Monday, March 26, 2012

Kapa de Elepante!

The Amarela kapa de leon
The large shield fronds
Architect Chi Victorino as scale reference
Quick Post: This kapa de leon or Platycerium grande was planted in Amarela Boutique Hotel in Panglao about 4 years ago. It was mounted about 10 feet above ground on the branches of the common an-an tree (balinghasai or Buchanania sp.) above a massing of manan-aw (Asplenium musifolium and nidus).  Back then it was only about a couple of feet across in diameter.  Now its pendulous antler-like fronds has almost reached soil grade. It has become really huge that we nicknamed it 'kapa de elepante'.

I wonder how big the wild grand staghorn fern or Platycerium grande specimens grow in their native habitat in Mindanao. Though P. grande is not native in Bohol, plants have become a common fixture in a lot of household gardens here. The one in Amarela has even grown accustomed to the very hot but humid weather of the Panglao coastal area.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This Bohol House that Chicken Built

Payag Restaurant in Tagbilaran
The dining hall
Entry to AC'd room
Cozy chicken corner
I am on my nth time here in Bohol and on my first hour I find myself back at Jo's Inato which is now called Payag Restaurant. It was in 2007 when I last visited the place and it is different from the rustic resto I could remember.  It was also the first time for me to eat at the second floor, where apparently they have an al fresco  balcony and an airconditioned dining area. I am not sure if this area was already existing when I first visited.  We chose to sit inside the airconditioned room where you are reminded that the house specilaty is of course... chicken.
Chicken novelties
A basket of eggs lamp
More chicken inspiration...
Jo's Inato still serves the Boholano version of the chicken inasal and in over 5 years of absence, not much has changed with the taste. We also ordered their fish kinilaw with chicharon bits... yum!  The main difference dining then and now, the experience was capped immersing myself to the dining area's overwhelming collection of chicken novelties like figurines, paintings, plates, statues, toys, etc, probably the personal collection of the owner. I spent more time enjoying the chicken eye candy than the chicken dish.  But my appetite was still satisfied by the paa ng manok that I ordered. Tummy-filling and heartwarming...check!   
...and more chicken!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This Cinnamon Bites the Dust

Dried up cinnamon
Quick Post: I was saddened to find this Cinnamon microphylla dried up and dead at the MSI.  I gave this seedling to Sir Ed Gomez about 4 years ago. I brought it home from William Granert's nursery in the Bohol Biodiversity Center.  Sir Ed said he doesn't know how and why the small tree died especially that most of the adjacent trees and plants are alive and well.  Saw a similar phenomenon happen about 2 years ago when the katmon in NAPWC dried up because of the hot summer weather.  Let us keep our fingers crossed that we will not experience extreme dry season this year.     

The March Tree Walk

We even had a mascot.
The March tree walkers
I was asked by Cel Tungol to conduct a tree walk for a few birdwatchers. I could only do it on March 18 so even if there were only a few attendees, we pushed through with the walk. Reason: it is already the last leg of a lot of trees' flowering season.  If we do it in April, we will miss the chance spotting the blooms of some of these interesting native trees.  We did manage to get a glimpse of them before they to fall or turn into fruits. But we could do the walk again sometime in April or June, when the fruits have developed.

Flowering Crateva
On our route, we found kalumpit or Terminalia microcarpa at the back of the main library in flower. We also chanced upon the sole salingbobog or Crateva religiosa also in flower.  The lagoon salingbobog is known to be 'married' to a kalios or Streblus asper.  The kalios was however cut down to its branch base, to give better chance to the Crateva to survive.   Hernandia ovigera and Barringtonia asiatica was also blooming in Marine Science Institute. Same as pili or Canarium ovatum in University Avenue.

Fruits and flowers of the katmon
Another found to be in flower is the katmon or Dillenia philippinensis in the old College of Engineering building or Melchor Hall.  Not only was it bearing blooms, it was already carrying a bounty of fruits awaiting to ripen. In a few weeks time I would be making the trip back to collect fruits for sinigang, and of course seeds for propagation.  I will hopefully see more people in the walk come the fruiting season.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Difficult Dendrobium

D. taurinum flowers
The flowering specimen
Flower detail
Quick Post: About a month ago I found the longest spray of my D. taurinum having a flower spike. Today the spike finally opened up to reveal the nice white and dark purple blooms. The plant is also bringing out new shoots which hopefully would also grow to full size. 

I was told that one of the more challenging Dendrobium orchids to flower in Manila is D. taurinum.  It would require a dry but humid area.  I was warned that it won't probably flower here but I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pinoy Urban Sketching in the Pasig River

Pasig River scene
Urban Sketchers Phils banner
Sketching in progress
Janeil doing his talk
I have been lurking around for more than a year in I even contemplated on doing a sketching blog because of it. But it was only recently that I learned that the group has a local affiliate which is Urban Sketchers Philippines.  I joined their Facebook page and this morning I sketched with them over at the Pasig River. Met the group's  forerunners including Buzz Walker, Janeil Arlegui, Eileen, Nina, Solo and some others. They all have impressive sketchbooks with equally exciting sketches which they displayed in the Travel Fair in Rockwell tent.

The finished sketches
We spent about two hours sketching at the river waterfront of Rockwell.  Note: urban sketching, as Janeil, defined it in his talk, would entail a person drawing a live subject, not from a picture. You would have to finish the drawing quickly before the subject changes its position - so you would have to learn to sketch fast. That also meant we had to finish all our Pasig River drawings in one sitting.  I chose a comfortable spot and sketched 2 black and white drawings of the river scenes in the 2 hours. But the urban sketch experts drew more and even watercolor-rendered them.  They really have fast hands.
Urban sketchers' sketchbooks
Nina quick sketching
After the Pasig sketching session, I spent a few more hours exchanging sketching stories and anecdotes with the members over at the Rockwell tent.  They generously shared their experiences, tips and secrets in drawing.  It was a swell  day to spend with people who share the same passion for sketching. Hope I could join more of their activities in the future.  I hope to see more of the Philippines with them, one drawing at a time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Nice New Little Orchid

Nice specimen of Ascocentrum auranticum
Flower detail
The Flora Filipina is about to end and of course it won't be complete without me getting an exciting plant.  I got this wee little orchid with delicate bright orange flowers.  Orchid collector Ernie Alvaran said it is Ascocentrum aurantiacum though the seller called it another name. Good thing old reliable Ernie was around to straighten out the mistake. Ernie said that A. aurantiacum is a little bit harder to rear and flower in Metro Manila but it is possible and I am up for the challenge!  

Sunday, March 4, 2012

From the Tree to the Table

Himbabao tree
Alukon still on tree
I was with Anthony Arbias and Danny Balete form PNPCSI and Mam Marlen from DENR yesterday.  We visited a farm house over at Pangasinan and was given a tour of the different native trees growing around the lot.  At one point we passed by the Ilocano popular tree himbabao which was in bloom with its elongated flowers. We commented that the flowers, called alukon, would be nice to use for dinengdeng.

In our pinakbet
At lunch time, we found the flowers already on our plate, cooked not in dinengdeng but in pinakbet.  Fresh pick from the tree became a very nice vegetable dish for us to enjoy. Himbabao is Broussonetia luzonica and it will be in bloom this summer.  So our Ilocano friends and vegetable lovers should watch out for them in their suki market vendors.