Bitter melon or popularly known as ampalaya in the Philippines tasted bitter. Hehe 🙂 Seriously now… I love it, it’s one of my favorite vegetable and it’s really good with omelette . Others, especially the kids don’t like the bitter taste of it, so after chopping, the mother will squeezed it with salt to extract and remove the bitterness. I like it bitter where nutrients are not drained out. I tried it eaten raw, chopped with a dash of salt. This would also make a perfect blend for sinuglaw, a recipe of mixed grilled meat and fresh raw fish cured in vinegar, lemon and spices. The young shoots were also good for cooking, even the leaves, I can add it with any dishes, but not too much because it will overpower the taste of your recipe.
Planting this tropical climbing vine them does not need any major preparations. I just used the seeds taken out from the bitter melon which I bought from the local supermarket. I sow the seeds on the spot where I wanted them to grow. The ones that grow at the back of our house turned yellowish in color and not looking healthy maybe because the area was too hot for them.
My bitter melon plant keep on producing fruit and my neighbors were also enjoying it. In just one seed there’s a lot of fruit to harvest. It’s worth to be planted in the yard.
I decided to plant mung beans or commonly known in my country as Mongo beans out of curiosity. I wanted to see what and how they will turned out as they mature as plants. I only see them as seeds and sprouts. I was thinking that maybe planting mung beans will be just an easy task because I remember myself sprouting these seeds when I was still in grade school but I really never get the chance to see them full-grown.
Mung beans are nutritious and rich in protein. We can have them at a low price and a cup of these beans can feed the family. Both the seeds and sprouts are commonly served in a variety of Filipino dishes. Makes a good dessert too, like Halo-halo.
I remember when I still lived with my parents, before my mother will add the cooked beans to her recipe, she will saved some for me in a bowl. When it cooled down, I will add crushed ice, powdered milk and brown sugar or sweetened milk if there’s no powdered milk available, but I liked it more with powdered milk. 🙂
Okay, back to my plant. I soaked the seeds in water until it germinated before sowing it out in the prepared bed at the backyard, where it can get a full sun. And I was right with the thought that they were easy to take care of.
The seed pods were hairy and becomes hardy and brittle as it matures.
They changed in color from green, turned to darker color, then to complete black. I had to tie them for support as they tend stoop down. The black ones can be harvested and the shell gets drier and brittle as it matures. You don’t want the seeds to explode and shattered on the ground. I placed the pods in a metal pan, and had it sun-dried, to remove the excess moisture.
After drying I stored the beans in the jar, I was so happy with the experience, seeing this plants grow and being able to harvest them.
As we we’re climbing up on a mountain, we passed by a field of cabbages. The farmers were still there taking off the weeds and most of them were women. We brought one huge cabbage head. The harvested crops will then be carried by a horse, the best and most fitted guy that can mount these vegetables crossing a terrain like this. It will then be picked up by a truck and delivered to the city’s markets.
I wanted to show you my green onion plants. It’s one of the “must have spices” in our kitchen. And always an important spice for my noodle recipes. So, I planted just enough that will satisfy our needs. I started out by planting just a small part of the white stalk with roots which I bought from the supermarket. From then on, I am no longer spending money for green onions with the benefit of getting fresh produce.
When I needed some, I just cut a part using scissors or knife, leaving the roots to grow back again.
I don’t have a big space for gardening, We only have a small place. So most of my plants were planted in containers. I planted in used plastic bags, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled containers. I put strings on some of the light weight pots so I could hang them to keep them free from hoppers, slugs and snails.
This photo was taken a long time ago during our training course in mountaineering in the midst of Epol forest. This was one of the training challenge where we had to set up fire for cooking rice with a twist. We had to cooked it over the river and using resources that’s available only in the site. When it’s done, the training master will test the food. The rice should be perfectly cooked. We passed this challenge.
I was really having a hard time growing tomatoes in my garden. I sowed the seeds, eventually, it sprouted and developed into a young plant. I felt happy and satisfied seeing that it did well. I watched over it everyday. But when its flowers were starting to bloom, That’s the time when the real challenge took place. Aphids were attacking my plant. I tried searching for solutions in Google and followed the suggestions. I tried the water and soap solution, garlic solution, chili solution, and oil solution. I planted marigold as a companion plant for my tomatoes and tried it with mint and basil. I kept planting over and over again. I planted them in containers and even made a raised bed for my precious tomatoes. I was able to plant on the four sides of our yard. But all my attempts ended with failure.
Then at long last I got tired and stopped…. hehe 🙂
I came to a point of accepting that planting tomatoes was really not for me.
After a long while, I started planting again hoping that I will make it. And I gained same result. It’s a hands up for me.
One day, I noticed a tomato plant growing in our yard, but I just ignored it, thinking that it will not survive. It keeps on growing and its flowers bloom. So, I inspected it and was amazed that it’s clean. No aphids! I cultivated the soil around it and installed a support for the plant. It continually grow and bear fruits. Lots of tomatoes in just one plant that I was able to share with my neighbors. This is a gift from nature. Thank you for letting me experience the joy of having this plant.
After 2 days of spending time at Surigao Del Sur State University, Cantilan Campus our next destination is a six hours travel going to visit the town of Tagbina. We’re going to visit Royaks, my hubby’s friend who lived there. While waiting for our bus along the road, this kind of Habal-habal ride caught my attention because it’s not the usual Habal-habal ride I’ve seen. Boy it has a roof! Then I assessed that maybe the reason it’s modified like this because the town’s area is very open and very hot.
Habal-habal is a passenger motorcycle modified to carry more people. A more complex one can be loaded with 5 or more passengers including the humongous pack of supplies and other baggage. So, imagine a flowering motorcycle. That’s how it will look like. 😀 In far away provinces, rides like these are more suitable and convenient than passenger Jeep and tricycles for they will not going to make it through, passing a very steep, narrow, rocky and muddy terrain.
I have lots of memories riding this one. But my most unforgettable habal-habal experience was my first fall from it. Yes, I was thrown out from the motorcycle as we were approaching on a very steep and bumpy road. I was flying! 😀
At last, our bus came. We said our goodbyes to the Catilangnon and hopped on inside the bus. After a while, the bus stopped. We were wondering why it has stopped when there’s no incoming passenger. As we looked around, we found out that the driver bought something from the stall on the roadside. I peeked on the window and saw the man was selling bibingka freshly baked in a fire furnace.
Bibingka is a native Filipino rice cake traditionally made from galapong (glutinous or sticky rice). A piece of banana leaf is used to line the bottom of the cake, and baked with charcoals on top and underneath the cake. There are many varieties of special bibingka today. But I’d still prefer the native one.
My pards and I quickly jumped out of the bus too! I love native delicacies! 😛 Especially the ones made from the provinces because they tasted just the way it supposed to be. When we reached the stall the man said that it’s all sold out. Hearing that I felt disappointed because the bus will not going to wait for us. The man looked at me, and then tried to check the bibingka again.
We’re glad that it’s done already. Hmmm, it smells good. We ran back to our bus, holding the super hot, super full and fluffy rice cakes. 😀 It’s so hot that we couldn’t eat it right away. A moment later, a nearly broken bridge is in front of us. The center foundation is bending down and will soon to collapse. The driver instructed us to get off the bus for our safety. We walked along the bridge then the bus. I didn’t able to take a shot of the scene because I’m still holding bibingka in my hand and the camera was in my pack.
As we are traveling forward, I took some of these shots as I was looking from the window of the bus….
Jeepney is the most widely used means of transportation in the country. The design was modified depending on the route it will travel. Vehicles like these in the remote and mountainous areas were developed to last against rough roads. It has bigger size, bigger tires and more seating for endurance and convenience. Jeepney in the cities was smaller, colorful and trendy. “History tells that the first jeepney was made from the US military jeep. After the World War II, hundreds of leftover jeeps were left and sold by the Americans to the Filipinos. These were then modified to have more passenger seats, installed roofs for shade and beautify it with colors and stuffs.” Until now it keeps on evolving.
I was happy sharing and talking about my trip a while ago, but now it feels heavy in my heart. I felt sad for my country and the people. Realizing that until now, my country is still a poor country. As a regular citizen, I think I knew why my country is moving on so slow. I hope it crossed the minds of the politicians too and take a look at it. The people have to be creative and resourceful to endure and survive, making life easy no matter how hard it is, fighting and striving to live. What touches and amazes me the most is that despite all of these, the people still do manage to “live happily”. I’ve been to different places in Mindanao region and the one common character of all the people I’ve me ton the way is that they were all “happy folks”. So much for my sentimientos. I’m sorry to bore you into this. I didn’t mean to. Blame it to the modified vehicles. hehe 😛
We stopped for a while to give way for this giant machine loading this earth to the truck which is blocking the road.
Passing on the seaside. Made me gazed in appreciation every time I passed by the seaside or any bodies of water.
Happy workers, laughing around while doing their job. A lot of ongoing road construction along the way. Sign of progress. 😀
Rice fields were everywhere, here and there.
Man relaxing on a pile of coconut husks. He’s probably tired .
Surely does look like a gold-plated mountain side or a flaming mountain. Actually most of the mountain side here were reddish-brown in color but this one is the resulting color when it hit the ray of the sun.This time it’s sunset.
We stepped down the bus at the terminal of Barobo, a nearby town of Tagbina. From there, Royaks came to get us and off we go to his house at Tagbina. We arrived there late at night and had a good night sleep.
On my next post, we will visit another town again, to see how enchanting is “the enchanted river” ?.. I want to know if the pictures I’ve seen were really true. So stick with me. 😉 😉 😉