Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mixed accidental tales

I thought 'accidental' is an easier word for Word for Wednesday. However, as I was searching from the files, I thought I am just substantiating the word incidental. So how can i really depict accidental in a more meaningful way? I googled it to reinforce the meanings already in my head. They are the same, as I've already known it: unexpectedly, by chance, unintentionally, casually, fortuitously, not essentially. But accidents are more felt as negative than otherwise! In my photos I view them as "otherwise", unless you will not agree. 

We were in the northernmost part of the country, Batanes, a group of islands almost remote and not yet reached even by many Filipinos, because no airline competition exists, therefore the fare is high. Moreover, it is known to be frequently visited by typhoons, so there are stone houses with very thick walls to hide from harsh conditions. A meteorological station is based there. This object is on top of the structure at least 2 story high, so i tried to zoom in from the ground. I just realized later that a view of the sky and the surrounding landscape with my companion is captured in the photo. Accidental?

 We were in the Banaue Ethnic Village in the highlands of the Cordilleras. I hope you remember the pyramidal huts in the midst of the forest, being used now as accommodation lodgings for lowland tourists. The above structure is a makeshift stove at the edge of the area, where water is boiled so visitors will have supplemental hot water for bathing. I was taking its photo when the waterman hurriedly got into the scene, showing his fast action. Accidental?

I hope you can identify the two objects above. These are old hibiscus flowers that fell on the timber. However, they were in a very unusual position as if they are holding hands! I don't think someone meddled with them as we were in an area far from the madding crowd. It might be incidental or serendipity, but i just put it here. Accidental?

The "hole-in-the-wall" is a much used word or phrase to depict a small, unpretentious, out of the way place. But this one is a real 'hole-in-the-wall', even with a whole on top. I don't know what the room is used for, but this is an abandoned room in Batanes. Accidental?

While in planes, if still available, i take the window seat. Their routes are normally above the clouds, taking island photos are difficult. However, I was able to shoot these group. These are uninhabited islands and might not yet been included in the country's official count of 7,107 islands. They just accidentally appear on some very clear days.

That mint is not supposed to be there, should it? But it gives life to the scene of otherwise purely rocks and water. Accidental?

Finally, this photo has been with me, hoping Donna will use 'persistence' in one W4W episode. She might not use it, so i placed it here. That area is not supposed to be for them. Those plants could have been from a few seeds accidentally dropped in that cemented structure.There are bits of soil there and papaya's persistence paid off. It thrived and bloomed, and they are also bearing fruits! I always love to see plants growing this way as symbol of perseverance, hope, diligence, hard work! Accidental? 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hidden World

Our country is an archipelago, that is composed of many islands. It has already been said and written and cited, etc, etc, that we are composed of about 7,107 islands depending on the tide. Some small ones vanish with very high tides, and reappear when low tide returns. 

The biggest islands are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, the 3rd being the largest. Mindanao has the biggest remaining forests, wide and still unexploited rivers plus still fertile soils. It also boasts of many waterfalls to say the least. The Tinago Falls in Iligan City is one of the tallest among them at 240 ft. Tinago in Filipino means 'hidden', maybe because after a long rough circuitous road, it is reached through about 500 steps to the bottom of a deep ravine. At the top edge of the ravine, one can already hear the sounds of the falls with its big volume of water. 
conference room
Most of our Muslim brothers are in Mindanao. We were invited by a university there for a lecture on Intellectual Property Awareness. It is amazing to see beautiful and colorful decorations as part of their culture. Marawi City is about 4 hours by car from Cagayan de Oro airport. Iligan City is halfway in between. 
This river is at the back of our hostel in Marawi City. It is still big and the people traditionally use this water for many domestic uses. The group of people at the left side under a tree are washing clothes.

 close-up of the people washing clothes at the river banks, where they take a bath too
The main Tinago Waterfalls, flows through the river we saw above. Under the main falls is a cave which can be accessed via a raft. 

There are small falls at the other sides of the main falls. The area is rich with lush green vegetation of virgin forest, big trees, and bio diverse ecosystem.
Some wood and cement structures are already added to the area to make visitors more safe and the area more manageable.

