umbrella such as the case of Del Monte pineapple plantation. Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac still retains some features of the system.                          

This mural was destroyed when the wall had to undergo major repairs.
How primitive are farmers' tools and implements? The animal-drawn sled predates the wheel cart, and has not changed since its invention thousands of years ago.  It is still used in the remote countryside. 
Brain coral for shelling corn raises eyebrow to the city bred.  Biggest iron bar scale (timbangan), probably is  another item for the Book of Guinness. 

“Education is the lifeblood of museums. Museum education has the power and the responsibility to do the challenging inner work of tackling tough topics and turning them into teachable moments... If we truly believe in the power of cultural institutions to impact communities and engage authentically with social justice issues, if we believe in museums’ capacity to bring about social change, improve cultural awareness, and even transform the world, than we must also believe that our internal practices have an impact, and must act according to the changes we seek.”

― Monica O Montgomery

“Closing a museum to save money is like holding your breath to save oxygen...”
― Nanette L. Avery  

Some treasures of the former St Paul Museum (1995-2006)

Dr Abe V Rotor
Former faculty curator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

The Young Once (Original photos and reproductions)

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

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

The First Graduates of St. Paul College Quezon City. 1946-19471946-1950 (original photos)
These Pioneers blazed through the travails of SPCQ in the first 5 years of struggle for survival and self-reliance, a proof of SPC's determination to carry on the Paulinian vision and mission.