Sunday, October 5

Batuan, Bohol? Where is that?

i remember going home to my town, batuan, a year ago. i was commuting. when the bus passed by the municipal hall, the market place, the houses, i noticed that nothing much has changed. it was still the town it was when i left the place. nothing much to remember it with except one: the shiphaus. as the name suggests, it is a house designed like a ship... which is funny and incongruous because batuan is located at the central part of bohol... an idiosyncrasy of the owner who's in love with the ocean.. or ship or both. his efforts paid-off though. many locals and foreigners visit the place and has become a venue for meetings and wedding receptions. so thanks, shiphaus, you just become the landmark of this town.

other than that, batuan is snoring. i even have a song for this sleepy town:

o, sleepy town of bah-two-one,
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless state

While other stars go by
And in thy dark streets glooms
No everlasting light
The sighs and fears of all the years
Are there in thee tonight 

i know i'm being sarcastic but to live in a place like this, one is either sarcastic or apathetic. As i see it, the latter type of batuananons constitute a huge percentage of its residents. Sounds sad and hopeless, doesn't it? 

But who's to blame? Everybody! Voters who chose the wrong guys upstairs; elected officials who do nothing but sit and stare; buyers who never question overpricing and sellers who have no sympathy for the consumers ever. 

and nobody here (well, almost) knows what a chemtrail is! they should, you know. afterall, we do have chemtrails up in the sky almost everyday. i have seen airplanes leaving chemtrails a few times.. that's when they start earlier than their schedule. often, i see these ludicrous looking "clouds" early in the morning so they probably spray their poison at night. 

and yet, i have nothing but respect for some of my fellow batuananons who struggle everyday to feed their families, provide for their children's education and go to sleep at night without foreboding. they wake up early in the morning, make and eat breafast, feed their carabaos, cows, chicken, pigs, dogs,cats and then go to work as hired help or to their farms... a daily routine which i find boring and yet fascinating. boring in the sense that they've been doing the same thing all their life; and fascinating, because of their remarkable resilience and endurance. this might not be the case for all the batuananons, but for the most part, it is. so, to these boring and fascinating group of batuananons, you have my greatest respect and admiration! may the winds of good harvest blow towards your direction!

Tuesday, March 25


This is just one seedling of the leafy vegetables (pechay) that I've tried growing hydroponically in my garden using the SNAP solution that Dr. Primitivo Santos of UPLB (University of the Philippines-Los Banos in Laguna) formulated. I used a soil-less medium to hold the seedlings inside  8 oz. styro cups, filling them just about 1/3, enough to hold the seedlings upright.

These are the SNAP (A & B) solutions that I used. For every 10 liters of water, first I poured 25 ml of SNAP A into the water and stirred the mixture. Next, I poured the other  25 ml of SNAP B, again stirring to mix it well with the water.

I use a 3/4 inch thick styrofoam sheet  to cover the container that holds the SNAP mixture and at the same, holds the cups. Holes were made by using a tin can (of evaporated milk, big) that I cut in the middle using a heavy duty scissors. Once cut, the edge will be sharp enough to cut through the sheet by putting a little pressure on it and then slowly turning it around, making sure it stays in place for a clean cut.

Three weeks after, my pechay (above) and mustard greens (below) were growing so fast. I checked the nutrient solution by slowly (!) lifting the cover. More than half of the solution was gone. By this time, the white roots covered the floor of the plastic container that lifting a plant individually would surely damage the roots. Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway: never lift the styrocups! LOL!

Growing veggies hydroponically, in some ways,  is just like growing them in the traditional way. The plants still need sunlight. So where to locate them is an important factor to consider. And, unless you have a screened housing, you still have to visit them early in the morning for possible pest infestation. 
Other than that, everything else is a breeze. No watering, no weeding, and almost always, no spraying (pesticide or foliar fertilizer) 

One more thing to consider: rain water will dilute the nutrient solution and we don't want that.And by the way, SNAP is an acronym for Simple Nutrient Addition Program that Dr. Primitivo Jose Santos coined for the hydroponic system that doesn't need the use of electricity.


I can't upload a picture of the veggies in their 4th week. Too excited, I forgot to take the picture before I harvested them!

