Santa Maria , Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour part 3

Santa Maria , Bulacan

 Torres- Reyes  ancestral house

 Ms. Carmen Torres Reyes is the great grand aunt of Ms. Margaux Salcedo ( former GMA channel 7 reporter ) and Congressman Alfred Vargas who were relatives.  The house was built during the late Spanish era but was renovated in the 1960’s  .

Famous Chocolate and Culinary Icons :

Nana Meng’s mother served food to President Manuel Quezon and other prominent members of the community . Nana Julita ( sister of Nana Meng)  would also be best remembered for her beef asado and ensaymada.  Nana Meng herself also had occasion to prepare a meal for then President Joseph Estrada . While another aunt,  Ka Tage  have wrote down some.  We were told that Nana Meng ‘s family is also a culinary icon of the place. People would remember her preparing foods especially during town fiesta .

Unfortunately, most of the family recipes like kesong puti, chicharon, sinigang sa bayabas, lumpiang sariwa and dinuguan, among other Bulacan recipes have never been written down. Instead they have been passed on from generation to generation but only to those who labor in the kitchen. It was Nana Meng and Ka Tage who managed to pass some of the recipe to their descendants .

Fortunately , We were fortunate to sample some of the family famous tsokolate , tinumis ( dinuguan ) .  The chocolate were named after the aunts Nana Meng and Ka Tage .

 Margaux Salcedo website:

The house is located just a few meters from Banda 88 and Buenaventura Ancestral House

.participants enjoyed the hearty buffet meal

After the hearty mid morning day brunch , We went to tour some of the interesting ancestral houses, historical spots and we ate a Kamayan style

( Buffet in Banana Leaves) or Boodle Fight  Meal consists of  Java rice topped with deep fried egg plant, pancit papaya, chicken menudo , salted duck egg with chopped tomatoes, ginisang munggo  and chicharon.

Kilawin Papaya 

Kilawin Papaya is also called Pansit Papaya, The kilawin papaya is finely julienne, with chopped onions prepared by the HRM ( Hotel and Restaurant Management ) students and was cooked with vinegar , ground black pepper and some spices. At first glance , You can easily mistake this dish for acahara or puso ng saging. It is also good that they were able to prepare this dish considering that it was the papaya harvest season.

Artists Guilt of Santa Maria or Santiago Art Gallery 

The group toured the Artists Guilt of Santa Maria Gallery or Santiago Art Gallery . The gallery host to about a dozen or so artists from the town.

Bust of Dr. Teofilo S. Santiago

We toured the historic Santa Maria Elementary School . The school is known for its Gabaldon– style architecture . The main building was built in 1915 and the school had a mini -museum within its premises. Aside from the architectural value , It is also were 2 prominent people  – Dr. Teofilo Santiago bust that was made by National Artist for Visual ArtsAbdulmari Asia Imao and President Ramon Magsaysay

group photo

We were given certificate of attendance courtesy of the president of the school and tourism officers which initiated the heritage tour. We also got souvenir group photos with the students and participants from different cause oriented groups,  heritage advocates and our guides.

I have enjoyed the tour and would really recommend this to those who wanted a different travel experience .

Link to previous article:Santa Maria , Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour part 2                                       Santa Maria , Bulacan Culinary and Heritage Tour part 1

Sanggumays Flowering in the City: A Noteworthy Philippine Orchid Species

Metro Manila, Philippines

sanggumay orchids mounted on living Mac Arthur palm (Ptychosperma macarthurii ) grown by the author

Blooming Season :

January, February, March , April and May ,  When the western parts of the country in nature experience the start of a dry period . Is also the time when the right time temperature is lower ( over 20F around 10 to 15 degree Celsius difference over the day time temperature ). These changes give signal to many plants species including the “ Sanggumay “ to produce buds and flowers.

Dendrobium anosmum grown  on a living palm ( grown by the author )

However the drop of temperature and dry spell must remain constant and continuous in order to successfully initiate buds for the period of 4 to 6 weeks. Watering during this period must be strictly reduce or withheld for about 4 – 8 weeks, Otherwise fewer buds and flowers are produced.

Dendrobium anosmum variety dearei or alba being sold at Centris Sunday Market

Ethno-Botanical Importance and Folklore :

Dendrobium anosmum are more popularly called ” Sanggumays ” the word were derived from two Tagalog root word ” Sangsang ” and ” Umay “.

Sangsang– is Tagalog word for nauseating , over-powerful  , stench smell .

Umay , nakakaumay, gumay – is another Tagalog word for fed-up ,   tiresome.  A sight to behold especially when grouped in clusters or clumped together in several trees or palms . Its generosity extends to its fragrance that seems to overpower the sense of smell but can be pleasant as one becomes acquainted with the scent that is distinct with sanggumay.

Sometimes local orchid orchid growers would also refer  other pendulous type of orchid species as” Sanggumays” Like Dendrobium aphyllum/ Dendrobium cucullatum , Dendrobium crumenatum ( from General Nakar- Quezon ) .

