X Days of Summer

I'm not a fan of summer. Mountains turning brown, crowded beaches, rivers drying up, lands cracking under the scorching heat. I'm more of a rain person and will always prefer the wet, cold monsoon season. But there some things that I love during this time of year when Apollo unleashes his full might.
Like the flowers blooming in midsummer...
the fire tree, one of my favorites
and the jade vine
a true beauty... from the endemic palawan cherry
to the native kakawati or madre cacao
and the exotic golden shower
summer will not be complete without the delicious green mangoes
and sweet smell of ripe mangoes
like every other season, best x days of summer are the moments that we shared with the people that we love...


Biking with the Fireflies...

42kms bike route (total of 57kms for me since I started in QC), 5 cities, and thousands of advocates and bike enthusiasts.
my second tour with the fireflies.
rides ranging from old-school "marry poppins", mountain and road bikes, tiklop, to high-end custom-made bicycles. weird to fashionable costumes. bikers calling for a revolution.
and finally, very glad to meet again old friends on the streets.
13th Tour of the Fireflies
Pasig City-CCP-Pasig City



Always awed when I realized how our public officials run this country, at most times, in total catastrophe. Take the case of Obando, a town famous for its annual fertility rite that draws-in thousands of married couples and Catholic devotees. But this small town of Bulacan, surrounded by rivers to the North and South and the critical Manila Bay to the west, is a flood-prone area with barangays having an elevation below the sea level.

Very susceptible to sea-level rise and other climate change impacts.

Yet, of all things wise and wonderful, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government chose the town's coastal area as the site of “sanitary” landfill. A garbage dump within the critical ecosystem! And these are the same government bodies that spend millions, if not billions, of public funds annually just to rehabilitate Manila Bay, tsk.

But the people will not quit! Last 2002, Obandoneos staged a people power that lead to the closure of the dumpsite of Navotas in Paliwas River. This time, the people formed the No to Obando Landfill Movement. I and my colleagues at the EcoWaste Coalition were honored to bear witness this historic events.
Documenting the waste disposal facilities existing in Manila Bay, our team traversed the great Obando River and the coastline of Manila Bay.

The site of the proposed Obando Landfill in Barangay Salambao:

And the controversial Navotas Landfill, the dumpsite of Manila City and Navotas City.

Watching Manila Bay, Chief Seattle's words echoed in mind:

"Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then you will find that money cannot be eaten".

Obando, Bulacan



Look up in the Sky!

If you live or work, like I do, near the Quezon Memorial Circle, find this building behind the city hall and in the afternoon, before the sky turns scarlet, look up and you can spot the peregrine falcons scouting, hunting for pigeons, swifts and other small birds. amazing sight. sadly, these falcons are already on their way back to the North to breed. so they will only stay in QC for a few more days.
also, hundreds of barn swallows are still temporarily taking refuge in the metallic designs of the SM North building.


Commemorating a Green Holy Week

Wandering is zen but traveling from one area to another demands a huge carbon footprint. This is why I always try to make my trips simple and on-a-budget: camp instead of staying in hotels, hike, bike or commute, no or less waste, etc.
Aside from the golden rule "leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures, kill nothing but time," here are some simple tips from the pollution-watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on how to commemorate Lent while taking caring our environment:

1. No littering please. Ensure that nothing is wasted nor littered as you accomplish your vows to the Most High. Remember: “Do not defile the land in which you live and in the midst of which I dwell.” (Numbers 35: 34)

2. Shun disposables. Avoid single-use items such as plastic bags, water bottles and beverage cups as you perform your Lenten plans.

3. Power down. Drive less to cut fossil fuel use and slash greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and climate change. Walk, cycle or take the public transportation. For planned “Visita Iglesia” (church visitations), consider doing your pilgrimage online at

4. Call off expensive, non-essential long distance trips and consider giving the money saved to the “Alay-Kapwa” program ( or to your favorite charitable causes.

5. If you are planning a family or “barkada” (circle of friends) outing to the mountain, lake or the sea, please abide by the eco-creed "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

6. Say no to plastic carry bags. Cut your consumption of wasteful plastic bags by bringing your own “bayong” or reusable shopping bags.

