I'm just a small fish in a small corner of this big Laguna, and this is how I've been swimming it

25 April, 2013

"Scenic" route from Puting Kahoy, Silang Cavite to Santo Domingo, Santa Rosa Laguna

  It is not as awesome as seeing the "majestic Mount Mayon" from the road in Legaspi, that famous postcard shot of the (not-so-perfect-anymore) volcano's cone.  But, this is what we have driving down from the ridge on the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa road and on a clear day like today, it can be beautiful.  I know I still can marvel at it.  You can see mountains of Rizal across the bay. You can see the bay.  Residents of Silang on hills and with high floor levels enjoy this view. 

     These particular scenes were shot in Bgy. Santo Domingo just past the "white corn" vendors.  It is also just past the earthquake fault line (yes there is one and you can actually see and feel the sudden rise or drop of the road, near the school).

I'm sorry to say, there is ugliness like this in the photo below.  Oddly, I was looking far away at the Mt. Makiling and at the bay, at the hills of Rizal across the bay, that I didn't even notice what was right in front of me. This ugliness. The kid asked me what the sign said...and exclaimed "they burned here! they burned here!" pointing toward the mountain.  Sorry, I end sourly again.

Sign reads "Trash is Prohibited"

Full Moon, Narras Bloom, 36 degrees and Maybe...Hopefully, (a few minutes more)...RAIN

    When it is this HOT and HUMID, and one has a HEADACHE caused by dehydration...it is a struggle to do anything that involves movement.  I woke up to this perfume--it is rich and for some reason (maybe the Gap Guest House's jasminey or honeysuckl-ey air) reminds me of Chiang Mai, Thailand. It has not rained here in weeks; last weekend the forecast thunderstorms quickly reverted to the sunny 36 before Friday even came.

    In the beginning of this blog, I wrote about how the Narra blooms after a brief shower usually in the month of March.  Now, no rain, but just a very full moon, and voila, yellow flowers, heady scent.  I appreciate the scented air, because really...enter a shopping mall these days and you won't escape the air heavy with the scent of mmm....pawis (perspiration).

     So anyway, I need a horticulturist to confirm this.  It seems to me that flowers bloom when I water sporadically. That is, water it well an deep one day, and then the next maybe skip watering, even in the heat.  The sampaguita has sure proven this to be true. It does not want too much watering. And now it has presented us everyday with our daily dose. A fist full of flowers.  

Ay nasingit (oh! it got squeezed in)! These are flowers of the MORINGA OLEFEIRA (malunggay)
They emit fragrance too.

Adventist University of the Philippines

     It's that big, geometric arch on your left on the Tagaytay-Sta. Rosa road.  You will find vegetarian food stores along the way, as members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church are vegetarians. I have been wanting to shop for cooked meals to take home, but do not know their schedule.  
     If you find yourself heading south on a Saturday, expect this area to be closed for the Sabbath.

     I've just learned that Music is a cornerstone of Adventist education and worship.  They do use music to teach.  Coincidentally, after my first time to enter this place, I found, on my radio, a very pleasant station.  I turned it on at around midnight, and the instrumental selections relaxed me. I did not know what station this was. The next morning, I tuned in again to hear the Adventist University Chorale--which won a prestigious competition in Wales in 2011. (I should surf their site to check exactly which competition that was, but I believe it is the same one the UST Choir won before).  There was also a morning of children's voices singing praise and worship, and songs of praise we Roman Catholics also sing.    I don't know if I get the station because of proximity. I only get it upstairs on the 2nd floor though, and cannot get it through a mobile phone radio.  Try it out as you drive by---SHINE Radio 87.1 (is it 1, I'm not sure). AUP Campus radio.

 Are you from there or do you know more? Please share with me or correct what I've posted. Thank you.

      Inside the campus, one is reminded of University of the Philippines Diliman (until the '80s at least. I haven't been there in ages)
There are dormitory buildings with names like Narra and Narra trees lining that side. There are rows of Mahogany too.

18 April, 2013

Sampaguita, our National Flower

Go ahead use it for your report. just include my url
and note those are the jagged leaves of the Hydrangea
  My Sampaguita, pretending to be a Hydrangea (Milflores).

  Dear Sampaguita, you smell so sweet, can be made into ice cream, worn as a garland, offered to saints and superstars, blended into perfumes.

     Why try to be what you are not? Ah, are you merely stretching your branches, curling them around your neighbor...she blooms as much, is pretty in her pink blush, but shares no fragrance.

     This is Santa Rosa, Laguna, you blossomed in fields in San Pedro, Laguna. In fact there is a coffee table book on Laguna...with you on the cover. Inside, however, too much reference to its politicians.  I wonder about those fields in San Pedro. I would like to see them someday.

   Harvesting sampaguita daily has my home and my head happily intoxicated with its scent.  The joy is momentary. I saw the small boy with his bunch of garlands, the same boy who sold at the church on Easter, selling by the highway this evening. It hurts to wave him away, I do not buy this time.  I can justify buying again, what's ten, twenty pesos...the poor kid has to go home...at least he's selling something not begging, my not buying will not make this business cease. Many easy reasons to just buy.

