Lam-ang grappling the Berkakan

Biag ni Lam-ang (Life of Lam-ang) was a pre-Hispanic epic poem handed down from generation to generation by Ilocano people of the Philippines until it was written down by the legendary Ilocano poet, Pedro Bucaneg, around 1630.

Bucaneg, which is known to be blind since birth, was eventually known as the “Father of Ilocano Literature”. Equally to Bulacan’s “Balagtasan” of Francisco Balagtas, here in the North, we have “Bucanegan” in honor of Pedro Bucaneg.

Biag ni Lam-ang tells a story with epic grandeur and tales of borderline absurdity. This, I mean, is that on Namongan’s famous childbirth there were four people who would force Lam-ang out of Namongan’s womb.

And even so, Lam-ang manages to speak seconds after his birth, choose his own name and godparents, and vows to take vengeance against his father’s murderers as soon as he learned about it. He waited for nine months at his ancestral home at Nalbuan, now a part of La Union.

According to tradition, he, alone, would challenge an entire tribe of Igorots but left only one tribesman at his mercy and lived to tell the tale of his exploits.

The blood and dirt of all his fallen enemies would adhere to his skin. After the battle, he took a dip in the Amburayan River and upon immersion; upon the stench, all of the fish and aquatic life died as filth awash. Maidens of the nearby village attend to aid him soon after.

Yet, the story here is not the absurdity of desire or strength of Lam-ang’s revenge but his dedication to his beloved Ines Kannoyan who was known to have lived at Calanutian, Sinait, Ilocos Sur.

Ines Kannoyan was the embodiment of great beauty and many men would line up to woo her, in fact, even creatures and characters of mythology. Lam-ang encountered, one of which, the proud and pompous giant Sumarang to whom he would soon defeat in a duel.

And, Lam-ang took it to the extremes to make the lady’s attention his own; he sent two magical pets at her keeping. One of which is a white rooster, that its crow could tear an entire house apart, and then a gray dog, who could reassemble an entire building at his bark. And these took Ines’ parents’ attention.

Traditionally, men offer dowry twofold to all of the combined wealth of the woman they intend to marry, at least that was a challenge for Lam-ang. He offered two ships full of gold, this made the Kannoyan’s parents left in awe, and then they were married.

But these were not enough. Tradition also states that a newly married man should swim in the river in search of the elusive fish called “rarang”. And there, Lam-ang met the whopper of tides and waters, the Berkakan.

In Bucaneg’s manuscript, it is well debatable if the Berkakan was a Shark or a Crocodile, but logically, the location was a river, it must be a Crocodile.

Alas, in Berkakan’s mouth, Lam-ang faced his doom.

This edifice commemorates the epic battle of which Lam-ang soon recovered with the help of Ines and her magical pets. His bones were gathered. The rooster crows and the dog bark simultaneously. Soon, Lam-ang’s body was restored to life.

The epic of Lam-ang reflects the history and lore of the Ilocano people in the Philippines. With every twists and turn, the valiant and proud people from the North have endured across conquest, tribulations, and skirmishes.

Biag ni Lam-ang tells how in Ilocano society the love for our family and ties of blood is our best priority. Through it, Ilocandia never truly survived without the familial warmth.

Perhaps we will wrestle our own Berkakan, one day, in search of our own “rarang” not for ourselves but for the people who holds our deepest regards. One must be strong to accept and face the taunts of reality.

Here, at Kapurpurawan White Rock Formation at Burgos, Ilocos Norte, the effigy of the long remembered epic that stands up until today is waiting for every would-be tourist to turn their heads and reminisce the past, the origin, the tales, myths, and culture of Ilocano heritage and the lessons it conveys.

via Daily Prompt: Paragon

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Japan: An Ironclad Empire

“In the Arena of the soaring world, few or only one country still possesses its antique design and yet technologically advancing mechanism: One eye in the past and one in the future. There are none except Japan. A prosperous nation in the eastern Asia is wordlessly escalating to the universal market. The world of Japan appears to unlock its impenetrable gate after the warfare it entered in 1940’s. In spite of the obliteration brought by the Hiroshima incident on the early morning of August, instead of decomposing to hopelessness, its Economy in buoyantly manner is levitating faster than before. At any rate, the Japanese tradition still sits in Japan’s luxurious pedestal. Fragments of Bushido still play a major role on their socialization. Their houses, although provided with up-to-date technology, still use the traditional fashion of housing. In Japan, you will be in love by the aroma of its History, Culture, Global Stature and Power.”

An old Japanese legend say that Japan was crafted by sword. They say that the old gods dipped a coral blade into the roaring deep blue ocean… and when they pulled it out, four perfect drops fell back into the sea… and those drops became the island of Japan. These drops in point of fact are the four main islands of Japan namely Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku.

The Officials

They also say that the initial emperor of Japan, Jimmu Tenno, was the grandson of Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun. He ruled Japan in 660-585 BC. The Japanese identify their kingdom “Nihon” or “Nippon”, which means “origin of the sun.” Early in the 12th Century, Japan was once ruled by powerful and dreaded military generals known as the “Shogun” that serves as the “weeds” that share with the Emperor’s ruling power for the next 600 years. Within this year’s, Daimyo, a feudal lord, and so with the Japanese clans continue to rise, severely powerful. Han, land controlled by Daimyo, were became too large, too wide to be governed only by the Emperor. Daimyos established their personal army of Samurais and declared war among other Daimyos. This made the Emperor too scrawny to control their ruggedness and aggression. The Samurai subsists by a rigid code of conduct called “Bushido”, or “the way of the warrior,” which encompassed principles of loyalty and sacrifice. By maintaining the virtue of the code, a Samurai can only uphold his honor. A samurai’s greatest ally was his sword but if he loses in a battle with it: he should perform Hara-Kiri, a traditional suicide, by using his own sword in ripping his abdomen while someone thwacks his own head.

