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.

24 September 2013

Around Lipa: Cafe de Lipa

Now this is far more homegrown and speaks volumes of the city's rich coffee heritage. It's refreshing to see there is a brave local businessman who's willing to take the risk and measure up to imported coffee chains now altering Lipa's cityscape. They proudly call themselves a Filipino Coffee Company, and rightfully capitalizes its flagship products on the local favorite, the Baráko.

You'll find it in a free-standing coffee shop right outside Robinson's (ironically behind Starbucks), in SM City, in the Petron Station along Star Tollway, and a pilot branch in Metro Manila; in Market! Market! in Bonifacio Global City.

21 September 2013

Around Lipa: Coffee Shop Chains in Coffee Country

Nothing is more paradoxical and strangely inorganic than alien coffee chains sprouting around downtown Lipa. In a city whose heritage is strongly identified with coffee farming, trade and export, it is practically sacrilegious to be promoting "Kona" and "Java" blends or beans grown in Guatemala or Bolivia within hearing distance of the cathedral's bells.

Figaro (left) is not that bad; after all, it is a locally-owned chain and kudos to them for giving imported brands a run for its money. But still, it's sad to see that our own local coffee, as it is, is actually far more superior, bean for bean, than most that are popular around the world. Local coffee is just not packaged and marketed creatively, and the industry has absolutely no government support.

25 August 2013

Cassava Suman

It's our first time to attempt making súman from our cassava (and banana leaves) and it  turned out to be really good! We're always on the look-out for any recipe that would utilize our own homegrown produce. We've made cassava cake plenty of times, but we only thought of making suman just now. It's hard to keep the sizes consistently uniform though, as it's not as shape-able as sticky rice.

03 August 2013

Fixing the Roof

It's been more than four years since we constructed the cabaňa and the natural anáhaw roofing is starting to show wear and tear. A small portion on one side, where a langka tree sheds its leaves on, has rotted faster than the rest.

We do not have the existing, mature harábas variety but we do have young trees that our caretaker, Marvin harvested some leaves from (left). Instead of going to the hardware or a home depot to replace a roof, we instead go to the garden!

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.