Pteroceras longicalcareum Blooming in Our Backyard

Quezon City – Philippines

Pteroceras longicalcareum ( Ames and Rolfe ) Garay

Hi , to all orchid hobbyists around the world! It had been a while since i have posted a blooming orchids in our backyard. It was raining for the past 1 week here in our place. I was rewarded with a beautiful blooms of one of the most unappreciated native orchids in the country.

Most orchid hobbyists and old timers in orchid growing would prefer the large and long lasting blooms of Vanda, Dendrobium and Cattleya hybrids. BUT I must say , one of the few orchid growers that prefer growing native species.

While inspecting for any damage caused by the recent monsoon rains which affects most of the country , I saw the Pteroceras longicalcareum currently in bloom in our backyard . This used to be classified under a different genus –Sarcochilus until few years ago when the Sarcochilus genus is confined to Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Pteroceras longicalcareum is also called Long -Spur Orchid

Origin of the Name:

This orchid species was featured on page 206 of Philippine Orchids by Reg S. Davis and Ms. Mona Lisa Steiner under the genus Sarcochilus.The genus is confined in Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.

The book since then had undergone 2 reprint – The first one was in 1952 then1982 edition.¬† This genus was then re-classified in the late 1970’s by world’s leading orchid expert and botanists.

The record derives from WCSP (data supplied on 2012-03-23) which reports it as an accepted name (record 170399) with original publication details: Bot. Mus. Leafl. 23: 193 1972.

The Long-Spur Pteroceras [refers to the midlobe of the labellum]. Hence it is commonly called long-spur orchid by some orchid growers.

The genus had about 30 recorded species found in  India , Indochina ,  Southeast Asia and Indonesia some of the species are quite widespread from sea level to around 800- 1,500 meters in elevation.


This orchid is endemic to the Philippines and is found in lowland to mid- level elevation at around 1,000 meters . The plant ranges from 20-35 cm, branching out, pendulous growing and spike can reach up to more than 1 meter, from where it blooms every 3-4 months or so, until it turns brown and dried up.

Sometimes , orchid peddlers and native plant sellers would sometimes call them native Phalaenopsis or mahabang dila orchids.  Even without blooms, These native orchids are highly ornamental . But most of the orchids flowers are fugacious  ( lasting only for several hours ) to just 1 or 2 days at most in some species.

Cultivation and Care:

I have first encountered a living orchid when my aunt gave me a few pieces from a big clump she acquired from Bicol ( Sorsogon province) . It was mounted on a living Dracena fragans together with some live Asplenium nidus – ferns .¬† It was growing very lush and blooms several times a year until late early 1997 when the disastrous El Ni√Īo killed most of my living orchids . I again re-acquired a small clump about 2 years ago at the¬† Centris Sunday market . This is not as common as Pteroceras pallidum which is widespread over Southeast Asian countries .

It is also best to provide some pasdak , fern roots around its root area .  It prefers living tree such as caimito, palms , mango trees, coconut palms , guava as host trees.


I would fertilize the orchid in a diluted water soluble fertilizer 20N-20P-20K with trace elements once a week . Sometimes alternating it with high potassium and phosphorus based water soluble fertilizer once in a while.

Dendrobium aphyllum and Dendrobium anosmum growing on a Macarthur palm ( Ptychosperma macarthurii)

It is a blessing for some orchid species like Dendrobium aphyllum and Dendrobium anosmum ( commonly  called sanggumays, salome , latigo ) РIt is their growing season , Majority of the orchids do not like rains which drench them , without air circulation fungi and other water borne diseases may affect the growing orchids.

References and Bibliographies:

Malesian Orchid Journal Vol 5 2010

Flora Malesiana Orchids of the Philippines Vol I Agoo, Shuiteman and de Vogel 2003

Philippine Orchids by Reg S. Davis and Mona Liza Steiner , page 204 to 208 , 1951


 Until my next post !

Eton Centris Sunday Market

Several months ago, most of the regular buyers at the Lung Center Sunday Market were brief about the sudden move to a better and more accessible location near the MRT Quezon Avenue station.

Spaceship Lamp post РThe  gigantic lamp post resembles several intergalactic ship

Since the contact with the Lung Center management is about to expire. The move was announced to all the tenants and regular patrons beginning the second quarter of 2010. The place is becoming a favorite hang-out area for those working in nearby business processing centers , Centris Рmore popularly called  had amble security and ambiance to complement its futuristic architecture.

Eton Centris Walk

The event organizer, which pioneered the weekend market style since the late 1980’s at the former Sidcor Resort, Cubao (now SM Hypermart, Cubao).  Then moved to the Lung Center vicinity from 2003 to 2010, some of the stall owners had begun their moved to the vicinity as early as June 2010.

The place is an ideal spot for a weekend market place, with its brick paved walkways, inter-galactic shaped lamp posts, children playground, well manicured lawn, a hypermart , several business processing outsourcing offices , restaurants,  taxi , jeepney and MRT terminal .