The Japanese People

On the other hand, Japanese people are very affectionate that doing appalling deeds to others makes them reprehensible. They are very particular towards the feelings of their fellow citizen. Showing your teeth is inappropriate whereas staring directly to the face of Japanese is rude, if the person has an ugly face, he will feel uncomfortable – this is the way it was once explicated. The Japanese are very considerate not to hurt other people’s feelings. “Japanese, as we all know, were branded by reverence, decorum, prudence, modesty and the long forgotten word – honor.”

Food

Japan’s chow background is furthermore a highlight. Its Sushi is prized greatly by the hungry visitor’s mouth. Sushi composed mainly of rice and tuna. Tuna in particular is the blue fin tuna, the greatest tuna on earth. The Japanese harvested it a mile away from the Japanese coast. The blue fin tuna is a modern fish, yet its relationship to humanity is ancient. Japanese fisherman have caught Pacific bluefin for more than 5,000 years ago. In January 2013, a single bluefin tuna sold in Tokyo for $1.76 Million. The outrageous price was part exposure feat, part Japanese ritual: The foremost tuna on the auction bazaar each time is subject to a bidding war that’s above the apex, even surpassing Japanese standards. Yet even the normal price of one medium-size blue fin tuna – between $10,000 and $20,000, depending on the quality – is an incredible measure of how much the 21st-century Japanese have prized to “maguro”, blue fin sushi. In an undersea pen in Mediterranean, they fattened bluefin for the booming Sushi market. Sushi is but a Japanese masterpiece in culinary arts. How much more magnitude it would obtain in the 22th century inhabitants.

Religion

The Japanese also observe Shinto – in Japanese, “the way of the gods” – besides Buddhism. Some sort of Japanese sect and religious conviction, originating in prehistoric times, and occupying a significant countrywide pose for long periods in the history of Japan, particularly in recent times, is sometimes its other definition. During its early period, the organization of religious credence and practice called Shinto was without a name and had no fixed dogma, moral precepts, or sacred writings. Worship centered on a cosmic pantheon of spirits, or Kami, mainly divinities epitomizing aspects of the natural world, such as the sky, the earth, heavenly bodies, and storms. To its followers everything including rocks, waterfalls, islands, trees, animals as well as people (dead or alive) have spirits. Rites included prayers of thanksgiving; offerings of valuables, such as swords and armor and, especially, cloth; and ablutionary purification from crime and defilement. The Wedded Rocks stand in the sea of southern coast of Japan. They supposed to represent the gods and goddesses who created the island of Japan.

Technological Advancement

Japan is also dubbed as the “Land of the Rising Sun”. For the reason that, the very first crack of dawn of the entire planet is witnessed only on the eastern face of Japan than any other country west to the International Date Line. Its title is just right not only by this, but Japan soars incredibly high that their sun has not just rising but already at its 12:00 peak. Before, Japan is nothing compared to a sniveling infant but now it is too great compared to the sun itself. The Mass Production mounts from Europe and reached Japan instantaneously. The Japanese yearned advancement and embraced western culture.

One day, Iwasaki Yataro, a Samurai wished the same wealth intended for his fatherland. He asked permission to his fellow samurai but they rejected his request, they intentionally attempted to assassinate him. They brought out their Katana, a samurai sword forged with extreme flimsiness and yet with extreme resilience. The Samurai’s Katana is as thin as a hair strand but it can slice a human throat in just one twirl. Iwasaki managed to fight back and won; then, he secedes from the group even though his blood is overflowed by samurai’s. With the prevailing Bushido, Japan seemed to be grappling in an obsolete world; but this obsolete world is destined to Greatness. One morning in 1884, Iwasaki Yataro entered in a barber shop to cut his topknot; if the topknot is removed from the head of a Samurai this means “dishonor” but for Iwasaki it means “liberty”. He entered the shop as a Samurai and came out as an entrepreneur. In that faithful morning of 1884, he rented a space in town; this place is the birthplace of Japan’s future economy and Iwasaki’s business, the Mitsubishi. The knowledge in katana-making is applied. Steel, a super metal that can build the Empire State Building twenty times as much as it can, is exploited. Right here, Japan’s economy boosted in just a decade. “The other nations implemented it for one hundred years but through Japan, it happened for only ten. At this time, Japan is the wealthiest country on the facade of the earth.”

The War

By this power, in dawn of 20th century, Japan began to build an empire through Hideki Tojo; an efficient, decisive, and aggressive staff officer; his tough disciplinary policies earned him the nickname “The Razor”. He was called back to Tokyo in 1938 to serve as vice minister of war. An ardent supporter of a strong offensive in the Second Sino-Japanese War, Tojo was promoted to war minister in 1940. Tojo became convinced that Nazi Germany would win the ongoing war in Europe; and in the fall of 1940 supported Japan’s signing of an alliance with Germany and Italy, the three countries became known as the Axis Powers. Tojo advocated the expansion of Japan’s supremacy in East Asia through the deployment of Japanese troops to occupy northern Indochina and the establishment of a “co-prosperity sphere,” an autonomous political and economic bloc in greater East Asia under Japanese dominance.