Provisions like life vests above, are provided for visitors who are tempted to swim its cold waters. I commend the beautiful colors unlike the usual all bright orange vests. 

The part of cemented stairs on the way to and back from the falls. We had 3 small stops before reaching the top ledge, to take deep breaths, rest the legs, drink some water, and look back at the lush green forest around the falls. 
Our World Tuesday Graphic

Friday, November 25, 2011

5th Floor Window

These are the views from my 5th Floor Window. I guess it is already a bit famous as I have been posting lots of my shots from this position. I hope you will not blame me, as I only have a 180° view from this window facing west. My little corner of the world is fixed and limited to this side alone.  I only have the sunsets, and the sunrise I fully give the  privilege to others! 

I realized sunsets are like our finger prints, or probably like DNA, no two sunsets are alike! And they change every second, as the drama only lasts from 15-20 minutes. Moreover, i observed that for this year, the sun first moved to the right and then back to the far left without passing through the backward path, as in 1 to 10 and then back to 1 again. Maybe the earth just suddenly flipped a big turn. I chose the same spot with almost the same subject to show the magnitude of differences, throughout the months.These are all shots this year.

February, afternoon before sunset

April, above + 2 shots below




 August, above and below


November, can you guess what animal is that?

Clouds are heavier and thicker during the rainy season. Sometimes the sun can't even be seen near the edge of the horizon because of the heavy clouds. But when they open, an intense sunset is more beautiful.

Skywatch Friday

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Blooming Roadsides

As most of you who follow this site know, I work and live in the big city, but occasionally go home some weekends to our old home in the province. Our area is a bit on the midland overlooking a bay and a mountain at our back. So we have the sunrise view but not the sunset. During the -ber months we get some spill-over cold winds courtesy of Siberia, China and Mongolia. While most of you are approaching winter, we are approaching our best temperatures in the year, and that is around 24-29°C, maybe just like your approaching summer.  We now experience some foggy mornings, which we don't experience in the lowlands.

I brave some cold mornings to wake up early, go out and take some photos of sunrise. I leave usually 5:00-5:30am, returning when the sun is already hot and I already feel some hunger pains. Not many flowering weeds are seen during short days. But still there are those which are blooming luxuriantly.

 Ruellia tuberosa or cracker plant at the left side of the road

This weed lined both sides of the road near our area, as if both sides are planted with it. We haven't seen anyone perusing this weed, and maybe i am alone in our area finding beauty in them. However, searches point to it as a good source of antioxidants and many medicinal properties. Review of medicinal properties are in Pharmacognosy Journal

  Ruellia tuberosa or cracker plant at the right side of the road

Luxuriant blooms can even be beautifully arranged in bouquets. I hope in the future some people study how it can have longer shelf or vase life. We don't have many violet or blue flowers in the tropics, and I find this one very attractive. This plant does not grow more than 1 foot, unlike the Ruellia brittoniana or Mexican petunia, which becomes bushy. They also differ much in the shape of their leaves, this one being rounded. 

 Those dark protrusions are the already mature seed pods and will eventually dehisce to scatter the seeds.

  above shows the different stages of flowers to pods

 Wedelia trilobata or Singapore daisy

This is used in landscaping as a ground cover to minimize erosion. However, in our area they are growing in marginal areas like roadsides as weeds. Of course, weeds also control soil erosion, and this is a volunteer plant for that purpose.

a flowering grass

I did not see any insect or butterfly alighting on it when i was there, but I found its value with me, as i consider it pretty swaying with the wind. Maybe the small birds will come by when the seeds mature.

This is my first time to link with Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone. I have some few more tropical wildflowers to link in the future. I linked it as well with Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer, and belatedly linked it with Today's Flowers.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Is this a bird?

I am so impressed with Donna's bird posts, even if she said they are her learning shots, for me they are not amateur looking at all. I love all of them. I don't yet know how to take bird photos except for chickens, but I remember i  took a few bird shots when it serendipitously alighted on a tree near me. One morning, I was out early for some sunrise shots which are not very good because of the cloudy sky. And I am rewarded by the sight of this bird. In my many decades on earth, this is the 2nd time I saw the same bird. It roosts in our property in the province.

This is considered a rare bird among bird enthusiasts here, and even among the local people. Even at home my mother only saw it twice in her lifetime.  It was some kind of a myth because of its rarity, or maybe because it really is superstitiously always hiding from sight.  Since it is white, i don't know if it is albino or real white. We are more familiar with the brown color with black head and tail.  But definitely, i saw in the thicket that its partner is brown in color, although I failed to take its photo. The eyes are not red, so I guess it is not albino. I read somewhere that this bird has the beak and head of a crow but the tail of a pheasant.  I am glad it did not have a black head with a white tail. That way it would certainly be more unusual. It just allowed me to take 3 shots, and then it flew away going to its brown partner.

It is the White Morph Philippine coucal, Centropus viridis, an endemic species.

look at that stance, it really is lovely

look at that tail, elegant

...there it is, eyeing me too!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Request for Photo Likes

Hello my Blogging Friends,

I joined one photo in our province's photo contest, to the urging of our Tourism Officer from our town. Our province of Batangas has 34 towns, and my photo represents our town's entry.  However, voting has been up already for two weeks but I saw it just today. I looked at the entries and some already got more than 1000 likes today! I wonder how my photo can compete with that!

So I would like to solicit your help by clicking the link and liking the photo there.

Thank you very much.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Dill or no Dill Continues

Related to last post: The last photo in the previous post looking like bark is actually a fossilized coral rock I found on our beach. Thanks to those who tried to guess what it is.

I am very much inspired by the turn-out of comments in the previous post linked to Word for Wednesday. However, i still am in limbo for the real ID of my supposedly "dill-but no-dill" plant! I have tried Google search, inputted the flower photos for it to search for similar images, but still no deal or no dill!

One of Onenezz and Tropical Nature Photos thought it is a citronella plant, but i searched and citronella plant has very much larger leaves and the venation and patterns are different. The more differences it has with citronella grass, which i personally know is a monocot, as grasses are monocots. My mystery plant is a dicot with almost parallel venation, might somehow be mistaken for a monocot. I would love to show you other photos of my mystery plant, "dill or no dill".

This plant when densely planted can serve as a soft hedge around the garden, and people trim the top to be  denser and offer more fence-like protection.

"Dill or no dill against the sky, it sometimes grow up to around 1 meter high

a more close-up view of the growing point

a mature "dill or no dill" with mature flower stalks

 maturing "dill or no dill" plants

a profusely blooming "dill or no dill"

 a transparent  white Parantica vitrina lingering on the drying branches, which i purposely cut for them

 they even mate there clinging on the dried leaves

this is a blue and larger form of the Ideopsis juventa manillana

I am not familiar with this butterfly, it is like a small Euploea mulciber

a lot of them at least 4 species congregating there sipping "dill or no dill" sap

 Other critters also love to reside in the lush growth of my "dill or no dill" plant. This cricket doesn't want to leave it too.

I just don't know if it also sips the sap of the green plants

this green spider is camouflaging inside the thick leaves, even built its house there

...and i also saw a baby praying mantis. Praying mantis are territorial, so it will just stay there and prey on whatever comes to its home for food. It looks like it is praying, maybe begging for food to come! Or maybe praying that he will not be the prey for a bigger one!


Appreciation and gratefulness is due to One for her identification of my "dill or no dill" plant, as Artemisia scoparia. It is very common in Malaysia especially for landscaping. It is rich in essential oils used for medicine and industries. The vegetative plant is also feeding lots of butterfly larvae. The plant is anticholererolemic, antipyretic, antiseptic, cholagogue, diuretic and vasodilator. It has an antibacterial action for Staphylococcus aureus, streptococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, Bacillus typhi, Bacillus subtilis, Pneumococci, C. diphtheriae, mycobacterium and others. It is also used in the treatment of jaundice, hepatitis and inflammation of the gall bladder.  Reference:

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