9 vitamin C-rich fruits in the Philippines

This pandemic has caused empty racks of vitamin C supplements. So, I did a little research about natural and cheaper alternative source of vitamin C….

But first…what is vitamin C and what does it do?

> vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient in some foods. It acts as an antioxidant in the body to protect the cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It  also helps in healing wound, improves absorption of iron and boosts immune system to protect the body from disease.

> vitamin C is sensitive to light, heat, and air and can be destroyed during food preparation (so I chose fruits that can easily be found in the market or at your/neighbor’s backyard so they can be served raw)

How much vitamin C do we need?

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Source: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/

Here are some fruits and how much vitamin C you can get from them:

1. Banana – 16.45 – 30-27 mg/100g (Hapsari et al., 2016)

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2. Guava – 29.8 – 208 mg/100g  (Lim et al., 2006)

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3. Kamias/Bilimbi – 20.82 – 60.95 mg/100g (Arroxelas et al., 2001)

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4. Calamansi – 18.62 mg/100g (titration); 16.78 mg/100g (HPLC) (Najwa and Azrina, 2017)

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5. Tomato – salad tomato 15-21 mg/100g, industrial tomato – ave. of 19 mg/100g (Abushita et al., 2000)

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6. Guyabano – 10.45 mg/100g (Akomolafe and Away, 2015)

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7. Papaya – 70 mg/100g (Miller and Robbins, 1936)

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8. Mango – 8.28 – 18.53 mg/100g (Muhammad et al., 2014)

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9. Pineapple – 7.01 – 11.32 mg/100g (Muhammad et al., 2014)

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Note: I created this post to help people find an alternative source of vitamin C. Also, do not forget to eat a balanced diet, drink lots of water (8-10 glasses/day), exercise and get enough sleep (7-8 hours).

Disclaimer: I am not a registered nutritionist-dietitian nor a doctor. The information above is based on some literatures I found and should not take the place of medical advice.

*photos are not mine, credits to owners

**references – full article is available online, just search the author and the fruit

21 alternative and cheaper source of vitamins to boost your immune system

Viruses and other diseases have taken its toll on societies and economies. Do not let any sickness beat you. Protect yourself and your loved ones by eating healthy-but-won’t-break-the-bank foods. The following are mixed of vegetables and fruits that are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You might even get surprised that you are ignoring them in front of your house or the roadside going to work.

1. Camote/sweet potato tops (Ipomoea batatas)

Camote tops are good source of protein, niacin, calcium, iron, vitamin A, B6 and C, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese. Camotecue got you for your dessert!

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2. Alugbati (Basela alba)

Have you seen some purple vine creeping on your gate/wall? Take a closer look and if they are indeed Alugbati, well you have a free source of macronutrients, vitamins and minerals.

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3. Saluyot (Corchorus olitorius)

The slimy Saluyot may not be appetising to others but your body will thank you for this very nutritious veggie. The leaves are rich in beta-carotene, phosphorus, iron, calcium and vitamin c.

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4. Banana (Musa acuminata x balbisiana)

This fruit is not just for those who want to lose weight or need additional potassium. Saba bananas are low in fat and protein bu they are good source of vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, copper and manganese.

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5.Guava (Psidium guajava)

In the province, kids climb guava trees to pick and eat some of its fruits. Guava is a traditional remedy that is used for ages and scientifically proven. Get your daily dose of vitamin A and C, potassium and dietary fiber from raw guava fruit.

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6. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)

This famous vegetable fruit in our list is rich in antioxidant lycopene that has been linked to reduce risk of heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are also source of vitamin C and K, potassium, and folate.

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7.Papaya (Carica papaya)

Papaya isn’t the best tasting fruit but it boasts several health benefits. This soft tropical yellowish-orange fruit contains calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate, vitamin A, C, E, and K.

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8.Ampalaya/bittergourd (Momordica charantia)

Relative of your zucchini, squash, pumpkin and cucumber, this veggie will be your taste buds’ least favourite but your immune system will thank you . Ampalaya is rich in vitamin C. The fruit also contain vitamin A, folate and antioxidant compounds.

