Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Skywatching Pastime

There are very few weekends i don't go home to the province for the butterflies and hoyas. Looking for butterflies means i have to go for a walk to the slightly wild surroundings or to the less traveled paths; that i have to encounter a lot of mosquitoes, insects, spiders and their webs on my body and a lot more of unexpected incidents, nice and bad! These walks end with itchy skin, though i use rash guards, sometimes scratches or when i inadvertently slip there are some bruises. Sometimes these stayed with me for the next few days while already in the office in the city. But that is my body complaining, yet my mind and heart is contented and happy. I love doing it and will continue till i still can. Meanwhile, i am now in the city, did not go home, intended to rest and clean my condo unit, and do whatever task i've always laid aside.

So when these weekends happen, i always have the sunsets to have a semblance of being with nature while inside the concrete jungle! The photos are all taken from the 5th Floor Window!

I included the dates and time the pictures are taken. They are all Straight out of the Camera, no alterations, not even cropping.
   Friday, October 12, 2018; 5:55pm. 
The moon is already visible at the west as the night sets in.

                                                 Saturday, October 20, 2018; 5:08pm.

 Saturday, October 20, 2018; 5:13pm.

 Saturday, October 20, 2018; 5:14pm.

 Sunday, October 21, 2018; 5:03pm.

 Saturday, October 21, 2018; 5:39pm.

Saturday, October 21, 2018; 5:40pm.

Saturday, October 21, 2018; 5:41pm.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Try the Road Less Travelled: Continued

I have earlier posted here the first segment of the "Try the Road Less Travelled" posts. Then a second segment, Attempt for the Extreme, was posted in an online US magazine, Mother Earth Living. I still have lots of photos to share so here is another part of that week-long escapade.

In one of those days we returned to our cottage earlier in the evening. That seems to be not conforming to the normal days we have, which normally starts very early and ends very late. So we maximized the time by passing by a mangrove area very near the sea. We hurriedly walked through the bamboo foot bridges through the mangrove trees because we can see the sunset rays seeping through the trees seemingly very inviting. Literally we ran to catch the sunset. And here are some of the episodes.

 Top and below are some of the most naughty pictures from that sojourn. Our two men companions hurriedly posed for a crime drama! As three of us ladies were taking their photos, we simultaneously were laughing so hard for the scenes they portrayed. One was raising his hands in submission of guilt, while the other is attacking him with the bolo.

 This is not a very obvious scene, but one is supposedly doing the guillotine to his companion. That was a morbid scene, but we just cooperated in taking the naughty photos. We just fulfilled the drama without any conversations.

 Each one of us took chances in posing for our silhouettes among the branches, illuminated by the fast receding sunset. We were so quick because the sun cannot wait for us for better poses. That was I above joining the certificate of appearance poses.

 One of our male companions is a herpetology hobbyist, so we all chimed in that a big snake is trying to impress us! It even showed its toungue to us. Do you see our Sunset Snake?

 an idyllic sunset photo

 there was even the moon at the east, but is still dim because the sun is still bright

my small lens cannot give justice to the rising moon at the east

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Skywatching Again

Skywatching at the 5th Floor Window

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Another Try on the Road Less Travelled

It felt like i am doing the unusual at my age. I have not been doing these things in my younger years, and now before i really call myself an old lady, which i might am already being called that by younger ones, i joined some expeditions with real hard core mountaineers, sea experts, and extreme adventurers! To places not ventured by many, nor by tourists, there we go. I've done that in November last year to Palawan also with the same persons, and that time we traversed very difficult rugged, rocky and slippery roads backriding daily for several hours on motorbikes. Then last January i joined a lady friend in this group to the island of Sabtang, Batanes in the northernmost islands of the Philippines for a traverse hike from east coast to west coast. This April, we went to Palawan again for another unusual itinerary. We were three ladies here, guided by our ever reliable, responsible, caring two new friends. And this time i hope i have already a  fulfilled soul.

We were supposedly a group chasing and photographing butterflies, but instead we tried enjoying the place, whatever we can cover. We hiked for waterfalls, crossed several rivers, camped in beaches, stayed for a night in a deserted island, climbed a mountain of caves complexes, looked for snakes a night in the forest, and a lot more! I guess in totality that is not a simple feat done in 6 days, the 7th we returned home.

                                                                                                                                                            (photo credit: not mine)
We were looking for the path to a low mountain called the Devil's Peak. Our two guys tried clearing the vegetation to pass through. It turned out nobody seems to have gone there for a couple of years, so the path is already like a forest again. We used up our time clearing the way, so we just climbed half-way because we lacked time. We returned to the beach camp before it got dark.

                                                                                                                             (photo credit: not my photo)
Our age differences are in decades; 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. The men are in the lowest brackets. Who says old women cannot do the jump shot!

                                                                                                                              (photo credit: not mine)

When we are bound to go back, frustrated of not conquering this peak, we just opted to have photo shoots of ourselves inside the forest. 

                                                                                                                           (photo credit: not mine)

In another day, we crossed 4 rivers and 2 streams in between kilometers of hiking uphill, just to see a waterfalls. The water is not very deep, just above the knees of my companions. The sad part for the water level is, that level is already almost near my waist! I am the shortest among us, haha!

                                                                                                                              (photo credit: not mine)
Look at the normal pace of the pack, the one with the shortest legs is always left behind with a wide distance between them. At the above picture, we will still traverse that ridge, and the falls is down at the other side.

