A Botanic Garden and Farm

Portion of the resort -style farm

This is a private farm garden owned by one of Metro Manila’s famous politician . The tour group was escorted by a security group upon reaching the place.

Koi pond

The group saw a lot of collections ranging from family pictures, paintings , antiques,  potteries, furniture, santos, jars, figurines, furniture , books   and the south east Asian  style inspired  architecture in  each of the pavilion like structures which resembles Bali in Indonesia , Bangkok  or even  in Mainland China .

Asian inspired pavilion guarded by Chinese- Fu dogs

There  is like a big botanic garden which had themed landscape from European style manicured lawn and themed portions which separates expensive palms,  adeniums, ornamental plants, shrubs and flowering trees including several aviaries .

Shade house filled with blooming Dendrobium anosmum locally known as

( sanggumay ), Vanda hybrids, Vanda teres and native orchids

There are also several big green houses which housed the collections of cacti, succulents, orchids, bromeliads,  ferns, cycads , aroids  and  anthuriums.

According to one of the caretakers, this is like a wonderland of plants from different parts of the world. The collection of the exotic plants spanned over 30 years which started during the pre-martial law days .

The group was treated to a sumptuous buffet style lunch which offered the best from the area.The group were very happy to spend some time in the resort style farm . Photo opportunities and small chit chat with the gracious hosts were the done after the lunch break.

man -made lagoon planted with lotus

There are several man-made pond and lagoons within the property which serves as a planting area for lotus, water lilies and were Peking ducks swim.

colorful service  vehicle

The group needed a small service vehicle in order to tour the entire property.

Before the end of the  day the group was again treated for a light afternoon snacks which consists of native rice cakes, young coconut pie , nuts and soft drinks.

crucifixion tableau scene late 19th century

According to the owner , they are planning to open the property to the public for a fee in a few years to come . The place is perfect for weddings, parties, location shooting , photo opportunity, convention ,  meeting place  or simply a place to relax and  to admire the wonders of nature.

A collector’s humble abode

Ms. May Dumlao is a former educator, editor and an entrepreneur  . She is known to have a fine collection of ferns, hoyas, orchids, bromeliads, aroids and is an active member of Philippine Horticultural Society, Fern and Nature Society of the Philippines.

An specimen sized Platycerium sp. in Ms. Mae Dumlao’s garden

Her home is also a favorite hangout of the members of the societies and even friends of her children since the place is quite accessible.  She also recalled that television crew and movie outfit would ask permission to have a location shoot inside her home.

Tita Mae had various collections of paintings and sketches from reknown Philippine artists that were prominently hanged in her sala, dining room, bedroom and even near the passageway. In one instance, a photographer from a lifestyle magazine wanted to take pictures and to do stories of her famed painting collections, but this would entail the removal of these valuable items to be removed from their location. She politely decided not to allow the crew to feature her collections.

Her additional collection also includes matchboxes, ceramics, gongs and at one time collected stamps, paper bills and even Santos made from local Philippine wood. According to her relatives, peers, students and children gave most of the collection that were accumulated in a span of over 40 years.  Part of her collection also included old ceramic plates and jars from the Ming and Manchu dynasty, which were excavated by her group during the 1960’s in an undisclosed excavation sites in one of the provinces up north.

Back then; people would not dare collect these items since they believe that these things would bring bad luck. Most of the rare finds were being bought by foreigners like Taiwanese, Japanese and even Americans which would hire local treasure hunters. We just collected the ordinary ones and even dug some of the ceramics ourselves. In some instances, whenever we had a time to go to the beach we also collect shells.

She is also a writer, editor, cook, emcee among others.

President Corazon Aquino tribute

President Corazon Aquino tribute exhibit booth landscaped by Mr. Kelvin Manubay, Mr. Jun Golamco, Mr. Rommel Arriola, Mr. Lawrence Chan with the help of Mr. Edilberto Capague Jr. and Mr. Jiffy Alegre  during the 63rd Mid-Year Orchid & Garden Show last August 27 to September 7 , 2009 at Quezon Cityhall grounds

Maria Corazon “Cory” Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino (January 25, 1933 – August 1, 2009) was the President of the Philippines and is considered as  “Mother of Democracy” in the Philippines. Serving from 1986 to 1992, she was the first female president of the Philippines and the first female president of any country in Asia.

Unknown to many, she is a nature and an orchid lover. In 1989, in response to government’s encouragement to develop the ornamental, floriculture and horticulture industry, many members of the Orchid Society of Davao, Inc. (OSDI) shifted to orchid growing as a business venture. This was fully endorsed by then President Corazon C. Aquino when she declared Davao City as the Orchid Center of the Philippines in 1992 through Proclamation No. 886.

During the incumbency of President Corazon “Cory” Aquino, several orchid genus and ornamental plant cultivars were named after her.  Dr. Romeo Gutierrez a well-known plant breeder, a three term president of Philippine Horticultural Society,  antique collector  , art collector and also a painter  bred Aglaonema Cory, a cultivar of the aglaonema that was named after former President Corazon Aquino. Its broad, dark green leaves consist of a herringbone pattern of grayish-silver,with yellow marks along the midrib. Like the sunburst, the yellow coloration of the young leaves becomes conspicuous through proper light conditions. It has white petioles and many suckers.

Aglaonema Corazon Aquino bred by Dr. Romeo Gutierrez
Aglaonema Corazon Aquino bred by Dr. Romeo Gutierrez

This  Aglaonema won the ” Best Ornamental Plant in Show” of the Philippine Horticultural Society show held on February 10 to 17, 1990 at the Manila Seedling Bank Foundation .  Coincidentally the plaque was donated by house majority floor leader Mr. and Mrs. Francisco Sumulong  a relative of Mrs. Aquino maternal side.

Photo Courtesy of Singapore Botanic Gardens by: Mr. Whang Lay Keng – Head Living Collection

On the occasion of her state visit and the ASEAN head of state meeting in the island state of Singapore on August  26 , 1986 the Singapore Botanic Garden named Dendrobium Corazon Aquino (Parentage:  Dendrobium Tien Soeharto x Dendrobium Noor Aishah) an orchid hybrid after the incumbent leader.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society of London this orchid was registered on January 1, 1986 in their list.  SGB institute had the tradition of breeding and naming new orchid cultivars after famous world leaders, politicians, and celebrities.

On numerous occasions she would be invited to come, as guest of honor during various orchid & garden shows held by different garden clubs from all over the country.  She was one of the  guest of honor on the 46th annual orchid and garden show of the Philippine Orchid Society held at the Makati SM Car Park  compound in  February 1992.

Several years later, Atty. Hernando Perez, one of her former cabinet secretaries, developed a new breed of orchid and named it after her. He thought it was just right to breed BLC. Benigno Aquino an inter-generic yellow colored orchid variety. The good quality traits of the orchid made it a desirable breeding parent material for developing new breeds of orchid.

The orchid hybrid took 5 years to grow, using cross-pollination methods. Its “mother and father” plants are a variety of yellow orchid named BLC. Benigno Aquino (pod parent) and the greenish BLC. Malvarosa Jade ( pollen parent).

The Blc Cory Aquino orchid (Brassolaeliocattleya Cory Aquino) with code name HC – 547 -, bred by former Justice Secretary Hernando B. Perez, is a graceful but sturdy plant with yellow and green varieties.

Because of the breeding traits of BLC. Malvarosa Jade, there are 2 color forms of  the BLC. Cory Aquino that can be found.  One is yellow and the other is greenish yellow. All forms are highly sought after by orchid and plant collectors worldwide.

63rd Mid-Year Orchid & Garden Show poster

The color yellow is widely associated with both Sen. Ninoy and Cory Aquino, since they used this color in clothes or campaign paraphernalia. In retirement, in fact, the former president took up painting, with flowers as her chosen still life subjects. Flowers were also one of former President Aquino’s favorite painting subjects finding the task a form of relaxation and a way of relieving stress. Having stepped down from office in 1992, Tita Cory, as she is fondly remembered, was quite content at becoming an ordinary citizen once again, but remained active in social work, and in wielding her undiminished moral authority whenever the democratic institutions she helped restore came under threat.

