Thursday, May 30, 2013


I was captivated by this bright scarlet beauty.

"I've got nothing to do today but smile."
~ Paul Simon

Linking to Floral Friday Foto

No Trespassing/Signs

@ mirandablue
We were island-hopping the whole day and by late afternoon, we dropped anchor at Lahuy Island, a tiny island in the Caramoan peninsula.  Then we noticed this sign!  We didn't know some of the islands here are owned by private individuals---mostly by political clans, I learned later.  We expected to be kicked out but the the gentleman who lives here told us we can stay to enjoy the sunset and the beach, for free. 

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Top-load/ABC Wednesday

T is for Top load

The jeepney is one of the Philippines' cultural symbols.  It is found in roads all over the country---in the crowded city streets, sleepy towns, provincial roads and rural back roads.  Jeepneys are symbols of our street life, the workhorse of Philippine transportation.  Through the years, jeepneys have earned a moniker "King of the Road" because jeepney drivers are notorious for doing as they please---unload and pick up passengers whenever and wherever, violate all kinds of traffic laws like stopping at No Stop signs, drive on lanes and streets where they are not allowed, bust people's eardrums with their blaring music.

Jeepneys have made an impression on our visitors.  I haven't met a foreign guest who has not been fascinated by our jeepneys.  Riding a jeepney is definitely one of their must-try when they're in the Philippines, and I bet they have interesting stories of their jeepney rides when they go home.  An American client was fascinated how the driver can manage it all---keeps track of each passenger, makes sure each passenger pays before getting off, receives fares and gives change while snaking through traffic.  Yes, a jeepney driver is great at multi-tasking!  

I enjoy riding jeepneys when I travel to the countryside.  The ride is inexpensive and it allows you to take in as much scenery as you could.  I admit it's not the most comfortable ride, sometimes it feels like you're in a can of sardines.  The fun part is, you get to meet interesting people when you share such small space with them.

Jeepney rides can give you an adrenalin rush especially when you take the top load---that means sitting on the roof of the jeepney.  There are places in far-flung provinces where trips are few and far between, and commuters have to make the best out of these trips, hence the top load sitting arrangement.  Tourists and thrill-seekers love the top load, photographers get the best drive-by shots.

Law enforcers discourage top load as it is dangerous but drivers allow it, and passengers ride the top load at their own risk.  Maybe I should try this one of these days.:p

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blues/Blue Monday

"There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul." ~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Linking to Blue Monday

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thunbergia lauriflolia

Blue Trumpet Vine, Thunbergia laurifolia

Ornamental vine with showy blue-violet trumpet-shaped flowers.  This flowering vine covers most of the pergola and parameter fence at a friend's property in Tagaytay.

"Gardening is a kind of disease.  It infects you, you cannot escape it.  When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irrisistible impulse to get up and pull a weed." my case, to take a photo.:p

Linking to Floral Friday Fotos


Painted on top of an old two-storey house in Malolos, Bulacan.
With the current tensions between Taiwan and the Philippines, territorial disputes with China, the Sultan of Sulu's claims over Sabah, peace in this corner of the world is always threatened.  I hope everybody is seeking peaceful solutions to these conflicts.

Linking to Lesley's Signs, Signs

Monday, May 20, 2013


If a "shopaholic" is a person who is addicted to shopping, what do you call somebody who is a compulsive buyer of footwear?

A Shoepaholic?:p

I was in shoepaholic's heaven in late April when we went to the "Tsinelas Festival" in Liliw, Laguna. "Tsinelas" is a Filipino word for "slippers".

This festival is an annual event showcasing various types of footwear---flip flops, slippers, sandals, wedges, mules, loafers, slingbacks, flats, in different materials...all hand-made in Liliw.

We even visited a small factory and observed skilled shoe-makers.

These are fun but would you dare to wear these colorful wedges?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dendrobium anosmum

Dendrobium anosmum, an unscented dendrobium,  locally known as Sanggumay, is native to the Philippines, Borneo, New Guinea, Thailand and Sri Lanka.  The genus Dendrobium contains approximately 1,200 species making it one of the largest genera in the orchid family.  Dendrobiums are adapted to monsoon climates and long dry periods stimulate flower production.  This species is popular for lei production because it is relatively long-lasting with flowers staying fresh for up to 4 days and does not crush easily.

