The Cherry blossom, Prunus serrulata, of Japan is a very famous bloom in temperate climates. It is commonly associated with Japan but grows in other countries too, but of course not in the Philippines and other tropical Southeast Asian countries. Nobody will say the cherry blossoms are not beautiful.
We in these part of the world has our own 'cherry blossom', which actually is called Palawan cherry. Palawan is a group of islands in the western part of the Philippines, which has a unique geographical and vegetative characteristics than the rest of the country, even if our climate is the same. It still has virgin forest areas protected from cultivation and agricultural practices. The beaches are still pristine and beautiful. Palawan is one of our provinces and boasts of many wonders of nature, like the Subteranean River, one of the world's wonders. Another uniqueness of that province is the Palawan cherry, Casia nodosa, also a leguminous plant. That means it fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere through its roots, and have pods as their fruits. Legumes include the peas, beans, alfalfa, and peanuts.
Would you say this 'cherry blossoms' is also as beautiful as the famous cherry blossoms?
As if the one hour fast craft boat ride to Siquijor, with big and foamy waves are not enough, we still look for more water in the island. The beaches are pristine and beautiful, yet the springs and waterfalls are more sought after! The most famous is the Cambugahay Falls in Lazi, Siquijor. We had to negotiate 135 steps down the ravine to reach the falls. With the camera gears and tripod, and the not so athletic feet and body, that was not very easy for me! But the roaring sound of the falls seem like coaching us to go down faster. Some Caucasian tourists were ahead of us, and some more came later. Some even tried swimming and even got snorkels. A pair of local ladies and a pair of tourists took turns diving in their two-piece-suits! The look in their eyes shows their enjoyment, and the onlookers enjoyed looking at them too! Swimmers in 2-piece swim suits are not very common sights in these parts of the world. We stayed till almost everybody left until 2:00pm when our tummies already complained of food. Taking photos in these environment made us forget our tummies. We surely had fun and we want to return in the future!
View near the Siquijor, Siquijor port
Above and 4 photos below: Salagdoong Beach in Maria, Siquijor, where we stayed for two nights
Above and 3 photos below: Cambugahay Falls in Lazi, Siquijor
One above and 2 photos below: Forest Camp in Valencia, Dumaguete
This post is dedicated to Betsy from Tennessee, because she loves waterfalls! Betsy i hope you like my falls.
We left last Friday dawn for an hour flight to Dumaguete, then another hour fast craft boat ride to the island of Siquijor, known to be a mystical island in the Visayas (central Philippines). Three of us met at the airport. We already arranged for a multicab to fetch us from Siquijor port and will service our transport needs throughout our weekend stay in the island. There are six towns with the centers mostly located along the coast. Aside from turbulent waters with pristine beaches, it is also famous for its old churches. Every town has their old church and convent. We only used 1.5 days there with the last half day spent in Dumaguete with my companion's high school classmate. So that was their reunion and of course, capped with wonderful meals. We also went to a resort where we had wonderful time shooting cascades.
The church in Siquijor, Siquijor has the perennial welcoming sign. The Belltower below is not yet remodelled unlike the church. A convent nearby with the balcony window (below right) now houses the local high school. Old churches and buildings here are made of coral limestones.
The jeepney we used throughout our stay. We noticed most jeeps are brightly colored.
Old acacia trees (rain tree or Samanea saman) lining the old streets of the town centers
are mostly century-old. Mangrove forests line the beaches, and they are planting more (top right).
Some houses on stilts serve as meeting place or function halls for sanctuary guards and ecotourism visitors. Now there are small tree huts rented for tourists who would like to experience nights of peace inside mangrove forests only hearing the sounds of the tides, and songs of birds.
Walks between the tree houses inside this mangrove forest
Protruding stalks are the mangrove forest trees' way of breathing, these are called pneumatophores for getting air above the water.
Mosaics of mangrove roots, mossy stones and other mangrove dwellers
Wouldn't you want to frolic in this colorful beach?
Mangrove trees grow slowly, and that small tree on the top left side can already be decades old.
These are minor orchid species which are not really very famous. Most of them are endemic in the country especially the Vanda lamellata varieties. I was not able to get all the labels as sometimes they are far from my reach as some of them are put in the design only as fillers in the landscape design, e.g. clockwise: 1st and 2nd box with the purple and white flowers in the collage below.
This brownish orange orchid flowers are also used as filler-accents in the hedge with ferns.
The above three Vanda lamellata varieties are common orchids here, found growing in old mango trees in the northern part of the country. However, collectors and poachers gathered most of them from the wild and now found in collectors gardens. I have 2 varieties of these for several years which succumbed to the dry season in our province. These varieties have been used also in hybridization.
The above 2 flowers are both Epidendrum spp. Do you know Epidendrum is called "poor man's orchid"? That is because there are thousands of species, which are very easy to grow.
Dendrobium smiliaea is called "the bottlebrush orchid", really looks like a bottlebrush, and native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. The first photo shows the habit and characteristics of the whole plant. The flowers are mostly borne at the end of the leafless stems, making them look more like bottlebrushes!
I am very sorry, I accept the guilt of compressing a lot of photos in a mosaic in my previous posts. That is due to the excitement of showing you all of them at once plus the further excitement of making collages, which i confess i just learned a bit late. Now, i am showing you the individual plants. I compressed them first and then showed them individually if there are many representatives per species.