Korean- Japanese Store within Sierra Vista Subdivision in Novaliches

Korean and Japanese food lovers and resellers would be happy to know that there is another retail and wholesale store within Sierra Vista Residential Estate in the heart of Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Novaliches in Quezon City.

Korean and Japanese Food Products Store

The wholesale store had their soft opening mid-January 2021 and the author had a chance to visit the outlet early February 2021.

Korean -Japanese Store

Lactobacillus from Taiwan and Suntory drinks for sale

The offers retail and wholesale items which are from South Korea, Taiwan ( ROC) and Japan are well-loved consumer products. These includes Korean kimchi in tab, pocky sticks, ice cream, ice popsicles, samgyupsal grill, cookies, noodles, soy sauce,soft drinks, Korean soju, Japanese rice wine, among other merchandise.

If you are from California Subdivision, Goodwill Homes 1,Doña Faustina Subdivision within Barangay San Bartolome. Vista Verde, Torres Village, Samonte compound within Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, General Luis street and Barangay Caybiga in North Caloocan, one can purchase these items from the store. There are also customers who came from Barangay Bagbaguin and Paso de Blas in Valenzuela City.

Those who wanted to buy the items in retail may also visit Meat This Way franchise store within Kingspoint subdivision in Barangay Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City.

Mr. Lou Alfred Dela Cruz – sales personnel

Note: The store operation depends on the guidelines and enhance community quarantine restrictions imposed by the IATF and local government unit of Quezon City.

Store Outlet:

Lot 11, Block 7, Katipunan Avenue, Sierra Vista Residential Vista, Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Novaliches, Quezon City

Operations: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

75 Trendy Plants in the Philippines for 2021 (Part 3)

Plantiquarians, plantitos, plantitas, halamoms, batang halaman will always on a look-out for cheaper and trendy plants this coming 2021 and 2022.

Many are looking for small plants which can fill their limited space. They can be grown with minimal care.

75 Trendy Plants in the Philippines for 2021 to 2022

Episcia hybrids :Photo courtesy of Mr. Delmer del Rosario

68.) Episcia hybrids – Episcia and its hybrids are grown for several decades in the country, The prices are still quite affordable. They are usually grown in hanging baskets, elevated pots, semi-indoor garden and in some cases indoor culture.

There are ten species it contains are native to Central and South America with hundreds of man-made hybrids.

Episcia GREEN Tea

These plants are easily grown and are easily hybridized with exciting marked or patterned leaves. Majority of the flowers are red (rarely orange, pink, blue or yellow) flowers. Unlike other plants, These can be grown in wide array of set-up such as small containers, pocket garden, carpet, terrarium, vivarium and even dish garden.

Photo courtesy : Mr. Delmer Del Rosario

Philippine Episcia Growers Society FB group had more than 2,000 members which can attest to the popularity of the genus. The retail prices of episcia had significantly grown over several months period.

small plants or plantlets price range from are about Php 150 for ordinary varieties, Php 250 up for new hybrids, Php 400 up for cleopatra, picasso and other chimera types

67.) Zamia furfuracea – ( commonly called cardboard palm or cardboard cycad. Other names include cardboard plant, cardboard sago, Jamaican sago, and Mexican cycad ) This is type of cycad which originally found in Veracruz state and Eastern Mexico.

The cycad is getting some attention among palm, cycad and plant collectors since it survive with minimal change since the Jurassic era.

When Zamia furfuracea was introduced to the country in the early 1970’s, This was used by Mr. Ely Bardenas in many of his landscape projects. It was planted in big pots and used as focal point in many private subdivisions.

Online selling sites base in the United States, one foot Zamia furfuracea and Zamia floridana (native to US) only cost $14.99 or about Php 730 pesos. However, one must bear in mind that there are additional cost like freight, import taxes, custom duties and others that would increase the prices of the plant.

Zamia furfuracea is grown as hedge plant in a pocket garden in Quezon City

There are compact types and variegated types of Zamia furfuracea which were exhibited in local plant shows. price is quite elastic over the past few years, For local cycad and plant collector, this is more affordable compared to Encephalartos and Dioon.

