Quezon Memorial Circle Plant Center

Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City – Philippines

It was in 2007 when the Agri -Aqua Network International Incorporated (AANI )group was moved from their previous location near the present day Hardin ng mga Bulaklak facing East Avenue  to PHILCOA – Commonwealth area. There were about 30 stalls which sells various agriculture supplies and agriculture produce . ANNI used to have over 100 stall holders when they are still at the East Avenue entrance.

Website: http://www.aaniphil.net/

Szhairene Jham Garden

This store is a re-seller of plants and gardening supplies which are mostly from Bulacan, Quezon area.

Purificacion Orchid and Ornamental Plant moved in 2012

Brief History

 The additional plant stalls area facing the PhilCOA area /  Department of Agrarian Reform used to be several stalls selling various kinds of merchandises from the late 1990’s until early 2000.

the author together with some plant and orchid enthusiasts invited during the soft opening in 2009

Prior to the big move by commercial plant stall tenants from Manila Seedling Bank in 2013. A portion facing DAR was allocated in 2008 and was part of the proposed Quezon Memorial Circle Plant and Pet Center .

Dendrobium Garden circa April 2009 – space used to be rented by Mr. Dennis Sy until late 2009. The area is now being rented  by Horizon Garden of Ms. Baby Alarcon

Mindanao Fruit Test circa 2009

The center is envision to rival Cartimar Pet and Garden Center in Pasay. However the initial endeavor almost failed miserably as series of unfortunate events happened – Ondoy in 2009 which inundated some of the stalls causing massive floods and killing some plants, poor water quality which cause fish kills, poor sales among plant tenants and high overhead costs. Some of the tenants were unable to pay the rents. .

Horizon Garden circa 2013

Mr. Dennis Sy,  One of the tenants of the place defaulted in the payment of the rentals and thus some of the stalls ( rented by Mr. Dennis Sy) were eventually taken-over by the Quezon Memorial Circle management. I used to consign some books, reading materials and ornamental plants in some of the stalls ( that is ‘why’ i know most of the tenants until 2010).  Some of the tenants were not able to pay me the consignments items , so i decided to pull-out all the items and relocated them somewhere in Metro Manila.

Blooms and Greens

There was a Thai inspired plant stall located a few meters away . Which used to sell a lot of orchids and ornamental plants. But when i visited the place, they are selling few plants and almost no flowering orchids. I just wonder what happened to the nicely landscaped plant stall.

Dels’ Garden

When most of the plant , orchid , cactus , agriculture, pet and fish shows were held within Quezon Memorial Circle in 2011 . The area gradually pick -up sales from the visitors .

Kings Garden

( This commercial space used to be rented by a pet and koi store until early 2010 )

Additional plant stalls were added mid-2012 as rumors of the eventual closure of the Manila Seedling Bank and the need for more greenness within the area. Some plant stall owners got 2 to 5 stalls. They decided to get some stalls because the space is small compared to their former location.

Evergreen Garden

Evergreen Garden specializes in ornamental plants, orchids, plastic pots , gardening tools . The proprietor had a farm in Batangas

King Louis Ornamental Farm

There were additional 20 to 30 stalls currently being constructed in the adjacent area. They are expecting more tenants to relocate within the circle .

Hoobee Packing Corporation Agriculture Division

(63 02) 533-4770; 533-4773 to 75

Ms. Ressie Paz Navarro plant and pet store

Simply called RPN stall. This store specializes in native orchids and ornamental plants, They also sell cats and some pets.

Dendrobium anosmum and Dendrobium cucullatum aka sanggumay

mango seedling stall

Monina’s Garden

Overall, this place is being groomed by the Quezon Cityhall as the next plant hub after the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation closure. Currently they are adding more commercial stalls to accommodate more tenants .

Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II stamps issued by PHLPOST: IT’S MORE EXPENSIVE in the Philippines !

Manila Central Post Office , Liwasang Bonifacio, Ermita, Manila -Philippines

Pope John Paul II stamp issued by PHLPOST

The twin canonization is seen by Vatican watchers as an attempt to breach a traditional left-right divide in the Church.

As the Vatican welcomes pilgrims from all over the world to witness the ceremony, relics and images are being shown in the Philippines for those who couldn’t make it to Vatican.

Pope John XXIII stamp issued by PHLPOST

Observation from Some Stamp Collectors:

The double stamp issuance of PHLPOST is a big marketing strategy targeting stamp collectors, memorabilia collectors, the big Catholic community around the Philippines and the rest of the world.  Philippines is the largest Catholic country in Asia with at least 81% or close to 82 million Filipinos that are Catholics. The souvenir sheet that goes with the circular stamp is measured at 105 mm X 70 mm while the Stamps at 38 mm in size. Graphic designer and In-house layout artist Mr.Jose Antonio Jayme designed the canonization stamps.

stamp issuance by Vatican City

These guys will be like Eur 0.85 x 6 pieces =  Eur 5.10 or Php 314.6088

This is far cry from the Philippine stamp issuance.

The stamp issuance is quite low for a population of 103 million ! Issuing a limited quantity stamps 5,000 pieces for Pope John XXIII and 10,000 pieces for Pope John Paul II seems very small.  This is one problem, There are people who speculate on the stamp issuance. Buying them at face value and selling them several times the original value. The stamp speculator will rake in huge profits but at the expense of the ordinary stamp collectors which had to cough in over Php 200 pesos ! Do not expect them to sell those stamps at Php 200 since they are being sold by PHLPost at face value! LOL

Pope John XXIII just costs Euro 0.70 or Php 43.18

Another point, What is the PHLPOST target market? It seems that they did not know that in the social media era and in the technological age of the 21st century,  There are still more than 5,000 stamp collectors in the Philippines. So why issue a crazy low quantity issuance of 5,000 pieces , When they can print 50,000 ? and make the printing cost even lesser  and even the prices? I have relatives and friends that were into printing and the cost of printing is far lower if they opt to print 50,000 ( larger quantity )  printing cost is also almost the same as 5,000 pieces? I think with proper information dissemination thru all media contacts ( which also includes bloggers , social media etc.. ) 50,000 pieces is just peanuts! Are they afraid of over stocking ? They have not evenly properly distribute those stamp in the major major post offices nationwide and their online website is still lags miles behind some other private websites which is raking in profits at the expense of other collectors which do not have access to Philippine stamps.

Euro 2 is just equivalent to Php 123.37

Another point raise by a blogger friend (who also collects stamps), If their target market are the foreign collectors. Then,  they are also into a BIG Surprise ! Foreign memorabilia collectors usually make researches and comparison to all the countries which issues stamps to commemorate an event ( We stamp collectors call this type of stamp collecting – Omnibus stamp or Omnibus memorabilia collection )

What is an Omnibus issuance?  It an issue of stamps by several countries with a common subject and which may share a uniform design. Omnibus issues have often been made by countries under common political control or groups of colonies due to the close co-operation required to produce the issue. Omnibus issues are to be distinguished from join tissues which are usually much smaller in scope. Or an Omnibus issuance is an issuance of stamps or collectible items which countries have similar events in  like Olympics , Canonization Process, Queen’s Birthday , Commonwealth Games, Royal Marriages etc…

Then those countries will issue commemorative items that will highlight the event.

Euro 1.90 and Euro 2.50- both stamps cost Php 209.73

Pricing :

The Php 200 per stamp  for Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II got a mix- review from stamp collectors which collects stamps on a worldwide basis.  Php 200 might be cheap for some collectors , BUT it pales in comparison with Vatican City or even Italian stamps! Pricing Wise. Even with the so- called special features falls in sharp contrast with other stamp producing countries. Php 200 is equivalent to about $ 4.48 ( April 28, 2014 exchange rate) . I must remind the Stamp Advisory Committee members, PHLPOST employees involve with the stamp design , Philatelic section, Postage and Metered Services section , Marketing Department. That stamp collecting must be enjoyed by everyone and not by the rich, powerful, the stamp speculators, stamp dealers .  BUT more importantly , stamp collecting must be enjoyed by the students and younger generations whom shall  carry the torch of next generation of stamp collecting !!!! .   I have made a short and quick random survey among top stamp collecting schools ( at least 20 private and public schools) And many school children and even young adults were really dismayed over the Php 200 per stamp issuance. They have to cough in Php 400 Pesos just to buy the 2 sets of stamps.  First Day Covers is not yet included ? HUH

Issuing high value stamps  is not the solution to rake in profit, I must say it is just for short term only .  Remember that the mandate of Post Office during the Spanish , American and Early Republic is to serve the PUBLIC? Badageros , Kartero or Mailman would volunteer their time, efforts and services for the sake of mail deliveries even in wee hours of the night?

Then why not sell those stamps at Php 10 or Php 40 per piece? It is more logical since we can send more of these stamps to our penpals in the provinces and in other countries . I am sure that other ASEAN countries Like Thailand, Singapore , Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia , Indonesia , Myanmar had better stamp design, embellishments ( gold foil etc….) and BETTER pricing . If those countries can sell their stamps at a low price with better designs, Why not the Philippines ? . We must also remind PHLPOST that they are not  just competing with the ordinary domestic market but they are competing with 200 plus countries and territories .  In the end, I am also buying stamps in Italy and Vatican but i am also buying just a copy or so of the Philippine stamps just for comparison purposes. But i do not expect to buy more than the usual purchase that i have done in the past .

In the end, rising stamp prices will make some stamp speculators very happy but not the general stamp collectors around the world which are not very happy with the so call new innovations . ( I must say what PHLPOST new innovation in Philippine stamps is commendable but the so call new embellishments  in the designs , they are not so new in the international stamp issuance !) LOL.

The stamp just costs Eur.0.85 or Php 52.33

 The more they keep on issuing low quantity stamps with high denomination  face value , This will keep stamp collectors just admiring them and probably a few sales will materialize.  I must say that stamp collecting in the Philippines is not longer ” MORE FUN” but ” IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE” to collect Philippine stamps . For this issuance we must say ” IT IS MORE FUN COLLECTING VATICAN Stamps” than Philippines Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II stamps.

Pasensiya nlng po at madami kaming kilala taga Vatican City and Italy .  One stamp club based in Quezon City area ordered several sets of Pope John Paul II stamps in Vatican City and they also got a FREE shipping with FREE leaflets too !!!!!

 Vatican City Post Office: http://www.vaticanstate.va/content/vaticanstate/en/stato-e-governo/struttura-del-governatorato/ufficio-filatelico-e-numismatico.html

PHLPOST: https://www.phlpost.gov.ph/

Poste Italiane: http://www.posteitaliane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Baños Horticultural Society’s Show 2014: Flores de Mayo

Senior Social Hall, University of the Philippines , Los Banos, Laguna-Philippines

center garden landscape executed by VS Orchids

The 2014 annual garden show unfolded at the Senior Social Hall . The annual show theme” Flores de Mayo  ” showcase the flowering plants that are blooming during the month of April and May. This year’s show is in cooperation with University of the Philippines- Los Baños, Los Baños Horticultural Society , Department of Trade and Industry – Laguna , Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCCARD) with the support from various affiliated societies . 

Dendrobium cucullatum

 Dendrobium cucullatum – fairy sanggumays or lesser sanggumays add beauty to the landscape exhibit  done by Mr. Vicente Chin Jr.  The orchid with thousand of flowers ( 5 clumps ) won a special prize .

This also coincide with the yearly graduation of the students and visits of some balikbayans and alumni in time for the summer break. The show organizers will pay tribute to Ms. Lita Ibarra of Gintong Talulot farm.

neoregelias

The center piece landscape was executed by VS Orchids and Ornamental plants which showcase different bromeliad hybrids , tillandsias, annuals and different kinds of orchid hybrids.

community booth

Exotica by Dr. Ben Vergara

This booth was executed by the landscape team of Dr. Ben Vergara, His booth won 2 prizes 3rd Prize ” Booth Construction” .

The main plant featured in his booth were Kalanchoe hybrids

Ms. Fe Venenoso booth#8

Ms. Fe Venenoso landscape booth won 2 prizes ”  2nd Prize Booth Construction ”  and 2nd Prize ” Booth Composition ” aside from the countless of ornamental plants that won some prizes at the ongoing show. Ms. Fe specializes in growing anthuriums for  cut flower varieties like “white color” and Hawaii varieties. She also accepts landscaping jobs.

Contact : 0927-373-6014 ( GLOBE)

Mr. Raymundo Catipon

Mr. Ray Catipon is LBHS board member and  is also into plant propagation and seller of ornamental plants.

Contact : 0921-5959185

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Smokey Tour: An Advocacy Tour of Smokey Mountain and How People Earn Their Living

Baranggay 105, Tondo , Manila-Philippines

children happily posing for a group shot

This photo speaks a thousand words. It is not my first time to go to Tondo and mingle with underprivileged people. This time , I joined a tour organized by http://www.smokeytours.com/

We met at a famous fast-food chain restaurant near LRT line 1 Tayuman station. The group are composed of 2 Singaporean, 1 Dutch , 2 European and 3 Filipino freelance writers . We were brief by the local tour guide , who also happened to be a resident of Tondo .

Ate Remy Cabello

They started to conduct a tour in 2011 and went on a full blast in 2012 . There are some local television station which featured their advocacy tours around the city and they are unlike other tours which are more for the tourist rather than advocacy.

Ate Remy Cabello with our tricycle driver

I am also a travel operator and part time tour guide, We almost share a common interest in one thing ” advocacy ” and in helping the community. From Tayuman LRT line 1 station , We rode a tricycle cab going the Baranggay 105 . I rode at the side of the driver and acted as a translator to the 2 Singaporeans who apparently is a writer and one is a photographer in a local magazine and an online site . According to our tricycle driver , He use to be a pedicab driver plying the route around Tondo, but due to recent ordinance amendments , They were forced to convert their pedicabs ( bicycle with side passenger ) into tricycle.

clean and potable water is a big problem for the community

Social Issues

Unlike other tours within the city, The organizers limit the number of participants to just below 10 per tour. There are certain issues that can serve as an eye- opener  for those willing to join the tour , Poverty is everywhere. Water is a precious commodity ( not everyone had a fixed water line )  Plus the fact that water is more expensive compared to fixed water line in residential villages. According to our guide, It is more expensive to lay-out water piles in the area.

a woman segregating garbage

The group saw some children and women separating garbage. Tin cans, electronic parts, coppers. plastic cups, foam , nails , everything that has value can be turned into cash !

bed foams

Years ago, junk shops would reject bed foams and other foam based materials like sofa , chairs and bed. Now ,  junk shops would also collect discarded bed foams to be recycled into new foams.

Pagpag meals for sale

Pagpag are leftover  foods from fast-food restaurants scavenged from garbage sites and dumps. The word in the Filipino language literally means to “shake off” , ” shake well ” , ” dusted-off ” or  ” table scraps ”  which refers to the act of shaking the dirt off of the edible portion of the leftovers. The act of eating pagpag arose from the practical challenges of hunger that resulted from extreme poverty situation.

a store selling pagpag value meal

Pagpag could be eaten on site, or processed further most commonly by frying it in hot oil depending on the condition of the food. Small cottage industries have arisen around pagpag with impoverished people making a living scavenging, collecting, processing, and selling the processed pagpag .

 a kitten sleeping

sari-sari store

We can see that almost everyone in the baranggay had some sort of income generating sources from waste segregation, earning money from pedicab or tricycle driving ,  sari-sari store , etc.. But their income is just barely enough to make both ends meets .

waste segregation facility

This  was proposed waste segregation facility during the time of former Mayor Alfredo  S. Lim.  When we went there, we saw some people burning plastics which is dangerous to the health of the residents.  Nothing had change in the proposed waste segregation facility except the land is cleared with garbage ,  native nipa huts and  barbed wires  which cordoned off the area to the public.

participants wear face mask

When we went to this area, each of us were given face mask. It is very dusty and smoke produced from the charcoal tents / pits continuously burning for 3 days is one of the health issues and environmental issues.

charcoal tents

wood piles reading for burning

Charcoal making is not easy, It take time from gathering old woods from junk shops, demolished homes, woods drifted from sea or fallen woods . It may take days or even weeks just to collect sufficient woods , then it will take 1 to 2 days to pile them at the burning pits .

children

When the group went to a charcoal pit , we saw some children playing and gathering nails . They all wanted to help their families , they had to get the nails in order to earn additional income.

sacks of charcoal

It may take 2 to 3 days continuous burning just to make charcoal, A care-taker must always be awake during the process any false move can destroy the wood, Then it take a further 2 days for cooling then then a day or so for the workers to collect the charcoal and packing them in sacks for eventual selling them to homes, restaurants, public markets  etc..

Centro Salvador Building

100% of the profits from the Smokey Mountain tour are used to support Saint Martin of Porres programs in Barangay 105, which the people in Smokey Mountain can access.

http://i1312.photobucket.com/albums/t527/ldvchan/childrenfullofhappiness_zps9bc7e34e.jpg

Saint  Martin runs the following programs below in Manila, for which the total number of beneficiaries for 2012 was 4,833 children and 1,717 adults.

participants

Note: The tour proceeds will help a lot of people in the community

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/smokeytours

info@smokeytours.com

+63 2 6221325
+63 917 5785398

 

myKaffe Bakeshop : The Hidden Jewel in Caloocan

#88, 4th Avenue  corner Sevilla St, West Grace Park, Caloocan City-Philippines

myKaffe Bakeshop

myKaffe Bakeshop is one of the newest bakeshops in the heart of Caloocan City .  The bakeshop is located in a commercial area and just a few blocks away from LRT 5th Avenue Station . The bakeshop open last August 2013 .

