Call it climate change, abuse of environment, etc, etc, but the dry season this year has been really so terrible. This is the first time Metro Manila registered 38°C and the highlands of the Cordilleras also complained of hot temperatures. It is fuming hot when you happen to go out at 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Temperature plus humidity really makes you icky and feel sick. Office workers like us stay inside the buildings the whole day and minimize any errands to the banks or whatever outside.
Plants in the province, as in our farm, also suffered enormously. We have eight (8) citrus trees which already fruited the last 2 to 3 years. Three of them seem dying, with leaves rolling and then turning yellow. They are the legacy of my late father who was not able to see the fruits of his labor. We so love these trees as they have lots of fruits last December, that we took turns to climb them to pick the fruits. It is a bit difficult but i always do it as a good form of exercise for my limbs. The feet got hurt a bit, but the activity is quite stress relieving.
Above are the trees in December when they have plenty of fruits versus the bottom right today as they suffer from drought, bottom left are the fruits in December
The lanzones trees (bottom left), Lansium domesticum, also succumbed. Three trees died with all the leaves completely gone. Other avocados died as well, some have other branches still alive but there are those which died totally. (avocado trees not shown here).
above right shows Cymbidium orchids, which almost died completely. It is attached to a lanzones trunk which also suffered severe drought
It is only the santol (Sandoricum koetjape), we have three trees, which ignored the heat. I even bought fruit fly attractants so the fruits will ripen fully and might be sold later.
However, it looks like that promise will not be realized. Birds suffered famine as well. They immediately cut open the santol fruits as they start to turn yellow. The fruits fell to the ground and eaten by other insects in the food chain.
Even the guyabano or soursoup, Anona muricata, is not spared. Look at the big ants which made their nests on the bundled leaves. Even the unopened flowers are guarded and maybe eaten when it started to open.
The fruit at left is just spared because the ants did not make their nests on this tree. We were able to get a few fruits from this tree. Haaaay, we just content ourselves with the leftovers.
Let us now rejoice as the rain started to arrive. We already have a few afternoons of rain showers. It might however take sometime for the dehydrated plants to recover, if ever they will still be resuscitated.
Gulugod Baboy is the local term for pig's back. It suggests that the mountain is not that big. This mountain is located in my municipality but i went there last when i was in Grade 4. With the advent of blogging, facebook, etc I realized that many people even from the cities like Metro Manila go there during holidays, especially during Easter. Maybe it is a good practice for mountain climbing beginners, as there are different trails going to the peak. The area looks like a toungue protruding from the mainland, or a peninsula-like structure, with the sea around it except at the base of the "toungue". Resorts and scuba diving establishments abound at the foot of the mountain along the beaches. Its waters are famous for marine biodiversity and ecoparks. It is 3-4 hours by car from Manila and will be shorter when the newly constructed extension of the South Luzon Expressway will be opened.
After decades since my first visit, I went there again for two consecutive Saturdays. The first was before sunset with my 11 yr-old nephew, the 2nd was sunrise with my sister, same nephew and our old dog, Jopet. When i was a kid there were still tall grasses, that prevent me from seeing the view beyond. We still have to part the weeds so we can get through. Today, it is overly grazed by cattle that at summertime it looks like a bald head.
I will share with you my finds. This can be more meaningful for people here who can relate to our environment and climate. But this can also be new or unusual to people of the temperate climates, whose vegetation or environments are totally different from ours.
I. The Afternoon Visit:
eastward overlooking the Batangas Bay, Batangas City is at the other side of the bay
Peak 1 or Pinagbanderahan or Tore (meaning 'where the flag was raised' or the Tower)
Peak 3, Summit the highest peak, the ridge going there is the back of the pig where it got its name
Calatagan Bay on the West side, famous for scuba diving, snorkelling, is also site for windsurfing when waters are rough
II. The Morning Visit
Allen exploring a more difficult way to the top! This i cannot try with him.
On view are Maricaban and Isla Sombrero Islands, while at the background is tip of Mindoro Island province. Campers getting ready to go home
The background peak is Mt Makulot in Cuenca, Batangas
the same Mt Makulot
I dedicate this post to my childhood playmate, Ligaya (meaning Joy or Happiness), who migrated to Miami, Florida years ago! We just found each other again via the www lately and renewing our bond by reminiscing our ways when we were children. I am sure she missed our place very much, and this will put some water into her eyes!
Thanks to A Southern Daydreamer for hosting the Outdoor Wednesday here:
Summer in the Philippines is not complete without these blooms, and that is March to May. Many portions of the highways are lined with this tree and the travellers are surely delighted by its warm colors. Some highways even have them on both sides that the older canopies touch above the motorists. Passing inside these tunnel-shaped canopies you will feel very much welcome, as if you are already experiencing the hospitality of the Filipinos, which we are known for.
The term fire tree connotes a lot of meanings, which really fits it when in bloom. It is also called caballero in local dialect, which also have other meanings like gallantry, hospitality, openness, true friend. The older common name in English in other parts of the world is Royal Poinciana, but we will understand each other better by its binomial name, Delonix regia. It is a tree legume in the Fabaceae family. Some of its common names in other countries languanges are HERE. It has many uses, one of which is nectar source for bees. Other economic uses are listed also in the above link.
Above shows the big pods which contain the seeds. The pods and the leaves are typical of legumes.
At the back of the Biotechnology Center in University of the Philippines Los Baños
a young tree near the entrance of the International Rice Research Institute
IRRI is at the foot of Mt Makiling and the Mt Banahaw is nearby.
Post Script: I would also like to link this to Helen's My Rustic Bajan Garden in Barbados, who posted the same Fire Tree later today. That only strengthened the fact that this is a real Summer Tree. It also lined the streets in their area.
You are welcome to my blog. Your comments, suggestions and/or advice are surely appreciated. I am from the Philippines, a hot tropical climate, and this blog is a mixture of travels, photos and a lot more from here and abroad. I hope you enjoy it.