Dendrobium anosmum with different shades of violet

The smell of a blooming Dendrobium anosmum can be very overpowering for some distance. The name would also vary from one person to another and from one region to another. Some people call this orchid species ” Latigo ” in reference to the long cane similar to whipping cattle or horse  , Some people call this orchid species ” Purple Rain ”  In , Hawaii – This orchid species is called ”  Hono-hono “. Some people would also refer this orchid species as ” Grandmother ‘s orchid” In reference to their grandmother . This particular orchid species are grown by backyard gardener’s for several generations.

Dendrobium anosmum grown on a trunk of coconut palm in San Jose del Monte City , Bulacan province (Photo credit :Mr.Jeffrey Samonte )

The orchid  depicted above was from Mr. Jeffrey Samonte ( my friend )- an orchid enthusiast who lived in Novaliches , Quezon City.  This orchid species bloomed  few weeks ago in his parents home in San Jose del Monte City , Bulacan province. According to him , The original orchid plant  was from his grandmother’s orchid collection which is about 20 year- old plant.

Sanggumays used to be extensively grown in many parts of Metro Manila particularly Novaliches, Fairview, Valenzuela , Deparo, Caloocan , Marikina , San Juan  and in some posh villages where large trees are found.

almost withered flowers ( photo courtesy of Mr. Jeffrey Samonte)

This orchid had a long pseudo bulbs / canes and almost 1 meter long canes that are attached to a coconut palm along with some native orchid species.  However in recent years due to extensive land development in Metro Manila and lands that used to be mango orchards are now converted into subdivisions and concrete urban jungle prevails. Compared 20 to 30 years ago , there are fewer people know how to take care of these orchids species. Some housewives would prefer other plants or some orchid hybrids because they are more free flowering / blooming compared to this once in a year- bloomer!

sanggumay attached to a mango tree within Greenbelt , Makati City

We are also documenting some green spaces around Metro Manila where they are using native orchids as part of their landscaping projects.

We are happy that land developers like Ayala took notice in the beauty of these native species and try to incorporate them with their landscaping projects.

sanggumays at the recent 68th annual orchid show

These large flowering sanggumays are from the collection of Ms. Vangie Go. Their long canes and large flowers came from Abra and Benguet area. Some local taxonomists say that they are Dendrobium anosmum variety superbum / giganteum . They have larger pseudo bulbs compared to the ordinary ones , Some  orchid canes may reach 3 meters or even longer and flowers can reach more than 12 centimeters to 15 centimeters !!!

Some people have different superstitious beliefs with regards to the cultivation of these wonderful orchid species . Some believe that they ward -off evil spirits , Other believe that they bring good fortunes . While some believe that they are bad for Feng Shui since they grow downward.  . Some ethnic groups use the thick canes for  medicinal purposes , rope, and handicrafts . The orchid flowers are also used as lies for graduation ceremony and decoration for altars . Aside from the aesthetic value used by landscapers .

Care and Propagation:

Propagation is a simple technique, We acquired our first sanggumays more than 20 years-ago , When a caretaker of a temple in Quezon City is making some clean-ups on the so called dead canes . We ended -up with a couple of canes and planted them on a living tree. Some of our sanggumays were given by relatives coming from provinces. Others were bought from different garden centers or provincial flea market .

I used to prefer fern slabs as a good media for planting these orchid species , they are hardy and durable however since Department of Environment and Natural Resources ( DENR ) and other conservation organization are raising the red signal over the over collection and habitat loss , I decided to shift to other media like coconut husk, charcoal, kakawate trunks, live palms or live trees . Old pseudo bulbs / canes can be propagated and can be induced to produced keikis ( anaks /suhi / offsets ).

Watering and Fertilization:

I  fertilize my Dendrobium anosmum after watering / drenching  them , 2 to 3 times a week !  Especially during warm and sunny days ! –  But i dilute the water soluble fertilizer to just 1/4 of the recommended dosage . I normally use 2 to 3 kinds of fertilizer brands ( formulation 20N-20P-20K) As they say ” WEAKLY WEEKLY ” I would also use  fresh rice washing ( hugas bigas) . I would delegate the choirs to my other sibling. They would dilute the rice washing and  water the orchids from leaves and roots. I would also use water from our fish tank or aquarium then dilute them 1 part aquarium water to 1 part ordinary tap ( de-chlorinated ) water whenever we change water in our aquarium. This is a practical organic way of fertilizing plants and orchids!

specimen sized orchid

I also fertilize the undersides  leaves of my sanggumays . Sometimes when we harvest our coconuts we would also use 1 part coconut water and then dilute them to a mixture to 1 part of water and would use the diluted coconut water and drench our sanggumays and other orchid species!

During rainy season , I would only apply fertilizer once a week and put slow release fertilizer ( 15 to 20 granules sewn to a small cloth ) for mature plants and ( 10 to 15 granules sewn to a small cloth ) for immature  per clump.  This would save me time to fertilize my orchids .  We would also apply fungicide just before the onset of the rainy season ( early May ) then apply them every 2 to 3 weeks intervals . These will help the orchid build resistance to any fungal diseases .

Air circulation is also a key to successful orchid cultivation. When in doubt , you can forgo watering them for 1 to 2 days ! over watering can kill an orchid .

