The Zen of saving water, even dishwater

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them — Chief Seattle of the Dwamish, in his 1855 letter to US President Franklin Pierce.


When I’m billeted at a local seminar house or resort, or at a hotel in some foreign city, I often notice a small, courteously worded card posted on the bathroom door or by the bedside table. It basically says, “Please conserve water” followed by some practical suggestions.

I take heed most of the time. But sometimes I forget. I leave the water on, warming it up while I go fetch something. Or in a wintry city, after I’ve rinsed down, I let the steaming shower relax me for much longer than necessary. Sometimes I tell myself that “the hotel bill has been paid for, anyway.” So I should be able to fill up the bathtub with hot water to the brim as often as I liked, even doze off in it if I wanted to, like some Hollywood royalty, and it’s none of your damn business to tell me otherwise. Continue reading “The Zen of saving water, even dishwater”

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”

Schools must have gardening programs for kids

In sixth grade, one of my favorite teachers Mr. Serapion Metilla introduced us to serious gardening. I became the president of the school’s garden club, and with him as adviser, we became weekend gardeners complete with a large greenhouse, a complete toolshed, and a corps of young and enthusiastic volunteers.

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

Mr. Metilla (who lived nearby in a mini-tropical forest environment, a stone’s throw away from the Sacred Heart parish church) supplied us with all the plant stocks, seedlings, and garden lore we needed. On weekends, we combined our garden work with Scout activities (since he was also the scoutmaster), including occasional overnight camp-outs on the school grounds. This further increased our volunteer force and hours. Continue reading “Schools must have gardening programs for kids”