7. Save trees. Bring your own handkerchief or towel to limit the use of disposable tissue while you battle the heat during the “Via Crucis” (stations of the cross), penitential services and liturgical celebrations.

8. Go for tobacco-free and alcohol-free “Pabasa” (chant reading of the Passion of Christ). Keep the “pabasa” a healthy neighborhood spiritual affair by making the “kubol” (makeshift structure) and its immediate vicinity a “no smoking, no drinking” zone.

9. Say no to “Styro.” Choose reusable over disposable cups, plates and cutlery for meals and drinks served to "pabasa" readers; offer native “kakanin” or vegetarian meals served with plain water, throat-soothing "salabat" (ginger tea), "buko" juice, a natural isotonic beverage, or melon "palamig" (coolers).

10. Avoid overdoing the "carrozas" (floats) for the Good Friday “Santo Entierro” (holy burial) procession, enhancing them only with biodegradable stuff like sampaguita and other natural flowers and plants.

11. Go for simple, eco-friendly Easter "Salubong" sans firecrackers and confetti to commemorate the heavenly encounter between the risen Christ and “Mater Dolorosa” (sorrowing mother). Paper and plastic confetti can be substituted with petals and leaves, which can be composted after the event.

12. If you are planning to do Easter egg hunt, only use natural ingredients or dyes to color the eggs. Promote a healthy and balanced diet by not giving kids junk food treats.


Busy Bee in Burdeos

Due to persistent pangungulit of Liza and her sister Willie, thank you sis, my butt was able to reach the beautiful town of Burdeos!
One of the five municipalities in the Polillo Group of Islands, Burdeos boosts geographical wonders such as islets with white sand beaches, rich coral formations, waterfalls and limestones caves. Its luscious forests and ecological sanctuaries serve as a habitat to some of the countries endemic but critically endangered fauna and flora such as the Philippine Cockatoo, Butaan Tree Lizard, Polillo Tree Frog, etc.
This is my third journey to Polillo Group of Islands- been to Polillo and Patnanungan, thanks also to Liza, and Jomalig, courtesy of my dear friend Iori.
For this trip, I was part of the eleven volunteers who helped facilitate various activities organized by Liza, in coordination with the local government of Burdeos. The team is compose of "mother hen" Liza, me, the Cristobal flower-flower girls Willie, Ana, Judith and best buds Cherry and Hilda, father-and-son Saar and Kaseem, and wild dudes Jon and Leo.
Our activities include:
Paper jewelry workshop for the ladies.
Art contest and face paint exercises for kids.
River clean-up and waste audit. Plastic bags, again, is one of the top litters.
And mangrove treeplanting in Barangay Cabungalunan.
And yes, yes, Ani also joined us. This is her first trip to Quezon, yey! Since Raymond buses going to Real (jump-off to the Polillo islands) have small compartments, I was forced to dismantle Ani and put her on a bike bag. It was also my first to assemble and dismantle Ani on my own. No choice hehehe. Great tips from bike guru Shyo.
Bike itinerary involved a visit, and of course swim, to Tamulaya Waterfalls located in the town of Polillo, the 16-km bike ride in the muddy Polillo-Burdeos national road and quick bike wash in an unnamed river.
Other highlights of the busy weekend: swimming and camping at Ikulong Island, visit to Sitio Puting Bato Cave and the dark-dwelling bats, spider and pygmy frog,
snorkeling at Aniwan Island, takla (crayfish), Willie's adobo and grilled fishes for lunch/dinner, meeting the wonderful people of Burdeos, and bonding with old and new friends.
Still planning to bike around Real but the weather turned bad when we arrived at the Ungos Port. So sad.
Well, another reason to go back hehehe.
Burdeos, Quezon 04.01-04.11
Going to Burdeos? Proceed to Ungos Port in Real, Quezon. If you are coming from Metro Manila, you can take the Raymond Bus going to Infanta, Quezon. Bus terminal is located at Sampaloc, Manila City. From Ungos Port, take a boat to Barangay Anawan, Polillo. It leaves at 9am in the morning. Disembark at Barangay Anawan and take the jeep going to Burdeos. Another option is to take the Burdeos jeep from the town of Polillo.