The panorama on the sunrise side: an awesome view of Malarayat

The quiet panorama on the sunrise side of the farm: an awesome view of Mount Malaráyat and the river below the gap.

23 February 2013

An Assortment of Orchids

A lot of friends have been giving me orchids for the last months and we've slowly been increasing our variety. I'm no expert in it, and in fact, we hardly take care of them; at least not in the way I hear how others fuss no end about their orchids.

The beautifully-hued flowers on the left is a Dove Orchid (Dendrobium), practically a maintenance-free plant that generously flowers every so often.

 The Scorpion Orchid (Arachnis, above left) are hardy orchids whose flowers last long while the stunning purple Vanda (above right) is just the first among the new type that we are collecting.

17 February 2013


Rather taken for granted, largely due to its profusion are these fairly common bromeliads, a small Neoregelia (above) and a Bilbergia (left). But they're very attractive nevertheless, and it's just a matter of blocking them in a garden to be fully appreciated.

And they're vividly red this Valentine weekend! Red happens to be my favorite color, and I'm partial to anything in this blazing hue. The Neoregelia above blushes at the center when it is fully mature and flowers, while the Bilbergia shoots up a brightly-colored bract before it finally wilts and produces young.

16 February 2013

Philippine Tree of the Month: Alawihaw

Now emerging taller than our palms is a native dipterocarp called Alawíhaw (sp. Alawíhao?), whose scientific name I have yet to find. I chanced on this seedling only around three years ago, when I did not even know yet the importance of native trees. At the Manila Seedling Bank, I was talking to a staff member, inventorizing through their peripheral stocks I may not yet have. He pointed out this lone seedling, coyly telling me that this is a native tree, sounding rather deprecating yet I perceived he meant it as a practical and prudent choice.

Some months later, I became more aware of the importance of promoting our native flora, and I'm glad my Alawihaw's had a headstart.

09 February 2013


One of the first trees I got acquainted to when we started the farm years back was this tree planted near the road. When we started clearing the property, I gave clear instructions not to cut down any tree so we can clearly see what was in there. I planned around the trees to be as unobtrusive as I can but consequently, there were some small ones that had to be sacrificed to make way and clear some areas.

Eventually, we trimmed this Anonas (Annona reticulata) and incorporated it into the gardenscape. It's a generous tree; it shades the plants around it and consistently gives us the most delicious fruits.

Like a lot of people, I did not know of this tree and fruit until I came here. I know about the street named after it, and I even have a friend surnamed Anonas. But I had no clue it is a cousin of the Atis (Annona squamosa), and is actually bigger, fleshier, and creamier.

And when it is fully ripe, its skin turn an attractively pale red orange (below, foreground). It's refreshing to eat it chilled, and must be good to make into a shake.