Monday, March 24

How I pulverize hard clumps of soil in my garden

I usually get hard clumps of soil when digging a patch in my garden that is often water-logged during rainy season. I know that it's a bad idea to work on the soil when it's still wet but waiting for it to dry up is another story.  I just cannot wait that long, so, using my spading fork, I dig in.  So how do I pulverize the hard clumps? Here's how it's done:

  1. After I'm through with my digging, I'll wait for the hard clumps of soil to dry up.   Usually, it takes three to five days.   When totally dry, the clumps this time become rock hard.
  2. Late in the afternoon, I'll soak the rock hard clumps using a garden hose to field capacity. I make sure that they become really wet all the way down. This will soften the hard clumps.
  3. Next day, preferably in the morning, I'll soak the clumps again and this time, as the water hits the clumps, I watch them break up. Works everytime.

Saturday, February 15

The joy of gardening

When I decided to quit my daytime job one month and 16 days ago, I already knew what next I was going to do, and that is gardening. Of course I was aware that my stamina isn't how it was years ago but I was so sure of it. I love everything about gardening... yes, even the hardest part of it like cleaning, weeding and making of plots. In fact, I draw my strength from it 'cause after the day is done, I look at the finished task and feel satisfied of what I have just accomplished. Then after I gather all the gardening tools and take them inside the nipa hut, I'll take one last look at my garden,  which by this time, will catch the color of sunset.

I can't really explain this joy I feel ... must have something to do with my bloodline or perhaps with my fascination for plants, watching them sprout, grow first true leaves and finally set fruits... And what could be more joyful than the first taste of the harvest? Of course, there are things more joyful than this , but there is nothing quite like it.

 photo taken from:

Tuesday, January 28

Bohol tarsiers in captivity

TARSIER   genus:  Tarsius; phylum:  Chordata; order:  Primates; species:  T. syrichta 

Above mentioned facts, I got from Wikipedia.  Illustration below, mine.

My interest in tarsiers is not really, by any means, scientific and if someone asks what genus do tarsiers belong, I would have no idea. I only know that these cute and shy animals are a great tourist attraction and because of that, I think their existence is nearing end.  Here's why:

A scenario:

A tourist bus with 10 to 15 Koreans take the Tagbilaran - Baclayon - Loboc - Carmen - Danao route. I mentioned these towns as they are where the bus drivers usually make stops. Baclayon is where you will see the oldest church of the Phillipines. Loboc is where the floating restaurants are. Carmen, the Chocolate Hills and Danao, the ziplines, the plunge, caves, wall and root climbing. You might ask why I am telling you this.  What does the Maumag (local name of tarsier) got to do with it? Well, each of these stops have tarsiers IN CAGES.

Tourists are sightseeing during the day and tarsiers which are nocturnal, sleep at daytime.  So? Well, tourists don't want to see tarsiers sleeping behind the leaves. Afterall, they are paying for it...although you'll see signs on a box that says Donation for the upkeep of those hapless tarsiers, still they are indeed paying.  It's been told that a donation box could easily earn ten thousand pesos a day during peak season.  That's more than the monthly salary of a rank and file employee. So what happens is that, to make the tourist happy and not to feel short-changed, the operator wakes them up. The tarsiers have get out from their sleeping quarters (behind the leaves) so tourists can marvel on their cuteness and take photos. Some would poke them with long sticks or shake the branches hard if they refuse to come out from their hiding places.

Sure, they are allowed to get back to sleep after the tourists are gone but not for long.  The last time I was in one of those places, there was a long queue of tourist buses so I doubt it if those hapless tarsiers did get any sleep at all.

Being nocturnals, this predicament these tarsiers are in,  greatly disorients them and without sleep, they will surely get sick and eventually die. And if they do, the operators buy another set.  Set? Yes, set.  Tarsiers don't live long if caged alone. So with this trend of buying tarsiers>burying dead tarsiers >buying a set again (I am sure of this) >burying and so on, there's no doubt about it:  extinction is inevitable. 

There's a man named Carlito "Lito" Pizarras of Philippine Tarsier Foundation, aka, the Tarsier Man who is very active in taking care of these hapless creatures. He had been ridiculed as a fool for tarsier but now has become a national figure.  Nobody knows about tarsiers more than Lito. 

I met Lito 2 years ago at the foundation. Not that he knows me back but to someone who loves tarsiers knows a thing or two about him.  A soft-spoken man.  I saw him whisper softly to one of his tarsiers and this tarsier looked at him and snuggled at his neck. It was a very touching moment. No wonder his wards (tarsiers) love him so.  But what can a single dedicated man do to stop this massive abuse on tarsiers?

In desparation, I once uttered this question after a discussion about the plight of the tarsiers. Maybe we can clone him, one of my friends jokingly answered.

Tarsier Found on Several Islands in Southeast Asia Eating a Gecko Artists Photographic Poster Print by Larry Burrows, 30x40Tarsiers: Past, Present, and FutureTarsiers (Nocturnal Animals)