As tensions with the United States mounted in 1941, Tojo again took a hard-line position. He opposed any compromise that might undermine Japan’s position in East Asia or diminish its national prestige. By the fall of that year it appeared that Japan’s entry into World War II was inevitable. Tojo, viewed as a man who could both represent military interests and keep the army under firm control, was named prime minister in October by the Japanese Emperor Hirohito. In December 1941 his cabinet of civil and military officials decided to declare war on the United States and attack the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This is how Japan’s empire noticed and feared over Asia. Months of war passed and many lives took rest on that period of chaos. They considered Philippines as an ideal spot for trade. If this land will be fully theirs, its neighbors would be easily get conquered. The Japanese Emperor might feel sad towards the continuous war. But Japan should receive a standing ovation for liberating much of East Asia from Western colonial powers, that the 1946-1948 Tokyo War Crimes tribunals were illegitimate, and the by Imperial Japanese troops during the 1937 ‘Nanjing Massacre’ were exaggerated and fabricated. America, intimidated by this master plan, requested for surrender from Japan.

But Japan refused to surrender. The United States wanted to end the war with unconditional surrender from Japan. It also wanted to avoid more battles like those in Iwo Jima and Okinawa, where U.S. casualties had been heavy. These factors spurred U.S. plans to use the atomic bomb that through knowledge was shaped. America is preparing to attack.

The United States in late 1941 established a secret program, which came to be known as the Manhattan Project, to develop an atomic bomb, a powerful explosive nuclear weapon. The aim of the project, directed by physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, was to build an atom bomb before Germany will. Through Albert Einstein, a well known physicist, America has only one card to play. That is, use the nuclear bomb or they’ll use theirs against us.

Early morning August 6, 1945, American airplane penetrated the Japanese territory carrying a dozen ton of nuclear warhead – a.k.a. little boy – that came from the ore of uranium six billion years before the formation of the earth. The sole temperature is 10,000 times hotter than the sun. In here the world not even history did not expect it to happen… the planet’s most destructive weapon, an exceptional object the world had not yet ever seen, fell down to the bright sunny skies of Hiroshima. There were 500-600 Japanese people lies down there. The impact is to the maximum degree “destructive”. After three days, Nagasaki was the next to be the subject in nuclear bombardment. Japan was forced to surrender. Hideki Tojo came down to his post as Prime Minister. The most catastrophic World War has ended. Vegetation never grows for twenty years. Japan’s economy might fall back to ashes but instead of this; it trumps the market with its unending glory.

“History is a Fact.” It tells us our mistakes and the lessons noteworthy to every generation. People should recognize the magnificence of Japan.

Economy

The structural imperfection in Japan’s financial system came to an establishment in the late 1980’s, first generating a five-year period of financial euphoria known as the bubble, and then bringing on a collapse. After the value of the yen rose sharply in 1985, Japanese exports fell and economic growth slowed. In 1986 a report by the government-appointed Maekawa Commission recommended fundamental structural reforms to avoid long-term stagnation. Instead, the Bank of Japan cut interest rates to stimulate investment and growth. This raised the price of stocks and real estate, which began to escalate in a self-feeding spiral. By 1989 the average stock was valued at 100 times the annual corporate earnings, an overvaluation of 400 to 500 percent. Rising stock and real estate prices stimulated an investment boom that led to rapid economic growth. Japan, as of today, is the most prosperous country in Asia and second in the whole world.

Uniqueness of Japan

Japan’s location is somewhat planned to perfection by God’s finest engineers, excavated with precision plus accuracy and emblazoned with natural uniqueness. Its position in the pacific is ideal. Four seasons pass annually to its body that is to say summer, autumn, winter and spring. At the day before the first day of spring, Bean Throwing Day is celebrated. The Japanese throws the bean and says “Oni wa Soto! Fuku wa uchi! (Go away demon! Come in Happiness).” Summer is often a time for vacation; the Japanese Alps is perfect for hiking. Then as the autumn came so suddenly, the most anticipated moment in Japanese land is when the Sakura, Cherry Blossoms, began to fall. You might even spend an eternity just to perceive the petals all fall on the very ground. Japan, is gifted by these astounding and heart-warming panorama. By the end of autumn, here arrives winter.

“The influence of the West is muscular, but the Japanese are nevertheless proud of their traditional culture and religion.” Snowflakes began to show making the temperature to drop to negative making the people blanket themselves with futon, a firm Japanese mattress used as a seat or bed. The futon is folded up and put into a particular cupboard (oshiire). When you enter a Japanese home, it is customary to take off your shoes and put on slippers or foot socks. The shoes are stored in a cupboard or rack in the entrance hall or Genkan. Summers in Japan can be sizzling hot, so some rooms have sliding doors made of wood and paper – called Shoji. Their sliding doors were designed to combat with warm summer heat, circulating the fresh air around the house, but their tatami – a straw mat used in Japanese homes as a floor covering – were intended for winter. Tatami mats are made up from fresh grasses: they are green when new. On entering a tatami mat room, you have to take off your slippers, to help keep the mats clean. The dining room usually has no chairs. Everyone sits on a cushion called zabuton. In winter people use a table called kotatsu which has a heater underneath and quilt to keep warmth in. in a Japanese bathroom, known as o-furo, the whole room is used as a bathing place: there is a drain in the floor. You position yourself on the stool and soap and rinse yourself, before stepping to the deep square bath. Even modern Japanese homes have a Buddhist altar, on it are placed photographs of Japanese ancestors.