The leaves are sometimes use during palm sunday as substitute for Cycas revoluta or young fronds of coconut leaves ( palaspas). One must be careful with this cycad as this can be toxic to pet animals and to even human when ingested.

photo courtesy of pixabay user:duplex-87749

66.) Cycas revoluta – commonly called sago palm, king sago, sago cycad, pitogo, Japanese sago palm.

As a group, the cycads are commonly considered “living fossils,” their lineage little changed over more than 250 million years. The plants is native to Ryukyu islands, parts of Taiwan and Fujian province in China.

Cycas revoluta was introduced during pre-hispanic era with early contacts from Ryukyus, Taiwanese and Chinese traders might have brought the plants.

It is propagated via seeds or basal offset. The leaves are use during palm sunday as alternative for young coconut palm fronds for palaspas. The leaves can stay green for several days during the holy week ( mahal na araw, semana santa) which makes them desirable symbol in warding off evil spirits which would roam during the lenten season. There were several superstitious beliefs surround this cyad, that local growers would covet this plant.

Cycad sago is extremely poisonous to animals (including humans) if ingested. But in some parts of Ryukus islands (Amami islands) the pith is processed and used as a source of flour.

The process is ardous and long process. The trunk had to be cut down and had to be de-barked or peels first then soaked. Soaking the starch from the stem or the seeds helps leach out the potent toxin known as cycasin, which can cause death.

The chopped fragments are dried in the sun and then fermented. material is placed in a bamboo basket and leached many times with water. The water is caught in a wooden tub in which the starch is allowed to settle. them out.

Mashing the starch slowly removes the toxin. the flour is used in making edible pastry known as sotetsu mochi and sotetsu miso.

Asplenium musifolium grown near the entrance of a homeowner somewhere in Quezon City. The owner believes that this fern brought them good luck, good health and prosperity. This fern had been growing in their pocket garden for more than 10 years.

65.) Asplenium musifolium and related species – Plant sellers, traders and collectors would all agree that Asplenium musifolium ( bird’s nest fern) and related species will still be popular for 2020 and 2021. These ferns are not only grown for their aesthetic value, the fern roots can be sustainably harvested for use as pasdak in horticulture industry. There are several folk tales and superstitious beliefs which surround growing this fern in our country.

forking types of Asplenium grown at the Arid and Aroids Farm in Silang, Cavite

Some also believe that these ferns brings good luck and invites prosperity in our homes. Some would hung several bird’s nest fern on the eve of their homes or one’s entrance.

serious collectors would covet the more expensive forking types, variegated types.

64.) Microsorum punctatum fulcra CV “Salisi” – This is an underrated Philippine fern species. The demand is slowly picking up. Its curly fronds are the main attraction for this species. The care and fertilization is similar to Asplenium musifolium and native ferns.

Whenever this particular fern variety would appear in private collection. This would elicit some excitement among local collectors.

Microsorum punctatum furcatum CV” SALISI” -photo courtesy of Mr. Lebon Ong

Background Story : This was a true story of greed and was told countless of times by plant collectors, garden society members, sellers at the former Manila Seedling Bank Foundation. This happened between 14 to 15 years ago.

Personalities involvedMicrosorum punctatum furcatum cv ” Salisi” a mutant form was acquired from a Gubatum/ Gubatum Harbatum/ Hablotii ( jungle collected plant trader). The said personality is infamous in Okinawa and many Southeast Asian countries. – Let us give the code name: Okimon ( known in the international orchid and plant scene as a collector having the rarest plants of them all)

Plant and Orchid Trader ( code name: Mr. Seller or Mr. Descendant of an Emperor in China ) was presumed to be co-owner of the plant, since the original plant owner was his BFF. “Best Friend Forever”.

Eccentric Woman Trader ( Ms. EWT) Ms. EWT is well-known in the entire Manila Seedling Bank Foundation, as resource person, plant seller and plant collector/ influencer.

Rich Society Matron (Mrs. RSM) was a rich business woman from Antipolo, Rizal province.

Sales Girl from a nearby plant stall

Microsorum was the joint ownership of Okimon and Mr. Seller who were known in their respective field. The fern was allegedly stolen during a plant show in broad daylight sometime in 2006 or 2007 by Ms. EWT. It was Ms. EWT who stole the mutant fern under the command of Mrs. RSM. ( collector of rare plants among others).

