Collection of Catholic Religious Chalkware in Marinduque

During this pandemic and home quarantine, people are stuck in their homes have time  to reflect and pray. An FB friend and also a member of the religious group send some photos and recounted the tales of their cherish Catholic religious statues made from chalkware or eskayola/ escayola.

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Marian statues and religious chalkware ( photo courtesy of Mr. Arwin Jones Epa)

Collection of Catholic Religious Chalkware

Mr. Arwin Jones Epa’s family who hails from Boac, Marinduque shared in his FB post on their collection of Catholic religious chalkware.

Most of their Catholic religious statues were handed down from his grandmother and parents. His father was Social Studies ” Araling Panlipunan” teacher and serves as the local town’s historian recounted that most of the chalkware were bought from peddlers from Pampanga, purchased from Catholic Trade in Tayuman, Manila and elsewhere.

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Our Lady of Caysasay made from eskayola – is one of the cherished religious statues by the family

There were at least 50 to 60 Catholic religious chalkware, among the oldest was Our Lady of Caysasay made in 1954, Christ the King purchased from Catholic Trade in 1955.

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Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Among the cherish collection is the Our Lady of Perpetual Help inside a wooden container ” Urna“.

He hopes to preserve the religious chalkware statues and sharing some his their family heirloom collection.

Dying Art of Funeral Joss Paper Crafts

We visited a distant relative of a family friend who died an old age, lie in state on 3rd floor at Sanctuarium located along Gregorio Araneta corner Quezon Avenue in Quezon City.

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Mansion made from paper with Christmas lights and funeral wreath

The person was his great grand father was 95 years-old and the family wasted no time to give him a grand send off in the after life. Instead of the usual black and white cloth which covered the room, most of the cloth were colored red and white.

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Sanctuarium

According to the expert, the person lived his life to the fullest. He was able to produce 6 generation of descendants. In a country which had an average life expectancy of just 71 years-old ( 2017 data) living beyond 71 is already a big blessing.

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servants are found in the entrance of the paper mansion with small photo of the decease person and special sleeping chamber

Dying Art of Joss Funeral Paper Building

In my previous article about recuerdo de patay few years ago. The funeral wake of my maternal grandmother had some funeral paper building, mercedes benz, rickshaw, sedan chairs, mahjong table, paper lanterns and airplane was held few decades ago at Funenaria Paz in Quezon City.

IMAGEMercedes benz made from paper

Burning the traditional paper ‘money’ along with miniature items like houses, cars,  appliances, all the modern amenities are also burned to make sure the deceased continues to enjoy the same things in the afterlife. However, fewer Filipino-Chinese are practicing Taoist and Buddhist. Hence, the art of making these paper joss funeral items are getting rare.

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paper sedan chair with carriers

They immediate family members bought an elaborate mansion made out of bamboo and paper. The entire structure was about 7 feet high complete with television set, appliances, rooms, servants and is well lighted during the entire wake.

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a small photo of the decrease person, polo shirt, airplane ( partly hidden) to be burned along side the decease person

This happened when Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) was lifted. Since most of their relatives, friends and business associate were already within Metro Manila. The family decided to have a short mourning person of just 6 days.

According to the geomancer whom the family have hired, It is important that the dead person have the 5 M‘s to bring in the afterlife.

The burning of joss paper ‘Money’ equates to making advance deposits in order to bribe the keepers of hell or to be use in the afterlife. A specialized marker was made to indicate the name of the decease person in Chinese characters.

The practice of burning paper luxury goods is believed to keep the spirits of ancestors happy and prosperous as they continue to watch over living relatives.

Mansion – Having a big mansion or building to bring to the afterlife.

Mobility – These includes sedan chair with people to carry the dead, airplane, car and even wheelchair.

Material Wealth – appliances plus all the necessities is a MUST. Some may include air-condition, electric fan, television set, cellphone, washing machine, animals, mahjong table and even a personalized ATM machine!

Maids or Men in order to lead a comfortable life. Other props may also include paper lantern and other stuff that the decease person wanted or have.

The art of making funeral joss paper craft is slowly dying with fewer craftsmen were able to make these items. Having these extra joss paper building add cost to the funeral expenses. Some elaborate master pieces can run thousands or even tens of thousand of pesos.

