Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: gumamela

Gumamela is a shrub that grows from one meter up to 4 meters high. Gumamela is also known as Hibiscus, China Rose and Shoeflower. In the Philippines, gumamela is cultivated as an ornamental plant and comes in many colors---red, yellow, orange, white, purple, pink and other color combination.

Gumamela leaves, usually blended with Rose Hip has long been used in the Middle East and Okinawa as herbal tea. Today, the use of gumamela tea is gaining worldwide popularity. This flower is associated with longevity. As herbal medicine, gumamela flower, leaves and roots are used. Gumamela has the following medicinal characteristics: expectorant, diuretic, emollient, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, anodyne and refrigerant. Read more...

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: meditation garden

A meditation garden at the back of Tayabas Basilica. There are stations of the cross, a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer for Roman Catholics, and benches for those who seek some peace and quiet and a cool shade on a hot Saturday afternoon.

Posted for Weekend Snapshot

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Photo-Hunt: hands

a painter in Taytay

These are the hands that create and shape something natural into something elegant and striking, giving it a universal appeal. From the rich craft heritage we learned from the Spanish in the 16th century, to eclectic influences, variety of locally available materials, and local artisans with excellent design flair and deft hands, Filipino design is one of the best in the world. Designers and engineers with university degrees continue to introduce new technologies and innovations but the furniture and handicraft industries still depend largely on the handing down of skills from one generation to the next.

a craftsman in Iloilo

Posted for Photo Hunt

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shrimp & Salmon Kebab

Here's what I had for dinner the other night at Texas Roadhouse---shrimps and salmon kebab on a bed of java rice. The skewered cubes of salmon needed macro lens, or were they grilled to smithereens? But yes, I definitely tasted salmon. I also love the grilled mushroom topping and lemon-butter dip.

Kebab is Middle Eastern in origin and best eaten with rice; satay is the Southeast Asian version, and the Pinoy counterpart is barbecue. The dish consists of a variety of meat, fish or shellfish on a skewer and grilled over wood or charcoal fire. Fruits and vegetables are often threaded on kebab stick as well. Typical vegetables include mushrooms, bell pepper, tomato, onions and eggplant.

Posted for Food Friday

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: sapatos (shoes)

Hindi ito ang paborito kong sapatos ha? Naaliw lang ako sa pagkamalikhain ng Pinoy. Hulaan mo nga kung ano ang materyal ng sapatos na 'to? Sirit na...

Ito ay gawa sa tangkay ng water hyacinth, isang uri ng halaman na nabubuhay sa tubig-tabang; yong mga palutang-lutang d'yan sa Pasig River at Laguna de Bay. Halaman...baka kung ano ang iniisip mong lumulutang!

Mabilis pala dumami ang water hyacinth at nagiging problema sa maraming ilog, sapa at latian dahil sagabal ito sa daloy ng tubig, nagiging tirahan ng lamok, at nahaharang nito ang sikat ng araw na nagiging dahilan sa pagkamatay ng mga isda at iba pang halaman. Mabuti naman at may pakinabang rin pala ang water hyacinth. May nakita na akong mga baskets, placemats at trays na hinabi mula sa water hyacinth, pero di ko akalain na pwede rin pala itong gawing sapatos at tsinelas.

Gawa sa Liliw, Laguna ang mga tsinelas...magaan at maaliwalas sa paa ang mga ito, bagay na bagay ngayong panahon ng tag-init. Natanong ko sa nagbabantay ng booth kung pwede ang sapatos sa tag-ulan. Meron daw itong protective coating sa labas at may fabric liner naman sa loob kaya pwede raw itong isuot kahit tag-ulan. O di ba, kakaiba? Environmentally-friendly na sapatos at tsinelas! Ang tanong ay kung magsusuot ng ganitong sapatos ang mga Pinoy.

This is not a pair of my favorite shoes. I am just amazed at the Filipino innovative spirit. Guess what material was used on this pair of shoes. Make a wild guess...

This pair of shoes is made from stalks of water hyacinth, an aquatic plant that grows on rivers, swamps, and lakes. You may have seen them free-floating at the Pasig River or Laguna de Bay. It's one of the fastest growing plants that is known to double its population in just two weeks. No wonder, water hyacinth has become a problem in some areas---they choke rivers and waterways. When uncontrolled, water hyacinth can cover lakes and ponds entirely; and this impacts water flow, blocks sunlight from reaching native aquatic plants, and starves the water of oxygen, often killing fish. This aquatic plant also create a prime habitat for mosquitoes.

