Thursday, January 31, 2013

BCG Impromptu/Signs

I heard music as I crossed the street to Bonifacio High Street.  I thought it was a band performing at the entertainment center.  I followed where the music was coming from and found a crowd gathered around a quadriplegic singing a Daughtry song.  A microphone was attached to his wheelchair and there were speakers by his feet--he was accompanied by a minus one.  He had a powerful voice, too!

On my next visit to High Street, I saw a juggler and an acoustic trio.  BCG's Impromptu gives unknown street artists a venue to share their passions and show off their exceptional talent and creativity.  Street artists don't have to pay for rent, the space is for free--all they need are their talent, instruments, props and the enthusiasm to perform.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Capsicum Flower/ABC Wednesday

 C is for Capsicum Flower

We are all familiar with chili peppers but have you ever looked closely at the flower of this popular spice?  I was not even aware chili peppers have flowers---well, at the back of my mind, I know it has flowers but didn't really see them until the Christmas weekend I stayed at my brother's.

Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum.  It has been a part of the human diet in the Americas since 7500 B.C. and was introduced to Europe during the time of Columbus.  The spread of chili peppers to Asia was most likely a natural consequence of its introduction to Portuguese traders (Lisbon was a common port of call for Spanish ships sailing to and from the Americas) who aware of its trade value, would have likely promoted its commerce in the Asian spice trade routes then dominated by Portuguese and Arab traders.  Wiki

This capsicum is very important to my brother and his neighbors.  My brother even joked that he makes sure this plant is protected every time there is a typhoon.  The neighbors get their chili peppers from this plant; some of the ripe fruits are added to a vinegar dip we call "sinamak" that complements grilled pork, fish and shellfish; it also adds a kick to soy sauce, ceviche, and many fish, beef, pork and vegetable dishes.  The leaves are likewise added to a chicken and vegetable soup called Tinola.

The capsicum flowers are very tiny--the fruit is about an inch long, so you can image how small the flowers are.  No wonder I didn't notice them before.:p

 “He who controls the spice controls the universe.”  
~ Frank Herbert, Dune

Linking to
ABC Wednesday 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blue beyond/Blue Monday

You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.  
~ William Faulkner

Linking to Blue Monday

Thai Fried Rice/Monday Mellow Yellows

Thai fried rice, or popularly known as Bagoong (shrimp paste) Fried Rice is flavored with shrimp paste and usually served with slices of fresh onions, green mango, cucumber and lemon, strips of fried egg and pork adobo.   The sidings balance the flavors, making this tasty rice dish perfect with just almost anything from the menu.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Yellow Creeper

 Spotted this pale yellow creeper at the river bank. 

“Very little grows on jagged rock. Be ground. Be crumbled, so wildflowers will come up where you are.”  ~ Rumi

Linking to Floral Friday Foto


These signs were calling my name. Artery-clogging Lechon, or suckling pig is a popular food around here.  There are festivals around the country to showcase Lechon.  In most regions, Lechon is the centerpiece during special occasions such as weddings, fiestas, reunions, birthdays and Christmas.  It's a kind of food that will not make you grow old---because you'd die young when you indulge often.  

Once in a while when I crave for Lechon, I buy a pound from this food cart.  But this time,  I congratulated myself for walking away without buying.:p

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bonfire/ABC Wednesday

B is for Bonfire

A bonfire we built at the beach to keep us warm.  A beacon in the dark night to guide us back from the water.  We talked about ghosts and spirits, of old friends, fireflies and  falling in love.  The  flickering orange flames danced, and the scent of burning wood made us nostalgic---we wondered out loud where the years have gone.  We regretted the days we threw in bunches into the bonfire and watched them go up in fragrant smoke.   In a moment of silence, we understood that this bonfire was like our life---fragile.  Left alone, it would destroy the very things it meant to illuminate.

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 21, 2013


B is for Beef Biryani

I enjoy trying out dishes that are not the usual food we prepare at home.  I had this Beef Biryani at the Persian Grill.  This got me curious as I usually see meat as a topping---this dish has a rice topping, meat was underneath.  The yellow basmate rice was cooked with saffron.  I'm not an expert on biryani but I'd say this was pretty tasty.

Biryani is a set of rice-based foods made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, fish or vegetables.  The name derived from the Persian word beryā(n) which means "fried" or "roasted".  The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to ghee, nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon, bay leaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic.  For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the  spices is the meat—beef, chicken, goat, lamb, fish or shrimp. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or Raita, korma, curry a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal), boiled egg and salad.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


A delicate but fiery beauty I spotted by the road while walking my dog on Christmas Day.  I remember this has a bright magenta variety.  The size and shape are similar to a Philippine Violet (Barleria cristata and Barleria repens) and Ruellia tuberosa.  I hope somebody can identify this flower.

