On Golden (Conservation) Pond

On Lotus Pond

This is no ordinary pond. It is a lotus conservation pond. Lotus plants are considered sacred in many countries. They used to thrive in the Paoay Lake National Park and now they’re gone. It’s heartwarming to discover that the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens, managed by plant-crazy fellow and I mean passionate-to-the-max-horticulturist slash conservationist slash curator, Michael Agbayani Calaramo, has built this promising pond. He speaks a lingo only the academe and plant enthusiasts with scientific background can understand.

The NU botanic park and the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society recently hosted the Norwesterniana Native Plant Conservation Forum/Workshop to bring awareness to the biodiversity hotspot in the Philippines, the area being home to endangered species and notably, meticulously catalogued by who else but Michel C., promote intelligent exchanges with respect to in-situ and ex-situ conservation (see what I meant by scientific knowledge) and spearhead such ideas in order to maintain the ecological integrity of the area being developed as a model for community development as an all-important factor in mitigating climate change, and promote Ethnobotany, which is gaining worldwide popularity, as a means to protect our natural and cultural heritage.

I commend Ms. Liza Nicolas, Northwestern University President, for the vision and efforts put into the Norwesterniana area.

Water HyacinthLotus Conservation PondLotus PondLotusPlant-crazy Rock star Michel C. giving Brandon and Klein a mini lecture. The guy is an endangered extraordinary specie, I tell you. Below is a carnivorous specie, Drosera spatulata, commonly known as sun dews.TentaclesBabyMaple LeavesThe Canadian insignia — the maple leaf.

Some bulbous plantwith members of the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society

Besides revisting Michael and the park, I had to catch sir Anthony Arbias, who was my lecturer in an ecoguiding class at ma’am Mina Gabor’s International School of Sustainable Tourism. He is also an honorary member of the Philippine EcoGuides Association (an organization of which I’m one of the founding members). Another plant-crazy fellow, Anthony has a ginormous plant photo collection and he can name each and every specie by heart. Coincidentally, sir Tony Manila of DENR, another lecturer in ISST, was also with the group comprised of legendary figures and enthusiasts in the field of plant conservation.

My straight from the beach garb is making me look like a fancy plastic flower, my apologies.

Michael creates the most spontaneous gorgeous flora-themed adornments around.

Flora Table CenterpieceFlora-Themed Table Setting

The park is worth visiting. For park details, contact numbers, etc., click here and scroll down to the bottom.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Green Day

Thorny Fingers

Yey, the sun came out! Hopped on my Land Cruiser and headed to Pammalian Garden along Vira Road. Just a breather… I don’t have space for a garden in my home, we’re actually about to explode. The color green just soothes the eyes, everything. I feel lighter. There was not many vehicles on the road, only runners. I regret not taking the bike.

Green DayMiniPeanut PlantCurly CactusGreensBinalot

Still in tune with the mood, I stopped by Papa Pau’s for farm-style binalot (means wrapped) bistek (Filipino beef steak) with rice and salted duck egg.

Wintermelon Tea with Grass Jelly

Capped my day with an iced Share Tea wintermelon with jelly strips. I’m clueless what the chewy jelly is made of. Seaweed? I really don’t know, but, of all things, it reminds me of Korean potato noodles. The texture is fantastic! A funny thing about the drink, the stringy jelly is so difficult to suck. One has to slurp, excuse me, hahah.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2012

Green Eggs and Red Lemonade

Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens is one place in the city where I can have breathing space and keep my sanity intact. I so love it there especially when horticulturist Michael Calaramo, the park’s manager, is around. Gosh, I envy the guy! He knows by heart the scientific names of all the thousand species he nurtures there. I know at least two plant names — exotic and beautiful.

These might be Nepenthesis, omg, I forgot the next word!! Let’s just call them pitcher plants. They have something similar in Adams.There was a party when I last visited. My childhood friend Glenda Gloria, the veteran Ilocano journalist, was in town and I was going to meet her loves, veteran photographer Melvyn Calderon and Leona, for the very first time. It felt sort of dreamy seeing the place in a different light. Who else but Michael spruced up the wonderful place?Before leaving, Michael handed me fresh eggs with the compliments of the park. I forgot to ask if they had basil so I could have green eggs. I’m so weird; chicken meat give me allergies, but not eggs. Life gives us lemons, and cherries too, so we can make a cherry lemonade.

It’s the last day of the year. I wish you a better, more colorful 2012. Thanks to everyone for the continued support.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2011