The Northwesterniana Forum

Northwesternania Forum

I was invited by the Northwestern Ecotourism Park and Botanic Gardens (NUEBG) and the Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society to present the Ecotourism Status of Ilocos Norte at the 2nd Northwesterniana Forum attended by avid plant lovers, conservationists, botanists, horticulturists and Department of Natural Resources (DENR) officials. DENR NCR Director Tony Manila was there. Emcee Jasper Obico beat me saying “We’re facebook friends” and “Status: It’s complicated.”

I quit government service after my contract expired and opted to be a full-time adventurer/blogger, promoting my province as a tourist destination, so I had to base my presentation on firsthand view. Out of the different types of tourism, ecotourism is the most maligned concept. To be able to classify a natural site of ecological importance an ecotourism area, all the three key aspects should be present — environment protection, community participation and livehood, working in synergy with each other. Ilocos Norte is abundant in natural  places of beauty, and we are in dire need of ecotourism programs, involving communities as stewards and direct benefieciaries, to be able manage these beautiful places responsibly and sustainably.

Northwesternania Forum

Only through NUEBG manager Michael Calaramo’s presentation that co-speaker Shermon Cruz and I learned we have acorns in the province. Michael pointed out that there are so many beautiful native plants for urban greening other than bougainvillea:)

Plant lovers like Michael are nuts about plants. You’ll be amazed about the number of native plants we have in the country. Just like natural tourist sites, these plants need to be conserved for future generations.

Northwesternania Forum

There’s an endemic hoya-like specie named after Col Ben Nicolas, former president of the Northwestern Unversity. Visit the newly opened Asclepiadarium and Orchidarium of the NUEBG, a gem of a living museum of flora.

Northwesternaiana ForumNorthwesternania ForumNorthwesternania Forum
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

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

Restful Harmony…

Tucked in the outskirts of Vigan is a relaxing spot named Hidden Garden. Green thumbs as well as ordinary mortals like me and Alexa will love the cool and lovely outdoor rooms created by Mr. and Mrs. Francis Flores.

They craft clay pots and garden ornaments and grow and sell plants that are sure to make outdoor and indoor spaces in true contact with nature.

Chinese lantern


Foxtail fern

Sitting pretty

Star-shaped hoya carnosa, a waxy plant native to India and East Asia

Globose cacti

American lemons

Decorative bonsai plants

Hawaiian Wili’i’s Gold

Under cover

Vigan empanadas

My best ever Vigan empanada with young papaya shreds!

Native sugarcane wine for sale

Hidden Garden
Brgy. Bulala, Vigan, Ilocos Sur, Philippines

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved