Friday, April 30, 2010

Beautiful find in Banaue mountains

Have you observed that plants produce flowers and fruits if threatened to die?

Somehow plants have the tendency to be like that. Maybe that is nature's defense to propagate the species. Try to observe some dying trees, either diseased or blown by winds or bark bruised severely. They will try to flower and fruit profusely to save its line. That's why "survival of the fittest" is suited to them perfectly.

In our recent backpack trekking photography sessions to the boondocks, i found flowers without leaves at all. The plant is anchored to a dried trunk of tree fern for support, intentionally placed there by the owner. It has wonderful flowers, which i've seen for the first time. Even if Dendrobium orchids are very common in the Philippines, i haven't seen this species. Dendrobiums flower all year round even if the plants seem like dying, but of course they would be more prolific if cared for. Maybe this variety or species thrive only in lower temperatures, so found only in the highlands of the Cordilleras. But to tell you the truth, i have not consulted any orchid books of the Philippines yet, because i want to be in time with Noel's site, The Hot, Loud theme. And because this orchid badly needs nutrients to grow some leaves, it needs fertilization. So i will aptly join this to Tootsie's Fertilizer Friday. And because i don't have much time to post these days, i also just linked it to Today's Flowers.

I did not intend to get a sample plant because it might die in the lowlands. I will research about it first or ask some authorities before intending to have one. Does any one of you know this, please help me identify it. Thank you.

You can also open Noel's site at

Of course Tootsie's site is at

Lastly, because i don't have much time posting now, i linked this also to Todays Flowers at

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ornamental Banana for Wordless Wednesday

Musa ornata
aka ornamental banana

For details please visit Wikipedia at

To join or view other Wordless Wednesday posts please visit HERE

Monday, April 26, 2010

An Escape from Lowland Heat!

My joining a local Backpack Photography 101 class is not only an escape from the lowland heat of the city. It was not even just to learn photography basics with people i haven't even met. It was a lot of things; and a response to the urging of following some intuition. I will not be telling you about the intuition, hehe, but i will share with you some photos of the area.

The Backpack Photography 101 Workshop is an exploratory offer of two male travel photographers for learning basic photography in a natural setting. This first group was in Banaue, Ifugao Province in the Cordillera Mountains. All nine of us participants are females.

Banaue, Ifugao province is nine hours by bus from Manila. It is famous for the Banaue Rice Terraces, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is known to be 2,000 to 6,000 years old. Aside from the Banaue Rice terraces there are 4 other similar terraces; the Batad, Mayoyao, Hapao and Kiangan rice terraces. We were able to trek the rice terraces in Hapao.  Other terraces sites were just viewed from the view deck along the highway.
Banaue Ethnic Village Resort, at the middle of the mountain, where we stayed for 3 nights

The newly evolved traditional Ifugao hut, where we slept for the night, already with hot water and bath!

The boat pond near the swimming pool, water is not difficult in the area of the resort.  Most of us wake up early each morning to savor the cold and take advantage of the nice shooting conditions, like the two photos below.

A portion of the terraces viewed from the viewdeck.

A bigger view of that same terraces

We were shown the traditional dance of the Ifugaos for different events,  the rituals before killing animals for food, and showed the native style of cooking it, while the group had fun in shooting every angle they feel nice for the viewfinder!
The Hapao area we were able to trek and experience. This is comparatively not the very vertical terraces.
We exchanged places in riding the top load for better views and the delightful experience of doing it for the first time. We saw lots of foreigners doing the same. The right photo shows the cracking rice fields due to water shortage in Hapao.

Not only were we able to scape the city heat, we were able to experience a lot of things including photography, understand better the cultural heritage of the Ifugaos and the rice terraces, but also bonded with newly found friends.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Philippine Hoya

Hoya or wax plant is a very sturdy vine commonly associated with other trees and shrubs. They are sturdy as they survive even without attention.  Sixty one (61) of them are already identified and endemic to the Philippines. But many species are still in the wild unidentified. Many of them are already with foreign collectors and breeders. In the country however, they are not very familiar. Dr. Monina Siar of the University of the Philippines has been famously associated with hoyas and helping world scientists to collect, identify, propagate, and breed them. She has already identified nine of them and her name has already been sufixed to some, as in Hoya siariae.

According to her, the top five most expensive Hoyas today are H. imperialis ($25-75), H. paziae ($15-20), H. bicolor ($12-25), H. buotii ($12-25), and H. siariae ($12-25) (source: BAR Digest 2007). All of them are native to the Philippines.

I quickly photographed some of the blooming ones from her collection at the Institute of Plant Breeding, UPLB. She even gave me one plant to take home,  the H. diversifolia, unfortunately does not have photo here.

unopened flowers

I would like to post this to

  Todays Flowers

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