Merry -Go Round

Since the ETON Centris Place is still on the process of expansion, the place still lacks facilities for the buyers like ample parking spaces; the heat from the cemented walkways would always make the people perspire more, However, regular market goers and patrons would not mind all these few hassles!

Mr. Nelson from Nueva Viscaya – His family is a trader of native orchids and plants in the sunday market

The big move had already commenced last November 7, 2010 just in time for the Christmas season. The management of Eton Centris is very supportive and there all out support for the weekend market in their commercial space.

colorful semi-terete vandas from Quezon and Laguna on sale

These  semi-terete vanda orchids ( above)  is an old- time favorite among orchid lovers -The flowers can last up to more than 1 month

Arundina graminifolia – Bamboo orchid, Grass orchid

Arundina comes from the Latin arundo, meaning reed, and gramnifolia means grass-like leaves

This tropical orchid is found from India, Southern China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and Pacific islands. These terrestrial orchid were thought to be introduced to the country before the out break of the second world war and gradually naturalized in several parts of the country.The cattleya- like flowers only last for a few days. When fully established , the plant could tolerate almost full sun conditions.

This  particular plant is one of the most common terrestrial orchids that was naturalized in several countries like Puerto Rico, Panama, Hawaii, Costa Rica ,  Guatemala , Honduras, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Cuba  and Florida.

A gallery of native dishes with vendors wearing color- coded (yellow) for cooked foods

The weekend market place was divided into seven or eight segments  that had color-coded sections which buyers can easily identify the products or services thru their color guide. The organizers even extended their way in providing color-coded t-shirts for all the tenants.

Vicinity Map of Eton- Centris Sunday Market

Here is the guide:

Red stands for fresh meat and wet market section

Orange stands for fruit section

Violet stands for vegetable, rice, and fish section

Yellow stands for cooked foods, pasalubongs, native delicacies, bread pastries, home made sweets, coffee

Green stands for plants, garden accessories, potteries, orchids, pet, cages, soil mix

Blue stands for clothes, toys, shoes, home décor, accessories, shoes, and sandals

According to the organizers, there are some 380 tenant stalls during the Sunday market.

The market is also becoming a fast haven for organic produce and proudly Philippine made items, organic products and home based business.

Organic producers -pose for a group picture

Some of the more noteworthy stalls selling community based and social enterprises include Human Nature products, Solraya Chicken, Green Daisy Organic foods.

Native process jams, vinegar, preserved foods on display

The Eton- Centris Sunday market can be reach via the MRT Quezon Avenue station or any public utility vehicle. The Sunday market is open from 6:00 am to past 2:00 pm. However, It is said that a new organizer  would likewise bring back the  Lung Center Sunday market .


Tiangges in the City

Since the Hispanic era , People from every town and cities across the country would come to the market center to buy and  sell their products during the fiesta. Traders  from far flung barrios and municipalities come and trade during market days.

tiangges / bazaar /   flea /  saod ( Bicol term for market place).  These  market started as a small outdoor market with a lot of cheap bargain prices , old antiques, export overruns , imported items  and exotic goods that are available for sale !

plant stalls within the Quezon Memorial Circle

Some of the more common flea markets are those in Marikina , Greenhills in San Juan, Tutuban night market in Manila, Baclaran street stalls in Paranaque.

AANI weekend market inside the Quezon Memorial Circle

a more recent additions are the Lung Center sunday market, Salcedo Park sunday market, AANI weekend market in Taguig and Quezon Memorial Circle, Strata Food Stall in Emerald Avenue in Pasig among others.

a food stall in Stata street market

The Stata food street market is located near the Strata building hence the name, The food market  is also known as Emerald Avenue night  food market / Banchetto night food market  were over 100 stalls were rented out .

Monster Burger outlet at the Emerald Avenue night market

Most of the clients were office workers, call center agents, passers-by , joggers ,  residents of nearby places like Ortigas, Pasig .

There are ready to eat meals, candies, drinks, imported  chocolates and home-cooked meals that were available and ready to be packed for those hungry customers.

pasta carbonara, macaroni ,pancit palabok

home-made cookies, cakes and sweets

The phenomenon started when a group of entrepreneurs started to set-up about 200 stalls within Sidcor Resort in the present day Makro in Cubao, Quezon City in mid 1990’s.

plant stall

Sidcor Resort was¬† a swimming¬† style resort were several areas were used¬† to accommodate people. ¬† Ka Earnie Baron, Mr. Zacarias Sarian and several television and radio personalities used to conduct weekend seminars and trainings . At one time,¬† Philippine Orchid Society used to rent a space within the compound in the mid-1990’s .

stall selling various native bags and ready to wear

As the tenants and buyers increased, the organizers started to looked for possible alternative areas to be the next market place . After the Ayala group bought the land from the owners of Sidcor in the mid- 2000 , With  series of negotiation , organizers found  the alternative  nearest and most accessible place was the Lung Center compound.

vintage collectible  glasses and fancy mugs from Japan

Lung Center tiangge can be a bit overwhelming, but not confusing. There are an estimated 450 to 500  stalls with  similar items being sold  are clustered together. The present area were fully occupied , The stall tenants usually set-up their items for sale during  late saturday evening or early sunday morning.  Plant traders usually come during late saturday evening.

car plates from the United States- collector items

Majority of the stall owners pack-up their things by 12:00 noon. Some tenants may linger for about an hour or so after the 12 noon deadline.¬† Some of the tenants may sell their produce at an even lower price, instead of¬† returning their goods or produce back home, some will give -in to the request of additional discounts to their¬† insistent customers. ” Minsan binibigay na namin ng mura , kesa naman masira o magbayad ng dagdag freight

stall selling export overruns of  children and infant dress

“Sometimes we give our customers lower prices instead, to prevent spoilage or paying additional freight” according to one of the stall owners. This is another opportunity for bargain hunters to come -in! Baratan Time !!!!