When the owner learned that the fern was stolen, Mr. Seller went around and almost went to the community police precinct to file a report on the lost/ theft.

Neighboring plant stall sales girl took notice on the commotion on Mr. Seller’s booth. They pinpointed that the eccentric woman trader took the plant just borrowing for show and tell.

Mr. Seller immediately went to the stall of Miss Eccentric Woman Trader and confronted the person. The fern was held by the rich society matron, According to Mr. Seller, it was for sale for 5 digit amount. When the rich society matron learned that the fern was quite expensive, It was returned back to the former owner.

Took a while for Ms. EWT and Mr. Seller on a speaking term. The incident also brought the dark side of each party involve- back biting and back stabbing each other’s personality.

news of the alleged stolen reached even far flung provinces and plant society members would visit the stall of Mr. Seller/ Descendant of the Emperor just to see and take photos of the fern in question.

The news was quite big that even international fern collectors from the other parts of the world took notice. It was later bought by a rich eccentric businessman for 5 digit sum higher that what was initially offered. Occasionally, when this fern variety would pop-up in local market or garden center. Those who knew the story would always remember the story and call this fern as Microsorum SALISI… in reference to the incident.

Special Mention : Mr. Delmer del Rosario – administrator of Philippine Episcia Growers Society FB group, Mr. Lebon Ong, Arid and Aroids, Mrs. Aldemar Sanchez, Quezon Memorial Circle plant center administrator.

Please wait for the rest of the list in my following post… Happy New Year 2021

Sources:

Personal Interview among plant center owners, Orchid and Plant Lovers of the Philippines FB, Mindanao Avenue Garden Center, Fairview Neopolitan Garden Center, Cartimar Garden Center, White Plains, Bulacan Garden, Arid and Aroid’s Farm, Quezon City Memorial Circle, Tabang -Guiguinto Pla apast few nt growers, GreenScapes Garden CenterNovaliches, Farmer’s Garden Center -Cubao, Sidcor -Eaton Centris Sunday Market, Rona’s Garden.

Related article link ( 75 Trendy Plants for the Philippines in 2021 Part 2) and ( 75 Trendy Plants for the Philippines in 2021 Part 1)

7 Mystical Stories Behind Japanese Doll Collecting

Japanese dolls are an ancient craft representing thousands of years of civilization. There were different kinds of dolls representing children, babies, some the imperial court, warriors, heroes, fairy-tale characters, gods and (rarely) demons, and also people of the daily life.

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doll made from folded paper

Some would traced its roots between 8000-200 BC period. There were between 10 to 15 types of traditional dolls depending on the authority. We have featured some kokeshi doll collectors in the country and the stories on how did they started collecting their Japanese dolls.

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Some are kept in Kyoto National Museum ,Peabody Essex Museum, Yodokō Guest House, Museo Pambata and Japanese Doll Museum by karljapz in Lipa, Batangas.

Japanese doll collections can be categorized by the material they are made of such as wood dolls kokeshi, kamo-ningyo and nara-ningyo, clay forms such as fushimi-ningyo, porcelain and among others.

7 Mystical Stories Behind Japanese Dolls Collecting

The rise of people collecting Japanese dolls started in the mid-19th century when Japanese started opening for trade in other countries. There are some Japanese doll aficionados who collect the doll for their artistic craftsmanship. Dolls were then send or bought by rich families and royalties who treasured and cherish the dolls from Japan.

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different kinds of doll including daruma made from folded paper, cloth and plastic

More dolls were brought home after the second world war by American service personnel and travelers from many parts of the world. In the country, the rise of Japanese doll collector were mainly attributed first to hundred of thousands of OFW in Japan  from late 1970’s to early part of this millennium.

Second is the rise of thrift stores in the country which propelled collectors to easily buy pre-loved dolls at a fraction of the cost in the native country.

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7.) Ichimachu dolls are posses by the people who formerly owned these dolls. Some people believe that during the Edo period, spirits of dead person who owned the doll may posses the doll.

6.) Some people believe that collecting the doll will bring prosperity and good luck.

5.) Daruma dolls bring good luck and are sold without eyes. The doll can be made from paper machie, wood, metal or even plastic and represents 6th monk as Bodhidharma who can from India or China to spread the Buddhism. It is customary to paint the eye with marker once you set a goal and fill the second one once who have fulfilled.

Daruma dolls are burned in a special ceremony in Shinto shrines or festival.

4.) Hina- Ningyo are traditional type of dolls displayed in family homes leading up to the Girls’ Day. They are sold in sets and represent an imperial court. Some people believe that collecting and completing the set will help them bring prosperity.

3.) Collecting kokeshi doll can be lucky or may also brings “bad luck”to individuals collecting the wooden doll. It is also widely believed that Kokeshi doll influence the development of Russian matryoshka dolls or nesting dolls.

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Kokeshi and Ainu wooden dolls on display

“kokeshi” was originally written in hiragana, and not from the Chinese syllable  “kanji”. The meanings of the combination of each phonetic syllable.

“ko” could mean two things; either “small”, or “child”. The word “keshi” could pertain to “poppy” or “doll”.

Another term “keshi”could also have been taken from the word “kesu”, which technically means to erase.

If one would definite the two words “child”, and “erase”, in which had its roots to infanticide, which sadly happen quite a bit among poverty stricken areas of Japan during the Edo period. Sometimes due to high infant mortality during the period, Each Kokeshi doll symbolizes 1 dead child.

It was then customary for parents that when a child passes away, they leave a kokeshi doll on the shrine inside the house to represent and honor the soul of the child who departed. Ms. Angelita Chua ( personal friend) collects some quirky kokeshi dolls made from marble or stone.

2.) Teru-Teru Bozu – These are dolls crafted by children and can influence weather. These are also quite rare to encounter at a local thrift stores since they are made from papers or fragile materials.

1.) Hina No Tsurushi Kazari, small handmade dolls which are passed on from mother to daughter to bring good luck. Since they are fragile very few handmade dolls can be seen for sale at the local thrift stores.

Interesting Shell Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi doll is another art form which is found in Japan. These are commonly sold at the tourist market are the creative styles which flourish right after the second world war.

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shell , wood are the medium used in this kokeshi

Omiyage Type

These are not the traditional styles nor creative style of kokeshi, but these types are considered  for the tourist market or (omiyage) type. Some experts do not accept that these are kokeshi. Most made from wood among other items like sea shells, plastics, fabrics which are less expensive alternative.

These omiyage types reach their popularity between 1960’s to mid-1980’s. These souvenir toys often have the name of the  tourist site (onsen) printed or written on them. Some may have the date, purchaser’s name, or location of purchase written on the bottom. Some Japanese treasured these toys, and displayed them in a small glass case. Omiyage are very collectible in Japan.

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shell kokeshi ( collection of Ms. Angelita Chua) – This used 4 kinds of sea shells

Sea shell which is commonly seen in coastal areas were also used in making of Kokeshi dolls, These are very popular souvenir items sold and caters to younger collectors.

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Collector

Ms. Angelita Chua is a kokeshi collector from San Jose del Monte , Bulacan . She started to collect quirky objects like kokeshi dolls way back in 2010. She would focus on the creative styles.

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pair of kokeshi doll used 2 kinds of sea shells

She have seen a lot of kokeshi dolls made from shells and nuts but most of them are in poor conditions. Some have missing shells , broken shells or missing parts.

Any information with regards to the origin of these kokeshi dolls made from shells will be highly appreciated.

Note: Due to lack of time , only few kokeshi dolls were featured. All photos are taken by the author with the permission of Ms. Angelita Chua.

 

Shisa: Tales of Stone Dog Guardians

Shisa, Shiisa or Shizi are an ordinary feature when one visit the island of Okinawa and southern prefecture of Japan. The creature looks like hybrid of pekingese dog, lion and cat.

Introduction and Origin

There are many stories which surround the origin of the introduction of Buddhism having been introduced to Japan from Korea in 552 CE. It was during Nara period (710-794), lion guardians was popularized in the country and are found in temples and shrines. These might have come from China and Korea.