Unlike most orchids that need to be propped up, the Blc Cory Aquino stands erect and proud, much like the ideologies of the late former president.

According to Nani Perez, “This orchid hybrid symbolizes strength of her character because it is a sturdy plant. Pirmeng naka-tindig yun eh. Pirmeng proud.” It is also feminine-looking but with a strong bearing. Its petals are light yellow which means it is long-lasting,” he added.

In the last quarter of 2004, Perez said he was able to give her a pot of his best Blc. Cory Aquino and the plant’s registry certificate from the Royal Horticultural Society, a London-based international group that registers orchid hybrids.

Atty. Perez was also featured in the “orchid episode” of “ Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho” aired last February 23, 2008 on GMA channel 7. The episode featured him as an orchid and a plant breeder since 1974 and among the orchid hybrids featured in the episode was the BLC. Cory Aquino, Blc. Ninoy Aquino among others. A portion of the episode was uploaded in the KMJS website.

In a recent television guest interview on ABS-CBN channel 2- top rated morning show  “ Umagang Kay Ganda” last August 4, 2009 with Ms. Donita Rose, He was also able to present the original Royal Horticultural Society certificate of orchid registration with frame and potted flowering orchid to the late president, this gesture made her very happy.

In the Flora Filipina Expo 2006 held from February 24 to March 5,2006  jointly organized by the Philippine Orchid Society (POS) and Philippine Horticultural Society (PHS) within the ruins of San Ignacio in Intramuros.  In this international event,  the winning orchid ( BLC. Cory Aquino) brought attention of the orchid breeders around the world that the Philippines had orchid hybidizers like Mr. Perez which breeds award winning orchids.

In the 61st Mid-Year Orchid and Garden Show held from Aug. 29 to Sept. 10, 2007, the same orchid cultivar’s won the  “Best Philippine Hybrid” award one of the highest recognition that a breeder can get. – Perez said Aquino sent him a text message congratulating him for the “prize-winning orchid.” He still keeps the text message on his phone to this day.

Breeders from Japan, Thailand , United Kingdom, USA  and local orchid collectors were very eager to have a division or sample of this award winning orchid hybrid.

Cory Aquino’s big role, not only for the restoration of the democracy in the Philippines, but also for the development of the local horticulture industry, cannot be underestimated. With the whole world paying homage to the former president, this is a small gratitude that any horticulturist or plant lover from all over the world can give.

Mr. Florentino Cayco memorabilia

Mr. Florentino Cayco Sr. memorabilia housed inside the library

The late Florentino Cayco, Sr., first Filipino Undersecretary of Public Instruction and illustrious educator, conceptualized the birth and administered the growth of Arellano University.

This prestigious institution of learning opened in 1938 as the Arellano Law College, named after Cayetano Arellano, first Filipino chief justice. It closed in December 1941 until March 1945 under the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II. At the end of the war, this educational institution reopened in April, 1945 and was renamed as Arellano Colleges offering a two-year preparatory law course and the regular four-year law course, as well as a complete secondary education curriculum.

In June 1945, Arellano Colleges offered a four-year course in education (Bachelor of Science in Education), a two-year teacher training course (Elementary Teacher’s Certificate) and an elementary school training department. Likewise offered were courses in commerce, foreign service, and arts and sciences.

A year later, in June 1946, Florentino Cayco, Sr., became the first President of Arellano Colleges. Through his efforts, Arellano Colleges was elevated to, and recognized as, Arellano University on February 22, 1947 by the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports.

It was also in 1947 that the graduate school was organized and authorized to offer a course leading to the degree of Master of Arts in education as a requisite for the grant of university status.

In 1954, Arellano University opened a school of nursing which offered a basic nursing course. In April 1960, the School of Nursing expanded its curricular offerings by adding courses in post-basic nursing with majors in public health and clinical teaching. The School of Nursing was later renamed College of Nursing. At about the same time, a preparatory medical course was added to the general curriculum of the College of Arts and Sciences.

In 1978, the graduate school was renamed Florentino Cayco Memorial School of Graduate Studies, in honor of the founder and first president of Arellano University. Added to the graduate courses were the degrees of Master of Business Administration, Master of Science and Economics and Master of Arts in Nursing. In the same year, the management of the College of Law was turned over to Arellano Law Foundation under a Memorandum of Agreement.

Its incessant expansion in all areas and locations has evolved into a network of campuses, the better to serve Metro Manila by going closer to the people.

At present, the Arellano University System boasts of seven campuses, as follows:

Arellano University Main, Legarda Campus Juan Sumulong Campus in Legarda , Manila Jose Abad Santos Campus in Pasay City (AU School of Law) Apolinario Mabini Campus in Pasay City Andres Bonifacio Campus in Pasig City Plaridel Campus in Mandaluyong City Elisa Esguerra Campus in Malabon City.

Arellano University- Legarda main library

A street in Sampaloc was named after this famous educator. The Legarda campus also boast some of his memorabilia like photographs, awards, plaque, certificate, collections of rare books  , medals and other stuffs. The current collection is housed within the university main library .

Katipunan Tree

Century old tree w/in Metro Manila College campus

The country is rich in natural resources and old trees tell a lot of interesting stories. There is a 155 year old duhat tree ( Syzygium cumini )  which is located at the foot of a wooded hill called “ Binugsok” now within Barrio Kaligayahan , Jordan Plains Subdivision . Within the Metro Manila College compound just about a kilometer  away from  Our Lady of Mercy Church in  Novaliches town proper in Quezon City . The area was once heavily covered with thick vegetation up to the late 19th and early 20th century .

Wild chickens , native deers, monitor lizards and boars roam while the revolutionaries’ troops forage for food within the immediate vicinity.

The natural contour of the hill served as a battery and an outpost of the Katipuneros during the 1896 revolution and served as a target of many Spanish soldiers.  The late Kapitan  Bernabe Serrano popularly known as Kabesang Abeng who was a member of the Katipunan and the former owner of the property where the historic duhat tree stands. He stated that on several occasions, the place was visited by Andres Bonifacio , the Supremo of the Katipunan in order to bolster the morale of the troops. Under the canopy of the duhat tree served as medical headquarters, resting, meeting place and troop formation of the revolutionary forces.

This is also where Melchora Aquino , popularly known as Tandang Sora , treated those who are sick , wounded under this tree.  The tree also provided some nourishment to the Katipuneros and to the people of the surrounding area. The natural elevation of the land served as a vantage point and lookout for the guerilla forces in Novaliches also during the Japanese occupation.

Older residents within the place would recall that they even bathe in the nearby streams and would also remember how they would climb and pick the fruits of this duhat tree.

Now the tree is within the property of the Metro Manila College and the school had some artifacts and old pictures to prove that when the revolution broke out in 1896 the tree is already several decades old.

Big holes, scratches and scars are visible on the trunk and branches of the tree and up to now the tree still fights for its survival. The tree has a diameter at breast height of approximately 140 meter, and about 15 meter tall and has a crown diameter of approximately 16 meter.   When the hill was leveled during the development of the area and many bullets made of copper were found in the area presumed used during the Spanish period .

There are 2 younger duhat trees nearby which is presumed as the siblings of the tree.  This duhat tree is a silent witness in the history that every Filipinos should never forget and the urgent need to care and protect the tree from natural diseases and human harm.

Dr. Mamerto S. Miranda the founder of the college is a native of Novaliches and is a war veteran who founded Metro Manila College formerly known as Novaliches Academy in 1947.

For those who wanted to visit the school , here are the contact number:

Address: 966 Plaza Novaliches
Barrio Kaligayahan, Novaliches
Quezon City, Metro Manila 1123
TEl : (1123)939-11-62 , 9363082
Fax : (1123)419-14-82

Earth Keepers Organic Farm & Restaurant

Earth Keepers Garden and Restaurant is located on Kilometer 101, Brgy Talisay in Tiaong , Quezon

Last March 29, 2008, I was very excited to visit the restaurant and organic farm. The jam packed 50 seater tourist bus hired by the Philippine Orchid Society went to this place.   The crowd was eager to see this wonderful place which promotes healthy lifestyles and living. Some parts of the property had small relaxation area which could be instantly be converted into a spa or an informal meeting place.

Pesticides, which is concentrated on the vegetables and foods that we usually buy from the market, had traces or laced  harmful chemicals .

A lot of the people in this world is already facing with serious dilemma.

Ms. Teresa Perez Saniano conducting a short lecture

According to Ms. Teresa Saniano or simply Ms. Tere  the owner of the demo farm said that urea, which is the primary source of fertilizer in farms is already increasing in price, the main component of which is made from petroleum based, the soaring world market of petroleum had caused increase in the prices of these fertilizer which also increases the farm gate prices of these foods.

We all know what is happening all over the world in the quest to have higher yield in food production.

Ms. Tere had warmly welcomed the group and had a short power point presentation in which her advocacy group want to spread not only within the province of Quezon But also all over the country.

native chicken fed with termites

Her demo farm is very productive; She had organically grown vegetables, papaya fruits, organic rice, free-range chickens is fed naturally with organically grown vegetables and termites which is high in protein unlike the usual poultry grown chicken that  had to be fed with feeds .

She even had formulated an organic feeds for the pigs which are grown in the farm, she had also vermicomposing which used African night crawlers and their vermin –waste is transformed vermiculite  into organic fertilizers and organic spray.

Even kitchen waste such as fish gills, fish innards and leftover bones are also transformed into organic fertilizers.

The fish gills and innards is then prepared with a ratio of 1kilo fish gills and innards to 1 kilo of molasses then fermented for 20 days, after which the organic waste is then filtered into  a loin cloth then the fish emulsion is already ready substitute for a high nitrogen based organic foliar fertilizer . The fertilizer is then mixed with 155 grams of ordinary sardine can.

Congressman Prospero Alcala -second district of Quezon

While enjoying the sumptuous  organic buffet lunch  Congressman Prospero Alcala dropped by and joined the group. He  is happy that the group had toured his district and ecstatically  shared some of his insights on  agriculture and organic farming.  he also gladly posed for a souvenir shot with the group .

His involvement in agriculture is deepened and was convinced there is a big market for their crops. However, to be competitive they should get into organic farming.

According to Mr. Alcala ,  If  the farmers, if motivated, could indeed maximize their produce. They were given the seeds and necessary farm inputs—from fertilizers to pesticides, and after their produce were sold in the market, they managed to pay for the inputs provided them. The rest of the profit goes to them.

he recent surge in prices of farm inputs—nearly doubling the cost of fertilizers—deepened their conviction of the need to go organic.

She had also collection of native handicrafts, jars , ornamental plants, native orchids, water lilies  and wood work. Tere also accepts guided tour to her demo farm and restaurant but prior appointment must be made several weeks or even months  before coming to the farm.

For reservations:

Contact Person : Ms. Teresa Perez Saniano

Km. 101, Brgy. Talisay, Tiaong Quezon Province

Tel: (042) 545-7112

House of Bamboo in Laguna

Bamboo house
Bamboo house

This is the ancestral house of Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro of Laguna located near University of the Philippines .

This house is almost entirely made of local bamboo treated in sea beaches using the centuries -old  technique which required bamboo poles to be  buried  into the beach sand  for several months in order to treat the bamboo.

This house was built in early 1950’s and had withstood several calamities like typhoons and even termite infestations.

garden with orchids, ferns and ornamental plants
garden with orchids, ferns and ornamental plants

The house , garden and dormitory compound is always a favorite  stopover for  members of plants and orchid societies which always made it to a point to visit the area whenever there is a field trip within Laguna area.

The house is an ideal location set -up for  shooting in some of television series  and movies . The garden also boast of various Philippine native orchids, hoyas , ferns , tillandsias,  exotic plants and even had a koi pond .

The family also had a fine collections of old family photos, ceramic jars, old memorabilia and even  orchid shows trophies .

For those who wanted to visit this magnificent house and  garden you can contact Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro who conducts local tour around UPLB with  food trip  .  He also an award winning landscaper and florist.

Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro contact information :

SMART (0918) 520-9795  Sun ( 0922)895-9545

Land line # (049) 536-2463

Collectibles,books,tours,philately,current events,orchids, plants, environment, trade fairs etc…

%d bloggers like this: