Category Archives: Plant

Bituing Marikit

A shrub with star-studded inflorescence

I’ve seen this shrub in our neighborhood but I only learned its name–bituing marikit–when we visited Cape San Agustin in Governor Generoso.

Enclosed Tree

An enclosed tree at Davao City Hall

Bitoon

Bitoon tree is quite common along seashores and I always mistake it for talisay tree because of its leaves. In Samal Island, I saw people gather several leaves, presumably to be used as folk medicine.

One could also note that not all trees would shed pretty and relatively big flowers with lots of dark pink stamens that you won’t be able to resist in picking them up.

Bougainvillea

Binondo

Makati

Fire Extinguisher Tree

Instead of cutting the trees, this restaurant in Bacolod use them as a place to mount fire extinguisher.

Potted Pond 

One peculiar thing about Chiang Mai shops is the presence of bowl ponds at their frontage. Whenever we walk by each we try to scrutinize the water lily and what type of tiny fish that dwells in it. Yes there are tiny fish so mosquitoes  will not use it for breeding.


Planted By Royalties

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Toog

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Before concrete utility poles like power poles, trunk of the Toog trees were used as they are straight, tall and hard. This I learned by hiking with someone who is a forestry graduate.

Malunggay

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Malunggay tree is a backyard regular (or front yard) in Philippine homes

Malunggay tree is my second most favorite tree on earth. The more you cut its branches, the more it will flourish, and thus will always remain reachable for easy harvesting. I once mentioned to my cooking class teacher in Yogyakarta about malunggay leaves as an everyday food of Filipino masses. She chuckled. According to her, Indonesians regard kelor (Indonesian word for malunggay) as a last resort food, like when one is too poor to procure other kinds of vegetables. When I heard that, I chuckled.

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Frequent pruning produce more branches

Straw Covered Tree Trunks

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Some trees needed protection from the frosty weather so they wear straw coats. In Korea, you’ll come across a lot of trees in winter straw clothing.

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Eulalia

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Talahib is romantic

It is a peculiarity of Korea to regard the talahib as attraction and photography backdrop. And in this winter season, dead grasses exude its own kind of collective beauty.

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Art installations among the talahib as photography backdrop

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The beauty of dead grasses

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It says here there’s even a festival for the talahib

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Lily Pads

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Large lily pads at Taipei Zoo

Pulag Plant Curiosities

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Plenty of sightings of this plant along the trail in the mossy forest of Mt Pulag

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Same plant as above

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Mt Pulag's dwarf bamboo

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Clusters of dwarf bamboo grasses at the summit

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The grass in Mt Pulag's grassland area apart from the dwarf bamboo grasses

Sakura

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I have never heard of any other culture that give that much reverence to a certain flower, plant, or tree like how the Japanese adored the cherry trees and its blooms. Only in Japan where viewing of a certain flower is being done countrywide.  They even coined a term for it – hanami. As far as I know, viewing of cherry blossoms in certain spots of other countries was introduced, if not influenced by the Japanese.

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Appreciation of the cherry blossoms is like a festival that entails a picnic, party or a quiet reflection of its positive symbolic meaning. Only in Japan where the blooming forecast of cherry trees is a major news item. That is how much they look forward to its annual beauty, and for it to be short-lived makes the level of anticipation very high. Moreover, their love for cherry blossoms is deep enough for it to be a constant subject in poetry, arts, food, and in almost every aspect of their lives. They even regard it as valuable enough to be offered as gift to other nations, a national pride. With this, I can never doubt the significance of the cherry tree to them.

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The Japanese love for their cherry blossoms spread to visitors of their country

I’m inclined to think that the Japanese are deep people. Who would have thought of planting cherry trees in great numbers at most parks, temples, and public roads as part of urban planning. The foresight to beautify the cities at spring because everybody feels so much joy viewing the cherry blossoms makes them quite a profound culture.

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Cherry blossoms on a sidewalk floor tile in Tsuchiura

 

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One of the roadside poster stand on cherry tree varieties

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Another cherry tree variety in this stand

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Outside this school in Taito-ko was where I spotted those cherry tree poster stands during my morning run

Unintentional Greenery

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Not that one…the one above that grows out of the wall

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A tree growing out from a crack

Ondeh-Ondeh

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Ondeh-ondeh c/o Mr Ibrahim's hospitality at his traditional house in Kampung Morten

Ondeh-ondeh is one of the many variations of kuih (confection) in Malaysia. Made from glutinous rice flour, mashed sweet potato and tapioca flour, then filled with palm sugar, and covered in desiccated coconut. It’s their pichi-pichi in looks and taste, minus the sweet burst of palm sugar at the core which I’m so fond about the ondeh-ondeh. See, even the name repetition of Filipino kakanin pichi-pichi is another similarity to the kuih.

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Fallen fruits of Melaka tree

Pertaining to the kuih’s green color and round shape, there’s a reason for that, which made it distinctly Melakan.

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I'm pretending to be Parameswara looking up at this Melaka tree

Notably, ondeh-ondeh’s other name is Buah Melaka (translated as Melaka Fruit). So the kuih got its name and appearance from Melaka fruit like how the Melaka State got its name from Melaka tree.

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My host says Melaka fruit is not edible

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Ondeh-ondeh's ad somewhere at Jonker street

Talisay

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Talisay

Apart from the coconut tree, talisay is very common in the beaches and islands in the country. Not only that, talisay is everywhere inland and abundant in the cities. I started counting them inside the village in one of my runs last week.

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Talisay fruit

The fruit of talisay is green and hard and will turn dark brown when ripe. I’ve seen banca builders and local kids snacking on them. They’d pound the fruit with rock to separate the husk and eat right away the kernel.

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Brown when ripe

UPLB Research, Development and Extension has developed a technology in processing talisay fruit as table nuts. According to their description, the product is crispy and almond-like in flavor. For your information, the status of the patent is public domain.

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Evidence of talisay eating session

Meanwhile, I shall mentally tally the talisay trees along the path of my 7 kilometer run loop inside the village. Afterwards, double check my numbers in the succeeding loop.

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Pounding the hard husk to extract the edible kernel

Lantana

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Lantana beside the rice paddies in Batad rice terraces

A flower that grows in the wild, (like most flowers in the wilderness) is more beautiful than those in well tended gardens.

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Lantana in Malapascua Island, Northern Cebu

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Closer look of a cluster of tiny flowers

Golasiman

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Golasiman shows its beauty and generosity a few hours each day in its happiest time - when the sun is up . See the tiny bee? He too is happy

Everyday, the flowers will open when the sun is up. A signal for the tiny bees to feed and a pretty sign for me to leave for the office. A few hours  afterwards, the flowers will close while the plant continues to worship the sun throughout the day.

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Very easy to propagate, just cut and plant. It will then root. See the tiny bees in the yellow ones?

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A closer look of the flower and its edible leaves

Hiking Snapshots: Mudspring

Snapshots of the hike towards a mud spring in Makiling forest.

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Starts with a paved road

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About 8 km of roundtrip Mudspring hiking

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Apart from a class group of UP Los Baños students, I've seen foreigners in pairs only and few mountaineers. Hiking isn't a popular pastime among Filipinos in general

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It may appear quiet in the photo but it's not. All kinds of forest critter sounds you'll hear, some unidentified. Sort of forest babel

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Off from the main trail, this one leads to the mud spring

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Mudspring - a boiling mud pool

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A defeated sole in this type of terrain. Not just any sole but always a Nike sole

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Unidentified tree seeds

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Designed to fly and propagate

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One can squeeze in a play or an upper body workout while hiking by doing the Tarzan swing

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