Some of the original guard dogs are made of wood and originally placed indoor. It was only between 14th and 15th century that stone dogs are created for outdoor and the horn was gradually replace with the current version.

There are a variation of the guardian lions found in many other parts of Asia, including mainland Japan and Korea where they are called Komainu. Which are mostly found in Buddhist temples and shrines.

As more pottery kiln rose the popularity of shisa within the region. It was also the time that shisa sitting on a red tile roof of buildings or as guard dogs in entrance of one’s abode. Some buildings like schools, hospitals, enterprises, airports and even malls have shisa guarding their entrances.

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Shisha guardian dogs made from ceramic ( circa 1980’s)

Folktales and Legends

There are several folk tales which may have started from the Tomimori Village in the late 16th century near Kochinda Town in southern part of Okinawa.

Villagers of that area sought out Saiouzui, a Feng Shui master, to ask him why there were so many fires around the area. He believed they were because of the power of the nearby Mt. Yaese. Hence Shisa dogs were places facing the mountain to ward of the negative elements and fire.

Since placing shisa at the entrance to the village, there hasn’t been a single fire in the village.

Another popular tale originates in the 17th century surrounding the village of Madanbashi south of Naha the capital city.

A visiting Chinese envoy at the Shuri court gave the king of Ryukyu (now Okinawa) a necklace decorated with a figurine of a shisa-dog (locally called Iri-nu). The king found it as nice present and wore it underneath his clothes. This serves as a good luck charm and amulet.

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Shisha dogs with bell

According to this legend, Madanbashi village were regularly attacked by a giant fire dragon.

A local priestesses (noro) recalled a dream. She inform the visiting king to stand on the beach with the Shisa figure held high towards the dragon. She gave this information to a young local boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king.

She gave this information to a young boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king. From there the king went to face the dragon and performed the actions as told by Chiga.

As the dragon was ready to attack, the priestess told the king to hold up the necklace to the monster. There rose a thundering roar and the Shisa came to life, three large boulders fell from the sky pinning the monster and crushing its tail.

Unable to move around, the creature eventually died and was later overgrown with foliage, trees and vegetation. It is later known as Gana-Mui forest near Naha- Ohashi bridge. People have erected large stone shisa to protect the place from evil spirits.

Since then, the inhabitants of Madanbashi continue to gather every year, on August 15th lunar calendar to offer prayers and offerings (mainly fruits , steam buns and foods) to protect the people of the village.

During the closing months of the second world war, Some shisa dogs found in the island were used by some local as shield against gunfire by the allied forces.

The guardian dogs as a talisman against evil spirits and good luck. These are an indispensable element in the lives of Okinawans.

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pair of shisa in different posture

Male and Female

There are many beliefs on the gender of these guardian dogs, Some believe that male shisa had a wide an open mouth to wards off evil spirits, and the one with a closed mouth, a female, keeps good spirits in.

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a pair of shisa dog -one close mouth and one with open mouth

Depending on who you ask, which one is which might differ. Some believe that the one with an open mouth is male and he is scaring the evil away, but others say that he has the mouth closed to keep evil out of the home. The female with an open mouth is sharing good luck with others, while the one with closed mouth keeps the luck inside the house.

Popular Culture

The popularity of these arouse after the end of the second world war, Shisa were popular souvenir items which range from small figurines, t-shirts, toys, clock, paper weights, bells, sharpener, terracotta pots among others.

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shisa figurine is a popular souvenir item from Okinawa

Shisa Collection

She started collecting the items 5 years ago, when her immediate relative gave her a pair of shisa figurine upon visit to the island. She then fell in love with these items and started buying them in Japanese thrift stores within Fairview or Lagro area.

The collector had over 3 dozen Shisa figurines in different sizes. Sometimes, shisa figurine would not come in pair and some items would have missing tails or broken head.

References:

Adopted from Legends of Okinawa by Chizue Sesoko

Arroyo, Kelly : Shisa dogs of Okinawa

Mariko Uehara Roland, Kijimuna and Shisa ( Bilingual ), October 21, 2011

Personal interview with a shisa collector

Okinawa Prefectural Government. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09.

Shisa : Mythical creature of Okinawa

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