On their clothes, Kimono is a simple but elegant outfit any Japanese wear in such stature. The kimono, a robe like dress, is the traditional garment of Japan. Although most Japanese people now wear Western-style clothing, they wear kimonos on holidays and other special occasions. Women have wrapped their kimonos with a sash called an obi (broad belt).

A businessman in Japan is served sake by a “Geisha” wearing a kimono and obi. Sake, fermented rice beer, is called “atsukan” when it is served hot, as here. The training of a geisha, who proceeds as a hostess at geisha parties, involves mastery of the arts of dance, singing, and conversation.

Kabuki Theater is distinguished for its vibrantly decorated sets, stylized gesticulations, and vivacious music and dance. Kabuki is the most admired form of traditional Japanese theater. They use “shamisen” as an accompaniment for their ever changing movements. The shamisen is a Japanese instrument with three strings. It was formerly played by geishas and street singers and was used in traditional Japanese theater performances. Contemporary musicians are now writing for the shamisen. In Japan’s kabuki theater, only men appear on stage. Actors who specialize in depicting female roles (onnagata) are highly admired. Kawamura Fujio considered one of the greatest onnagata of the 20th century is very all the rage in Japan.

Japan is a great nation: its tendrils grow higher to the nets of heaven and will clamber the world through its spirit. Their economy is like a towering sky-scraper but their spirits are at a halt on the ground. The Japanese people as well as their culture are endowed with grand armory like those of in their country. Japan can be the world in just a blink of an eye if it wishes it to. If China persecutes and terrorizes our territory Japan can simply grab the oppressor’s décolletage and hunker them to the dirt for us – because they are to be bullied also. They are our comrade. Japan in the great eastern Asia is the tiger in veil but a country lurks for freedom, honor, culture, prestige, wealth and a place of admiration. “I love Japan.”

That is why, in the crust of the sapphire and emerald Earth, Japan is an Ironclad Empire.

A Future with Global Warming

Our connection to the environment is ancient but the Climate Change is a modern environmental problem.

In ancient Egypt, the Egyptians’ respect to their environment is somewhat serious. For the Nile River sustains their primary need, they’d built temples to worship and thank the gods who gave them the environment: Ra, the God of the Sun, was their supreme God. Nut, represents the heaven and puts everything in order, she had the ability to swallow stars and cause them to be born again. And Isis, the one who invented the agriculture and on the Egyptian myth she came to be seen as Mother Earth.

Our Climate is as fragile as the Human Body. Like our entire human anatomy, the environmental system is as close as an organization of microscopic cells. One cellular defect might ruin the behavior of the entire group and eventually changes the normal functioning of the body, like a house of cards with the “Ace of Hearts” on uppermost. And so is with the Environment, when the unbalanced forces directly dissolved in the braying climatic orchestra, the whole planet will lose its rhythm and bringing the whole human concert at mortal risk.

How they value the environment as a resource of their being is different from today.

Once there was a world named Venus. The planet has glittering and promising career in about billions of years ago. It is the twin sister of Earth and resembles Earth almost precisely. It endured the same planetary process just like with our planet. At first, this planet’s oceans were like Earth’s – calm, gentle, tranquil and blue. It was as beautiful as Venus herself. The earth’s twin sister became a revolving Paradise. But the Heaven floating in cosmos suddenly turns out to Hell. The first breath of Hell came out not from the Atmosphere but from within. Fuming volcanoes exhaled nasty gases including CO2. But the volcanoes’ emission of gases was so severe that CO2 entirely buried the planet with hell-like heat. Venus wasn’t hot because it is closer to the sun but because CO2 blankets Venus’ sky that disables the solar energy to pass through and travel back to space. In this situation, life is impossible to ripen. Now, Venus’ past and present could be our planet’s distant future.

Global warming is a symptom of Climate Change. And, we could clearly see its effect if we observe our water. If all of the earth’s water will be summarized in a gallon container, the amount of the available fresh water would equal just over a tablespoon – less than half of one percent at the total. About 97% of the planet’s water is seawater; another 2% is locked down in ice-jail icecaps and glaciers. Since this portion of global water is meant to be frozen, the related global warming is “defrosting” it resulting to overall unwanted hydro-rise that disturbs some of the gorgeous cities around the world just like Venice in Italy. Manila – the capital city of The Philippines – will experienced 4.5 feet sea-level rise over the next 100 years not to mention that the happy city has very dense population and outdated sewers that sniffs most of the garbage all throughout the region, while its nearby neighboring country, China, coughs out approximately 30% of the world total CO2.

The CO2 acts as a blanket that cocoons the Earth to heat. As the sun ejects solar rays to our atmosphere, a large amount of which generally bounced back by our atmosphere then eventually our clouds would reflect some of the remaining parts until it reaches the ground and could either absorb the heat or otherwise bounce it back. So, when carbon dioxide is present in our atmosphere at great amounts it would prevent the heat from leaping away from Earth protrudes the so called Greenhouse Effect. But do not “curse” carbon dioxide because of these; too much CO2 would turn the entire planet to a barren ball of heat. On the other hand, if CO2 would be too less, then the whole planet would become an ice-covered ball and we may not exist at all.

Climate change is an environmental sickness, drained from human negligence and self-indulgence; and as I have said its symptom is global warming. If only we could see CO2 around us… if only our eyes are sensitive to CO2 we could definitely understand and let go of our grip of denial.