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9.Malunggay (Moringa oleifera)

Malunggay is not only for lactating mom. It has received praises over  years due to its health benefits. The plant is used as ingredients in traditional herbal medicine and an excellent source of  riboflavin, iron, vitamins B6 and C.

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10. Cassava leaves (Manihot esculenta Crantz)

In some areas, young cassava leaves are eaten as vegetables. This plant part contains up to 10x the amount of protein found in the roots, low in calories but rich in fiber, and good amount of vitamins B and C. Process the leaves well to remove toxic compound.

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11.Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

Before you ignore the slimy okra, consider that this veggie contains a lot – vitamin K, potassium, sodium, vitamin C, thiamin, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, iron niacin, phosphorus and copper. Did you catch your breath?

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12.Calamansi (Citrofortunella microcarpa)

Calamansi is a citrus fruit native to the Philippines. Do not underestimate this cutie because this could protect you from common cough and cold since they are rich in vitamin C. The fruit also contains phosphorus, calcium and vitamin A.

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13.Dayap (Citrus aurantifolia)

Remember how Don Juan squeezed some dayap juice to his wound to fight sleep brought by the singing magical bird Adarna? One dayap or lime can provide 32% of vitamin C needed in a day that will help you fight harmful, disease-causing free radicals cells.

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14.Puso ng saging (Musa sp.)

Banana blossoms are valuable source of vitamins A, C, E, potassium, minerals, fatty acid, flavonoids, saponin, essential and non-essential amino acid and other antioxidant compounds. Well I guess I can’t get tired of the ‘saging lang ang may pusohugot line.

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15. Mustasa (Brassica juncea)

Just like the mustard condiment, its leaves can give peppery and spicy flavour. These fat and cholesterol-free mustard greens are rich source of vitamin K, A and C and important minerals such as calcium and manganese.

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16.Garlic (Allium sativum)

Research supports the age-old spice and cooking staple bulb’s potential antibacterial properties and its ability to control cholesterol-causing lipids in the blood. It is also rich in antioxidants which may reduce the risk of chronic illnesses.

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17. Katuray (Sesbania gradiflora)

Katuray flowers can be white, pink and red in color. Its leaves, flowers, seeds and pods are edible but flowers are the most commonly consumed plant part. The flowers contain vitamin C, vitamin B9, iron, selenium, vitamin B1 and vitamin B2.

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18. Guyabano/soursop (Anona muricata)

Typically eaten raw. This fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, thiamin and small amount of niacin, riboflavin, folate and iron. Leaves, fruits and stems are used medicinally.

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19. Luyang dilaw (Curcuma longa)

You won’t mind staining your clothes as turmerics are packed with health benefits. It has been used in traditional medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. Turmerics are also good source of vitamins and antioxidants.

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20. Sampaloc/tamarind (Tamarindus indica)

Unripe and ripe sampaloc/tamarind can both be utilised. The former gives sour flavour to sinigan while the latter is consumed as dessert. This low-glycemic fruit offers beneficial nutrients such as vitamins B and C, potassium, magnesium, thiamine and iron.

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21. Kolitis (Amaranthus viridis)

Amaranths are highly nutritious. There is also another variant of this – the one with thorns (Amaranthus spinosus). Manganese in amaranths exceed daily needs with just one serving. The plant also contains magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, copper and iron.

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These foods may supplement your body’s required vitamins and nutrients but it is important to take note that it is best to take a balanced diet. Also, drink plenty of water, exercise and get enough rest. Stay healthy, everyone!

**photo credits to the owners

A-Z places worth a visit in the Philippines

Did you cross out most of your travel destinations last 2019? Or are you planning your #2020TravelGoals? I listed some places worth visiting in the Philippines from A-Z and you might want to consider them on your next trip!

A – Argao, Cebu

The Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Saint Michael the Archangel or Argao Church located in the municipality of Argao was established in 1703. Aside from the coral stone church, there is also other stuff to enjoy around like the watchtowers, plaza, gates and walls, L-shaped building (formerly known as Palacio), and mortuary chapel.