                                                                                                                         (photo credit: not mine)
The rivers are not always smooth with just plane water. It is good that there is no strong current, but the rocks beneath are very slippery that i once slipped, wetting my whole body. There are also crossings with big rocks and boulders like that above, but we always have time for anything unusual like a very big praying mantis we saw on that rock!

                                                                                                                            (photo credit: not mine)
This is the small motor boat that carried us to the Tabon Caves Complex, an hour and a half from Quezon Beach. It was originally an island but has now attached to the mainland by mangrove forset. The skull of the Tabon man, supposedly the earliest Homo sapiens  in the Philippines was found in one of the caves in Tabon, Lipuun Point, Quezon. The skull and jawbone were said to be remains of three people who lived in these caves 16,500 years ago. (However, in 2010  another metatarsal was found in Callao Caves, Cagayan and dated to be 67,000 years old).  Some of the caves in Tabon are said to be Stone Factory, while others are burial caves for the Tabon people. Roughly 238 caves are found but only 12 are open to the public. We went to just 6 caves, which are the easier ones to visit.

                                                                                                                         (photo credit: not mine)
Concrete stairways are already built to the more accessible caves, with rails for support. There are very steep stairs and there are undulating ones which cascade to the more level areas. Unfortunately during our visit,  the rails are full of ants that we cannot just hold on them for support. We just relied on our own two feet. 

One of the entrances to the caves, with apparent stalactites from the roof. The Tabon Complex has already been proclaimed in 1972 as a National Protected Area. 

                                                                                                                     (photo credit: not mine)
Each cave has a different characteristics, because those considered burial caves have been cleaned of stalactites and stalagmites, making the roof like a clear dome. 

Another cave with still growing stalactites and stalagmites. Mosses, lichens and fungi sometimes give different colors to portions of the caves, giving almost discernible figures of faces and animals. 

Our first camp near the beach is full of coconut trees. We attached 2 hammock in these trees and we had four separate tents. 

My extremely adventurous lady companion can even climb very tall coconuts. She actually just climbed it for the picture, which i took lying on the sand, there was no coconut fruit gathered there. She seemed not to have any difficulty at all, going up and down! Look her weight seemed to be only on the right foot, she is not even holding on tightly there. Oh My God, i cannot even lift my behind even for just a meter up. 

More posts on this trip will be posted soon! 

Thursday, May 31, 2018

More Sunsets

Our sunsets before the rainy season are always spectacular. Whether we view them near bodies of water or from mountains or from our windows, they are always beautiful. And scenes always change within that short span of 15-30 minutes before and after the sun sets. Here are another set from my 5th Floor Window. They are all SOOC.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Sky Watch May 2018

When there are plenty of things we are obliged to do,
but the call for blogging is urging us too,
what will i do!

I am so privileged, as i have lots of sunsets from my 5th Floor Window. And i can post them SOOC, straight ouf of the camera.

There really are times when there are lots of photos to post, from flowers-to critters-to waterfalls-to travels. Yet the inspiration of bunching them up together in a post is not enough to push us on. Yet at other times, the push to post is seemingly more urgent despite lots of more things that needed attention. So here i am, being suddenly swayed by the push....

And here are my Sunsets for Rescue, all taken at wide angle of the same horizon (pls. mouse over to enlarge).

Friday, May 11, 2018

Some Critter Finds

As a regular morning habit when i am at home in the province, i have coffee and a little bread, lug the camera and my eye drops, and go find the butterflies. But in the course of looking for the butterflies i also see lots of unusual little entities. Sometimes i know them, and sometimes don't. Truth is, most of the time i don't! When this happens more time are devoted to scrutinizing and photographing them. In return, sometimes i miss the butterflies. Anyway, these finds are interesting too.

Cotton bug, Dysdercus cingulatus. It might look beautiful, but it devours the pedicels of my hoya buds. In the past i just allow them there, but when i saw the damage on my plants, i drive them away or make things difficult for them. However, i don't use insecticide so they are still around. 

Spiders are also common residents in my garden and surrounding environment. 
This could be a jumping spider, but i don't know its ID yet. 

Hawkmoths are regular pests of my caladium.  Sometimes i go home finding all the leaves gone. When i feel that they have already pupated, i look for the pupa beneath the plant and photograph them. Once, i reared the pupa to eclosion, so i know that the above is Pergesa acteus. 

Picture below is very dark, probably another hawkmoth. I do not have the time to rear it, so i am not sure of the ID. I just guess that it is Theretra oldenlandiae. It also has many hostplants. 

This is an exoskeleton of the pale green awlet, Bibasis gomata syn. Burara gomata
Its host plant is the green Schefflera. I have not seen their larvae nor the live pupa, and i have seen the adult only once. I wish to see them earlier next time to document the life cycle. 

a very thorny head of a moth catterpillar, later when i poked on it, i realized it is already dead

nymp of a stink bug

bag moth

  another bag moth

another kind of bag of a third bag moth

I realized this moths have different bags that house them which serve as their camouflage. They also pupate inside and later emerge at the bottom portion during eclosion as adult moth. Actually, i have not seen an adult moth coming from this bags. I just saw them in pictures. If i have enough time, which could be later, i will rear them in nearby vicinity so i can also document the adults emerging from them.

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