In the year 1913 on the banks of the River Nile at Egypt, an uneducated man who spent only 3 years of learning is about to discover a brilliant invention. He was Mr. Frank Shuman. As he strolls upon the Nile, he felt the scorching heat from the sun. He wondered if this heat could be of use rather than a physical punishment then it would be a great benefit. Eventually, his tinkering did sprout to a machine. Using the energy from the sun, the machine irrigates the entire plantation that ranges from hundreds of hectares on Egyptian land. On this time, his machine’s harvested energy is enough to power the entire planet…the entire planet. So suddenly that his invention did not boosted so well, so Mr. Shoeman’s innovation should have to wait for almost a century to be enhanced again.

The world’s most dazzling and powerful invention sparks in our darkest times. When this idea punches Einstein’s mind, he thought of improvement. In 1905 Albert Einstein published his special theory of relativity. According to this theory, the relation between mass and energy is expressed by the equation E = mc2, which states that a given mass (m) is associated with an amount of energy (E) equal to this mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c). A very small amount of matter is equivalent to a vast amount of energy. For example, 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of matter converted completely into energy would be equivalent to the energy released by exploding 22 megatons of TNT. To understand the relativity simply, here Einstein told to his critics. “Sit with a beautiful girl in one hour and it feels just like a second, press your finger in a pot of boiling water and it feels just like an hour.” But the wonderful idea didn’t turned to be pleasing after all, it should be saving. Instead it functioned to be as the main character in World War II.

When we have the chance, in fact, to run the world with the support of some scientific endeavours, we focused on using coals that directly destabilizes the environment and possibly wreck our species. So why didn’t we?

When the 20th century began, the amount of heat that roams around the Earth had raised drastically just the same as the total world population. The total world population today is about 7, 000, 000, 000, 000 (7 Billion). So, think again, that is the number of lives we could save from the dreaded aftermath of Climate Change. It can’t embrace too long in our aggression and reckless obliteration of her system. Carl Sagan once said these words, “we’re holding the cosmos into the hands of hell.”

When Yuri Gagarin or the Apollo 11 crew set their epic voyage through space, they saw one Planet – an indivisible and united ball of mud. Yet the unity we sat upon turns out to be the deadly competitions genera per genera. Modern Patricians and Plebeians, nobles and downtrodden, state and religion, masculine and feminine, clever and bold, handsome and ugly, rich and poor, black and white, man when pulped to desperation will turn to a reckless animal. Pride sense of balance. Until we have driven her to the point of no return.

There’s an empty corridor inside the Hall of Extinction. No more and no less, at this very place our story here would end. So, you should know what to do…

Ice, Ice, Baby!

FROM 2014 ARCHIVES

“The world seems to be ice-numb on ALS, until this year”

Sometimes our body just stops from working – this phenomenon is called death. But, what if, you’re still alive and your body starts to disintegrate. You’re trembling not because you are tensed but because you have something serious. You unconsciously move your hands and kick your feet but not because you’re possessed by a spirit. You can’t talk not because you are tongue-tied but because you just can’t… but why? Why can you not? The reason might be is because you experience ALS.

ALS, also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive, fatal disease of the motor neurons that control the skeletal muscles of the body. The disease characteristically produces a wasting away of the muscles that have lost their nerve supply, resulting in weakening and paralysis. There are also signs of spasticity, or stiffness, of the muscles and exaggerated reflexes. Eventually, ALS results in total paralysis and respiratory failure. The senses and intellect are not affected.

The onset, or first appearance, of ALS usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70, although it may affect people anywhere from 20 to 90 years of age. The onset and course of ALS varies from person to person. Common early symptoms include persistent weakness and fatigue, and muscular stiffness, twitching, and cramping. When the upper extremities are affected first, the person may drop things more frequently, and experience diminished hand and arm control. If the lower extremities are affected first, the person may trip and fall more frequently. Some people notice slurred speech, excessive saliva and drooling, or difficulty breathing. Periods of uncontrollable laughing or crying may occur.

There is no specific diagnostic test for ALS; physicians try to rule out other disorders that affect nerve and muscle function. For example, muscular dystrophy is another degenerative disease that results in wasting of muscle tissue. But in muscular dystrophy the muscles themselves are affected, while in ALS it is the nerve cells supplying the muscles that are affected. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own cells. In MS, the protective myelin sheath surrounding the nerve cells is progressively destroyed. Unlike ALS, the course of MS undergoes long periods of remission, during which people are free of symptoms, and the expected survival of people with MS is much longer than those with ALS.

To rule out other disorders, tests are conducted to measure nerve response. Diagnosis may also include magnetic resonance imaging of the spine, biopsy (surgical removal and microscopic examination of cells) of muscle and nerve tissue, and blood and urine tests. An accurate diagnosis is critical and the ALS Association recommends that a person diagnosed with ALS seek a second diagnosis from a physician who sees many ALS patients. Because ALS develops so gradually, the disease has often progressed 20% to 50% by the time a diagnosis is confirmed.

How the “Evolution” Works?

Change is constant in our cosmos. These progressions have steered to life; and even life is a subject to change. What kind of change? It began with a prominent scientist named Charles Darwin. The theory of evolution by natural selection, first formulated in Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, is the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioural traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring; but Darwin is unconsciously studying the effects of something much bigger science yet-to-know discovery of all time – the molecular blueprint of life known as DNA.

Evolution is fascinating because it attempts to answer one of the most basic human questions: Where did life, and human beings, come from? The theory of evolution proposes that life and humans arose through a natural process. A very large number of people do not believe this, which is something that keeps evolution in the news. Billions of years ago, according to the theory of evolution, chemicals randomly organized themselves into a self-replicating molecule. This spark of life was the seed of every living thing we see today (as well as those we no longer see, like dinosaurs). That simplest life form, through the processes of mutation and natural selection, has been shaped into every living species on the planet.

Evolution is a process that began billions of years ago and still runs up to this day. Evolution has told us how the colossal diversity of life advanced. It showed us that how ancient bacteria can be the ancestor of millions of species living to this day. Evolution answers the question of why are there so many physical dissimilarities we have like seeing a domesticated cat similar to a wild cat such as a lion. How is it possible to have an ancestor that looked so different to them?

Evolution is the development of life on earth. To comprehend it much better, we need to take a closer look at the animal kingdom excluding fungi, plants, bacteria, and Protista. First, let’s ask question on how can a single animal developed to several species. Speaking of species, what is species exactly is?

Species is a group of living organism that is capable of reproducing to one another. A dog to a dog or a cat to a cat is an example of species while their offspring are also able to reproduce in recurrence. A dog will produces a dog while a cat produces a cat. To understand it better we need to know certain points: First, the uniqueness of every organism is guaranteed by excess reproduction of offspring and heredity, second, the natural selection.

  1. Evolution may proceed because of uniqueness.

Uniqueness is simply being unalike from others. Every creature is of unique specimen which by then essential to the progression of evolution. Your sibling might look similarly as you but both of you have something in different. One of you might be smarter, braver, bigger, smaller, taller, etc. but what is the reason of your differences?

Every living creature has cells. These cells have nucleus. A nucleus has chromosomes. Chromosomes have DNA. A t molecular level, these DNA comprises of genes. Genes are considered the blueprint to which how our body should behave or appear physically. They contain orders from your parent’s cells the traits you will soon display. Precisely, this DNA is unique to each creature. But how is this enormous differences created?

  1. The excessive production of offspring.

One key factor of uniqueness is the excess production of offspring. This happens when parents produce more offspring than it should. The more offspring, the more diverse the gene pool to be selected. Creatures are wired to produce more for the survival of their own species. Competition to their surrounding and even to their siblings has initiated death to some unlucky beings. And this is what Nature wants, the more little differences the better and more diverse it is.

  1. The second major cause of uniqueness is heredity.

This time it doesn’t take place only to the offspring itself but to the offspring which became parents. Heredity means the forwarding of DNA to offspring. This time, the genes are handed down for the progression of generations to follow. We all familiar with heredity when our ancestors have given something to us as an heirloom such as house or a necklace but this heredity is all away down at molecular level where your actual cells behave as they are according to the genes your parents have given you. There two key things that happen in this process – the recombination and mutation.

  1. Recombination affects the hereditary materials that make an offspring.

The recombination is the random mixing of genes of two different creatures. When two creatures mate, they recombine their DNA twice. The first time they do this is individually; inside their body they form sperm cell and egg cell. The gametes take half of the genes and shuffle them. The second one happens when a male inseminates a female. Their genes are randomly shuffled again and thus forming a new offspring – fifty per cent from father and fifty per cent from the mother. These offspring has random characteristics their parents have producing diversity towards their genes even further.

  1. Mutation is also important for evolution.

Mutations are random changes in DNA itself. Right here, the body has not control over mutation but rather it is an occurrence of a molecular mistake triggered by toxins, chemical substances or radiation. This point in time, the DNA is altered can form some serious changes. This can be harmful or beneficial to an organism. Some mutations can develop diseases like cancer or oddities like blue eye colour in humans. It is the sperm or the egg is affected with this because they are the only DNA in the gametes is passed in the offspring. When these irregularities passed to the offspring, the diversity of life will soon be vaster.

In conclusion, recombination and mutation change the DNA so that each child looks different to its siblings and receive a random mix of the characteristics of their parents creating further diversity. The key word here is “random”. All of these processes are based on chance.  But, how there could be such chance if organisms are perfectly random to their environment? The answer is natural selection. Each individual is subjected to a process called Natural Selection.

  1. Natural Selection as Darwin theorized.

As stated before, each animal is different from the other and there is an extensive variation within a species. The effects of changes not only happen inside but also from the outside environment. These are selection factors which include: predators, parasites, animals of the same species, toxins, and changes in habitat or in the climate. Now, every creature has different mix of traits and characteristics which will help them cope with certain environmental factors or not as the case may be. Anyone with unsuitable mix will be cast off from living while creatures with suitable characteristics for their environment remain to continue its line. This is why diversity is important – the survival of the fittest.

This is why creatures need to produce different offspring as much as possible as nature permits. They increase the likelihood that at least one of their offspring passes nature’s gene filtration process. They maximize their chances of survival. This is how new species is created by evolution: through the interaction of unique individuals, the excess production of offspring, recombination and mutation in heredity, and finally, through selection.

Why is this so important? It tells us where the variety of life comes from and why living creatures are so perfectly adapted to their habitats. But it also affects us personally. Every person is the result of 3.5 billion years of evolution, and that includes you. Our ancestors fought and adapted in order to survive. This survival was extremely uncertain thing. If we consider the fact that 99% of all species that have ever lived are extinct, then you can consider yourself part of the success story. The dinosaurs have disappeared but you are alive because you are incredibly special, just like other creatures that exist today – irreproducible and unique in the arms of cosmos.

Heneral Luna: A Masterpiece

A Philippine History

In 1898, the Spanish signed the Treaty of Paris which made them fled out of the Philippine terra firma. In the feat of the event Andres Bonifacio made an assembly which formed a Revolutionary Government under President Emilio Aguinaldo. But the year was never been the end of the Philippine tribulation, instead it became another start under their new conquerors – the Americans. Arriving from the continent of America which the American race had captured once more lays another battlefield of Politics and Liberty over the vast Philippine Archipelago. But She, the Philippines, was never been left alone for foreign domination however there are Brave Soldiers who are ready to offer their blood to her soil to pave the Freedom for Filipinos; a Valiant Soldier who held a position in power and ready to smite another oppressor in hand. A name that recognized by many; a name which the Military salute to; the name upholds by General McArthur himself; the name was General Antonio Luna.

The year of 1898, held a specific quantity to the Americans – the reception of Manila. Together they march their battalion to Intramuros conquering the Philippines. For many politicians who were hoaxed by the sugar coated words of the foreigners, the Arrival of their ships meant the enrichment of the Philippine economy; but General Luna senses something much worse, something nefarious to the Land – the drawback of their much awaited Freedom. Their freedom was not only his personal concern but an objective of the KKK itself. As per the bullet encounter at Sta. Mesa, Manila, the military perception of General Luna was justified. Now they are fighting for Freedom. General Luna became a disciplinarian, harsh and decisive in battle and several soldiers and politicians were intimidated by his ruling technique. They made the President Aguinaldo to know he was the enemy of the state and so Aguinaldo was tricked. Aguinaldo guards including Pedro Janolino brutally stabbed the General to death and so with bullet including his trustee Francisco Roman, they were both assassinated in the Convent of Cabanatuan during the war. Later on, due to their loss of this General the war has been won by the Americans and Philippines was forcefully bowed down again to their new masters.

This was the storyline of the movie of entitled “Heneral Luna” made many people applaud at the end of the great show. It was successfully met and even surpassed the viewer’s suppositions on a regular Filipino film which is sometimes senseless; but Heneral Luna finished every touch of the scene an outstanding cinematography and script. Thus; since it focused on war it pins up a way to insert humour during the time of military conflagration. Besides with the mark of its excellent cinematic performance, the film was historically accurate and it is accordingly based on reality. Despite all the praises, according to some audiences, they were dismayed by the actions of the former government and the conclusion of the First Republic under President Emilio Aguinaldo which is also a suspect on Bonifacio’s death. In relation to the one of the darkest period of our History it can’t be inseparably compared to the upcoming 2016 Elections regarding the mistakes and decisions of the First Republic. It is by then concluded that Heneral Luna is a General with burning affection to the country and the movie is worth the ticket price and time of watching.

WHEN THE IRON TURNS GOLD

“The Iron Lady of Asia died fighting, in her sleep; she died unconscious.”

The entire Philippines was evidently shocked by the sudden demise of one of its treasured solon and perhaps the wisest among the senators who ever was and ever will be.

Lately, we were talking about her with my colleagues when a memory of the senator came to our curiosity that her public appearance seemed to be greatly diminished. One of them asked me, “Is she no longer a senator?” I regretfully replied to her, “No. Her term as a senator has ended and since she lost the last election she is once again a part of the private sector.”

I begin the recollection of my memory of her from the days when I was an inexperienced kid. I often see her in nighttime news reports often yelling, screaming, joking and scolding other officials that fit well in the vessel of a kleptocrat. As a result, my mother loudly extolled in the middle of the house that she voted for the lady and impersonates her finger-pointing libretto thus sounds the same intonations as the senator – this makes me laugh and feel anxious for my mother’s mental health because it’s silly; but I realized it’s just entirely for laughs in the end.

Anyhow, the impression the senator left to me is the sense of Justice. Her incessant “corruption-busting” campaign left a remarkable ink in my mind. Her words gave me the primitive fragments of my moral and political principles that will soon be developed throughout the years. In practice, I admit that when I overhear news that disgusts me concerning the way our politicians behave behind and in front of the closet, including their monkey businesses, there are times that I give furious comments regarding how should they treat the people and how should they do their jobs. When I do this, I oftentimes remember that there is one senator who knows what I am talking about and hear my voice. I was 10 years old at this and I know how dark the Philippine politicians are.

miriam-santiago

Image: Santiago’s Profile in the Hall of Awardees at Ramon Magsaysay Foundation Awards for Leadership

Compared to my former approvals, I am not the only one who rejoiced when she attacked one of the most reviled politicians who came from my home province of Cagayan. Just to give a clue, even his fellow Cagayanos did not approve to give him a continuation in controlling the better portion of Cagayan, industrializing the province for the foreigners, ecologically harming the environment by black-sand mining and concentrating political positions to his relatives and allies. No doubt, Cagayanos hate this man but the lady senator was out there reproaching the old man. I feel like the entire province’s voice was heard in minutes or her speech. Not to mention that she challenged him for a debate, that was an uppercut!

I also remember one of my classmates in High School who vocally declared her intense adoration to the Iron Lady. I recalled her saying that she wanted to be like the senator and we both dislike the people she comes to combat in the senate hall. We shared political views about the lady and habitually includes her in our deep conversations alongside scientific breakthrough, philosophical questions, psychological thoughts like the behaviour of our classmates and our own assessment to their attitudes and reasoning (we include the hypothetical influence of their synergy with their chums) and religious doctrines that often goes to the absurd tinkering with the concepts of each religion and cultural significance of that religion to the region. Yes, we could create a caboodle of thesis questions mounting from the senator’s recent statements and it ladders up at least not in the technical derivatives because we are just high school students.