It is good that Sanctuarium also had a crematorium and columbary units at the upper floors. The family decided to keep the ashes in a Chinese temple nearby after he was cremated.

Filipino Frontliners on Stamps Featured by PHLPOST

Filipino front line workers like nurses, doctors, army, police, postal workers were featured in the current stamps issuance. The stamps and first day covers were supposed to be release last April 2020 but since the Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) had taken effect last March 15 it was further moved to July 13, 2020 ( Monday).

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Filipino Frontliners on Stamp and First Day Cover

PHLPost is also committed to fulfill its universal mandate of continuous delivery of important mails from various government and private sectors who are important clients of the agency.

The stamps, first day cover will be available in Manila Central Post Office and other major post office nationwide.

They will also launch the “Stamps on Wheels” program which enables roving van from PHLPOST to sell new stamps, first day covers and other collectibles to far flung areas of Metro Manila and other areas of the country.

25 Common Water and Aquatic Plants Grown in the Philippines

Philippines is an archipelago with hundreds of creeks, stream, lakes, river and water system. Water plants are plenty and the country is rich in biodiversity. However some of the commonly grown water plants are introduced to the country.

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Freshwater Aquarium set-up by: Mr. Achilles Antiquina Lussier

They are classified into Emergent, Submerged, Floating-leaved, Free-floating. Our team made a short list of 25 common water plants grown or found in semi-naturalized state.

We eliminated Ipomea aquatica or Kangkong / Kangkung, since it is used as food. Better  post in another topic.

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water plants grown in cement pond

25 Common Water Plants

25.) Ludwigia sedoides – commonly called Mosaic plant, False Loosestrife. This water plant originates from Brazil, Venezuela. This had become naturalized in many tropical, sub-tropical and even temperate countries.This blooms during June to August which coincide with the rainy season, But this may also bloom during the dry season. Some sell this from Php 50.00 small plant to as much as Php 200 in some online sites.

24.) Myriophyllum aquaticum commonly called parrot’s-feather and parrot feather watermilfoil. Parrot feather gets its name from its feather-like leaves that are arranged around the stem in whorls of four to six. This water plant originally is native of South America and quickly spread via the tropical aquarium trade in North America and elsewhere.

In some countries, Like the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Southern United States.  parrot’s-feather can quickly clogged waterways and ponds. The growth can block sunlight and cause native plants to die because of light deficiency. The organisms that feed on the native plants can die off due to starvation.

This is also commonly sold in Cartimar and in many aquarium pet stores all over the country.

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photo courtesy of pixabay : johnnykarlsson1-5486868

23.) Limnobium laevigatum is a floating plant commonly called West Indian spongeplant, South American spongeplant and Amazon or smooth frogbit. This floating plant is native to Central and South America and quickly spread all over the tropical and sub-tropical areas due to aquarium plant trade.

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Cypreus alterniflolius

photo courtesy of : pixabay: jaclou-dl-5602247

22.) Cyperus alternifolius, common names are umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge or umbrella palm,Indian matting plant. This was native to Madagascar in Africa but quickly spread in many parts of the world.

This is commonly seen in rice paddies, pond, creeks,irrigation canals throughout the country. The umbrella palm is sought after for its impressive height that can grow to six feet. It creates a soft backdrop for shorter aquatic plants, but it can grow notoriously fast and spread if not put in a container.

21.) Eleocharis acicularis is a species of spikeedge known by the common names needle spikerush and least spikerush. This is common in most aquarium stores in Cartimar and pet stores.

20.) Echinodorus grandiflorus Commonly called spade-leaf sword, creeping burhead, Amazon spade leaf. There were at least 40 known species of this genus and quite common in aquarium trade all over the world.

It is native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina,Venezuela and Florida in the United States of America.

This plant species is quite common is rice paddies, water irrigation ditches, ponds, lagoon and garden center. Immersed plants readily produce flowers and seeds but it can be grown submersed as well.

Small plants are being sold between Php 25.00 to Php 400 depending on the size. Variegated plants are also sold for a little bit higher compared to the ordinary green leaf types.