I am glad that innovative Filipinos have found something useful from this harmful plant. I have seen baskets, placemats and trays woven from water hyacinth but I didn't know they can also be made into shoes and slippers.

The slippers are made from Liliw, Laguna, the tsinelas capital. They're lightweight and cool on the feet---perfect in this hellish weather. I asked the person who was manning the booth if the shoes can be used during rainy season. She explained that the material is coated to protect it from the elements, and the interior has a fabric liner. Great idea---environmentally-friendly shoes and slippers! The question is, do you think Filipino [men] would wear the water hyacinth shoes? :D

Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Watery Wednesday: pond

A pond near the joggers' path where I run/walk on weekends.

"Every peasant is proud of the pond in his village because from it he measures the sea."

~ Russian proverb

Posted for Watery Wednesday

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: Ducati red

I would have passed this display without giving it much thought. But you know how boys are with their toys---the friend I was with couldn't resist admiring this "work of art" (his words) displayed at the Podium. A red Ducati Superbike named Alice that probably costs more than I earn in a year.

I admire sleek engineering but truth be told, I am not particularly fond of motorbikes. I get absolutely paranoid when I'm driving and there's a motorbike nearby. I worry that one of these things would happen: a handlebar would scratch the paint off my car, or I would unwittingly send the motorbike flying to the air, breaking the rider's neck, or worse, cracking his skull. Most riders here are reckless, don't follow traffic rules, and always in a hurry. So don't blame me if unlike my friend, I did not drool on this superbike.

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: Tayabas plaza

Snapshots of a small plaza in front of the Tayabas basilica. I was particularly attracted to these weather-beaten posts---charming in its rustic tranquility. It looks like they've been in this plaza for a long, long time and are probably as old as the basilica which was concreted in the 1600's. They stand here as mute witnesses to the ups and downs of this town.

Friends from Tayabas told me that this park is not the town plaza, and used mainly during Holy Week and other religious activities. With its well-maintained garden and cool breezes, no wonder town folks find this park an idyllic spot to spend a lazy afternoon in.

Posted for Weekend Snapshot

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Photo-Hunt: yellow

Maybe it's the gloomy state of affairs---recession and the-not-so-optimistic forecasts, that for some reason I was happy to see this yellow flower, a color I was not very fond of before. Such a cheerful color, yellow is, I realize. Is weathering the economic crisis changing the way you look at color?

Posted for Photo-Hunt

Friday, March 20, 2009

Delicioso Fajita

Oh-la-la, fajitas con salsa de tomate! A flashback from my college Spanish class---our Portuguese teacher taught us how to order food in Spanish. But that's as far as my Spanish goes, what's left are mostly cuss words I picked up from my relatives and at my grandmother's mahjong table.

But no expletives, in Spanish or in vernacular, were uttered when this hot platter of beef and chicken fajitas was served at Texas Roadhouse in Bonifacio High Street...just an expectant, at last!

The fajita was concocted by Mexican ranch workers living near the Texas-Mexico border in the late 1930's. The meat is cooked with onions and bell peppers in an iron skillet and served with condiments on the side like sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cheese, pico de gallo and tomatoes, and rolled up in a soft flour tortilla. It's truly a Tex-Mex food, a blending of Texas cowboy and Mexican panchero foods. I had my first fajita in an authentic Mexican cantina in Lewisville, Texas, a quaint version of our turo-turo and a perfect set for vintage Clint Eastwood western.

side condiments

Posted for Food Friday

I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely

Main Ingredient - I Just Don't Want To Be Lonely, 1974

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Litratong Pinoy: paboritong alahas (favorite jewelry)

Mahilig ako sa burloloy, mas maganda kasi ipares sa damit ang mga kwintas na tulad nito. Ang nasa itaas ay gawa sa fresh-water pearls at amethyst. Ang nasa ibaba naman ay fresh-water pearls pa rin at turquoise, isa ring semi-precious stone. Nabili ko ang mga ito sa isang designer ng alahas na taga Sorsogon City sa National Trade Show.
I'm crazy about fashion accessory, they are more fun to mix and match with everyday clothing. The necklace above is made from fresh-water pearls and amethyst, a violet-colored ornamental stone for jewelry. Below is another necklace made from fresh-water pearls and turquoise, also a semi-precious stone. I bought these from a jewelry designer based in Sorsogon City during the National Trade Show.
Hindi ko sigurado ang materyal na ginamit sa pulang hikaw pero ito ang paborito ko ngayon. Nabili ko ito sa Cebu, sa Avatar outlet store sa Bellavista Hotel. At kahit nangangati-ngati ang tenga ko, ayos lang! Lahat ng mga ito ay gawang-Pinoy.