   I must stand firm, buying will just keep them around. I didn't buy, but others will, and the boys parents will continue to take them here, from San Pedro, to sell.  Outside church he had sat on the arm rest of the bench we were on. He had a bedside manner and we had a chat.  I suggested that that pitiful look and begging people to buy was..."old". That that "style" puts people off. Actually he finished my sentence for me, and seemed to know exactly what I was saying. He looked 7 but is probably a malnourished 10.  He spoke of his mother making him sell.  He knew the ''script", actually, so street-wise. It is sad how hardened they sometimes are. I encouraged him to continue schooling, no matter how hard things may seem. People like me do naively talk to them this way.

   I hate the bittersweet feeling I have, of enjoying the flowers in my garden, yet thinking about the child vendors.  My child, she is keenly aware of them. I just don't know to what extent she is innocent of their business.  I hope she simply enjoys the flowers the way she does, forever.


   The gardener who pruned trees would pause, smile at the plant, and say, proudly, "Our National Flower!". In English, he would say this.  As if reciting in a classroom.  I remember thinking, well, what does that really mean for the sampaguita?  This or other varieties, or jasmine, is used by other cultures, strung into even more beautiful and thicker leis than ours.  I don't know if they have the vendors we do.  National flower, national pride...national symbol. A poignant symbol it has become.

   This is terrible, starting out with the pretty picture and ending again with pessimism.  To think I tire of all the focus on poverty in the media--in Indie films, in published works. And I have not written eloquently nor expounded on my thoughts. Pesky.

The only clear shot. But with a fly.

14 April, 2013

The Other Blog

     As I have not posted much nor have I posted anything really new, exciting, interesting or informative about "Santa Rosa, Laguna",  I may focus on the other blog for the meantime. That is the mother blog.

     More and more the area from Bgy. Don Jose to Sto. Domingo is "developing" rapidly. (Sorry how redundant). Good for residents who feel they need "everything" to be here. Good for tourism.  Bad, say most of my friends. Things are going to go bad from here on in, said a foreign friend.  We cannot stop this "progress", there are more people, what can we do.  We can take the opportunities to get in on the action and profit from it. Or we can continue to miserably think about how to move further south to the boondocks.

      Remembering I had registered to vote in Santa Rosa City, I checked the list of candidates. I don't even know them. How will I decide.  So for mayor there is the incumbent, and the other, a name so familiar, and no wonder. I had seen the name on the uniforms of maintenance men and seen their vehicles.  I saw the same name on a cosmetic and toiletries shop at the mall.  A general services company. Both women.  Who do I choose? I have to learn more.

     All I know is in this area at least (not the old one) there are no lamp posts with the mayor's initials.  The area is clean.  And cleanliness is an impression a lot of people have of it. But then again, that may be because this area is mostly private, owned by large developers.


Fields of Angels

   I had noticed the bamboo lined entrance years ago, just past Mr. Moo along the highway in Silang.  Eventually I noticed a small wooden sign "Angelfields".    Each time we drove by I wondered...to where did the path lead.  

   I was feeling out of sorts...terribly out of sorts.  In my head echoed "you need to find your center. You are out of balance".  Things came to a head when the kid would not take an afternoon siesta again, had been waking up for midnight snacks.  After weeks of "good" sleep on her part, and enough shuteye for myself as well, that routine broke down inexplicably and so did I. This is just a long-winded way of saying, I was tired.  So this day, I just demanded that we "go, go on a drive!".  He needed to have a destination...he grumbled about possible notorious Saturday afternoon traffic at the direction I pointed--South.  South is THIS way, the kid said. Haha, not the supermarket today, dear.  South toward the ridge but not all the way. 

    A destination, he demanded. "Angelfields", the head whispered...I want to finally check out that angel fields.  I love bamboo.

    The guardian at the gate, sorry...the man at the entrance was very friendly saying it is a wedding/events place. Ohhh. Just go down the road and follow the right side, he directed.  Voila, down there, more bamboo. I love bamboo. And bamboo led me to this sanctuary.

The bamboos creaked as they swayed, their leaves rustled. Instantly I was healed and that's just the entrance.  Sounds of nature--birds, wind, trees. That's all.

      This being a quick, sudden drive out, I forgot to bring a proper camera.  
    The very accommodating and cheerful guest officer who showed us around explained that the owner being "very religious, a devout Catholic", set this property up as a place for prayer.  It does make a pretty garden wedding location.  It's like having a wedding at home.  It is actually also a B&B.  With casitas named after saints, crucifixes and statues marking each, it looks like a Catholic retreat place.  It is conducive to contemplation, reflection on the faith.  The birds are cared for--the owner avoids fumigation, etc which may harm them. It is after all called a "Nature Sanctuary" and well, St. Francis, animals, you get it.  On the table as we dined was a black bug with white patterns, and a caterpillar.  Good signs, but in my humble opinion maybe they should have carabao grass and not the bermuda grass (or is it zoysia? philippine grass?) they were watering to rehabilitate. I mean the lawn is pretty, but...I don't know...maybe too high maintenance. 

     I hope their wide and deep drainage system is enough for the monsoon season. There is a creek along the property and it is currently dry, but the place looks like a catch basin. Oh what do I know, they know what they're doing. Just a word of warning I suppose, for monsoon weddings...

     A pavilion named John Paul II, a devotion to St. Francis, with his image everywhere...interestingly this was opened a year ago.  Will a Pope Francis pavilion come next?

     Oh I forgot to mention, yes there is all-day dining for walk-in guests.


coffee machine in every casita

There is a piano in here
It is pretty in the evening. Huge appeal for weddings
mahogany trees planted by the owner 13 years ago