Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SM by the Bay/Signs

I've been busy and was out of town.  I suffered a bad cold when I got home--the weather has been crazy lately.

I was at this park in early July.  It's a row of restaurants and cafes, a giant Ferris Wheel, carnival rides, a zip line, fountains, a park and a long stretch of sea wall facing Manila Bay.  SM by the Bay is a popular place especially when it's hot and humid---it's the best place to enjoy the cooler breezes while having a beer and pizza.  Located at the back of the SM Mall of Asia,  the Port of Manila and the famous Manila Bay sunset can be viewed from this park.

Linking to Signs, Signs

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Two colors of gumamela/hibiscus I spotted at a parking lot near the Manila Ocean Park.  Hibiscus is a pretty common flower here, we usually take it for granted.  I'm glad somebody took time to plant these flowers in the parking lot.

“Maybe the truth is, there's a little bit of loser in all of us.    Being happy isn't having   everything in your life be perfect.   Maybe it's about stringing together all the little things.”  ~ Ann Brachares


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gone Fishing

I'll be gone for a week for a much needed break and may not have access to the internet.  I'll see you again next week.

Be good!:)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Empty Swings/Monday Mellow Yellows

First sight.
Empty swing
moving back then forth, slow.
Innocent juvenile laughter
legs high in the air
swing in, then out
arms out
embracing the world
creak, squeak
hear the noises of childhood memories
falling leaves like a release of a swing
slowing down--back to today
flying from the seat
empty swing
moving back, then forth, slow.
~ Kiley

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bromeliad or Ginger?

That is the question...
There were no leaves so it's not easy to identify.
I hope somebody can ID this flower.

Isn't that wonderful?  That feeling of not knowing too much about something...incomplete information, endless possibilities.  When you don't know much about something, it's the most exciting sensation.   ~ Erol Ozan

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zingiberaceae/ABC Wednesday

Spiral Ginger, Costus

Z is for Zingiberaceae

The ginger family, also known as Zingiberaceae, are a family of flowering plants consisting of aromatic herbs with creeping horizontal or tuberous rhizomes, comprising of 52 genera and more than 1,300 species.  These aromatic herbs grow in moist areas of the tropics and subtropics, including regions that are seasonably dry.

Many species are important ornamental plants, spices or medicinal plants.  Spices include turmeric, ginger, galangal or Thai ginger, melegueta pepper and cardamom.  Ornamental genera include the shell gingers, torch ginger, ginger lily and summer tulip.


Ginger is one of the ancient medicines in Asia and India, it's healing properties are popular in alternative medicine.  It is particularly useful in treating chronic inflammation.  Ginger does not cause stomach irritation, instead it helps protect and heal the gut.  It helps relieve nausea and destroys a host of viruses.

At home, we love using turmeric (Curcuma longa) in cooking.  I like its peppery flavor and  mild fragrance reminiscent of orange and ginger.  It is commonly used as food coloring and is one of the basic ingredients in curry powder.  It is also used to treat digestive disorders--it improves digestion, reduce gas and bloating.  Turmeric is said to shrink enlarged hepatic ducts, so it is useful to those with liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.  It also relieves menstrual cramps and arthritic pain.

Raw ginger is often used here as a throat lozenge.  Salabat, or ginger tea, is a favorite drink in the Philippines during cold season, especially around Christmastime.  This drink is made from boiling crushed fresh ginger.  A slice of lemon or a twist of calamansi (local lemon) and sugar or honey are usually added to Salabat.  It soothes sore throat, eases cold symptoms and stomach aches.  Powdered salabat is now available commercially.

The ornamental gingers are beautiful and this Red Cone Ginger flower is one of my favorite.  I have known this flower since I was very young.  My grandmother had a bunch of Red Cone Gingers around her garden, especially near the well that was the neighborhood's water source since the 1930's. The moist area around the well was a perfect habitat for gingers.

Red Cone Ginger, Alpinia purpurata

Linking to ABC Wednesday

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Red Hibiscus-double

It is courage, courage, courage, that raises the blood of life to crimson splendor.  
Live bravely and present a brave front to adversity.
~ Horace

Linking to Floral Friday Fotos

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yogurt/ABC Wednesday

Y is for Yogurt

Growing up, I never like milk.  Probably because I was "forced" to drink fresh milk as a child when I wanted soda.  My father who advocated milk-drinking in the family tried to give us  choices--from canned fresh milk to soya milk, chocolate-flavored milk, Yakult, etc.  My siblings grew up to be milk drinkers, I am not.  And after a few incidents with milk products, I believe I am  lactose-intolerant.

When yogurt became the craze of dieters in the office, I tried it, too, but later declared that the taste was disgusting!  But I do like yogurt when used as salad dressing or as a condiment.  

Yogurt or yoghurt is a dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation of milk.  The bacteria used to make yogurt are known as "yogurt cultures". Fermentation of lactose by these bacteria produces lactic acid, which acts on milk protein to give yogurt its texture and its characteristic tang.  Cow's milk is commonly used worldwide to make yogurt, but milk in water buffalo, goats, ewes, mares, camels and yaks is also used in various parts of the world.

Dairy yogurt is produced using a culture of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus bacteria. Other lactobacilli and bifidobacteria are also sometimes added during or after culturing yogurt.

I read about the health benefits of yogurt and have been trying to find a flavor that I'd like.  I buy mango or blueberry flavored yogurt and just close my eyes to swallow each tablespoon.  Until I "discovered" frozen yogurt!

Frozen yogurt has the consistency of ice cream, and the flavors mask the tartness of yogurt.  Now, it has become my favorite snack and dessert.  I usually add some toppings like fresh fruits, cherries, nuts (almond flakes, macadamia), and choco-coated crunchies.

Yogurt has been around for centuries.  Records in ancient cultures of India and Iran, yogurt was mentioned by 500 BCE.  A combination of yogurt and honey was considered "food for the gods" in ancient India.  Medieval Turks used yogurt as written in 11th century literature.  Before the turn of the century, yogurt was a staple in diets of people in the Russian Empire, western Asia, eastern and central Europe and India.  18th century doctors believed that regular consumption of yogurt was responsible for the unusually long lifespan of Bulgarian peasants.

Yogurt is marketed as a health food.  It is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.  It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk.  Lactose-intolerant individuals can sometimes tolerate yogurt better than other dairy products, because the lactose in the milk is converted to glocuse and galactose, and partially fermented to lactic acid, by the bacterial culture.

Yogurt containing live cultures has been found effective in a randomized trial at preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea.  Yogurt contains varying amounts of fat. There is non-fat (0% fat), low-fat (usually 2% fat) and plain or whole milk yogurt (4% fat).  A study published in the International Journal of Obesity also found that the consumption of low-fat yogurt can promote weight loss, especially due to the calcium in the yogurt. Source 

Linking to ABC Wednesday