Cashier

There are over 30 kinds of cupcakes being offered by the bakeshop. Aside from cupcakes, They also offer hot coffee, hot chocolates, smoothies and cold drinks that can satisfy one’s taste and preference.

cupcakes on miniature ferris wheel -catches anyone attention

The store had a cozy atmosphere and can sit-up to 30 people at any given time.

customized cupcakes for special occasions

The bakeshop can customized their cupcake to suit the taste , preference and budget of their client. ( minimum order is a dozen )

L-R tiramisu, oreo cookies’ and creme, salted caramel and choconut cupcakes

I love to eat cupcakes, What i liked about the myKaffe cupcakes are they are newly baked and the the ingredients use are some of the top quality ingredients that is found in the market.  Tiramisu cupcake is  like a moist cheesecake soaked with espresso and topped with whipped cream,  cocoa powder and real coffee bean coated .  Oreo cookies’ and creme cupcake uses real oreo cookies topped with chocolate  . I loved the Salted Caramel cupcake for the mix taste of salty and a little bit sweet. ( not too sweet and ideal for people who do not have sweet tooth )  The caramel-flavored cheesecake is topped with a unique salty frosting that balances the sweetness of the caramel . Choconut cupcake uses choconut , an all time favorite among the youth as it combines the flavor of chocolate and  crush peanuts made into small bite size bars . It is topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of crush chocnut powder .

carrot cupcake

I must say that the carrot cupcake really caught my taste bud ( moist) ! , It had some grated carrots , crush  walnuts and some cinnamon  . It is perfect for pasalubongs and gift for some occasions.

red velvet cream cake

Another thing that I was looking forward to try  was their Red Velvet Cheesecake and Red Velvet Cream Cake  with generous toppings of red velvet chocolate and layered  with smooth cheese cream fillings !

mocha mint  ( Php 120 ) and brazo de mercedes cupcake ( Php 50)

 Brazo de Mercedes cupcake is a Filipino version of rolled up cake  custard-like egg yolk mixture in its center. The filling was not too sweet and the texture of the meringue was good because it’s kind of crunchy and toasted. It is good that they come up with this idea for a bite size .

chocolate chip cookie and oat with blueberry cookie

The chocolate chip cookie is a must for every chocolate chip lover! The chocolate chip is soft and chewy unlike the commercial brands in the market .  I also like their oat with blueberry cookie !

Ms. Kathy Kenny Ngo – food expert and Ms. Abeth Co- proprietor

How the business started:

I was fortunate to meet the proprietor of the bakeshop , Ms. Abeth Co – According to her,  she started to bake cupcakes in 2005 .She noticed that there were a lot of orders from her friends , relatives and neighbors. Eventually she thought of opening a bakeshop where she lives.  She had personally chosen the site ( Which had a good feng shui numerology double 88 )  . The store is located in an chic 1960’s style building and it used to be a bakery in the 1960’s , then a merchandise store before it was chosen by the current proprietor.

According to the proprietor, They might add some dim sums and light meal ( maybe pasta ) in the coming months. They also accept pre-orders and bulk orders for special occasions.

How to Get There:

There are many ways on how to get to myKaffe Bakeshop

1.) Northern Metro Manila and South Metro Manila area- LRT line 1 and then get-off at LRT 5th Avenue station, a short walk towards the 4th avenue.

2.) Novaliches- Blumentritt jeep which ply the Andres Bonifacio Avenue then take-off at Sgt. Rivera Avenue or C-3 . There are tricycles or jeepneys which ply the route and try to get -off at LRT 5th Avenue station.

3.) Monumento jeep plying the  Rizal Avenue south bound area , just get -off at the 4th avenue .

4.) Navotas and Malabon area, Just ride Gasak- Monumento-Recto route , The jeep will directly pass Sevilla street on its way to Recto.

* The fastest way to get there is via LRT line 1 route.

Store Operation:

Monday to Sunday : 8am to 10:00pm

Landline : (02) 579-7940/ 0920-913-7730, 09434801934

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/pages/myKaffe-Bakeshop/