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Simala Church and Dalaguete Beach are just 20-km (30-min ride) away from Argao church. I assure you, no time will be wasted visiting these nearby tourist spots.

B – Banaue, Ifugao

Did you know that the scene where Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War) exiled himself to work as farmer and reflect on his loss was shot in the Philippines’ famous Banaue Rice Terraces? Are you burnt out from work? Pack your bag now and go to Banaue! Get ready to calm your mind, body and soul because even the most scary and troubled villain found peace in this place.

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C – Callao Cave, Tuguegarao

The cave does not only promise the best limestone walls, the top view will leave you in awe. Get the best angle of the Pinacanauan River from above and below (try a wooden boat ride).

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The trek inside the cave is easy and titas/titos of *insert city/town* will enjoy more while sweating a little .

D – Dingalan, Aurora

If your pocket doesn’t allow you yet to travel Batanes, then you might consider this alternative one. Dubbed as Batanes of the East, Dingalan is a place for those adventurous folks who want to relax and stay away from city lights.

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Prepare yourself for a trek and a breathtaking taking view. No words could describe how I felt when I reached the top. Too good to handle.

E – Esperanza, Agusan del Sur

Patpatangan Cold Spring, Calahian Lake, San Vicente Falls and Manlangits Lake are the top destinations in Esperanza TripAdvisor will suggest. But more than the tourist spots, the large scenic agricultural land will give you a break from the large buildings in the urbs.

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Do not forget to try some of their local delicacies! Tired of your common camotecue? Look for the sweetest purple sweet potato some carenderias in the area offer.

F – Fort Santiago, Manila

Stop for a while your fast paced lifestyle and travel back in time. This citadel was built in 1593 by navigator and governor Miguel López de Legazpi in Intramuros, the walled city of Manila. More than the ig-worthy backdrop, the fort is one of the most important historical sites in Manila.

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Also, you may add the National Museum to your itinerary. The museum is just a few minutes walk/ride and free of entrance fee.

G – Gumaca, Quezon

This first class municipality is nestling at the foot of the Sierra Madre range and is widely known as a heritage town due to ancestral houses and old structures that abound the area. Include to your list the picturesque San Diego de Alcala Fortress (Kutang San Diego), a recognised national treasure by the National Historical Commission since 1981.

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Going to Gumaca, you’ll traverse a long road showcasing the vast ocean. Unleash your inner Dyesebel or Aquaman and say hi to the mermaid sitting on the rock at Atimonan, Quezon. Also, there are nice beaches with black sand nearby.

H – Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur

The Philippines has a lot to offer in terms of hashtag-travel-goals destination, so why bother going to the same location every year? Hinatuan river could give you a clear as its water answer. True to its name, the river is so enchanting you can’t resist from coming back. Prepare your heart from skipping a beat upon seeing this magnificent river.

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Quick advice: if you’re planning to visit Tinuy-an falls and Hinatuan River on the same day, start with the former. Both destinations are good but Hinatuan river is just sooo good you might end up not enjoying Tinuy-an falls.

I – Isla de Gigantes, Iloilo

Located off the coast of Carles and Estancia towns in northeastern Iloilo, Isla de Gigantes or the islands of giants has the beautiful seascapes and island lifestyle perfect for the summer vacation you are looking forward since last year. I promise you, that “extra mile” (as it takes at least 5 hours to get there from Iloilo City) will be worthy.

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Seafood lovers will surely love the place. Get scallops for PhP 1.00 per piece.

J –  Jordan, Guimaras

Jordan is the commercial center of the island and has a wharf closest to Iloilo City. There are a lot to explore in Guimaras Island such as beaches and light houses, islets and caves. Also, add the Trappist Monastery and San Lorenzo Wind Farm on your list.

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Never leave the place without tasting their mangoes which is said to be the sweetest not just in the Philippines but also in the world.

K – Kabacan, Cotabato

Its name came from the word ka-abacan which means the source of abundance since people from far barangays used to go here to brought back home commodities from their livelihood. Despite all the not so good news from the area, treasures can still be found like the campus of University of Southern Mindanao and Pisan Cave.

