Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Falling Softness

All of these photos are shots from natural landscapes in natural setting and unaltered tropical forest atmosphere, and are straight out of the camera. Our small adventure started at 3:00 am when we left the house to the airport to catch an early morning flight to an island south of the main island of Luzon in the Philippines. We took a plane, a boat through unwelcoming current and big waves, then a jeepney circuitously maneuvering undulating roads, then hiked a few meters before going down hundreds of steps, 365 steps to be exact, just to reach some falls some of which look like these. The bigger falls i already posted in a previous post ( HERE). 

Another area in another province in another island tried to use some of their water resources in making picnic areas. They channeled the water to more comfortable and friendly setting like the pool below. Children can now use the slide and the pool and play in nearby clearings.

You be the judge, will you take a few days leave and do what we did? I am somehow consoled when we saw some foreigners also going to the falls. They came from farther distances more than us, wherever they came from. And which among the photos you like most?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Reflecting on my reflections and my shadow

Banaue Ethnic Village, Banaue, Philippines

The last shadow photo is a big pond full of Azolla. These are tiny nitrogenous plants floating on the water surface, very rich in protein and used as feeds or decomposed to organic fertilizers. ( I specifically described this because a commenter felt it is rather hot and dry, which actually is the opposite of the actual setting). If not described, it really looks like gravels.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reproductive Rituals

After the first good soaking rain at the start of the rainy season, especially in areas with distinct dry season like ours, there are common sights at night, which are usually unwanted in most households. This is the reproduction rituals of termites around  light sources. These days these termites swarm around the lighted electric bulbs. The group of termites doing this is called the “alates” or the winged caste, also known as reproductive caste. In times like these, we put off all the light bulbs inside the house and leave a lighted bulb open at the terrace, so all of them converge there.

I am fascinated in observing them, performing their courtship rituals around the light bulb, after landing on the floor most of them do a very fast pirouette with all the wings extended. I wonder what that means! When their wings close again, they find partners and sometimes the partners do the pirouette again, clinging on each other through their opposite ends, inverted position. Few minutes later, they walk on the floor with one following another in tandem. Many pairs simultaneously do this 'long walks' on the floor, after which they shed the wings and walk wherever, looking for seclusion. References said they are already fertilized and will look for the nest for their next colony. I wonder if those which left still with their wings on did not find their partners. Or maybe their potential partners drowned in my water pool.


Above left: still finding for mates; Above right: pirouetting partners

Some cultures like countries in Africa and some Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia eat these termites. It is a good source of protein especially during food shortage. In my case, I put a big basin of water under the light bulb and let them fall there. 

 other entities in the household got curious too

Another one joined in!

they tried eating them, one at the left already feasting on its harvest, one at the right followed 

the one at the left returned, they liked it fresh, very fresh!

 my harvest will be for the chicken tomorrow morning, i wonder if they like it too

other onlookers got their share too, this time the tiny ants...

Termites destroy our wooden structures in the house. We dont like them, so i tried my best to lessen their population. I don't think I altered or spoiled the drama of the food chain. I just tampered it a bit!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday Again

It is my regular schedule to go home to the province during weekends, sometimes every other week or at the least is once a month. Long weekends are wonderful allowing me to breath fresh air longer. The big city air, where i am staying most of the time is already so heavy with air pollutants. It is a public knowledge that pollutants make sunsets more beautiful, but definitely it is not good for my lungs. I wont trade in the fresh air for magical sunsets, for whatever magic they might seem like.

I can always go back to our old home for these sunsets too, and sunrises as well.  Since we are in the uplands, it is overlooking a bay, where the sunrises are. These photos are in that direction, the east, so why are the sunset colors there! I call this phenomenon as anti-sunset. I can view sunset photos in the east! Isn't that GREAT!

 Our west has a range, actually just a hill but it can still cover much of the sunset colors. They are not as spectacular as when the horizon is fully visible. The following photos are shot at this area, the WEST, at the top of the trees.

...but this is also from the EAST, a waxing moon that same afternoon, shot after most of the bright colors faded.  

Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solids and Liquids

We have been posting a lot of flowers and plants, seasons, birds and butterflies. Maybe we should rest our eyes and minds for a while. Come let's go swimming, beach hopping, or just tide watching. Most of the time we post water with sunrises or sunsets, but have we posted the sea as is?

Our country is an archipelago, which means we have a lot of islands; that is at least 7,100 islands. That means thousands and thousands of beaches, waters, cliffs, and rocks. That also means diving spots, marine sanctuaries, marine biodiversity, and a lot more! We have all the sizes and colors of sands in beaches. Boracay boasts of powdery white sands and wide pristine beaches. Nasugbu delights its visitors with pristine, magical black sands. Anilao prides on marine biodiversity and amazing dive spots. Cebu and Bohol also have white normal sands on their beaches, bigger textures than Boracay in addition to dive spots. Other beaches have their own magic and pleasures, no two beaches are alike. Whale watching (butanding) is also a famous summer activity in Bicol. And with the length of our beaches, we will not be able to visit half of them in one lifetime. I will just be giving you some samples, only those ready in my files. But these are not the best, i tell you, trust me!

the first 3 photos are from Malimatoc, Mabini, Batangas

Above and below: Batanes, Northern Philippines

Anilao, Mabini, Batangas (Isla Sombrero)

Bago City, Negros Occidental

This is linked to Watery Wednesday and Outdoor Wednesday


Friday, June 17, 2011

Flower Arrangements

During my memory walk of the neighborhood I stayed in for my school years, i came accross a lot of development. It was a newly-opened subdivision then, and only a few houses were there. Now it is fully occupied, and i cant seem to remember which house is whose. It's been a long time! A previously dead end street is now already opened to traffic. A large vacant lot before is now the site of a big nursery for ornamental plants, uncommon fruit trees and vegetables and a whole array of very beautiful flowers. Apparently, a former director of an agricultural international agency has decided to do what he love most during his retirement. There was also a post on the fence of a house "sweet potato tops - free". If only my house is near i can help for some vegetable salad. 

I also encountered 2 ladies making a flower arrangement, made of heliconias, torch gingers and some fillings which i am not familiar. These are products from the slopes of Mt Makiling, which is a forest reserve and a protected area. Mountain dwellers plant these ornamentals under the trees or some spaces in-between them, then sell the harvests to the lowlanders.

 The above and bottom Heliconia are about 1.5 - 2 meters high

 Above and bottom 4 photos, the greenish-orange and orange-red varieties are Calathea crotalifera
ID courtesy of Autumn Belle

 red torch ginger: Etlingera elatior
Orange torch ginger: Zingiber spectabile

One of the finished arrangements. Fillers include Dieffenbachia leaves, Dracaena sp, and papua.

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