I'm not sure on the material used on these red earrings but this is my favorite nowadays. I bought this pair from Avatar's outlet store in Bellavista Hotel in Cebu. These are all made by Filipino hands.
Posted for Litratong Pinoy

Simply Beautiful

Queen Latifah and Al Green

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Calamba church

The church of Calamba, made of adobe and built in the 19th century. This is where the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was baptized on June 22, 1861 (three days after he was born).

Nights in White Satin

The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: red pineapple

Here's a beautiful native Philippine red pineapple I stumbled at the forest in Tayabas. In 2007, Philippines was the second in the world production of pineapple at 233 metric tons. Costa Rica was number 1, and Cote d'Ivoire came third. Aside from puree, juice concentrates, canned products, dried and fruit cocktail, native Philippine red pineapple is also an excellent source of pina fiber.

But do you know how the pineapple got a skin covering that resembles a human eye?

There's a myth that most Filipino children must have heard while seated at her or his grandmother's lap. It started with a farm girl named Pina who lived with her mom as tenants in a fruit plantation. Her mom was the hard-working type, and Pina was also hard-working---but not with the household chores. She loved playing all the time. The myth goes on to say that the mother, used to being too vocal with her careless ill wishes or curses on people who didn't delight her, was liberal on such habit on her daughter, Pina.

One day, the myth says, Pina’s procrastinations went too far for her mom to tolerate them anymore. The mother told Pina to get her wooden shoes from the under their hut. Pina went down their hut and looked under it. But on seeing her old rag doll, Pina's imagination started working. She was soon playing with the doll and forgot all about her task. Her usual dialogue of “I didn't see it,” when actually she wasn’t searching but playing, did it this time. Her mom shouted invectives at her and a curse---“May you grow dozens of eyes!” so Pina would stop mentioning her favorite dialogue. Then suddenly, Pina disappeared.

A search party looked all over the plantation for Pina but they couldn't find her. Then Pina’s mom saw a curious new plant growing at their backyard. It was covered with eyes. She remembered her latest curse on Pina and knew the plant was her. From then on, she called the plant, a pineapple, or “Pinya” in Filipino.

The myth on the origin of pineapple aims at fostering obedience, and that parents ought to watch how they deal with their kids.

Posted for Ruby Tuesday

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Snapshot: Rizal Shrine

To honor the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, the national government has turned his ancestral home into a shrine. This Spanish-vintage 2-storey house in Calamba, Laguna where Rizal was born and raised stands at the center of town, right across the Calamba church. The shrine houses memorabilia of Rizal's childhood, from photographs and early sculptures made by the late hero to laminated excerpts of some if his best written works, as well as photos of the women in his life.
The original house was built around 1848 by Rizal's parents, Francisco Mercado and Teodora Alonso, and was damaged during World War II. It was restored under the supervision of National Artist Juan Nakpil during the term of President Quirino and was inaugurated in 1950. The house has maintained much of its colonial appeal.

It's a spacious house with three bedrooms, dining and living rooms and kitchen on the second floor. The window panels are made of capiz shells that let in natural light, thus creating a pleasant and homey atmosphere. I love the splashes of light that burst happily at different angles when one enters a room.

We went to Laguna last weekend looking for a private resort with a swimming pool for Sally's family reunion. After we accomplished our mission, we decided to drive to Rizal Shrine in Calamba. After all, every Filipino should see where the national hero grew up, right? Rizal Shrine is open to the public, free of charge.

the garage...the horse was moonlighting in Sta. Ana :D
dining area
Rizal's bedroom that he shared with his other siblings.
He was the 7th of eleven children.
the masters' bedroom
Take note of the ubiquitous orinola at the foot of the bed
an antique kerosene lamp
the staircase
the back of the house
a sculpture of a very young Jose Rizal and his dog

Posted for Weekend Snapshot