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.

27 July 2013

Philippine Tree of the Month: Rambutan


 I purposely waited to blog about this until now that it is fruiting! The Rambután (Nephelium lappaceum) is a true Southeast Asian native, and grows indigenous in the Philippines especially in the South. Now, it is widely cultivated especially in our Makiling-Malarayat-Banahaw triangle. It is a small tree that looks simple and unassuming until it fruits once the rainy season starts (left) and will turn flaming red come September. It is related to more popular fruits, the lychee and the less known lóngan.
We have mature, fruiting trees already that have been planted even before we procured the farm. We also added three around the gardens largely because of its attractively-red, and intensely tropical-looking fruits.

21 July 2013

A New, Old Dish

It's been some weeks and we still haven't had our fill enjoying a dish; ginataáng santól (above), since our santól trees (Sandoricum koetjape) have been loaded with fruit. It's a dish more traditionally identified with Bícol than Batángas, and is one you'll hardly come across served in restaurants or even parties. This is true, rustic, home-cooked farm-to-table dish at its best.

It's actually very simple to make. First, you peel off the skin and then grate the pulpy flesh, which you will saute and eventually add gata (coconut cream) and chilis. That simple! And also, cook plenty of rice!

13 July 2013

Potted Ferns

It's been more than a year since we started propagating ferns in pots, and now we have extremely satisfying results. In this case, we focused on two polypodium types: a medium-sized and light frond (above & right), and a much-larger and heavier frond (topmost). The lighter one, we opted to let grow on a bucket shaped terra-cotta pot (right), which looks in proportion to its slender and lightweight appearance. Just a few more months and the fern will fill the entire pot, giving it a lush and full look.