19.) Lemma minor commonly called duckweed, or lesser duckweed. Lemna minor is the common duckweed works well as a water purifier. It can help control the algae.

Some of the economic importance of Lemma minor is used as animal fodder, bioremediator, for wastewater nutrient recovery, and other applications.  This is common in rice paddy fields, ponds, aquarium trade and lakes. It is also given as a feed to ducks, chicken and goose.

It is found in many areas of the world and have naturalized in Australia and South America. In aquarium trade, it is sold between Php 5.00 for a small cup to as much as Php 50.00

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photo courtesy of pixabay: laila_-6779063

18.) Ceratophyllum submersum and Ceratophyllum demersum commonly known as the soft hornwort ,tropical hornwort, coontail or coon’s tail . This seems to have naturalized in almost all water system in the country.

Its fluffy, filamentous, bright-green leaves provide excellent cover for newly hatched fish. It is propagated by cuttings.

Sometimes they are so common that backyard hobbyist would give them away as freebies. They are sold between Php 10.00 to Php 50.00 depending on size in online sites.

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photo courtesy of pixabay : loilamtan-4659988/

17.) Hydrocotyle vulgaris commonly called pennywort, whorled marsh pennywort, shield pennywort, pennyworth, money plant, lucky plant, copper coin, mangkok, Yahong-yahong is a flowering plant found in Europe, North Africa, North and Western Asia. This may have been introduced during the late Spanish colonial rule or early American regime in the country.

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Hydrocotyle vulgaris blooming in a garden plot within Institute of Biology, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.

Sometimes people would mistake this as gotu kola (Centella asiatica), since the leaves are almost the same.  They are sold between Php 20.00 to Php 50.00 in online sites depending on how big the plant.

16.) Azolla pinnata is a species of aquatic fern known by several common names, including mosquito fern, feathered mosquito fern and water velvet. This is common in rice fields and waterways.

15.) Cabomba carolina – This is originally found as an aquatic perennial herbaceous plant native to North and South America. However human migration and introduction spread this water plant in many parts of the world. To some extent, invasive species in Australia, Europe and many parts of tropical, sub-tropical area, temperate areas.

14.) Bacopa monnieri is creeping herb native to the wetlands of southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. Common names are water hyssop,waterhyssop, brahmi, thyme-leafed gratiola, herb of grace,and Indian pennywort.

13.) Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia is a native to the Philippines and commonly sold in tropical aquarium trade. Cryptocoryne aponogetifolia is considered easy to cultivate and will grow in moderately hard water if necessary, though it grows naturally in slightly soft water. It prefers moderate to low levels of light.

This water plant is found in Negros, Panay islands in the Visayas and Southwestern part of Luzon. This is also found in the Bicol region. Some of the problems encountered by local aquarium hobbyists is the over harvesting, water pollution of this species.

12.) Rotala rotundifolia is found in many South-East Asian countries has long, thin leaves and 15-30 long stems, 2-3 cm wide including the leaves. Unlike other Rotala species it is relatively undemanding, although it needs good light to produce red leaves.

11.) Salvinia it is a species of floating fern and is related to the other water ferns, including the mosquito fern Azolla. There were about 12 species are recognized with at least 3 are known to be hybrids. This is commonly seen in ponds, rice fields, water ways, pond, irrigation canals and popular in aquarium trade.

10.) Vallisneria genus was named after an Italian (Antonio Vallisner who lived from  May 3, 1661 – Padua to January 18, 1730) He was an Italian medical scientist, physician and naturalist.

2.) Pistia stratiotes commonly called kiapo, kiyapo, quiapo, kuyapo, cuyapo, apon, loloan, water lettuce, water cabbage, tropical duckweed, Nile cabbage or shellflower- Water lettuce is among the world’s most productive freshwater aquatic plants and considered an invasive species in other countries.

In some countries like India ( famine food), Southern parts of China and Africa. Young leaves are usually boiled to remove the acridity from calcium oxalate crystals.

The district of Quiapo in downtown Manila and the town of Cuyapo in Nueva Ecija was name after this plant. There were abundant kiyapo growing the creeks and river tributaries. Some local garden center sells Pistia stratiotes between Php 10.00 to Php 75.00 depending on the size.

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Eichhornia crassipes or Water hyacinth

1.) Eichhornia crassipes, known as water hyacinth or incorrectly called water lily is an aquatic plant native to the Central and South American countries.

Water hyacinth was introduced to the country by the Spaniards in the late 16th century in the country, It is now found in many parts of the world. Sometimes people would incorrectly called this as water lily and a festival is celebrated yearly in Las Piñas City.

Sipag Villar Foundation provides livelihood opportunity to women by helping them make products from water hyacinth. There are many uses of the stems such as wreath, baskets, mats, woven bags, tissue holder and slippers. Their livelihood advocacy had spread in many areas of the country.

However in many parts of the globe, this plant is considered as invasive species.

Bibliography, Sources and References:

Personal Interviews : Mr. Jose Juan Paraiso, Mr. Achilles Antiquina Lussier, Mr. Aira Certeza, Mr. Edwin Aytona, Architect Andrew Patrick Gozon, Ms. Marge Hermoso, Mr. Joselito Flores and Ms. Lily Chin

Yeow Chin Wee,Marshal Cavendish Times Editions; Revised Edition edition (2005),Ferns of the Tropics: ISBN-10: 9812611797, ISBN-13:978-9812611796

The anti-aging effects of Ludwigia octovalvis on Drosophila melanogaster and SAMP8 mice / Wei-Sheng Lin, Jun-Yi Chen, Jo-Chiao Wang, Liang-Yu Chen et al / Age (Dordr), Apr 2014; 36(2): 689-703 / doi:  10.1007/s11357-013-9606-z

Slocum, Perry D., Timber Press, Incorporated; 1st ed. edition (February 1, 2005)Waterlilies and Lotuses: Species, Cultivars, and New Hybrids : ISBN-10:0881926841, ISBN-13:978-0881926842

Randall, Karen A., Sunken Gardens:Timber Press (February 14, 2017) A Step-by Step Guide to Planting Freshwater Aquariums, ISBN-10: 1604695927, ISBN-13: 978-1604695922

Pistia stratiotes” USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Non-indigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI.

“Lemna System for Wastewater Treatment”. National Environmental Technology Applications Corporation. 412: 826–5511.

Lazkov, G.A. & Sultanova, B.A. (2011). Checklist of vascular plants of Kyrgyzstan. Norrlinia 24: 1-166.

Lansdown, R.V. 2014. Hydrocotyle vulgaris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T164201A42415437.

Lambert Derek, Quick Graham, Swindells Philip. CompanionHouse Books; First Trade Paper edition (September 1, 2006): ISBN-10 :1931993815, ISBN-13:978-1931993814

Jain, S. K. (1990).Azolla pinnata R.Br. and Lemna minor L. for removal of lead and zinc from polluted water. Water Research 24:2 177-83.

Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.

Hiscock, Peter: Interpet Ltd (April 30, 2005). Mini Encyclopedia of Aquarium Plants, ISBN-10 :1842861042, ISBN-13:978-1842861042

Hassler, Michael & Schmitt, Bernd (January 2020). “Leptochilus pteropus“. Checklist of Ferns and Lycophytes of the World. Version 8.20. Retrieved 2020-02-11.

Hasan, M.R. (2009). “Use of algae and aquatic macrophytes as feed in small-scale aquaculture – a review”. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper.

Gleason, H.A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Garai, S; Mahato, SB; Ohtani, K; Yamasaki, K (2009). “Dammarane triterpenoid saponins from Bacopa monnieri“. Can J Chem. 87 (9): 1230–1234.

Dkhar J, Kumaria S, Rama Rao S, Tandon P (2012) Sequence characteristics and phylogenetic implications of the nrDNA internal transcribed spacers (ITS) in the genus Nymphaea with focus on some Indian representatives. Plant Systematics and Evolution 298: 93–108.

Davidse, G., M. Sousa Sánchez & A.O. Chater. 1994. Alismataceae a Cyperaceae. 6: i–xvi, 1–543. In G. Davidse, M. Sousa Sánchez & A.O. Chater (eds.) Fl. Mesoamer.. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México, D. F.

Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija website

Coetzee, J., M. Hill, M. Julien, T. Center, and H. Cordo. 2009. Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms–Laub. (Pontederiaceae). Pages 183–210 in R. Muniappan, G. V. P. Reddy, and A. Raman, eds., Biological Control of Tropical Weeds using Arthropods. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Christenhusz, Fay, and Chase (2017). Plants of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants. University of Chicago Press. p. 188.

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Safety Protocols Set at the Re-Opening of Manila Hotel

Manila Hotel which is our national patronage will partially reopens in time for the 108th anniversary with upgraded hygiene measure, safety protocols, for guest safety and other mandated guidelines set by IATF.

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TMH Lobby: The Grand Lobby of the historic Manila Hotel will light up again soon as the hotel partially reopens to accept guests beginning July 3, 2020

Manila Hotel’s 108th Special Promo

Manila hotel launches special anniversary promo that gives the first 108 customers for the first 108 days of its reopening (including Saturdays and Sundays) a special dining rate of only Php1,250 for lunch, and only Php1,550 for dinner. Café Ilang Ilang likewise returns with a new system for dining where guests can “order and eat all you can,” meaning they can order as much food as they want from the selection of dishes at a fixed price meals.

Delicatessen resuming operations on July 3, 2020. A rebirth of sorts after months of following the government’s quarantine protocols, the hotel has adjusted along with the rest of the world in navigating the “new normal,” and puts a high premium on the well-being of guests.

With the lobby shining bright anew signifying eternal hope, The Manila Hotel commemorates its 108th founding anniversary on July 4 by welcoming guests with an enduring brand of service that is now focused on enhanced health, hygiene, and sanitation protocols in line with Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

Safety Measures

As the hotel prepares for the reopening, Atty Joey Lina, the president of The Manila Hotel assures the public, “You are safe here. We have taken every precaution to heart so you and your loved ones can have peace of mind when you visit or stay with us.”

Café Ilang Ilang and the Lobby Lounge will be open with limited seating capacity. Thorough sanitation procedures will be implemented, guests can order using disposable menu, eat using cutlery in sealed containers, and even use tables with acrylic dividers.

Front-facing personnel communicating with guests like Guest Services Officers (GSOs) and waiters will don masks, gloves, and face shields. To limit contact with guests, Café Ilang -Ilang is also fine-tuning its contact-less ordering and payment system.

High-traffic public areas will have hygiene reminder signages, distance indicators, and guests will be asked to undergo mandatory temperature checks, health declaration procedure and protocols will be in place. Limited capacity will also be implemented in elevators, while several hotel facilities will remain closed including the spa, swimming pool, gym, and other areas.

High-touch points like door handles, elevator buttons, public area furniture, and others will be sanitized multiple times per day using UV technology. Tests reveal that UV sanitation greatly reduces the bacteria count on surfaces, as demonstrated by lower RLU readings—whose value is used as a measure of surface cleanliness—after the procedure.

Barring announcements from the government to the contrary, the hotel also plans to start accepting room bookings by August 2020. The public will be assured of rooms thoroughly cleaned first with UV-C light technology to eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses; followed by medical-grade sterilizing and disinfecting solution. A change of fresh and sanitized linens; sanitation of touch points in the room including remote controls, lamps, etc.; and thorough bathroom disinfection are also art of the procedure. Guests will also receive personal wellness kits, issued a UV-sanitized keycard, and arrive to guestrooms with a seal of assurance that they are the first to enter the sanitized environment.

Because taking care of its own people means they can take better care of guests, The Manila Hotel has invested on testing its staff upon return to work to ensure they are healthy. The culinary team strictly adheres to stringent protocols on proper hygiene, hand washing, food handling and preparation of foods. Staff will be required to wear PPEs as needed. While strict implementation of distancing measures will be done in the offices, front desk, and other areas frequent by guests.

The Manila Hotel looks forward to welcoming both loyal and new guests with the kind of service it is known for, with the assurance that “YOU ARE SAFE HERE” is not just a tagline but a commitment it truly means to uphold.

The “Grand Old Dame ” of Philippine hotels is back serving everyone with safety measures set.