This simply means that the senator might have influenced vast amount of the Filipino youths including me and my friends; and her persona fumes a lot of intellectual discussion with my friend alone. That is why her legacy has greatly defined the pillars of my political, philosophical and even moral beliefs. She is not just a senator or a woman; she changed my mind and almost certainly my life and future. I will never forget the teacher I never met.

Remembering the Iron Lady of Asia is pushing me to pursue a degree in Law. It ignites my inner sense of Justice, my belligerent and spirited side. I will jubilantly tell my children that she is one of the greatest people who influenced me and that they are fortunate to live in the day that she lived to tell her tale. Right now, one of my primary models to my moral, political and more like philosophical principles have peacefully passed away. The kind of Senator I will always elect, the epitome of Justice, the Woman we will never forget will never die for the Iron she wrought never rusts and eternally honed by her legacy to the Filipino youth, to the country and to the world.

The Iron Lady of Asia made her niches in our hearts, her memory resounds undying, and for the generations to come, lessons of principles, that is the time when the Iron turns Gold.

“In my view, leadership is the courage to take risks in defense of a position that is both legal and moral. The politician who tries to become a wise guy by becoming friends to everybody – corrupt or not – is not a leader.”
― Miriam Defensor Santiago, Stupid is Forever

Miriam Palma Defensor-Santiago (1945-2016)
Rest in Peace Madame The Great

#RIPMiriamSantiago #PaalamMiriam #MiriamShallReturn
(Black and White Image from Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation Awardees Profile Section)

via Daily Prompt: Shine

Stunning Euphony

I want to share my age-old idolatry of a singer eons ago. My teacher made me do this piece of essay which will feature someone we adore most – a celebrity if I may. Then, there was this Juan Karlos Labajo which I am fond of watching in the telly on an evening reality show called “The Voice Kids”. Then, I made a research regarding his background; what is it in his mundane life? Then I am made to realize that this guy deserve to be known wide. So, here it is, the piece from my scholarly requirements. My high school essay about Juan Karlos.

At one moment the stage is a featureless darkness, an empty palace, not including the light. Neither glow nor sound is present. The next moment, the dish-shattering-silence will be bombarded with applause, invigorating noise, melody, and Dreams. The stage lights up, shafts of light radiates anywhere from left to right on the very platform. In the stage’s reflected rays of light, some not-so-famous juveniles become perceptible for a moment in the television in a prestigious pursuit. Some of them are affluent that they live in luxury and others live in apartment buildings and some in shacks.

Their voices are excellent that the majority might tremble in amazement. The coaches’ chair turns only for the one who pleases their ears with sensible taste and approval. Then suddenly the stage became empty again but the platform still at illumination. One boy stands and faces the mighty face of crowd with confidence, talent and charm. He sang as if he is the one who composed the song, altered the original with his own version. On our television, he sang “Grow Old with You” by Adam Sandler.

Eventually, two of the three coaches rotated their chair to his direction. Surprised with his comical facial expression in spite of his strong features, the viewers were entertained. The coaches had a fun time to have a dialogue with him but then he can’t escape the idea of choosing between the two of them. The coaches let him decide for a moment. Until, he chooses the coach that will guide him to his success, he chose coach Bamboo based on his hairsplitting calculations and assumptions to his coach’s talent and ability. His verdict will soon amend his fortune forever. His small galaxy will evolve, grow and hover high across the spotlight. His name was Juan Karlos “JK” Labajo.

In speculating the boy’s history it seems that he came from an foreign race but half of him is Filipino. He is a half-German and half-Filipino that was born in the island of Cebu – a prosperous land indeed in mid-eastern Philippines. Foreign visitors continue to stop-over to this land and for sure no doubt, by this fact, this led his mother and father to get together and fell in love. The love and libido were pressed on to manufacture a premium product. That is him – Juan Karlos.

Juan Karlos looks like a modern-day Adonis, biologically inspired and forged from a living metal. The characteristics that distinguished him from the others include his charisma, sex appeal, spectacular voice quality, height of a foreigner, sense of humor, optic white teeth, flexibility over setbacks, cordial interaction, and intense love for his mother. All of these reach their apogee in Juan Karlos. He, I could say, is one of a kind.

“I felt the sex appeal of this kid, “pop princess Sarah Geronimo, one of the three coaches told this during the semi-finals. Juan Karlos, at his very first appearance in television, have shown us this feeling also. We have our own definition of beauty but his charisma might change it on. His masculine beauty gives rise to human admiration and currency. His appearance is charismatic. In his admirers’ eyes, this belief is not just an opinion but a solid truth.

His name, Juan Karlos, was actually taken from the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I.  King Juan Carlos I, born in 1938, was the king of Spain since 1975. King Juan Carlos helped to return his country to democracy after the long dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. As the grandson of King Alfonso XIII, King Juan Carlos I ruled his Spanish native land to the best of his ability and proficiency. Because of this, Juan Karlos’ mother was inspired to give him “Juan Karlos” as his first name and Labajo, due to his father’s act of not recognizing him as his son; they preferred to pass his mother’s family name to him and to him alone. Juan Karlos, not just by name, is a king.

Juan Karlos is a supercharged talented man; streamlined to perfection and jammed with state-of-the-art genetic gifts. His incomparable talents exemplify just a slice of the capability of the modern youth to show what they could do as the representative of the human race to the near future. His talent as well as his physique is socially immense compared to a newly born star. So, as one in a millions of his fan, I was inspired of making him as my subject. I am radically enthralled with his charisma, physique and Stunning Euphony.

Theme Painting: "Freddy Mercury" by Leonid Afremov