The environment is worth fighting for

Today I received the best recognition ever — Most Outstanding Alumna in the field of Environment from my beloved alma mater, the Northwestern University — it is where I was taught the meaning of nurturing, caring, independence, survival and volunteerism.

With Miss Liza Nicolas, University President.

The certificate reads:

Certificate of recognition is awarded to _________________
In laudable recognition of her passionate advocacy in the protection, preservation and conservation of our environment and natural heritage;
for her significant contribution in the promotion of responsible and sustainable eco-adventure and for deepening awareness of the need of individual effort in preventing the continuous Degradation of Mother Earth.

Magdalena Perez, President, Alumni Foundations
and Maria Liza S. Nicolas, University President

Back in nursing school…

Medical mission with Malacañang doctors and Armed Forces of the Philippines staff.

Another medical mission in northeastern Ilocos Norte

Clinical duty.

Individual thesis defense.

Clinical graduation.

Northwestern College graduation. It's now a university and I'm proud that it is among the list of top 100 universities in the Philippines.

My school at the present time…

The Northwestern University Museum

The University Hostel.

The Maritime Department.


With much respect, love and gratitude.

© 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

Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens arouse a sense of wonderment

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.” ~ Rachel Louise Carson

Amazement struck me when I visited the Northwestern University’s ecotourism park and botanic gardens. During my nursing school days, Northwestern University was still Northwestern College. We had our biology and zoology classes at the antiquated Engineering Building. Our learning experience was limited to textbooks and class discussions. To make the subjects more interesting, our teachers would conduct “name that specie” contests in class. It was quite weird memorizing scientific names or even common names of flora and fauna, and not knowing how they actually look like. My old school has grown by leaps and bounds.

Spread over 7.8 hectares on a hilly area in the southwestern end of San Nicolas in Ilocos Norte, the NWU Ecotourism Park and Botanical Gardens is a breath of fresh air to each and everyone. Over 1000 plants species from 134 families and 123 subfamilies are catalogued. NWU aims to promote the preservation and conservation of the World’s flora, most especially our indigenous Philippine plants that are on the verge of extinction. A member of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International, the NWU botanic garden is among the 12 largest gardens of its kind in the country, and perhaps, the biggest in Region I, in regard to a broader spectrum of collections.

Butterfly garden to support butterfly propagation

While hiking up and down the park, I found exotic wildlife, and emotions welled up as I focused the camera on my subjects. The place is such a paradise to nature trippers and photographers. Awesome endemic creatures that are hard to find elsewhere are everywhere in this wonderful nature park conveniently situated a few kilometers south of Laoag City.

Learning through a natural atmosphere as beauteous as the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens enriches one’s spirituality as well. Botanical study and recreational activities such as camping, mountain biking and group training can be arranged.

Rain conservation pond

Solanum pseudo-capsicum or ornamental pepper

Tongue orchids

The NWU continuously adds more species to their vast collection of living plant species as germplasm stocks for horticultural trade to other botanical institutions around the world and establishes micro environments to display the World’s flora according to their system of classification. They implement ex-situ and in-situ conservation practices, and Zero waste management to emulate sustainable natural cycles.

Leea philippinensis, or simply leea

Off-season tomato production

Northwestern University’s vision and mission to help mitigate the effects of climate change and address the man-made threats to our environment exhibit the legacy of world-renowned Rachel Louise Carson, the great biologist, writer and ecologist of her life-long love for nature and the living world.

Find time to visit this relaxing park and nurture that sense of wonder.


Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens, Payas-Samac, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, Philippines Contact: Michael Jay Calaramo (Ecosystem Management and Development Officer) General Manager 0915-7932003/ 0908-5330037 email:
How to get there: From Laoag, turn right on the ‘to Gertes Resort’ signage on the National Highway, a few blocks past the San Nicolas Municipal Hall. Continue driving after Takuat Training Center and Gertes Resort until you hit the Northwestern University Ecotourism Park and Botanical Gardens on your left hand side.


Photos by Blauearth Copyright © Blauearth™ ALL RIGHTS RESERVED