A foray into urban forests

Our neighborhood at the very fringe of Baguio is particularly lucky for being situated a stone’s throw away, quite in a literal sense, from a small pine grove. This grove, in turn, was originally an extension of a much bigger privately owned forest, but now separated from it by a couple of concrete alleys, a growing cluster of houses, and eroded slopes of coarse runo grass.

Continue reading “A foray into urban forests”

The secrets of Nagsasa Cove

Let me get straight to the point by sharing what I learned during a short stay at Nagsasa Cove in San Antonio, Zambales.

I won’t bore you with the usual mundane matters that you can Google from travelogues, such as how to get there, what’s so great about it, how to best enjoy your stay, what not to expect, and so on. Instead, I’ll tell you some interesting stories about Nagsasa, presented in Top-Ten style.

Continue reading “The secrets of Nagsasa Cove”

Mossy cloud forest, formerly

I wrote this light essay originally as a column piece for the November 17, 2003 issue of Northern Dispatch Weekly. It seems timely that I re-post it here with some minor edits, now that the issue of Baguio City’s rapid deforestation is heating up anew. A giant mall has been intending to cut 182 trees in Luneta Hill, on top of big real estate developers having already cleared up a bigger number of pure  pine stands in and around the city in past years.
Gecko on house post
The only creature lacking is a fruit bat, gecko, or baby constrictor crawling along the rough-hewn coconut lumber beams of the outhouse to give our jungle alcove that extra oomph.

In a column piece I wrote earlier this year, I confessed to the embarrassing fact that I was a frustrated peasant. A frustrated urban peasant, to be more specific. With emphasis on “frustrated.” At least that’s how I feel, more and more frequently these days.

My wife has more success with her orchids, ferns and peperomias — and to think that she merely used our outhouse-type toilet-bathroom as a rudimentary greenhouse. Without intending it, she turned it into an accidental orchidarium-terrarium, complete with ants, spiders, and lizards that spice up our every visit to the toilet. The only creature lacking is a fruit bat, gecko or baby constrictor crawling along the rough-hewn coconut lumber beams of the outhouse, to give our jungle alcove that extra oomph.

Continue reading “Mossy cloud forest, formerly”