Tuesday, October 30, 2012

P/ABC Wednesday

P is for Palm Tree

Palm tree is a common name for a family of flowering plants known as Arecacea or Palmae with roughly 202 genera and around 2,600 known species. Palm trees grow in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates, and are among the best known and most extensively cultivated plant families.

Anahaw or Footstool Palm, Saribus rotundufolius

As a tropical country, various species of palm trees are abundant in the Philippines.  One is Anahaw or footstool palm, a round-leaf fountain palm, the unofficial national leaf of the Philippines. There is also buri palm (Corypha elata Roxb.) that grows as tall as 20 meters, the largest of the Philippine palms.  Buri is the source of raffia and buntal.

Areca nut palm (Areca catechu), locally known as bonga, is used for landscaping, the nut is also popular for chewing among the older folks in the provinces.   

Rattan (Calameae) is a vine-like species of palm;  it is wild-crafted and an important material in basket-making and the furniture industry.

The most common is the coconut palm (Cocos Nucifera L.), also called "The Tree of Life" because of the endless list of products and bi-products derived from its various parts.  

From coconut meat, various products can be obtained---coconut flour, desiccated coconut, coconut milk, chips and candies and animal feeds.

Copra is dried coconut meat that has high oil content---as much as 64%.  Coconut oil is touted as the most beneficial of all oils.  Although high in saturated fat, it is the richest source of health-promoting MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids).  It is the most readily digested of all the fats of general use in the world and there is no known toxicity for coconut oil. It is also an important ingredient in detergents, soap, lard, coco chemicals, crude oil, pomade, shampoo, margarine, butter and cooking oil.

Coconut leaves produce good quality paper pulp, midrib brooms, hats and mats, bags and baskets, and utility roof materials.

Coconut fruit produces buko (young coconut), often used for salads, sweets and pastries.  a mature coconut fruit yields gata or coconut milk used in making sweets and other Filipino dishes.

golden coconut
Coconut water is also called liquid endosperm.  It is thrown away during copra making and becomes a great waste.  Coconut water is made into coco vinegar, coco wine, production of the chewy, fiber-rich nata de coco and a good fluid and nutrient replenisher.  A Filipino urologist discovered the efficacy of coconut water therapy in managing renal disorders. 

Coconut husks are made from bristle fiber, mattress fiber and coir dust. Fiber from coconut husks are used in cottage industries that make brushes, doormats, carpets, ropes, and mattresses.  Coir fiber can be used as a substitute for jute.  It is also suitable in making pulp and paper. The well board is manufactured from coco coir and short fibers.  No binding materials are needed and it is termite-proof.  The board produced is as good as narra, plywood or masonite.

Out of its pith, there's the delectable ubod (heart of the coconut)--a fibrous part from the central core of the coconut palm tree.  It can be served in many appetizing ways--lumpia (fresh spring roll), salads, pickle, can be cooked with beef, pork or shrimps.   Guinit (coconut sheets from the ribs and base of coconut leaves) can be made into hats, bags and other home accessories.

coconut palm trees in Anhawan Island

From the bud of the coconut tree's inflorescence is a juice called coconut toddy popularly known as tuba.  The fermented juice is a common alcoholic drink in the provinces where coconut palm trees are abundant.

After the husk, meat and water have been removed, there's the coconut shell.  This material that was traditionally used as charcoal has created a lucrative cottage industry.  Coconut shells are crafted into fashion jewelry, home decor, bags, buttons and table top accessories.  Its charcoal is utilized in air purification systems.

The mature trunk of coconut palm makes a durable construction and furniture materials.  Among the parts of the palm tree, the trunk gives the highest pulp yield.  Medicine, beverages and dyestuff are obtained from the roots.

There is also a host of studies on the medicinal properties of coconut palm trees.  From hypertension to leukemia, burns and bruises, kidney stones, ulcers, malaria, asthma, baldness, coconut palm has demonstrated that it is indeed a Tree of Life.

Sources: Philippine Coconut Authority, Wiki, Stuartxchange

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ripe/Mellow Yellow Monday

 A wild berry I spotted in the field.

“She looked like autumn, when leaves turned and fruit ripened.”
― Sarah Addison Allen, Garden Spells

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Balimbing blossoms

Balimbing blossoms
Balimbing is the local name for Star Fruit or Carambola.
In Philippine politics, Balimbing, a fruit with many sides,  is often mentioned in the same breath as a turncoat---politicians who change political alliances every election season.

To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulne­ss while telling carefully constructe­d lies, to hold simultaneo­usly two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradict­ory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy …. – 1984 by George Orwell

Don't tell me what you're not, or what you're against! Tell me who you are and what you stand for. ~ Mario Cortes

It is said that every people has the Government it deserves. It is more to the point that every Government has the electorate it deserves; for the orator of the front bench can edify or debauch an ignorant electorate at will. ~ George Bernard Shaw



Spas and massage parlors have mushroomed all over the place these past couple of years.  And not all are as seedy as one would think.   Getting a massage after a hectic day seems to be the norm nowadays.  From posh to neighborhood spas, massage therapists are in demand.  