“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping... waiting... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir... open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we'd be truly dead.” ~ Joss Whedon

Mirabilis jalapa, Four o'clock Flower, Marvel of Peru - thanks, Andrea!


Explore BCG/Signs

I will definitely do this "Hop on, Hop Off" bus tour at BCG (Bonifacio Global City) soon.  This happens every weekend, from 4 pm to 10 pm.  For only P25 (approximately $0.60), one can explore the attractions of this 240-hectare urban oasis.  BCG has interesting architecture, public parks and playgrounds, public art with interactive installations and sculptures, an open-air mall and a science center.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ants/ABC Wednesday

 A is for Ants

I have always been fascinated with ants, and those who have been bitten have a tendency to crush them at sight.  As a child,  I watched ants with curiosity as they bring a grain of sugar, rice, crumbs and what-not to their colony while managing a narrow ledge.  Ants have remarkable communication skills and may have perfected social networking; they have a division of labor, always busy, always on the move.   I wonder if ants ever take a vacation.

Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae with an estimated 22,000 species.

Wishing for better lens to capture the beauty of these creatures.

The whale is endangered, while the ant continues to do just fine. ~ Bill Vaughn

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 14, 2013

Believe/Blue Monday

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.”
― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Linking to Blue Monday

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Z/ABC Wednesday

 Z is for Zoobic Safari

Zoobic Safari is a theme park in Subic Bay Freeport, a former US naval base, in the province of Zambales.  The theme park's main feature is the Tiger Safari where one can have a close encounter with tigers in an enclosed area.  If you're into something gruesome, there are dressed chickens for sale and you can feed them to a tiger from a  window grille of a jeepney.  One can also have an opportunity to bottle-feed a cub and be educated on the mating habits of tigers.:p

At the zoo, I saw a civet cat for the first time---its excrement is the source of the exotic Kopi Luwak, known as the most expensive coffee in the world.  It was also my first sighting of an albino carabao (water buffalo) and cougar.

The old bunkers of the former naval base now house a Serpentarium, Rodent World, a cafe overlooking a pond full of crocodiles, an Animal MuZooeum where skeletal remains and stuffed animals are displayed.  There is also a savannah where ostriches freely roam; and a section called the Bird Walk showcasing birds. 

Zoobic also features a zipline that I haven't tried yet.  To go around this 25-hectare theme park, we rode in the Zooper Train.

 Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, January 7, 2013

Coleus/Monday Mellow Yellows

A species of coleus (Solenostemon) at my aunt's herb garden.  The colors are gorgeous and were not edited--this is straight out of the camera.

Linking to Gemma's Monday Mellow Yellows

Blues band/Blue Monday

A blues band at the Roadhouse Manila Bay, a sports bar featuring live music, mostly blues.  We caught this band playing on a Friday night, and they're pretty good, too.

Linking to Blue Monday

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sweet Basil

 Sweet Basil, Balanoy/Solasi, Kalu-ui, Ocimum basilicum, Albahaca, Hung que

I have this habit of pinching leaves and smelling them when I pass by a plant.  I was walking my dog on Christmas weekend and I pinched a leaf of this flower---and was delighted at the familiar aroma.  It brought back memories of my grandmother, of childhood.  I presented a leaf to my brother and asked him if he remembers the scent.  Of course, he said, this is kalu-ui!   Our grandmother called this plant "kalu-ui" and she made us drink a decoction of this herb when we had a cough.  I didn't know kalu-ui was the same sweet basil I buy from the supermarket for my pesto sauce and a relative of the Thai basil I love in Vietnamese pho.  

Ocimum belongs to the family Lamiaceae with about 60-150 species of aromatic annual and perennial herbs and shrubs.  It ranks high in herbs with medicinal use.  These plants, as well as oils from them, have received lots of attention for their potential medicinal properties. Bolanoy and Solasi are shared common names of the two common varieties of Ocimum in the Philippines---Ocimum basilicum and Ocimum sanctum.  Of these plants, O. basilicum is the most widely used.   It is used in food, cosmetics, liqueurs, medicines, and perfumes.  O. sanctum is not used in cooking.

More about sweet basil here.

Basil is a native of Africa and Asia. Tradition has it that basil was found growing around Christ's tomb after the Resurrection, and consequently, some Greek Orthodox churches use it to prepare holy water and pots of basil are set below church altars. In India, basil was believed to be imbued with a divine essence, and oaths were sworn upon it in courts. A number of varieties exist today, ranging from a tiny-leafed Greek basil to robust 2-foot-high plants with large succulent leaves. Some varieties have deep purple leaves. While flowers are typically small and whitish, some can be pink to brilliant magenta. Leaves can be dried for later use. Basil is extremely frost sensitive.  Source

The sense of smell can be extraordinarily evocative, bringing back pictures as sharp as photographs of scenes that had left the conscious mind.