The market also had a smattering of cooked delicacies, including breads and cakes, sweets and kakanin (rice cakes), carinderia style eateries, leche flans (crème caramel) and sumans on offer. In fact, the mix of vendors was a little unique and aimed at a wide audience of buyers. The people who go to this market must represent a relatively broad cross-spectrum of society, though that may be a stretch as most probably came in cars while some were definitely commuters.

stall selling native fruit wines and vinegar

weekend market is also a place were new products , services or even a venue to advertise one’s¬† own business.

stall tenant selling vintage items from Japan and Korea

There were sections for Ukay-ukay from Japan, Korea and China  were all sorts of mugs, plates, cups, dolls, books, bottles, vases,  ceramics are sold . Bargain hunters and collectors of vintage stuffs used to frequent the place every sunday.

Dr. Micheal Tan inspecting the vintage items

Dr. Micheal Tan an anthropology professor ,  Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist and  collector of vintage stuffs frequents Lung center flea market .

Tita Rosie Santos an orchid and plant dealer from Quezon City

The sunday market is like a social activities were friends , relatives and barkadas usually meet . In some cases, a group of native orchid and plant enthusiasts  usually went to the center the night before!

Ceratocentron fesselii Senghas 1989

This miniature  orchid depicted above is found in Luzon, central Philippines in montane forests as small sized, cool to intermediate growing, monopodial epiphyte found on tree trunks between 900 to 1,300 meters in elevation that need to be mounted on tree pieces to  yet kept moist at all times . This species has an erect, monopodial growth habit with very leathery, dark green, elliptic, obtuse, leaves that are basally con-duplicate and clasping the stem which blooms in the winter on an axillary, erect, short, 2 to 4 flowered, often more than one inflorescence per leaf axil. flower color may vary from yellowish to dark orange.

Synonyms Hymenorchis javierii

Popular Ineng’s barbecue started its operations in flea market

Some stake-out at the wee hours of the saturday night or early sunday morning just to buy the plants coming from as far away as Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan, Nueva Viscaya, Bicol.

silverware from Thailand

This is the trill of plant hunting on the tiangge style, Just to be ahead of your potential rivals! Bring flashlights and Have a keen set of eyes !  Some even pre-order the plants or goods way ahead of others! During the past few years, as the strict enforcement of DENR  regulations on the trade of  wild plants and animals  , fewer and fewer native plants including orchids are being sold ! So most orchids being sold are supposed to be grown in farms.

customers haggling

RTW, linens, curtains, pets, brick-a-bracs, seafood, poultry, meat, fruits, vegetables, breads and pastries, cooked food (with an adjacent area with tables and chairs where you can eat al fresco) and plants.

Oncidium orchids  inter-generic hybrids on sale

Bazaars have been popular these days primarily because of its unique appeal. Also, they are affordable, they have a wide variety of products or goods and more enjoying than your usual grocery shopping at the supermarket.

This market has been known for it’s enticing fresh products that still came from far-off provinces. Fruits and vegetables were of high quality and the sea foods are those not usually found on our local markets.

roasted calf

Prices are quite reasonable , While the art of  haggling and grappling is not frowned upon (of course, it’s a tiangge!). Be sure to be  early in order to get  discounts based on buena mano.

ube jam

There is also a section were fresh organically grown fruits, vegetables, produce which are being sold . There are also free taste on new products.

How to get to Lung Center of the Philippines:

Commute: From MRT Quezon Avenue station, best to hire a cab or if you feel like really commuting, board a bus or jeepney bound for Fairview/Lagro/Philcoa or UP and drop off in front of the Lung Center of the Philippines. (this is opposite the pedestrian entrance of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center) also on Quezon Avenue. From Manila, jeepneys and buses with signboard Fairview, Lagro and Philcoa all pass by the place. From LRT Monumento station (good for those coming from Cavite), you need to board buses going to Baclaran or Cubao then alight on Quezon Avenue before transferring to a Fairview-bound jeep or bus.

Commute : From Novaliches /Monumento/ Valenzuela / Caloocan¬† – ride any bus going to the south ( Baclaran, Alabang, San Pedro, Makati¬† )¬† go down at the MMDA foot bridge near¬† the Philippine Women’s University then walk towards the Jeepney station below the Quezon Avenue flyover / there is a Lagro / Philcoa jeeps .

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