Mang Cesar is a blind masseur who has a massage cottage in front of the historic Manila Hotel.  

Senses & Nerves is a 15-minute walk from my apartment.  I pay Php300 (about 8 dollars) for a 60-minute body massage.  When I'm in the mood for a sauna, jacuzzi and body massage, I drive for 20 minutes and pay Php1,000 (approximately US$25) for an hour's Swedish massage.  

Linking to Signs, Signs

Monday, October 22, 2012

Old world elegance/MYM & BM

One of the living rooms in an old mansion in San Juan; and as I was going down the stairs.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Light Rail Transit/Blue Monday & Mellow Yellow Monday

One of the trains, popularly known as LRT (Light Rail Transit) at the Carriedo Station.  S and I were in Quiapo the weekend before last.  It was my first LRT ride in a many years. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012


Heliconias are also called Fake Bird of Paradise or Wild Plantain. They are tall, spiky, with red-orange-yellow bracts with unique arrowhead-shaped petals. They are named after Mount Helicon, where Greek mythology placed the Nine Muses of science and the arts. A gift of heliconia symbolizes inspiration, intuition and divine guidance.

Photos taken at the park in Greenbelt.

 If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection. ~ Patrick Rothfuss

Linking to Floral Friday Fotos

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Teachers' Day/Signs

Spotted this banner last week at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, referred to as the "old downtown of Manila".  Teachers' Day was celebrated  on October 5th to honor more than 500,000 teachers throughout the Philippines.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

M/ABC Wednesday

M is for Mosaic Murals

These mosaic murals, called "Ang Pagbabago" (The Change), are installed along Roxas Boulevard near the zero-kilometer marker across the Rizal Park in Manila.  There are 4 of these mosaic murals--the other two are called "Unity" and "Prosperity".  The nearby marker says that these artworks represent the positive results achieved after the Filipinos have improved and reformed themselves as individuals and as a people.    The murals challenge and inspire viewers to keep on renewing themselves for the better.  The execution of these masterpieces is timely, as Filipinos today truly hunger for change.

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yellow Gumamela

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life. ~ John Lennon

Be grateful for and celebrate the beauty in all things because beauty is everywhere; and ignore all limitations and boundaries wherever they are found, because they are illusion. ~ David Sanders

I think over again my small adventures,
my fears, those small ones that seemed so big,
all those vital things I had to get and to reach,
and yet there is only one great thing:
to live and see the great day that dawns,
and the light that fills the world.

~ Innuit Traditional Song

Grant me daily the grace of gratitude, to be thankful for all my many gifts, and so be freed from artificial needs, that I might lead a joyful, simple life. ~ Edward Hays


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

To the Watershed/Signs

The watershed is located in a protected forest at the foot of Mount Malipato in Negros Occidental province.  It was a rough ride!

Linking to Lesley's Signs, Signs

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

L/ABC Wednesday

L is for Luneta

This is the Rizal monument at Rizal Park, more popularly known as Luneta Park, or colloquially LunetaLuneta is a historical urban park in the city of Manila, and one of its major tourist attractions. Touted as the "land of heroes", many Filipinos died in Luneta fighting for Philippine independence.  This place was the "killing fields" during the Spanish regime.  The execution of Dr. Jose Rizal in Luneta on December 30, 1896 sparked the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonizers.  The park was renamed in Dr. Rizal's honor---his monument serves as the symbolic focal point of the park, an honor guard is on duty here 24 hours a day.  National dedication days are held in front of the Rizal monument.  It is also where foreign leaders attend wreath-laying ceremonies during state visits.  Below is the marker of Dr. Rizal's execution site, and behind it is the diorama.

Aside from Dr. Jose Rizal, Luneta is also home to another Filipino hero, Lapu-Lapu (1491-1542).  His larger-than-life statue is known as "The Sentinel of Freedom".  Lapu-Lapu was a ruler of Mactan (an island in Cebu) who is known as the first native to have resisted the Spanish colonization.  

Luneta is a 54-hectare park with a man-made lake at the center with dancing fountains and giant raised-relief map of the Philippines.  The national library and national museums are located inside the park.  There is also a diorama of Rizal's martyrdom, a Japanese and Chinese gardens, an orchidarium and butterfly pavilion, a planetarium, an oceanarium,  various sculptures and historical markers.
If you're too tired to walk around the park, there are horse-drawn carriages, locally known as kalesa, for hire; there is also a mini-train that goes around the park.  Lots of things happening at Luneta, especially on weekends---from Concert at the Park to cultural shows.  Recently, I've read that there will be free wi-fi access at Luneta this October.

Will be blogging from Luneta soon!:p

Luneta means "eye glass" in Portuguese; "lens", "window" in Spanish. 

Linking to ABC Wednesday