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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cherry blossoms on a sidewalk floor tile in Tsuchiura
One of the roadside poster stand on cherry tree varieties
Another cherry tree variety in this stand
Outside this school in Taito-ko was where I spotted those cherry tree poster stands during my morning run
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pounding the hard husk to extract the edible kernel
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.
Very easy to propagate, just cut and plant. It will then root. See the tiny bees in the yellow ones?