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Did you know that Kabacan is known as an Ilocano-speaking area because more than half of its population are Ilocano?

L – Love Beach, Occidental Mindoro

Sorry to disappoint you, but Love Beach does not offer love life. LOL. But, if you have enough white beaches and night life on your itinerary, then you might consider this one. Calm your mind with black sand, salt water, and sunset of this beach. At night, meditate with the waves and wind and allow them to carry all your worries.

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After a day or two and you found yourself looking for more adventure, you might consider going to Sablayan to have an island-to-island zipline, and scuba diving at Apo Reef and Pandan Island.

M – Maniwaya, Marinduque

Knock! Knock! Who’s there? Maniwaya. Maniwaya who? “Maniwaya ka sanang minamahal kita…woooh”. LOL. The island’s beauty is no joke. Witness different hues of blue and watch fishes just a few meters from the shore!

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Palad Sandbar,  Ungab Rock Formation and Mongpong Island are potential addition to your itinerary (if you still have time) as these places are not far away from Maniwaya Island.

N – Nasuli Spring, Bukidnon

Not your typical destination if you’re a beach baby but this resort is worth a shot. Plunge into the cold water and rejuvenate your dying soul caused by the killing heat of commuting everyday to work. LOL. Kidding aside, the spring offers the ultimate nature vibe with swimming and diving area.

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You can opt to just take a side trip to this spring and explore the beauty of Malaybalay first. If you are prepared to sweat, consider trekking at Musuan Peak or Mt. Capistrano and have a view of Bukidnon at a higher level.

O – Olongapo, Zambales

“Ulo ng Apo” (head of chieftain) is where the name Olongapo came from – it is a reminder of the good leadership of their model and beloved chieftain who was killed by his abductors. The kinda scary story of the origin of the name of the city is opposite to what you will see in the area – forest trails, inflatable islands, and beaches and resorts to name a few.

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Anawangin Cove is located near the city and it is the perfect destination for those people looking for swimming, hiking and setting up a bonfire on the beach.

P – Pinto Art Museum, Rizal

Pinto (means door in Filipino) Art Museum is a contemporary museum  in Antipolo, Rizal. The place exhibits rotation of foundation’s collection and promotes contemporary Filipino artists. Appreciate local flora and fauna from the two hectare botanical garden (known as Silangan Gardens) where the museum is located.

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Visit the magnificent Antipolo Church and munch on some tasty cashew nuts downtown before going home.

Q – Quirino, Isabela

This is not one of the most visited places for summer vacation but tourism is starting to bloom in the area. Still, there are a lot to see from this destination such as the Nagbukel Municipal Tree Park and Nature Resort, Pusuac Spring Park, Manuela Falls, Susong Dalaga and Liwayway cave. There are also different festivals that showcase the unique culture and colourful history of the province – so mark your calendar.

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Brace yourself with its relatively hot climate and a breathtaking view of large corn fields on each side of the road.

R – Roxas City, Capiz

Hey you seafood lover! Roxas City got you! This is a heaven on earth for you. Do you have enough fast foods for lunch? Now is the time to explore the seafood capital of the Philippines! Not a fan of seafood? The province still got you, babe! Local food culture include many unique delicacies such as inubaran nga manok, chicken binakol, nilagpang and many more. Sweet tooth folks can enjoy bitso-bitso, ibos, bayi-bayi and inday-inday.

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The province does not only boast the abundant marine produce, they also offer relaxing activities like river cruise tours and shoreline strolls with relaxing view of Sibuyan Sea.

S – Sipalay, Negros Occidental

My first solo travel was here and I’m so sure that it is a very safe and worth an extra mile place for those people enjoying some solo backpacking adventures. A day tour may not be enough to see everything the city can offer but there are so many beaches to quench the wanderlust in you – Sugar Beach, Punta Ballo Beach and Poblacion Beach are just some you can put on your list.

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The best for the gram photos I had during my trip were the hanging bridge in Tinagong Dagat, overlooking view of Sipalay and the cute islets I saw while in an infinity pool at Perth Paradise. I just had all these experiences in a day!

T – Tayug, Pangasinan

Heard of the sunflower maze? This is the place! If you were a bee during your past life this will be your paradise. The gate usually opens daily from 8:00am to 6:00pm starting on February until June. The farm features not just the sunflower maze but also other landscape of bougainvillea, blue ternetea, roses and different in-season vegetables.

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A perfect stopover for those going to or coming from Baguio. Along the road, you can buy dried fish and salty relish made of fish or shrimp (or simply bagoong).

U – University of Sto. Tomas, Manila

The oldest university in the Philippines founded way back 1611 had the Victorian-style exterior with shabby stone facade designed with sculptures on top you can admire. The things you can do here include feeling the love along the lover’s lane, taking pictures at the stone archway and soul searching in the middle of a serene garden with fountains and thick treetops.

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The areas around the university are known for flood and food. LOL. Prepare your stomach for a budget-friendly food crawl experience.

V – Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

A unique town in the Philippines as it is the country’s only surviving historic city from the 16th century Spanish colonial period. Vigan used to be an important coastal trading post in pre-colonial times. Time travel for a day along the cobbled stones of Calle Crisologo – visit the past through the ancestral houses and Catholic churches.

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Complete the history feel by riding a Calesa. Did the tour make you hungry? Try out some yummy empanadas and bagnet!

W – Western Bicutan, Taguig

Plenty of things can be done in Taguig. Enjoy the pleasure of a little history by visiting the Fort Bonifacio Tunnel which was built in 1936 and was used as route for military supplies throughout World War 2. You can also stop by at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroe’s Cemetery) and pay homage to former Philippine presidents, national artists, scientists and other patriots.

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Other things you can try are skating around BGC, riding a gondola at Venice hall, and visiting The Mind Museum and Miracle Art Museum.

X – Region X (NOMIARC)

Are you exhausted from the city life and daily traffic congestion perfectly combined with scorching heat? Do you have too many beaches in your bucketlist? This research station in Region X has a cold weather and the best probinsya life you are looking for. Make sure to coordinate first with the research station head before dropping by.

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If you were not able to coordinate with the research office, alternative destinations include Kaamulan Park, Lapanday Pineapple Farm and Monastery of Transfiguration.

Y – Yambo Lake, Laguna

Getting to the lake is a bit challenging but a rewarding journey. The pristine waters reflecting lush green that surrounds it will be your reward at the the end. If you’re a kind of traveler that enjoys the value of serenity and being in harmony with nature this one is surely for you.

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Pack and start early to be able to visit the other six majestic lakes of San Pablo, Laguna – Pandin Lake (twin lake of Yambo),Palakpakin Lake, Bunot Lake, Muhikap Lake, Calibato Lake, and Sampaloc Lake.

Z – Zamboanga City, Zamboanga Peninsula

The Philippines’ 3rd largest city and dubbed as “Asia’s Latin City” offers a wide array of adventures to dive in. The Merloquet Falls can give you a free massage and soothing sounds. From the boardwalk at Paseo del Mar, have a view of big and little Sta. Cruz Island and Basilan Island. Witness the Spanish influence through Fort Pilar.

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Planning to go to Zamboanga? Mark your calendar for Regatta de Zamboanga – the biggest and most colorful event in the Zamboanga Hermosa Festival conducted throughout the month of October with main events happening during the first 12 days.

 

Do you have other places worth trying this year not listed here? Write it down in the comment section.

 

 

5 New Year’s Resolutions from 2019

As we welcome 2020 and try to list some new year’s resolution, have you examined your previous list? Did you do great with you last year’s promises? Here are some of my last year’s new year’s resolution that I have done successfully:

1. Waking up early

It gives you more time to do other important task for the day. And aside from that you can avoid getting late to work or being stuck in the traffic.

2. Cooking and eating healthy foods

My packed lunch usually contained a cup of rice, 1 1/2 serving of vegetables with less to no oil and salt, meat or egg and a fruit. I am not a nutritionist or whatsoever but this habit prevented me from getting sick and allowed me to save more.

3. Sleeping on time

Since I started waking up early, I need to give my body time to heal and recharge from all the work and stress I got the whole day. I usually sleep between 10-11pm and wake up at 5-6 in the morning. (Excluding days that I went home super late because of work or party. LOL).

4. Working out

This is not the intense work out you are thinking. I just religiously jogged for an hour  once or twice a week in an oval near our place. I noticed how I maintained my weight and also I felt that my body got a little stronger compared before.

5. Spending less time scrolling through social media

I deactivated my facebook and twitter account and I don’t feel like I am missing out from the world. It just gave me more time to allocate to other important matters at hand.

 

Although there were days I was failing myself last with all my promises, I think I made improvements from the last 12 months of my life. I am a very undisciplined person but still I did it…little by little…day after day…so whoever you are thinking that you can’t, think again.

4 Healthy and Cheaper Alternative to Rice

Rice is a staple in most Asian countries. Don’t get me wrong, I love rice paired with my favorite adobo and sinigang. However, rice (white rice in particular) may not be appropriate in everyone’s diet especially to those diagnosed with diabetes.

For people thinking of quitting rice or want variety in their diet, here are 4 options to substitute to rice as source of carbohydrates. They are not just healthy, they are also relatively cheaper than rice and readily available not only in supermarkets but also in public markets.

1. Corn

Zea mays L. or we simply know as corn or maize belongs to Poaceae family. Yes. They belong to true grasses family. It takes 3-5 months before harvest. They are sold in the market as seeds, green corn (before physiological maturity, those corn ears sold as boiled in the market), grated (often used in soups) and grits (can be cooked and consumed like rice).

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A cup of boiled rice has around 200 calories while a cup of boiled corn has around 170 calories. Although rice has higher calorie content, boiled corn is of great advantage in terms of protein, fat, vitamins A, beta-carotene, E, K, C, B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6 and B9. There is also higher mineral content in corn primarily Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium. Corn grits are long known staple in some parts of Visayas and Mindanao regions (no wonder why most Filipino boxers come from these areas).

Price: PhP 25-30/2pcs for boiled white corn; PhP 20-30/pc for boiled sweet corn; PhP 20-30 per ~250g; PhP 37-40/kg for corn grits;

2. Cassava

Cassava or Manihot esculenta Crantz can thrive to adverse conditions like drought and acidic soils. Harvesting can be done 7 to 10 months after planting. Fresh roots are not usually stored for too long as they can easily form bluish streak, they are usually sold per kilogram in the market.

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Cassava roots have a wide range of use such as food, feed and other industrial purposes. Boiled cassava root weighing 100 grams contains 112 calories coming mainly from carbs and small amount of protein and fat. Cassava also provides fiber and few vitamins and minerals. The root of cassava is gluten-free and is good for those people suffering from coeliac disease (gluten intolerance). Do not get alarmed by news of intoxication from cassava because hydrocyanic acid (toxic component of cassava) is highly volatile and can be removed easily through proper processing. There are also varieties with very low hydrocyanic acid available in the market. Make sure to look for Lakan and Rajah varieties.

Price: PhP 12-15/kg fresh root

3. Sweet potato

White potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) and sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) are from two different family, Solanaceae and Convolvulaceae, respectively. Starch of potatoes is stored in stems while in sweet potato it is formed in the root. The modified roots  are the commonly consumed plant part of sweet potatoes while others eat the leaves and stalks as vegetables. The roots are usually ready for harvest 3-4 months after planting.

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The root flesh can be orange, white, pink, violet or purple in color. It is rich in fiber, antioxidant and other nutrients. They can be eaten boiled, baked, steamed, or fried. Sweet potatoes have medium to high glycemic index which is unsuitable for diabetic people. A medium-sized sweet potato contains 27grams of carbs. It is a poor source of protein but an excellent food in terms of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.

Price: PhP 40/kg fresh roots

4. Saba banana

Banana is a general term for a number of species or hybrids under the genus Musa under the family Musaceae. Saba banana is a triploid hybreed of the seeded bananas Musa balbisiana and Musa acuminata. It is mainly utilized in cooking in the Philippines and other South Asian nations.

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Bananas are high in fiber but low in calorie. Consuming high amounts of fiber is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers. Saba banana has roughly 120 calories per fruit. They are composed of starchy carbohydrates and contain no fat or cholesterol. They also contain a rich blend of nutrients and vitamins such as B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin A and iron.

Price: PhP 1-2/fruit

*price is based on the price in out market and can vary depending on location

 

 

 

9 Beautiful Provinces In The Philippines I Was Able To Visit For FREE Being An Agriculturist

Admit it. Traveling is costly. From plane fares, land travel expenses, boat rentals to entrance and environmental fees. Name it. Free lunch does not really exist when you travel. Been there done that. Fortunately, I found a job (as an AGRICULTURIST) that allowed me to go to 9 beautiful provinces in the Philippines for FREE. Here are those places:

1. Isabela

The province is the largest in Luzon and one of the top producing regions of corn in the Philippines . It is 7-10 hours away from the metro. Land trip could be tiring but you can opt to ride a plane.

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Would you believe that I was striking a pose on this hilly land planted with corn? Yep! At the back are corn plants nearing maturity.

What to expect: Large land areas planted with corn. Farmers usually plant hybrid corn, and they are sooo pretty they look like Bermuda grass from afar. Pansit dishes are a must try food here – do not forget to have a taste of pansit Cabagan and batil patung.

2. Benguet

A landlocked province of the Philippines at the southern tip of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Its huge production of vegetables makes it known as the Salad Bowl of the Philippines. I super duper love the cold weather here!

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Who loves strawberry? I know you’ve tried strawberry picking and strawberry taho but have you tried extracting strawberry DNA using household materials? I did and it was dope!

What to expect: This place is a haven for frugal vegetarians. Due to its favourable weather condition for vegetables, there is abundant supply and therefore the price is relatively cheaper than in any supermarkets in Manila. Try to locate the public market in front of Benguet State University and you can get even more discounted veggies.

3. Albay

You probably had seen this view in one of your textbooks but seeing Mayon volcano live will leave you in awe. Albay is a province composed of 15 towns and 3 cities. It is located in south-eastern part of Luzon. This place is worth a visit! *wink*

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Pili nuts are famous as pasalubong in the province. Have you seen a fresh pili fruit? Imagine earth has core, mantle and crust, pili nuts or the kernels are the core covered with testa then comes the hard shell of it as the mantle and lastly the pulp as its crust. I tried eating boiled pili pulp dipped in salt from an agri fair held at Albay and it looks like it is a common thing.

What to expect: People are kind. Food tripping is relatively cheap. Gata or coconut milk is almost always part of their dishes. Few public vehicles (full packed jeepney rides during rush hour). Also, you can ride ATV at Cagsawa Ruins or eat sili/chili ice cream at Legazpi City.

4. Cebu

Cebu city is the oldest and the first capital of the Philippines. The province is located in Central Visayas and has its main island plus 167 islands and islets. Ferdinand Magellan was the first European to come to the Philippines in 1521, he planted a cross to signify an important event about the propagation of the Roman Catholic faith. The cross is now housed in a chapel at Magallanes Street.

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Cebu is also one of the leading corn-producing provinces in the Philippines. Corn milled into grits is a staple common in many households in Cebu. They substitute corn grits to rice. I tried cooking and eating corn grits and true enough, they are the perfect alternative to rice. Eating corn grits make you feel full faster and you won’t easily get hungry relative to rice. Perfect for those people cutting carbs/rice on their diet.

What to expect: Beautiful old churches and beaches you can visit. The city feels like Manila with relatively lesser people and vehicle well I guess because it is the second largest metropolitan area in the Philippines after Manila. Cebu’s dried mango has a distinct taste that will surely leave you craving for more and also let us not forget our dearest lechon. LOL.

5. Negros Occidental

Bacolod City or the city of smiles is the capital of the province. Negros Occidental is situated in the region of Western Visayas. It is the fourth largest island in the Philippines and second most populous province in Visayas after Cebu. The people there primarily speak Hiligaynon.

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The soil in Negros is basically volcanic making it ideal for agriculture. Around 80% of all arable land is cultivated in the island. If you happen to be sitting on the window seat, take a look outside before the plane lands and you will see large land areas planted with sugarcane which explains why it is known as the “sugarbowl of the Philippines”. Sugar industry is the main contributor to the economy of Negros Occidental producing around half of the country’s sugar.

What to expect: The strong sugar scent coming from sugarcane plantations early in the morning. Soft-spoken people. MassKara Festival every third week of October. Delicacies and pampasalubong with a touch of sugar of course such as piaya, biscocho, and pinasugbo. There are also grilling kiosks and restos everywhere – hello chicken inasal. Seafood is cheap in some areas and the oyster dipped in sinamak (vinegar with lots of spice) is bomb (ok, my mouth is watering rn).

6. Iloilo

Just like in Negros, people here or the Ilonggos are so malambing when they speak. They use three languages such as Hiligaynon, Kinaray-a and Capiznon. The province is situated in the Western Visayas part of the Philippines and occupies the central and eastern section of Panay island. Iloilo is known for its beautiful old world architecture – Spanish colonial churches are amongst the famous tourist sites.

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Iloilo City is the capital of the province and center for business, shopping, education, medical, real estate and many more. Due to its distance from the Visayan Sea, Iloilo has a strong fishing industry and a booming tourism industry. They produce a wide array of agricultural products like rice, corn, banana, pineapple and sugar among others as well as high-end crops.

What to expect: Bodies of water and therefore there is variety of fresh, delicious and cheap seafood. Hot and yummy batchoy which is best paired with pandesal or biscocho. Beautiful old churches. A few minutes boat ride from Jordan Port to Guimaras.

7. Zamboanga del Sur

Located in the Zamboanga Peninsula region in Mindanao, Zamboanga del sur covers a total area of 1,737.25 sq mi covering the southern part of the peninsula. The name Zamboanga came from the Malayan word “Jambangan” which means a place of flowers. The first settlers of the area were known as the Subanons or Subanens – meaning “river folksIMG_1083

The province excels in the field of agriculture, mining and fishing with agriculture being the major contributor to the province’s economy. The large agricultural land area of the province comprises of non-forested areas, areas for annual crops, fishponds, perennial crops, and grasslands.

What to expect: Chavacano-speaking people. Cheap imported goods. Stores selling malongs and jewelries. And last but definitely never the least…curacha!!!

8. Bukidnon

Another landlocked province – Bukidnon which means highlander or mountain dweller. This place occupies a wide plateau in the north central part of the island of Mindanao. Southern and eastern boundaries of the province are mountainous area. The picture below shows the Musuan Peak or Mt. Musuan near our field work.

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The province is the major producer of rice and corn and therefore it is considered as food basket of the region. There are also products from plantations such as pineapples, bananas and sugarcane. Majority of large firms operate processing and production of the above-mentioned crops. Bukidnon, being landlocked highly depend on nearby cities Cagayan de Oro and Davao for marine products.

What to expect: If you are traveling by land from Cagayan de Oro or Davao airport, buses stop at certain checkpoints – either for livestock quarantine or security purposes. During fruiting season (~September to November), you can enjoy fruits like durian, lanzones, mangosteen, pomelo and marang for a relatively cheaper price.

9. Sultan Kudarat

The province is located in the Soccskargen region in Mindanao. The name Sultan Kudarat came from its Muslim ruler Sultan Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarata who is considered a national hero.

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Agriculture is the predominant economy in the province. Some of the crops being cultivated in the province include rice, corn, coconut, mango and banana. Fruits are relatively cheap and fruit stands can easily be spotted on roadsides.

What to expect:  Mountain ranges. Muslim communities. Roundabout with a structure showing a crescent moon and a star (used to symbolise Islam). Despite all the bombing news about the province, I found the place generally peaceful with kind and helpful people.

 

Given the opportunity to travel for free, which province are you going to visit first?