Spotted the blooms at my friend's grandmother's garden when we visited her recently.

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." ~ Albert Camus

Linking to Floral Friday Fotos

Campaign posters/Signs

We had our national mid-term elections on Monday, and hopefully, the candidates will start tearing down their campaign posters soon.  We were following this campaign jeep on our road trip to Laguna in late April. Aside from the posters, this jeep had a loudspeaker blaring out political jingles---and it wasn't even 9 a.m. yet!  Political campaigns here are like a circus---each party/candidate has some gimmick, balloons, colorful tarps, and yes, campaign jingles that can be annoying when you're still sleeping.

Campaign posters on a designated place along the provincial highway in Laguna.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rodeo/ABC Wednesday

R is for Rodeo

For most people, a cowboy is a distinctly all-American symbol.  The wild, wild west comes to mind with Doc Holliday and the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp; John Wayne riding into the sunset, and yes, my teenage crush, the Marlboro Man looking out into the distance.  

The rodeo was not originally a sporting event but an integral part of cattle-ranching in areas of Spanish influence.  Rodeo stresses its western folk hero image and its being a genuinely American creation.  But in fact, it grew out of the practices of Spanish ranchers and their Mexican ranch hands (vaqueros), a mixture of cattle wrangling and bull fighting that dates back to the 16th century conquistadors. source

Today, rodeo is a sporting event that involves horses and livestock, designed to test the skill and speed of a cowboy or cowgirl athletes. 

Like cowboys, a rodeo seems out of place in the Philippine setting.  An image of a farmer on a carabao (water buffalo) is probably a more identifiable Filipino icon than a cowboy on a bucking horse.  But with our strong Spanish influences, it's not far-fetched that the rodeo has been practiced here since the Spanish regime.  

And as far as I can remember, our homegrown cowboys have been competing in local rodeos since I was a kid.  Back in the day, watching a rodeo was one of the highlights of our summer vacation in my hometown.  The rodeos of my childhood were held in an open field in one of the haciendas and were participated by farm workers from nearby haciendas. 

Although not a popular sport here, the rodeo reached the mainstream Filipino consciousness since the Masbate Rodeo Festival started in the early 90's.  It was conceived by ranchers and businessmen of Masbate to uplift the local cattle industry.  With about 30 ranches and a cattle population of approximately 54,000, Masbate is the Cattle Country of the Philippines.  In April, teams consisting of four hundred cowboys from universities across the country competed in the rodeo

Masbate, an island province, is about 426 kilometers from Manila, approximately 230 nautical miles; or about 50 minutes by plane.  The province has been declared the Rodeo Capital of the Philippines, and became known as the Rodeo Capital of Asia and is now affiliated with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association of America.

Friends from FUNtastic Philippines were at the Masbate Rodeo Festival last April and Chelli Castellano was kind enough to let me borrow her photos.  I promised myself not to miss this festival next year.

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Monday, May 13, 2013

Chips & Dip/Monday Mellow Yellows

A fresh, tasty salsa dip of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon juice and olive oil with store-bought high-fiber tortilla chips.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thunbergia Mysorensis

Clock Vine, Thunbergia mysorensis, Thunbergia Andreson x Bedd

A stunning flowering vine originating from India.
The bright yellow/maroon flowers were hanging in clusters from a pergola at a friend's garden. 

In the garden I tend to drop my thoughts here and there.  To the flowers I whisper the secrets I keep and the hopes I breath.  I know they are there to eavesdrop for the angels. ~ Dodinsky

Triboa Bay/Signs

Triboa Bay is a small community within the Subic Freeport Economic Zone, a former US naval base, overlooking Subic Bay. There are 21 villas here originally built to accommodate world leaders who attended the 1996 ASEAN Summit.  There is also a clubhouse with swimming pool which looked dilapidated.  The villas are now for sale/lease.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Monday, May 6, 2013

Blue banca/Blue Monday

A ship in harbor is safe---but that is not what ships are for. 
~ John Shedd

Linking to Blue Monday

Hibiscus/Monday Mellow Yellows

Yellow and pink hibiscus at my mini garden.

Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect...
Embrace imperfection and find beauty and authenticity in it.

 Linking to Monday Mellow Yellows