Monday, January 23, 2017

Purple Allamanda

True to its color, this is named Allamanda violacea, synonymous with Allamanda blanchetii. It is viny and climb if there is enough support. I got interested here because mostly of the raindrops on the young flower buds. 

 The reddish purple color give it a 2-tone color making the blooms more attractive. It even turns pinkish later on after opening. The flower has a deep throat resembling a bell. Its cousin, Allamanda cathartica, is yellow and often called yellow bell.

 Even the fallen flower still shows the 2-tone color at the back side. 

Here is the main plant showing lush growth.

One very important consideration in planting this plant is its toxic properties. Every part of the plant is poisonous, so care must be exercised in planting it in areas with young children. Playing with it especially the toxic sap must not be done. Everybody must be informed of this characteristics.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Plants Unusual to me

Note: This post was originally posted on April 1, 2008, just re-posted it today. It was not revised, not even the layout. Thanks for reading.

At the Royal Palace entrance in Phnom Penh, the big palm fascinated me. It looks like the buri palm but the fruits are not terminal. The two adjacent palms are of different sexes, male and female (dioecious to us horticulturists, botanists). I looked for the name, and will you believe the label in my picture? Of course not, the trunk was not fully shown and only the ferns were seen. The common name is sugar palm, but only the scientific name is placed in the trunk, Borassus flabellifer L. Palmier. It has a lot of uses in Cambodia. The male and female inflorescences are both tapped for sap production, eventually boiled to produce sugar or fermented into vinegar, or liquor just like our "tuba". You can also drink the fresh juice. The leaves are also used for roofing or walls for houses in the villages. In the ancient times, the leaves were used by monks for writing. The big trunks can be used as timber or sometimes the decaying trunks serve as natural media for bettle larvae which we found are being eaten there (stories about this later).

On the 6:00am bus ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, these sugar palms are scattered in the landscape. Many trunks have bamboo ladders for gathering sap and fruits. The fruits have 2-3 kernels, each kernel with juice inside. So it is eaten by putting the whole kernel in the mouth. It tastes good, but not as sweet as the name implies. Stores along the way and near some temples in Siem Reap are selling these ready to eat kernels. There are also small stores cooking the sap in big vats into sugar pieces. These also serve as tourist attraction. (Bottom left to right: female plant, the nuts green when young and black when mature, female and male inflorescence with bolo and implement to press the inflorescence for producing sap, ready to eat kernels, sap cooking in earthen stove, landscape with many sugar palm plants)

Monday, January 16, 2017

More Waterfalls!

I have been obsessed to visit some waterfalls again. Then i reviewed some of my older files and i found one i visited last year. I am wondering why i haven't blogged about it. I was with a few friends and we use a private car. It took us about 3 hrs to reach Nagcarlan, Laguna. Actually, there are lots of falls in Laguna. I lived there for a long time since the university where i studied is located there. Then i worked for a few years there, and also continued to graduate schools. Priorities did not allow me to visit waterfalls before, but i have some available leave credits now, so i can take a few days off whenever i want to. Then the waterfalls will be in the line-up.

So, in Brgy. Bunga, Nagcarlan, taking the same name is the Bunga Falls. Bunga is the Tagalog term for betel nuts, a palm. It is a twin falls as divided by a big boulder at the top of the ridge.

 At about 15 meter high, boys can jump from the ridge. The boulder serve as their diving board, to a catch basin below of about 10 meters deep.  You can see the 2 boys already at the boulder, and another 2 following them. It could probably be not as scary if a friend jumps with you!

 Above is the entire area, with the shallower waters serving as the swimming site. There are makeshift tables and thatched roof cottages, where tourists can take their food. No stores are in these area, but at the parking lot on top of the ridge. Cemented steps take visitors from the parking area down to the pool area above.

 Downstream are cascades of water where we practiced slow shutters handheld. Such futile exercise, you might say, but anyway we enjoyed it.

 This is the downstream waters from the falls. Just be careful in stepping on the rocks as you might slip to the risk of breaking your camera and lenses.

 The other interesting site to visit in Nagcarlan town proper is the Underground Cemetery. Above is the historical church site, housing the underground cemetery below it. Around the church yard can be seen the tombs lining the walls, as seen above. They are almost 3 or 4 layers.