Light: These orchid can tolerate high levels of    light and benefit from some hours of full sun, some can even stand full midday sun without complaint, Dendrobium anosmum can take between 50 % to 70% sunlight .  So try to choose a tree or a palm which have an ample spot of sunlight to penetrate . Try to prune over bushy trees like caimito (Chrysophyllum cainito )   , mangoes , chico , langka (Artocarpus heterophyllus )   and acacia ( Saman samanea) before the onset of the rainy season . While i prefer to mount them on living palms like Bunga china, Manila palm ( Adonidia merrillii ), Mac Arthur palm.

Range and Distribution:

China , India, Sri Lanka , Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia, and Papua and New Guinea in gallery layers of lower primary forests at elevations up to 1,300 meters with terete, arching to pendulous, to 4′ [120 cm] long or even longer , many noded stem with each node enveloped by a loose fitting sheath and carrying oblong elliptic, acute, deciduous leaves.


  • Dendrobium anosmum
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. huttonii
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. dearei or alba ( white form )
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. semi-alba (ordinary type, lavender column and white petals and sepals)
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. semi-alba -rubra (red orange lip semi-alba which is slowest growing and shortest canes of the species)
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. superbum / giganteum ( 12 cm to 15 cm across)
  • Dendroium anosmum var. javierii ( with pinkish column )
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. coerulescens ( blue type)
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. concolor
  • Dendrobium anosmum var. parviflora (small flowers)


page 26 , How to produce more flowers on your Dendrobium anosmum or sanggumay Vol. 15 no. 1 Philippine Orchid Review , 2005

Orchids of the Philippines Cootes 2001


Note : All photos posted in this article are from the author , Except those photos with “courtesy of ” are the property of the people who took the photos and thus permission were sought .

Some of the sanggumays ( Dendrobium anosmum)  are grown personally by the author.

Flora Filipina 2012 : More Fun in Growing Native Plants

Hardin ng mga Bulaklak, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City -Philippines

Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated  PNPCSI exhibit booth was done by the tandem of Architect Patrick Gozun , Mr. Anthony Arbias  and some plants were supplied by Jardin Isabel .

Dischidia oinantha

Being a member of the society, I also took time during the ingress period to help in the mounting of  Dischia oinantha clumps  from the top of the bamboo poles . The hanging plant is commonly called Manaog Ka Irog , Hanging coin vine . This is also widely used in the landscaping of big gardens and popularly grown as a hanging plant on the eves of the homes or hung on big trees.

adobe stone blocks, pebbles, old wooden poles, old railroad woods , bamboo poles and coco coir dust are just some of the materials used in the landscaping.

Although not the most colorful exhibit , the different green color combination of the plants , ferns, native trees and vines ,  style of the landscaping and the wise choice of  native materials like bamboo poles , abaca twine and adobe stones . Truly reflects the mission and vision of the society, which promotes the propagation, preservation and eventual use of our Philippine native  flora species for landscaping in urban centers and parks.

Ardisia pyramidalis (Cav.) Pers

This particular flowering trees had won the ” Best other Genera – Flowering ” exhibited by Mr. Carlos Valeriano C. Lazaro during the show.

Ardisia pyramidalis is locally called  aunasin , rugrusu . This is a small tree which can reach its height up to 8 feet tall . Although is not considered as endemic, it is indigenous also being found in other neighboring countries like Malaysia, Indonesia  and the Philippines.

 farm propagated Phalaenopsis species and other native orchids being sold at  a commercial stall .

I have seen that there is growing awareness from the public the need to cultivate native plants not just to collect them in the wild but to propagate them in local nurseries using modern and traditional techniques in propagation.

 Dendrobium anosmum with its 7- feet long canes

Locally called Sanggumay orchid, This is one of the old -time favorite among Filipinos not just in the city but all throughout the country. This orchid is widely grown in the backyard and is believed to bring good luck and fortune to those growing them. Its raspberry scent can be a bit nauseating for some,  Hence the Tagalog etymology  was derived from ” sangsang ” and ” umay ” or  nakaka-gumay .  This orchid species used to be found growing natural on big trees  in Novaliches area several decades ago, until the rapid development of the place after the second world war.

Medinilla magnifica

Locally known as Kapa-kapa because of the cape hood-like  flower bracts, Hence the Tagalog etymology  is  ” Kapa ” which  surround  its flowers .  The genus of Medinilla has about  is about 140 to 160 species which is widespread to the tropical regions of the Old World.

The genus was named after Juan de Medinilla governor of the Mariana islands in 1820.

This plant can reach more than 2 meters (6 feet) tall and is considered by horticulturalists to be a “shrub”. In tropical climates like those in Laguna they can  grow larger than 2  meters.

Often found as an epiphytic form (growing on trees) in  Philippines, Medinilla magnifica possesses deep green leaves that are thick, waxy, rich and very glossy.  Leaves reach about a foot long and have pale green veins.  Its small pink bracts (flowers) spring from “berries” that bear seeds and are produced throughout spring and summer in pendulous fashion.

For more information about Flora Filipina 2012 show , Here are some of the links: