Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Time for Lent

Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia=Regina RICA

We were in a two-day review and planning workshop in Bakasyunan Resort, Tanay, Rizal. Even if Tanay belongs to the political geographical region I belong, I haven't been there. It is astonishing to see a wide upland rolling hills, with farms, forests, resorts, private enclaves and vacation houses. It also heals the spirit by looking at the series of mountain ranges in the horizon, fantastic sights especially for those of us living in concrete jungles. 

Before leaving for home in the city, we decided to visit two prominent landmarks in the area,  the Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia or Regina RICA and the Daranak Waterfalls. 

The 79 ft tall structure of Mama Mary and Baby Jesus is on top of a hill. The undulating paved path to the shrine is lined on both sides by sunflower plants, not yet flowering now, but i can visualize the beauty when they eventually bloom simultaneously. The area is also planted to calamansi growing beautifully with different stages of flowers and fruits. The statue is open inside provided with spiral chairs and nooks. The top-center of the statue is a serene place for contemplation, with an altar and some chairs. A veranda outside it also invites people to have a 180 degree view of the place. Everyone enters the statue on barefoot, silence, and without photo shoots.

At the horizon are mango plantations beautifully blending with the topography and landscape. At the foreground are the calamansi plants i mentioned earlier.

Stations of the cross are laid out in the area in time for the pilgrims during the Holy Week. The building above houses the chapel on the top floor.

These young mahogany trees are for adoptions for their continuous maintenance. Tied ribbons mean the particular tree already found the adoptive maintainers.

At the top portion if front of Mama Mary's statue are flowering plants giving more wholesome feelings to the area. The whole property is fully landscaped and maintained.

Very prominent also are the tall mahogany trees on the approach to the property, making a small forest on the lower part of the area. They provide a vision of boundary and exclusivity to the area. The roofed structures at the lower grounds provide informal meeting and eating areas for the visitors.

Visitors can buy candles near the shrine and light them here. Candles are color coded depending on the type of wish you will be praying for.

Are we all familiar whose foot this one is, or whose foot this signify? That is Jesus left foot painted on glass panels. The whole body was divided to three parts, and i chose the foot to be included here!

I am very much attracted by a lone old 'duhat' tree (Zysygium koetjape) on the far left side of the property. It is obviously a very nice area for contemplation. Steps are already placed there to approach the tree from the top ground. If only we have more time, this is the area i will definitely stay longer.

The presence of this herd grazing in the lower part near the borders of the property, completes the picture. I remember St Joseph being a shepherd before being the husband of Mary. I appreciate also the presence of those rock boulders, how serendipitous to be the area for sheep grazing, how lovely!

Mama Mary's statue as viewed from rails at the church below. When those sunflower plants get blooming, this is a perfect and lovely site.

The site is reached in 2.5-3 hours from Manila. For more information about Regina RICA please visit their site at:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Philippine Orchid Show 2013

The Philippine Orchid Society holds a biannual show here in Quezon City, Philippines. This first for the year is on February 28 to March 11, 2013. The show features floral and plant displays, competition exhibits, daily lectures and commercial bazaars. Other areas also hold orchid and horticultural shows, but not as large as these held here at the center of Metro Manila. This first one is usually held at the start of the dry season to coincide with the blooming of many species. The second orchid show will be in October, coinciding with the blooming of another groups of orchids. It is a norm to have separate sites for the exhibit area and commercial area. These events hope to boost current efforts in showcasing the strong potential of our local horticulture industry.

The present show has the theme "Philippine Orchid Species Revisited" showcasing mostly the Philippine endemic and native orchids. Some are botanical species not anymore found in the wild but only in nurseries of collectors. I am always present in these garden shows, but there are still some species that I've just seen for the first time.

 One of the designs showcasing Gramatophyllum multiflorum, many years ago inhabit our forests. It is seldom seen in the wild now, they are now mostly in the hands of collectors.

 This design showcases many of the native and endemic orchids; Vanda, Gramatophyllum, Dendrobium, and a lot more including ferns and foliage.

 Phalaenopsis hybrids, or butterfly orchids

 Vanda hybrids which are not flowering yet, they will be showcased in the next orchid show in October. AT the center is the famous Vanda sanderiana, or our waling-waling, the mother of most vanda hybrids now in the world's commerce.

  Vanda teret orchids attached on driftwoods. This vanda very well suits our climate.

This is the back view of this design, highlighting Dendrobium anosmum or our sanggumay. It has a lovely scent that permeates the exhibit grounds. 

A different design without orchids but bonsai plants and local rocks.

This is the natural design of the exhibit grounds. Men water the plants every hour because of the heat which otherwise will bleach this plants directly planted on the ground. 
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