Inside the Nagcarlan Church

The Nagcarlan Church and Underground Cemetery is a national historical landmark and museum. It was build in 1845, supervised by a Franciscan priest, Fr Vicente Velloc, as a public burial site. The underground crypt exclusively buried the Spanish friars, prominent citizens in the town and members of the Elite Catholic families. It is said to be the only underground cemetery in the country. (Source: Wikipedia).

a portion of the Underground Cemetery

Behind the church are small passageways downstairs to a somewhat dim area where the Underground Cemetery is located. It could be a practice by the Spaniards to bury the church people or the elite
people those times under the church, just like under the St Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, where the popes' tombs are located.

Nature Notes
Our World Tuesday
Through My Lens
Wednesday Waters

Monday, January 9, 2017

Search for Some Waterfalls

We had a free half day in  Guinobatan, Albay  after our arrival at noon. The next day will be our meeting discussion, the reason we are there. Before our arrival our host actually already texted me what i would like to do on that free time. So I expressed my intention to visit a waterfalls if there is one nearby. After lunch we took at least 45 minutes by car to reach the town of Jovellar, and another 20 min walk to the waterfalls at Barangay Quitinday. 

This is what they call Jovellar Underground River and Quitinday Falls. There is a bamboo stairs to the falls and a bamboo raft  brings passengers through the underground river for at least another 30 minutes to another small waterfalls inside. The entrance of the cave is at the left side of the photo. A 200 pesos fee is collected going through the underground river. We just content ourselves photographing the landscape, didn't go through the river. 

These local residents are the raft guides, and they sometimes jump to the river from the top of the ridge.

an enlarged view of the entrance to the underground river

This is the downstream of the river, where the locals jump and dive. The water is brownish because of the constant daily rains for the last few days.  They say this river might be 20 ft deep. During dry seasons the water is colored green and people swim in these pools.

On the way back parallel to the river we again approached a clearing downstream to see this waterfalls. This is above the Quitinday Falls.

Quitinday Falls, now has bigger volume of water because of constant rains the days before. 

This is the hole where waters from the falls pour in. It is a hole which seems very deep.

At the most downstream of the river where we will leave off to the main highway, there is again a small waterfalls behind those two wall pillars. It can be reached by foot through the relatively shallow waters, but we didn't opt to do that. A few pictures for us will pacify the need.

On top of this falls is the main bridge where we took for home. But before leaving i again took some shots of the falls just above it. The cement side of the bridge served as my tripod to get a somehow slow shutter for a milky-milky photo. The falls will look taller if i am not on top, but i don't want to be wet for a better one. Besides, we are pressed for time to be back before dinner.  I am already delighted with the sights and landscapes we've seen, and the waterfalls pacified my curiosity to find one. This will ensure me a sound sleep.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Leaves and Diamonds

 We were in Guinobatan, Albay in the Bicol Region and before the one-day meeting discussion, i roamed around the area. My major prospect is to shoot Mt Mayon, an active volcano known for its nearly perfect cone. I had to wake up early as when the sun rises, the clouds already comes in covering the whole mountain. Those three mornings, i was lucky to have found it clear, and i got lots of shots.

It was a bit drizzling for sometimes, so i have an open umbrella while walking. I looked for butterflies, but they hide when the rains fell. Even then, i still have lots of subjects to photograph. One of those is this magenta-colored plant full of raindrops. It looks so full of gemstones of different sizes. I was so thrilled.

 My only regret is that nobody knows the name of this plant, not even the common name. I am posting this with hope that someone will give me the lead. Thank you so much.

 Even the petioles are so lovely in red, and the leaf undersides are red-magenta as well. I just don't know if the color only happens during this time when temperatures are colder, or because the days are shorter. Nobody in the vicinity seems to be knowledgeable about it.

It is nice with the green leaves at the background. Above picture shows some greenish portion of the leaves when covered by another, meaning the change in color responds to the direct sunlight.

Whatever it is, i might be able to plant it in my own garden sometime in the future. By then i hope i already know its real name.

PS. Thank you so much bettyl-NZ for leading me to Carribean copper bush. It is Euphorbia cotinifolia, same genus with our poinsettia. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails